FP376 – Equity
Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and seventy-six.
Tonight we present Equity
This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Skinner Co. Store
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 join one Capital City citizen, Moira, as she commemorates the life and death of her husband, Leonard.
Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May
Moira was raising a monument to her husband of forty years.
The parcel it stood on had been earmarked for a parking lot, but, given that he was dead, Leonard no longer had need of parking, nor the money it could bring in. It was but a sliver of the estate, but she’d spent the better part of a year pushing the paperwork across bureaucrats’ desks and through city council meetings.
The allotted land included the spot they’d met, although it’d been a small soup and sandwich restaurant at the time. It wasn’t the sort of thing he would’ve thought about, but she remembered. She’d been the manager at a tiny bank, and he’d been a lawyer so fresh on the job that he could still see the bar in his rear-view mirror.
Confusion over their order – both Reubens, but hers with a side of onion rings instead of his wilted salad – had drawn them into sharing a booth. Then again the next day, and the next.
He’d spoken endlessly of his clients’ missteps and mostly she’d just listened and thought him noble for trying to defend them.
Soon he’d needed dates for office outings, client parties, and city-sponsored balls.
They’d married six months later.
Now, in the warmth of a summer morning sun, her spotted flesh looked into his unflinching bronze eyes.
Although his grin had once been known everywhere, no photos had been seen of his face for some twenty years.
The platform wasn’t a tall one. She wanted teens and children to be able to climb up and pose with the man the mayor had occasionally called The City’s Lawyer. The youths might no longer recognize him, but Moira understood that the universal tomfoolery made possible by an easily accessible statue was a joy that stretched across every generation.
Her own children, a group of five born over the course of a half-decade, had kept her home in the evenings – but not Leonard. Never Leonard. He considered the cost of champagne no different an expense than the money he laid out in advertising for the firm he eventually came to control. His commercials had once been so prevalent throughout Capital City that his tagline of, “They broke it, but we’ll fix it,” had lingered well after the ads themselves had been relegated to nothing more than fading nostalgia.
In fact, his reputation as a rake was widespread enough that his guest appearances on C-Block, a Capital City-based sitcom that was popular just as their oldest son, Gregory, was first reaching high school, had largely revolved around the schedule juggling necessary to date three secretaries.
No one had considered how his children, or wife, might feel about the portrayal – and Leonard least of all.
His retreat into real estate and semi-retirement, a decade later, had been driven more by vanity than any slowing of his drive. He was too proud to admit he was unrecognizable from the broad-smiling tux model who’d bounced from nightclub to nightclub with thin-wristed socialites on his arm.
She’d never forgotten that either.
She was pulled from her reverie by the cough of a workman with better ways to be spending his morning. The last of the straps had been lowered and packed away, and she was now able to take a final look at her husband’s likeness.
The statue was not the man of the commercials and television cameos. It was not the grin that still shone on in grainy online videos posted by an aging but sentimental generation of television watchers. Here was the shirtless and beer-gutted man with an unkempt case of bedhead and a sharp turn to his lips that she had known.
Here was Leonard as she remembered him, and, thanks to his financing, as the city would as well – or, as it would have.
Even as she nodded and turned away, however, the buildings about the greenery began to sway, and the ground beneath her feet buckled. It was then that Moira took in a lesson that would have served Leonard well: That all legacies are fleeting.
Within seconds any who might have cared to remember were caught in the rising shadow of Kar’Wick the Spider-God.
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.
Text and audio commentaries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.
- and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.