FP408 – Bug Report

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and eight.

Flash PulpTonight we present Bug Report

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Paul Cooley’s The Black

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we present a chilling tale of long distance miscommunication and the intimacy of strangers.

 

Bug Report

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

FP408 - Bug Report

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

- and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

Spread the word!

    FPSE24 – Mouthy

    Welcome to Flash Pulp Special Episode 24.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Mouthy

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Hugh J. O’Donnell’s The City

     

    Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

    Tonight we present a fairy tale of the oral tradition, as told in the Capital City style.

     

    Mouthy

    Written by J.R.D. Skinner
    Art and Narration by Opopanax
    and Audio produced by Jessica May

     

    I operate in special collections. That is to say, I focus on the mystical types – these days I see a lot of shapeshifters, slendermen, and even some of the fish people out of the Pacific corridor.

    Anyhow, it was late Tuesday night, or early Wednesday morning if you want to look at it that way. I was on on my last pick up before kicking off, and I was looking forward to downing a couple Blind Russians and heading in search of the underside of my sheets, but it was a tricky situation. My package was on the upper floor of the former owner’s home, while the former owner himself was wandering the lower level.

    Nice place too. Vampires, man, they don’t know inconspicuous. I can blend in anywhere from Kinshasa to Portland, but you drop a vampire anywhere and it’s always the same thing: Biggest suburban castle for sale on the market, casket-moving sized car with the windows tinted like a third-world dictator’s, and no effort at all to beautify their lawn.

    I’ve been around, and never have I met a vampire that cares about their lawn. They just never get to use them.

    FPSE24 - MouthyAnyhow, I’m a professional, so it’s still not such a big deal. Bingo-bango – I’ve got the prize in my bag and I’m about to hit the bricks when I hear the blood-sponge moaning from the floor below.

    “You sure you made the arrangements?” he’s asking, and I’m wondering how a Boston casket-sleeper gets all the way to the West Coast – I mean, did he move here before he was bit? Did he come in a dirt filled sedan trunk? – when his manservant replies, “of course, have I ever failed you?”

    Seriously, who has a manservant these days?

    Both of them sounded like they were gearing up for war though, which is a big no-no these days.

    I heard the front door open, and I was out the window and onto the McMansion’s roof faster than Jeeves could finishing bowing subserviently to the the Lincoln Town Car’s rear passenger window and skitter to the driver seat.

    There’ve been plenty of dead folks in my day-to-day, and I’ve gotten pretty used to what a walking corpse is supposed to look like. As the car’s heavy black slab was swinging shut I caught a glimpse of the nosferatu, and I’m telling you there’s pale and then there’s pale. It ain’t pretty when a vampire gets nervous enough to bite its lip.

    Well, I was tired, I was exhausted even, but it was the first time I’d ever seen a bloodsucker scared, so I kicked a leg over Lucy and followed at a safe distance.

    It was a pretty straightforward ride across a half-hour’s worth of the city, and it ended at a covered parking structure adjoining an unmarked office. The whole area was filled with little business plazas and industrial shops, so I figured Abbott and Costello were headed to one of them.

    I waited.

    And waited.

    Eventually I wandered into the garage itself, and figured out that there was a glass and metal entrance leading directly inside. For privacy, I guess. It wasn’t locked, so I readied an excuse – I’m a simple courier who must have pulled the wrong door, teehee – and went in.

    There was a satyr, just across the threshold, who was pulling a fedora over his horns and adjusting his trenchcoat. I followed rule number one and did my best to look like I knew where I was going. He didn’t even bother to glance down at me, so I just kept on trucking.

    Ten feet ahead there was a desk, and the space to my left opened onto a dozen uncomfortable chairs and a coffee table full of long-expired National Geographics.

    The receptionist, a bird-eyed woman with carefully applied makeup and a bright yellow blouse, watched my approach silently, but her face was already asking a question.

    Closing the distance gave me just under three seconds to figure my next move.

    I could’ve been about anywhere if the waiting room was all I had to judge by, but suddenly there was a squeal in the air, and even I know what that means.

    “Could I get a booking today? Soon?” I asked.

    “Funny seeing one of you here,” she replied.

    I shouldn’t have been surprised at her directness, I suppose – she looked to have been the commander of that waiting area for a long while, and she must’ve seen all types in her tour of duty.

    With that in mind, I played it soft.

    “Yeah, well, cavities can happen to anyone, right?” I said with a smile, because part of me can’t help but demonstrate that I really do have perfect chompers, even when lying through them.

    She didn’t reply, she just waved me towards a seat.

    I sat and listened to the 24-hour adult contemporary station. Across from me was one of the closet cousins – a shadowy lump of an entity with bloodshot eyes floating in a pool of darkness and big mitt hands covered in rows of teeth.

    I worked hard not to draw any attention to myself, and thankfully he didn’t try and start up any conversations. I was practically snoring by the time my name was called.

    A short hallway led to a small room, and before I knew it I was seated and there was a blazing light cutting into my pupils.

    At that point, I knew I had to come clean.

    “Listen,” I said, “my raven parked outside is getting peckish so I’ll make this quick. You hold on to what you need to pull and I’ll come around to cut you in on whatever they would’ve collected if they’d thought to hold onto their molars.”

    The dentist nodded. I guess he’d been waiting for one of us to make an offer.

    Tough gig, tooth fairy, but some days are better than others.

