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FP378 – Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 2 of 4

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The Drop of the Shoe

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

Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 2 of 4

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Skinner Co. Store

 

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 return to our tale of arcane murder and questionable dinner parties as Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his apprentice, travel northward.

 

Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 2 of 4

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

 

Perhaps the proximity to death reminded their driver, the last crew member of the Phantom Ambulance, of his own recently lost companion, or perhaps the phantasm kept to himself to prevent exposing the strings of saliva entwining amongst the spiraling teeth beneath his paramedic’s face mask. He could not help the desire, even if the carrion that might be his meal was forbidden.

Whatever the case, Bunny was happy the ring-mouthed chauffeur wasn’t feeling conversational.

The procession’s first stop was a short one, but, as Will explained it, still a diplomatic necessity. Wide Eye, the animal lord who held sway over the lands to the north of Capital City, was a ruler in decline, with his presence barely felt in his realm even in those days of growing power – yet, after a moment of silence over the corpse, the massive golden-pupiled owl had extended the smaller set of its four gray wings to summon a brown mass of rats bearing upon their backs a proper casket in which to lay the visiting dignitary’s remains.

The box was made of simple wood bound together with tree-bark twine, but the lumber – a collection of driftwood, ancient and splintered downed maple, and fragrant fresh pine – had been etched and shaped by a multitude of beaks and claws. A single shard no bigger than Coffin’s thumb might hold a magpie’s pattern intricate enough to be mistaken for Victorian wallpaper, while other slabs held delicate spirals dug by chittering and weeping squirrels. The only gap in the construction looked upon Pisky’s shadowed face, and in that poor light it now almost appeared as if the raccoon had found some peace.

Coffin had spent his brief time outside the surrogate hearse making insistent phone calls that otherwise would have felt inappropriate in the sanctified hush of their catafalque, but, two hours later, he finally broke the rattling quiet of the ambulance’s steady highway pace.

The Drop of the Shoe“I remember one time – in the mid-’80s I guess – when this woman came to us for help. Francine. She was a nice lady; big hair, heart, and hips. She was having issues with her husband, who she was sure was possessed.

“She was the sort to keep to herself, but he was the type that liked to roam downtown with the boys while wearing the too-tight pants of the era. On three or four occasions he’d woken her in the middle of the night. Once he was jabbering in a language she couldn’t understand, the next he was going through some sort of naked ritual dance in the living room.

“Sandy asked around, but none of the dead folks had heard anything. We were starting to wonder if another magic peddler was moving in on our territory, so we began taking turns following him in the evening.

“She figured what was going on on his second outing and set the trap.

“It was a fairly simple thing – he was heading into Mierau Park, off of Fifth, and it was as shady then as it is now. He must have just done another bump of coke, or whatever he’d bought, when he came down the last stretch of sidewalk to the subway.

“He was be-bopping to himself, his shoulders swaggering, and suddenly there was a five-foot-tall talking raccoon in a full tuxedo – Pisky insisted on the tux – demanding everything in his pockets.

“You’ve got to picture it, the guy was deep in Don Johnson territory: sport coat, pastel shirt, white guy Jheri curl, the whole thing. He pulled out a big baggy of suspicious powder, a wallet fat with the bills he planned on blowing that night, and a ring of keys, but Pisky didn’t even blink, he simply tossed it all in the air and ate the whole collection.

“Well, Francine’s fella wet his pleated teal trousers and ran. Far as I know he gave up his weekend ways.

“Pisky, though, spent the next two days raving about ants.”

Bunny shifted on the bench opposite and did her best to chuckle, but her mind was weighing the murder of a being that had lived hundreds of years.

 

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.

FP377 – Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 1 of 4

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Coffin

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

Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 1 of 4

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
(Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4)
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This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Skinner Co. Store

 

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 sobering apprentice, are notified of an arcane murder.

 

Coffin: The Drop of the Shoe, Part 1 of 4

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

 

The restaurant, Spinerette’s, was packed with deep red leather and thickly varnished mahogany, but, from his view behind the small porthole in the swinging kitchen door, The Insomniac could see only the end of the banquet table that had been set at the center of the room. A forty-ish woman in a well cut suit, with close cropped graying hair and more than a passing resemblance to Judy Dench, was standing for a toast. Her champagne flute was in her raised right hand, and a skittering collection of thin-legged arachnids marched in and out of the sleeve cuff of her gesturing left.

In whispered Spanish the meal’s chef, Santiago, caught the intruder’s attention.

“You need to go,” he said, “there are only a few servers on hand, but they’re definitely better friends with those people than I am, and they’ll be coming for the next course shortly.”

Nodding, the sleepless man’s sharp elbows cut through a turn.

He asked, “how will you explain the missing meat?”

“If these people are dumb enough to think I’d believe I’m just cooking a bunch of eccentrics a roadkill meal, fine, I’ll tell them I tossed it in the rear for the mutt that raids the dumpsters.

”Listen though, I regret ever having had a part in this. Will – will there be problems? I meant no offense.”

Each step jarred the ache behind his eyes, but the meddler was moving quickly now, the paranoia of not being able to see who might be coming adding speed to his feet.

“I honestly don’t know,” he answered as he shuffled along a chrome alley of knives and hanging pots.

Entering the walk-in freezer, he took in what was left of the massive racoon. The beast’s ears were pierced with a dozen copper loops, but it looked as if someone had ripped out a dozen more, and, even though most of its lower body had been butchered to the bone, it still required two oversized black garbage bags to hide the shaved flesh of its torso and the canine grin full of shattered teeth.

Once the job was done the salvager retrieved his phone and messaged the man who’d saved him from the horrors that lurked in his dreams, then, with the bagged corpse straining his exhausted arms, he slipped out the back door and into the night.

* * *

Two hours later, Coffin and Bunny were in possession of the stretched and ripping parcel.

They were in an alley five blocks from Spinerette’s, and the sun was rising.

“Holy ####,” Bunny was saying, “no disrespect meant to the dead, but it’s like the set of a Nightmare on Elm Street is leaking out of that thing.”

CoffinA lack of transportation had hindered their arrival, and it was not the sort of neighbourhood in which a sack leaving a conspicuous trail of blood would go unnoticed. The hiding spot, behind the fenced rear of a spa that would open in the next forty-five minutes, was the best their informant had been able to do when a broken fibula had punctured the plastic.

Will, who’d hoisted the sacks to see if he could stem the flow of gore, dropped the remains without ceremony.

His trip to the now-abandoned restaurant had been brief.

Clearing his throat, he said, “I’m sure the back entrance used to be haunted by the leftovers of a guy who caught a broken beer bottle in the neck in the early 1990s, but he wasn’t there. In fact, I walked a half block over to talk with a woman who bled out from a failed abortion, Bernita, and she’s missing too. She was a soft touch; always happy to trade info for whatever family gossip I could scrape from her niece’s blog.”

Though she’d been left behind to keep watch on the remains, Bunny’s gaze had landed on everything in the cement lot but the cadaver.

“You’re sure this is Pisky?” she asked.

“Yeah, not a lot of other gigantic raccoons full of piercings in this neighbourhood,” replied Will. “Did you hear what I said about Bernita?”

“That dumb bastard saved your life, and this #### is sadder than weeping ####ing kittens with emo haircuts – still, you don’t seem terribly broken up over it.”

Coffin shrugged and began to dig in his pocket.

“What’d’ya got in mind?” asked Bunny.

“Calling the ambulance,” answered Will.

“Little ####ing late for that, ain’t it?”

“Not that kind. I plan on having a – vigorous conversation – with whoever’s responsible, but first we need to take a trip.”

Within moments the pair, their driver, and the corpse began their long northward procession.

 

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.

Research Fodder May 7, 2014

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FP376 – Equity

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Chiller

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

Flash PulpTonight we present Equity

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Download MP3

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Skinner Co. Store

 

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 join one Capital City citizen, Moira, as she commemorates the life and death of her husband, Leonard.

 

Equity

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

 

Moira was raising a monument to her husband of forty years.

The parcel it stood on had been earmarked for a parking lot, but, given that he was dead, Leonard no longer had need of parking, nor the money it could bring in. It was but a sliver of the estate, but she’d spent the better part of a year pushing the paperwork across bureaucrats’ desks and through city council meetings.

The allotted land included the spot they’d met, although it’d been a small soup and sandwich restaurant at the time. It wasn’t the sort of thing he would’ve thought about, but she remembered. She’d been the manager at a tiny bank, and he’d been a lawyer so fresh on the job that he could still see the bar in his rear-view mirror.

Confusion over their order – both Reubens, but hers with a side of onion rings instead of his wilted salad – had drawn them into sharing a booth. Then again the next day, and the next.

He’d spoken endlessly of his clients’ missteps and mostly she’d just listened and thought him noble for trying to defend them.

Soon he’d needed dates for office outings, client parties, and city-sponsored balls.

They’d married six months later.

Now, in the warmth of a summer morning sun, her spotted flesh looked into his unflinching bronze eyes.

Although his grin had once been known everywhere, no photos had been seen of his face for some twenty years.

The platform wasn’t a tall one. She wanted teens and children to be able to climb up and pose with the man the mayor had occasionally called The City’s Lawyer. The youths might no longer recognize him, but Moira understood that the universal tomfoolery made possible by an easily accessible statue was a joy that stretched across every generation.

Her own children, a group of five born over the course of a half-decade, had kept her home in the evenings – but not Leonard. Never Leonard. He considered the cost of champagne no different an expense than the money he laid out in advertising for the firm he eventually came to control. His commercials had once been so prevalent throughout Capital City that his tagline of, “They broke it, but we’ll fix it,” had lingered well after the ads themselves had been relegated to nothing more than fading nostalgia.

In fact, his reputation as a rake was widespread enough that his guest appearances on C-Block, a Capital City-based sitcom that was popular just as their oldest son, Gregory, was first reaching high school, had largely revolved around the schedule juggling necessary to date three secretaries.

No one had considered how his children, or wife, might feel about the portrayal – and Leonard least of all.

His retreat into real estate and semi-retirement, a decade later, had been driven more by vanity than any slowing of his drive. He was too proud to admit he was unrecognizable from the broad-smiling tux model who’d bounced from nightclub to nightclub with thin-wristed socialites on his arm.

She’d never forgotten that either.

She was pulled from her reverie by the cough of a workman with better ways to be spending his morning. The last of the straps had been lowered and packed away, and she was now able to take a final look at her husband’s likeness.

The statue was not the man of the commercials and television cameos. It was not the grin that still shone on in grainy online videos posted by an aging but sentimental generation of television watchers. Here was the shirtless and beer-gutted man with an unkempt case of bedhead and a sharp turn to his lips that she had known.

Here was Leonard as she remembered him, and, thanks to his financing, as the city would as well – or, as it would have.

Kar'WickEven as she nodded and turned away, however, the buildings about the greenery began to sway, and the ground beneath her feet buckled. It was then that Moira took in a lesson that would have served Leonard well: That all legacies are fleeting.

Within seconds any who might have cared to remember were caught in the rising shadow of Kar’Wick the Spider-God.

 

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.

MMN4 – Mazes & Monsters

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MMN4 - Mazes & Monsters

MMN4 - Mazes & Monsters

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* * *

Join The Mob for a viewing of the movie that made parents terrified of D&D!

* * *

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

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

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