FP390 – Coffin: Weakness, 5 of 6

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and ninety.

Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Weakness, Part 5 of 6
(Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 – Part 6)

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Bothersome Things!

 

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 Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his roommate and apprentice, discuss the unfortunate history of nymphs.

 

Coffin: Weakness, Part 5 of 6

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

 

It was noon, and they were at Denny’s.

“####,” Bunny was saying, around a mouthful of pancake, “so she couldn’t stop doing it? The incubus thing kinda makes sense then, I guess.”

Turning from the window, Coffin winced. “Not a nymphomaniac, a nymph. Way back in the toga days they were a sort of nature spirit who’d live in rivers, streams, tributaries, fjords – basically every wet place you figure’d be worth taking a vacation photo at would have one.

“Generally they manifested as shapely naked ladies, in their early twenties, who’d come ashore to sing and dance when visitors or worshipers arrived, but otherwise they maintained a dwelling within the depths of their swimming pool for privacy.”

Lifting another wad of syrup and batter to her mouth, Bunny asked, “sounds like they’d be pretty popular, so where’d they go?”

“Well, see, the nymphs were pretty into free love. They didn’t need it, like Valentine, but they were, uh, very welcoming to friendly shore-side visitors. The more civilized folks got, though, the less their spouses appreciated it.

“Nymph culture was slow to change, mostly because they were so localized, and their reputation went from something akin to a regional deity to the mess dumped on sex workers.

“I should be clear though: Their interest was really only in natural beauty. They danced because of the elegance of grass swaying in the wind, they rutted on the shore because that’s the way of the wild, and they sang because it called beasts and birds of all shape to their banks and kept them there in peace.

“Still, as things got worse some of them tried to go clean – the lady who supposedly lobbed the sword at Arthur was probably a nymph – but I think they hoped pants and religion were fads.”

“Me too, me too,” answered Bunny.

Will shrugged, taking advantage of the interruption to sip at his coffee. Despite his best efforts to be patient, his eyes wandered to the window.

There was nothing of note in the tightly stuffed parking lot.

Frowning, he continued. “You’re familiar with the old ‘I read it for the articles line’? In those days sneaky husbands and unsatisfied wives would claim they were just ‘going to hear the nymphs sing.’ Maybe that’s what started the trade – whatever the case, there was no Top 40 back then, and the medieval nobles, sick of having their trophy spouses sneak off, began to improvise jukeboxes.

“The real problem was that the nymph’s mystic song couldn’t help but bring a sense of soothing, even if weepily sung after having had their limbs clipped and being entrapped in tiny caskets.

“Now, this isn’t something just anybody would know about, this is the sort of secret treat rich people like to save for their most special guests. You’d be lead into a well sealed room by a deaf servant and your host. and there’d be a decorated box with what looked like a fairly heavy trashcan upside down on top.

“Your host would invite you to lie down on a lounge chair, priming you the whole time about what a wonderful surprise you were about to have, and the servant would lift the iron lampshade to reveal a young woman who’d lay out a tune so lovely it was like taking a mouthful of rave pills.

“When the allotted period was up, the servant would drop the shade. The attendants were also in charge of punishment for lack of performance, but we don’t need to get into the abuses you can inflict on a head in a cabinet.

“Immortality can be a rough gig like that, but even occult beings need to eat.

“In the end they all starved to death.

“Jenny though – Jenny was a fighter. Jenny gave up her home, the hardest thing for her kind, and set herself loose in the wilds; Let her hair grow long and tangled, let the muck of the river bottoms cover her skin, let decay and fish guts cling to her teeth. She hid like that for years, until even the memory of the slaughter of her people was forgotten, and her rage simmered.

“She started trying to avenge herself.”

“#### yeah,” said Bunny, “I’d go Rambo over that #### too.”

Will nodded, but replied, “consider the flip side though: You’re strolling by the river and you hear a whisper. You stop and there’s a woman – or is it a woman? She almost looks like nothing more than a collection of lily pads and stones – a face hovering at the still surface. Maybe you don’t listen at first. Maybe you’ve got a strong aversion to getting wet, maybe you’re smart enough not to talk to entities speaking from ponds, maybe you just have no sense of curiosity.

“Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter, because that slight, cheerless face begins singing, and suddenly everything is beautiful and calm. Suddenly you have no interest but in relaxing in the cool damp. Suddenly you’re drowning.

