Category: Flash Pulp

Flash Pulp 012 – Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 6 of 6

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Twelve.

Tonight’s story: Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 6

(Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6)

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This evening’s episode is brought to you by Old Time Radio Extra, available at oldtimeradioextra.weebly.com

Looking for old time radio, kid? Sure ya are!

OTR Extra has all the sources of jim jams and flim flams indexed, so you don’t need to go crawling up and down google like some kinda mook.

That’s Old Time Radio Extra, available at oldtimeradioextra.weebly.com

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Tonight we present the finale to our first Blackhall tale, as Thomas makes his final stand against his ursine captor.

Next week we return with a trinity of solo pieces, including another entry in the case files of Mulligan Smith.

Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part Five of Six

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

A new type of waiting had begun, as man and beast watched the flames move voraciously amongst the brittle wood.

“What treachery is this? You would roast us both!” the bear roared.

“I will give you some advice – and what I give you will be free, not a spite heavy trade.” Thomas smiled, his smokey vice bobbing between his cracked lips. “If you head down to the river we have twice now conversed upon, your strength will surely knock back the great elms which hang over that water. If you were to then rut the dirt clean, you could create a break and stop this contagion – at least so long as the wind stays easterly. T’will not be easy, nor quick, but it’ll keep this blasted hillock from balding entirely, and from letting the blaze spread to the lands beyond.”

“Pray do not think to inform me of how to fight such an enemy.” The bear snarled, stepping forward. The rending hooks of its front paws caught the light of the flames.

It reared and bellowed then, its rage flooding the hilltop and valley below.

Thomas raised the tip of his sword.

“Until now I’ve not thought it likely that I might see my Mairi again, but if pressed I will gladly remove your head to save the time. I’m sick of your god awful shouting and groaning – if you wish to taste the poison of my silver, then come, and quickly, as I have a date to keep.”

He had taken his full height as he talked, and despite the mighty bulk of the beast below, upon his perch his frame now towered over even that of the lord of this primordial forest.

Without response the bear sank upon its haunches, once again resting in the position it had so long held.

Lowering his weapon, Thomas once again spoke:

“Do not rest long, it will be a short time before even yonder valley begins to crackle.”

The albino moaned then, the forlorn cry of a being who has lost a child and must make do with what remains. Rolling forward it took to its legs and began to push its way along the corridor of flames, picking up speed as it moved down the hill and out of sight.

Blackhall stood against the roasting heat as long as he dare, then slipped down the rocky scape and into the trees to the north, limping towards the smell of ocean salt.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 011 – Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 5 of 6

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Eleven.

Tonight’s story: Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 5

(Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6)

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This evening’s episode is brought to by TomMerritt.com, because we love him.

We love you, Tom.

That’s Tom Merritt.com.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Tonight we present the penultimate episode in our current serial, in which Thomas Blackhall, tired, injured and having gone for days without sleep, begins to see an end to his labours.

Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part Five of Six

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

Thomas once again fell silent.

Moments passed, then the great albino emptied his lungs, once again beginning his mumbling chant. A raven flew down from an unseen perch, landing at the feet of its lord. The bear’s instructions took longer this time, but as his words trailed off amongst the growing chorus of crickets, the black bird croaked and rose into the air, its definition lost against the darkening woods.

Thomas attempted a small meal of his remaining jerky, but his stomach had soured and he found it difficult to keep even his meager portion down.

He used the remaining time until the bird’s return to gamble with his life.

Until then he’d dared not move from the head of the slope that kept the fury of his jailer in balance with his blade, but now he limped to the single white pine that overhung his meager prison, and, with one eye still on the beast who sat waiting at the bottom of his roost, reached deeply into the center mass of the standing giant and cut loose a single broad branch.

As he retreated to his precipice he stooped regularly, enjoying the stretch and tug of the motion upon his limbs, and pulled forth some of the dry bunches of scrub that had had the misfortune to root upon the desolate plateau.

Sitting once again upon the flat rock he’d come to use as a stool, he freed his knife from his belt and began to trim the offshoots from the trunk of his branch.

From above came the flutter of wings, and then, to his left, the shattering crack of stone on stone.

“You claimed you only required the smallest of portions,” came the throaty voice from below, its breath pregnant with a snicker.

