Category: Flash Pulp

Flash Pulp 020 – Mulligan Smith and The Long Ride

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Twenty.

Tonight’s story, Mulligan Smith and The Long Ride, Part 1 of 1

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This episode is brought to you by Flash Pulp on iTunes.

If Steve Jobs didn’t think Flash Pulp was fantastic, would he allow it to be listed in iTunes?

We don’t think so.

Find Flash Pulp on iTunes via the in-program search, or try this link.

Remember: Steve Jobs may have implied it was a good idea.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

This evening we follow Mulligan Smith as he navigates the tangled streets of Capital City while attempting to deliver a passenger.

Flash Pulp 020 – Mulligan Smith and The Long Ride, Part 1 of 1

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

The Tercel was crowded at the best of times, a garage sale’s worth of randomness spread across the baby blue backseats. Smith and the girl had spent ten minutes in animated discussion at the brightly lit menu, but it was only once they’d reached the window itself that Mulligan realized the drink holders were already occupied by a pair of abandoned coffees.

As the highschool girl working the register watched on, passenger and driver both broke into a flurry of nervous activity – the PI craning to check the backseat’s cup holder, the woman attempting to roll down her window by hand in an effort to eject the old drinks. She was having difficulty however, and a giggle escaped her lips even as her frown deepened.

She switched hands, but she overcompensated, and another tug snapped the black and chrome crank at its base. The sound interrupted Mulligan, who’d been explaining that the window had long ceased to function properly.

His passenger started to cry then, dangling the wreckage from her calloused fingers.

Behind them the balding man in the white Buick SUV, aware only that his whopper was probably getting cold, hammered out two bleats of his horn.

The girl with the headset lifted the tray of drinks and thrust them into the car. Mulligan decided to simply leave the trash cups on the steel sill, accepted the large paper bag with rapidly blooming grease spots, and nosed the Tercel out of the drive-through lane, before halting between two yellow lines in the emptiest corner of the parking lot.

He reached out his arm, attempting to encircle the woman, but the gear shift began to dig into his hip. She didn’t seem to register his efforts anyhow, so he sank back, letting the engine idle.

The radio gurgled at a respectfully low tone.

As she regained her composure, her eyes wandered the dash. Mulligan, realizing he might finally be of some use, reached into the bag, pulling forth a sheaf of brown napkins.

The woman plucked the topmost from the pile, smearing tears and makeup into the blue and yellow logo.

As she snorted loudly, he gently pulled the crank from her hand, tossing it amongst the ruins on the rear bench. He also took a moment to rip the stapled receipt from the bag, partially tucking it under the pristine floor mat behind the passenger seat, surrounded by dozens of its cousins.

Her tears were easing, and she raised an eyebrow at him – even in her haste to enter the vehicle, she’d noticed the collection.

“For tax purposes. All my on-the-job receipts go in the pile, and once a year I clean out the car.”

She nodded, still dabbing at the corner of her eyes.

He reversed out of the lot then, drifting into the anonymity of late night traffic.

The woman spent the journey with her eyes fixed on her window, inspecting each passing car and pedestrian. The city slid by – offices, sidewalks, bus stops, apartment buildings, townhouses.

Eventually they found themselves maneuvering the twisted streets of a suburb.

The car finally came to a stop in front of a large two story house, its porch entrance set well back, a trim line of hedges providing privacy from the street. An array of stark white bulbs lit the grass like the noonday sun.

The woman stepped from the car, bending to gather her small cloth bag. She attempted to speak, but all that came out was “Thuk”.

Instead, she unthinkingly extended her right hand to Mulligan, who gently took it before she could realize and pull away.

After a long moment the heavy gray door that fronted the house swung open, a large woman with a precise haircut stepping out onto the porch and eying the pair as she lit a smoke.

Mulligan let go.

“They’re waiting for you. Beth is great,” he motioned towards the interloper. “It’ll be OK. Call me tomorrow and let me know how you’re settling in.”

His client stood, cradling her wrist. As she hobbled along the stone-paved path, the fresh cast reflected the yard’s harsh light.

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 019 – Eventide

Flash PulpWelcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Nineteen.

Tonight’s story, Eventide Part 1 of 1

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This episode is brought to you by opopanax.wordpress.com

Come for the art, but stay for the… art.

That’s opopanax.wordpress.com

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

This evening we bring you a tale of love and horror, a story about the difference between night and day.

