Tag: murder

FC120 – Berry Boo Pickle Muffin

FC120 - Marmy Badger
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Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 120.

Prepare yourself for: The Hotel California Killer, chess cheating, cabin copying, corrupt cops, Carl’s Jr., and Auntie Grizelda

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Huge thanks to:

  • David “Doc Blue” Wendt (Applied GeekeryTwitter ) for his fantastic tale from The District!
  • Mobster Mildred (Twitter) for heading up the Culinary and Crafts Dept.! Find her postings over in The Mob!

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Audio-dacity of Hope:

  • Black Smoke by Jessica May
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    Backroom Plots:

  • FP421 – Back on the Road
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    Also, many thanks, as always, Retro Jim, of RelicRadio.com for hosting FlashPulp.com and the wiki!

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    If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at http://skinner.fm, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

    FlashCast is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

    FC111 – Time Travelling, Teleporting, Radioactive Mutants

    FC111 - Time Travelling, Teleporting, Radioactive Mutants
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    Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 111.

    Prepare yourself for: Unliving dolls, the Budapest smile club, the October 31, dill pickle vodka, and Tony Dibbs

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    Huge thanks to:

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      Mailbag:

    • Send your comments to comments@flashpulp.com!
    • Big thanks to Rich the TT, Zack Mann, & Mr. Harron for their commentaries – as well as Nutty, for coming out to the haunt and her promo work!
    • Where to leave FlashCast feedback, or Flash Pulp feedback, as per Janelle‘s demands.

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    Audio-dacity of Hope:

  • Check out the new items on the store!
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    Art of Narration:

  • Email Opop about Skinner Co. Ink at opopanax at skinner dot fm!
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    Backroom Plots:

  • FP402 – Tony Dibbs, Actual Psychic Cop
  • * * *

    Also, many thanks, as always, Retro Jim, of RelicRadio.com for hosting FlashPulp.com and the wiki!

    * * *

    If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at http://skinner.fm, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

    FlashCast is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

    FP391 – Coffin: Weakness, 6 of 6

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and ninety-one.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Weakness, Part 6 of 6
    (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6)
    [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp391.mp3]Download MP3

    (RSS / iTunes)

     

    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Bothersome Things!

     

    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 Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his roommate and apprentice, find themselves rudely rebutted by a nymph.

     

    Coffin: Weakness, Part 6 of 6

    Written by J.R.D. Skinner
    Art and Narration by Opopanax
    and Audio produced by Jessica May

     

    Anger, Will reflected, is supposed to be a young man’s game. No one takes a punk band over fifty seriously, and most aren’t interested in seeing two grandfathers beat each other bloody in a boxing ring – well, more than once.

    Yet, here at the edge of Lake Clark, with his boots wet and his eyes grimy from too much worry and too little sleep, Coffin was decidedly angry.

    Though he’d tried to convince himself it was having to depend on the pretentious owl to locate Jenny Greenteeth that was the source of his unrest, being so far from home had brought Will to finally admit, at least to himself, that it was the notion that his homicidal dead wife might suddenly be washed away like the spirits of the four drowned cadavers that had him agitated.

    The moment of truth did little to better his mood.

    CoffinNeither did the nymph’s reaction to his demand to surrender.

    Her tiny form had surfaced readily enough, but so distant from the shore as to be nothing more than a speck on the horizon.

    Jenny’s words had traveled well, however: “Gobble a chode you bloody Tin Star!”

    It was also fairly easy to guess which fingers she was waving.

    Coffin started to chuckle, and he recognized it as the same dry rattle Sandy had taken on before the end.

    He shrugged it off and reached into the black leather satchel slung at his side.

    Within lay a jeweled baton, atop which, to his apprentice’s eye, rode a tiny blizzard. The storm seemed held in place by several bands of gold laid across the clouds and snow in thin ribbons.

    A flick of the wrist brought a point to the occult tool, its base extending suddenly to the form a staff.

    From over his left shoulder, Bunny asked, “what in the Go-Go-Gadget #### is that?”

    “The Winter Scepter,” replied Will. “As far as artifacts go, this is actually a fairly recent ancient one. The telescoping does nothing but make it more portable, and it’s just clever metalworking, nothing mystical.

