Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Eighty.
This week’s episode are dedicated to the recent marriage of Elektro and Anycheese – long may they live and love.
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, Joe finds himself attempting to save an entire planet from an unseen puppet master.
Flash Pulp 080 – Joe Monk, Emperor Of Space: Groupthink, Part 2 of 3
It was only once he’d found himself thoroughly lost that Joe, future emperor of space, realized he was unsure of how to proceed. He knew it was his duty to free the slaves of Lol, but it was tough to know where to start in a world largely lacking signage.
His epiphany had only been reconfirmed by the slack-limbed responses of those few cactus people he’d attempted to stop for directions. His first idea had been to pull at some of the blinking discs he now saw to be omnipresent at their collar lines, but they were well implanted.
He’d spent twenty minutes shouting at one of the passers-by to “help me help you!”, but he’d gotten little reaction. He wasn’t sure where the optical sensors were located on the cactus folk, and it bothered him that he couldn’t even meet them eye-to-eye.
It was a coincidence then that brought him to the largest building in the area, its height in no way lessening the inscrutability of the structure.
His eyes turned upwards, hoping to spot some sign from the gray-brown above, and he noticed a large antenna at the apex of the otherwise flat-topped architecture.
With his mind churning, he stepped towards the sliding entrance at the tower’s base, and was gratified as it opened of its own accord. There was a desk at the center of the room, and, behind it, six further sets of doors. At the long empty surface sat another of the cactus people, this one adorned in a teal jumpsuit.
“Hello,” Monk said to the room’s apparent guardian.
The being sat, impassive.
“Er, I’d like to go to the top floor, please,” he added, slowly sidling around the far corner of the desk.
He was startled when he actually received a response, even if it was simply to have one of the receptionist’s many limbs point at the right most access.
“Thanks,” Joe replied, his stride gaining confidence as he approached the opening.
Before he reached it, the portal slid open.
Another cactus sat in the small box.
Joe stepped inside, recognizing similar devices from many of the situation comedies he’d researched with Macbeth.
“I’d, uh, I’d like to go to the top, if that’s OK?”
The tender of the transport did not respond, but instead punched a button on the panel it faced. Once the doors were shut, Monk felt the pull of gravity in his stomach as he was elevated to the upper levels of the building.
The exit opened directly onto the roof.
Joe was unused to heights, at least unless there was a thick layer of window between him and the drop, and he turned to the helpful cactus before he stepped from the box.
“I’ll, uh – I’m here to help. If you want to wait, I wouldn’t mind.”
There was no response from his companion, so Monk stepped out into the sunlight.
The antenna was of solid construction, and its destruction would have required an incredible effort on Joe’s part if it had not been for the handle. As it was, the human simply pulled a large ripcord, one of the few well marked items he’d encountered on the planet, and, after a brief squeal of protesting metal, it fell safely sideways onto the rooftop.
Turning, he saw the elevator-cactus stumble from its post, two black round portals blinking in the area above its collar. The dark globes brought themselves to a squint, as if unused to the light.
Joe could not translate the hum and squeal of its language, but he knew agitation when he heard it.
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.