Flash Pulp 019 – Eventide Part 1 of 1

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

May 16th

Ellis flipped off the monitor and stood, his kneecaps popping, the office chair he’d been using wandering into a trajectory dangerous to the cat.

Mittens J. Nelson dodged the furniture, and after a reproachful glare at his inattentive master, padded from the room.

Rubbing an eye, Ellis began collecting up the detritus of his day – a stack of empty soda cans, half a plate of pasta left from supper, some McDonald’s wrappers from lunch. Tossing what he could, he slid through the apartment in the dark, bouncing off the recliner and entering the kitchen to deposit his dishes. There was a note on the counter.

“Hope your reports are finally done. (If they are, why aren’t you in bed with me already?) The coffee maker is set to go for the morning, I thought you might need it. Miss & love you, XOX, Monica.”

He smiled, flipped off the light, and again walked into the darkness, this time towards the bedroom.

As he slid between the cool sheets, Monica rustled.

“Love you,” she said.

“Love you too,” Ellis whispered, settling his limbs amongst her familiar contours.

“Love you,” she repeated, and he realized her words were likely echoing from some deep dream.

“Love you too,” he repeated, once again smiling.

“Murder you,” she said.

He told himself it was just part of the dream.

Still, he didn’t reply.

After a moment the room’s silence was broken only by the couple’s rhythmic breathing.

June 5th

To celebrate the closing of The Michigan Deal, Ellis and Monica had spent a night dancing. Ellis had resisted at first, he had a long standing anti-dance policy, but Monica insisted, and the cut of her new red dress sealed the deal.

It was late by the time they’d returned home, and slightly later by the time they’d re-mastered how to use their door key. Floating past the entry closet on a cloud of daiquiris, Monica shooed away Mittens J., who’d begun to entwine himself around her leg.

Fixing Ellis with a wicked eye, she released the bonds of her dress.

An hour later Ellis was at the fridge, looking for something to help down the advil he hoped would proof him against the pain of the coming morning. Mewling his discontent, the cat slammed its head into his ankle, extravagantly massaging his calf with its neck.

Grabbing the Meow Mix from the top of the fridge, he located the feline’s dish and filled it to the brim.

Having downed the Advil with two mouthfuls of milk straight from the container, Ellis made his way along the hall to the bedroom, gently weaving, occasionally lifting a hand to the wall to straighten his course.

Finally managing a controlled crash onto the bed, he leaned over Monica, planting an awkward kiss on her temple. Her first response was to continue her whistling snoring, but after a moment a thought seemed to swim into her mouth from the depths of her slumber.

“I’ll gut you like a rotting catfish,” she said.

There was a brief stretch of silence as her gentle wheeze continued.

He decided to sleep on the couch.

June 8th

“I’m sorry, really, I don’t know why I’d say those things, but you know I love you,” she said, taking a long sip of her iced tea.

They’d ordered twenty minutes previous, but the smiling girl in the black apron had yet to return with their plates of cheese cappelletti. Still, Ellis was glad that the patio area of Bistro-nauts had remained empty for most of their discussion.

“Listen, I know, I feel like an idiot for worrying about it, but you’d be pretty freaked out if every now and then, while coming to bed, I informed you I was going to shiv you in the dark.”

“Just wake me up next time OK? I thought you were sleeping on the couch because you were mad at me for something, you really had me worried.”

The smell of baked cheese drifted to the table, their server close behind.

June 12th

Monica had spent another breakfast apologizing, departing for work with a kiss and a naughty promise for atonement.

Ellis dragged his slippered feet to the couch, lifting his phone to call Bill at the office. It was the third day in a row he’d begged off with a feeble excuse, and Bill, with a chiding tone, suggested he use up some vacation time.

Ellis agreed.

Turning off the cell entirely, he curled up on the plush couch cushions and pulled the scratchy woolen blanket over his head, hoping to blot out the bright morning.

Fifteen minutes later he snorted awake, tossing off the blanket and coming suddenly to his feet.

In his dream Monica had been standing over him in the living room, a black handled fillet knife in hand, muttering: “gut you, cut you, gut you, cut you, gut, cut, gut, cut,” – the chant that now filled the reality of his nights.

June 15th

There was nowhere within the apartment to escape to, and nowhere he wanted to be without the shining Monica of daylight.

He held her even as she murmured.

He’d tried the couch, ear plugs, falling asleep to music – the unknown had only pushed slumber further away.