    ”Watch this though.”

    With a firm grip he pinned the water’s edge to the sand below, and the reaction was immediate.

    A wave of ice moving at a sprinting dog’s pace began to roll across the surface, and even as practiced a swimmer as Jenny could not outrun its frigid clench.

    It was a ten minute walk to the spot at which the nymph waited, her left arm aloft, mid-breaststroke.

    “Shoulda brought some ###damn skates,” said Bunny.

    Knowing full-well that her song would do nothing against Will’s defenses, Jenny replied, “taste Tartarus, frails.”

    There was the rage again, crawling up Coffin’s back and pulling his belly tight. His boot heel twisted in the snow and his fingers dug deeply into his pockets.

    Instead of a roar, however, his mouth formed the words, “I’m sorry.”

    Both women raised a brow in surprise, but he continued.

    “Given your history, trapping you tightly like this isn’t exactly something I’m excited about. I’m not saying you’re justified, but I understand your vendetta.”

    The algae upon her chin had begun to frost as Jenny replied, “are you giving a ‘this is going to hurt me more than it is you’ speech? Because it seems easy to be remorseful about how delicious the fish in your net are, and, after the last job I did for him, I’m sure the owl has no more patience for keeping me around.

    “Frankly, I would’ve rathered he did it himself, but, that’s never been that dainty fop’s style, so I’ve been left to die at the hands of lice.”

    “Actually,” said Coffin, as he leaned low into her vision, “what I do next is going to depend very much on how you answer this question: Were you responsible for the disposal of the phantoms on behalf of the Kar’Wickians, and, if so, how?”

    It was the first time Jenny had been in proximity of a non-drowning mundane human in hundreds of years, and she found she missed the other stupid faces the mortals made.

    “No, I’d love to drive you mad and claim I made them disappear, but really the spider children’s representative simply passed on that Abe and Tina would ‘clean things up.’”

    Standing, Coffin began to stride towards the distant rental car, but stopped to repeat himself.

    “I really am sorry.”

    Wonder had made the gathered emissaries careless, and it was clear even before he reached the shore that the treeline was brimming with wildlife come to witness his actions – which is why, when Wide Eye confronted him on the beach, the avian lord whispered.

    “You let her live!?” he demanded, his four wings in constant motion.

    Coffin shrugged. “You were so insistent that the last one was yours to deal with, I figured I’d leave you the pleasure. You’ve got about three minutes before the ice transmutes back to water.”

    To Will’s mind the owl, as much as the bird hated acting publicly, could try his luck with Jenny Greenteeth: There were no more questions of secret rituals or unknown magicks or an arcane plague – the shaman finally had names to blame for the spectral disappearances, and now the hunt could truly begin.

    He found himself whistling.

     

    Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

    Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

    Coffin’s theme is Quinn’s Song: A New Man, by Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com/

    Freesound.org credits:

    Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

    – and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

    FP389 – Coffin: Weakness, 4 of 6

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and eighty-nine.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Weakness, Part 4 of 6
    (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6)
    [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp389.mp3]Download MP3

    (RSS / iTunes)

     

    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Nutty Bites!

     

    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 Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, have an unpleasant discussion with an ancient owl.

     

    Coffin: Weakness, Part 4 of 6

    Written by J.R.D. Skinner
    Art and Narration by Opopanax
    and Audio produced by Jessica May

     

    “He was not yours to punish,” said Wide Eye, his double set of wing joints ruffling in agitation.

    Bunny, Coffin, and the owl were standing on the chill pavement of a highway rest area while the Phantom Ambulance’s bulk provided little protection from the prying spring wind.

    It’d been a long night, even before receiving the summons from the gray and white avian noble, and Will had no patience for watching the freshly appointed monarch preen and legislate while there were tasks at hand to be accomplished.

    “If not mine, whose?” asked the shaman.

    “Mine,” answered the animal lord.

    Dawn was breaking all around them, but Will could only think that a new day simply meant a new set of problems.

    He grunted, saying, “Blackhall was very clear about the nature of my office. Something Pisky and I had in common was a lack of interest in politics, and I think it helped us get along just fine. Don’t test the pacts and I won’t.”

