Research Fodder May 7, 2014

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Research Fodder May 6, 2014

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FP376 – Equity

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

Flash PulpTonight we present Equity

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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.

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Staff Reminder: Rat Race

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Research Fodder May 4, 2014

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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!

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

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

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Research Fodder May 2, 2014

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FP375 – Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Cuckoos

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

Flash PulpTonight we present Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Cuckoos

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by We Are Not Here To Please You

 

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, Joe Monk, the last human and one day ruler of known space, finds himself in a seedy bar on the backwater world of Mengi.

 

Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Cuckoos

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

 

Joe Monk, the man who would one day be Emperor, Macbeth, his craboid counselor, and the small fleet of interstellar craft that had begun to trail their roaming egg of a ship, had landed on Mengi as part of a PR tour on behalf of the Council of Ten Stars. The Council had funded the expedition as an educational venture. It was their hope that the novelty of seeing the last example of a dying breed would hold their youths attention long enough for the man’s simple but altruistic view of the universe to take root in their obviously increasingly degenerate neural networks.

In truth, however, the circuit was as educational for Joe himself as it was for any of the smart-mouthed adolescents who attended his rambling Q&A sessions, though much of his studies took place in the sort of low-cost fermentation dispensaries that grease the grind of a tight travel schedule.

His brief stint as lawman had brought Monk into contact with a dozen races, but the metropolitan worlds of the Ten Stars were awash in shape and colour. He was finding it difficult to keep personal identifiers separate from species names, and more than once a mottled green mouth or purple-furred set of ears had descended at his unintended bigotry.

Still, he had no trouble telling Asbelene and Oshkosa apart, and the fact that they were Krebbles, from the thickly populated jungle planet of Kerees, was very clear in his mind.

They’d told him so when they’d introduced themselves, but the Krebbles reputation was well known.

The vaulted ceilings of the orange-walled bar were lit in a low spectrum so as to be friendly to even the largest eyed patron, but to Joe’s thinking it was as if the night had flooded the room and brought with it the thick booze and high-nosed spices that filled Mengi’s tourist market.

Monk and Macbeth had seen and drank as much of the planet as they could manage, and the earthman had promised the unmarked establishment would be their final stop.

Still, he’d made the promise some two hours earlier.

As their conversation had progressed, Asbelene’s stool had slowly travelled around the bend of their round table. She’d first introduced herself while offering a gloved appendage wrapped in the deep shade of purple that covered her form in a velveteen crush of robes and veil. She knew all about his story, she’d said. She’d seen it on the NewsNets. What a romantic notion, the last of an entire race – but what a sad and lonely one, she’d added.

Monk had only been able to agree. Eventually, however, he tired of talking about himself.

“Been on Mengi long?” he asked.

“Quite a while,” replied Asbelene, “we can’t all hop around in our own ship you know. Besides, it’s warm here and the sun lingers. What more could you ask for?”

She lifted back the light veil that covered her brow to reveal a pair of human eyes. They were the same shade of purple as her garb. Joe couldn’t recall reading any books in the egg’s library in which a character had violet eyes.

He smiled.

Joe Monk, Emperor of Space“Oh,” said Joe, “the nomadic lifestyle has its advantages. There are a lot of gorgeous sights I wouldn’t have had a chance to see otherwise. You’re right though, it can be lonely. The scenery doesn’t change much between stops and I find it hard to sleep when I don’t have the thrum of the engines in my ears.”

“That’s funny,” Asbelene replied, “I’ve just travelled in freezer freight, but I’ve always pictured ship beds as tiny and uncomfortable.”

“The people who built my rocket pony had to guess at how big I’d get, so I’ve got room enough for two of me – actually, it may sound ridiculous, but my bed honestly is built for high G maneuvers and sudden impacts.”

Her robes shifted slightly right and she let out a distinctly human giggle.

Excusing herself, Asbelene stood and retreated to one of the personal sanitation rooms nestled in the shadows at the rear of the tavern.

With her purple figure briefly out of view, Joe remembered that he’d arrived with Macbeth. Optimistic at the likelihood of his companion’s own enthusiasm, Monk turned.

Macbeth was not smiling.

Neither was his conversation partner, Oshkosa.

Finally having caught the earthman’s attention, both of the self-appointed mentor’s eyestalks stiffened, and he hooked his large right claw across his shoulder.

“Can I talk to you over there?” he asked.

Joe couldn’t see much of anything but decorative pottery in the corner, but he knew it wasn’t really a question.

Once out of Oshkosa’s earshot, Macbeth immediately took to whispered yelling.

“Do you understand what these girls are!?”

