Category: Mulligan Smith

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 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.

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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 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 014 – Mulligan Smith and The Retired Man

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Fourteen.

Tonight’s story: Mulligan Smith and The Retired Man

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

Like Horror? Sure, we all do – but modern horror contains up to 75% more iso-Roth-inol than equivalent horror did even a decade ago. It’s well known that iso-Roth-inol is a dangerous neurotoxin that may lead to health risks such as watching Hostel, but what are we to do?

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That’s VintageHorror.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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.