FPSE23 – The Myth of the Big Game

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Skinner Co.

Welcome to Flash Pulp, special episode twenty-three.

Flash PulpTonight we present The Myth of the Big Game

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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 relate to you a most dangerous urban legend from the sick beds of Capital City and beyond.

 

The Myth of the Big Game

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

 

A Skinner Co. Network Podcast
For more on this urban legend visit the Flash Pulp wiki!

 

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.

FC106 – Tales from Zebulon

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FC106 - Tales from Zebulon

FC106 - Tales from Zebulon

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Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 106.

Prepare yourself for: A warning about lady hurricanes, secret closet compartments, library lust, and Coffin.

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Huge thanks to:

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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:

  • FP386 – Coffin: Time to Consider
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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://skinner.fm, or email us text/mp3s to comments@flashpulp.com.

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

    FP383 – Coffin: Time to Consider

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

    Flash PulpTonight we present Coffin: Time to Consider

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by Glow in the Dark Radio

     

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

    Tonight Bunny Davis, roommate and apprentice to urban shaman Will Coffin, finds herself in conversation with his murderous dead wife.

     

    Coffin: Time to Consider

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

     

    Bunny found her newly obtained sobriety often made the apartment she shared with the Coffin a stuffy one. Rarely, however, did she step onto the balcony for air.

    That Thursday there just wasn’t anything bad enough on TV to keep her attention, and her legs kept pulling her up from the couch before she realized she had nowhere to go. Books were stared at, but the words held no meaning in spite of multiple attempts. Worse, her appetite had abandoned her entirely, and she knew more alternating between opening cupboards and the fridge door would only give her mouth the satisfaction of expelling another long string of obscenities.

    So she went outside.

    Eighteen stories below, the shattered form of her roommate’s dead wife began the ascent that marked the sole objective the apparition ever held in mind when she moved from the cracked cement upon which she’d died.

    Even without Will on hand to attempt to murder, still Sandy made the climb.

    Despite the distance between them, Bunny had no issues hearing the phantasm’s broken-windpipe whisper.

    “Is he sleeping?” asked Sandy.

    “Yeah.”

    “It’s almost 4pm.”

    “I can take a message if you like.”

    “It doesn’t make you uncomfortable to live in the apartment in which his wife died?”

    “Like, when there’s a dead lady rotting on the balcony, or just generally?”

    At that point the conversation had gone as far as it ever had, and Bunny was tempted to again head back inside. Instead she finally gave in to her curiosity – or perhaps she’d simply grown accustomed enough to the climber’s trail of broken nails and mashed finger meat to stay.

    Whatever the case, she asked “why do you bother?”

    Pausing beside a frost-covered window on the seventh floor, Sandy gave her taut shoulders an oddly familiar shrug.

    She said, “let me tell you a story.

    “Will and I, back in the early days, stumbled across a couple of star-crossed idiot teens, Vincent and Rosa. I guess it happens in every generation, but we’re talking about the sort of kids who would read too much into Romeo and Juliet while listening to Don’t Fear the Reaper on loop.

    “They died in ‘71 in a Georgia backwater. He was scheduled to head to the Navy at the end of the summer, as his birthday was in September and his parents thought it would better if he picked a boat job rather than involuntarily backpack through the Vietnamese interior. Her parents couldn’t have been happier, and were really just hoping she wouldn’t get pregnant before the garbage man’s son was safely overseas.

    “The problem started one humid August evening while they were making out and telling each other deep thoughts in the upper branches of the oak tree they considered “their spot.” I guess it was overlooking an old rail bridge, and they caught a brief flash of a transparent jumper. Back then that was the most you could ever hope to see of a haunt, but I guess they found something romantic in the way the pilgrim-looking girl had apparently gone over without hesitation.

    “News from the war was pretty rough, so Vinnie was sure he wasn’t coming back if they shipped him – and, frankly, Rosa was sure she’d die simply from being apart from him.

    “They talked until it was dark and they were exhausted, then they settled on the age old tradition of a lovers’ suicide pact.

    “Saying good night with endless dedications to each other, they went home. It was then that Rosa stole the cyanide bottle from her mom’s amateur photo development kit.

    “Once their households were asleep, however, they both crept from their beds, put on their most impressive band t-shirts, and snuck to a meadow on the southside of town.

    “Her hands were shaking too bad, so she asked for help with the spoon. They kissed and cried and swallowed the powder.

    “It was Vincent, though, who couldn’t stay still. Cyanide is no easy way to go. Even as she’s collapsing he’s stumbling off with the notion that he’s got to puke away the pain and he doesn’t want to do it into his beloved’s lap.

    “Twenty feet over he collapses. They were found the next morning.

    “They thought they’d always be together in the afterlife, but twenty feet means a lot.

    “The meadow didn’t stay a meadow. A developer bought it and threw up a suburb which immediately went into decline. Rosa found herself half-beneath someone’s kitchen sink and half projecting into their front room, while Vincent was stuck on the floor of the garage next door.

