Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Eighty-One.
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 learns the terrible truth about Lol, planet of the cactus people.
Flash Pulp 081 – Joe Monk, Emperor Of Space: Groupthink, Part 3 of 3
Joe was on the roof by himself for quite a while.
After the tower fell, his scarlet clad companion had spent ten earth-minutes berating him in a variety of buzzes and hums. As the human did nothing in response but stare at him with a slack-jawed expression on his face, the elevator operator had eventually made a crossed limb gesture, which Monk could only assume was rude, and then disappeared back into the box.
Realizing there was no other exit, Joe had kicked the downed antenna, stubbing a toe in the process, then used the toppled rod as a seat.
He still held out some small hope for a victory parade.
After a time he became convinced that the elevator operator was a spy for whatever evil puppet-master was running the planet’s zombies, and he was sure his best chance was that a resistance of newly freed cactus people would spontaneously rise up, rescue him from his perilous perch, and then praise him as their saviour.
While he savoured the daydream, two round robotic drones topped the edge of the building and began to fly in slow circles, the shining lenses at the center of their metallic bodies focusing on his movements.
An hour later the elevator re-opened, depositing Macbeth onto the rooftop.
His claws ground against each other as he approached.
“I told you to stay in your room,” he said. The severity of the situation was made obvious to Joe by the trilling notes in his friend’s voice – when Macbeth was truly angry, his English accent became increasingly worse. In this case it sounded as if he was speaking through a flute.
“I was just trying to help. These people are all zombies! Some sort of evil hive mind has control of them!” Joe stood, approaching one of the two cactus-people in blue who’d accompanied Macbeth to the roof. Miming to the cactii that it should spin in place, he tugged at the collar of its overalls, revealing the metallic disc, with its blinking green light. The light was now dark. “I saved these people!”
The grinding of Macbeth’s claws doubled, and the human could clearly see flakes of chitin falling from his pincers.
“You saved nothing, you jerk. I told you before that these people are on a very long life cycle – they sleep ten of your years at a time! Fine if you’re on a world with no other higher lifeforms and you can just nap for a decade, safe behind your spines, but these people have lives to lead and they need cold hard cash to do it – so why not work it off?”
Monk’s face clouded with confusion.
“These folks are all slumber-labour!” Macbeth continued. “They open the doors, they run the elevators, they even drive the cabs, and they’re all controlled by a central computer that you’d be shot twenty times before you could even sneeze on. That’s why the repair work is so good and cheap – it’s all computer controlled! You managed to wake up a five block radius or so, and you’re incredibly lucky that a runaway taxi, or startled nanny, didn’t accidentally kill someone.”
“I – but.. I…” Joe attempted to interject.
“No. No “buts”. You’ve not only lost these people some pay, but you’ve acted out the equivalent of running into someone’s bedroom in the middle of the night shouting “Ooga-Booga!”. You’re going to need to apologize big time to these guys, and we can only hope that they don’t sue you for their missing income. If they do, you may need to get a sleep-job yourself.” The eyes at the end of Macbeth’s dual stocks shrank to a slit. “I happen to know a place that pays well for exotic-species dancers.”
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.