After a time he finished worrying the branch with his knife and then slid on hands and knees to where the crash had emanated. A long search turned up three larger portions and a dozen smaller shards, and from this selection Thomas kept the largest, a piece not quite the length and width of his thumb.

Returning to his post, he set down the fragment and took up the reed braid and barren branch. He began to talk as he worked.

Thomas Blackhall“Old King James may have said it was a “custome loathsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomlesse”, but if I’m to draw my final breaths on this empty rock, I’d rather some of them be filled with Virginian tobacco.”

With that he set down his design, and rummaging within the interior of his great coat, retrieved a small water tight flask. He opened it to reveal a pouch with a small quantity of shredded brown leaves, from which he took a hearty pinch, as well as a carefully folded packet of thin Spanish papers. The remaining volume of the container was largely taken up by the yellowing slip that was Mairi’s final letter.

“Oh, Bessie Bell and Mary Gray, they were twa bonnie lassies,” Thomas began to sing under his breath. He licked shut his work and tucked it between his lips.

Blackhall moved quickly then, his sabre close at hand.

He made a bushel of the driest of the scrub he’d gathered, and silently wished that the excess pine needles had been crisp enough to add as well. Once again his fingers closed about his knife, and with a sharp series of glancing blows to the flint stone, sparks and then flame lept amongst the ragged twigs.

With his right foot he tipped the cattails, stripped of their reeds to become simple shafts capped in brown fuzz, into the flame. With his left hand he lit his cigarette.

“It has grown dark, Master Bear, but my work is done,” Thomas said, lifting two of the bullrushes to his crude archer’s bow.

“What’s this now?” The clouded tone told Blackhall the beast had likely drowsed at its shadowed station.

The question hung in the air as twin arcs cast forth from the flat above, licking flame tumbling through tangles of branches before sprawling on the dry forest floor to the east.

“My work is complete – see now the child’s toy that shall mark my passage upon this hill.”

His cigarette dangling such that the stubble that had grown upon his face was at no small risk, he continued to speak as he let fly.

“A child’s toy indeed, and the child who taught me to build it would laugh to see my own shoddy work, but it is enough to allow me to reach yonder trees.”

He’d spent his ammunition before his jailer could fully rise from stupor. The seeds of the cattails took air as they burned, drifting downhill upon the breeze. Wherever they set down, the dry brush drank greedily of the flame.

Thomas stood upon the edge of the stony flat then – bow cast aside and sabre occupying his right hand – letting his work truly settle in as his lungs filled with his addiction.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 010 – Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 4 of 6

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Ten.

Tonight’s story: Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 4

(Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6)

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This evening’s episode is brought to you by RelicRadio.com. Bringing back the radio of yesteryear with the technology of today, visit to hear the cream of the radio age, right in your podcatcher.

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Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Tonight, Thomas Blackhall gives up an explanation – as well as his only source of entertainment – while attempting to avoid inhabiting a bear lord’s gullet.

Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 4

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

As the sun crested noon, Thomas became more daring in how long he’d allow his sword arm to become occupied. The full heat of the day was upon the land, and the small store of stimulant that had held him had run dry before the dew was off the grass.

His great coat and shirt lay beside him, his wide brimmed hat providing his only real shelter on the empty expanse of plateau. The shade of the lone pine that abutted his prison tempted him, but he dare not leave his post. As his task became more complex and his aching fatigue more palpable, he cursed at himself, at his captor, at the forest, at the reeds, at the boat that had carried him from his home, at the sun, the wind, the land and the sky.

Tilting the white shag of his head, the bear spoke.

“You’ve taken to crafting some sort of artifact of your passage? I have slept in caves adorned with your art – I usually attempt to eat something especially rotten on those occasions, so I might leave my own pungent artifice. I have noted however that in recent millennia your leavings have become increasingly complex – are you especially adpet at some form of these works? Should I expect some member of your family to come in search of this scrap, and possibly your own remains? If you come down now, I’ll promise not to eat any errant son or hardheaded daughter that might arrive.”

“I have yet to sire a child of my own, although I was shown this craft by an eight year old Iroquois girl. I don’t mind admitting hers was considerably more impressive than mine will be – or might be, as I rather expect the moment I become over interested in my work you’ll cover the distance and end my little project,” Blackhall replied.

