FPSE24 – Mouthy
Welcome to Flash Pulp Special Episode 24.
Tonight we present Mouthy
This week’s episodes are brought to you by Hugh J. O’Donnell’s The City
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 a fairy tale of the oral tradition, as told in the Capital City style.
Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May
I operate in special collections. That is to say, I focus on the mystical types – these days I see a lot of shapeshifters, slendermen, and even some of the fish people out of the Pacific corridor.
Anyhow, it was late Tuesday night, or early Wednesday morning if you want to look at it that way. I was on on my last pick up before kicking off, and I was looking forward to downing a couple Blind Russians and heading in search of the underside of my sheets, but it was a tricky situation. My package was on the upper floor of the former owner’s home, while the former owner himself was wandering the lower level.
Nice place too. Vampires, man, they don’t know inconspicuous. I can blend in anywhere from Kinshasa to Portland, but you drop a vampire anywhere and it’s always the same thing: Biggest suburban castle for sale on the market, casket-moving sized car with the windows tinted like a third-world dictator’s, and no effort at all to beautify their lawn.
I’ve been around, and never have I met a vampire that cares about their lawn. They just never get to use them.
Anyhow, I’m a professional, so it’s still not such a big deal. Bingo-bango – I’ve got the prize in my bag and I’m about to hit the bricks when I hear the blood-sponge moaning from the floor below.
“You sure you made the arrangements?” he’s asking, and I’m wondering how a Boston casket-sleeper gets all the way to the West Coast – I mean, did he move here before he was bit? Did he come in a dirt filled sedan trunk? – when his manservant replies, “of course, have I ever failed you?”
Seriously, who has a manservant these days?
Both of them sounded like they were gearing up for war though, which is a big no-no these days.
I heard the front door open, and I was out the window and onto the McMansion’s roof faster than Jeeves could finishing bowing subserviently to the the Lincoln Town Car’s rear passenger window and skitter to the driver seat.
There’ve been plenty of dead folks in my day-to-day, and I’ve gotten pretty used to what a walking corpse is supposed to look like. As the car’s heavy black slab was swinging shut I caught a glimpse of the nosferatu, and I’m telling you there’s pale and then there’s pale. It ain’t pretty when a vampire gets nervous enough to bite its lip.
Well, I was tired, I was exhausted even, but it was the first time I’d ever seen a bloodsucker scared, so I kicked a leg over Lucy and followed at a safe distance.
It was a pretty straightforward ride across a half-hour’s worth of the city, and it ended at a covered parking structure adjoining an unmarked office. The whole area was filled with little business plazas and industrial shops, so I figured Abbott and Costello were headed to one of them.
Eventually I wandered into the garage itself, and figured out that there was a glass and metal entrance leading directly inside. For privacy, I guess. It wasn’t locked, so I readied an excuse – I’m a simple courier who must have pulled the wrong door, teehee – and went in.
There was a satyr, just across the threshold, who was pulling a fedora over his horns and adjusting his trenchcoat. I followed rule number one and did my best to look like I knew where I was going. He didn’t even bother to glance down at me, so I just kept on trucking.
Ten feet ahead there was a desk, and the space to my left opened onto a dozen uncomfortable chairs and a coffee table full of long-expired National Geographics.
The receptionist, a bird-eyed woman with carefully applied makeup and a bright yellow blouse, watched my approach silently, but her face was already asking a question.
Closing the distance gave me just under three seconds to figure my next move.
I could’ve been about anywhere if the waiting room was all I had to judge by, but suddenly there was a squeal in the air, and even I know what that means.
“Could I get a booking today? Soon?” I asked.
“Funny seeing one of you here,” she replied.
I shouldn’t have been surprised at her directness, I suppose – she looked to have been the commander of that waiting area for a long while, and she must’ve seen all types in her tour of duty.
With that in mind, I played it soft.
“Yeah, well, cavities can happen to anyone, right?” I said with a smile, because part of me can’t help but demonstrate that I really do have perfect chompers, even when lying through them.
She didn’t reply, she just waved me towards a seat.
I sat and listened to the 24-hour adult contemporary station. Across from me was one of the closet cousins – a shadowy lump of an entity with bloodshot eyes floating in a pool of darkness and big mitt hands covered in rows of teeth.
I worked hard not to draw any attention to myself, and thankfully he didn’t try and start up any conversations. I was practically snoring by the time my name was called.
A short hallway led to a small room, and before I knew it I was seated and there was a blazing light cutting into my pupils.
At that point, I knew I had to come clean.
“Listen,” I said, “my raven parked outside is getting peckish so I’ll make this quick. You hold on to what you need to pull and I’ll come around to cut you in on whatever they would’ve collected if they’d thought to hold onto their molars.”
The dentist nodded. I guess he’d been waiting for one of us to make an offer.
Tough gig, tooth fairy, but some days are better than others.
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.
Text and audio commentaries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.
– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.