“Friendly?” asked the human.

“Krebbles,” replied Macbeth, dropping the word heavily, as if it were the only response he required.

Joe nodded and tried to look serious. “Okay.”

Macbeth sighed a fermented sigh and nodded, but he still required assurance. “Okay?”

Monk did his best to give it. “Okay.”

“Great, I’m glad we’ve agreed to leave.”

Before he’d finished the sentence, Macbeth was already digging in his satchel for a method of payment that was actually valid in the establishment.

“Uh, you can head back if you like,” said Joe, “I think I’m going to spend a little more time getting to know Asbelene.”

The pseudo-crustacean dropped his bag.

“The Krebble? Do – do you know what their disgusting genetic imperatives drive them to do? They start as piles of formless goo! Goo! Then they steal your DNA! That’s what she was doing when she first shook your hand you know – but that’s not even the worst of it!

“She’s shedding under there. Her gooey, lusty, flesh is drying and flaking, and soon she’ll shed her current shape like a cocoon. She could be in there right now doing it! She simply wants to make herself appear to be a viable mate so she can plunder your breeding juices!

“These filthy Krebbles are built to endlessly evolve their reproductive systems by sucking down the seed of others! She’ll seem the perfect mating partner – rounded in all the ways you like, cooing in just the way you idiot monkeys enjoy – but they’re nothing but masquerading eugenic harlots.

“In terms you might understand, they’re cuckoo women! Cuckoos!”

Joe nodded. “Er, I think in this metaphor it would be the children who would be the cuckoos, right?”

“You. Idiot. Do you not understand what I’m saying?”

“You’re saying I’m in danger of having Asbelene be exactly what I’d want in a sexual partner, and perhaps, uh, misplacing my genetic heritage?”

“Yes.”

“That sounds suspiciously racist, but we’ll talk about it back at the ship – say in the kitchen, around breakfast time tomorrow? That’s when I’ll be back.”

With that, he turned.

It would be only another hour before the last man would see his first womanly form.

He was late for breakfast.

 

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.

Categories: Flash Pulp, Joe Monk | Leave a comment

FC103 – Vile Acts

FC103 - Vile Acts

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Hello, and welcome to FlashCast 103.

Prepare yourself for: Synthetic marijuana, nature’s pocket, a Russian moonbase, more on nursing home strippers, 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:

  • Coffin: Looking Down
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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.

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    FP374 – Mulligan Smith in Taken, Part 3 of 3

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

    Flash PulpTonight we present Mulligan Smith in Taken, Part 3 of 3

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    This week’s episodes are brought to you by We Are Not Here To Please You

     

    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, our private investigator, Mulligan Smith, finds himself haunting a too-white nightmare with a tazer in his hand.

     

    Mulligan Smith in Taken, Part 3 of 3

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

     

    The Hampton Holistic Healing Center sat on a wooded forty acre spread an hour’s drive from Capital City. It had taken some effort to accidentally blow a tire along the road running the length of the western edge of the property, but, once accomplished, Smith had managed to stumble around the outlying cabins nestled between pine branches for a full half-hour without notice.

    Though the spa had signs posted at the gate claiming it was closed for maintenance, the frosted icicle lights that marked its well-swept dirt paths were at full glow, and the regularly spaced faux-stone speakers continued to exhale a constant stream of Yanni’s keyboard work.

    Smith blamed the music for his foul mood. The unending demand for calm was getting to him, and every flute trill and harp strum only forced his molars tighter together.

    The main house was a shambling collection of extensions, and Mulligan had had several entries to pick from as he avoided the lobby’s porch. Still, his stranded-motorist lie had been sorely tested when, after the first dozen hallway doors had been checked, he’d had to turn a quick corner while pretending not to hear a very tanned fellow in tennis shorts’ shouts of “hello?”

    Now though, standing at an open second floor closet with Mr. Tennis still searching for him down below, Smith was again ready to gamble.

    He’d remembered the triple H name from Victoria Woodward’s enthusiastic social media endorsements of its online community’s postings. Her brief mention in that afternoon’s yoga class had immediately brought its all-caps dislike of science, and the supposedly jack-booted government it saw as funding its misuses, to mind.

    Every suite looked the same. Clean, neat, and eager for someone who needed expensive spiritual cleansing. The crisp white seemed to stretch on forever, as if the place were an MC Escher work inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, and he knew each door he pushed through was a possible finale to his thin story.

    Discovering the multimedia closet that was Yanni’s secret lair had provided an opportunity – and not just to end the Casio siege – but Mulligan was running out of time, and he knew it.