    Flash Pulp 383 - Coffin: Time to Consider - A Skinner Co. Network Podcast“They could visit, but it took a huge effort and no matter how tightly they clung to each other the pull of death was – and is – ceaseless.”

    As if to demonstrate, Sandy grunted and shifted her bloodied finger tips between the building’s brickwork.

    She continued her story, but made no effort to scale any further.

    “Worse, by the time Will and I found them the neighbourhood had basically been abandoned, so they were left to weep in the ruins while being unable to see or talk to each other without great difficulty.

    “Actually, heh, we helped them by burning it all down. That was my – fortieth birthday? I remember Will turning to me while we watched it catch and telling me to make a wish before blowing out my candles.

    “Once they were free to yell at each other it took less than a year until things ran their course and they moved on just to get some space.”

    “Uh?” asked Bunny, her eyes unsure.

    “Never let twenty feet get between you, you never know what it’ll mean in the long run.”

    “Huh.”

    There was a pause then, and neither woman moved as they inspected the gray sky and silent horizon.

    Finally, Bunny asked, “I always got the impression you wanted him dead? I mean, that’s why you climb, right? Isn’t that why you spend the occasional afternoon rubbing your deadness against the locked balcony door and ####ing up my Saturday viewings of Captain Kaiju’s Monster Madness?”

    The phantom again gave that same shrug, and Bunny realized why it seemed so familiar: She’d seen it on her roommate’s shoulders a thousand times.

    “Look at me and tell me what exactly death means these days,” answered the specter. “If I was careful enough to keep him close, would it be so bad?”

    Yet, before Sandy might receive an answer, she allowed her form to drop to the pavement below and return to the position in which she’d expired. With the speed of a blink, her trail of gore followed.

    Suddenly Bunny was desperate for toast and the last of the peanut butter she’d seen hiding at the rear of the cupboard.

    She went inside.

     

    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.

    FPSE22 – The Queen’s Measure

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    FSE022 - The Queen's Measure: A Skinner Co. Network Podcast

    Welcome to Flash Pulp, special episode twenty-two.

    Flash PulpTonight we present The Queen’s Measure

    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 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 digress briefly from the universe we know so well to tell a tale of personal and universal truth in the lands of Sofia Esperon, Queen of the Hundred Kingdoms.

     

    The Queen’s Measure

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

     

    The signing of the final peace treaty enacted to unite the Hundred Kingdoms under the long reign of Queen Sofia Esperon took place on the tiered balconies that surrounded her castle atop the Mountain of Glass.

    Though she’d chosen the location amongst the gossamer spires to limit the number of spectators, penny chiselers, and scoundrels, the tradition of an open-air signing, before any who could make their way to attend, still drew forth such throngs that many would eventually claim to have slept along the translucent roadside who had, in actuality, made no effort to even depart their front door.

    However, the monk was one who did pass through the crystal gate.

    The self-proclaimed holy man was a wanderer who had trekked from the country of Quabbin to preach his doctrine of honesty, austerity, and fealty.

    Sofia saw him first from the shadowed depths of the humble carriage she used when it suited her purpose to move through her lands unnoticed. As the Queen and her handmaid, Ida, took the mood of the crowd and judged the rate the barley was flowing from the tent and barrel dwellings that had been erected as makeshift ale houses, they noted the monk’s thick voice cutting through the din of the multitude.

    He stood on the lip of the eastern fountain, and his waving arms shook his gray ecclesiastical robes as he spoke.

    “… for the cur, Mulhand the Colossus, was so brazen as to declare war against our one and true Lady, and though I would never speak against her decisions, Bargoth, God over all he surveys from his throne in the heart of the Sun, is clear that we should be honest in every way: Both in comment and action. Those of us who have always supported the Queen feel honestly that the Colossus does not deserve life, and Bargoth does not understand her mercy in allowing him to keep his head.”

    Though Esperon felt no pull in his philosophies, there was something in the nature of his statements that caught her ear and left her wanting to correct his misconception. She found herself reviewing his words even as she returned to the cool depths of her stables and the unassuming passage she used for discreet entrances.

    FSE022 - The Queen's Measure: A Skinner Co. Network PodcastHer first order of business upon stepping from her conveyance was to dispatch Ida to invite the monk to the feast at dusk, so that she might briefly converse with him between cups, then the regent set the matter from her mind and began to prepare for the afternoon’s ceremony.

    * * *

    The galleries of Queen Sofia Esperon’s castle held a thousand wonders collected from across the Hundred Kingdoms or constructed within the very walls themselves. The singing topiaries of the Blood Earth Garden were certainly well renowned; and many bawdy tales were told of the Crooked Feast Hall, whose floor would rise at its corner as the hour progressed so that even the most stubborn guest would tumble out its low-lying door by the chime of midnight.

    Still, there was perhaps no greater marvel than the Forest Ballroom, whose ever-lush grasses somehow offered footing as firm as any hardwood, and whose dimensions stretched far beyond the boundaries of the chamber that contained it.

