FC108 – The Elite Meatmen

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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:

* * *

* * *

* * *

* * *

Audio-dacity of Hope:

  • Check out the new items on the store!
  • * * *

    Art of Narration:

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

    Backroom Plots:

  • Coffin: Weakness (Part 1 - Part 2)
  • * * *

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

    * * *

    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.

    FP387 – Coffin: Weakness, 2 of 6

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

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

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    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, 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.

    FP386 – Coffin: Weakness, 1 of 6

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

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

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    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.

    We Are All The Same Inside

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    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

    FC107 – Opop Is Not The Traitor

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    FC107 - Opop Is Not The Traitor

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    Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 107.

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

    * * *

    Huge thanks to:

    * * *

    * * *

    * * *

    * * *

    Audio-dacity of Hope:

  • Check out the new items on the store!
  • * * *

    Art of Narration:

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

    Backroom Plots:

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

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

    * * *

    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.

    A Bulletin from Janelle in the Propaganda Dept.

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    CONTEST ALERT!

    Skinner Co.Mobsters far and wide, here's a wonderfully fun and creative contest for you all; FLASH PULP IT UP! This is a fan art contest so get your pencils sharpened and your brushes ready to go. You can submit any form of fan art - picture, computer design, painting, cosplay (I'm not saying I would throw my vote that way but it's high up there), cut and paste from newspapers. Be creative and enter as many times as you want!

    Rules: Judges will be Skinner Co (as usual) and if they cannot agree upon a winner, I will be pulling in a non-Mobster to cast the final vote to keep things all fair and equal and whatnot. You MUST submit the fan art to me by August 15, 2014. To enter, just email your entry to janelle_coleman29@hotmail.com with the subject line, Flash Pulp It Up. I am hoping to run at least one more contest at the same time so if you do not have that as the subject line, you may get a verbal thrashing from me in response (you have received fair warning now).

    So you have questions? I'm glad you asked! Feel free to message me via Facebook, Twitter, Email, the Forum, carrier pigeon, smoke signal, etc. Do not bug Skinner Co with this since they will not see any of the artwork before the voting starts - this keeps it anonymous and therefore they cannot be bribed (you know it crossed your mind).

    CHEERS! And Happy Thorsday!

    Janelle
    Propaganda Dept Head

    P.S. Yes, there will be a nifty prize. I haven't figured it out yet though so please don't ask. I will announce it in a reminder message at some point

    FP385 – Spawn: A Collective Detective Chronicle

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

    Flash PulpTonight we present Spawn: A Collective Detective Chronicle

    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 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 we bring you a tale of the Collective Detective, the loose band of online detectives who mine the depths of the accidentally leaked NSA archives to solve long cold crimes. In this episode we find Bug Byte, editor and film buff, taking in a digital ghost story.

     

    Spawn: A Collective Detective Chronicle

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

     

    Bug Byte was in the darkness of his home office, watching a subtitled French mystery movie and thinking on how fantastically cultured he was for doing so, when the bing came in. As his main machine was occupied with streaming the film, he slapped the shift key on his laptop till its screen saver surrendered his notification list.

    Once his eyes adjusted to the glare of the white display, he discovered one of the new contributors had been busy. In just thirty minutes the newb had made a dozen large additions to a case Bug had considered dead in the water since the day it’d been created. Two clicks revealed it was the only entry Doubting Charlie had ever worked on.

    “Eat deathray, spambot,” said the editor, but the black and white Frenchman in the fedora didn't seem to get it.

    Before Bug pulled up the tools to destroy the apparently fake user and its efforts, however, he took a moment to scan the text to determine if he might find a clue to help the developers tighten their filters.

    Instead he was surprised to discover a ghost story still in the process of being told.

    “You don’t need to hit publish constantly, the system saves a draft under your user files,” he wrote in the discussion page. Flagging the conversation into his high-priority queue, Bug sent the detective in the well-cut suit into reverse and watched the missed conversation flicker over the edge of a half-drank scotch.

    Before he could set the sleuth back into action, a reply boop ricocheted from the speakers to his left.

    Leaving the image of the enquêteur privé with his glass hovering before his lips, Bug read the short response: “Thanks.”

    With the play button under his thumb, the editor shook his head and decided to quickly review the tale from the beginning.

    “When I was thirteen I met this guy from the apartment building I lived in who also played Realms of Fantasy. At the time Realms was huge online because of the way real money was flowing through it, but Alexander Bottin was the sole person I knew who played. He was way older than me, twenty maybe, and sort of a jerk, but we usually had a lot of decent tips to swap, and I gotta admit that I felt like a badass having a common interest with a twenty-year-old.

    “I only learned Alexander played because I’d been trapped in the elevator with his uncle and him. I always hit the close button when I saw that monster coming down the hall because he smells like shit. I don’t mean that as a metaphor either, he smells like actual human feces. Anyhow, as they came in Alex was talking about how he’d looted Shatter Tooth.

    “Tooth was a high powered war hammer that, back then, you could sell for five or six hundred dollars on eBay.

    “His uncle coughed and said, “shut the fuck up.” He didn’t care, but when I saw my fellow gamer later that week I got his username and told him about Sharlor, my healer. I admitted I was impressed that he’d scored his hammer, and he seemed impressed that Sharlor was two levels higher than his warrior, Chaney.

    “It’s funny, because I still think of him more as Chaney than Alexander.

    “Now, I don’t want to make it sound like we were constantly chummy and hanging out. Alex had this thing he’d do where he’d like grab my nose with one hand then bop it with the other and that was hella annoying. He was that guy who doesn't understand how to make conversation so he’s awkward and kind of dickish instead, I guess.

    “I was hard up for friends, but not that hard up. If I saw him in the mail area we’d chat over the latest expansion or where the good loot was dropping, but that was it - and, even then, half the time his uncle was there. I totally avoided him when that happened.

