Tag: Sgt Smith

FP274 – Sgt. Smith in Model Behaviour, Part 1 of 1

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode two hundred and seventy-four.

Flash PulpTonight we present Sgt. Smith in Model Behaviour, Part 1 of 1

[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp274.mp3]Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)


This week’s episodes are brought to you by Dead Kitchen Radio.


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 hears a tale from his father’s checkered history with the Capital City Police Department.


Sgt. Smith in Model Behaviour, Part 1 of 1

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


Mulligan SmithIt was a Sunday, and Mulligan was dabbing at his plate’s last smudge of Hollandaise sauce with his final sliver of English muffin.

He leaned back from the square oak table – the same he’d grown up leaving chocolate milk rings on – and burped.

His mute father grimaced, and pointed to a yellow blob that had escaped his son’s fork and landed on the unzipped hoodie he insisted on always wearing.

“Yeah, yeah,” replied Mulligan, as he rubbed at the stain. “Listen, Dad, not that I’m complaining, but you cook for me when you have a favour to ask – so ask.”

The gray-haired former police sergeant let out a lungful of air, and nodded.

Rising, with a creak, from the thrice reupholstered kitchen chair, the old man moved down the short wood-paneled hallway that lead to his bedroom. After a moment of shelf shuffling and drawer slamming, he returned with a cassette tape and a rectangular player consisting of a transparent flip-out door bookended by a pair of black speakers.

With a fast moving BIC pen, the elder Smith scrawled a short preface on his always-near pad of paper.

The note read: “Capital City wasn’t in great shape in ‘89.”

It was the only warning he provided, but it was clue enough to the younger Smith. He knew his father had regularly carried a pocket recorder during the era to capture witness statements. The method saved on hand cramping when tongueless-ly attempting to convey information to his fellow officers.

Except for a very few, however, those cassettes had been destroyed at his father’s retirement.

Mulligan’s belly felt suddenly heavy as the play button was pressed.

The voice was a woman’s; high pitched, but comfortable speaking with a cop.

“It’s Doreen – but, listen: I was washing my panties at the Washeteria on Danforth, maybe an hour ago, so 10PM-ish, and this blond came in wearing a Capital University jacket and a Walkman so loud it could frighten an Amish village off their land.

“She struts past me with a pink plastic laundry basket piled high with her frillies and a stack of textbooks – and I notice she’s wearing jewelery. At the goddamn Washeteria.

“Really, it was nothing too over the top. Classy stuff, but, you know, girlish. There was a gold music note on her neck that would get you at least a hundred bucks in any of the downtown pawn shops, and a bracelet chunky enough to club a seal.

“Anyhow, she picks the machine at the end to dump her clothes into, then she sits up on the counter and starts digging through one of her books. I mean, not in a bored kind of way, she was seriously tucking in.

“Thing is, there was this guy in a white sweater, with a blue zigzag pattern – sort of Charlie Brown style, but thinner, and around his collar instead of his stomach. His teeth were perfect and I’d be willing to bet he had his hair done earlier today – and not cheaply, either.

“Their conversation started about math – he was maybe twenty-five to her eighteen or nineteen, and I guess he’d been through the same accounting course. I tuned it all out until he said:

““I’m done my laundry too – and that looks like a lot of stuff. Could I drive you home?”

“Well, there was one car in the parking lot, a cherry red Corvette with windows as black as a blind guy’s sunglasses.

“She looked impressed – and I couldn’t believe it.

“Before she went through the door with him, I put myself in her path.

““I don’t think that’s the best idea, hon,” I said.

“She looked my little black dress over and I know she was thinking, “Jesus, this woman dresses like a whore.”

“Hell, I almost blurted “that’s because I AM a whore, bitch,” but one of us had to maintain some manners.

“She didn’t actually say anything to me, she just kept talking to the guy. Told him she was down the road at The Gardens, and how she really appreciated it.

“Now, I know you’re thinking, “who is this street walker to judge who this girl wants to climb in the sack with?”

“But that ain’t it.”

The woman cleared her throat, and the tape reported a lighter being struck twice, then igniting.

She continued.

“I don’t know how long he’d been haunting the place, but I’m sure he noticed the same thing I did: A good looking, but slightly overwhelmed, girl folding clothes with no wedding band on.

“Now, what’s a guy with that much expensive cologne on doing hanging around a laundromat after dusk? Waiting to play knight?

