Sing a Song on Friday – Little Boxes

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I first heard this Malvina Reynolds tune while watching Weeds. Many covered it for the show’s intro, but I always preferred the original. So I covered it. Her version remains my favourite, but it was fun trying.

“My mother and father were driving South from San Francisco through Daly City when my mom got the idea for the song. She asked my dad to take the wheel, and she wrote it on the way to the gathering in La Hondawhere she was going to sing for the Friends Committee on Legislation. When Time Magazine (I think, maybe Newsweek) wanted a photo of her pointing to the very place, she couldn’t find those houses because so many more had been built around them that the hillsides were totally covered.” – Malvina Reynolds

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FPSE19 – The Girl in the Mattress

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, Special Episode 19.

Flash PulpTonight we present The Girl in the Mattress

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

 

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, as the spirit of Halloween possesses Skinner Co. in questionable and un-requested ways, we hear a supposed urban legend – a short tale of the restless dead.

 

The Girl in the Mattress

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

 

A Skinner Co. Production

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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.

FCM012 – Operation People Mover

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FCM012 - Operation People Mover

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Hello, and welcome to FlashCast Minisode 012 – costarring Mobsters Jason, of Talk Nerdy 2 Me, and Janelle!

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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://flashpulp.com, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

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

FP345 – Blow: A Bunny Davis Tale

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

Flash PulpTonight we present Blow: A Bunny Davis Tale, Part 1 of 1

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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 encounter Bunny Davis with monkeys on her back, and her shaman friend nowhere in sight.

 

Blow: A Bunny Davis Tale

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

 

It was painfully early and Bunny was painfully sober.

Her walk had carried her past two separate Wal-Mart outlets, both of which she’d swore at loudly; a six car rush-hour fender bender, the drivers of which she’d shouted down; and Capital City’s own mayor doing a live feed business opening for the local cable station’s morning show.

In that instance, she’d been so annoyed at having to maneuver around the crowd that, as his comically-large scissors descended on the red ribbon strung over the KFC’s doors, she’d vigorously told the posturing idiot what a shitty job he was doing.

The initial moment of the first distraction had been almost welcome though.

Two blocks beyond the opening she’d been brought to a halt at a throaty, “hello.”

The stranger was perhaps five years her elder, but the hints of gray in his hair worked to make his handlebar moustache nearly respectable. His blazer was worn enough to come across as vintage, but the Zeppelin t-shirt he wore beneath was clean enough to keep him from looking like a vagrant.

Tucking the little wooden box deeper into the crook of her right armpit, she paused and replied, “yeah?”

It was his smile that fucked it up.

Years earlier she’d driven a cab, for a few weeks, to make rent. The hours she was given left her mostly in the downtown area, ferrying suits between office skyscrapers. They all had the same ritual as they stepped onto the pavement – a sort of tug-and-tighten they would give their ties and jackets as they exited. Watching them she could tell that most didn’t even realize they were doing it. Practice had made it habit.

She’d quit the job because she couldn’t stand the paperwork junkies’ shitty tipping, and the assholes who ran the stand wouldn’t let a woman work nights.

Now, watching Handlebar pull on his lazy, aren’t-you-special grin, she could see the routine in it as clearly as any one of the execs’ last second preening.

A Skinner Co. Production“Oh,” he answered, “you know – it’s a nice morning. The kind that makes me wanna say hello to pretty ladies passing through the neighbourhood.”

It pissed her off more, somehow, that she knew she looked like shit that morning. Despite days of exhaustion, she’d slept no more than two hours before the maddening stability of sobriety had driven her from her bed. An additional sixty minutes of rattling around the apartment without managing to wake Will had pushed her into her sneakers and through the door.

Still, as Tim had told her every time he’d quit and restarted drinking, “a fisher’s gonna fish.”

“Huh,” she said, as her feet regained momentum. “Have a good’un.”

Before she could carry herself beyond conversational range, however, he asked, “aw, c’mon sweetie, you ain’t got five minutes to talk?”

“Nope.”

“Hey, no need to be bitchy.”

Her mother would have told the jackass to “blow.” She could almost see the way the woman’s curled mouth dropped the word like a stone – but the response was out of bounds for Bunny. The comeback was all too predictable from these sorts of idiots. No, for today’s hovering sidewalk vulture you had to reach deep.

With the sun shining in her all-too-clear eyes, Bunny had no problem finding the anger to dig.

She stopped and opened the case.

“#####y?” she asked. ”Up until now this was the politest ####ing conversation I’d had so far today. I told the guy in the Honda, who called me a ####bag when I suggested he not yell at his ####ing twelve-year-old, that he’d spend the last seconds of his life giving himself a rim job after I peeled off his ####ing head and worked his tongue like Jim ####ing Henson.