“Beloved family pets taking a drink, children roaming alone, lovers skinny dipping – anyone that would make others share some of the pain.

”Eventually she gained a new reputation: As a killer. Even the mystical and the immortal need the occasional human disappeared.”

Leaning back to bask in her victory over the forces of dough, Bunny asked, “so she’s some kinda supernatural hitman now?”

“Basically.”

In truth, however, Bunny already knew all this – she’d read the same texts Coffin was reciting from – but, even with his neck-cramping turns to peer out the window, it was the calmest she’d seen him in days.

She did not mention that the tale explained nothing of the missing phantoms.

The real question she wanted answered involved what exactly was in the worn leather messenger bag he’d taken to carrying. Before she might ask, though, a blur of movement to her left caught her attention. Beyond the dusty cream shades six dozen cats sat atop the sea of sun-baked cars.

Noting her gaze, they began to wail.

It was time to go.

 

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.

Coffin’s theme is Quinn’s Song: A New Man, by Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com/

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.

Categories: Coffin, Flash Pulp | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FP389 – Coffin: Weakness, 4 of 6

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and eighty-nine.

Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Weakness, Part 4 of 6
(Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 – Part 6)

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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 Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his apprentice, have an unpleasant discussion with an ancient owl.

 

Coffin: Weakness, Part 4 of 6

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

 

“He was not yours to punish,” said Wide Eye, his double set of wing joints ruffling in agitation.

Bunny, Coffin, and the owl were standing on the chill pavement of a highway rest area while the Phantom Ambulance’s bulk provided little protection from the prying spring wind.

It’d been a long night, even before receiving the summons from the gray and white avian noble, and Will had no patience for watching the freshly appointed monarch preen and legislate while there were tasks at hand to be accomplished.

“If not mine, whose?” asked the shaman.

“Mine,” answered the animal lord.

Dawn was breaking all around them, but Will could only think that a new day simply meant a new set of problems.

He grunted, saying, “Blackhall was very clear about the nature of my office. Something Pisky and I had in common was a lack of interest in politics, and I think it helped us get along just fine. Don’t test the pacts and I won’t.”

“Is it the nature of your office to let one beast go free while removing the sole purpose for another’s existence?” asked Wide Eye, his neck rotating to indicate the ambulance and its arcane driver while never taking his gaze from Will’s. “Your process strikes at me as – slipshod.”

“My process will strike you, full stop, if you don’t quit wasting breath and get every chatty sea gull and nosey turtle under your command churning the waters for Jenny GreenTeeth.”

The bird’s disagreement came in slow gusts of wind, but his words held the weight of a being who’d wielded legions of bestial spies and warriors over thousands of years.

“He was not yours to punish.”

Bunny, though eager to be home and in her bed, felt a need to add, “it was kinda ####in’ harsh.”

Will turned to the trees, his fingers playing across the links of the silver chain that allowed his communication with the dead.

Things had been simpler when he’d been left to talk with his corpses.

Finally, he cleared his throat.

“Harsh?” he asked. “Harsh is an immortal rapist who manipulates his victims, using powers literally beyond human comprehension, to convince them they really are interested in spontaneous unprotected sex with a stranger who has suddenly appeared in their bedroom – and nevermind the four bloated cadavers waving their hands in the air like they’re tied to weighted chairs at the bottom of a river.”

There was a long pause as the trio watched the sun flood the horizon in red and yellow light.

Coffin“These are indeed dangerous times,” replied Wide Eye. “Our every subject has its attention on the water’s edge. I will find Jenny GreenTeeth, and, when I do, it is likely best that I let the sort who castrates one monster, while begging rides from another, deal with the matter in your own barbaric way.

“Still, you do not know where the missing spirits of the dead have gone, do you? As a courtesy I have posted watch at your wife’s resting place – just in case, you understand.”

Even to Bunny’s achingly tired ears the words sounded vaguely of a honeyed threat. The matter of the missing remnants was as close to a raw nerve as Bunny had ever seen Coffin display, and she braced herself for fireworks.

She could not have anticipated his reaction, however.

“Before you question my judgement you’d do best to remember who put her there and why,” Will replied.

The ride back to town was a silent one.

 

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.

Coffin’s theme is Quinn’s Song: A New Man, by Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com/

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.

Categories: Coffin, Flash Pulp | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

FP388 – Coffin: Weakness, 3 of 6

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and eighty-eight.

Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Weakness, Part 3 of 6
(Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 – Part 6)

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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 Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his recently sober apprentice, find themselves unexpectedly asking questions in a seedy boutique.

 

Coffin: Weakness, Part 3 of 6

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

 

“Well,” said Bunny, “you know what they say: ‘third porn shop’s the charm.’”

The paramedic to her left grunted, but beneath its surgical-mask disguise its spiraling rows of teeth flexed and salivated. His eyes were fixed to a rental ad featuring a woman kneeling before a broad pair of hairy legs.

Catching his gaze, Bunny winced.

“It’s not what you think,” she said, “no one actually gets eaten in Flesh Eaters V.”

Though perhaps it was indeed what had first drawn its attention, the truth was that the driver of The Phantom Ambulance had been caught wondering how it was that it had come an unknowable distance into this horrible dimension of delicious temptation only to find itself acting as chaffeur, between lewd dens that smelled of sweat and meat, for the very entity that denied it a meal.

On the far side of the counter’s clouded glass, a woman with thick plugs in her earlobes and a look of boredom on her face shrugged at Coffin for a second time.

“I’m not really supposed to discuss the customers,” she repeated.

“I understand,” replied Will, “but I’m asking on behalf of the elderly woman who recently woke up to discover him at the foot of her bed. This guy would probably be browsing a lot of sleep fetish material.”

Dragging her focus across his battered leather jacket, then his companions, the clerk bit her lip.

Coffin pushed. “He’d be pretty though – too pretty, you’d think, to be lurking in a place like this. No offense.”

She sighed.

“Yeah, I know him. Valentine Giovanni. I actually figured it was a fake, and I respect a little flair – most people just stick to John Smith around here – but it’s how he introduces himself when you call his voicemail, and I’ve always just gotten his voicemail. He’s always quick to show though. Kind of, uh, disturbingly quick.

“He definitely started on the sleep fetish thing but, well, the guys big on variety. I thought I’d seen it all till he started asking us to import foreign films that’d make my pupils bleed. In the end we weren’t even sure how legal they were, so we had to tell him we weren’t going to anymore. He still constantly comes in looking for something new though.”

Her arm moved across her stomach as she spoke, and the ring-heavy fingers of her right hand wrapped themselves around the nautical scene depicted on her left forearm.

After a moment’s pause she uncoiled and scrawled a phone number.

“You didn’t get any of this from me. The owner would be pissed if they knew I was giving out details about such a big spending customer.”

* * *

It was Bunny who left the message.

“Hi, this is, uh, Marilyn, on behalf of Ms. Flores. She’d like to extend a, er, financial opportunity. In exchange for certain, you know, services, that she feels you can provide.”

Seconds after making his appearance in the 7-Eleven parking lot she’d suggested as their midnight meeting place, however, Valentine Giovanni was on to the fact that something was amiss.

Perhaps it was the strange man in the surgical mask who wouldn’t stop staring at him from behind the wheel of his parked ambulance, perhaps it was the fact that the Marilyn, waiting at the center of the pool of light, was clad entirely in denim.

Coffin: A Skinner Co. PodcastWhatever the case, he first turned to leave, then, at the approach of running boots, began to fade entirely from existence – a maneuver he usually undertook only under the cover of darkness and in the privacy of an unexpectedly invaded bedroom.

His crisp blue irises and finely lined cheekbones were nearly translucent when the Crook of Ortez, Coffin’s most constant tool, swung wide and planted its intricate hook deeply into his left eye.

“Gah!,” he said, jerking forward and becoming again whole.

“Get in the ####ing ambulance or I’ll poke the other,” suggested Bunny.

Two blocks later, with the incubus clutching his wound and Will still clutching the attached chain, the story began to come out.”.

“I needed money,” the night visitor was saying while trying to breathe through his pain, “I – the world has gotten strange in the last two hundred years, and I do not just mean the flux of mystic energies. You must understand that I am driven to see these things, I can not help myself. When the internet arrived, there was so much to see, to order, to hire and, eventually, to pay for.”

“Uh,” said Bunny, “can a guy like you even get a credit card?”

Giovanni sighed. “There are ways. There are people who will help those like me procure things not easily had. It is much more dangerous, however, to run up debts with those same sorts of people.”

“Let’s see,” replied Coffin, “the news anchor wouldn’t want her career ruined by a sex tape, the trophy wife wouldn’t want her marriage interrupted, and I guess being outted as a gay Catholic school principal is a tough gig. How much were you asking for the blackmail?”