“Hell no. I can’t prove it, but that guy was either a rapist or an axe murderer.

“Worse, though, is that I know cars. You get in that pretty moving box, and you really don’t have any room to maneuver. A lot can happen in that tiny space before you can do anything about it.

“Hey, maybe I’m just being an idiot, but the news is always yammering about those missing blondes…”

Though the tape kept winding, there was a pause in the dialogue as a pencil scratched across paper.

“Yeah, actually,” said the woman, after reading an unseen request. “You’re lucky I’ve made it a professional habit to memorize license numbers.”

There was a juttering shift in the audio then, and, following a series of clicks, a man’s voice filled the speakers.

Mulligan recognized it to be that of Gus Kramer, his father’s former partner.

“You’re sure about the lawyer? Okay, in that case, why don’t you tell us what you’d intended to do with the Ms. Harrison once you knocked her out?”

The tape head ground on, but there was a deep silence before the response came.

“Yeah, sure guys, why not?” was the eventual reply. Despite the delay, the man’s tone was cool and clear. “She was the fifth. You’ll find the rest back at my house. The basement will be cold when you enter – I like how, er, pert it makes them, but I really keep it that way to slow the reaction.

“I built a tank in Dad’s old workshop; well, I had it built for me. I said I needed an incredibly strong giant aquarium.

“There’s two tubes on either side – are you familiar with casting resin at all? You mix two chemicals together and the goo hardens to something almost like glass. Sometimes, at booths in the mall, you can buy a tarantula in what looks like clear plastic. Basically the same thing.

“My first stab at a diorama was a failure. I started by dumping too much in, and I didn’t realize how hot the process would get – at her hips, she was screaming in agony. The whole place smelled like flaming chicken.

“I panicked a bit and finished filling the tank twice as quick. Her thrashing did a surprisingly good job of mixing things, and she was firmly stuck when the liquid stopped her bawling.

“The end product was terrible, because the resin cracked and went yellow from the heat, but she was good training.

“I ordered away for industrial stuff, which is way cooler, and number two taught me to do it in stages. She fought forever, though, and I ended up with something that looked like a woman curled in the fetal position at the top of a box, which isn’t exactly sexy.

“With number three I kept her unconscious till the bottom layer had already set, so that she had the use of the rest of her body, but her feet were pinned in place. From there it climbed a few inches of resin at a time, with a mix that allowed it to set as slowly as possible. Of course, she wanted to remain alive, so she stretched every muscle, with her back arched and face upturned to try and get that last breath.

“That definitely turned out sexy.

“Four is beautiful as well, actually – she showed me about the value of props, and now she’ll always be my naughty french maid.

“I had a school scene in mind for number five. I have a desk and plaid skirt at home waiting for her. Nothing more though – I prefer them topless. I thought I could strap her to her chair beneath the tartan, so that she could still move her arms a bit, and provide the randomness that’s really necessary for a life-like scene.

“Wouldn’t it be great if I could convince her to keep just one hand raised?

“I was so excited to see my beautiful liquid glass slide past her cherry lip gloss -”

The elder Smith stopped the tape, and his son sighed. He knew the case well enough, and that the man the press had dubbed The Cube Killer was long dead from a sharpened prison house toothbrush.

“I was wrong,” said the younger man, “you also cook before a funeral. The victim?”

Reaching into his pocket, the retiree retrieved a newspaper obituary for one Doreen Mitchell, mother of three. It indicated that viewings would begin Monday evening, and both Smiths wondered if the accompanying photo had struck many of those who habitually trawled the back-page column as inappropriate. Still, whatever the cut of her dress, the ferocity of the woman’s smile was inescapable.

Mulligan nodded, considering his words. Finally, he said, “I’ll get my suit pressed in the morning.”


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 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.

FlashCast 36 – Cold Read

FC36 - Cold Read[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashCast036.mp3](Download/iTunes)

Hello, and welcome to FlashCast episode thirty-six, brought to you by Juju_Klick – prepare yourself for Mexican drug lords, Bill Watterson, Little Willie, Nazis, and Sgt Smith.

