Tag: Mulligan

Flash Pulp 077 – Mulligan Smith and A Matter Of A Gun, Part 1 of 1

Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Seventy-Seven.

Flash PulpTonight, we present Mulligan Smith and A Matter Of A Gun, Part 1 of 1


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This week’s episodes are brought to you by the Flash Pulp page on Facebook.

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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, Mulligan Smith becomes entwined in a private matter playing out in a public space, with his own life in the balance.

Flash Pulp 077 – Mulligan Smith and A Matter Of A Gun, Part 1 of 1

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

“Bloooargh,” The slender faced kid screamed.

While the roar of the mall continued on around the corner, the 2nd level food court fell silent.

Everyone’s eyes were on the gray metal of the revolver – including Mulligan’s.

The PI’s burger hovered at the cusp of his lower lip, a single half moon bite having been sliced from its side. The crescent cross-section of bun, patty, tomato, lettuce and secret sauce rolled from his tongue.

He’d been eying a group of tween ruffians who’d loudly conquered a square of four tables along the food court’s furthest edge when the weapon had made its arrival. The kids had made quite a display of their fortitude by pounding each other repeatedly, their unchecked shouting spreading over the surrounding area like shock waves – but even these half dozen boys had been hushed by the appearance.

Mulligan watched the gun swing over the crowd – the single mother trying to wrangle her two toddlers into silence; the double table of aging men, (likely retirees who’d come to retell their tales while running down the hours; the thirty-something couple, child in tow, who’d immediately slid to the floor at the first sign of trouble; the nun.

Mulligan sighed.

“Seriously? A nun?” he asked wordlessly.

His eyes were locked on the barrel’s black opening. From that hole his mind projected a cone, like a spotlight, which he could feel as if a solid thing moving over the crowd. He felt the cone swing wide, the tension fading as the weapon faced down the Subway and Chinese buffet, only to return once again as it re-approached. As the fatal arc rolled over him, his heart began to pound and his palms were suddenly moist – then it would pass, as if a lighthouse beacon sliding on in the night, and the tension would once again begin to slip away.

He took a sip of soda to wash down the burger he hadn’t eaten.

He stood.

Still holding the cardboard cup, he took a step towards what his father always referred to as “the business end”.

One of the thirty-somethings shout-whispered from beneath her table.

“Hey! HEY! That’s not a good idea! Don’t make him mad!”

Mulligan mentally noted that he wasn’t terribly enthused with the idea himself, but there was little opportunity to debate the woman given the circumstances.

He made a tut-tut motion with his hand, as if a parent gently assuring a child they should mind their own business.

Despite the protestations of his suddenly heavy and seemingly bloodless legs, he took another step forward, and then another. The deadly opening of the weapon settled on his direction, and yet still he forced his traitorous feet onward.

He covered his approach with conversation.

“Look, I’m sure you’ve got your reasons for, uh, this, but you’ve got to understand that we’re in a public place – whatever your personal gripe, most of these folks are just here because they’re tired from patrolling the clothing stores.”

The revolver, and its bearer, remained silent.

The PI’s feet plodded on at a steady, if lethargic, pace. He kept his shoulders slumped, his gait loose, and the cup moving steadily to re-dampen his perpetually drying mouth – behaviour even the most agitated of great apes would find disarming.

The nun had begun praying, not quite quietly. Her intonations brought a finality to the proceedings that Smith found disturbing.

“Excuse me, Sister, but could you keep it to your interior? The Lord’ll be just as happy to read your mind as your lips,” he knew he ran the risk of offending, but he also knew control of the environment was paramount.

One of the tweens laughed, not a real chuckle but instead a sudden explosion of giggle carried out by nerves.

The weapon swung from the approaching PI to the kid in the black and white t-shirt with a huge stylized eagle print.

The boy went through a smooth transition from un-bidden laughter to bitter weeping. His head pulled back on his neck, which in turn pulled at the torso pressing hard against the beige painted metal of his chair – as if the extra six inches of distance would be of help; or as if the weapon carried a terrible heat he wished to be away from.

Mulligan deeply understood the need to be as far away as possible from the barrel’s shadowed opening.

“He didn’t mean to laugh, a lot of people just react that way when they’re too tense. I think it’s related to the fact that human laughter is connected to animals barking in the wild. I read somewhere that laughter is basically just the human version of a bark – that’s why we do it at things that we find weird, or true but disturbing. It’s a defensive thing.”

The pistol turned back onto Smith – he was glad it was away from the boy, but he certainly found no humour in it.

“Maybe I can help you? You need to explain why you’re doing this. Even if you don’t plan on coming out of this alive, you need to tell someone so they can pass on what happened? Right?”

For the first time, under the distant din, Mulligan noted that the mall was actually piping in music. An instrumental version of Wind Beneath My Wings played him through the last ten feet of open ground. As he approached he continuously lowered his tone so that, as he finally reached his goal, his volume was conversational and semi-private.

“Is it them? Is it those guys over there?” Smith motioned towards the cowering pre-teens. “Did they make fun of you?”

He couldn’t guess at what condition the slender-faced boy suffered, but there was a slackness about his eyes, and a confusion in his look, that told him the child’s faculties weren’t fully functional.

“C’mon, you can tell me, I’m here to help.” The child seemed to harden at the suggestion. “- and, uh, here to remember? Right? To tell everyone what happened after its done.”

The weapon was hard against his belly; he’d walked himself directly into the danger.

The boy looked up at him, the corners of his eyes picking up a moist shine under the food court’s skylight.

“I go to school with them, and every day while I’m waiting for Mom to come home, I’m in here, and they make fun of me.”

The PI nodded, fighting to keep his eyes on the boy’s own, and not on the weapon.

