Category: Flash Pulp

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)

Flash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp008.mp3](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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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)

Flash Pulp[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/skinner/FlashPulp007.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. 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.

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!