Pulp-ular Press

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zkCnHUnoYY”]

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuB-JuohB7Y”]

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yiSdjwi_bg”]

  • Highlander remake?
  • Resurrecting Marilyn, Grace Kelly, and Marlene Dietrich
  • [youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXrWiJcmvBI”]

  • Mad Max re(make/boot)?
  • Nick/Captain Pigheart, from The Mob, suggested Troll Hunter:
  • [youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLEo7H9tqSM”]

* * *

Fresh Fish, with Threedayfish

Contact Fish at his Facebook Page or on Twitter.

This week’s review – The Usual Suspects:

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MjV4EwR7Mg”]

* * *

A Spot of Bother:

Find Jeff at @PleaseLynchMe or at the Spot of Bother Blog

Read more at his site.
9/11 Colouring Book

* * *

New York Minute:

Find Barry at http://bmj2k.com or on twitter

* * *


* * *

Backroom Plots:

* * *

Art of Narration

* * *

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

* * *

Freesound.org credits:

* * *

If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at https://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.

199 – Sgt Smith and The Ham, Part 1 of 1

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

Flash PulpTonight we present, Sgt Smith and The Ham, Part 1 of 1.

[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp199.mp3]Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)


This week’s episodes are brought to you by Pendragon Variety.


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, Sgt Smith recounts a criminal tale of sight seeing, entertainment, and consumerism, from the mid-century streets of Capital City.


Flash Pulp 199 – Sgt Smith and The Ham, Part 1 of 1

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


My Dearest Mulligan,

It was 1957, and I was working downtown, back when I got a lot of raised eyebrows at having earned a uniform amongst Capital City’s bluest. Since the guys were less than enthusiastic in welcoming a no-tongued new chump, I had been relegated to prodding tourists.

Now, my fifteen minutes of fame had come a few years earlier, but accidentally busting a serial killer had earned me little more than a stretch of concrete to wear down. I spent a lot of hours strolling between the junk shops and the museums, and directing folks who’d strayed from the sightseeing circuit.

There were three factions that I was quite familiar with though; the homeless, who hated the shopkeeps who tried to roust them, and loved the buskers who entertained them; the store owners, who loved the buskers that drew crowds, but hated the homeless who they saw as scarecrows for the out-of-town rubes; and, finally, the buskers, who were generally too stoned to bother with either, and mostly wasted their non-entertaining time waging passive aggressive mime-versus-poetry-beatnik wars for the best corner turf.

I became friends with some, and didn’t much care for others. There was a strongman, Jacky Patterson, who, it seemed to me, hauled his weights out in his old jalopy, then blew the day exercising in a ridiculous black spandex outfit. He was actually pretty successful, though, and loud enough that everyone knew him.

He’d tell stories while lifting children over his head, and folks would often get so wrapped up in the telling that his arms would be trembling before they’d remember to snap the photo they’d asked for.

All the brats wanted to ask him about, though, were his fights. They couldn’t figure a guy that strong who wasn’t constantly punching people, so he spun tales for them.

“You spot the moon last night? That big black spot it had?” He’d ask, striking a pose.

“Yeah,” the kids reply.

“Man in the Moon was getting too close to my girl, so I socked him one,” then he’d flex, and, for a second, they’d believe him. That’s the thing, It wasn’t just the charm – he had great patter, sure, but he was there most days, rain or shine, and it showed.

You didn’t see fellas that big back then.

Despite the closed-collar nature of those years, I recall him mentioning that the women in sensible hats were often his largest donors.

Another notable was Eugene Wagner, who would sit inside his sausage stand and mutter endlessly over the perceived insults cast upon him by anyone between the age of eight and eighteen who happened to pass by. His place always seemed on the verge of falling over. Although he made good money in the summer, he lived on it for the winter, and he was constantly broke. He complained eternally that hooligans were stealing various condiments, but I never saw anyone making a break for it with fists full of onions.

I tried his wares a few times, but I was better fed in the College pubs, which liked having me swing by to discourage the rowdies.

Anyhow, it’s around noon, late in the season, and you can feel the locals getting ready to fold up for the winter, or at least move their operations to warmer climes.

I’d wasted my morning keeping an eye out for a hooch-sponge who’d missed the shelter’s breakfast call. He was apparently a regular, and expected, so I’d peeked into alleys and prodded the locals.

Approaching Eugene, I handed him the rumpled note I’d been passing to everyone else.

His grill was smoking, and I’d had to push my way through a crowd of salivating lunch patrons.

“Someone missing?” he asked, raising a greasy eyebrow. He took the sheet with the details and looked it over as I nodded.