    “Is it the nature of your office to let one beast go free while removing the sole purpose for another’s existence?” asked Wide Eye, his neck rotating to indicate the ambulance and its arcane driver while never taking his gaze from Will’s. “Your process strikes at me as – slipshod.”

    “My process will strike you, full stop, if you don’t quit wasting breath and get every chatty sea gull and nosey turtle under your command churning the waters for Jenny GreenTeeth.”

    The bird’s disagreement came in slow gusts of wind, but his words held the weight of a being who’d wielded legions of bestial spies and warriors over thousands of years.

    “He was not yours to punish.”

    Bunny, though eager to be home and in her bed, felt a need to add, “it was kinda ####in’ harsh.”

    Will turned to the trees, his fingers playing across the links of the silver chain that allowed his communication with the dead.

    Things had been simpler when he’d been left to talk with his corpses.

    Finally, he cleared his throat.

    “Harsh?” he asked. “Harsh is an immortal rapist who manipulates his victims, using powers literally beyond human comprehension, to convince them they really are interested in spontaneous unprotected sex with a stranger who has suddenly appeared in their bedroom – and nevermind the four bloated cadavers waving their hands in the air like they’re tied to weighted chairs at the bottom of a river.”

    There was a long pause as the trio watched the sun flood the horizon in red and yellow light.

    Coffin“These are indeed dangerous times,” replied Wide Eye. “Our every subject has its attention on the water’s edge. I will find Jenny GreenTeeth, and, when I do, it is likely best that I let the sort who castrates one monster, while begging rides from another, deal with the matter in your own barbaric way.

    “Still, you do not know where the missing spirits of the dead have gone, do you? As a courtesy I have posted watch at your wife’s resting place – just in case, you understand.”

    Even to Bunny’s achingly tired ears the words sounded vaguely of a honeyed threat. The matter of the missing remnants was as close to a raw nerve as Bunny had ever seen Coffin display, and she braced herself for fireworks.

    She could not have anticipated his reaction, however.

    “Before you question my judgement you’d do best to remember who put her there and why,” Will replied.

    The ride back to town was a silent one.

     

    Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

    Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

    Coffin’s theme is Quinn’s Song: A New Man, by Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com/

    Freesound.org credits:

    Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

    – and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

    FP245 – Mulligan Smith in Release, Part 1 of 1

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode two hundred and forty-five.

    Flash PulpTonight we present, Mulligan Smith in Release, Part 1 of 1.

    [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp245.mp3]Download MP3
    (RSS / iTunes)

     

    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Gatecast.

     

    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, private investigator Mulligan Smith unexpectedly returns to a client’s home to complete some paperwork.

     

    Mulligan Smith in Release, Part 1 of 1

    Written by J.R.D. Skinner
    Art and Narration by Opopanax
    and Audio produced by Jessica May

     

    Mulligan SmithMulligan couldn’t hear the crying, or the shouting, or the COPS narrator babbling endlessly from the forgotten television in the next room.

    The kitchen had grown small – smaller than any he’d ever been in, he thought – and his ears were filled with the pounding ocean; the blow of a hurricane; the hammering of some medieval blacksmith.

    His ears were filled with the sound of his heart, and the roar of his blood.

    “Oh boy, ain’t this embarrassing,” he said, pushing the words out to give his stomach some release from the urge to vomit.

    The man he was addressing, Christopher Gaskins, turned towards the private investigator. The former client’s eyes were wide.

    “Smith?” he asked in a tight voice. Gaskins wore a brown robe, its open front splitting the two halves of an ancient coffee stain. His only other attire was a simple pair of pinstriped pajama bottoms. His belly hung well over the draw string, and his chest hair was peppered with gray. There was a knife, a Ginsu, as ordered from an infomercial, tucked into the hip of his flimsy pants.

    “Yeah,” replied Mulligan, “you – you, uh, forgot to give me the code on the back of your credit card. I need it to process my fees, you know. I’m always forgetting to collect it.”

    The more he talked, the further the furious rumble receded, so that he was able to identify a new sound entering the room.

    Christopher’s lips were trembling, and his throat took on a hitching rhythm. A sharp-pitched wail rattled over the grout-and-tile counter tops, and echoed between the pans suspended above the cluttered island.