“I have shown you already that I might be reasonable – and in truth I am interested to see what a human with fortitude enough to murder Red Mouth might leave behind to mark his last moments. I have already indicated that, once you lapse into sleep, I will suck the meat from your bones as the bees drink the honey of their hives. I can also smell the aid you’ve used to stretch that time. Fine then, a race: if you should nod off you will awaken to my maw, but until that time you have my word that I will not attempt the climb.”

Thomas considered the proposition, then grunted his assent.

He did not re-sheath his weapon however, choosing instead to lay the naked blade gently across the scrub closest at hand.

“Yes, yes, make yourself comfortable,” the bear chuckled.

On his lap, Blackhall laid out the components of the cattails he’d been so hard pressed to strip. The reed leaves had begun to dry under the baking of the sun, and he set about tearing long strokes from each.

By dusk he’d made a braided twine of admirably slender width. It had come at no small cost however, his eyes burned and his head ached.

“Have you completed your task?” the beast asked from below.

“One part, but to complete it I require another component. It would be best if I had the baggage you encouraged me to leave upon my campsite-” the bear continued to look on in disinterest, “but, failing that, I might create a reasonable facsimile from the flaking stones found along the banks of the same stream from which your thralls drew these reeds.”

“Yes, I have seen these flaking stones, I have seen their use in crafts before, but I also know them to be of equal use for the bumbling you call a hunt. Surely you do not think such a tool will somehow save you from your lofty perch? I do not recall seeing a piece upon the pool’s edge large enough topple upon me.” The ursine let out a short bark, his gummy lips rising to reveal the arsenal of his jaw.

“Master Bear, to complete my craft I require but the smallest shard of stone.”

“And why should I provide such a thing? It seems to me my favour has already become stretched.”

“If you wish to see the end of this creation, I require some of the stone.”

He paused a beat, then added: “I have not yet slept.”

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 009 – Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 3

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Nine.

(Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6)

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This evening’s episode is brought to you by TwoGayGuys.com.

Chef Buck handles the meat while Louis-Michel mans the camera – visit to watch them prepare and present a variety of enticing dishes.

That’s TwoGayGuys.com.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Tonight, Thomas Blackhall gives up an explanation – as well as his only source of entertainment – while attempting to avoid inhabiting a bear lord’s gullet.

Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 3

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

“John Elliot, to demonstrate his courage, ventured into your grotto and despoiled your drinking stream with the passing of his whiskey. I do not claim it was a civil act, but, at the grievance of a single drunk, your eldest son spent a hellish week devouring every man, woman and child in the hamlet of Marie Amable. Even then, he was not sated: the landscape for fifty miles in every direction, fish-eater and pig-eater alike, has been hewn of human activity.”

Blackhall observed the dark line of trees a moment, then continued.

“Unlike most of my fellow pig-eaters, I do not have the comfort of illusion regarding the true hierarchy of man and the occult, especially in this final bastion of deep woods and deeper waters. Still – they say to the west the rivers teem with salmon so that a man might walk the breadth without wetting his feet. No man would empty those rivers for a single bite of each, to do so would be insanity by any measure, mortal or immortal.”

The animal grunted.

“Oh, there is more Master Bear. I have seen the mania take your brethren before, and I do not think even you will escape it. As the pig-eaters crawl further over the face of this land, you will either have to retreat – an idea that I’m not sure your heart may hold – or you will suffer the rage and froth that befell Red Mouth. Truly, Milord, even now might you not be under the veil of madness? How long will you, Lord and Ruler of this place, rage against the single bee you’ve ensnared in a knothole?”

“Many a flattened bee might gladly testify to my patience – if they could,” the beast replied.

Thomas nodded with resignation.

“Mayhaps those that remain shall build their hive about you in the wait.”

Silence descended until the two black-eyed labourers returned with their burdens. Thomas watched with a steady arm as the pair climbed the barren slope that meant stalemate. His eyes could detect no ruse – he knew many of the Lords of the unknown stretches were bound by a personal code of honour, but he was also keenly aware that he knew little of what honour might mean to a bear. He could see no trickery in the approaching beady eyes however, nor any of the keen intellect that might indicate that all was not as it might seem.

