April 6, 2012 by JRD Skinner
Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode two hundred and fifty-seven.
This week’s episodes are brought to you by the Strangely Literal podcast.
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, Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny Davis, his temporarily sober roommate, find themselves abandoned by a talking raccoon.
Coffin: Dealing, Part 2 of 3
Their final destination was a blue two-story house, standing beside an industrial tool rental warehouse. Beyond the shop ran a double set of disused rail tracks, and a thicket of trees.
Despite the location’s close proximity to the heart of the city, Bunny felt oddly isolated.
Their guide was the first to break the silence.
“Well, here we are,” said the two-tailed raccoon, “but – this is why they pay you the big bucks, yeah? So, I’m off to fill my stomach.”
Bunny, increasingly sober, and increasingly annoyed at the time and distance she’d invested in the venture, turned to the blanket-wrapped arcane animal.
She’d refused to push the baby carriage throughout the lengthy walk, and had instead insisted it be Coffin’s duty alone.
“This ain’t a paying job, and I’m betting the person, or thing, or ####ing singing frog, or whatever, looking to #### on Will’s day, is going to be expecting us.”
“Exactly – so, I’m off to check out your post office.”
“I thought you were off to get some food?” asked Coffin.
“Yes, well, the important part is that I’m off.”
With that, Pisky nimbly lowered himself from the buggy, and moved over the shop’s sidewalk hugging strip of white-shrouded lawn. His long fingered hands found traction on a pipe running the height of the building, and the snow filled gutters creaked briefly as he hoisted himself onto the roof’s lip – then he cleared the edge and vanished into the arriving dawn.
“###damned four-legged junky,” said Bunny. “Every meth-head I’ve ever met’s been the same way. There was a guy in my old building who’d constantly ask me for money while digging at his face with one of those little screw drivers, like you get in a set of five? Anyhow, I actually gave him a few bucks here and there, but he caught Tim taking a swing at me once, in the lobby, and just walked away like he hadn’t seen ####.”
Coffin had stepped away from the cart, and towards the house.
“Those poor bastards are a special group,” he replied. “They’re picking because the meth thins the veil – they can feel the tiniest of Kar’Wick’s spawn trying to birth, just under their skin.
”You can’t take how they behave personally. They’re mice in a trap. They came in just wanting a little cheese, but they’ll gnaw a limb off if it’ll give them a bit of relief.
“Now, let’s go say hi.”
Bunny lingered but briefly.
“Jesus, that’s a helluva door,” she noted, as she joined Will at the slab.
It was unlocked.
Coffin, un-interested in knocking, pushed at the handle, only to be surprised by the double beep of a security system acknowledging his entrance.
“Pretty ###damn fancy pants, for this neighbourhood,” muttered the drunk.
The hall lights automatically brightened, revealing a pair of spotlessly maintained bicycles, and beige walls covered in a collection of unframed paintings. The floors were hardwood, and the rug inside the door bore the embroidered face of Mr. T.
“You’re telling me the Eats’N’Treats was torched by a ####ing hipster?” Bunny asked, in a whispered tone.
The living room’s shelving was filled with vintage stereo equipment, and the floor was dominated by a bright red couch, on which sat a gaunt man of unusual height. His hands rested behind his head, and his jean clad legs stretched out over the low coffee table.
To Bunny’s eye, his askew lips made it look as if he were caught mid-cough.
A string of bloody mucus on the man’s Papa Smurf t-shirt lead Coffin to realize the unmoving form been affixed to the wall by a single nail, which extended from the back of the corpse’s throat, and through both his palms.
From his jacket’s right-hand pocket, he produced a silver chain, linked to an elaborate hook, then, from the depths of his coat, he produced a pistol.
“Hold this,” he told Bunny, as he passed across the weapon.
“####in’ right I will,” she replied.
The kitchen was worse.
Three cadavers sat around the bamboo table. A brunette woman with swept bangs had been left flat-palmed, with a metal stud capping each knuckle. Her sneakers were stapled into a flirtatious game of footsy with her bald, bespectacled, companion. His head, however, was bowed, as if at prayer, and his fingers tightly interlocked. The last of the group, a slight man with a mop of blond hair, had been positioned into a game of solitaire, in progress. Each card’s face was pierced, and held flat by a nailhead.
Pinched fabric revealed the points at which the party had been pinned to their chairs.
“This isn’t the occult,” said Coffin, “these are just dead people. Let’s get out of here and call the cops.”
As they passed through the living room, they discovered that the couch now carried a second occupant.
“Ah, hallo there, friend!” said the heavily tattooed woman, from beneath her Bettie Page bangs. “Name’s John Koyle. You’re expected.”
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