     

    Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

    Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

    Freesound.org credits:

    Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

    - and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

    Spread the word!

      FP407 – The Plague Wagon: A Blackhall Chronicle

      Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and seven.

      Flash PulpTonight we present The Blue Mask

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      This week’s episodes are brought to you by Hugh J. O’Donnell’s The City

       

      Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

      Tonight we hear the whispered tale behind the black ambulance said to haunt the backroads of Capital County.

       

      The Blue Mask

      Written by J.R.D. Skinner
      Art and Narration by Opopanax
      and Audio produced by Jessica May

       

      The trio stood before the Stunted Rooster, a public house not far north of the Capital City county line, and whispered to each other in the muted shouts of drunks stumbling home after quenching a Saturday night’s thirst.

      In truth, Greene knew Cooper only because the man occasionally shoed his horses, and knew Rimbault not at all beyond his hasty self-introduction, but, as is often the case when confronted with the unexpected, the knot of men had become fast friends when brought up short on the Rooster’s veranda.

      Tonight we hear the whispered tale behind the black ambulance said to haunt the backroads of Capital County.Shrugging at the merchant and blacksmith, Rimbault said, “I’ve heard of the thing – they call it the Plague Wagon. It’s said to be an ambulance of sorts, operated in service of the rich. The families on the west side of the city, their wealth knowing few bounds in regards to matters of beloved daughters and prodigal sons, apparently keep an enclave of witch doctors and wild-eyed surgeons sequestered along the coast, where the air itself also carries healing properties. This carriage is intended to ferry them across the highways and backroads with utmost speed and comfort.

      “Death the leveller indeed, but they do do their damndest to save themselves.”

      There was little detail to remark upon in the coal-coloured ambulance, beyond the monochromatic theme of its jet-black curtains, wheels, and woodwork, yet it left its viewers with the unpleasant notion that there was no surface upon which to safely rest their eyes.

      Having apparently oriented himself along the hand drawn map between his fingers, the driver again set the vehicle to forward.

      The ebon Shire horses at its head gave their audience no attention as they passed.

      “Yesss,” replied Cooper, his voice slow, as if speaking were helping draw out some memory from the depths of the recent alcoholic flood. “My boy, Billings, made mention of it after returning from a season in the lumber camps. As he related the tale, I seem to recall there is a unique strain of illness, highly deadly but easily transferred.

      “Eventually nodules the size of an egg raising from their arms, and likely to burst at the slightest disturbance – it is the character of the contagion that any flesh thus touched then begins to boil in a similar nature, planting the illness anew.

      “The weight of these tumors upon the chest and neck is the cause of death, as they inevitably smother the sufferer.”

      “I pity for the passenger who must roll through these rough roads,” said Rimbault, his eyes still following the retreating wheels.

      “I pity highwayman who attempts to waylay them,” snorted Cooper.

      “If you must pity someone,” said Greene, “pity the driver, whose called upon to act as a sort of nurse in the transaction. It’s said to often be a poor fellow who is ill in some way himself, or someone so destitute that his family needs the money more than the man. I’ve heard each trip is well paid, but few hired survive more than three such expeditions.”

      “Oh, where did you hear that?” asked Rimbault.

      “Well, in all honesty, though I have enjoyed your renditions, I was given an evening’s dissertation on the topic by Bill Gelbert the milner, who said he’d heard it from a Smith. He told the tale as we both sheltered from an unexpected storm at the Ox and Mule. The thunder was heavy and it seemed an appropriate topic to fill the time between cups.”

      “Funny,” said Cooper, ”I’d swear it was a Smith from which Billings took his account as well.”

      There was a pause then, as the slow-trotting carriage rounded a distant corner.

      Finally, in a too-loud tone, Rimbault announced, “plenty of Smiths in the world I suppose,” then lit his pipe. He did not add his following thought, which was that anyone wandering the countryside spreading stories should have thought to give a false name early in the proceeding.

      His companions made no notice of the redness in his cheeks, nor the smirk on his lips, as they likely assumed both to be the result of ardent spirits.

      The trio nodded in unison before exchanging goodnights, each now eager for the comforting warmth of their beds – and so it was that Thomas and Mairi Blackhall were able to undertake excursions, in the pleasance of each other’s company, without fear of catching the eye or interest of any who might wonder at the funerary rot that tainted the woman’s smiling face.

       

      Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

      Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

      Freesound.org credits:

      Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

      - and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

      Spread the word!

        FP406 – The Blue Mask

        Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and six.

        Flash PulpTonight we present The Blue Mask

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        This week’s episodes are brought to you by Pop Mockers

         

        Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

        Tonight we find ourselves visitors to the shores of the Island of Corosia, and walk among the contagions that rage across it.

         

        The Blue Mask

        Written by J.R.D. Skinner
        Art and Narration by Opopanax
        and Audio produced by Jessica May

         

        The island nation of Corosia supported two cities of size and a dozen hamlets yet unconsumed by the urban march. To its many passers-through there was a familiarity about the nation that had been carried to its shores in the suitcases of beach-bound tourists and over the satellite signals pirated by its inhabitants. It was in the cut of the military uniforms worn at checkpoints and by billboard-displayed leaders; it was in the brightly coloured t-shirts worn by the nation’s teenagers; it was in the chords and rhythms of the music leaking from open-windowed vehicles and kitchen radios.

