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

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

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

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

Tonight, Will Coffin, urban shaman, and Bunny, his sobering apprentice, are notified of an arcane murder.

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coffin shrugged and began to dig in his pocket.

“What’d’ya got in mind?” asked Bunny.

“Calling the ambulance,” answered Will.

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

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

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

 

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

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

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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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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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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