In the shadowed bedroom he could see no horizon, no time before this period of endless fatigue, and certainly no end to it.

He shook her awake.

“Er, what?” she asked, her puffy face coming off her pillow.

“You were talking again,” he replied, the relief of hearing reason from her mouth nearly bringing him to tears.

“Jesus, Ellis, it’s,” she fumbled for the clock. “4 am! I’ve actually got to work in the morning you know.”

She rolled over.

June 17th

For nearly an hour, Ellis stood at the foot of the bed, Mittens J. Nelson kneading at his socked feet.

Earlier he’d spent an eternity on the mattress, Monica’s slurred words building a ball of tension in his stomach that eventually choked his lungs and brought the taste of bile to the back of his throat.

So he’d gotten up to leave – but his now regular exodus had been halted by a snort and change in the tone of Monica’s sleep muttering.

He’d waited, inwardly pleading for quiet, and, for an instant, he’d held the salvation of silence.

He squeezed his traveling pillow as a child embraces a teddy bear.

There was a grunting snore, and the spell was broken. A croaking toad’s tone drifted from the bed:

“Gonna rip you open, Ellis. Gonna mash your insides between my fingers like ripe bananas.”

It was too much for the fear and frustration rattling around in his sleep-starved brain. Seeing no escape, he’d frozen for that long hour, joined only by the cat.

Finally, a new idea took root, fertile in the muck of his brain’s fetid exhaustion.

Kicking away Mittens J., he adjusted his grip on the pillow.

He began to shuffle towards the bed.

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 018 – Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Part 3 of 3: The Irritable Pornographer

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Eighteen.

Tonight’s story, Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Pt. 3 of 3: The Irritable Pornographer

(Part 1Part 2Part 3)

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This episode is brought to you by Little Wing Children’s Things.

Founded by a stay-at-home Mom, Little Wing produces a wide variety of hand crafted items – including cloth diapers, slings, and bibs – all made with a philosophy that minimizes mess and maximizes environmental friendliness.

For product and ordering information search for Little Wing Children’s Things on facebook, email littlewingchildrensthings at yahoo.ca

Little Wing Children’s Things – providing the tender softness you want cradling your beloved kinder as you haul the needy bugger around.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we bring you the final entry in Mulligan Smith and the Digital Digit. In this episode Mulligan comes face-to-face with Peter Richards’ blackmailer – as well as a fist.

Flash Pulp 018 – Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Pt. 3 of 3: The Irritable Pornographer

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

It was late on Friday afternoon, and the warmth of the sun on Mulligan’s face had him longing for a nap.

“This doesn’t look much like a computer server room,” he said, shading his eyes and inspecting the view of the city through the sliding glass door. “Or, for that matter, a porn set.”

Mulligan had found the office in a re-purposed three bedroom condo on the ninth floor of a building whose interior was largely made up of mirrors, fake marble and senior citizens.

“We don’t have any servers on-site, we host internationally,” the bald man in the white and black button-down shirt replied. “This is our space to operate the front end, do design work, host meet and greets. You gotta love the view. All of our shoots happen offsite though, it’s more organic.”

“Bet you can meet and greet a lot of folks at once on a couch like that,” Mulligan replied, turning back to the former living room.

“Hey – we’re a respectable organization. My models are classy, in the pin-up tradition, none of that video with twenty pounds of rubber and a camera in their colon or anything.” The desk had been setup to dominate the room and Theo Melto, the bald man, spoke from deep within a heavy leather chair behind it.

“We?”

“Well, I’m the executive staff, I pay the talent and I write the checks for wardrobe – but I have five models working for me, and a tech monkey who looks after the servers, does the site design and such.”

Melto leaned forward, stroking his salt and pepper beard.

“You said you were a investigator. I figured you wanted to ask me about one of the ladies. Couple years ago I had a girl whose Dad sent a guy out from Ohio to come track her down after she’d run off. Fine. I’m a business man, I’m more than happy to help you out, but you’ve got to understand that I can’t give out the real names of the girls to just anyone – and there’s also the the expense of losing a valued employee to consider.”

Mulligan unthinkingly jiggled the clasp of his zipper and nodded throughout the man’s speech. As Melto finished, the PI dropped onto the champagne-coloured loveseat across from the desk.

“Are you aware that one of your models, Baroness Ludmilla Anastasia, AKA Joanie Melons, AKA Sensational Nancy Knickers, AKA Margaret Templeton, has multiple locations on her site in which she coaxes her members to send in pictures of their members?”