    The sight of a weeping middle-aged man was always disheartening to the detective, but the .308 hunting rifle Gaskins was holding would have been enough alone to dissuade him from attempting to comfort the armed man.

    As it was, Smith reminded himself not to let his gaze wander towards the stove, and took a step forward.

    “Might I guess that you’ve intentions on eventually swallowing that gun?” he asked. “I’ve delivered bad news before, I know how it is – it can feel like the world is ending, but there’s help to be had.”

    “Bad news?” replied Christopher. “This ain’t exactly learning you haven’t been promoted, or that dear Uncle Bill has died.”

    Mulligan was pleased to see the firearm’s barrel sag, despite the retort. His fingers dipped into his hoodie’s pockets.

    “No, it’s infidelity,” he said, as he attempted to adopt a psychiatrist’s smooth tone. ”I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to deal with, but it happens all the time. Your wife knew the guy had cancer – she, uh, went to that hotel with full knowledge that it was a one time thing.”

    “If it’s so common, why does it hurt so bad?”

    When Gaskins had first hired Mulligan, he’d seemed starstruck by the popular notion of what being a P.I. meant. Now, with no alternative, Smith decided to bluff with his profession’s worldly reputation. “It was obvious from our initial meeting that you’re a bit tightly wound. I mean, you thought it worth hiring me to see if Joan was a meth addict, and it was really only a coincidence that I stumbled onto her dead-guy fling.

    “It’s like that old Groucho line: “If I hold you any closer I’ll be in back of you.” Anything held too tight is bound to break. I’ve seen it all before, though, as I mentioned. Had a client try to jump off his apartment building’s roof one time. Poor bugger was thinking so unclearly that he didn’t even notice he’d lept towards the outdoor pool. He survived, but his half-bounce on the water’s edge was enough to leave him without the use of his legs. On the upside, he married his physiotherapist.

    “Now, my point is – and I don’t mean to be rude – you need a doctor, not a gun.”

    Christopher’s moist cheeks now carried rivers, and his ribs compressed between sobs.

    “Listen,” said Smith,”you’re hurt, anyone can see that – and anyone would want to assist you. Chris, you are sick, in a way you can’t deal with. Let me help. I’m going to walk over there and hug you. Shoot me or don’t.”

    Mulligan closed the distance and wrapped his arms around Gaskins, who was still holding the rifle across his chest.

    The barrel of the weapon, which was propped awkwardly between their shoulders, discharged as Smith touched Christopher’s neck with the stun gun he’d hidden in his hoodie’s wide sleeve.

    Gaskins’ body listed, and he dropped to the ground. Lowering himself onto one knee, Mulligan punched 911, nudged the .308 to a safe distance, and then flatly stated the street and house number. As Christopher began to mutter, he again pressed the crackling electrodes to the cuckold’s skin.

    The desire to gag had returned, and now there was less reason not to. He knew, however, that he had no choice but to address the pair of weeping children who’d huddled within the island’s cupboards for shelter.

    Beckoning them from their hiding spot, he moved to block the view of the stove.

    “You said Dad was sick?” asked the boy, who looked seven, and was only wearing billowing Chicago Bulls shorts. “Will he get better?”

    “Hopefully,” replied Smith, “but sometimes it takes a big pill, or a large needle, or a high-voltage electric shock, to start getting better.”

    “What about Mom?” asked the girl, a five-year-old in Toy Story pajamas.

    “Head out to my car, it’s the blue one in the driveway, and I’ll be right there to talk,” suggested Mulligan.

    As the blood flowing from Joan’s body continued to flood the linoleum’s ruts and grooves, the neighbourhood began to fill with sirens.

    Turning his head, Smith dialed down the oven’s burner, and, finally, the sizzling heart ceased cooking.

     

    Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

    Freesound.org credits:

    Text and audio commentaries can be sent to skinner@skinner.fm, or the voicemail line at (206) 338-2792 – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

    – and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

    FC48 – Sherlock

    FC48 - Sherlock
    [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashCast048.mp3](Download/iTunes)

    Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 48 – prepare yourself for owls, murder, a secret lover in the attic, Christmas, and Thomas Blackhall.

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    Show-notes to follow ASAP

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    Also, many thanks, as always, Retro Jim, of RelicRadio.com for hosting FlashPulp.com and the wiki!