    “I never learned his uncle’s name. He was a bent tree of an old man who always wore an over-sized floppy hat and huge dark glasses. Beyond that he was so ancient he’d aged into looking like a stereotype. Sort of like the angriest Popeye, but without the forearms.

    “Worse, if he didn't think anyone was watching, and Alexander pissed him off by dropping a flyer or something, he’d lay his cane as hard as he could across his calves. Chaney never wore shorts even during the warmest parts of summer.

    “I remember that especially because it was August, and I was fourteen, when he died.

    “He’d just found the Blade of Earth Cleaving and he was constantly bragging. If I’d found a sword worth three or four thousand dollars maybe I’d act the same.

    A Skinner Co. Network Podcast“Honestly, by then I was sort of getting interested in other things, but Mom had seen me wave when we passed him so she told me the news going around the building: They’d taken Alex out on a stretcher earlier that week. He’d apparently fallen down the fire stairs and snapped his neck.

    “I knew that was bullshit though. I knew he’d been murdered by his uncle. The Saturday before -”

    Bug Byte frowned at the sudden conclusion.

    With a sigh he reminded himself that he had two hours till he was due at work, and that his movie wasn’t going to watch itself. Still, he waited out the five minute autosave until he could continue.

    “I knew that was bullshit though. I knew he’d been murdered by his uncle. The Saturday before the supposed accident I’d seen him in the mailroom with some special effects stuff he’d bought online. That was his other big hobby - he wanted to be a makeup guy in movies. Usually when he got new blood to try, or a prop knife, or whatever he was really excited about it, but this time it was like he was looking through the box. When I found him staring like that, I asked if everything was okay. He almost started crying, but he acted like he was suddenly fascinated by the address label. He said his uncle was insanely angry with him lately and he didn't know if he’d be able to survive it much longer.

    “The whole thing hit deep. I told Mom I was too sick to go to school the next day and spent my afternoon crying and wandering Realms. We’d never really played together, but we’d traded gear a few times, and, well, like I said, I was fourteen.

    “I was hanging around the Silent Meadow, which is where we usually met because it was easy to access but almost always empty, when I saw him.

    “He ran through the tall grass and permanent soft lighting, stop-”

    This time Bug felt a need to fill the gap till the next save. Digging his well practiced hooks into the depths of the Collective’s archive crawling tools, he summoned the online memories of Alexander Bottin and his Realms of Fantasy account. The code to mine video games for data was in deep beta, but at least it was a start.

    Then the update arrived.

    “He ran through the tall grass and permanent soft lighting, stopped for two seconds in front of a dwarf, and they both disappeared.

    “I exploded. At first I thought Mom had been wrong, and I ran down the two floors to his place.

    “I’d never visited, but I figured he was in there playing and I was ridiculously happy to realize how wrong I’d been. It was the uncle who answered, though, and he didn't bother taking off the security chain. I asked for Alex but he simply snarled and slammed the door.

    “The next day, when I got back from school, I noticed a sign advertising a used computer taped to the laundry room wall. The address for inquiries was Chaney’s.

    “I called the cops once, but nothing came of it.

    “He’s got to be well over a hundred now, but whenever I visit Mom I purposefully go out of my way to pass Bottin’s. I haven’t seen him in years, but he’s in there. I think about saying something every time, but it’s always like it’s suddenly a decade ago and I’m just thirteen.

    “I believe that miserable SOB murdered his nephew and managed to sell his gear, but I’ve never had any idea on how to look into it. Tonight I got a little drunk, and maybe a little nostalgic for the lands of my youth, so I did some searching around and it seems you’ve got a file here for Alexander Bottin, but it says he’s -”

    Rarely did the Collective receive first hand testimony, but Bug had been an editor long enough to know not to trust anything that wasn’t straight from the archives.

    It was even rarer that an answer was in hand before the relevant entries were even updated.

    Bug Byte’s search chimed with results.

    Opening the discussion page, he began to compose his response.

    “You’ve waited this long, I suppose I shouldn't keep you in suspense:

    “Yes, Alexander Bottin is listed as a missing person, not a murder case. The police talked to his uncle once after an anonymous phone tip was made, but he claimed that Alex had run off. Given his age, if the cops hadn't been as bored as they were they probably wouldn’t have opened the file at all.

    “The dwarf was a guy named Richard Smyth, but both players were connected from the same address - Alexander’s modem.

    “Interestingly, a search of that modem’s traffic shows that Uncle Bottin also signed up to handle all of his banking online that very week, a day after he ordered a new computer.

    “Looking back a couple weeks at the local data, I see that the same IP made an order from an online prop house. Are you familiar with ultra-realistic silicone masks? They were just getting started back then, and FX guys were huge into them. Generic Old Man was one of the most popular models.

    “I suspect Uncle Bottin’s Popeye style means he had no teeth, so, after murdering him, Alex probably left the body in an alley somewhere and the city hauled it off as an unidentifiable homeless John Doe. Then all he had to do was pull on the old guy mask and spread the rumour that he’d died so people would stop asking questions.

    “He might’ve gotten away with it too if you hadn't seen his digital ghost. I do wonder if he’s found life in that apartment, collecting his dead Uncle’s benefits checks, a special prison of its own though.

    “Of course, that’s all guessing, but it should be easy to knock hard enough to pinch the geezer’s nose and see if it stretches.

    “I’m a twenty minute bus ride away - care to mount up for one last adventure, priest?”

    Nodding to himself, Bug sent the Frenchman into hibernate and hit send.

    He didn’t have to wait long for a reply, but he was happy to see his efforts to sound sick, as he called in to work, weren't wasted.

    It was not, however, the last adventure for either.

     

    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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