“Sure, all the girls’ sites have basically the same thing on ’em. Helps community building and makes the guys feel like they’ve got a connection to the girls. We usually send out a canned response about how hot it was, and print out the hilarious ones for the back of the design room.”

“At least one of those pictures has been linked to ongoing blackmail. Seems like terrible customer service for such a respectable organization.”

“What?” Melto’s lips tightened, his neck reddening. “Wait a minute while I get Nicole out here.”

He stood and stalked down the short back-hall, pushing open the last door on the right.

It slammed behind him.

Moments later he exited, heading immediately into the washroom. A woman in her early twenties followed as far as the hall. She crept into the office area, a manila folder clasped tightly to her “Pabst Blue Ribbon” t-shirt, her eyes never leaving the carpet.

“Hi,” she said, her face hidden behind her bobbed hair.

Mulligan sighed.

When the proprietor finally returned, the red of his neck had seeped across his face.

“My spider-sense is telling me you’re concerned about your business here. My client, Peter Richards, just wants the pictures destroyed and his money back,” Smith said.

Melto stayed silent, his damp hands rhythmically clenching.

The woman hefted the file folder onto the desk and the trio gathered around its splayed contents.

“Look at that view. Look at the quality of that wood. That’s gotta be quite a desk in quite an office – guy getting paid like that shouldn’t be whipping it out on the clock,” Nicole the tech monkey said, brushing aside some errant hair. “Doesn’t help that he sent it from his work address.”

“How could you do this? I gave you a job! I’m your friggin’ Uncle!”

As he shouted, the smut-peddler’s hands continued to throttle a neck that wasn’t there.

“Probably because you didn’t pay her enough,” Mulligan said, stepping between them. “You’ll be paying now though – my client, specifically.”

“Why would I do that? I wasn’t involved in this.”

Mulligan smiled and said, “because-”

Melto hit him in the face.

It was an awkward punch, off balance and poorly planned. Smith rocked back to soften the blow, then returned the favour with an open handed slap. It was always Mulligan’s preferred reponse when exchanging limbs with an amateur: a punch might hurt, but it would also likely anger – a slap brought on only tears.

The bald man began to well up immediately, snot sliding into his beard.

Massaging his jaw, the PI continued:

“Are you aware that ‘The Baroness’ is afraid of being carded while buying smokes? Better yet, are you familiar with the laws of the land regarding the depiction of the genitalia of a minor?”

Mulligan thrust his throbbing hand into his pocket.

“Fire your tech girl and pay Richards from your own wallet. A few folks are going to be by on Monday to double check your employee headcount, and it would be a shame if someone were to feed them a detailed history justifying the fat severance you’re going to be paying the model you had to let go over the weekend.”

Mulligan zipped his hoodie.

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 017 – Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Part 2 of 3: The Baroness

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Seventeen.

Tonight’s story, Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Pt. 2 of 3: The Baroness

(Part 1Part 2Part 3)

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This episode is brought to you by Flash Pulp on iTunes.

Wouldn’t you like to break up the chain of Ray Parker Jr. songs constantly repeating on your ipod? Just gotten enough of Depeche Mode? My Chemical Romance have you all cried out? Why not subscribe to Flash Pulp on iTunes. Crank your playlist up to eleven.

You can find the feed at Skinner dot fm, or via the itunes’ podcast search.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we rejoin private investigator Mulligan Smith, hot on the trail of the woman alleged to be blackmailing his client.

First though, we’d like to send out a quick note to those who have subscribed via iTunes and joined the Flash Pulp facebook page. Many thanks.

Flash Pulp 017 – Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Pt. 2 of 3: The Baroness

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

Mulligan found the girl in a trailer park on the outskirts of Capital City.

He’d spent the bottom of his morning in a Starbucks with his laptop, researching “Baroness Ludmilla Anastasia”, and attempting to shield his results from other customers.

There’d been no personal information available, which, given her vocation, the PI had expected. Eventually he’d located a contact number for the company that maintained her website, Melto Productions. After name dropping a police commissioner, he’d eaten his lunch while waiting out the hold music, until, finally, an aggravated man had come on the line and barked out her agent’s phone number.

Mulligan hadn’t bothered to call – the reverse directory gave up the address easily and shortly there-after he’d scooped the keys to the Tercel and snapped shut his notebook.