    * * *

    If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at http://flashpulp.com, call our voicemail line at (206) 338-2792, or email us text or mp3s to skinner@skinner.fm.

    FlashCast is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

    191 – The Murder Plague: Open Hours, Part 2 of 3

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and ninety-one.

    Flash PulpTonight we present, The Murder Plague: Open Hours, Part 2 of 3.
    (Part 1Part 2Part 3)
    [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp191.mp3]Download MP3
    (RSS / iTunes)

     

    This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Shrinking Man Project.

     

    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, Harm Carter tries his hand at grand theft auto.

     

    Flash Pulp 191 – The Murder Plague: Open Hours, Part 2 of 3

    Written by J.R.D. Skinner
    Art and Narration by Opopanax
    and Audio produced by Jessica May

     

    The Murder PlagueAs we retreated to the relative safety of the trees, to try and find a reasonably comfortable patch of dirt to camp on before the light of the sun had fully abandoned us, I began to feel as if something was amiss – I thought it might be a wafting undertone on the breeze, or possibly just the aftershock of watching a fourteen year old stomp a grown man to death, but I was wrong on both counts.

    We slept fitfully, and rose eager to claim a vehicle.

    The first car alarm we tripped was the tensest moment of the morning. We must have disturbed a dozen more during our search, but, after the initial squawk, the lack of response gave us the confidence to quicken our pace – and, frankly, to begin to behave stupidly.

    Here’s what it boiled down to: you’re facing the door of a Dodge Grand Caravan. Is it locked? Well then smash the window with your trusty truncheon – I was using the butt of my unloaded pistol, which had largely only been an unpleasant souvenir up until that point. Is there a key under the floor mats? How about on top of the sunscreens? Are there some snacks in the glove compartment, or candy in the cup-holders? Great, search complete – now, choke down your sense of disappointment and move on to the next one.

    The only interruptions in the process came when occasional speeding travelers would enter from the west and exit to the east, never slowing in their progress along the highway.

    Given their consistency, following their lead seemed a safe bet once we finally found a conveyance.

    My theory was that it would be better to start near the meth-head’s body, and work our way towards the store. We wouldn’t have to approach the corpse after a long day in the hot sun, and it would also give Minnie a chance to forget her recent ordeal by throwing herself into the hunt.

    It was probably with that thought in mind that I kept myself from scolding Newton when he started to mess about, eventually setting the girl in one of the blue shopping carts and wheeling her in wide circles around the pavement.

    In truth, it was good to hear her laugh.

    By noon we’d run out of windows to smash, and had taken up seating on the Walmart’s curb, with bagged fertilizer, outdoor furniture, and tacky lawn ornamentation to our left, and silent Coke machines to our right.

    “Well, we may not have a ride yet, but there’s got to still be plenty to eat on the shelves,” said Newton. “Lots of daylight too, so hopefully we’ll be able to see all right. I call dibs on all the Pringles.”

    I’d been surprised by how intact the storefront had remained, and it seemed to promise sugary riches within. I also had it in my head that we might locate a few bicycles, but I was weighing the pros and cons of the idea, and didn’t want to mention it yet.

    Instead, I said, “before we consider any sort of junk food haze, we ought to finish searching the outside. There may be some sort of employee parking around back.”

    Newton licked his lips.

    “Great, but let’s move it along OK?” he replied, jumping up.

    His meaty hands wrapped about the steering bar of his cart of choice.

    “Your chariot awaits, madam,” he said.

    Minnie smiled, and allowed herself to be lifted into the buggy. As he set her down, the man’s thick arms made her appear even younger than she was.

    “You go towards the highway, and we’ll take the side closer to the trees,” he told me, and, before I could respond, they were off.

    Figuring he was hankering for a meal, and with the bedding department somewhat in my own mind, I returned to prowling.

    It was one of the few times I’d been alone since leaving my burning home.

    To my left was a fence, and, on the far side, the ditch that ringed the property. Beyond that lay a stretch of yellow-grassed turf, then the gravel shoulder of the highway. I was anxious to be on that road, but less so to be seen by anyone who might happen to be passing down it while I was so plainly visible.