“I don’t ####ing know you, and this ain’t a ####ing online dating site.

“Your bull#### flirtation is just an annoyance, though, until you start pullin’ the excuses – and that’s exactly what bitch is, right? Because it’s gotta be me being pissy and not the fact that your douchebaggery is apparent even to passing ####ing strangers.”

She imparted a final a consideration into the belly of his inappropriate-for-the-season t-shirt, then left.

Soon he was watching the city burn to the ground around him.

The next interruption flew down from the stoop of a brick apartment building that looked to have been built during the ‘70s, but recently re-polished and rented at a price only trust funders and overworked yuppies could afford.

“Hey, smile,” said the slow voiced polo shirt. He was sorting his mail as he spoke.

“What?” she asked.

“You’d look even prettier if you’d smile,” he replied.

“Well, while we’re trading beauty tips,” she replied, “you’d look a lot less like a puckered ###hole with your mouth shut.”

“Hey, I was trying to be helpful.”

“Yeah? Is this one of those shows where you ambush me then go through my wardrobe next and tell me what ####’s not in style? Because I generally don’t take advice from random ####adoos wearing tiny alligators on their shirts.

“Now, if this #### isn’t about to get televised, I’d suggest you show some ####ing respect. If unknown people – generally on your worst sort of days – came up to you randomly and commanded you to lose that ####ing golf gut, you’d get pretty pissed. You’ve got a wedding ring on, and I’m not a ####ing public service sent to your ####hole neighbourhood to beautify the place, so keep your tips for ####ing Cosmo.”

He shrugged and muttered, “bitch.”

“Oh, #### it,” she replied, again opening the case.

Bunny waited long enough to realize the wannabe fashion consultant was being attacked by a pack of feral homeless men, then she proceeded towards home.

The walk’s third, and last, interloper made no effort to disguise his intentions.

“Hey,” he said from the entrance way of a two-pizzas-for-the-price-of-one dive called The Deepest Slice, “you look pretty tired, wanna come have a sit on my face?”

Having spent most of her fury across the entirety of the morning, she answered in an equally direct fashion.

“You kiss your sister with that mouth?” she asked. “‘Cause if you don’t start talking to me only in the way you’d talk to your sister or mom, I swear to #### I will reach down your throat with two hands and sell your organs to the pie-man for pepperoni meat.”

“Jesus,” replied the commentator in the Oakland Raiders jacket, “lighten up. I was joking.”

“####ing hilarious. Now it’s my turn.”

She’d discovered the blowgun’s wooden box, and the handwritten note within, while pulling volumes from the apartment’s hallway bookshelf. At some point it must have been set on top of a row of hardcovers, but, at some point, it had fallen behind the tomes and hidden.

The missive was direct but informative:

A curiosity imported from the Pacific. There appears to be no occult connection, but the poison on each missile brings on violent hallucinations for hours after impact. No long term effects recorded, though the drunk next door is now unwilling to talk to me.

In all honesty, if I never hear from the man again the full dollar I used to coax him into the experiment will be worth every cent.

Though the device is fit but to repel home intruders, or to liven particularly dull luncheons, use it wisely.

Blackhall          

Bunny had just been guessing at the cat-caller’s family make-up, but the man’s cheeks were soon slick with tears, and his throat ragged from begging his older sister, Lorelei, to not make him wear the tea party shoes.

“My toes, my toes are bleeding LoreLore – why are you making them bleed?” he was asking the air, from a fetal position on the pavement, when she finally strolled away.

Twenty minutes later, as Bunny dug for the passkey that would let her into her building’s lobby, she couldn’t help but feel like she’d certainly used the device with maximum wisdom.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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.

FCM011 – The October 31

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A Skinner Co. Production

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Hello, and welcome to FlashCast Minisode 011

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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://flashpulp.com, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

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

FP344 – The Silver Dollar Samurais

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and forty-four.

Flash PulpTonight we present The Silver Dollar Samurais, Part 1 of 1

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Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)

 

This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Donut Button – thanks to all who’ve used it!

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we present the tale of a young warrior, Darlene Crowe, as she takes to the field with her father watching.

 

The Silver Dollar Samurais

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

 

Darlene’s eye was not on the ball.

The breeze had quit trying to push through the hanging ball diamond dust, but the sun seemed to have doubled its intensity in an attempt to bake the dirt out of the air. Even as a curve flew from the pitcher’s fingers, the outfielders shifted from cleat-to-cleat in boredom.

Twenty feet to her left, Darlene’s father was stuttering his way through an explanation regarding a spilled coffee, and, even over the shrill cheers of her first strike, she could hear his heartfelt, but protracted, apology.