Twenty-five minutes of driving later, he found himself nosing the baby blue clunker along the uneven pavement of Elm Terrace. As he pulled up to his destination, he noted a rangy twenty-something in red Adidas track pants had stepped to the double-wide’s screen door.

“Yeah?” the man in the bright pants asked.

“Name’s Smith.” Mulligan, weighing his approach, opted to apply some angular momentum to the truth. “I work with the police. I need to speak with your girlfriend.”

He stepped onto the homemade porch. “Immediately.”

It wasn’t the inclusion of the police that the investigator thought of as a gamble, he was on first name terms with most of the uniforms working the east side of the city. The real risk was in assuming the guy was so small time he was living and sleeping with the talent.

“Hold on,” Agent-Boyfriend said, disappearing into the darkened interior.

Her website had largely featured pencil skirts and crisp-rimmed glasses, so when a teen in a white tank top and sagging grey sweatpants bounced down the iron step and onto the plywood patio, Smith had to take a moment to re-imagine her in work attire.

“HEY BILLY-” Her raspy voice rocketed into the shadows behind the screen. “You wanna go get me some smokes?”

Mulligan momentarily wondered if Billy, no doubt eavesdropping, had any eardrums left.

“The hell, why don’t you go get ’em yourself?”

“You know that douche-canoe counter jockey always cards me.”

There was a pause from within.

“Fine.”

Agent-Boyfriend slammed through the door, across the deck, and into his Honda Civic. After a moment of fighting with the ignition, the hatchback roared away from the cement slab that made up the home’s front yard.

“Now that he’s gone, we can talk,” she said, pulling a cigarette from the elastic depths of her cotton pockets.

Mulligan’s fingers plucked a lighter from his jeans, sparking the flint and applying it to the girl’s dangling addiction.

She continued:

“You’re here about the pictures, right? I’ll tell you straight up that I don’t have them. I don’t want any trouble, and I don’t want to hear any whining about your Wife or Boss either. I can’t help what you did.”

“I’m actually a private dick, here on behalf of a client,” Smith replied.

“Oh, things must be getting serious. You don’t really look like the kind of guy who takes pictures of his junks and mails them to people anyhow.”

“If people are emailing you pictures of, uh, their junks, but you’re not getting them, who is? Your agent?”

“Billy? Hell no, that jackass still uses a pager. A friend of mine got us all set up with the agency, and our site. Maybe it’s old Theo, the guy who owns the whole thing, who’s actually getting the money.”

Mulligan nodded, thanked the girl for being so forthcoming, and turned back to the Tercel.

“Hey,” the girl said. “That was some pretty big help I just handed you – if you manage to find the one running the scam, will you let me know?”

She took a long drag, exhaling through her nose and mouth simultaneously. Her eyes took on some of the hard countenance that was so familiar to her fans.

“I figure I deserve a cut.”

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 016 – Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Part 1 of 3: The Busy Husband

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Sixteen.

Tonight’s story, Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Pt. 1 of 3: The Busy Husband

(Part 1Part 2Part 3)

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This episode is brought to you by the Flash Pulp facebook page.

Find farmington-ville-town lacks a little something?
Does fake fish trading leave you cold?
Tired of people demanding your pseudo-fruit & treasure?

Then come join the Flash Pulp fan page: a convenient excuse to not harvest virtual grapes for that Uncle you never talk to in real life.

Your compliance is appreciated.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – 400 to 600 words brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Tonight’s episode marks the beginning of a week’s worth of adventure with the hooded PI, Mulligan Smith.

In this opening chapter, Mulligan awaits the necessary components for a proper coffee, as well as the facts of his case.

Flash Pulp 016 – Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Pt. 1 of 3: The Busy Husband

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

It was quarter after nine in the morning, and Mulligan was seated at the deep end of an expansive maple dining table.

As he’d staggered up the walk he’d passed two uniformed school children, and once inside he’d found himself sitting across from the remains of their breakfast – rogue mini-wheats and toast crumbs littered the hardwood.

Over the wreckage, a bald toddler glared at him, its round face leaning forward, its eyes tightened into accusatory slits. The stark white walls were windowless and unadorned, making it difficult for the PI to do anything but return his stare.

The woman who’d met him at the door frequently popped in and out of the room, occasionally taking a single dish and dropping a comment from her scattered internal dialogue.

She re-materialized, placing a mug of coffee at Mulligan’s hand.

“He should be down any moment,” she said.

The woman took a long look at the cup.