“Oh, I know this guy,” he said, “with the beard and the ridiculous red hat. Bought a sausage a couple weeks ago and used all my mustard. I swear he spoons the dill right into his mouth when I’m not looking. Ain’t seen him today though.”

He wasn’t interested in pressing charges on the pickle snatching, so I moved on.

None of the guitarists or poets had noted anything, and, unsurprisingly, the mimes were unwilling to discuss the matter.

As it happened, he was found on top of a shoe store. Whiskey-wings had given him the courage to climb, but they’d abandoned him before he’d managed to descend. Instead, he’d opted to sack out for the night. A better fate than he could have hoped for, considering, but it did bring me to notice that I hadn’t come across the well built Patterson, which was unusual.

The next day was the start of the last big weekend, and the Friday streets were packed. First, I had a poet snatch a country-crooner’s six-string, and chase around a particularly harsh critic.

“Beat me all you want,” shouted the guy in the tweed suit, “but it won’t change how your poor word choices create an unpleasant rhythm throughout the piece!”

Everyone then had sat through too many Bob Hope flicks, and they all thought they were smart arses.

After that, I squandered my hours directing the flow of people along the pavement. I remember not envying the street sweeps, given the clumps of Wagner’s red wax-paper wrappers wadding at the curbs.

Later that same day, a prim auntie slapped a mime. She said he was making lewd approaches, but he indicated she simply wasn’t a fan of the old rope gag. Did she want to have him arrested? No, but she insisted he drop the French act till she was out of sight. Given that I had her white handed, I asked if he wanted to press charges, but he shook his head no.

When I finally punched out, I did so thoroughly. I can’t say for sure what we got up to, Saturday and Sunday, but, given the date, it’s likely your Ma and I loaded the buggy to head to your Gramps’ cottage, so we could help get it buttoned for winter.

Monday was a different world. Instead of dominating the streets, the tourists looked like harried clusters of pigeons poking sidewalk scraps. The bars held only the regulars on their well-claimed bar-stools, the out-of-towners having drained away like the tide retreating from the pillars of a pier. I’d have business with a lot of them when the snow came, but, at that point, they were still friendly and willing to guffaw with Johnny Lawman over the mooks who’d finally migrated.

Now, while I was gone, we’d gotten word from Beefcake Patterson’s girlfriend, who reported him unaccounted for.

Thing is, I wasn’t able to shake Wagner’s question.

“Someone missing?”

He’d asked it before I’d handed him my sheet, and the assumption bothered me.

It was one of those moments: There was no one around when I approached the smell of the cooking meat, and I opened my notepad, wrote a single line, then set it on the counter and tapped it twice.

“Our strongman is missing.”

For a second time, he anticipated my thinking. He was out the little screen-door on the side of the booth before I could make it around the corner, but he’d been pretty generous in sampling his own product, and I had Wagner huffing and in cuffs by the end of the block.

I wasn’t there for it, but, back at his place, they found a monster meat grinder, and on a workbench in the basement, Patterson’s hand.

That’s it.

Oddly, the meat in the grinder was never tested, and the whole place was bagged, filed, and forgotten about. They hit Wagner with a murder charge, and he pulled a bum straw on his court appointed lawyer. Three years later he was found dead in a prison shower.

If you meet the right grade-schooler, you’ll find the story continues to float around as an urban legend, but the newspapers never got a whiff of it.

I know they did it to keep from appearing on a very special 60 Minutes, but it’s hard to know how many people moved through the district that summer, or how many disappeared into Wagner’s kitchen before we caught on. Maybe it’s best that all those tourists remained unaware of the local delicacy they were consuming.

Now I need to take a walk. Stop eating so much fast food crap.



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.

177 – Sgt Smith and The Discovery, Part 1 of 1

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and seventy-seven.

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present, Sgt Smith and The Discovery, Part 1 of 1.

[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp177.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, Sgt Smith recounts a tale from his time with the vice squad.


Flash Pulp 177 – Sgt Smith and The Discovery, Part 1 of 1

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


My Dearest Dundernoggin’,

Your mention of the Sweets last Sunday – and the hullabaloo surrounding that poor boy’s death – brought on an old memory from the depths of the leaky sieve that my gray matter has become.

