FP459 – The Tooth Fairy, Part 1 of 3

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and fifty-nine.

Flash PulpTonight we present The Tooth Fairy, Part 1 of 3

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Nutty Bites!

 

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 hear a strange tale of missing teeth as told to an oddly familiar old man.

 

The Tooth Fairy, Part 1 of 3

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

 

Federico's was a strip mall bar, the sort that served easily fried foods so they could justify adding an “and grill” to their signage. In the lull between those who drank their lunch departing and those who drank their dinner arriving the place had fallen to near silence. A television bolted in a dark blue corner was muttering something about London, but its low volume meant only the bartender, washing cups at a hidden sink, could hear. It mattered little to the establishment’s two patrons, however, as they were locked in their own hushed conversation at a distant table.

“So you heard about my telling it last night?” asked the balding man, his knobby fingers kneading the bill of his Cleveland Spiders ball cap.

“Yeah - hell of a yarn, but you don’t sound as bad as I thought you would.”

A series of browning lumps trailed the left side of the Spiders fan’s jaw, and the right had swollen to such an extent that his companion had initially held up a hand, between his view of the two halves, and wondered aloud that it looked like a before and after weight-loss ad - except, perhaps, that the physical trauma would likely scare off more customers than it would attract.

“Fanks,” replied the injured man.

“The way I heard it, you were saying it was the Tooth Fairy?”

FP459 - The Tooth Fairy, Part 1 of 3“Yeah, well, listen, Johnnie Walker was helping me unspool the story, and sometimes, you know, when I’ve had a few, I get some weird notions.”

The gray-haired listener ran his thumb over a wrinkled cheek and signaled for refills.

“Same?” asked the woman at the sink, her eyes never breaking from London’s troubles.

“Yep,” replied the buyer, then, lowering his voice and addressing his conversation partner, he asked, “you’re saying you don’t think there was anything out of the ordinary involved?”

“Out of the ordinary?”

“Yeah, you know, uh, inexplicable-mysteries-of-the-universe type stuff?”

“Aw, man, I don’t know nuffin about that,” replied the non-swollen half of the face across the table, but, as he watched the drinks arrive, the questioner caught a sheen in his companion’s eyes and a twitch in his cheek.

“Why don’t you just tell me what happened?”

After a sip of his whiskey and ginger ale that only highlighted his missing front teeth, the drinker said, “well, as best as I can remember it started yesterday morning. I woke up thinking I had a hell of a hangover - probably the worst I’d had all month, and I’m no stranger. It was one of those mornings where you gotta pull yourself up outta the pillow hole, you know? As my feet touched the floor I had one hand scrubbing what felt like a sandstorm from my eyes and the other trying to wipe all the drool from my chin.

“I was like a sail ship in a high wind though - top heavy and swaying between pieces of furniture in the hope that I was making some kind of forward motion.

“Now, I’m not unfamiliar with waking up jagged, but I was beginning to understand I’d wandered into a new realm of pain. I didn’t remember getting in any fights the night before, but, well, that didn’t rule the possibility out.

“After a while I made it to the hallway, and my goddamn stepson, late for school, came running through. I shouted the best ass kicking my tongue would allow, but that’s when he said, ‘Holy shit, you’re bleeding all over,’ and I really knew I wasn’t simply crudo.

“Adrenaline got me to the mirror in the bathroom then, and it looked like my reflection had wandered into a slasher flick. Dried blood on my cheeks and fresh blood still running down my chin. Everything hadn’t puffed up yet, but as I did my best to scrub myself clean I could feel the lumps where the bruises would form - and then my teeth. My front goddamn teeth.

“The evening before was coming back to me, but there was nothing interesting to remember. Early to bed after drinking my way through Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, but certainly not enough to wake up feeling like I did. I remembered locking the door before I crashed, as I usually do, and the windows were all still shut when I woke up. Jenny was already gone to work by then - but she always is, and she’d put the deadbolt in place behind her.

“It’s hard to explain. Someone - someone had been in my mouth without my knowing, and not gently. I mean, look at this mess, this is the kind of thing that requires tools and some vigorous elbow work. Yet no one had heard a thing, seen a thing - no one had broken a window to get in, no one had forced the door.

“Paranoia began to set in. I grabbed the kid and demanded answers, but it was clear from the look in his eyes that he had no idea what the hell had happened either.

“By the time I was done disinfecting my mouth with Walker Red I guess I’d gotten myself worked up. I realize how nuts it sounds, but the shock of it, and perhaps the booze, left me feeling like it was either the goddamn Tooth Fairy or some dentist’s vengeful ghost.

“Most of the bleeding seemed to have stopped, and I’d managed to get myself sort of clean, so I stumbled down here to tell the story.

“Maybe, after all that I just needed to be around people, I dunno.”

The tale ended with a hopeful look at his now empty glass. His audience ordered a refill, though the listener’s own can of unadulterated cola remained largely untouched.

“Sorry,” said the drinker, as he tipped his newly-filled glass in thanks, “I guess, despite how much it hurts, the not-knowing still has me talking. Name’s Jimmie Hobbs, by the way.”

“So I’d heard,” answered the stranger as his wrinkled hands dropped his wallet into the depths his hooded jacket’s inside pocket.

Hobbs took another long sip and raised a brow at his gaunt benefactor. “- and you’re...?”

“I’m just an old man with too much curiosity, but call me Mulligan - Mulligan Smith.”

 

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.

FC133 – Dead Things and Secrets

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FC133 - Dead Things and Secrets

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Hello, and welcome to FlashCast #133.

