Welcome to Flash Pulp, special episode eight.
Tonight we present, SE8 – Heckuva Job, Part 1 of 1.
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Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.
Tonight, we present Heckuva Job, a tale of generational conflict which does not quite fit the Flash Pulp universe.
Flash Pulp SE8 – Heckuva Job, Part 1 of 1
Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May
The majority of the ten foot by ten foot room was taken up by a round table, which was surfaced in a light brown faux-wood veneer. Randall tugged at his tie, pulled the collar of his shirt away from his sweat-slicked skin, and wished that Warren would deign to loosen his own knot, so that the younger man might be excused such a level of informality as to actually take the bloody thing off.
Randall was not a fan of ties in general.
The crisp necked Warren was standing before the wide whiteboard that occupied the wall opposite the door, a dry-erase marker in his hand.
“We need to be inclusive if we want to get this package passed,” he said.
Randall was also not a fan of the condescension his senior allowed into his voice while discussing their work – the younger man had little respect for authority gained through simply aging.
Warren continued. “You’ve let yourself get too single minded, and now there’s nothing to be done at all about the dog murdering.”
“I don’t believe it counts as homicide if its in the name of population control,” replied Randall. “I think it’s considered balanced against the miserable lives they’d lead as street mutts and whatnot.”
It seemed that Warren paid no heed to his response. Tutting, the codger tapped the capped end of the blue dry-erase against his chin, and stared down the diagram he’d sketched.
“What if we add some rabid beasts at the top of the hill?” he asked.
Being ignored infuriated Randall.
“Why don’t we add a laser, and a bunch of leeches, and a weeping corpse? I’ll tell you why, because none of those things are necessary. Look at this crap – a rock? A hill? What year is this? I say we requisition a bus, a bunch of rope, and a squad of flaming eyed demon children with tinkling laughter, and let’s get this project greenlit.”
Now Warren’s face had also taken on a red tint; his greatest point of annoyance was impudence, of which his junior partner never appeared in short supply.
“You think you can come in here and simply ram this process through with your ridiculous ideals of streamlining? There is a craft – a technique – which one so fresh as yourself ought to consider before providing such cheeky commentary.”
Warren did ease his tie then, but Randall had forgotten the heat, and instead let loose his tongue.
“Fine, but there are also RULES to be considered – perhaps, given your advanced age, your shriveling frontal cortex has misplaced them.” He fought to deliver the line coolly, but his raggedly chewed fingernails left a constellation of bloody crescents across the meaty flesh of his palms.
“In my time here, I have forgotten more about the art than you’ll ever manage to cram into that underdeveloped cranium.”
Neither side willing to continue the conversation, both shifted their position and located items of interest to stare through; Warren at the whiteboard, Randall at the pockmarked plateau of the table.
The junior of the pair found some satisfaction in spitefully removing his neck-ware. Eventually, however, he could no longer stand the silence.
“Do you ever – have you ever considered that someone may have designed this room as well?” he asked.
“Oh, I can assure you,” Warren replied, “this is certainly my Hell – brainstormed, no doubt, in whatever tiny office-cell they’ve stuffed Hitler himself into.”
Randall’s shoulders slumped.
“Fine,” he said, once again reaching for the black length of silk he’d set down. “So he pushes the rock up the hill and it rolls back down every time. I’ll get the manuals and see if euthanizing dogs for the SPCA tallies as a sin.”
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