Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and seventy-four.
Tonight we present, Coffin: Once in a Blue Moon, Part 1 of 1.Download MP3
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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Geek Out! with Mainframe.
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’s scheduled presentation, Mulligan Smith and The Family Legend, has been postponed until Monday. We regret any inconvenience, heightened tension, or blood pressure increase, that this may cause. In its place, we offer up a not-so-shaggy dog story, as told by Will Coffin, urban shaman.
Flash Pulp 174 – Coffin: Once in a Blue Moon, Part 1 of 1
It was getting late – Bunny could tell, as the edges of her vision had started sprouting Chia Pet fuzz under the glazing of liquor she’d had time to drink.
“Maybe we oughtta pound bricks,” she said to Will.
Speaking was enough to throw her stability off wildly, and she found herself leaning heavily on the table for support.
“We’ll get you a glass of water first,” Coffin replied. With a hand-sign, he summoned the barkeep’s attention.
Dorset, prepared for the eventuality, made his way to their seats with a full cup, fresh from the tap, and a pair of Advil tablets.
Will nodded his thanks, and Bunny began to attempt to swallow the preventive medicine.
“When it gets to this point,” said Coffin, “you always sit there sipping like a bird. I just watched you nearly drown while consuming the better part of two large bottles of vodka, why does it take you so long to finish a tumbler of the most basic essential to human life?”
“It tastes weird,” she replied.
“Well, don’t rush anyhow, we’re waiting for someone.”
“It’s way past my bedtime.”
“If we were to head to the apartment right now, you’d just spend the next couple of hours watching TV anyway.”
“I gotta say g’night to Letterman. That cheeky #######.”
Coffin pulled back the sleeve of his leather jacket, exposing the watch underneath.
“Shouldn’t be long. I’ll tell you a bit of a story in the meantime.”
He cleared his throat, and she went on worrying at her beverage.
“Once there was a dog. Good, solid, family kind of dog. Little white mutt with curly hair and a love of napping on warm couches. One night, he’s following the ritual, waiting at the patio door after being out for the last time of the evening. Usually his master returns in five or ten minutes to let him back in, but this eve, unbeknownst to the canine, the human’s been sidetracked by a cable channel playing Bruce Lee’s Chinese Connection, and has fallen asleep in his La-Z-Boy.
“The pooch waits a while, but he starts to get a bit cold. He paces for warmth. Eventually, an hour in, he gets bored. It’s his first time loose this late, and there’s a whole range of nocturnal smells he has yet to experience.
“He wanders away from the deck, and under a broken board in the fence.
“At first he’s excited – a little dog in the big city after sunset. He’s trotting down the sidewalks, looking for someone to share his adventure with – or at least a trash can to raid – when he finds himself passing through a darkened park. He knows the place – the master’s kid takes him there sometimes when the boy is attempting to leverage his cuteness to talk to girls – but there’s something on the breeze that smells off to him.
“Suddenly, a naked man scrambles from the trees, running straight for him. Before the beast knows what’s happening, he’s been bitten on his right back-leg. Well, the mutt’s not interested in being some perverted homeless guy’s meal, so he bolts. Shaken, he retraces his steps home. His slightly panicked barking is enough to bring his master back to consciousness just at the film’s conclusion, and they both slink off to bed.”
“Fantastic,” said Bunny. “A story heartwarming enough to revive the ####ing Benji franchise, but I’m done my water – let’s go.”
Coffin ignored her.
“Things were fine for the next thirty days or so, but, while the four-legger was again outside dampening the rose bushes for the last time of the evening, he feels the old tooth-mark starting to itch. Then he realizes something is happening – it feels like the ground is falling away from him. He nearly throws up.
“Then he’s cold – and naked. He looks at himself, and he has two hands and two feet. He’s confused and scared – he can’t go back into his home, his Master will think he’s some nudist madman trying to burgle the place. He hops a few fences, and gets lucky: someone with a clothesline has left out a string of relatively-fitting laundry. Of course, he still needed somewhere to go, so he-”
Will paused as the door to the establishment swung open, and a sharp featured man with a head of curly white hair stepped in. The latecomer’s nostrils flared, tasting the odours of the room.
“Been a while,” said Coffin, raising his voice to cover the distance. Standing, he waved the new arrival to a nearby seat, and asked, “can I buy you a drink?”
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