    My sense that something was off reached a peak while I crept along the grey wall, and, as I came to the shop’s rear, I realized exactly what the source of my agitation was: An engine sound, on the roof of the building, which had been largely muffled by its position beside a metallic stack of inert air-conditioning units.

    I immediately guessed it as a generator.

    Better yet, my new view gave me an idea on how the thing was being powered – a large transport truck was backed partially into one of the loading bays, and sealed in with a crust of Mad Max-style fortifications. Un-constructed entertainment units, computer desks, and flat-panel televisions had all been salvaged for the task – the gaps were even sealed with re-purposed plush animals.

    It didn’t strike me as the work of a single person – and, if it was, it seemed too ill defended to be built by one of the paranoid infected. I would have expected barb wire, or a limb-removing booby-trap.

    A stuffed monkey grinned at me cheekily from the tallest portion of the barricade, and I returned his smirk.

    Excited to share my discovery with my traveling companions, I rounded the next corner.

    There, lying beside his upturned cart, was Newton. His neck looked as if it had been assaulted by pack of wild ferrets, the obvious work of an amateur butcher with a short, blunt, blade.

    Stooping, I closed his dull eyes. I owed him that much, at least, for bringing the greyhound to our rescue.

    Where was Minnie? Snatched by an unknown assailant? Or had she committed the act?

    Was she infected?

    I found myself afloat on a sea of questions, with no sign of hard answers to land upon – so I simply kept moving.

    Unsure of my objective, but feeling like I couldn’t just abandon the girl to a terrible fate, I followed the dollops of blood that moved steadily away from the deceased strongman.

    They marched directly to the building’s main entrance. I made efforts at stealth as I attempted to peer through the glass, at what might lie beyond, but as soon as I moved within range of the sensor, the automatic portal swept wide, revealing Minnie within.

    She stood at the center of the vestibule, with her right-forearm bloody, and the pilfered knife still in her hand. Through her tears, she screamed at me.

    “I had to! He tried – he -”

    Her explanation was cut short by a hiss, as the interior door also slid open.

     

    (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

     

    Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

    Text and audio commentaries can be sent to skinner@skinner.fm, or the voicemail line at (206) 338-2792 – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

    – and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

    189 – Gag: a Collective Detective Chronicle, Part 1 of 1

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and eighty nine.

    Flash PulpTonight we present, Gag: a Collective Detective Chronicle, Part 1 of 1.

    [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp189.mp3]Download MP3
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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Absolution

    A Priest, a half-demon, and some Germans, walk into a bar – find out more at http://www.scrivenerscircle.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, the Collective Detective investigates the lonely tragedy that was the death of CuddleMonkey.

     

    Flash Pulp 189 – Gag: a Collective Detective Chronicle, Part 1 of 1

    Written by J.R.D. Skinner
    Art and Narration by Opopanax
    and Audio produced by Jessica May

     

    On most occasions, KillerKrok, a six-month veteran of the Collective, would have considered hand-holding a newb through the basics a waste of time, but this was a special instance.

    “CuddleMonkey got bigger,” said the blinking chat window at the corner of his desktop.

    The evening previous, ElleBow, his girlfriend of two weeks, had shared the half-decade’s worth of results turned up from the massive archive of Internet activity, and her conclusion seemed a little self-evident to Krok.

    “Kaitlyn Powell was eight when the records start, and thirteen when she died. She was growing right up until she keeled,” he said.

    “Ha – no, Kyle, I mean her belly,” replied Elle from the comfort of her own bedroom, on the far side of the city.

    Krok found it odd to have anyone involved with the group address him by his given name, but he was pleased to have found her intrigued by the project that absorbed so many of his weekends.

    Still, he had yet to master conversational tact.

    “Fattening up could be a sign of depression. My money remains on suicide.”

    There was a pause in the conversation as both investigators flipped through the dead girl’s over-saturated MySpace photos. It was the second place they’d checked, after her inboxes.

    After a time, Kyle decided he ought to get his protege back on track.

    “We should probably start digging into Kaitlyn’s other traffic.”

    “I’m actually browsing her Google history.”

    He rubbed his chin.

    “Anything interesting?”