The bandits dropped their bundles at his feet, crouching on their hind quarters, forepaws twittering with anticipation.

From below his captor presented instructions:

“You have your reeds, now send them away with your child’s toy.”

Thomas eyed the reeds – intact as promised – then eyed the night sky, his breath exiting in a thin lipped sputter. Reaching into a pocket he drew forth the jaw harp and tossed it amongst the stones at the feet of his jailer’s vassals. A brief, chittering scuffle ensued before the furry victor scurried down the jagged slope, the loser close at hand.

The noise of their argument carried into silence as they moved down the hill.

His entertainment stripped of him, the passage of time seemed to slow for Blackhall. He felt loathe to complain however: after a brief struggle with a cloud bank, the moon had presented its fullest portion and now flooded the clearing with its light.

An uncountable period passed and the music of the night insects began to weigh heavily on his eyelids.

With a sudden snort he brought himself awake.

Standing, Thomas began to rummage about in his interior pockets, pulling forth a small pungent satchel. After a brief whiff to ensure it had not yet turned, he selected a healthy pinch of the browning herbal concoction within and began to grind it between his molars.

Within moments his eyes were large with moonlight, his limbs reinvigorated.

He knew this crutch would not carry him from the hilltop, but it was some small assurance that he would at least remain awake to see the dawn.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 008 – Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 2

Welcome to Flash Pulp episode eight.

Tonight’s story: Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 2

(Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6)

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Tonight’s episode is brought to you by MayTunes.com. Watch and listen to the highs and lows of one woman attempting to write fifty-two weekly songs over the course of a year.

Maytunes.com.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

This evening we re-join Thomas Blackhall, who’s been buttonholed atop Talbot’s Plateau, deep in the primeval forests of 19th century North America.

Please note that this is the second episode in our current serialization, and should you not have heard or read the first entry, you do yourself a disservice to continue.

Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 2

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

The sun rolled heavily in the sky and began to dip beyond the horizon.

Blackhall sat, his sabre across his knees, waiting. His injured leg throbbed, and the fatigue of the long chase had begun to settle into his bones.

He did however hold some small solace in the bear’s alabaster fur – there was little chance it might unexpectedly creep upon him in the night.

Patience was the greatest lesson he’d learned from his Jesuit teachers, and it had often served him well.

Digging amongst the patched lining of his great coat, Thomas brought forth a mouth harp, and even as the beast grunted in his direction, he began to play. The song was an old Italian one, taught to him by a trio of bright young American patriots he’d had the pleasure of standing garrison over as they awaited escort from his Majesty’s Upper Canada.

Attempting a tone of contempt, he let the tune carry him against the chill that now filled the air in retort to the day’s baking sun. He played on for nearly twenty minutes before the rumblings of his captor were enough to interrupt his melody.

“I would rather my morsels cure in silence. Your life may no longer be your own to barter, but is there something I might have brought to you in exchange for this siege to last in silence? Perhaps a final meal of the freshest venison?” the bear asked, a towering white ghost sitting upon the edge of the forest.

“I might prefer silence if you were to bring me a half dozen bullrushes, still with reeds, from the edge of the creek we passed in our ascent,” Thomas replied.

“A strange request. It seems to me a stupid ploy if you asked it to send me from my post. I remind you that I have been lord of this forest for ten times the span you might ever wish to live,” the bear’s maw widened in a yawn. “You will have your cattails however.”

Without rising from his seat the bear began to turn out a complex guttural muttering, a throaty sound that seemed to cast stillness into the evening air and down the hillock.

Moments passed in this new silence, then the rustling of dry leaves announced the entrance of a pair of raccoons ambling forth from the underbrush to sit at the feet of their liege. A brief series of low snuffles set the pair of ringtails back into the shadows and down the darkened slope.

As they waited, the bear spoke.

“Come now, shivering crumb, come down to me and I will let you drink deeply of that same flowing water. When it comes time for me to kill you, I shall devour your entire skull in a single mouthful, so that your pain is brief and your end short.”

“Master Bear, despite the true enormity of your head, I must decline. I did not expect my request to send you away yonder – as you seem to think. I must also add that the death of Red Mouth brings me no small sadness. I know these churning days rest heavily upon the lords of all lands, but there must be some law. I am sure you must have breathed deep the slaughter on Red Mouth’s breath, seen the madness that had taken his eyes.”

The bear’s teeth shone against the night.

“There is law! I am that law. Who are you, pig-eater, to come here and tell me of law. The pig-eaters have run rampant in the south and west, killing the fish-eaters and the land-shapers since the moment of their arrival! What was it to you if Red Mouth sated himself on an inconsequential herd? It has been many moons since the fish-eaters of the valley have come to stand against me, and yet you, a grubby pig-eater, came creeping, creeping in the darkness and slew my eldest son!”

Blackhall stood then, his jaw set.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 007 – Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 1

Welcome to Flash Pulp episode seven.

Tonight’s story: Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 1

(Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6)

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Tonight’s episode is brought to you by OpopanaxFeathers.wordpress.com. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

That’s OpopanaxFeathers.wordpress.com.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Tonight marks the first appearance of what will likely become a regularly occurring member of the Flash Pulp cast, Thomas Blackhall, as well as the first time we’ve presented a multi-part serial.

Our story opens in the wilds of 19th century North America, and our hero has already found himself in a spot of trouble.

Red Mouth’s Legacy, A Blackhall Tale – Part 1

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

From such a height the entire valley lay to view, a march of descending green, thick with the heat of a summer sun that clung in the sky well into fall.

Thomas Blackhall pulled himself over the crest of the hill, his hands aching against the warm stones. The spot was known as Talbot’s Plateau, an occasional camp spot for those fool enough to attempt a shortcut over the rugged center of the hump. It warranted a name mostly for its peculiar configuration: the flat rise sat in a clearing, its top but a light dusting of dirt and scrub plants. It rode the hill like a crown, its “rear” a fifty foot sheer, its “front” still a ten foot scramble for a strong man.

He’d forced himself up the last few feet on nothing but will and fingernails.

He wiped his forehead with the torn remains of his former shirt. For a moment Blackhall rested on his back, filling his lungs with the breeze that the bulk of the hill had denied him until then.

Having caught his breath, he moaned to a sitting position, adjusting the plaid rag that acted as tourniquet for his bleeding leg.

By using his rifle as a crutch, he was able to bring himself to a standing position.

From the direction of his ascent came a bellow, and a half measure down the slope he watched a three hundred year old white pine topple. The thick giant came down with a sweeping roar, a wave of dust and ancient needles rolling through the parched underbrush.

Thomas’ face remained impassive, but his mouth fired off a half dozen curses. He began to hobble along the edge of his rocky precipice.

The expediency of his patrol spoke more to the size of his perch than to the condition of his injured leg, but a quick inspection told him that his memory had not lead him astray, that there was indeed only the single feasible approach. He returned to the flat’s shallowest height and braced himself, hoping he appeared more upright than he felt.

A cacophony of protesting timber and snarling foretold where the bear would make his appearance.

Still, he was hard pressed to face down the ferocity with which the beast appeared.

He’d dropped his rifle, and now raised his sabre.

The bear stopped short.

The weapon was long and lean, carrying a subtle weight. Seven years earlier, nearly a half decade after Blackhall had originally prized the weapon from the hands of a dead French officer, he’d had the blade reworked in silver. It no longer held a decent edge, and he didn’t bother with repair work unless it chipped or took on a sizable indent.

Thomas had no patience for staring matches.

“Well then, Master Bear, it’s been a grand chase indeed. It will soon grow dark however, and I think it would suit us both to find our beds.”

In response the bear lifted its shaggy white head, front legs leaving the ground, flanks rippling with massive breath, taking its true height. The majority of the animal was white as a winter morning, except in the area of its dark eyes, which were surrounded by a deepening ring of exposed black flesh – making it difficult to know where its visage ended and vision began.

At moments Thomas would think its eyes owl-like, in others they seemed like nothing but the emptiness of night.

“Only to have you come and murder me amongst my sows and birch leaves? I think not, you who will bleed to death upon my hill,” the bear replied.

At full height it was a marvel, easily the largest beast, mundane or mystical, that Thomas had ever laid his eyes upon; despite the rocky advantage, his nose was nearly level with that of the carnivore.

“Come then, let me bury my toothpick in your dense skull even as you trample me in the charge. We can both bleed to death on your lovely hillock.”

The snowy animal lowered itself onto its haunches.

“All men sleep,” the bear snorted.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 006 – Mulligan Smith in The Trunk

Welcome to Flash Pulp episode six.

Tonight’s story: Mulligan Smith in The TrunkFlash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp006.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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Tonight’s episode is brought to you by JustinBowes.com. How many friends does the ad copywriter have with dis-used domain names they’ve registered and forgotten about?

Let’s find out.

That’s JustinBowes.com.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

To round off our week we have a tale a little longer than normal, a telling chapter in the checkered history of Mulligan Smith. In this evening’s episode, the P.I. finds himself explaining transportation safety.

Mulligan Smith in The Trunk, Part One of One

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

“I don’t ride in trunks.” Mulligan said, laying one foot up on the rear bumper.

“Going for a ride in a trunk isn’t like on TV. My Dad started on the force at the tail end of the mob days, and if he got a couple of wobbly pops into him one of the first stories he’d always come up with was how nasty it was to have to clean up after someone who’d gone for what he’d call “a drive in the boot”.

“I’ve only been shoved in a trunk once, and I only survived because the guy who did it was in too much of a rush to frisk me properly.

Mulligan took a sip of his slurpie, continued: “I’ve killed two people in my life, and he was the second.”

He zipped his hoodie.

“It was late fall, it had gotten dark but it was barely after supper. I was working a missing person’s case and I’d been asked to swing by the client’s place. Sweet people really, an aging Ma and Pa. The Dad actually reminded me a lot of Lloyd Bridges. Too bad about that guy, had a long career with a lot of diversity, but whenever I think of him all that comes to mind is: “Picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue.” You know, from “Airplane!”.

“I’d knocked twice and my hand was getting cold holding open their metal screen door. I was actually thinking I was going to miss The Wheel Of Fortune when the wind died down for a second and I could hear shouting through the front door.

“I was worried Lloyd might be taking his stress out on Ma Bridges, so I overplayed my welcome and pushed on inside.

“As soon as I was through the front hall I could tell it wasn’t the man of the house shouting, the voice was too young and strong. All I knew for sure was that he had money on his mind.

“I edge into the kitchen, hands out, figuring I’ll play it like the ambassador of peace. Instantly the noise vapourises and everyone is staring at me like its breakfast and I’m a leprechaun that’s just burst out of their box of Lucky Charms.

“The three of them were standing around a shiny kitchen table – Mom, the lead actor from Sea Hunt, and a shaggy bushman who looks like he’s spent the last six months in the wilds of Alaska wrestling fresh salmon from the maws of grizzlies.

“I must have looked pretty surprised as well, the guy was holding a cleaver that looked like something out of a mid-’80s slasher movie. Long and hefty – the kind of thing they probably used in abattoirs around the turn of the century.

“Anyhow, the larger problem was that I’d found myself right beside the guy – from the hall it’d sounded like he was on the far side of the room but when I entered he was close enough that I could smell his beef jerky breath and see the grease in his ratty beard.

“I hope I said something witty before he hit me, but I don’t remember. The next thing I actually knew I was in the dark with a bad headache and blood in my eyes. At first I was pretty sure he’d hit me with the cleaver and it’d made me blind, but after a moment of pitiful moaning the smell of oil and dirt reached my nose and my fingers took the time to prod at the thing making my ribs ache, which I realized was the spare tire I was lying on. He must have whacked me with the cleaver handle and carried me out to the trunk before hightailing it.

“I started kicking – kicking above the wheel well, kicking the roof the trunk, doing my damnedest to put a hole through any piece of the bodywork. I was freaking out – if I’d been unconcious long enough, he would have already hit the outskirts of town, at which point I’d be totally pooched.

“What I really needed was a lot of people around, the more cops the better. The longer I listened though, the quieter it seemed. As time passed the trunk felt like it was shrinking, like there was less oxygen in the air to breath.

“I’d reached around for my cell phone and my pistol but came up empty.

“Like I mentioned earlier, my Dad had been a cop from the 1930’s till the early-80’s, and he carried the same .38 special the entire time. He’d only ever had to fire it on the range.

“When I got my license he passed it on to me. I think he hoped it’d bring me the same luck it’d brought him. The thing was tiny though. It’d have no problem killing a man, sure, but when I practiced with it at the range I got plenty of “nice lady’s gun” from hillbillies with nickel plated super-canons.

“I ain’t ashamed to admit that, once I’d reached down and felt the full ankle holster, I started crying.

“I held it like a choir boy at prayer.

“I remember the squeal of the brakes. I don’t know if it’s my imagination or an honest memory, but it felt like I was drowning in the smell of pine, as if I was pulling sap into my lungs every time I tried to take a breath.

“I can hear his Kodiak work boots dragging on the gravel, the jingle of his keys.

“He said something to me that I couldn’t make out through the trunk lid or over the sound of my stuttering heart. Then, suddenly, I could see a half inch of dark forest and dirt road.

“Wish I could say I was sprawled out like James Bond, ready to get the jump on the guy as soon as he opened the lid, but I never even gave him that chance.

“Pop, pop, pop – all six rounds through the trunk. I was able to sight my last shots a bit by aiming through the holes the first ones had made, but it wasn’t really a concern: the guy was a barn – there was no way I was going to miss him.

“The trunk spring finally pushes the hinge open and there’s Grizzly Adams looming over me, cleaver raised. Then he falls over and that’s that.

“I stood up. My ears were ringing but I hoped to be able to wave down some passing lights. Nothing. I search the car for a cell phone, mine or his, but nothing. The car is a mess: it’s got layers of McDonald’s wrappers, moldy home made jerky, odds and ends of rope, fishing tackle and knives of all sizes, with blades ranging from skinning to Rambo.

“I stood there for maybe two hours, it’s tough to know for sure when you’re in shock. Finally I pulled the keys from the trunk lock. I should have left him there for the police, but I was still frazzled, and all I could picture was this guy getting his face eaten off by passing raccoons while I was tramping the back roads trying to find some people or pavement.

“It took me another twenty minutes to get him packed away with the spare tire.

“In the end I called it in from a bell phone on the outside of a closed gas-n-go. My head was pretty clear by then, well, as clear as riding around with a body in your trunk will allow. I spoke to the cops first, then Lloyd – to let him know how his missing person’s case had been resolved, and to try to break the news about his son gentler than the police would’ve.”

Mulligan shrugged, his lips taking a tug at his slurpee, only to realize it had long gone empty.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 005 – The Neighbourly Farmers

Welcome to Flash Pulp episode five.

Tonight’s story: The Neighbourly FarmersFlash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp005.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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Tonight’s episode is brought to you by codyskinner.com. Visit to see a guy’s resume, or watch the award winning documentary “A Day In The Life”.

That’s http://codyskinner.com.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Next week we will be presenting our first multi-part serial, introducing a new character to the Flash Pulp lineup, Thomas Blackhall. The stories of Blackhall, coloured in shades of Robert E. Howard and Sir H. Rider Haggard, will allow the show a more historical, and somewhat mystical, perspective.

As for this evening’s episode: it opens on two farmers, long time neighbours, ruminating on their lot in life from the saddles of their tractors.

The Neighbourly Farmers, Part One of One

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

It was the second day of Alfred and William’s thirty-first harvest as neighbours. Both hoped it would be their last – as they had for decades.

Their time was evenly divided.

Half was spent staring at the other, either in the eyes or in the back, droning along their rows of wheat. The other half was a blessed relief as their tractors carried them away to the furthest ends of their fields.

Unknown to either, they had each spent long hours prowling around the other’s home, shotgun in hand. In the end both men were too stubborn to surrender by being the one who pulled the final straw.

Without warning each man’s engine stalled.

At that same moment, in a small off-off-Broadway theater, the men’s ex-wives were holding hands and watching a terrible play. Despite the poor acting and pretentious script, they were smiling.

In the distance dogs and cows began to howl, in Alfred’s chicken coop his two dozen hens dropped dead.

Hay bails were tossed into the air and became grassy bombs as they shattered on the earth.

A flood of mice streamed out of the fields, abandoning their burrows in futile exodus.