“They – I do enjoy variety, but I was told – made – to record every victim. How much? As much as I owed, plus interest. Too much, I guess, since that scammer Pendleton got wind of the situation.”

“What did that matter?” asked Bunny.

“Pendleton had information, or he thought did. About the, uh, people I was working for.”

She frowned. “So you killed him. Them.”

“They – the people – did, yes.”

It was Coffin’s turn to pose a question.

“Who are they?”

Even with one eye, Valentine’s gaze made it clear he thought it ridiculous for Will to even inquire.

Standing, Coffin brought up his left hand, pulling Giovanni along with him. As the daemon grasped at the chain above, Will’s right deftly undid the button on the man’s well cut slacks and dropped them to the floor.

Suddenly the shaman’s right hand was full of a new instrument Bunny had not yet seen. A bone handled pocket knife, with a blade of silver and a sharp series of serrated edges at its base.

Placing the cold edge beneath Valentine’s rapidly retreating scrotum, Will repeated himself.

“Who are they?”

“The – merda – the damnable spider children, alright? They were the ones who hired Jenny GreenTeeth, they were the ones who hired the cleaners, and they were the ones who made me pay for it.”

“I used to know a girl in high school we called Jenny GreenTeeth,” muttered Bunny, “she’s probably Jenny NoTeeth now though.”

With the information out, and the joke made, the apprentice had expected an end to the ugly scene playing out on the bench opposite.

Instead, Coffin brought up his knife and, with a sure flick of his wrist, removed the only tool the incubus had ever known.

A meal or a morsel, the paramedic did not discriminate.

 

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.

Coffin’s theme is Quinn’s Song: A New Man, by Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com/

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.

Categories: Coffin, Flash Pulp | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

FC108 – The Elite Meatmen

FC108 - The Elite Meatmen

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Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 108.

Prepare yourself for: tinfoil misuse, ancient erotic graffiti, licensed exorcists, a mechacat, and Coffin.

* * *

Huge thanks to:

* * *

* * *

* * *

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Audio-dacity of Hope:

  • Check out the new items on the store!
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    Art of Narration:

  • Email Opop about Skinner Co. Ink at opopanax at skinner dot fm!
  • * * *

    Backroom Plots:

  • Coffin: Weakness (Part 1Part 2)
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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.

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    FP387 – Coffin: Weakness, 2 of 6

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and eighty-seven.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Weakness, Part 2 of 6
    (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 – Part 6)

    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.

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Every Photo Tells…

     

    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 Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his recently sober apprentice, discuss a midnight encounter with a gasket baroness.

     

    Coffin: Weakness, Part 2 of 6

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

     

    The labyrinthine house smelled of potpourri and pine, and the deeper into its architecture that Bunny ventured, the surer she became that the smileless man who’d answered the door was, in fact, undertaking an elaborate prank.

    “We off to see Barnum’s Egress?” she asked, but Will was too distracted to bother faking a chuckle and the doorman didn’t slow in his navigation of the hardwood sea.

    Dining set islands gave way to shorelines of couch, then the couches themselves were crowded by towering library cliffs. Finally, they came to a stop in a land of Persian rugs.

    The gray-haired woman at the room’s center wore her wingback chair like a throne, but her only subjects seemed to be the multitude of oil paintings that covered the walls. No image was larger than six inches wide, and there was no buffer greater than a thumb’s width between them. Thousands of tiny faces stretched in uneven rows to the vaulted ceiling.

    Menu1As if playing his entrance in reverse, their guide disappeared backwards through the doorway, leaving his retreating heel taps and the tick of an out-of-sight grandfather clock to fill the void.

    “Ms. Flores?” asked Coffin, but Bunny was already busy inspecting the surroundings.

    “Rosanna, please,” she replied, her slender fingers dropping from a steeple to brush away the nonsense of formality.

    “Okay, Rosanna,” nodded Will. “Our mutual friend, the talking owl, has informed us you have a story to tell?”

    Their hostess’ deeply lined face pulled into a soft chuckle, and Bunny couldn’t help but think that there’d likely been a time when droves of men had swooned over her smile.

    “It happened a month ago,” began Rosanna, with a warm but firm tone. “I sleep lightly these days, and steps at the foot of my bed is enough to bring me awake like a rooster’s song.

    “I was expecting it to be Curtis, but, oh, how I was wrong.

