Author: Jessica May

Sing a Song on Sunday: Wonderful World

195

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For a while when I was a kid, about the time when Dad left, Mom would play this once or twice while I fell asleep at night. It made me feel safe and relaxed while dozing off.  Now, as a parent, I try to remember those sweet extras mom considered and do the same for my Muffins.

I brought the recording equipment onto the back porch and waited until nearby children settled long enough to play it through. I hope the passing cars and birds add something to your listening experience.

Note: All of my older songs are still available at May Tunes!

 

FP320 – The Cost of Living: Part 2 of 3 – Mulligan Smith in The Best Medicine

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and twenty.

Flash PulpTonight we present The Cost of Living: Part 2 of 3 – Mulligan Smith in The Best Medicine
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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Nutty Bites

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, PI Mulligan Smith finds himself pondering a murder while reclining near a jovial man on the edge of death.

The Cost of Living: Part 2 of 3 – Mulligan Smith in The Best Medicine

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

 

The building smelled of peppermints and medicine, and Smith couldn’t wait to be free of its cinder block walls – yet he had a job to do.

Despite the murder that had taken place in the room, Mulligan was only on hand to look into possible negligence on the part of the nursing home. The scene of the crime was the last stop on his self-conducted tour – a trek launched under the vaguely-worded guise of his being a patient’s son – and the dead man’s empty cot provided a convenient, if too firm, surface on which to briefly rest.

Besides, bedridden Walt, the victim’s roommate for some three years, offered outbursts of chuckling and a constant stream of twitching, but no complaints.

Private Investigator Mulligan SmithSmith had been informed by Julius Crow, a talkative walker-toter the PI had encountered in the residence’s barren game area, that the laughing invalid had not spoken a comprehensible word in the length of Crow’s time wandering the converted mansion’s halls.

“- and that’s six years longer than the doctors gave me – six years longer than I wanted – so you better believe it,” the stoop-shouldered man had told Mulligan before completing his sentence with a loud snort. It was such a common conclusion that, by the end of their conversation, Smith assumed the man was used to providing the explosion as a method of punctuation for his hard-of-hearing friends.

“When I first heard about ol’ Gregor,” Julius had continued, “I thought ‘a death at an old folks home? Yeah, that’s a fuckin’ surprise’ – if you’ll mind my Frenches.”

Mulligan had interpreted this “hurk” as meant to be comical, but said nothing.

Crow had happily chattered through the detective’s silence. “Weird what makes the news, you know what I mean? For example, the staff here – especially the nurses – are a good crowd. It’s sort of an accident that they are – they’re certainly not paid enough to be, but they’re all doctors and such back in the countries they’ve come from. They like to practice their English on me, and I get the impression Deep Creek Manor’s lack of VISA requirements and flexible hours means they can work and still slog their way through school to be recertified. I feel for ’em in that respect, most already have more education than I ever did.

“Now, it definitely ain’t always perfect, but no batch of human beings ever is. What I’m getting at, though, is that sometimes staff just disappear – you talk to them on a Monday night and they say they’ll see you in the morning, then nothing.”

This grunt had seemed closer to a mix of disgust and wonder.

“The ornery buggers around here write ’em off because they aren’t pale enough for their taste, and if someone doesn’t show, they immediately say the missing person was probably busted by immigration. The other employees don’t want to raise a fuss and draw attention, and the Bargers – the folks who run the place – seem to find it easier to hire new people than to track down the missing.

“A dozen able-bodies disappear and no one says ‘boo,’ but a single old fart has his face chewed off and everyone starts runnin’ around with their hands in the air.”

Mulligan had shrugged as he watched a slender Japanese woman take up seating at the edge of a worn plastic-bottomed chair in the game room’s corner. She was drawing a wheelchair bound crowd as nurses rolled in blank-eyed patients.

The snort was what had brought Smith back to business. He asked, “you said things aren’t always perfect – what did you mean?”

“Look out on the garden in the back – it’s the story of this place. Beautiful bit of work once, probably been here as long as the land’s been settled, but now it’s just a riot of thorns and weeds. Even the poor buggers who had to jump fences and run from dogs to get here refuse to go in there – and why should they? The owners bought this place, filled it, then forgot about it.

”Same situation goes for the inside. Everyone does their best, but even with the Bargers’ endless pool of suckers there’s never enough staff – especially after lights out. If they think you’re immobile they don’t swing by to check on you very often. That’s exactly what happened with Gregor. Walt’s laughing aside, they were both basically vegetables – the Russian didn’t do much but drool and shit in the three years I knew him – so the night crew probably didn’t think to poke in on them. Then some crazy bugger snuck in there and got to gnawing on Gregor’s head while Walt just chuckled to himself in the dark. Could he even feel it? We’ll never know I guess. Hella past time for him to go though – for all of us to, really.”