“So, I’m, I’m –“ the boy’s voice cracked, and for a moment the revolver waivered, the invisible cone aimed at the skylight.

Mulligan punched him in the face.

He hated to do it, but a fat lip was a lucky conclusion when involved in a matter of a gun.

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.

Flash Pulp 070 – Mulligan Smith and The Homecoming, Part 1 of 1

Flash PulpWelcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Seventy.

Tonight, we present Mulligan Smith and The Homecoming, Part 1 of 1


Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)

This week’s episodes are brought to you by the piratical talk of Captain Pigheart.

As the Captain himself once said: “Within ye may discover the valiant nature of meself (and a select number of me crew) as we face the vilest foes upon the open waves. I brings ye tales o’ battle with giant terrapins, a colossal crab, the tender love of a mermaid, terror from the skies, fear from below, the dangers o’ poppy, the joys o’ rum and much much more…”

Find it all, and more, at CaptainPigheart.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 we once again present a tale of Mulligan Smith, as the PI gives a friend a lift home.

Flash Pulp 070 – Mulligan Smith and The Homecoming, Part 1 of 1

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

Billy Winnipeg stood, his back to the white curtained wall. His nose was leaking blood, and he could feel swelling beginning in his sprained left ankle.

Popping his knuckles, he eyed the two approaching men. He knew he was lucky that the pair hadn’t jumped him already; they would have been quicker about it if it wasn’t for the wreckage strewn around the room, and the groans of the incapacitated on the floor.

Running his forearm across his face, Billy was grateful that the place had at least emptied out quite a bit once he’d made his bellowing declaration of aggression.

He hated pummeling family.

* * *

Billy and Mulligan had driven the 500 miles of road from Montreal to Winnipeg’s home in record time. At first the big man had asked to make every possible stop: road side eateries, bathroom breaks, coffee, scenic look outs; anything with a sign. As they’d grown closer to their destination, however, the mountainous Canadian had insisted on speed.

Smith’s patience with the rambling hurricane had been growing short, but he’d had no interest in pushing the Tercel to the limit only to have some podunk Canuck officer pull him over and discover a wanted man in his car.

“Look,” the PI had opened, “I’m going to give you a lift home, and I’m probably going to end up having to waive all my fees as your Mom hasn’t called me in days, but I’m about done breaking laws on your behalf.”

“I’ve never broken a law that didn’t deserve to be,” Winnipeg had replied.

“What about clobbering your Mom’s boyfriend?”

“All right, I did that, but he deserved it.”

“- and the car he says you stole?”

“I don’t know nothing ‘bout that. I wouldn’t want that friggin’ clunker anyhow. That’s why he deserved it.”

“What about that cop bar you leveled back in Capital City?”

“Abortion is a woman’s right to choose. Fellas, (especially officers of the law), oughtta have a little more respect in the way they carry on in a public place.”

Mulligan had let the speedometer do the talking from there on.

* * *

Winnipeg knew it wasn’t going to end well as far as he was concerned. He’d already had it out once with his Mother’s beau, Tony Bathis – who he refused to call anything but Mr Bathis – and two years previous he’d seen Uncle Mitch lift a full grown cow from the ditch, where it’d broken its leg, using nothing but his massive arms and gumption.

Billy eyed his Mom, in her white dress, and felt a moment of regret.

Seeing his son-in-law’s distraction, the groom rushed him.

Mulligan SmithMulligan stepped into the reception hall, a slurpee in his hand.

“You’ve ruined the most important day in your Ma’s life!” Uncle Mitch said, approaching with arms extended to get a hold on his rogue nephew.

“You said that last time she got married.” Winnpeg replied, busy in an awkward grapple with her new husband.

“You can’t go round stealing cars and beating folks up, Billy.”

“Hey,” Mulligan said. There was a brief pause to the combat, and Uncle Mitch stopped short of his objective. “I just got off the phone with the police, we got the whole car thing cleared up.”

The Winnipeg family were brought to a halt, although Bathis continued to struggle in Billy’s grip.

“Cleared up?” Mitch asked.

“Yeah, well, I guess that makes it sound a little easier than it was – see, after dropping off Billy here at the wedding, I headed over to the future residence of Mr. and Mrs. Bathis. You Canadians sure are trusting folks, the door was unlocked and everything. I thought I’d just poke on in and see if I couldn’t, you know, spread some flower petals around, or whatever, as a welcome back for the honeymooners. Funny thing about your wedding day, its the one time even an addict will leave their cellphone at home. I happened to see it out on the bedroom dresser, so I figured I’d give it a look-through.”

Bathis stopped struggling.

“Oh, I know it’s not any of my business, I hope you polite Canadian folk will forgive an American showing up and barging around like he owns the place, but I noticed a specifc set of digits that Tony here had dialed fairly regularly. I decided to see who was so interesting, and it happened to be a sweet voiced lady on the other end.”

Ma Winnipeg, her makeup having been mostly washed away by tears, stopped crying. All eyes were on Mulligan.

“Mosied on over after a reverse look-up, and, whammo, parked on the dead grass in the backyard was a 2003 Sunfire GT with the plates off.” Mulligan took a long draw at his coloured straw. “Your girlfriend seemed pretty mad that she wasn’t invited to the wedding, but the local police were happy to have a grand theft auto, or whatever you folks up north call it, off the books.”

There was a low growl from the head table, and the air was suddenly full of flower arrangements and half empty wine glasses.

Mother Winnipeg had brought herself to her full height, and Mulligan realized where his traveling companion had gotten his genes.

As Ma rolled up the sleeves of her wedding gown, Billy dropped his arms to his side.

He knew when to mind his own business.

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.