Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and fifty-nine.
Tonight we present Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The New Guy
This week’s episodes are brought to you by Mac of BIOnighT
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, Emperor of Space, considers the nature of change and forward time travel.
Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The New Guy
Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May
There came a time, before his rise to Emperor, when Joe Monk’s reputation in war and justice had spread to the stars as fresh adventure in a stale universe. His passion seemed a cure to the bureaucracy of the era, and, as the last human, his voice seemed to hold the total weight of his dead world.
Stepping from the shelter of a cave adorned with well-worked pelts, the neanderthal shielded his eyes against the bright yellow glare of Sol.
The hillock on which he stood had a single well trodden path leading downwards, and, at its midpoint, a barrier of wood and stone had been constructed to narrow the approach as added defense against predators.
Atop his ledge the almost-man tracked the drawing near of a small cluster of ten figures.
This was no war party – no, simply a man and woman trailed by their brood of unwashed youths.
Still, the difference was unmistakable: These were not neanderthals at all, but homo sapiens drifting in from some distant grubby hole.
The shelf of the homeowner’s brow fell to a new low and he grunted thrice.
Time slid by, and it was 54 BC.
A Roman galley, bristling with oars, was bearing down on the British coast, its drumbeat moving with sure and steady purpose even as it rose and dove amongst the waves.
The light upon its stern had drawn the eyes of a filthy faced child of twelve who’d been wandering the cliffs in search of a mislaid sheep, and the lad’s long thin legs were soon pounding towards the hut he called home.
Within moments his family and extended clan were beside him at the drop’s edge, pacing the bobbing landing.
Spitting, his taut-faced father laid a blow across the boy’s right ear and said, “gonadh inimriche.”
Time again took on an unlikely momentum, pausing in Earth year 1997 AD.
A man of sixty was sitting on a worn wooden bench that looked to have been built even before the crumbling gas station it sat in front of.
Cracking open a peanut the slouched grandfather tossed the shell amongst the dust at his feet.
From his right came the ringing bell that marked an exiting customer, and a stout figure in blue overalls emerged from the area that housed the loafer’s wife’s cash register.
Stepping back into his rusting white and red pickup, the driver offered a, “gracias,” then turned over his vehicles reluctant engine.
The truck rolled onto the highway, lingering but a moment on the horizon.
The man on the bench said, “goddamn immigrants.”
The landscape shifted a final time, now settling on Joe Monk’s increasingly renowned ship as seen through the viewscreen of a law enforcement tug. A too-round Smegmarian in a Solar System Traffic Cop uniform punched in his scan but could find no contraband on Monk’s approaching space egg.
Dropping a news printout with Joe’s face and vessel splashed across the front, the entity scratched at the pant seat of his uniform – universally hated due to its speed limiting bureaucracy – and grunted, “shhhpffdd ferfferl.”
Monk’s craft became the focus, and the length of speckled black behind it lit up with massive letters.
“Kwarvox has been Planduck’s Senator for the previous 324 years,” they said before being replaced by: “Change Happens. Get Used To It.”
A much smaller addendum floated over Joe’s uppermost engine strut. “This Message Endorsed by the Committee for the Election of Beethbo for Galactic Senate.”
The holoscreen went black.
As illumination returned to the cramped boardroom, the trio of Planduckians that made up the Committee for the Election of Beethbo for Galactic Senate smiled. It was generally very difficult to license the history of an entire people, but Joe’s lone survivor status meant that the collected cultural heritage of the human race had been bequeathed to his estate. It was their hope that Monk’s celebrity status, mixed with their own people’s past as stellar nomads, would strike a chord.
Meanwhile, across the small conference table, Joe’s companion’s mind raced. Macbeth knew it was essential to remain mindful of diplomacy while stringing together his polite mouthful of titles, false compliments, and refusals.
Before he could embark on his finely honed rejection, however, Joe’s jaw finally flapped shut.
“I’m in!” he blurted, and thus began his political career.
Flash Pulp is presented by https://www.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.
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