FP404 – Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 2 of 3

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and four.

Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 1 of 3
(Part 1Part 2 – Part 3)

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by the works of Mike Luoma

 

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, PI, finds himself involved in a high-speed chase.

 

Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 2 of 3

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

 

“So, a month and a half later I’m working this gig. Another wandering penis, though this one with a different victim almost every night. Guy’s a friggin’ ghost though. Always meets his dates at their door, never gets out of his coupe, always brings them to the same place. A week’s work and he was giving me nothing – well, certainly nothing that was going to earn my client her alimony.

“It’d be a helluva check too, as Johnny Rocketcrotch replaces his BMW every six months and the only place he brings his dates is the sort of country club that’d make a clown in a hoodie like mine ten times before the valet could insist I was lost. To make matters even more fun, the car’s tinted like it was Dracula himself driving, so the Nikon was useless unless I could get up near the windshield.

”That’s the kind of shot you only get once, if you know what I mean.”

As the PI spoke, his companions watched Capital City’s east side slide by the baby blue Tercel’s windows. It was a warm day which left Walmart Mike, still toting his empty cup in his hand, to simmer in the dusty – but not altogether unpleasant – smell of the ancient sun-baked upholstery.

“I ain’t no private dick,” the greeter asked with a snicker, “but it seems to me that they don’t roll out beds at country clubs – well, hell, maybe they do, I ain’t ever been in one, but it seems like an awkward place to push rope, unless his gals were into crinkle-faced spectators?”

Smith Sr. snorted from the passenger seat, as, wheeling through a wide left turn, Mulligan picked up the thread of his story.

“Actually, you have a point there. See, this was one of those idiots who figures he has a technique. It was so cookie cutter I could easily make out its shape even from the distant shadows.

“He’d meet these ladies online – which I’ll get into later – then he’d roll them out to his little elite shanty to fill them full of wine. No doubt the grape juice came with impressive labels. They’d talk; he’d open up about himself, you know, try to make her feel like she was exactly what he’d been looking for.

“No mention of his wife, but that’s too big a hurdle for a one-date guy to jump – and, yeah, it was always just one date.

“They all concluded the same way: After dark, the BMW peeling out of the high fenced parking lot like the gate was a starting line. Then they’d take the long way towards downtown at twice the speed of light.

Mulligan Smith in The Cheat“I don’t know what too-practiced lines he used to talk them into it; I mean, I guess they thought it was a fun first date and he probably convinced them they were on the start of a road together. Whatever the case, about half of them would, uh, operate his gear shift while he pushed the straight-six to the edge. He’d drive with about the same recklessness if he was successful or not, but I could always tell how well he was faring by his hands. He’s one of those guys who argues in short, snide sentences, and if she said no he’d end up delivering these tiny pissed-off karate chops at the end of all of pinch-mouthed statements.

“There was no such verbal kung fu on the evening I caught up to him.”

Turning away from the scrolling cityscape, Smith Sr. delivered his son a raised brow.

“Yeah, yeah,” replied Mulligan, “I’m getting to it.

“So: Different lady almost every night, different car twice a year, but always the same way back to the heart of the city. It’s strange what patterns people’ll fall into.

“I waited till he was pulling off the waterfront, and his temporary sweetheart’s silhouette had disappeared from her upright position in the passenger seat, then I let myself be made. I mean, not badly enough that he brings things to a halt, but I pull up a half-block behind him and give him a kiss of the high beams so that I know he’s noticed.

“Now, the Tercel is no match for his German missile. He punches it, and I’m left in the dust by the time he takes a right onto Independence Avenue. He slows just a bit crossing the rail line, and looks up from the blond bobbing mop in his lap – bam: There’s a baby blue shitbox on his rear bumper.

“Well, he really hammers it at that point and slides onto Bay at the last possible second, no doubt watching the Toyota blow by in his rear view.

“He makes a quick turn onto Delaware after that, probably thinking he’s clever but all the time following the same old route.

