Mussels in Casablanca (#whatpegmansaw)

Hello readers, this week’s #whatpegmansaw prompt is Casablanca, Morocco.

Mussels in Casablanca (Fiction Word Count: 149)

We sat at table 20

without a single word to say

150-dollar bottle of wine

house Syrah would’ve cost ten

but we were celebrating

and the mussels were free

We were in Morocco filming a remake of Casablanca’s airport scene for the 75th anniversary. Jet fuel at the airport left a rattle in my chest, but the buzz from the job rattled louder. To be part of anything that pertained to such a classic movie was a career highlight. I played Bogart’s character, and my dinner mate, Marietta, played Bergman’s. We had chemistry on set, as we flexed acting muscle, but we refueled in distant silence – even between courses, which made for a nice decompression.

As Mariette stood up to exit, she rubbed her food baby, gave me a wink and said her first words of the night, “Here’s looking at….”

Shaking her head, she stopped.

We both laughed.


What Pegman Saw is a weekly fiction prompt utilizing Google Maps.  Pegman picks the location and then the writer uses the street view tour to find a photo to write a short story–150 words or less. To join in or see more – go HERE



Author’s Notes:

I am sure that some readers know the Casablanca movie very well. I only knew of certain lines and scenes, because it is so famous. I might have seen the entire movie way back when, but I plan to watch it the next chance I have.

Anyhow, when I saw the prompt for Morocco – I thought of a girl I used to work with (in 1992) who traveled to Morocco every summer. I also was thinking of mussels because we had some the other night and they were delicious. So I knew I would have someone eating mussels at the Bodega in Casablanca, Morocco.

Then I wondered “who” might be eating mussels in Morocco – and considering this year (2017) was the 75th anniversary for the Casablanca movie, I connected my fiction piece to the movie – with modern-day actors.  When the movie was originally being filmed, which was written as it was unfolding, WWII was underway and so there were prop limitations and travel restrictions. The crew could not shoot the scene in Casablanca in the 1940s – and so for my fiction, I had the actors in Morocco to redo the airport scene.

Originally the airport scene had to be filmed in Studio 7 (below) and they used wood cutouts of planes, fog, and extra short actors were hired to make the planes appear larger. (All while Bogart stood on a box to appear taller – and ironically this movie – out of the 30+ he was in – would be the one that led to Bogart being viewed as having ‘sex appeal’ -which he attributed to Bergman’s energy – but it likely was what was portrayed (image projected) and I guess sometimes we need not worry “thinking outside” the box – just need to step up and on the box… ha.)

Here is an image of the mussels we had. They are good – but I can only eat a certain amount and then no mas.



This real Casablanca Bodega “sales receipt” (from tripadvisor) inspired the first part of the short fiction (table 20, and the cost of 150 for Zarzuela theatrics went to wine, etc.)





65 thoughts on “Mussels in Casablanca (#whatpegmansaw)

    1. thanks so much restless Jo I – I guess int he 90s someone made a movie about the making of Casablanca and so the tidbits I found were done with a quick search engine look – so not much research – but the person who wrote that book sure did a great job – and I guess there many social factors that impacted the filming – interesting stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ana – I almost left that part out because I did not want the author’s notes to become too long – but then I just left it in – and so I smiled that you commented on the box. and hope your mussels are buttery good….

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for that word “superb” – I am honored – and I almost left out the second half – I feel like the first 6 lines would have been a story in itself (thanks again)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. and I am not a huge lobster fan (or crab claws – and here in Virginia some people really like their seafood) – but I do like a good Lobster Bisque –

        Liked by 2 people

      2. well we are more inland in Richmond – but I love where you are from. Northern Virginia is so wonderful with culture and when we first moved to richmond – we escaped to Northern VA to help adjust to the hick feel we first felt here. We have acclimated – but going to Northern Virginia helps early on

        Liked by 1 person

    1. well YC – I guess there was some “real” here – but the bill had 150 dollars was for the vaudeville kind of show called a “Zarzuela”
      and mussels are “not” for everyone – so that is good to know…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yvette, just a quick visit and note, off to bed since six AM comes so soon!
    I loved this whole post! The idea of the meal shared, the two main characters and how you included so much in short amount of words and space. Very admirable and entertaining, Yvette. 💞

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicely done! I’ve seen that movie a dozen or more times, but never knew about Bogart’s box.
    I have so much to do today, I’d really prefer to gorge myself on mussels and wine! Or really, oysters and beer, lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. laughed pretty good with your fun comment – and the word gorge really fit in with kind of the vibe I was trying to capture – like after a week of shooting they ate light and were super busy – and then they had a wordless dinner as colleagues – and chowed on down – so thanks for the word….


    1. thanks for the comment (and rthey are actually colleagues at the end of working together for a long stretch – which is why they had silence at a delicious meal)


    1. thanks DawD – and actually you inspired part of this – well out comment chat last week did – you know where we talked about listening – ranting- loquaciousness – etc.
      so I had these colleagues decompress with a wordless meal – well three words at the end…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. so your comment made me extra curious about the cuisine of Morocco (and possibly casablanca) and it looks seafood is plentiful – like with sardines and lobster bites – and maybe to add to the story – the restaurant had mussels shipped in for the foreigners in town – that is why they were free…. (ja)

      but found this cool site on Moroccan food:

      “Moroccan street food is legendary and the best place to sample the wide variety is Djemaa el-Fna square in Marrakech. Here beside the kebabs, calamari and grilled sardines, you will find the more unusual sweet cheek meat of sheep’s heads, snails cooked in a spicy broth that wards off colds, and skewers of lamb’s liver with caul fat. Makouda are little deep-fried potato balls, delicious dipped into spicy harissa sauce.”

      Moroccan meals begin with at least seven cooked vegetable salads to scoop up with bread.

      and Mint Tea…
      Known as ‘Moroccan whisky’, mint tea is the drink of choice. It is usually heavily sweetened with sugar chipped off a sugar cone. Gunpowder tea is steeped with a few sprigs of spearmint stuffed into the teapot. It is poured into a tea glass from a height to create a froth called the crown.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for all the infos, Y! It´s always great to learn something new. 🙂 I have to admit that my idea of moroccan food correlated more with the sheep´s head side of things 😉
        have a great sunday!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for your comment – and I almost took out that part about the acting muscle – because as you know – a play on words can be fun – but in such a short piece we don’t want to overdo things – and I already had jet fuel and food fuel – but glad i left it in — anyhow, thanks for the nice comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicely done, P. Lovely take on the prompt.

    Great lines (and analogy): “We had chemistry on set, as we flexed acting muscle, but we refueled in distant silence – even between courses, which made for a nice decompression.” Casablanca is one of my favorite movies, and I’ll watch it a few more times.

    And this is funny – “I guess sometimes we need not worry ‘thinking outside’ the box – just need to step up and on the box.” 🙂

    One of your best posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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