        The beauty of the spot, mixed with its location along the tradewinds, had left it a thick history of exposure to the shifting tide of inquisitive outsiders. Many gods had once swept ashore, then many prophets, then, finally, those mock deities broadcast to the heavens from studios abroad.

        Yet, in spite of this familiarity, or perhaps because of it, there was also a deeply ingrained skepticism to Corosian society.

        There were few who would not lend a traveller a ride along the isle’s dusty roads, but all would be sure to later joke that they’d checked afterwards that the stranger hadn’t stolen the seat.

        Still, the Corosians were as upset as the rest of the world at the televised collapse of the town of Harthomas, Pennsylvania.

        Every Western news network shifted its unsleeping gaze to the events in Harthomas, and legends regarding the misinformation in those transmissions would spring up almost as quickly as the arrival of commercial breaks. For forty-eight hours the world observed the quarantined population of ten thousand collapse into madness even as their government raced for a cure.

        The footage of weeping faces and inexplicable undertakings was only interrupted by the occasional newsdesk rebuttal to federal suggestions to discontinue broadcasting. Whatever say in the matter the powers in question held, answered the blazer wearing anchors, they had lost it when they’d allowed the virus to escape a research laboratory just south of Pittsburgh.

        So viewers watched while packs of wailing children swept through the streets of Harthomas, their arms raised in trembling need of a hug, and as a suddenly famous hard-faced bank teller led them on an extended, if eventually futile, chase. They watched as lovers held each other tightly for hours, their tears staining each other’s shoulder, until, without warning to the patrolling news drones above, they cast themselves down from rooftops and balconies. They watched as crowds of fifteen and twenty would wrap their arms about each other in solace-seeking knots, their chests heaving with their tears, until dehydration and exposure would take them, though their corpses were held in place until the weight of the decaying human web simply became too much for those few fatigued mourners who remained.

        FP406 - The Blue MaskThe Melancholy, as it came to be called, was thus well known to the Corosians – although, as the coverage spread into rumours that cases of infection had carried beyond the perimeter of the quarantine, the isle’s inhabitants took some comfort, in the thankful moments of their kitchen table prayers, that there was an ocean between their families and the troubles.

        As the threat crept, on aircraft wings and on the decks of fishing boats, ever closer along the chain of islands that flanked their home, deception also slipped into their ears.

        Their leaders began to appear before crowds and microphones to declare the illness a conspiracy, a tactic of the greed-stricken developers who had long lusted for their pristine coasts and unending sunshine. Just that week, they declared, they had turned back offers to have the men and women in their thick rubber suits arrive and lay out their needles and tents supposedly intended to heal. With great confidence the khaki-garbed rulers scoffed, pointing out that it was only upon such invasions that their neighbours had even begun to grow sick.

        Truly, they said, such ministrations carried sickness, not the cure.

        This version of reality gave succor to many, but there were some who doubted.

        One such, a physician of some renown who had gathered knowledge from many lands before settling in the place of her birth, was known to publicly ask, “what of the terrible images they’d seen from the heart of the persecutors’ own lands?”

        “It is said their black arts can tailor plagues to any need. Obviously a controlled release is simply a tactic to make them appear free of guilt as they steal what they could not buy,” came the response. “If they were willing to do such things to their own people, what mercy would they have for those they wished to unseat?”

        The physician was told to hold her tongue.

        Divine appeals continued. Rites were planned. Breath was held.

        It was not long before any who might be considered tainted by distant infection, visitor or resident alike, were expelled or sent into hiding; be they at hand to help the impoverished at the island’s core, or simply to enjoy the sands along its edges.

        Faith became central. In some quarters forgotten gods were resurrected and invoked. Offerings were left upon shop stoops and in the entranceways of homes. Smiling faces in costly suits declared a cure had arrived, but the images from but a few shores away made salvation seem no closer than the newscasters themselves.

        Soon the Corosians turned to the traditions that had been handed to them from grandparent to parent.

        A night of ceremonies was planned – masquerades of a sort, a culturally ingrained ritual of prayer and pleas for celestial amnesty.

        Little could they have known that the infection had been carried into their midst – even as they donned garb in every shade and moved through the customs of dance and religious observance – by fisher folk who’d secreted cousins from the nearby danger, and by smugglers too destitute to give up the opportunity of providing much needed supplies to their beleaguered neighbours.

        Nor did the Corosians realize that they themselves then spread the contagion through their sacramental sweat, consoling embraces, and profured handshakes.

        On the soft beaches of a half-dozen villages countenances of red, yellow, and green hoped for safety, their exhortations aimed to move a power they thought greater than their own, but, as masked faces, both angelic and demonic, mingled in the shadow of the mountain that marked Corosia’s heart, the most important fact among their missing knowledge was the identity behind the soft-smirk of a sole blue mask roaming the islands eastern edge.

        Years later it would be realized that it was their own daughter behind the cerulean visage – the very physician who had warned against isolation. Yet, she was twice as infectious as any other. With every flung droplet of sweat, with every passing brush of exposed flesh, she spread a sickness of her own design, her advanced craft having allowed her to engineer a curative epidemic so furious it would eventually wipe clean the plague of irrationality already incubating in the population.

        For that evening, however, the mask simply grinned.

         

        Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

        Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

        Freesound.org credits:

        Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

        - and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

        Spread the word!

          FC112 – #OpIndie

          FC112 - #OpIndy

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          Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 112.

          Prepare yourself for: The Hunger Games salute, mailing body parts, self-defeating nazis, Ashley Madison, and Mulligan Smith.