When the drink had been offered, about twenty minutes previous, Smith had responded to her questioning by letting her know that he generally enjoyed two tips of milk and a pinch of sugar. Now he waited out the pause, opting not to mention his currently uncut beverage.

“Oh.” The woman said, lifting a coaster from the decorative-heap atop the nearby sideboard, and sliding it under his mug.

Nodding, she turned back to the kitchen.

Mulligan cleared his throat.

“Sorry, could I trouble you for a bit of milk and sugar?” he asked.

“Oh. Certainly.”

As she once again began to disappear through the adjoining arch, a series of clicks and thuds drifted down the staircase.

She glanced at the landing, then scuttled from the room.

Perfectly coiffed, Peter Richards, the client, descended the stairs.

Nudging aside the toddler – who seemed no happier to see his father than he’d been to see the PI – Richards pulled out the chair across from Mulligan. There was an awkward moment as the new arrival attempted to find an undampened surface on which to rest his cuffed wrists.

“Good morning,” the businessman in the well cut suit said.

“Good morning,” the investigator in the black hoodie replied.

Reappearing at the doorway, the woman now balanced an overflowing bowl of Cheerios in her right hand, and another cup of black coffee in her left. Taking the measure of the room, she dropped the Cheerios at Smith’s end, the coffee at the other.

“You’ve met my wife?” Peter asked.

The woman fled the room.

“Yes, she seems – well intentioned,” Smith replied, eying his spoon-less cereal.

“Indeed, indeed.” Richards inspected his coffee briefly, then pushed it away.

“Listen,” Mulligan said, leaning over his bowl. “You look like the kind of fella who packs a lot into a day, and I don’t think my hanging around is doing your wife much good. I got your fax with the contract, let’s just get to the basics of what I’m looking at and we can fill in the details as I need them.”

“Fine.” The suited man set aside the blackberry he’d begun to thumb at.

“It began two weeks ago,” As his client spoke, the PI looked about for something to use in place of his missing cutlery. Amongst the sideboard’s decorative plumage he located an over-sized bit of silver, a gravy ladle, that he found quite effective. “I was involved in an email exchange with a woman who -”

The child across the table had received a revelation: no one was paying him any attention.

“HOOOOOOOO,” he shouted in retaliation.

Casting about the maple, his father located one of the escaped mini-wheats and thrust it into the boy’s mouth.

“As I was saying,” Richards began.

“HOOOOOOOO,” the boy interrupted, wheat mush running down his chin.

Mulligan, having tunneled his way through a patch of the Cheerios, scooped some of the sweet cereal run-off into his mug. Standing, he handed both bowl and ladle to the toddler, who cracked a smile in exchange.

With the room once again silent, the client cleared his throat.

“I had the situation in hand…,” his explanation was interrupted this time by his wife, whom neither man had noticed once again at the doorway. She began to cry hysterically, her birdlike body shaking with the sobs.

“No, I mean…,” he started, but she had already pulled the child free of its prison and run up the mahogany staircase.

The well dressed man stood.

“Look, I need to deal with this. The woman blackmailing us is ‘Baroness Ludmilla Anastasia’, just google it.”

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 015 – Joe Monk, Emperor Of Space – The Music Library

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Fifteen.

Tonight’s story: Joe Monk, Emperor Of Space – The Music Library

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This evening’s episode is inspired in part by Shunn.net.

Ever wondered how a relatively mild-mannered writer might be compelled to join an international group of religious zealots, only to be expelled from a foreign nation after threatening to bomb a major airline?

Find William Shunn’s memoir, ‘The Accidental Terrorist’, and much more, at Shunn.net.

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 introduce a new character to the line up, Joe Monk, Emperor Of Space. In this episode we see some of Joe’s humble beginnings, in a time before his ascension to the throne.

Flash Pulp 015 – Joe Monk, Emperor Of Space – The Music Library (Part 1 of 1)

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

Joe Monk was laying tracks across the great big black, and at the heart of his U.S. steel nest, he was rocking out.

Given that his speed approximated that of light, it was difficult to see him coming. Still, before take off many had remarked that the ship looked like nothing so much as an egg balanced atop a Lego brick.

Monk himself was unaware of this – he’d been but an infant at the time of lift off.

His ride was powered by a thousand mile wide force net maintained by computers capable of hundreds of calculations a second. The ship utilized the Sagan effect to cause thrust, dropping tiny universal nuclei in its wake – seeds that immediately burst into Small Bangs. The leading edges of these universes were caught up in the ship’s net, forcing the craft through the emptiness like a rising tide, before they collapsed under the crushing counter pressure of the energy absorbent mesh.