“Thing is, I’d cut over a dozen blocks back, and was already standing at the corner of Bronson. Just as he’s strutting by the bus stop I’m huddled in, a baby blue Tercel creeps onto the pavement, barricading both lanes at the next crossroad. Johnny stops to consider his options, and she lifts her head high enough to see what’s going on over the far side of the dash. The whole thing took four seconds, tops, but there was no mistaking what was going on in that photo.

“He was so flabbergasted at the sight of the camera that Dad had time to drive the second Tercel by to wave.

“I was trotting like Astaire till I got back to his wife’s place.

“Do you know how bloody long it took me to find that second car? Hey-zeus. I had him cold, but all I collected was a few hours of half-pay footwork and the deli sandwiches I expensed.

“The client delivers the rejection across a table that contains more hardwood than I’ve got flooring my entire apartment, and I’m reminding myself that suing the clients is bad for the reputation of my business. I was still feeling the sting from the previous month too, so, despite my attempts at good behaviour, I was working up to at least using some language the maid would have to clean up after – then the wife makes her peace offering.

“See, the reason she was stiffing me on the bill was because she’d gotten his Ashlin Wisconsin password – but she was afraid there would be strings attached or a fake out after she brought the material to court. She asks me to look into the source.”

Mike cleared his throat. “Ashlin, Wisconsin? Never been.”

Mulligan smiled. “Nah, it’s a website. Ashlin Wisconsin is a dating site for married folks.

“She asks if I’m interested, and, mind firmly on my rent bill, I say, ‘sure, but it’ll cost you five days fee up front.’ She cuts the check right there on the table.

“Hell, if I’d known what I was going to stumble into, I might’ve done the job for free.”

 

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.

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.

FP403 – Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 1 of 3

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and three.

Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 1 of 3
(Part 1Part 2 – Part 3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download MP3

(RSS / iTunes)

 

This week’s episodes are brought to you by the works of Mike Luoma

 

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 tale of betrayal and violence influenced by Jurd’s current international travel status – that influence mostly being exhaustion.

 

Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 1 of 3

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

 

They were sitting in the blue Tercel, Sonic cups in their hands, and Mulligan was saying, “no offense, Mike, but the first guy was a Walmart cheat.”

Smith’s mute father only nodded.

From the backseat the wrinkle-faced greeter replied, “none taken, but how do you mean?”

“He was like one of those shirts they sell with under-sleeves and a collar sewn in to make it look fancier. He drove an Escalade, but his car was easily bigger than his house. In fact, when I pulled up to that shack I was left wondering if his wife would even be able to cover my bill. I mean, I don’t mind folks with priorities, but she and I were on the same wavelength: A guy with a ride like that is out to impress someone – unfortunately, it wasn’t her.

“She was sick of it: Sick of his nights away, sick of the tiny shanty he left her alone in, and sick of waiting for him to get his act together.

FP403 - Mulligan Smith in The Cheat, Part 1 of 3“She’d be damned if the grubby palmed bugger would hold onto the SUV through the divorce, however, which is why she hired me.”

Walmart Mike took a long draw on his Miami Sunset slush, then asked, “so where’s the excitement? Sounds like every other creeping Johnny to me.”

The senior Smith offered a grin that revealed no details.

“Sure,” answered Mulligan, “seemed like an easy gig. Nice huge box to follow around, then some quick work with the Nikon and I could call it a day. Thing is, he meets this red head in front of her apartment. She’s wearing one of those wide neck sweaters, black stretch pants, and knee high boots. He honks but stays in the truck. No chance for pictures.

“Now, I figure we’re headed towards Chez Costly Cuisine, or some other excuse to fill her full of white wine, but, instead, I find myself having to keep an eye on his tail lights all the way out of the city and into the woods north of town.”

Mike raised a brow. “Secluded cabin? Romantic hay ride? Park and grope?”