Late in the ‘80s, I was working Capital City vice. There was this place at the far end of the industrial patch, a two-floor shanty that had been rezoned commercial and sold cheap. I knew the owners, Cooper and Collins, for a long time – they were nice, but their luck was poor and they were born into the wrong era. The bar was named, The Discovery, after Shackleton’s ship. They were massive history buffs, although I doubt any of the soused transvestites that frequented their place ever took much notice beyond the occasional opportunity to participate in themed costume nights.

Anyhow, they kept a relatively tidy place, and, even if it was in a rough end of town, any naughtiness happened off of the property. Despite its reputation, my memory is of a barroom full of folks just looking for a conversation with those of a like mind, which isn’t so different an idea than the place your Granddad frequented when I was a lad.

Doesn’t mean that the surrounding locals didn’t put up a lot of hassling at the station to have us do something about it. Different era I guess. I wasted many evenings drinking soda, trying to blend in, and keeping an eye out for anyone who might be attempting to pull a trick. I’m not saying it never happened, but I could have listed a half dozen street corners my hours would have been better spent watching.

Thing was, in some cases, the situation worked in favour of the regulars. That July and August, three guys had had their faces butchered, and one had found himself nearly castrated, all while walking home from a night’s worth of drinking. For a few weeks, my presence was actually pretty welcome.

There was a fellow, Daniel – he knew I was a cop, but he always seemed happy to have me at hand. Skittish when you first got to know him, but eager for a conversation once he realized you weren’t going to slug him.

This night, I’m sitting at the rail, underneath a picture of arctic explorers posing on an ice flow with a British flag, and I’m thinking it’s time to slip down the back way and through the alley that patrons looking to be a little more incognito usually took, when Danny starts heading to the washroom. I remember it distinctly, because I thought at first he was stumbling my way for a chat – he wasn’t, however, he was just listing from too many glasses of rosé, and his high heels were throwing him off course.

There was a pause, no longer than a minute’s worth, then he comes back. He’s a lot stiffer, and he’s got his hands in front of him. Frankly, at first I wondered if he’d been shot in the belly.

When he finally made it back to his table, he was coming around from his shock a bit, and every eye on the upper floor was on his slight face.

He held up a freshly severed thumb – not his own.

You could see a nub of bone protruding from the gory end, and it was still dripping.

Now, Aunt Clarice, the bartender, and the only natural woman in the building, was a stodgy broad. I’d seen her extract shattered glass from beneath a clumsy-handed reveller’s blood stained toga, and I’d seen her clench her fists against the occasional confused hick that would wander in to prove how not gay he was by starting a fight. In this case, she just stood there sputtering.

I can’t blame her, there’s something greatly unsettling in seeing a lone thumb. Although wordless, it asks: where is the person who ought to be attached to this digit, and how did they go about misplacing it?

At least a blood-drenched victim tends to babble an explanation.

The party was over immediately. No one had any interest in answering questions during the inevitable police response, and the place emptied in a glittering human explosion. Mid-deluge, I was guessing at the most likely destination for the newly-four-fingered man. The nearest exit to the bathroom was the route I’d considered earlier, so I dropped a few bills on the bar for Clarice, then threw myself into the flow, to be carried out to the cool night air.

Then we all came to a sudden halt.

I had to push my way up to the front, as the group had formed a sort of semi-circle with the open end facing a cinder block wall. Standing on a split trash bag was Timothy Buchanan. I knew the greasy little bugger because he’d spent quite a bit of time with Bobby Sweet, after they’d met in a halfway house.

Anyhow, Buchanan was holding this ridiculously over-sized folding knife – you know, brass with a faux-wood veneer, the kind of thing you buy for twenty bucks at a shady convenience store. It was stupidly huge – you’d expect the A-Team to mount it on the front of their van. He seemed to be getting tired just waving it, but that might have because of his missing ear. Not a Van Gogh half-job either: the whole bloody thing was hanging from where his lobe had once resided. It was held on by a stringy bit of flesh that looked like hot-dog skin.

As I moved to the opening, I saw Mint, another regular, being directed by friends back towards the bar. His cheeks were full of blood, and his thumb was missing.

I’ll be damned if I’ve ever seen forty fitter men in one place. If I hadn’t dragged Buchanan off to serve his sentence, he would have been missing a lot more than his quality of hearing – I think they’d have likely found him in a dumpster somewhere on the east side of town.

He was only tried for the single assault, and for a while I felt like maybe he should have gotten a longer sentence, as, when he went in, the attacks stopped. Later on, though, after nesting with a lifer, I heard he decided to settle down pretty permanently on the inside.