This day, their last, both men would know the horror of Kar’Wick the Spider-God.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Flash Pulp 004 – Mulligan Smith and The Standoff

Welcome to Flash Pulp episode four.

Tonight’s story: Mulligan Smith and The StandoffFlash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp004.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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The delay, as well as Tonight’s episode, was and is brought to you by Maytunes.com. When you’ve got to throw out a porn addict hillbilly who’s been squatting in your friend’s apartment, it’s Maytunes.com.
Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
This evening’s episode, originally scheduled to be broadcast on Monday, is another of the tales of Mulligan Smith. Tonight the PI finds himself in the darkest depths of suburbia, only to realize he isn’t alone.

Mulligan Smith and The Standoff, Part One of One

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

They both had guns drawn, and Mulligan knew it to be a bad scene.

Mulligan maintained a simple rule about firearms, and when the police asked he always had generally the same thing to say: “Never draw first if you can avoid it. Pull out a pistol and the other guy suddenly feels inadequate and wants one too. Hell – if he wants it bad enough, maybe he’ll try and take yours.”

Smith hadn’t had much choice however, as he’d stepped from the plush white carpet of the home office to the burgundy pile of the hallway, someone had loudly ratcheted a twelve gauge near the front door.

Since the announcement of intentions the white paneled house had fallen exam-room silent.

Mulligan knew that his unexpected caller, likely the pepper haired golfer who owned the home, was probably tip-toeing along the plush, dusty coral living room carpet. The PI was perched in the shadows at the edge of the hallway: a right would take him to the front door, the fake hardwood of the short front hall directly in the line of sight of the sunken living room. His other option was to move forward into the inky blackness ahead of him, where he knew the kitchen and dining area lay. The alternate route offered the conveniences of a patio door and an overlook into the living room.

A sprint to the sliding door tempted Mulligan, but the idea of silhouetting himself against the glow of the huge window kept him still. He was beginning to contemplate turning back into one of the alternate doors that branched off from the hallway –  surely there was an overtly white bathroom with a window he might tumble out of – when a vase in the living room swooned, gave a hollow thud to mark the departure from its tabletop home and made a solid landing on the carpet.

Mulligan’s mind slid this new information around like a puzzle piece, attempting to fit it into his understanding of the scenario. He forced himself to conjur every bit of memory he could from the cursory glance of the living room he’d had before pressing on deeper into the house. There was a large standing lamp in the far corner of the room, a TV directly to his right, couches to his left, and, yes, a heavy pearl lamp with golden shade that would likely have made that exact thud. Its platform was a stout oak side-table, the kind of thing that would be quite handy as a stool if someone wanted to pull themselves up from the living room, over the railing, and into the dining area.

A large part of the problem with wandering, armed, around a strange house in the dark is that you don’t really have a lot of rights under the law, and Mulligan knew it. If he were to shoot the aging businessman, it would be a murder charge. If Eighteen-Hole McSwings took a shot at him, knocking him dead, the police would look at it as one less burglar, and nevermind that the old man drew first and that Mulligan had no interest in violence.

His eyes still hadn’t adjusted to the darkness, which he hoped meant that neither had his opponent’s. While still trying to peer into the murk that was the kitchen, his free hand traced loops along the wall, hoping to encounter something that might be of use.

His finger tips came across a large hanging photo, housed in a heavy silver frame.

Mulligan tucked away his pistol and rolled his shoulders in a quick stretch.

In a single smooth motion he removed the frame from the wall, tucked it into frisbee-position and let fly into the darkness. As the picture left his hand, his right foot followed, chasing it into the kitchen. His path diverged there however, as he turned right and flew down the double step that lead to the front hall, and escape.

Behind him, the frame briefly sailed on, catching a glint from the kitchen window to reveal the image of an aging couple, their adult children, and on their laps the third generation, all hanging in a moment in space.

Well before Mulligan had reached the door he heard the shotgun roar, and somewhere underneath, glass shattering.

Unable to feel any new gaping wounds in his body, his feet found fresh speed, his hands moved with surety in finding the deadbolt and knob.

“You… I shot my family!” chased him through the oak frame and down the cobblestone front path, his goal, a series of hotel receipts meticulously kept for tax reasons, tucked deep in one of his hoodie’s many pockets.

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.