    On that evening the orchestra had been instructed to climb to the glass walkways that stretched between the room’s massive sequoias, so that their instruments would reach as deep into the great woods as possible. Sofia knew that on an occasion of such size their melodies were often the sole method by which farflung partygoers might find the center of the room, and thus the exits.

    It was also often true that the Queen found the attentions required by the endless stream of diplomats and nobles exhausting, but she knew too well the need for direct consultation when ruling so vast and varied a kingdom.To better endure the hours of glad handing and political jockeying she had had several nests constructed amongst the trees, each accessible only through a combination of depressible knots set in the base of their respective trunks.

    It was atop one of these refuges that Ida found her ruler peering down from the edge of her leaf-cloaked perch.

    Ida, unencumbered by reputation or title, was free to dance her ears over the debates and scandals that spilled from wine-loosened tongues, but the tray-toters flowing through the crowd knew to be quick about nudging her in the direction of anything worthy of note.

    It was at the end of her recounting of wars probably only declared in jest and marriages probably only declared in drunkenness that the handmaid came to such an item.

    “Finally, Akulina and his orchestra seem quite agitated with the monk you invited. Apparently the fellow started in on the conductor with a lecture regarding the inappropriate nature of some of the forgotten meanings behind the songs you selected for the evening, which shifted into a larger sermon on the unnecessary extravagance of the party, and how Bargoth would think us all idiots for not standing in an actual forest.”

    Sofia sniffed. “Bargoth has never had to deal with rain on a high holiday, I suppose.”

    Burying her smirk, Ida replied, “I think it was the monk’s apparent intoxication that annoyed Akulina most. Hard to take speechifying on austerity seriously when you’ve nearly drowned yourself in another’s vineyard.”

    Nodding, Esperon moved to the couch at the rear of the platform. “I shall speak with him as soon as I rise. What hour are we?”

    “The sixteenth now,” answered Ida. “The Western delegation has retired, but the central kingdoms have yet to arrive. They know to leave plenty of cushion to prevent another incident.”

    The Queen hated to allow any interval to pass without her watch, but she found herself as weary as she had been after many a battle. The guests would simply assume she was at the far side of the party until she was rested enough to return.

    “How much do you have left in you?” she asked her attendant.

    “Oh, my excitement carries me nicely. I’ll be up till after the midday feast, at least,” replied the girl.

    Finally, Sofia gave her instructions with eyes already half-closed, “wake me if you tire or when they start laying out the cutlery. I’ll need a moment to bathe and effect a wardrobe change,” then she slept.

    * * *

    Four hours later the smell of roasted mutton wafted between the trees, but not so deep as to reach Ida and the Monk.

    They stood beside a fast moving brook, his back to the meal and his bulk surrounded by a cloud of sour grapes. With slurred insistence he alternated between demanding she do her best to make him most welcome in the absence of her lady and apologizing for his drunken state and forward behaviour. The rotation had kept Ida in retreat, but, with her spine against a drooping oak and his broad arms before her, she had no more ground to give.

    With sweat on his palms, the monk placed a hand upon her shoulder.

    Still, just as the revellers had been too hungry to note their absence, the pair were too fixated on their own concerns to notice the approach of their queen – and Sofia was glad she’d woken when she had: Though she appreciated Ida’s diplomacy and tact in not spilling blood on a treaty signing day, she knew the girl carried a well-honed stiletto beneath the cufflets at her delicate wrist.

    Striding through the meadow across which she’d spotted them, the Queen cast aside the hushed tone of festivity and unleashed the voice that had commanded her warbears and ballistas during the western campaigns.

    “You utter bile at the Colossus, and yet I can say this about the man I fought to a stand still amongst the poppies of the field they’ve since dubbed Esperon’s Boneyard: Whatever may happen between he and I in the future, Mulhand has been naught but obvious regarding his intentions at every step. I never asked for war, but he was always clear on enumerating his reasons and the consequences he foresaw.

    “All in moderation, you claim, but at the first opportunity your goblet overflows and you beg forgiveness for the spill. I have seen Mulhand drink as well, during the negotiations – as might be expected in a time of defeat – and he makes no claim he would not back up while sober.

    “Even when a lesser man would drown in his cups I have seen the knowledge that it is best to stumble to his pillow enter the Colossus’ eyes well before any mistaken statement has entered his mouth or errant thought has landed steel in his hand. He kept his promises of violence, and I expect he’ll keep his promises of peace.

    “You, however, are something even lower than an enemy. You speak sunshine and move your hands in darkness, and always with quick justification, be it divine or fermented. No, I can have no such close – I exile you sir.”

    She had closed the distance as she’d delivered her judgement, and she was now close enough to see the horror in the monk’s face.

    “M’lady!” he whispered in the cloying tone of practiced repentance, “all lands are yours – there is naught beyond the Hundred Kingdoms!”

    “Perhaps then Bargoth will be so kind as to provide you firmament upon which to land when we toss you from a pier and into the eastern salt,” she replied, drawing Ida to her side.

    The arrival of five of her Royal Guard acted as both the Queen and Ida’s final consideration of the matter, though no longer would the regent dare slumber until the doors were barred.

     

    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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