Everyone has a path to walk, I guess.

Love you,


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.

We’d also like to thank the following members of the Freesound Project

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

173 – Sgt. Smith and The Family Legend, Part 1 of 2

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

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present, Sgt. Smith and The Family Legend, Part 1 of 2.
(Part 1Part 2)
[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp173.mp3]Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)


This week’s episodes are brought to you by Geek Out! with Mainframe.


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, Sgt. Smith relates some of his history with Capital City’s red-light district.


Flash Pulp 173 – Sgt. Smith and The Family Legend, Part 1 of 2

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


My Dearest Mulligan,

Do you remember, when you were twelve, setting up that “exhibit” in your backyard pup-tent? I still can’t believe you managed to sucker so many of the neighbourhood kids out of their dimes, just to see the upper portion of a nudie picture you’d badly taped on top of the rear portion of a National Geographic photo of a salmon.

Honestly, I swear Munchie Watkins only said he believed it so he could keep coming back for another look at poor bisected-Bettie Page.

Anyhow, I guess it comes to mind because of that story I was promising to tell you. Let’s see – it was 1983, and I was downtown, keeping an eye on a lady-rental joint. There came a tap on my window.

Frankly, it was cold outside, so I wasn’t terribly excited about having to roll it down.

“Hello, sir,” said the burly looking lamp-jaw, in a tweed jacket, who’d done the knocking.

With gaping mouth, I indicated my lack of tongue.

“Well, sir,” he said – politest man in Capital City, so far as I could tell – “I have good news, and I have bad news.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“The bad news is that I’m an undercover policeman – and that’s a cathouse over there.” He pointed at my establishment of interest. “I’m afraid you’ve fallen under suspicion, and I’m going to have to take you in.”

An unsettled frown came to my face.

As you know, it’s tough to make an impersonation charge stick when they aren’t all gussied up in a uniform for their mugshot.

“Well, now,” he continued, “you seem like a nice enough fellow, and I’m sure you’ve learned your lesson about hanging around a place of such ill-repute. For a hundred bucks I’ll let it slide and, so long as I don’t catch you in these parts again, we’ll keep your proximity to such a nasty site off your record.”

Shrugging, I reached into my back-pocket.

Now, I should mention, at this point, that, although he didn’t recognize me, I was well aware of the whole Sweet family. Grandpa was actually a bit of a legend – he’d spent most of the ‘20s running the hydrophobia scam: essentially he would tell people their dog had bitten him, and given him rabies. Don’t know if its true, but I heard that sometimes he’d even go so far as to run a little extra froth down his chin, to sell the idea. It sounds a bit ridiculous, but most people would pony up when he’d threaten a lawsuit, then demand compensation.

One of the reasons he was so remembered, though, was that he was caught out when an old woman, deeply in love with her poodle, gave his plums a taste of her Mary Janes for implying that little Coco was anything less than perfect. He confessed to a passing patrolman, begging to get her off of him.

Papa Sweet, his son, stuck mostly to parking cons. He’d charge folks for entrance into formerly-free lots, claiming management had changed and that he’d been instructed to collect fees. Then he’d book it. If he was really lucky, he’d do so in some poor fools car, after they’d mistaken him as a valet.

It was that last part that was his downfall – he got pulled in when a member of the local thuggery, looking to drop a hot car, gave him the keys. Little did Papa know the recently wiped-down borrowed-buggy was hauling the remains of another goon in the trunk.

He’d made it three blocks in his twice-stolen Buick before a broken tail light, and a persistent traffic cop, tripped him up.

Anyhow, there I was, ignoring the badge in my pocket. I fumbled around, then flashed Papa’s son, Bobby Sweet, (part-time grifter, and full-time jackass,) the universal sign for “uh oh, I’ve misplaced something important.”

Popping open the glove compartment, I shuffled through the sandwich wrappers within – then I turned my attention to the floor, scooting my hands under the seat.

Finally, I gave a long look at the battered den of iniquity. My eyes widened.

Digging up a pencil, I jotted a note out on some of the trash-paper.

“Officer, I have to confess, I must have accidentally left my cash inside. Can you retrieve it for me, please? I don’t want any further trouble.”

The tempting allure of my misplaced pocketbook was obviously dancing in his head, but he was professional enough to give me a hard look for suggesting such a thing.