    Ten seconds of silence fell over the incense thick hallways and heat-heavy carpets, then, once the PI had arranged the inputs directly into his phone, a new keyboardist stepped to the mic.

    As a child Smith had often watched his parents blow a sad wind from the house by rolling aside the living room rug and threatening the lamps while flailing away to Ray Charles’ high-speed fingers. He could think of no better remedy to the cloying air of the Hampton Center.

    The thrum and thrash lasted less than a minute. Ray got to ask what he’d said twice, then Mulligan cut the music and briefly gave up breathing.

    Along the hall and to the left he could hear pounding footsteps climbing the service stairs – but beyond that, from the level below, came the shriek of a toddler disclosing its grievances at maximum lung capacity.

    It meant having to expose himself by descending the broad main staircase and scuttling across the area that acted as a lobby and group meeting space, but the pillows scattered about the ground floor were empty, and it was a better alternative than the supposed man-with-car-trouble trying to blow by his tanned pursuer.

    The wail continued even as the PI zeroed in on the passage behind the reception desk, but the surprise of his sudden entrance was enough to startle the child into a brief silence. Staring down the back of the woman holding Addison, it was tempting to reach for his tazer, but it was his phone he retrieved from the depths of his pocket.

    He’d sent the picture before she’d even fully turned.

    Sierra Hampton, the holistic center’s founder, had obviously been expecting the man with the tan.

    There was a beat during which neither spoke, then Smith’s phone gave off the Rockford Files answering machine beep that marked an incoming response to his photo.

    It read, “You were right, Capital City Daily has an article up saying there’s been three measles cases reported on the eastside.”

    Mulligan Smith, Private Investigator: A Skinner Co. Network PodcastMulligan’s father hated to text, but went through stationary like he had a deeply held vendetta against trees. Smith knew he had questions, but he also knew the stubborn mute wouldn’t ask any of them until he could express them in longhand.

    Looking up from the screen, Smith said, “it’s interesting how stupidity spreads like a virus. One person catches it, and suddenly a whole community is infected.”

    “What?” asked Hampton, her voice startling the baby from whimpering itself to sleep.

    “Science isn’t a conspiracy,” answered Mulligan, “it’s not out to get you. There’s no profit in giving your kid autism, there’s only a lawsuit. Half the labcoats in those grad classes are trying to figure out how to cook their own narcotics, you don’t think they’d love to blow the whistle on implanted tracking devices or whatever crackpot theory you hug?”

    Several assumptions crossed Sierra Hampton’s face, but, in a decision that surprised Smith not at all, she finally landed on the most paranoid – and thus the option that allowed her to be the most self-righteous.

    “What are you going to do, thug? Arrest me for the crime of taking care of a sick child? Where’s your uniform, officer? Too ashamed to wear your swastika in public?”

    Smith coughed.

    “Hey, I’m no cop, I’m just some poor sap who happened to break down while on a country drive – but, like I said, it’s funny how ideas get around – like the idea the police might suddenly have that this tot looks a lot like Posey Cotton’s baby.”

    “It’s not!”

    “Oh, I believe you.”

    Despite the spread of angry red spots across the child’s skin, the head of curly black hair was an easy match for Addison’s grandmother’s photos.

    “Still,” he said, “while they’re verifying, uh, whoever this is, I wonder if they’ll find any connection between you and Posey in your guest list and bank accounts? Will they find a quack in your employ when they look at who signed off on vaccination records for kids who somehow managed to pick up measles?”

    He actually knew the answer to this last item, and the tender nature of the case meant it hadn’t even cost his client more than a couple of hundred dollars.

    Whoever Dr. Bowers was, he was soon going to be simply Mr. Bowers.

    ”Most importantly though,” Smith continued, “how big a tin foil hat did you have to talk Posey Cotton into for her to agree to cover up the death of her own kid? You got a lot of land here – how many times do you figure you’ll have to imply the cops are Nazis before they bring out the cadaver dogs?

    It was then that Mr. Tennis entered the room, and, without having noticed its movement, Mulligan found his hand was in his pocket and tightly wrapped about his tazer’s grip.

    He was unexpectedly eager to use it.

    He would not get his chance, however.

    The trio stood there in silence for a five full minutes, then black body armour and red lights swept the compound as SWAT poured through the building like furious antibodies seeking an infection.

    It would be another ten hours before Mulligan had finished barely-answering the official questions.

    The papers would never mention the stranded motorist, but he would at least find comfort in the fact that Grandmother Woodward was happy to expense his flat tire.

     

    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.

    Categories: Flash Pulp, Mulligan Smith | Tags: , , | Leave a comment