The Panhandler resurrected

I learned this week that one of my flash fiction stories has been reprinted in Arabic in a recently published anthology. Not such a big deal, you might say, as many stories get reprinted in anthologies, but this one is my first, and to have it a translation into Arabic does make it a little unusual. I was intrigued when Abdallah Altaiyeb, the originator/editor/translator for this project, contacted me, and I readily gave him permission to include the story he’d selected.

For those few people who cannot read Arabic, the translation for the anthology title is The Man Who Loves to Hug, or at least that’s what Mr. Altaiyeb tells me. The book is a compilation of flash fiction stories reprinted from story-hosting websites like Fifty Word Stories. The Man Who Loves to Hug is available for those who read Arabic at Here’s the link.

My story ‘Panhandler’ appeared in Fifty Word Stories in June 2019. It is not autobiographical. In fact, it’s a slightly rejigged scene in the still embryonic third book in my climate change trilogy (or whatever it ends up being if I ever get it finished). It’s set in the post-Apocalyptic future that follows the developments in The Road to Environmental Armageddon.

Here it is:

Panhandler by Alan Kemister

The scruffy young panhandler sat on the busy sidewalk suckling a fractious infant. When I dropped a coin in her pot, the baby reached for my fingers. Distracted by the tiny hand and abandoned breast, I lingered for a moment too long.

“Alan?” she said as I tried to leave.

That’s all I have for today. Now it’s back to my Road to Environmental Armageddon project.

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