    “There was a man – a baby face at forty, or a rugged gent at thirty-five. Either way, I’ve always been a sucker for a strong jaw and needy lips. I told myself I was likely dreaming, but somehow knew I wasn’t.

    “Still, there was a burning between us from the moment I opened my eyes and I had no interest in denying it.

    “I’m eighty-four, but a lifetime of hard work and harder play has left me strong. I’m in no danger of falling and breaking a hip or cracking a rib, and I knew exactly what his eyes had in mind. I’m not ashamed to say I invited him beneath the sheets, nor to divulge that I treated him like a rodeo bull.

    “We were both sweating by the time dawn broke, but it was only because I had an early art gallery opening to attend to that I sent him away.”

    Rosanna paused in her telling, and Will could read by the set of her knees, and the heat in her gaze, that she was briefly lost in memory – then she shrugged.

    Clearing her throat, Ms. Flores finished her tale.

    “He didn’t use the door when he departed. He climbed out my bedroom window, but I doubt he even required that much effort – there’s a twenty foot wall around the estate, as you no doubt saw when you entered – and he was gone by the time I pulled back the curtains.

    ”A couple of weeks later I received the note, and the photos. He must have had a tiny camera hidden in his crumpled heap of bedside clothing.

    “The letter indicated a drop off point and warned me of what it would mean to my business and reputation if such images were leaked to the press. It wasn’t signed, but it smelled like him.”

    “How did you respond?” asked Coffin, but Bunny already had the answer.

    “She told him to go #### himself,” she replied.

    As Will had listened, his apprentice had been exploring the paintings and their inhabitants. Where he’d seen just canvas, she’d found a multitude of tiny lusting figures, each in a position that might have left the creator of the Kama Sutra blushing.

    “That’s about right,” said Rosanna with a smirk. “I did not build an empire on rubber gaskets by lacking an understanding of rough business. It wasn’t the amount though, it was the notion. I’ll plow a thousand miles for a carrot, but I won’t budge an inch for the stick, and that’s the way it’s always been.

    “I sent a note implying that my dating life could use the exposure. I kept the pictures though – I looked good in them, and so did he.

    “That was the last I heard of the matter until a few nights ago when a ragamuffin named Pendleton came by and asked that I join together with a few of his other clients in turning the tables on my visitor. I refused his offer too.”

    Coffin did not mention the corpses he had recently swam with – instead he simply gave a second nod, tucked his fingers into his pockets, and said, “thank you for your honesty. It seems we have an incubus with a money problem to locate.”

    As his feet chased his racing thoughts towards the exit, it was his accomplice who thought to turn and shake hands.

    In that lingering moment, Rosanna asked, “if you do find him, will you pass on that I would consider negotiating? I won’t pay his blackmail, but I’d gladly hire him to the house staff at twice the price.”

    Bunny’s mind struggled under the weight of four damp cadavers, but she’d come to like Rosanna.

    She said, “sure,” then left before the lie could linger.

     

    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.

    Coffin’s theme is Quinn’s Song: A New Man, by Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com/

    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.

    Categories: Coffin, Flash Pulp | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

    Research Fodder July 4, 2014

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    FP386 – Coffin: Weakness, 1 of 6

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and eighty-six.

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Weakness, Part 1 of 6
    (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 – Part 6)

    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

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Every Photo Tells…

     

    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 Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his recently sober apprentice, encounter a strange party at the river’s edge.

     

    Coffin: Weakness, Part 1 of 6

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

     

    Finding the spot had been fairly simple – the crown of the red balloon that he’d been told marked his destination was bobbing at the center of Nash Bay, one of the river’s calmer nooks – but, though the thaw had come early that spring, the water was still frigid enough to bite at Will Coffin’s skin as he forced his bare toes and jean-covered legs into the Lethe.

    Ten feet further along the shore, Bunny offered her encouragement.

    “Hurry the #### up, it’s as cold as Cheney’s heart out here.”

    In truth, Will was just as in a hurry as she was. Placing an ancient stone of arcane origin beneath his tongue, he tested its long-proven ability to provide air even when none existed, then slipped beneath the mirrored surface.

    Below, it became apparent that the marker was only the top most balloon in a cluster of ten. Pinned to a card table which was itself weighted to the riverbed, the rainbow-coloured column waved gently in the waters flow. There were four attendees at the party, each tied to a thick metal chair and wearing a plastic party hat.

    Coffin recognized but one, the blue-blazered woman who had, until recently, anchored the Capital City News at Six. Still, the note that had divulged their location had also included the identities of all involved.