She had never wanted to be here, and the unsightly enthusiasm at her failure annoyed her.

This was no tournament game, it was just another entry in the long August season, but Darlene’s opponents, the Mooretown Medusas, had arrived with an especially energetic group of parents. Their crisp pinstripes had contrasted heavily against the t-shirts of the Silver Dollar Samurais, and by this, the fourth inning, the Medusas held a three run lead.

Her father hadn’t forced her to sign up for the sport, but she’d read the worry becoming chronic along his cheeks and brow, then made the decision herself: Thursday nights would be baseball night, a nice, normal, childhood activity.

It wouldn’t have been so bad, Darlene reflected, if the adults of Mooretown weren’t constantly shouting criticism at the supposedly “playing” eleven-year-olds.

As if to drive her point home, a round faced man in a loosened tie shouted, “swing or go home, little girl!”

In truth, Darlene was one of four female Silver Samurais, which was four more than the Medusas had fielded.

Placing her bat to her shoulder, she descended into a well-honed state of focus.

The world shrank, and everything became immediate. A practiced scrutiny judged the flex and lean of the boy on the mound, and skilled fingers – though in a grip they found strange – steadied themselves on the taped handle.

A Skinner Co. ProductionEven the crowd seemed engaged by the girl’s intensity, and a hush fell over all – all except the coffee soaked man in the white polo who was still waiting on her father’s apology. In the silence Dad’s “d-d-d-d-d-didn’t” carried clearly to the plate, as did the exasperated reply of “Jesus, talk normally,” from the Medusa fan.

It was enough of a distraction to slide the second strike across without even a swing.

Darlene frowned.

Five years earlier she’d had her hair laid across her mother’s lap, as the pair watched an old samurai flick, Ichi, when the phone had rung. It was their preferred Saturday night activity, but both knew to expect the possibility of a sudden end.

After a short-worded conversation, the six-year-old had sleepily asked the standing woman, “good guys being hurt?”

“Not while I’ve still got my sword in my hand,” Mom had replied with a smile.

Twenty minutes later the plainclothes police officer had been gunned down by a muddle-headed alcoholic upset over his defeat in a child custody case.

It had left only Darlene to care for her too-gentle father, but the girl knew somehow that it was what her mother would have wanted.

By the time the third pitch was in the air, Darlene was already running.

There’d been an involuntary, “hurk,” and she’d turned to see the coffee-wearing man’s face now fully inflated. Though Dad’s palms remained open and exposed, the Mooretownian had caught hold of his handmade Silver Dollar Samurais shirt, and the attacker’s right fist was slipping backwards in increased frustration.

The red-cheeked man had not appreciated the suggestion that it was his own enthusiasm, and possibly slightly drunken state, that had sent the styrofoam cup flying – nor had he enjoyed waiting through the length of time it had taken Darlene’s father to make it.

The punch landed sloppily across the still stuttering apologist’s left cheek.

From her position on the far side of the chain-link backstop, the eleven-year-old had made a decision. Had she trained for the last five years just to watch Dad be pummelled in the stands of a crummy little league game?

Not while she had her sword in her hand.

She snapped off the matte black batter’s helmet, and, with the addition of a single half-loop from her pink hair elastic, adjusted her spritely blonde ponytail into a combat-ready topknot.

When Darlene once again lifted her bat, her grip was unlike any ever used by a major leaguer.

Despite the stickiness in the air and the silliness of her bright yellow uniform, it felt good to run. Too often this ridiculous sport had come down to waiting for a brief moment of activity. The sense of personal command had always been one of her favourite things about kenjutsu practice: She might not be able to control the world, but her blade moved only where she placed it.

The samurai landed in a flat footed stance with her arms braced at her side. Her weapon’s hilt was low to her belly, and the club’s shaft stood as ramrod straight as her spine.

There was no wavering in either.

“I will strike you in three seconds if you do not release my father,” she said, though she had to fight not to clench her jaw.

The damp man in the second bleacher row turned, though he did not think to release his grip on Dad’s now-crumpled collar.

“Three,” she said.

She knew he was probably just too surprised at the demand to react quickly, but she lept anyhow. Stepping lightly between an oversized pleather purse and a denim ensconced Silver Dollar supporter, as if they were no more than the silent grasses lining a still pond, Darlene closed the distance and swept her stand-in sword upwards.

Before the impacted forearm had even finished its new skyward arc, however, she’d checked her swing and pivoted. With a two-fisted grip, she planted the tip of her aluminum temporary-katana in the meat of her opponent’s calf muscle.

The seizing of his leg left the irritable pugilist empty handed and on his back for several deep exhalations. The watching crowd, who’d unanimously opted to give the combatants a respectful distance, had, in turn, stopped their own breathing.

Darlene simply waited, with the sun at her back and her makeshift gunto raised.

A lone cicada sang to them from somewhere beyond the outfield fence.

Despite the collective anticipation, by the time the girl’s adversary had righted himself he no longer had any interest in discussing the incident. Instead, with sullen jowls, he announced to no one directly that he would wait out the second half of the game in his car.

For ten full minutes the Medusan coach expounded loudly on the inappropriateness of the incident, but, when it became apparent his Silver Dollar counterpart wasn’t likely to forfeit, justice had to be held to benching Darlene for at least the rest of the game.

Still, she’d been reminded of the taste of combat, and her stinging gaze sweeping the field was impossible for the Medusans to ignore. Nerves alone lost them the game at 7 to 5.

The win was her first, but, upon returning home, Darlene decided Thursdays would instead be better spent quietly with her father – perhaps they could learn the nuances of temae together.

For his sake, though, she would occasionally call the traditional ceremony a tea party.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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.

FP343 – Bloodsucker

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and forty-three.

Flash PulpTonight we present Bloodsucker, Part 1 of 1

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Download MP3
(RSS / iTunes)

 

This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Donut Button – thanks to all who’ve used it!

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we present a chilling tale of unpleasant people and unpleasant endings.

 

Bloodsucker

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

 

The tick held little memory.

There had been a time when its life was leaf bound, but its very existence had changed the moment the brown beast had wandered by. The buffet’s horns had shaken the green home of its birth, and, once gravity and instinct had drawn it so close to the thing’s warmth, the tick had had only to slice its feeding hole and begin to drink.

In turn, and despite the thousands of years the massive moving-meal’s kind had sprinted through the area’s grass and trees, its personal experience had been confined to the verdant fringes pacing the wide rivers of pavement – much as the tick had been, until recently, restricted to the horizons of its leaf.

Also as with the tick, a brief impact, followed by an unexpected flight, changed the deer’s life course irrevocably. Interstate 83, a too-soon addition as far as the animal’s survival instinct was concerned, was unusually empty for the hour of travel, but, though he’d spotted the approaching fawn from three-hundred-meters, Darren Peck had no interest in shifting lanes to avoid the creature.

It was not his first run-in with what he called “a rat with antlers.” His wife, before their separation, had been aghast at his tales of gore, and the excited way in which he’d told the drinking buddies he often gathered around his kitchen table.

Initially he’d stopped to check for damage, but on this, his eighth collision, he simply considered buying a hoof stencil so that he might both decorate his rig and not lose count. Double digit math was not his strong point.

There was something to the idea he liked. Delma had left, she claimed, not because he had a tendency to yell when he had an occasion to drink, nor because he considered any time he wasn’t in the truck such an occasion – no, she’d gone, she’d said, because he was “so goddamn stupid.”

Well, if he was so stupid, how’d he come up with such a great idea as the hoof stencil?

Snickering, he cranked the volume on the same copy of Hank Williams’ Hey Good Lookin’ that he’d driven to for the last twenty years.

Hell, while he was considering it, wasn’t she really the parasite – just like that goddamn deer? Hadn’t she fed off his paycheck while sitting around telling their five brats what to do? How hard was it to take care of a house when you had a small army to do it with?

“Parasite,” she’d said – and to the goddamn judge too. He smiled at the thought of giving Delma the same treatment he’d given the now distant, but still whimpering, antlered rat.

They could send as many notices as they liked, he’d be damned if he’d pay a dime of child support to any of those ingrates.

Peck began to howl along to the tune, asking, “how’s about cookin’ somethin’ up with meeeee?”

He’d just cut off a tan Honda Civic who’d been riding in the fast lane when, for a passing instant, he almost believed he’d fallen asleep: The sudden shaking of the wheel in his hand was rough, vigorous, and not altogether unlike the feedback given by the rumble strips at the highway’s edge. Still, there had been no unexpected passing of terrain, and no sense of missing time.

After the seven seconds of airbrake-riding that Darren needed to settle on the notion that he was mid-earthquake, it was already obvious that it was no such boon.

Kar'WickNo, even as the tick continued to feed on the shattered and forgotten deer, Kar’Wick’s knotted thorax gorged itself upon the sky, and a thorny monolith – which, in truth, was but one of the forgotten god’s eight ebony limbs – set its broad weight across the highway. All vehicles fortunate enough to know immediate and final escape became naught but dross amongst the corkscrew spires of the Spider-God’s towering appendage, including the caterwauling driver.

In the desperate, but brief, window during which the news of Kar’Wick’s arrival outpaced the Spider-God itself, Peck was not missed.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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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