His ears had remained focused, but Smith’s gaze had again fallen on the woman in the far corner. Her practiced fingers had extracted a frail looking flute from the depths of the white baby-sling she carried across her shoulder, and Mulligan had found himself wondering if the child inside might rouse when her practiced fingers and taut lips began to project a tune into the room.

It had not.

After contemplative nose-clearing from Crow, Smith returned to the task at hand.

“The people aside, you talk like you’d rather not be here,” he’d said, “six years too many? Past time to go? Doesn’t sound like you’re terribly enthusiastic about the facilities.”

“Ah, hell, it’s not that. Take Ms. Yamato over there – I know half the people in here with their mouths still working think she’s Chinese and not Japanese, and it don’t matter how many times I tell them otherwise. Imagine all these bastards up and around, bitching that illegals are ruining the country and video games are turning today’s youth into Godless killing machines? Death has its purpose, even if it’s not a pleasant one. Maybe some day we’ll be in space or downloading our brains, or whatever, but for now we’re built to make room for new ideas by being forced to let go of the old ones, even if we don’t want to.

“Besides – what else does a guy like Walt have to hope for but a visit from the reaper?”

Now, as Mulligan sat not five feet from the guffawing man, Mulligan realized that perhaps Walt had been looking forward to more than Julius might imagine.

Smith swung his legs beyond the bed’s edge and zipped his hoodie. With his shadow falling over the snickerer’s lumpy sheets, and his hand on the tazer in his pocket, he asked, “you just have a good evening, or have you been running a con these last few years?”

There was no answer, but the rolling of Walt’s shoulders slowed, and his blue eyes focused on his visitor’s face.

Mulligan nodded, convinced that the man was no danger to anyone who wasn’t immobile. “So, one day you found the symptoms on the downswing and you got the munchies? I doubt the guys investigating this are much used to dealing with the health problems associated with cannibalism, but I know kuru when I see it. You may not serve a lot of jail time, and I doubt you’ll ever be linked to whichever corpse originally gave you the laughing disease, but at least you’ll make a nice medical oddity for the doctors to prod – well, until it finally kills you.”

Would the lack of a diagnosis be enough to prove negligence on the part of the Barger’s? The PI didn’t know, but the discovery might be enough to earn him his paycheck.

As he departed, Smith was chased into the hall by a burst of involuntary laughter, and out of the building by the melancholy notes of Ms. Yamato’s woodwind.

He reached for his phone.

(Part 1Part 2Part 3)

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

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.

FCM005 – Skinner Co. Junior Executives: The Cereal Edition

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Prepare yourself for Flintstones ignorance, Minecraft zombies, farts, mailing Beaver Tails, and Cereal sampling.

 

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

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.

FC85 – Welcome to Sunny Sundridge

FC85 - Welcome to Sunny Sundridge
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Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 85.

Prepare yourself for: Kitsch Batman, Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop, lying fireworks, tonal shifts, Saboteur, and The Wagging Tongue

* * *

Huge thanks to:

  • Gigantor (Twitter) for his game review.

* * *

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oavMtUWDBTM”]

* * *

* * *

    Mailbag:

  • Send your comments to comments@flashpulp.com!
  • [youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUY4WP60yoM”]
    [youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI4ssz1mvqo”]

  • Strawsburg mentioned:

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEatQKYcAZ0″]

* * *

Backroom Plots:

  • FPSE16 – The Wagging Tongue
  • * * *

    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://flashpulp.com, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

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

    Sing a Song on Sunday: Nude

    JMay - Nude
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    It’s arrived and ON TIME! W00T!

    Here’s what a week with Radiohead sounds like. If I had a religion, the hymns would be Radiohead exclusively.

    I’m also glad this is ready for you because Opop is super not well. We’ll have Friday’s Blackhall up tomorrow, and the next FlashCast will be out on Wednesday.

    See you next Sunday! <3 Note: All of my older songs are still available at May Tunes!

     

    FP309 – Mulligan Smith in Blood, Part 1 of 1

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and nine.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in Blood, Part 1 of 1

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by the Flash Mob – join us on Ning and Facebook!

     

    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 open on a family in turmoil, the Dukes. What has driven the son, Tory, to sickness and silence? What has driven the father, Rufus, to near madness? Only one private investigator, Mulligan Smith, truly knows.

     

    Mulligan Smith in Blood

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

     

    With his Uncle Greg leaning against the doorframe that lead to the kitchen, his mother pacing in and out of the front hall, and his father positioned directly in front of him on the living room’s mahogany and glass coffee table, Tory Dukes knew he had nowhere to run.

    Mulligan Smith“Say something dammit,” Rufus repeated for the third time. It was rare for his dad to be sitting so close, and the sixteen-year-old could easily smell the coffee he’d had for breakfast.

    “Where is he?” asked Samantha, her eyes looping constantly from the hall to her son’s silent face.

    Tory could offer only shrugs.

    “I’m not sure needling him is going to help,” offered Greg. As he spoke, he shifted from a cross-armed pose to stand with one thumb in his jeans’ pocket.