    Digging into his pocket, the shaman wrapped his fingers in the Crook of Ortez, the mystic chain that allowed for communication with the dead – yet, as he feared, there was not a single apparition on hand to question.

    Will turned back, having seen all he’d come to see.

    As he reached for a towel, his jacket, a blanket, and his hot coffee, he asked his apprentice, “What do a TV news anchor, a Catholic school principal, a rich guy’s trophy wife, and a two-bit dabbler have in common?”

    CoffinBunny could not help but notice the tone in his voice, and it struck her that in the past he would have asked the question with the cool detachment of a man who barely cared. Now she worried that perhaps he cared almost too much.

    “I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s a ####ty punch line,” she answered.

    “I knew the dabbler, Pendleton, a bit,” said Will. “He earned his money scamming people with cold readings, but he nearly managed to get one of those damned cursed monkey paws working in the late ’90s. I was just lucky to get it away from him before the thing scraped together the mystic juice to actually grant his wish.”

    “Do you know what he was hoping for?” Bunny asked with a raised brow.

    “Yeah, infinite more wishes, which, given the ‘one finger, one wish’ nature of that sort of talisman, means we’d end up with a gigantic simian hand growing ever larger on the horizon before it finally blots out the sun with its jungle of gnarled brown digits.”

    As Coffin finished the story a tight squadron of a dozen ospreys formed above the river and swept the opposite shore. As one they turned to cross in front of the pair, then, banking within feet of their audience, the birds drove skyward.

    “Sweet ####ing candy corn,” said Bunny, “that was a ###damn Tom Cruise flock of birds right there. Some real Top Gun ####.”

    “It’s good to know I can still impress,” replied a sleepy voice over her left shoulder.

    Turning, Bunny was somewhat comforted by the frown on Will’s face. At least she wasn’t the only one taken by surprise.

    With a preening ruffle of his furled wings, Wide Eye, animal lord and recently appointed regent of the area, hunkered low on a driftwood log.

    “Judging by your moist nature, you’ve seen the party?” asked the massive owl.

    “Yeah,” answered Coffin.

    “You have spoken with the dead then?”

    “No.”

    Bunny shuffled from foot to foot to fill the pause as Will stooped to lace his boots.

    It was the hulking fowl, however, who finally broke the silence.

    In a slow midnight tone, it said, “you will look into the matter.”

    Will’s shoulders became tight beneath his beaten leather jacket. “I hold an independent office. I do not work for you and you have no jurisdiction over what I deem worthy of my interest. As it happens, you’re lucky that I have nothing better to do.”

    It was Bunny’s newfound mental clarity that kept her from muttering, “bull####.”

    “We shall see,” replied the owl. “Go visit the woman mentioned in my note. Rosanna.”

    Spreading his broad wings, the animal lord made no effort to hide his departure.

     

    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.

    Coffin’s theme is Quinn’s Song: A New Man, by Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com/

    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.

    Categories: Coffin, Flash Pulp | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

    We Are All The Same Inside

    Burger King - Proud Burger - We Are All The Same Inside
    In theory I’m behind the Proud Whopper, Burger King’s attempt to align themselves with the LGBTQ community. The more love the better – but, well, I find there’s something weird about the message (pictured above) inside the wrapper.

    “We’re all the same inside:” it seems to say, “Meat. Fatty, flame licked meat to be consumed in the unending mastication of the plastic faced King who rules our land.”

    Er, or maybe that’s just me.

    Do Not Open Dead Inside

    Categories: Junk Thought | Leave a comment

    Research Fodder July 1, 2014

    Categories: Research Fodder | Leave a comment

    FC107 – Opop Is Not The Traitor

    FC107 - Opop Is Not The Traitor

    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/iTunes/RSS)

    Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 107.

    Prepare yourself for: Angry angry hippos, dark hobbies, hot sauce, idea fodder, and Blackhall.

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    Huge thanks to:

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    Audio-dacity of Hope:

  • Check out the new items on the store!
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    Art of Narration:

  • Email Opop about Skinner Co. Ink at opopanax at skinner dot fm!
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    Backroom Plots:

  • FP385 – Spawn: A Collective Detective Chronicle
  • FP384 – The Scarred Man: a Blackhall Tale
  • FPSE23 – The Myth of the Big Game
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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.

    Categories: Flash Pulp, FlashCast | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment