Category: Flash Pulp

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.

Gloomy Sunday

Pulp Flash’s theme song, Gloomy Sunday, actually has a bit of a history to it (which was part of the appeal in using it):

Gloomy Sunday” is a song composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress in 1933 to a Hungarian poem written by László Jávor (original Hungarian title of both song and poem “Szomorú vasárnap” (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈsomoruː ˈvɒʃaːrnɒp]), in which the singer reflects on the horrors of modern culture.

Though recorded and performed by many singers, “Gloomy Sunday” is closely associated with Billie Holiday, who scored a hit version of the song in 1941. Owing to unsubstantiated urban legends about its inspiring hundreds of suicides, “Gloomy Sunday” was dubbed the “Hungarian suicide song” in the United States. Seress did commit suicide in 1968, but most other rumors of the song being banned from radio, or sparking suicides, are unsubstantiated, and were partly propagated as a deliberate marketing campaign. Possibly due to the context of the Second World War, Billie Holiday’s version was, however, banned by the BBC. – Wikipedia

Flash Pulp 003 – The Downtown Couple

Welcome to Flash Pulp episode three – tonight’s story, The Downtown CoupleFlash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/Flash_Pulp_003.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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Tonight’s episode is brought to you by http://skinner.fm

As my grandfather once told me while we were sitting under the Apple trees on a balmy August evening, the long and lonely calls of the neighbour’s cattle rolling over the orchard, the pungent smell of his pipe filling my nose and bringing tears to my eyes:
“If it’s a short script, pad the ad.”

That’s http://skinner.fm.

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’s episode is our first foray into weird tales. You may also note, it also marks a change to our musical programming – we will be attempting to maintain a theme for each type of tale, with Paul Whiteman’s version of Gloomy Sunday continuing on as the theme for the program itself.

Tonight’s theme is Mystery by Harry A. Yerkes’ Dance Orchestra.

The Downtown Couple, Part One of One

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

He wore his jeans low and well cut, her hair took no less than an hour at a mirror.

The corner was a busy one, full of locals trying to get home and tourists shuffling from the historical end of the city to the shopping district. Despite the crowd, the wall of sound the couple were generating parted the flow and allowed them a pocket of empty sidewalk large enough for vigorous hand waving and finger pointing.

“How could you?” she asked for the eighth time.

“You had already broken up with me – it was before we got back together!” he replied, his popped collar waggling with his shoulder movements.

“She’s my cousin!” the woman responded.

“You know she’s a nice girl, but not the kind I’d ever actually BE with.”

“- but you were with her!”

“Only once.”

“She’s under age!”

“I didn’t know! She didn’t tell me! She LOOKS Eighteen!”

“She looks older because of the friggin’ hormones from her TRANSGENDER SURGERY.”

“Hey – don’t discriminate.”

“Yeah, why should I discriminate, you certainly haven’t. Maybe I’ll go hook up with your cousin Michael.”

“What kind of talk is that? You know Michael lives in his wheelchair and can only eat through his neck straw!”

Unnoticed beneath their ruckus, the rumbling that had begun moments before now changed in pitch. Their patch of concrete began bucking wildly. The blue sky disappeared, as if it had always only been the interior a balloon, now popped. In its place stood the blackness of space, broken only by the stark pinpricks of stars.

The street split, a sausage cart and vendor picking up speed as they slid into the widening crevice.

A single hairy stalk extended from the hole, its surface a tangle of barbs, each the size of a lamp pole and ending in a spear point.

The arachnid leg stretched high, a glancing blow shattering the corner of a nearby bank branch. Reaching its apex, the towering appendage began to tumble down: inescapable doom for the lingering couple.

Realizing it was the end, he turned to her, arms extended.

Realizing it was the end, she turned to him, delivering a brutal right hook to his jaw.

And thus arose Kar’Wick, The Spider God, reborn.

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 002 – Mulligan Smith and The Well Dressed Man

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Two.Flash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp002.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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Tonight’s episode is brought to you by opopanaxfeathers.wordpress.com – if you don’t know how to spell that, you’re probably listening to the audio version.