    Rufus’ lips curled. “Of course you would say that.”

    It was an unexpected statement to no one but Greg, who replied, “whoa, what?”

    “Boys – boys like him just don’t get AIDS,” suggested Samantha. Her gaze was locked on the thick beige carpet at her feet.

    Greg’s hand dropped away from the denim. “You – it sucks that you’d even think that.”

    Not bothering to turn towards his in-law, Rufus cleared his throat. “Look at the situation! Here’s this lonely teen with barely a friend in the world, and in sweeps gay Uncle Greg after years of being nowhere in his sister’s life. You want to have Sunday dinner here; get to know us; take Tory, and his nerdy pal Guthrie, out to the city; give us advice on how to dress, eat, and raise our kid.

    “Yeah, It’s all seeming pretty clear now.”

    “I just wanted to be a brother and uncle,” replied the accused.

    The boy’s face raised briefly, casting a nod and a tear at Greg. Rufus caught the look and his grip on the mahogany grew tighter.

    He said, “except suddenly Tory has AIDS – just like you.”

    “Yeah, and where the fuck have you been? He’s got a disease I’ve been dealing with for years, on my own, without you – my only family in the world – caring enough to visit. I’m here with hot soup if you so much as complain of a sniffle, but I spent three weeks in the hospital last year with the flu and the best you could do was a card with flowers. You have no idea how I hated that damn plastic plant. It was a fake flower representing the fake relationship I had with Sam.”

    “So this is your sick idea of revenge?”

    “I understand that you’re upset over Tory, and I can only imagine what it’s like to be such a dick that my own son won’t talk to me about where he got a life threatening disease, but you need to relax until your hired snoop shows up. I mean, Jesus, you don’t even know the difference between HIV and AIDS.”

    Rufus’ forearms, still locked on the table’s surface, began to tremble.

    He returned to the interrogation of his son.

    “Did he give you drugs?”

    Tory shook his head.

    “Did he force you to do something you didn’t want to?”

    Tory responded with another negative.

    “Are you – are you gay?”

    Tory rolled his eyes, but finally spoke. “I’m dead anyway, why should I tell you anything?”

    “Whoa, whoa, there,” said Greg, “that’s exactly why I came: I’ve been fighting the same thing for a long while, and I don’t plan on dying of it any time soon. I’m not saying it’s always going to be a dance party, but you’ll probably outlive us all.”

    There was a knock at the door. Samantha was quick to answer.

    Beyond the peep hole stood a man in a black hoodie, his mussed hair wet from the rain and a lanky boy standing beside him. The woman recognized the lad as Guthrie, Tory’s constant companion throughout tenth grade, and still likely his best friend despite having moved from the state at the summer’s end.

    Behind the drizzle-blurred windows of the Tercel parked at the curb, Samantha could make out the outline of a woman. Her mind raced at the unexpected tableau, and her assumptions became nothing more than fertilizer for new questions.

    When the private investigator raised his fist to knock a second time, she flipped the deadbolt.

    The pair’s arrival in the living room immediately set off a cannonade from Rufus’ mouth.

    “Guthrie? What’s wrong with you? You look like bloody vampire,” then, with only the briefest of pause, he wheeled on his son, “you are gay!”

    For his part, Tory, ignoring the stream of questions and commentary, simply raised an unenthusiastic hand to greet his friend.

    Smith took in the sullen teen and his narrow-faced father, then raised a brow at Samantha. Finally, he focused on Greg.

    “Your tip was exactly what I needed,” he said.

    “I knew it,” sighed Rufus.

    “What, that your semi-estranged relative understands your kid better than you do? Congratulations,” answered Mulligan, as he tugged at his sweater’s zipper. The room reeked of sweat and shouting, and the PI wasn’t much of a fan of either. He turned to Samantha. “He gave me the info necessary to get ahold of Tory’s bestie. Honestly, from there it was just a matter of looking into the Guthrie’s eyes and asking some gentle questions.

    “Hell, as soon as I came anywhere near a guess at what was going on he broke down in tears. His family doesn’t realize how sick he is – they’re the type that doesn’t ask much as long as he makes it to church on Sundays.

    “Your son isn’t gay, but Guthrie is. The boys are just unluckily timed blood brothers, and Tory is the kind of stand up guy who wouldn’t out his friend before he’d managed to raise the courage to tell his family.”

    The quieter of the newcomers nodded in agreement.

    “Now, I hate to cut this short,” continued Smith, “but Guthrie’s Ma is waiting in the car because Pa couldn’t pull himself together after hearing the recent news. That said, it’s worth mentioning that, while both of these urchins have a rough go ahead, at least one of them has someone solid they can depend on.

    “You folks, and Tory especially, are lucky to have knowledgeable Uncle Greg around to support him – you know, like an actual loving family member.”

    With his assignment complete, Mulligan re-zipped his hoodie and turned to leave.

     

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

    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.