By the age of nineteen he’d grown quite bored with the ship’s catalogue of music – he’d spent too many long evenings crawling the tape library from end to end, even the two hundred hours that must have seemed endless to ground researchers could not sate him.

Still, with no alternative, he often found himself listlessly shuffling the spools just for background noise, until even his beloved Edwinn Starr was wearing thin.

At the age of twenty-two he forced an embargo on himself and re-programmed the music library’s door to lock for six months.

It was two weeks before his twenty-fourth birthday when he finally spotted the typo in the punch card source code, a bug that would leave the door locked not six months, but six years.

So he waited.

Time passed, slowly. He spent more time in the movie room, re-watching Astaire and Rogers’ flicks. He liked them well enough, but he wished the music librarian had talked more with the film librarian, as the two seemed universes apart.

By the time he was twenty-eight he’d fallen heavily into what had been originally intended as the bulk of the ship’s entertainment, the microfilm library. He was wandering the halls, the telescopic end of a portable reader held to one eye, when he heard a thick metallic click.

Setting aside the tale about a lippy detective, he cocked an ear.

He knew the rhythmic hum of the engine, the gentle fuzz of the life support and air conditioners, the tick-tack of the automated help and repair drones that occasionally took a shortcut through his area on their way to the functional portion of the ship – but this sound was wholly new to him.

It did not repeat.

It took him the better part of the afternoon poking around the hallway, in and around the vents, tapping on walls, entering and exiting supply closets and half forgotten spaces – usually full of children’s toys – before he unthinkingly tried the door to the music library.

It popped open at his touch.

The tears of a religious experience began to roll down his cheeks.

He stepped into the room and sank into the leather rolling chair. He hefted the headphones, re-adjusted their size, then pulled the thickly padded ‘O’s over his ears.

His fingers worked from muscle memory, cracking the cannister and lacing up the dual reels.

At a high, brassy volume, Edwinn Starr opined on war, and its worth.

Joe began to rock out.

Unheard over the roar, the computer spoke allowed for the first time in four years, delivering the words its occupant had been waiting to hear for nearly thirty.

“Touch down in t-minus three days, six hours, twelve minutes, forty-one seconds, and counting.”

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 014 – Mulligan Smith and The Retired Man

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Fourteen.

Tonight’s story: Mulligan Smith and The Retired Man

Flash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp014.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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

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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.

In this episode, we present another tale of Mulligan Smith. Tonight, the PI searches for a certain Mr. Johnson, at a busy eatery.

Mulligan Smith and The Retired Man – Part 1 of 1

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

It was a public place, but a private booth. The old man had visited this McDonald’s every day for nearly three years. His heart was bad, so he rarely ate any of the grease that came over the counter, but he’d mostly acclimatised himself to the coffee, and he enjoyed the occasional muffin.

Well – in truth he hated the cheap food, the cheap coffee and the cheap seating, but in the mornings it was relatively quiet and he missed being around people.

The newspaper lay dead on the table, split open and abandoned, a few rogue caffeine drops causing inky blots amongst the paragraphs.

The day’s news had been forgotten when the lanky man in the black hoodie dropped himself onto the booth’s opposite bench, interrupting the old man’s two-sugar-two-milk dessert.

“Mr Johnson?” the interloper said, unzipping his sweater.

“Who are you?” Johnson replied, giving his thick gray moustache a quick rub to shake loose any bran crumbs that might remain.

“It’s funny, if you ask enough people if they are who they are, you start to notice patterns. People only respond with a question of their own if they are in fact the party being inquired about – so – it’s nice to meet you Mr. Johnson, my name is Mulligan Smith.”

“Mulligan?” The old man panned his eyes around the room while he talked. “Is that your actual name? Isn’t a mulligan a do-over in golf?”

“My Dad’s name was John Smith, and he hated the generic sound of it. He also happened to love the PGA tour.”

“I see, I see.” The old man’s search came up empty, and he sank into the vinyl cushion. “How can I help you?”

“Well, first you can stop looking for a guy to hit me with a wrench. Most of the folks look like they’re in here just trying to grab Saturday breakfast, not to watch a man being beaten bloody. Second – I thought you were supposed to be a clean man since your stroke?”

The old man coughed.

“Yes… well, I’ve heard many stories of the man I was supposed to be before my episode – usually from people who drop in on me unexpectedly, without invitation, and without the best of intentions.”

