Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Seventy.
Tonight, we present Mulligan Smith and The Homecoming, Part 1 of 1[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp070.mp3]
This week’s episodes are brought to you by the piratical talk of Captain Pigheart.
As the Captain himself once said: “Within ye may discover the valiant nature of meself (and a select number of me crew) as we face the vilest foes upon the open waves. I brings ye tales o’ battle with giant terrapins, a colossal crab, the tender love of a mermaid, terror from the skies, fear from below, the dangers o’ poppy, the joys o’ rum and much much more…”
Find it all, and more, at CaptainPigheart.com
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 once again present a tale of Mulligan Smith, as the PI gives a friend a lift home.
Flash Pulp 070 – Mulligan Smith and The Homecoming, Part 1 of 1
Billy Winnipeg stood, his back to the white curtained wall. His nose was leaking blood, and he could feel swelling beginning in his sprained left ankle.
Popping his knuckles, he eyed the two approaching men. He knew he was lucky that the pair hadn’t jumped him already; they would have been quicker about it if it wasn’t for the wreckage strewn around the room, and the groans of the incapacitated on the floor.
Running his forearm across his face, Billy was grateful that the place had at least emptied out quite a bit once he’d made his bellowing declaration of aggression.
He hated pummeling family.
* * *
Billy and Mulligan had driven the 500 miles of road from Montreal to Winnipeg’s home in record time. At first the big man had asked to make every possible stop: road side eateries, bathroom breaks, coffee, scenic look outs; anything with a sign. As they’d grown closer to their destination, however, the mountainous Canadian had insisted on speed.
Smith’s patience with the rambling hurricane had been growing short, but he’d had no interest in pushing the Tercel to the limit only to have some podunk Canuck officer pull him over and discover a wanted man in his car.
“Look,” the PI had opened, “I’m going to give you a lift home, and I’m probably going to end up having to waive all my fees as your Mom hasn’t called me in days, but I’m about done breaking laws on your behalf.”
“I’ve never broken a law that didn’t deserve to be,” Winnipeg had replied.
“What about clobbering your Mom’s boyfriend?”
“All right, I did that, but he deserved it.”
“- and the car he says you stole?”
“I don’t know nothing ‘bout that. I wouldn’t want that friggin’ clunker anyhow. That’s why he deserved it.”
“What about that cop bar you leveled back in Capital City?”
“Abortion is a woman’s right to choose. Fellas, (especially officers of the law), oughtta have a little more respect in the way they carry on in a public place.”
Mulligan had let the speedometer do the talking from there on.
* * *
Winnipeg knew it wasn’t going to end well as far as he was concerned. He’d already had it out once with his Mother’s beau, Tony Bathis – who he refused to call anything but Mr Bathis – and two years previous he’d seen Uncle Mitch lift a full grown cow from the ditch, where it’d broken its leg, using nothing but his massive arms and gumption.
Billy eyed his Mom, in her white dress, and felt a moment of regret.
Seeing his son-in-law’s distraction, the groom rushed him.
Mulligan stepped into the reception hall, a slurpee in his hand.
“You’ve ruined the most important day in your Ma’s life!” Uncle Mitch said, approaching with arms extended to get a hold on his rogue nephew.
“You said that last time she got married.” Winnpeg replied, busy in an awkward grapple with her new husband.
“You can’t go round stealing cars and beating folks up, Billy.”
“Hey,” Mulligan said. There was a brief pause to the combat, and Uncle Mitch stopped short of his objective. “I just got off the phone with the police, we got the whole car thing cleared up.”
The Winnipeg family were brought to a halt, although Bathis continued to struggle in Billy’s grip.
“Cleared up?” Mitch asked.
“Yeah, well, I guess that makes it sound a little easier than it was – see, after dropping off Billy here at the wedding, I headed over to the future residence of Mr. and Mrs. Bathis. You Canadians sure are trusting folks, the door was unlocked and everything. I thought I’d just poke on in and see if I couldn’t, you know, spread some flower petals around, or whatever, as a welcome back for the honeymooners. Funny thing about your wedding day, its the one time even an addict will leave their cellphone at home. I happened to see it out on the bedroom dresser, so I figured I’d give it a look-through.”
Bathis stopped struggling.
“Oh, I know it’s not any of my business, I hope you polite Canadian folk will forgive an American showing up and barging around like he owns the place, but I noticed a specifc set of digits that Tony here had dialed fairly regularly. I decided to see who was so interesting, and it happened to be a sweet voiced lady on the other end.”
Ma Winnipeg, her makeup having been mostly washed away by tears, stopped crying. All eyes were on Mulligan.
“Mosied on over after a reverse look-up, and, whammo, parked on the dead grass in the backyard was a 2003 Sunfire GT with the plates off.” Mulligan took a long draw at his coloured straw. “Your girlfriend seemed pretty mad that she wasn’t invited to the wedding, but the local police were happy to have a grand theft auto, or whatever you folks up north call it, off the books.”
There was a low growl from the head table, and the air was suddenly full of flower arrangements and half empty wine glasses.
Mother Winnipeg had brought herself to her full height, and Mulligan realized where his traveling companion had gotten his genes.
As Ma rolled up the sleeves of her wedding gown, Billy dropped his arms to his side.
He knew when to mind his own business.
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.