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’s episode is another in the storied tales of P.I. Mulligan Smith, but be forewarned: this episode contains strong language and is not intended for the under-aged or weak of heart.

Mulligan Smith and The Well Dressed Man, Part One of One

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

“Hell, running with the bulls is relatively easy – really no harder than dodging traffic. If you want a challenge try running naked down the streets of Barcelona with a pack of semi-feral dogs snapping at your tantalizingly exposed backside.”

Mulligan Smith leaned against the bar while speaking to a man in a decent Armani knockoff with an extremely sweaty collar. Beside the moist man stood a blonde woman in a simple white t-shirt, crisp jeans and weekend cowboy boots. The woman was perpetually craning her head, scanning the smattering of afternoon patrons.

“Not that it happens to me often or anything, but dogs are agile and they know how to hunt, unlike a barn yard animal. Bulls are huge maybe, but no one ever brings them duck hunting, you don’t see prim british lords and ladies in red jackets trumpeting the fox hunt with Mr. Elsie leading the pack.”

The topic had come up when the suited man had run low on methods to spark a conversation with the woman, and his patience with Mulligan began to run short as he watched the last of his chances slip away.

“Whatever, I’m kind of talking over here.” He hadn’t bothered to turn to look at Smith until then, and he was momentarily taken aback by the P.I.’s black hoodie and rumpled jeans.

“Actually, I think the other half of your conversation left,” Mulligan said, raising his glass to the blonde as she hastily pushed away from the bar and waved to her freshly entered friends.

The establishment wasn’t large, the single long bar dominated the north wall, which faced onto a series of booths. The rest of the space was loudly dominated by an empty, shabby, dance floor. The paint was black and the booths were a dark fake-leather vinyl – the only well lit portions of the room were the over-sized shelves crammed with cheap liquor.

A string of harsh language, as spoken by the damp man, arced from the direction of the recently departed woman and her newly joined friends, all the way through 180 degrees and back to Mulligan.

Taking a breath, the man dropped his hand over the mouth of his tumbler and squinted at Smith.

He raised the glass and took a long haul of whatever he’d cut his cola with.

“A married man shouldn’t have to try so hard just to get a little action – shouldn’t you be back at home?” Mulligan smiled invitingly and motioned towards the man’s ring hand, a thick tan leaving the obvious white line of his missing band.

The sweating man paused a moment, running his hand along the damp interior of his collar self-consciously, his face transforming from surprise to indignation and finally stopping on rage.

“Who are you, you ill dressed punk, to start talking crap about me?”

“No need to be upset, name’s Mulligan Smith.”

Smith extended a hand to shake – but retracted it after a moment of being met with nothing but a stare.

The man seemed to finally fully take Mulligan.

“Go sit on it sideways, Mulligan Smith,” the man said, pushing off from the bar and sidling out the door.

Mulligan shrugged and, wiping the rim of the man’s cup with his sleeve, finished both of their drinks.

It was the following Thursday, in a different bar, when the P.I. next let himself be seen.

“Hey again, funny always running into you mid-day in a low rent gin-bar.”

The man was wearing a charcoal gray suit this time, but his lack of sobriety had found him just as moist. The man’s luck hadn’t changed either, Mulligan had stepped up to his elbow just as a tall brunette, in a tiny baby blue shirt and black pencil skirt, strode away.

At turning to the sight of the private dick, the well dressed man let out a low moan.

“Yeah, I wondered how long it’d take you to figure it out,” replied Mulligan.

“How much is he paying you?” the man asked, animal hope entering his eyes as he reached for his wallet.

“Probably more than you’ve got.”

“Damn,” the man’s head seemed to collapse into his chest.

“The look on your husband’s face when he asked me to check if you were having an affair was tough, but I figured I’d let you buy me a few drinks, get a naughty word or two on my trusty recorder, and everyone could come clean – mostly in that I’m straight, your husband’s a hopeless romantic and you’re a money-grubbin’ jerk. Neither of us suspected you were actually just a poseur until I saw you trying to buy that Blonde a drink at O’Neils.”