Indicating that I had something more, he returned the note, and I added, “I’ll make it worth the extra effort.”

That was all it took: off he went, trotting across the street.

I was waiting at the door as he exited, his face red and his mouth scowling – then I busted him for frequenting a brothel.

See you Sunday,



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.

Flash Pulp 133 – Sgt. Smith and The Rescue, Part 1 of 1

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

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present: Sgt. Smith and The Rescue, Part 1 of 1

[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/skinner/FlashPulp133.mp3]Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)


This week’s episodes are brought to you by Flash Pulp on iTunes.

It’s where the magic happens.

To subscribe, click 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, Mulligan’s father relates the tale of a sudden promotion during his early days in law enforcement.


Flash Pulp 133 – Sgt. Smith and The Rescue, Part 1 of 1

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



Let me tell you how I became Sheriff of Mill County.

It was 1956. Things were different back then.

Mill County was a tiny office up north, but they needed the help – there was the sheriff, a good and reliable man, his wife, Ellie, who covered dispatch, Neddy Thompson, Whisky Taylor, and myself.

Ellie was six months pregnant, Neddy was too young to know the difference between his sidearm and his brain, and I was a mute. Worst off, though, was Whisky. Back then you didn’t think of drunks like you do now. People drank, and Taylor was one of those guys who rode out on the macho routine. We didn’t treat him as we should of – that is, with treatment – but he knew all the local riff-raff by their first name, and his hard drinking and stiff breath left everyone looking at him like he was John Wayne. In general it didn’t do to question his slurring too much.

One Sunday morning, though, Whisky and I were out staring at the pavement passing under our wheels, when we received an excited shout from the radio.

“Shots fired at 884 Maple.”

Until then the closest I’d ever gotten to a shots fired call in Mill County was the occasional complaint about someone poaching pheasant in the off-season. Those, at least, we could pass onto the game warden.

On went the lights, and down went the pedal.

Saturday was always a busy night, down on the drag – that’s when the farmers and factory boys would slosh between the two bars that hunkered across from each other at the town’s major crossroads. The Sheriff and Neddy were sleeping off a hard night’s drunk-wrangling, and the nearest alternate back-up was an hour away.

We made a hard stop in front of a one-story bungalow, and Whisky says “I’ll go round back”.

Then I was alone on the dusty cloth seats of the Chevy Bel Air.

Well, hell, my lack of a tongue meant I couldn’t yell a warning as I was approaching the house, but they knew plenty well we were there, as my wobbly partner had felt no need to spare the siren. Stupidity in the line of duty was my bread and butter at that age, so I strolled up the walk like I owned the place. I hadn’t even drawn my gun when I got the warning.

“Hey, you. Yeah, you, broke-mouth – you stay back, or Lady Fillmore will have plenty to complain about.”

I’d gotten to know Dina Fillmore via previous disturbance reports, and Lady wasn’t the term I’d have used to describe her. The wife of Bobby Fillmore – who ran one of the gin joints I mentioned previously – she was known as a stickler, and her ability to find fault in every person, and situation, she encountered, was the stuff of beauty-salon legend.

It was well understood, however, that she was largely passing on the bile fed to her by her own husband, who often left her in such a condition as to require the steady hands of the beauticians to cover her injuries.

I backed up to the road, figuring I’d put the car between myself and the revolver that the voice was waving from behind a curtain.

While I was still taking cover, there came the sound of a scuffle, then a shot. My weapon was definitely in my hands by then, but there wasn’t much I could do. If I kicked in the door, I’d likely just catch a bullet in the belly, and the drawn shades made it impossible to know what was going on inside.

I started tapping out a Morse code update for Ellie, as quick as I could, trying to tell her to wake the Sheriff. It was so painfully slow.

Before I was done, Whisky came stumbling over the fender.

“Bobby shot me!”

He showed me his arm – it was bleeding, but barely, and his tone was one of indignation, not massive internal injury. I wondered then, and I wonder now, if he maybe just cut himself in his panic to get out of the line of fire.

“Either of you jerks comes waltzing up here again and I’ll start aimin’ straight,” came the voice from the house.

We didn’t have many options – we couldn’t even lean on the local firemen, as they were just an all volunteer squad of chicken-pluckers from the packing plant. We kept the rubberneckers in their houses, and waited for someone with a higher pay-grade to arrive at the scene and make a decision.