    “Well – someone at her family’s computer went searching for signs of pregnancy one July evening in 2005. She was at it for a couple of hours.”

    The Powells were a five member family before the girl’s death, only one of which had been male.

    Sipping at his Doctor Pepper, Krok wiggled his rolling chair in thought.

    “Yeah,” he typed, “you’re probably right, she was probably preggers. Maybe she was scared enough about it to kill herself?”

    Elle’s own theory quickly followed.

    “What if she wanted to keep it and the boyfriend was pissed?”

    “She was found dead in the woods with traces of oven cleaner in her gut.”

    “They never found the cleaner, or her panties.”

    “She might have been going commando, and she was rotting out there for two weeks, a lot could’ve happen in that time. They could have just missed the container, or she could have been alive for a while after and managed to stagger away from it.”

    Kyle shrugged at the delay in response. He hustled upstairs to grab a bowl of chips.

    “I’m sure the cops would love to believe the same, but they filed it as a homicide,” was waiting for him, upon his return.

    The boy wiped Doritos-dust onto the hem of his Green Lantern t-shirt before responding.

    “Yeah, but that’s basically all they ever tell us about cases, unless we ask nicely, and for a good reason – and even then, they mostly say no. When you’ve been a member of the Collective as long as I have, you’ll know that the five-oh aren’t perfect.”

    “Uh huh,” she said. She’d included an emoticon with a protruding tongue at the end of her statement.

    Two hours later, they stumbled across a Yahoo! Questions account created early on the morning of the girl’s disappearance, on an address associated with a laptop belonging to a friend of Kaitlyn’s.

    The user had a single posting.

    “I’M THIRTEEN AND I’M PREGNANT. I need a way to get an abortion. I love Jesus and I don’t want to and I’m sorry but I can’t tell my dad cuz he’ll whoop me to hell and I can’t go to a medical place because they want you to have your parents fill out papers. HELP PLEASE.”

    The link had apparently been picked up by a forum of aggressive pro-lifers, and they’d come down hard on the girl. Most had simply told her not to do it, and that she should come clean with her parents – but there were those who went even further.

    Thirty responses into the thread came a suggestion from MeanGene59: “Choke down a can of Easy-Off and all of your problems will be solved.”

    After re-reading the comment twice, Krok said, “Maybe she was desperate enough to seriously believe it?”

    ElleBow’s thoughts arrived almost simultaneously.

    “She was in the woods because she was looking for privacy. She was anticipating a mess.”

    Kyle drummed the palms of his hands against the desk’s edge as he read. Finally, he asked, “need any help submitting your findings?”

    “Nah, I’m good.”

    He sipped at the last of his soda, then returned to typing.

    “There’s nothing more we can do for the moment, and I feel like I need to see living people for a bit. My brother was saying there’s a Midway in the mall parking lot – want to go hang out?”

    “Absolutely. I’ll meet you there,” was her immediate reply.

     

    Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

    Text and audio commentaries can be sent to skinner@skinner.fm, or the voicemail line at (206) 338-2792 – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

    – and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

    184 – The Murder Plague: Buggy, Part 2 of 3

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and eighty four.

    Flash PulpTonight we present, The Murder Plague: Buggy, Part 2 of 3.
    (Part 1Part 2Part 3)
    [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp184.mp3]Download MP3
    (RSS / iTunes)

     

    This week’s episodes are brought to you by the The Flash Mob on Facebook.

    It’s like a game of Twister with a thousand participants.

    Find it here

     

    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, Harm Carter and his accompaniment must weigh the choices presented by a world full of homicidal psychotics.

     

    Flash Pulp 184 – The Murder Plague: Buggy, Part 2 of 3

    Written by J.R.D. Skinner
    Art and Narration by Opopanax
    and Audio produced by Jessica May

     

    The Murder Plague“So,” said Jeremy, his hands wringing the hem of his t-shirt like a professional sponge cleaner well on his way to a personal record, “you’re saying you just sat there, listening to your friends being killed?”

    “There was nothing I could,” replied Newton, his face moist from his recounting. “I mean – honestly, I did try setting up a barricade on the road, once I was done cleaning up the pieces, figured he’d smack into it in the dark, but – well, it came by, then stopped. Sounded as if it went around.”