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.

Whee

Well, I was pretty pleased with how Episode 001 turned out, so I guess the project continues. Flash Pulp 002 should be posted this evenin’, with hopefully a move to earlier auto-posts after the weekend.

The next tale is another Mulligan Smith nugget, but this Friday’s will be something a little different.

Questions/Comments/Suggestions are welcome!

Flash Pulp 001 – Mulligan Smith and The Runner

Flash PulpWelcome to Flash Pulp, episode one.

[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp001.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe to the libsyn RSS feed)

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Tonight’s episode is brought to you by MayTunes dot com. If it’s MayTunes dot com, it’s unequivocally MayTunes dot 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. As the weeks unfold a recurring cast of characters will appear in both one off and serial tales, five minute chapters of classically styled weird, fantasy and adventure stories for your eyes or podcast feed.
Mulligan Smith And The Runner, Part one of one.

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

Mulligan Smith, 36, had tucked away his license and was pounding his way across the gravel and shrub back-lot of an abandoned foundry. It hadn’t been an easy place to get into, he’d had to scramble up and over an iron gate. Hard work, but the round man he was chasing was having the worse time of it – he’d only made it over the fence before Mulligan because he’d had a twenty yard lead.

Smith wasn’t sure how the sloppy drunk had managed to hold onto the pistol so long. Mid-way up he’d noticed the thing rolling precariously along the sagging waistband of the chubby man’s sweat pants, but by the time they’d both reached the turnover point and hopped down, the chasee confidently had the thing back in his hands.

Mulligan knew this left him in an odd position: a man chasing after a possible bullet. He’d had some experience with the situation however and had instinctively fallen back to plan B: not catching up.

Projecting from the towering central building that dominated the scrubby clearing, a dual row of rail tracks ran a smooth curve to the edge of the yard to be cut short by the iron fence and the street’s modern re-paving.

Bernard Thompson, 53, the man in baggy grey pants, stumbled as he crossed the rusted siding and fell to one knee. The impact nearly caused his moist right hand to lose hold of the pistol, but it hastily re-found its grip, unwilling to surrender its last hope.

Bernard was a balding man, and yet somehow the remainder of his sweat-clumped hair insisted on finding its way into his eyes, forcing him to brush aside the rogue strands with his free hand while a salty trickle of yard dust rolled into his lolling mouth.

He found his way to his feet, but now he was too overwhelmed to make reasoned decisions and simply stumbled along the curve of the rail towards the edge of the yard, his lungs pulling in ragged breaths.

He fell again.

Welling panic drove him back to his feet, the need to escape this ridiculous situation he’d put himself into, but his ribs ached in protest and his legs rebelled at the rough terrain and desperate use.

He knew somewhere behind him was the hunter, somewhere not far behind lurked prison and shame and the accusing eyes of Melanie Bates, 8.
He tried for a last burst of speed, but instead tripped over one of the sun baked wooden slats. He fell for the final time, his shoulder digging into the lip of the rail, his face grinding through rock chips and dirt.

He began to cry.

Mulligan slowed to a stop less than an arms length from the weeping man. Pulling out a rumpled evidence bag, the PI turned the clear plastic inside-out over his hand and enveloped the pistol, tucking it away in one of his black hoodie’s deep pockets.

Then he reached for his phone.

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

In a couple of hours I’ll be posting the first episode of a project I’ve been working on that I’ve been calling “Flash Pulp”. It’ll be a 400 to 600 word piece of flash fiction, in both text and audio, three times weekly. Weird, fantasty and adventure tales to make the pulse race.

At my end it serves a few different purposes: a broad canvas for me to carry out some bizarre writing experiments, a rolling deadline that forces me to keep the juices flowing, and an opportunity to burn off some juvenile tendencies.

I was hoping to have things up yesterday, but there’s been some growing pains. Things are out of my hands at this point – as soon as the recording is complete, we’ll be under way.