          * * *

          Huge thanks to:

          * * *

          * * *

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          Audio-dacity of Hope:

        • Check out the new items on the store!
        • * * *

          Art of Narration:

        • Email Opop to bother her to start doing the Skinner Co. Ink!!
        • * * *

          Backroom Plots:

        • Mulligan Smith in The Cheat (Part 1Part 2Part 3)
        • * * *

          Also, many thanks, as always, Retro Jim, of RelicRadio.com for hosting FlashPulp.com and the wiki!

          * * *

          If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at http://skinner.fm, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

          FlashCast is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

          Spread the word!

            FP405 – Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 3 of 3

            Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and five.

            Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 3 of 3
            (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

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            Download MP3

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            This week’s episodes are brought to you by the works of Mike Luoma

             

            Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

            Tonight, private investigator Mulligan Smith finds himself at the center of an online web of deceit and broken hearts.

             

            Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 3 of 3

            Written by J.R.D. Skinner
            Art and Narration by Opopanax
            and Audio produced by Jessica May

             

            As Mulligan continued his tale the Tercel picked up speed, ramping onto the knotted highway that ran through Capital City’s heart.

            “You’ve got to understand, I’m a little too familiar with Ashlin Wisconsin as it is. There are a half dozen companies aiming to hook-up bored married people too selfish to end their current relationship, and they’re one of the first things I look for when I stumble across a roamer’s credit card bill.

            “When the call came in offering up the philanderer’s password, my client, a rather clever woman, held out on payment unless she met someone in person to hand the money across to. She’d been very convincing.

            “That was all set up for the next afternoon.

            “Before that was to happen, I got ahold of my former client, the wife of the dog-fight-gambler, and asked for a quick sit down. I may have implied it was over legal ramifications of her stiffing me, but I was very friendly about it.

            “I’d already known her ex had an Ashlin Wisconsin subscription. Found it on the bill – which was easy since the classy guy was too in hock over his Escalade to get his own plastic, and was thus using my ex-client’s own cash to cheat on her.

            “The payments stopped, which should have sent the account into hibernation and killed access to the site. Once the sales pitch arrived, however, it became clear that everything was still in place, and the back catalogue of messages could still be read.

            “When I asked why they’d be giving the milk away for free, my former patroness only said ,’yeah, isn’t that weird?’

            “Now, there was a chance that some over enthusiastic sixteen-year-old has decided to turn spousal vigilante and start selling off stolen Ashlin Wisconsin passwords, but I had a notion that there was something more to it. My thinking was this: If the account had remained magically activated, maybe the responsible party was someone actually at the company itself.

            “Figuring I had a morning to blow before the meeting anyhow, I did some leg work. Or finger work, I guess, since I was mostly Googling. Whatever the case, I discovered a few things, including the interesting fact that, despite their name, Ashlin Wisconsin was a local company.

            “Well, by the time lunch rolled around I had my client convinced that I’d be the one sitting at the designated table in Spinerette’s, which is the kind restaurant I’d have to starve through five cases to afford.”

            FP405 - Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 3 of 3To his right, the PI’s father raised a brow. It was enough to pull a chuckle out of the detective.

            “Yeah, I had a rack of lamb. It was alright,” replied Mulligan. “Anyhow, I’m halfway through my job-expensed meal when this woman comes in toting black Jackie O glasses and a trenchcoat that’d put most spy flicks to shame.

            “She catches sight of me – I’m wearing a tie full of sheep grease and a collared shirt that’s seen one too many spin cycles – and she wheels on her heel, trying to make it seem like she’s suddenly remembered that she’d left caviar on the stove or something.

            “I am clearly not the lady she is looking for.

            “Still, I stand up and say ‘Hey, Anita!’

            “She stops. She turns. She sits.

            “Once everyone stops trying to side-eye us, I put the envelope on the table. Thing is, I’m already aware she doesn’t really need it.

            “‘Don’t worry,’ I say, ‘I know everything but I’m not here to drag your name to the cops or the papers, well – probably not. Depends on how honest you are with me in answering the next few questions.’

            “‘Fine,’ she says, but I can’t see how she’s taking it otherwise because her pupils are still lost behind her thick lenses.

            “Not that I don’t admire it, but isn’t what you’re doing illegal?’ I ask.

            “‘It’s all covered in the EULA, the legalese they don’t bother to read when they sign up for the site,’ she replies. ‘We tell them that none of the information provided is going to remain secret, if not in so many words, and we make ourselves very clearly not liable for any physical, emotional, or financial damages that may be incurred by people using the site. So far we haven’t had a judge test the wording, but it seems like most of the people who end up caught don’t want to push the point too hard.’

            “‘How do you pick them?’ I ask.

            “‘The tech staff maintains a supposedly-secret Post of the Week that they print out to hang in the shadows behind their filing cabinet, where they think I won’t notice. It’s incredible how fast they can find scummier messages to top each other with. People can be so foul and ridiculous and strangely beautiful all at once, and nowhere does that show more than in semi-anonymous online flirting.

            “‘I also do personal searches through the database for accounts that’ve had dozens of failed password entry attempts. Those usually give me a good idea of whose wife or husband is already living with the fear that something is happening behind their back.

            “‘I suppose it was the same back when there was such a thing as privacy, but today no one realizes there’s always some bored technician just down the hall from your digital hideaway, and she or he can hear everything you’re saying if they want to bother.’