“Ahh, well, there’s where you’ve got me wrong. It’s my job to show up unexpectedly and without invitation, but I never have anything but the best of intentions.” Mulligan reached into his sweater, pulled a thick envelope from an interior pocket.

“Just what is your job?”

“Private investigator mostly, although at the moment I’m moonlighting as a pediatrician.”

He slid the package across the table.

“Congratulations! It’s a boy! Hope you can remember the number for a decent lawyer.”

“What?”

Mulligan stood, re-zipping his hoodie.

“Your memory of the last couple of decades may be shot, but there’s a lady in Miami named Candy Millions who sure recalls your time together.”

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 013 – Say It Ain't So, Part 1 of 1

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Thirteen.

Tonight’s story: Say It Ain’t So

Flash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp013.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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This evening’s episode, and every episode of Flash Pulp, is partially inspired by Marvelous Bob.

Google it.

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 a tale of science fiction, originally published on 365Tomorrows.com. It’s a story of high level corporate maneuvering in a not so terribly distant future, a story which opens with a simple question of identity.

Say It Ain’t So – Part 1 of 1

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

“So, are ya?” He’s maybe twelve, wearing blue shorts and a Mexico City Raptors t-shirt, a leg up on the wrought iron patio fence. My lobster is getting cold.

“What?” I ask.

I realize he’s holding up a thin rectangle the size of a credit card, alternating his squints to get the thing’s picture to match my face.

“CEO Benjamin “Crush ‘Em” Hinton?”

I remember signing off on licensing my likeness to FlatMedia last May, but I hadn’t seen the cards in the wild.

I ignore him.

That might have been the end of it, but a serving girl swings by my table.

“Your bill, Mr. Hin – Ben.” She says, smiling uncomfortably.

That’s what I get for flirting with the wait staff.

“It IS you! Could ya sign my card?”

He thrusts a red stylus and the card at me. I accept, mostly just interested in checking out the cheap display on the back. There’s a rundown of my resume; schooling, management experience, time spent on corporate boards.

I tap on New Youth Limited. Not much my rookie year, but the second I was apparently one of “The Resurrection Seven”, a voting bloc that saved N.Y.L. by moving from chemical processes to genetic engineering. I remember the vote, but I don’t recall anyone using the snazzy nickname.

Sliding through the listings, I notice some of them have been marked up in a child’s block script, often with arrows pointing to individual entries, things like: “Bob may have had seniority, but not the votes!”

“Anywhere?” I ask.

“Sure!” He says with a sloppy grin.

I tap the pen icon.

“Is it true that you punched Director Jules Wilson?”

“Heh, yeah. I mean, Wilson always came in drunk, but he messed up my presentation of that quarter’s preliminary financials – by the time he started pawing at Kathy Reed, I was just looking for an excuse.”

I look up, wondering if I’ve said too much for a kid his age, but he seems to be eating it up with moon eyes.

“You ever gonna work somewhere huge like Kalstock again?” he asks, face imploring. I give a quick scribble with the stylus and hand him back his card.

“Maybe.”

His saucer eyes begin to droop.

“Hey,” I quickly add, “I mean, there’s talk that Kalstock may revisit their policy and have me back for another term, but it’s hush hush.”

He brightens. I imagine him lording the harmless secret over his friends for a week.

“Tedward says you got lucky with the Talibi Merger because CEO Norma Donald was kicked by Talibi’s oversight expert system. I think he’s a craphead. You’re so smart you must have done something.”

I smile, mentally re-living my best maneuvers.

“I bought shares in a number of Talibi subsidiaries using various fake names and then put out a lot of crosstalk showing a lack of stockholder confidence. The system got nervous. I paid good money to insert low numbers into that week’s financial reports, and the system went to red alert. Things would have been fixed as soon as they saw the next round of numbers, but I used the whistleblower hotline to point out a lie on Norma’s resume involving her university rowing team. With so much bad happening so suddenly, the computer thought the world was ending and booted Norma – the only one who understood Kalstock’s real intentions.”

The kid’s smiling the whole time I’m talking, but as I finish he turns and waves to someone. That’s when I see the New Youth product watermark on the back of his neck.

Without looking at me he says:

“Mr. Hinton – Carl Nochek, special agent for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Benjamin Hinton, it is my duty to inform you that you are under arrest.”

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 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)

Flash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp012.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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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.