    “You didn’t even watch it happen!? You could of jumped the bastard!”

    “It was pitch black, I would have probably caught a bullet in the belly or an axe to the face.”

    Minnie placed a hand on the weeping man’s sizable bicep, and Jeremy stalked to the furthest edge of the camp to glower at us from the clearing’s edge, while muttering to himself.

    The day largely passed that way – which, frankly, was fine by me, as it was a change of pace from ducking live ammunition and madmen’s ill intentions.

    I spent the day lounging in the sun and ignoring small talk.

    Finally, as supper neared, and Jeremy’s stomach’s complaints grew loud enough to overcome his bent nose, we reconvened over some open cans of unheated Dinty Moore.

    We chatted around mouthfuls, which eventually lead to consideration of future plans.

    “Tomorrow we should start trying to hitch out of here,” said Newton. “We aren’t going to find any help locally, and if we can hook up with another group, we could be at the government blockade in a day or two.”

    Minnie nodded her agreement. I couldn’t help but notice how closely she’d positioned herself to our new companion.

    “Yeah. There’s safety in numbers. At least if we see a bunch of people together, we know they aren’t infected.”

    “Unless,” replied Jeremy, “they’re a bunch of looting-rapist-murderers, or everyone gets infected and it turns into a twelve-way shoot-out.”

    “We should certainly watch for any drug addled, baby murdering, ne’er-do-wells,” I said, “but, it seems to me, it’s a slim chance that we’ll run across a barbarian horde amongst the cow patties. I think we ought to go for a stroll. We’ll have to find a way through the woods for a bit, to avoid our rifle-toting friend up the road, but I don’t relish thumbing a ride with a potential Norman Bates. We can stick to the trees after we’re around him, and walk till we find a suitable vehicle, or, better yet, some space-suit wearing government fellows.”

    Jeremy dropped his empty container of meatball stew.

    “Before we run away, we should destroy the death machine. Make it right for those folks wannabe-Charlie Atlas here abandoned.”

    The sun set while we went from debate to argument, and it was only the sound that stopped us.

    Quite a lot happened at once: Minnie hugged Newton, Jeremy went crashing into the forest that blocked our view of the road, and I grabbed the flashlight.

    I was unenthusiastic about chasing the hooligan through the dark, especially when I dared not use the light-source in my hand, but I had some ideas regarding what he might encounter, and I couldn’t figure any other option that didn’t require digging another hole in the site’s makeshift burial ground.

    It’s approach became a cacophony as I busied myself with dodging aggressive branches, but, even as I arrived, the thing’s engines began to fade into the distance.

    However, I was pleased to find Jeremy, lying on the grading at the edge of the road, still alive. I believe the idiot thought he was hidden. I suppose he can’t be blamed, there was no moon, and, below the pine-tops, the world was nothing but murk.

    As I helped him to his feet, there was a change in the nature of the fading shriek. It took us a moment to realize it had turned around.

    Scrambling to the timber, I stage whispered that we should waste no time with greetings. Jeremy would have none of it, however, and he simply returned to his prone posture. The clamour was approaching too quickly for a reasoned argument, and before I could muster any words that might convince him to run, it was on top of us.

    There was nothing to see – the night was opaque – but it was imperative that I wait as long as possible for maximum effect.

    When I guessed it could be no further than ten feet off, I flicked on my light.

    I was wrong, it was a good twenty away, but its speed was such that it flung itself into my beam.

    We caught a glimpse of what looked oddly like a large steel insect, then the rig plunged down the far ditch, flipped once, and went silent.

    While we sprinted towards its landing spot, Jeremy scooped a set of goggles from the pavement.

    “Was there a bloody Wal-Mart special or something? Where did these hillbillies all get night-vision?”

    The beast of legend was a home-made go kart. A collection of kitchen knives, farm implements, and lawnmower blades, had been affixed to the running boards, and nails driven through its tin hood, giving it the look of a metallic porcupine with flaking yellow skin.

    At the wheel – with her nose bleeding onto her denim jacket – I was unsurprised to find a stunned seven-year-old.

     

    (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

     

    Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

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    Text and audio commentaries can be sent to skinner@skinner.fm, or the voicemail line at (206) 338-2792 – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

    – and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.