            “‘But you’re not some bored tech,’ I reply, ‘You’re Anita Bider, Ashlin Wisconsin’s founder and CEO. You’re also the unfortunate victim of a rather public divorce. I’d be pretty angry too if I discovered through the tabloids that my spouse was running around with a quasi-famous socialite heiress. I guess that’s why you started the site? To sell out the same sort of jerks?’

            “‘She had that face, like maybe I was going to get a visit from her security staff later that evening, so I figured I’d just keep going.

            “‘I’m not going to get in the way of your questionable legality, and I’m not even going to tell my client about this discussion. I am, however, going to give you a call when I pull a gig from a weeping husband or wife. I don’t mind splitting the fee if you’re willing to save me the footwork.’

            “Anita simply shrugged, handed across a business card with her cell number, and left.”

            The trio sat in silence for a moment, to digest both the tale and the Sonic they’d just eaten, then Mulligan again cleared his throat.

            “Anyhow, all that to say: I’ve got a few extra bucks. Who’s up for miniputt? I’m buying.”

             

            Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

            Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

            Freesound.org credits:

            Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

            - and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

            Spread the word!

              FP404 – Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 2 of 3

              Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and four.

              Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 2 of 3
              (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

              Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

              Download MP3

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              This week’s episodes are brought to you by the works of Mike Luoma

               

              Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

              Tonight, Mulligan Smith, PI, finds himself involved in a high-speed chase.

               

              Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 2 of 3

              Written by J.R.D. Skinner
              Art and Narration by Opopanax
              and Audio produced by Jessica May

               

              “So, a month and a half later I’m working this gig. Another wandering penis, though this one with a different victim almost every night. Guy’s a friggin’ ghost though. Always meets his dates at their door, never gets out of his coupe, always brings them to the same place. A week’s work and he was giving me nothing – well, certainly nothing that was going to earn my client her alimony.

              “It’d be a helluva check too, as Johnny Rocketcrotch replaces his BMW every six months and the only place he brings his dates is the sort of country club that’d make a clown in a hoodie like mine ten times before the valet could insist I was lost. To make matters even more fun, the car’s tinted like it was Dracula himself driving, so the Nikon was useless unless I could get up near the windshield.

              ”That’s the kind of shot you only get once, if you know what I mean.”

              As the PI spoke, his companions watched Capital City’s east side slide by the baby blue Tercel’s windows. It was a warm day which left Walmart Mike, still toting his empty cup in his hand, to simmer in the dusty – but not altogether unpleasant – smell of the ancient sun-baked upholstery.

              “I ain’t no private dick,” the greeter asked with a snicker, “but it seems to me that they don’t roll out beds at country clubs – well, hell, maybe they do, I ain’t ever been in one, but it seems like an awkward place to push rope, unless his gals were into crinkle-faced spectators?”

              Smith Sr. snorted from the passenger seat, as, wheeling through a wide left turn, Mulligan picked up the thread of his story.

              “Actually, you have a point there. See, this was one of those idiots who figures he has a technique. It was so cookie cutter I could easily make out its shape even from the distant shadows.

              “He’d meet these ladies online – which I’ll get into later – then he’d roll them out to his little elite shanty to fill them full of wine. No doubt the grape juice came with impressive labels. They’d talk; he’d open up about himself, you know, try to make her feel like she was exactly what he’d been looking for.

              “No mention of his wife, but that’s too big a hurdle for a one-date guy to jump – and, yeah, it was always just one date.

              “They all concluded the same way: After dark, the BMW peeling out of the high fenced parking lot like the gate was a starting line. Then they’d take the long way towards downtown at twice the speed of light.

              “I don’t know what too-practiced lines he used to talk them into it; I mean, I guess they thought it was a fun first date and he probably convinced them they were on the start of a road together. Whatever the case, about half of them would, uh, operate his gear shift while he pushed the straight-six to the edge. He’d drive with about the same recklessness if he was successful or not, but I could always tell how well he was faring by his hands. He’s one of those guys who argues in short, snide sentences, and if she said no he’d end up delivering these tiny pissed-off karate chops at the end of all of pinch-mouthed statements.

              “There was no such verbal kung fu on the evening I caught up to him.”

              Turning away from the scrolling cityscape, Smith Sr. delivered his son a raised brow.

              “Yeah, yeah,” replied Mulligan, “I’m getting to it.

              “So: Different lady almost every night, different car twice a year, but always the same way back to the heart of the city. It’s strange what patterns people’ll fall into.

              “I waited till he was pulling off the waterfront, and his temporary sweetheart’s silhouette had disappeared from her upright position in the passenger seat, then I let myself be made. I mean, not badly enough that he brings things to a halt, but I pull up a half-block behind him and give him a kiss of the high beams so that I know he’s noticed.

              Mulligan Smith in The Cheat“Now, the Tercel is no match for his German missile. He punches it, and I’m left in the dust by the time he takes a right onto Independence Avenue. He slows just a bit crossing the rail line, and looks up from the blond bobbing mop in his lap – bam: There’s a baby blue shitbox on his rear bumper.

              “Well, he really hammers it at that point and slides onto Bay at the last possible second, no doubt watching the Toyota blow by in his rear view.

              “He makes a quick turn onto Delaware after that, probably thinking he’s clever but all the time following the same old route.