Prepare yourself for: Ravine murder mania, body disposal, the actual Man in the Iron Mask, the Mob Book Club, and The Irregular Division

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

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If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at http://skinner.fm, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

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

CCR26 – King of the Zombies

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CCR26 - King of the Zombies

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Your hosts, Hugh of Way of the Buffalo, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, have gathered this evening to consider 1941's King of the Zombies

Haven't seen the flick yet? Here it is:



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.

FP458 – The Flying Dutchman

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and fifty-eight.

Flash PulpTonight we present The Flying Dutchman

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Glow-in-the-Dark 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 we find ourselves witness to dead men wandering the highways.

 

The Flying Dutchman

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

 

McGillicuddy’s General Store had stood on its roadside lot for nearly a hundred years. Marty McGillicuddy, thirty, was now its manager, but, before him, Pa McGillicuddy had worked the counter as a child under the supervision of its founder, Pops.

In truth, Pa could not quite allow himself to retire. Though he should have been having dinner with Ma by that dusk hour, he’d stayed on past his voluntary shift to finish telling his son of a twenty-year-past fishing trip - the old man rarely took vacations, so those few he’d allowed himself stood in vivid memory - but the recollection was put on hold as the store’s ancient bell rang twice.

Someone was at the pumps. Decades after it was fashionable, the station had continued to offer full service - it was tradition, and, even in these days of fully electric cars and automated recharging, the human touch remained important to both McGillicuddy men.

FP458 - The Flying DutchmanMost of their traffic was local: Decades back the highway had been so efficiently straightened the town was no longer needed, but there was still a large enough dead spot between Capital City and Riverside, for those unthinking enough to have forgotten to fuel up, that the shop had managed to stagger on.

Stepping into the evening heat, Marty pushed the vehicle’s “manual fill” button, hefted the connector, and flicked open the fueling panel. His eyes were on the horizon to his right, the sun having just set and the sky streaked with a thick red, yet he couldn’t remember if that meant sailors delight or take fright. Finally, when the magnets snapped into place to hold the transmission nozzle, there was little to do but loaf.

He turned left, intending to identify which local was out so late, and everything he’d eaten that day was suddenly working to escape his stomach.

At first he’d thought it was convertible - not a nice one, perhaps, but the sort of boxy job one of the townsfolk sometimes picked up to let the the wind run through their hair without leaving them bankrupt.

His mistake was quickly corrected when he spotted the face staring at him from the rear seat.

The stranger’s countenance had been withered and browned by exposure to sun and rain. His lips were pulled back hard against his teeth, as if locked in a madman’s grin, but it was apparent to Marty that the decapitated head’s skin had simply shrunk and pulled taut with time, revealing the smiling skull beneath.

Looking to the front seat Marty caught a flash of orange, and then the manual fill button beeped.

His mind largely focused on not vomiting, the attendant’s hand went to the connector, as it had dozens of times a day for years, and he pulled the lock free.

Without pause the engine began to whine. The boxy Volvo pulled forward, signaled a left-hand turn as it paused beside the empty roadway, then it fled over the horizon.

In the distance the Melkin’s dog began to bark, an echo of the normalcy that seemed to have otherwise abandoned the younger McGillicuddy. It was a full minute before Marty righted himself and returned to the interior of the store, but even as he moved his mind worked to sort the details of what he’d just witnessed.

Noting his pallor, Pa asked, “Grandmother Templeford make another pass at you?”

“I just - there was a headless dead man in that car.”

“Ah, so you’ve seen the Dutchman then.”

“Who?”

“The Dutchman, as I’ve heard it, was a soccer fan. That’s why he’s wearing the orange jersey. Maybe he was coming back from celebrating a game, maybe he was just heading home after a long night at the office - whatever the case, his car was on autopilot and coming down an off-ramp when - well, you know those cheese slicers with the little wire on the end? The bolts on a guide line around the highway signage had fallen and locked itself between the branches of a thick oak. Just the right height to take the top, and the Dutchman’s head, clean off.

“The GPS that ran the navigation was wired into an antenna on the roof, so the thing was immediately confused about where it was. Still thinking it was trying to get home, it got back on the highway and never stopped.

“I guess they pieced together what had happened after discovering his roof, but the head apparently managed to land in the backseat.”

Marty nodded, but did not interrupt.

“The long-haul truckers’ll tell you that it operates on instinct. Keeps it on the road, keeps it away from other vehicles, and fuels up as needed.

“Police cruisers have attempted to trail him a while, but every time they try to get close the collision sensors push up the car’s speed. By the time they get near they’re going so fast it’s not worth risking a second life to stop the damned thing, and I suspect its nomadic nature makes it easy for troopers to simply turn a head till its drifted into the next county and someone else’s area of responsibility.”

Collecting his push broom to keep his trembling hands busy, Marty asked, “Who’s paying for the juice?”

“Supposedly his wife. The way I heard it, he’s driving an all-too-sensible car, and it can go a mighty distance between having to touch a station. She only knows where he is when he checks in with a new gas up, but she’s always a step behind in her chase.

“In the meantime the Dutchman is out there, drifting along the night highways and crawling country roads as the flies seed his rotting flesh.”

The store fell to silence, the rows of soup cans and bagged chips finding nothing more interesting in the conversation than they had in any other across the previous century.

“So,” said Marty, “what were you saying about that pike?”

 

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.

CCRC9 – New Fist of the North Star E1

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New Fist of the North Star

Join us for a full chronotheater viewing of New First of the North Star!

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FCM27 – Not So Much Pumpkiny

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FCM27 - Not So Much Pumpkiny
Welcome to Flashcast Minisode 027 - Not So Much Pumpkiny

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* * *

  • Mega Wet Wipes
  • Ashley Madison Bill Blackmail
  • * * *

    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.

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