“None of the above,” replied the PI. “They stopped at a farmhouse. Big spread with a massive black gate. I gave the driveway a pass and did a loop around the fields. I found a bush on the far side under which to tuck the Tercel, then I jumped the fence and did my best to stay low till I’d made the barn.

“The thing was large enough to shade most of Amish country, and it was packed full of shouting.”

Mulligan paused to finish off the last of the blue raspberry ice at the bottom of his cup, then lobbed the trash into the barrel beyond his window.

“Must’ve been fifty people and a dozen mutts in there, and that’s not including the two rotties in the pit.”

“That dog fighting thing in the papers was you?” asked Mike.

The retired sergeant answered with a nod while his son only smirked.

In the backseat the audience of one rolled his eyes. “Hey-zeus, what a romantic fuckin’ scumbag.”

“No joke,” said Mulligan. “Worse, I got spotted. Fortunately the kid, eighteen maybe, was a yokel who figured I was watering the paint.

“”Next round’s starting, you in?” he asked. Once I offered a fifty he didn’t look at me twice.

“Now, I gotta admit, I was already feeling pretty displeased, but letting that fifty ride on dog versus dog had me palming my taser. Maybe thats why I swung for the fences instead of calling the uniforms first thing.

“I stood around taking in everything but the match. Easy access to the hayloft from the other side of the barn, and the elevation offered a perfect overview of the crowd. No one was paying enough attention to the ladder to notice somebody scaling it, but I suspected that none of the jackholes would be terribly enthusiastic if I pulled a camera and started trying to take pictures.

“Now, I gotta be honest, I could’ve simply climbed up, did my duty, and scrammed, but I had another idea.

“Like I said, it was a swank spread, but it wasn’t arranged to act as a place of business, or even an arena of combat. In the end I joggled the elbow of the guy holding the bets and asked where a fellow might conduct business a little more elaborate than just watering the outside wall.

“He seemed reluctant to send me into the main house, but after I made clear I guessed I could drop trow in the unofficial latrine area if he could deal with the resulting smell, he sent me inside.

“In I went, through the kitchen, second entrance on the left, just as I was told, but I raided the fridge on my way back. Then it was just a matter of timing.

“When the current combatants were too mangled to keep fighting the greedy bastards would just pop open two more cages and toss a sliver of steak into the little fenced in arena – but that last time they were too late. I guess it’d been enough to get those thick necked bowsers snarling at each other previously, but, even as that hunk of cow was flying through the air, I was already at the top of the ladder. The hick taking bets nearly got the gate closed before I let fly with double handfuls of farm raised ground beef, and the smell of blood lit up the pooches like a pinball machine with Tommy on the flippers.

“They hit the crowd like rabid Pac-Men, and I framed a nice shot of fearful date snuggling close to scuzzy hubby for safety. They ran, I switched to the outside door. She quivered in his arms, he took advantage by laying a kiss. Then they ran for their ride.

“I was gone by the time sirens replaced the sound of snarling dogs.

“At that point you can imagine that I was feeling pretty pleased with myself – but, when I returned to the shack to collect my cheque, Mrs. Jackass tells me she was just about to call. Apparently she doesn’t need me anymore, she’s got him, as she puts it, by his shriveled testies. For all my trouble I managed to collect expenses and nothing more.”

“I feel for you,” said Mike with a snicker, “but at least you – you know – took a bite out of crime.”

Mulligan shrugged. “Well, actually, it was a month and a half later that things got really interesting.”

 

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.

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.

CCR002 – The Ape

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Chrononaut Cinema Reviews #002 - The Ape

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[CCR Feed: RSS Skinner Co.: RSS/iTunes]

Your hosts, Hugh of Way of the Buffalo, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, have gathered this evening to consider 1940’s The Ape, starring Boris Karloff.

Haven’t seen the flick yet? Here you go!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and Way of the Buffalo, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

NtS005 – Consumption

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NtS005 - Consumption

Some thoughts from the edge of the Pacific

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This show is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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