              “Thing is, I’d cut over a dozen blocks back, and was already standing at the corner of Bronson. Just as he’s strutting by the bus stop I’m huddled in, a baby blue Tercel creeps onto the pavement, barricading both lanes at the next crossroad. Johnny stops to consider his options, and she lifts her head high enough to see what’s going on over the far side of the dash. The whole thing took four seconds, tops, but there was no mistaking what was going on in that photo.

              “He was so flabbergasted at the sight of the camera that Dad had time to drive the second Tercel by to wave.

              “I was trotting like Astaire till I got back to his wife’s place.

              “Do you know how bloody long it took me to find that second car? Hey-zeus. I had him cold, but all I collected was a few hours of half-pay footwork and the deli sandwiches I expensed.

              “The client delivers the rejection across a table that contains more hardwood than I’ve got flooring my entire apartment, and I’m reminding myself that suing the clients is bad for the reputation of my business. I was still feeling the sting from the previous month too, so, despite my attempts at good behaviour, I was working up to at least using some language the maid would have to clean up after – then the wife makes her peace offering.

              “See, the reason she was stiffing me on the bill was because she’d gotten his Ashlin Wisconsin password – but she was afraid there would be strings attached or a fake out after she brought the material to court. She asks me to look into the source.”

              Mike cleared his throat. “Ashlin, Wisconsin? Never been.”

              Mulligan smiled. “Nah, it’s a website. Ashlin Wisconsin is a dating site for married folks.

              “She asks if I’m interested, and, mind firmly on my rent bill, I say, ‘sure, but it’ll cost you five days fee up front.’ She cuts the check right there on the table.

              “Hell, if I’d known what I was going to stumble into, I might’ve done the job for free.”

               

              Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

              Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

              Freesound.org credits:

              Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

              - and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

              Spread the word!

                FP403 – Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 1 of 3

                Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and three.

                Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 1 of 3
                (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

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                This week’s episodes are brought to you by the works of Mike Luoma

                 

                Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

                Tonight we present a tale of betrayal and violence influenced by Jurd’s current international travel status – that influence mostly being exhaustion.

                 

                Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 1 of 3

                Written by J.R.D. Skinner
                Art and Narration by Opopanax
                and Audio produced by Jessica May

                 

                They were sitting in the blue Tercel, Sonic cups in their hands, and Mulligan was saying, “no offense, Mike, but the first guy was a Walmart cheat.”

                Smith’s mute father only nodded.

                From the backseat the wrinkle-faced greeter replied, “none taken, but how do you mean?”

                “He was like one of those shirts they sell with under-sleeves and a collar sewn in to make it look fancier. He drove an Escalade, but his car was easily bigger than his house. In fact, when I pulled up to that shack I was left wondering if his wife would even be able to cover my bill. I mean, I don’t mind folks with priorities, but she and I were on the same wavelength: A guy with a ride like that is out to impress someone – unfortunately, it wasn’t her.

                “She was sick of it: Sick of his nights away, sick of the tiny shanty he left her alone in, and sick of waiting for him to get his act together.

                Mulligan Smith in The Cheat“She’d be damned if the grubby palmed bugger would hold onto the SUV through the divorce, however, which is why she hired me.”

                Walmart Mike took a long draw on his Miami Sunset slush, then asked, “so where’s the excitement? Sounds like every other creeping Johnny to me.”

                The senior Smith offered a grin that revealed no details.

                “Sure,” answered Mulligan, “seemed like an easy gig. Nice huge box to follow around, then some quick work with the Nikon and I could call it a day. Thing is, he meets this red head in front of her apartment. She’s wearing one of those wide neck sweaters, black stretch pants, and knee high boots. He honks but stays in the truck. No chance for pictures.

                “Now, I figure we’re headed towards Chez Costly Cuisine, or some other excuse to fill her full of white wine, but, instead, I find myself having to keep an eye on his tail lights all the way out of the city and into the woods north of town.”

                Mike raised a brow. “Secluded cabin? Romantic hay ride? Park and grope?”

                “None of the above,” replied the PI. “They stopped at a farmhouse. Big spread with a massive black gate. I gave the driveway a pass and did a loop around the fields. I found a bush on the far side under which to tuck the Tercel, then I jumped the fence and did my best to stay low till I’d made the barn.

                “The thing was large enough to shade most of Amish country, and it was packed full of shouting.”

                Mulligan paused to finish off the last of the blue raspberry ice at the bottom of his cup, then lobbed the trash into the barrel beyond his window.

                “Must’ve been fifty people and a dozen mutts in there, and that’s not including the two rotties in the pit.”

                “That dog fighting thing in the papers was you?” asked Mike.

                The retired sergeant answered with a nod while his son only smirked.

                In the backseat the audience of one rolled his eyes. “Hey-zeus, what a romantic fuckin’ scumbag.”

                “No joke,” said Mulligan. “Worse, I got spotted. Fortunately the kid, eighteen maybe, was a yokel who figured I was watering the paint.

                “”Next round’s starting, you in?” he asked. Once I offered a fifty he didn’t look at me twice.

                “Now, I gotta admit, I was already feeling pretty displeased, but letting that fifty ride on dog versus dog had me palming my taser. Maybe thats why I swung for the fences instead of calling the uniforms first thing.

                “I stood around taking in everything but the match. Easy access to the hayloft from the other side of the barn, and the elevation offered a perfect overview of the crowd. No one was paying enough attention to the ladder to notice somebody scaling it, but I suspected that none of the jackholes would be terribly enthusiastic if I pulled a camera and started trying to take pictures.

