Photo © Sascha Darlington
Adept and Adaptive
Outside Joplin, Missouri; 2018 CE.
The brakes on the Territorial bus shrieked. The senior passengers stirred like milling ants, gathering their jackets and hats, preparing to disembark at the next tour stop.
Pansy waited at the back, one of the few under thirty. The seniors all spoke American, but the young people among whom she rode spoke pidgin Russian. Pansy was trying to learn, to blend in. She’d stayed too long on the Eastern Seaboard, she decided, held by the States. She should have gone west months ago, where the only crimes seriously prosecuted were those against the government.
The seniors were slow and half of them deaf. They walked in little knots through the new Soviet attraction, jostling and shuffling behind the pretty, female tour guide, who repeated everything twice, once in the old tongue, again in the new, assimilating the crowd.
Dobro požalovat’! was the first phrase Pansy had learned.
No one noticed the thin girl in a denim jacket at their elbow, a nimble finger in an over-sized purse, a hand in a zippered fanny pack or baggy back pocket. Whatever language they spoke, Pansy could always count on seniors for her bread and butter.
Sunday Photo Fiction: 200 word stories
The Meta Story: For this Pansy tale, I had to do a bit of research. I know only two words in Russian but knew what I wanted to say, and Google came to my rescue as always. I also had to refresh my memory of some capitalization rules. I’m fairly confident the conventions I used for Eastern Seaboard, the States, Territorial, and Soviet are correct now.
I dithered over the date. My Pansy tales will age very quickly, but I’ve decided to treat her history as an alternative timeline, sort of like “alternative facts.”
Lastly, I took a chance by fleshing out more details, which I hope I don’t have to change later as my world-building progresses. I may have to ask Pansy readers to forgive me if I commit switcheroos at some point in the interest of consistency.