Category: Mulligan Smith

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

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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.”


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 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:](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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

Let’s find out.


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 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:](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 When you’ve got to throw out a porn addict hillbilly who’s been squatting in your friend’s apartment, it’s
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 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:](Click play to listen or subscribe via libsyn RSS or iTunes)

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Tonight’s episode is brought to you by – 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 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:](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 The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.