Whisky tried screaming a bit of a dialogue back and forth, but the gunman would have none of it. The sound of Dina’s complaints came shredding through the window screen, but, at that distance, her voice was nothing but a string of pleading shrieks.

Despite his complaints, Whisky refused to leave the scene. I suspect he was mostly concerned about his long-term reputation. It didn’t shut him up any.

The Sheriff was pretty blurry eyed when he pulled-up, with Neddy in tow, and when I beeped to let Ellie know, she told me, very seriously, to take care of him.

“Galdang, galdang,” he said.

“C’mon out, Bobby,” said the Sherrif.

“Screw you,” replied Fillmore.

The Sheriff raised his aviators, and gave his eyes a good rub. That’s when the waiting began.

The day grew warmer, then colder. We sat in the car to rest our legs; we stood up and paced. We put on jackets, and took turns refilling our two thermoses of coffee from the Chinese place on Elm. Eventually some highway guys, from Walmont, came to help out – they brought donuts, and joined us in our vigil.

The boys kept trying to talk to him, but the later it got, the more we became worried about his intention to end the situation with a bullet. Neddy was sure it was going to be in Dina, but I’d suspected for a while that the whisky-dispensor’s shack was soon to be the odd-man-out – that the town had one bar too many for the size of the market – and it seemed to me that he was working himself up to ending his problems at his own hand.

I passed about a few notes saying as much, and, despite a round of jibber-jabber from Neddy, which included a suggestion he go home and retrieve his own hunting rifle, the Sheriff decided he was going to sweet talk his way into the house.

After a long hour of creeping and gentle conversation, he was in.

Nothing more happened till dawn.

There were no cellphones then, and, as stupid as it was, we didn’t really think to leave many messages with dispatch. It was just a case of nothing going on, and not thinking it through.

Both patrol cars were off the lot, so Ellie came in the family sedan that they’d invested in for after the baby’s arrival. She didn’t stop for the mail box, or the neighbour’s picket fence – she barely even stopped for the porch. We should have been at hand to prevent her from such a stupid thing, but she was so fast, even for being so pregnant.

I’d never thought of her as a big woman, but she’d been born into raising a cow herd on her parent’s plot, and she swung her belly like a wrecking ball as she bounded up the steps.

Lack of sleep, and the kind of high-powered chemicals that make a woman’s body fit to house a child, gave her voice a level of command usually reserved for ranking celestial beings and four star generals.

“Bobby Fillmore, you step out onto this porch immediately.”

If I were him, I’d have swung the door wide while begging for redemption.

Ellie was a woman ahead of her time – she’d always insisted on uniform slacks to work in, and wore a pair of Doc Marten boots, just like those of us who rode around in the cruisers.

The still unborn Avery, who would eventually come out weighing eight pounds and ten ounces, gave her the extra momentum necessary to kick through the locked door, revealing the captor within.

He may have been a suicidal nutter, but he’d been raised at a time when it was impolite to point a loaded gun at a pregnant woman – or maybe he just didn’t think a woman of her size, and state, would be a problem – whatever the case, he held the weapon across his chest as he addressed her.

“What?” he said.

She didn’t bother responding, she just laid him low with a swift kick.

As Bobby writhed on the floor, she snatched up his pistol. She disappeared further into the house for a moment, then we saw her coming back, directing her husband like an errant child, and pulling Dina along behind her.

Whisky was yelling from where he’d stationed himself as a lookout, but, by then, he’d decided his wound was probably fatal, and had taken to openly drinking away the pain of his already healing scab.

Neddy and I rushed in, but the fight was basically over. We handcuffed Bobby and hauled him away.

In the end, the fallout was that the Sheriff quit. He told me he couldn’t risk doing his job if it put Ellie in the danger of someday attempting another rescue. Whisky was offered pension if he retired early on his supposed gunshot wound, and Neddy was deemed too young – and eager to retrieve his rifle – to take on the mantel. That left me.

For for three weeks, I was the new interim sheriff in town. Before proper elections could be held, however, the powers-that-be juggled things, and the highway patrol out of Walmont were extended to cover the area.

With half of the town’s major problem centers closed while Fillmore was serving time, I couldn’t blame them.

My brief term made a great resume point, though – and I’d had enough of backwaters – so your mom and I were soon on our way to Capital City.

Anyhow, enough of one old man’s prattling, Jeopardy isn’t going to watch itself.



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.