Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and seven.
This week’s episodes are brought to you by the Bothersome Things Podcast
They’re just a couple of fellows looking to rub their audio love all over you.
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, Mulligan Smith must juggle friends, and goons, during a busy Christmas season.
Flash Pulp 107 – Mulligan Smith and The Wayward Son, Part 1 of 1
Mulligan was babysitting again, both on and off the job. He’d been surprised by the arrival of his politely volatile friend, Billy Winnipeg, who’d hitchhiked his mountainous frame across the border in order to visit for the Christmas holidays, and the PI’s nerves had worn thin at the constant social brush-fires that he was forced to stamp out in the Canadian’s wake.
Still, the bills didn’t stop for the yuletide, and Smith had grown fond of the functioning heating in his small apartment.
His current client’s major preoccupation was his layabout son. The thirty-something boy had spent his life expecting the comforts his moneyed father provided, but the elder Mr. Sanders had grown annoyed at watching his accumulated wealth wasted on aftermarket modifications to low-end hatchbacks.
Part of the problem was that Sanders senior refused to see his boy in his full dubious glory. Soon after taking up Junior’s trail, Mulligan realized that the man-child spent most of his afternoons watching pay-per-view, while filling the puckering mouths of his pot-head posse with delivered buffets of pizza and Chinese food – more sinister, however, were the implications he discovered that suggested the wayward offspring had had his hand in several local breaking-and-entering incidents.
Despite these tidbits, Smith was unable to convince his patron that the best solution was to simply cut the lad off from the estate’s largess, in an attempt to force the hooligan into an actual occupation. Instead, the man wanted him to root out the source of his son’s corruption; the bad apple he was sure was ruining the bunch.
The detective did not enjoy watching the man’s never-ending adolescence crash headlong into his mid-life crisis, but the strip clubs and dance bars which the younger Sanders choose to frequent made it difficult for Mulligan to wrangle his northern friend, who often took violent offense to the treatment of the females in both locations.
After narrowly avoiding being spotted by the unruly band when Winnipeg laid flat a boozed up middle-manager who’d pinched a peeler’s bottom, the PI had had an epiphany. Making a quick stop at a nearby costume rental shop, he’d turned Billy loose upon Park Hospital, in the guise of jolly St. Nick. It was his thinking that it was unlikely the touchy titan could find something worth engaging in a pummelling over amongst the sick, but, if he did, at least whomever might be the recipient of his wrath would already have medical attention close on hand.
Later that same day, Smith was pleased to discover that the web-mail password he’d stolen from his client’s rowdy dependant had finally turned up something usable. The heir-apparent had caught wind that his father had made a very large donation of electronics to a local charity, and that the entertainment equipment would be set up in a relatively undefended location.
So, on a blustering Christmas eve, Mulligan found himself in a darkened sitting area that had been freshly furnished with a massive television, high-end audio gear, gaming consoles, and a stockpile of blinking, chittering diversions. Although warm, the space was fronted on three-sides by glass, so that the majority looked out onto the garden, now blanketed in white.
The home had an alarm system, but Junior knew his business well enough to disable it before cracking wide the french doors that opened onto the snow covered patio. Smith watched silently, stooped low in the shadow of the couch, as the ringleader and two accompanying bottom-feeders let themselves into the room. His client’s son made a beeline for the TV, eagerly pulling tools from his pocket to help bring the behemoth down from its mounts.
Mulligan noted a rustling in the drapes that covered the wall perpendicular to the set, and was quick to stand and flood the area with light.
“I don’t think Dad’s going to forgive this one. I’ll make you a deal, you walk out of here quietly and I’ll do my best not to let the recording I’m making of this little meeting fall into the hands of the police,” he opened.
The two sidekicks turned to the man who’d brought them there, unsure of how to proceed.
Smith could see the fear in their leader’s eyes, but Sanders had watched Al Pacino’s Scarface on too many occasions to surrender so easily.
“I’ve got a better idea – how about we beat the crap out of you, find and destroy your evidence, then grab what we came for. Tomorrow, when Dad reads about this incident in the paper and you tell him I was involved, I’ll be sure to make you look like an idiot for suggesting it.”
Even if the hidden camera had been unable to pick up the burglar’s face, Mulligan was sure his client would recognize the boasting tone.
The thugs began to advance, their screwdrivers and pliers suddenly becoming instruments of imminent harm.
“I don’t -” Smith’s reply was cut short when a ten-year-old, driving an automated wheelchair, entered the room.
“Santa?” the boy asked, his wide-eyes staring beyond the shoulders of the gathered thieves.
During the discussion, Billy Winnipeg, in full Claus-regalia, had stepped from behind the curtain which had concealed his presence.
“A home for paraplegic children?” the hulking Kringle asked, his rough hands engulfing the two henchmen’s skulls before slamming them together. “- on Christmas Eve?”
The pair were too unconscious to answer.
Already having extracted his cellphone from a hoodie-pocket, Mulligan moved quickly to direct the confused boy away from the scene.
The red-faced Father Christmas approached the last man standing, one hand adjusting his beard, the other raised in a meaty fist.
“Ho, Ho, Ho,” he said, as the door clicked shut.
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.