                “Now, I gotta be honest, I could’ve simply climbed up, did my duty, and scrammed, but I had another idea.

                “Like I said, it was a swank spread, but it wasn’t arranged to act as a place of business, or even an arena of combat. In the end I joggled the elbow of the guy holding the bets and asked where a fellow might conduct business a little more elaborate than just watering the outside wall.

                “He seemed reluctant to send me into the main house, but after I made clear I guessed I could drop trow in the unofficial latrine area if he could deal with the resulting smell, he sent me inside.

                “In I went, through the kitchen, second entrance on the left, just as I was told, but I raided the fridge on my way back. Then it was just a matter of timing.

                “When the current combatants were too mangled to keep fighting the greedy bastards would just pop open two more cages and toss a sliver of steak into the little fenced in arena – but that last time they were too late. I guess it’d been enough to get those thick necked bowsers snarling at each other previously, but, even as that hunk of cow was flying through the air, I was already at the top of the ladder. The hick taking bets nearly got the gate closed before I let fly with double handfuls of farm raised ground beef, and the smell of blood lit up the pooches like a pinball machine with Tommy on the flippers.

                “They hit the crowd like rabid Pac-Men, and I framed a nice shot of fearful date snuggling close to scuzzy hubby for safety. They ran, I switched to the outside door. She quivered in his arms, he took advantage by laying a kiss. Then they ran for their ride.

                “I was gone by the time sirens replaced the sound of snarling dogs.

                “At that point you can imagine that I was feeling pretty pleased with myself – but, when I returned to the shack to collect my cheque, Mrs. Jackass tells me she was just about to call. Apparently she doesn’t need me anymore, she’s got him, as she puts it, by his shriveled testies. For all my trouble I managed to collect expenses and nothing more.”

                “I feel for you,” said Mike with a snicker, “but at least you – you know – took a bite out of crime.”

                Mulligan shrugged. “Well, actually, it was a month and a half later that things got really interesting.”

                 

                Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

                Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

                Freesound.org credits:

                Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

                - and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

                Spread the word!

                  FC111 – Time Travelling, Teleporting, Radioactive Mutants

                  FC111 - Time Travelling, Teleporting, Radioactive Mutants

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                  (Download/iTunes/RSS)

                  Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 111.

                  Prepare yourself for: Unliving dolls, the Budapest smile club, the October 31, dill pickle vodka, and Tony Dibbs

                  * * *

                  Huge thanks to:

                  * * *

                  * * *

                  * * *

                    Mailbag:

                  • Send your comments to comments@flashpulp.com!
                  • Big thanks to Rich the TT, Zack Mann, & Mr. Harron for their commentaries – as well as Nutty, for coming out to the haunt and her promo work!
                  • Where to leave FlashCast feedback, or Flash Pulp feedback, as per Janelle‘s demands.

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                  Audio-dacity of Hope:

                • Check out the new items on the store!
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                  Art of Narration:

                • Email Opop about Skinner Co. Ink at opopanax at skinner dot fm!
                • * * *

                  Backroom Plots:

                • FP402 – Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop
                • * * *

                  Also, many thanks, as always, Retro Jim, of RelicRadio.com for hosting FlashPulp.com and the wiki!

                  * * *

                  If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at http://skinner.fm, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

                  FlashCast is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

                  Spread the word!

                    FP402 – Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop

                    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and two.

                    Flash PulpTonight we present Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop

                    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

                    Download MP3

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                    This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Melting Potcast

                     

                    Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

                    Tonight we present Tony Dibbs, a man with absolute power.

                     

                    Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop

                    Written by J.R.D. Skinner
                    Art and Narration by Opopanax
                    and Audio produced by Jessica May

                     

                    He was dressed in the uniform of the plainclothes detective. In an age of t-shirts and low hanging shorts, however, his cheap suit and tie marked him a cop as quickly as if he were still knocking around pavement squatters in his patrol blues – but Tony Dibbs didn’t mind, he was proud of his occupation.

                    In fact, he was proud to be Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop – so much so that when speaking in the third person, as he often did, it was entirely how he referred to himself.

                    The shack in question was two stories high, but old enough that the extra space didn’t mean extra money. The siding was wood and original to the place, but rot had set in and the nails had begun to give. Pulling free of their bonds, patches of the long white slats had warped, and were now really only being held together by luck and the natural settling inherent to decades of being ignored.

                    As he reached the halfway point of the yellow front lawn, the road-facing screen door swung out like a yokel’s skewed jaw. A woman in a cotton nightshirt stepped onto the stoop.

                    “Yeah?” she asked, her eyes having pegged his profession immediately.

                    “Fuck off, Tasha, or we’ll talk about last Saturday night,” answered Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop.

                    Tasha was uninterested in discussing snorting a one-night-stand’s cocaine, in the bathroom of a dive bar, with the man of the law, and, as if a nosferatu, an imperceptible shuffling step carried her back into the shadows beyond the house’s entrance.

                    Percy, Tasha’s inconstant love interest and source of inestimable weekend drama, was in the backyard, nestled close to a flaming barrel in which he was igniting garbage he could not afford to have tagged for the city to remove.

                    “I’m no fire warden,” began Dibbs as he approached, “but I’m pretty sure setting light to bags full of half-eaten McDonalds is a crime in this town. Probably falls under the same law regarding leaving burning bags of dog shit on people’s steps.’

                    With a slow turn, Percy looked over the officer, then shrugged his shirtless shoulders and prodded his smoldering pile with a singed length of tree branch.

                    “Must be a pretty slow day downtown if they’re paying you a salary to come hassle me about waste disposal,” he answered.

                    “Oh?” asked Tony, “you figure that’s what I’m here about?”

                    The lumber paused in its rotation, then churned through a flattened collection of boxed wine husks.

                    “I don’t see what else it might be,” replied Percy, but his eyes were now intent on the point at which his stir met the flames.

                    “Remember that time, when you were ten, and you felt bad about shooting your neighbour’s dog with that pellet gun but you insisted on blaming it on the kid across the street anyhow?”

                    The stick stopped.

                    “Who?” asked Percy.

                    “You know, Bobby Mills, the kid across the street.”

                    “No – I mean -”

                    “You should’ve learned a lesson about coming clean back then,” replied Tony. “You sure you don’t have something you want to say?”

                    “I’ve got plenty I’d like to tell you, but maybe you should explain what the hell this is all about before I start providing commentary on that fugly suit?”

                    Tony nodded. He liked a little fight, it made the job more interesting.

                    FP402 - Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop“I wouldn’t talk,” replied the cop, “you have exactly two collared shirts, and one doesn’t really fit anymore. You only have the other because you won’t stop going to job interviews that will never hire a high-grade dumbass such as yourself.”

                    Percy pursed his lips and tossed a stack of crudely shredded cardboard boxes onto the fire. It pulled a smile from the detective. He didn’t require his special talent to read the meaning behind the red creeping into his target’s face.

                    “That’s a mighty fist,” said the psychic, “take your swing so they can paperclip the photo of my black eye to your resisting arrest sheet.”

                    Instead, Percy asked, “why are you here?”

                    “Two years ago you and your brother, a former meth head, murdered your mother.”

                    The stick in the fire began to move again. “Uh – former?”

                    “Your brother’s dead.”

                    “Shit. I guess it was inevitable, but I always hoped he’d, you know, pull out of it.”

                    “If he pulled out at all it was so he could then back flip into a pool brimming with rocks. He couldn’t even speak when I wandered by his gurney down at Cap City General. He still told me plenty, though.”

                    Up the short hill, behind the gauzy curtains that offered a view from the home’s kitchen, a round face of five appeared at the window.

                    “How’s your talking going, Perceval?” asked the curly haired girl.

                    “Perceval,” snickered Dibbs, knowing full well that young Sierra was the sole person allowed to use the name. The child was, in fact, the real reason Percy ever bothered coming back. She wasn’t his but he’d grown fond of her.

                    With an eye roll, Tony motioned that he should send her on her way so they could get on with business.

                    “All’s well,” answered Percy, “I’ll be in soon, Stay Puft.”

                    “Don’t give me your nice guy bullshit,” Tony muttered, in a tone low enough to keep fireside, “I know about Clifford the Big Dead Dog, remember?”

                    The child disappeared into the shadows.

                    “Yeah, the mutt thing is true, but I’ve felt shitty about it for years, and I’ve changed a lot since I was fourteen.”

                    “You people never change.” answered the cop, “I’ve seen what you people are really like. I’ve seen the memories of the deviant porn you people dig into when you think no one’s looking, I’ve rifled through the lies you people tell your loved ones to keep them out of your way.”

                    “Who the fuck are you and what the fuck do you want?”

                    “Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop – and that brings me to the matter of your mother, and your murderous tendencies.”

                    “Screw that – she asked me to help her a bunch of times, but I did no such thing.”

                    “Did you miss the psychic part of the title, asshole? In the end you and your brother put a plastic bag over her head and divided her earthly goods to buy crank. Almost got away with it too. The Medical Examiner was an idiot to call it a heart attack, her cancer docs had tested her system up and down, and, except for her lungs, she was as strong as a horse.”

                    The fire burned on, and Percy watched it. Finally, he said, “yeah, when Ma went I did have to sell a lot I didn’t want to, but every penny went to paying the ridiculously overdue rent on the shitbox behind us. I’d already learned Maury’s lesson for him, and I’ve never touched meth. Did he tell you all this as he was sick or something? You can’t seriously be trusting the blathering of a dying addict?”

                    “They never do believe me,” replied Tony, “but that’s always part of the problem. I can’t haul you in for something the M.E. screwed the pooch on just because I have the ability to pick through your brain like a roasted chicken carcass. Tough to keep oversight on the ability to see everything, you know? They learned that back in the NSA days.

                    “Still, you’re coming in one way or another.”

                    “You just said there’s no proof!”

                    “Yeah, well, the jury won’t know any better, will they? I know a guy who’s planning a robbery later this evening, and he’s pretty excited about the idea of shooting someone.”

                    The fire-tender turned then, confusion plain on his face, and Tony hit him hard across the mouth with a cheap looking revolver.

                    “Now your blood’ll be found on a weapon at the crime scene, such a shame,” said the officer.

                    “But – I didn’t – I haven’t -” he began to answer, but the ringing in his ears was too heavy to continue.

                    “That’s what they all say. Good luck explaining things to the judge, be sure to start with killing your mother before getting to my psychic powers,” replied the self-appointed arbiter.

                    Smiling, Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop, returned to his car.

                     

                    Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

                    Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

                    Freesound.org credits:

                    Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

                    - and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

                    Spread the word!