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FP424 – The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 3 of 3

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and twenty-four.

Flash PulpTonight we present The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 3 of 3

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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 complete the flight of Aurelio Medina, a man who went in search of a home but received, instead, unexpected talents.

 

The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 3 of 3

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

 

September, Year One
Excerpt Source: [redacted].com/rambling/Aurelio.html

Author: Head

Title: You Will Believe a Man Can Fly

Body:

[…]

We held him for about five days, then – well, you’ve probably seen the leaked footage. It starts with a time lapse of Aurelio wandering around the small safehouse room that was acting as his temporary cell. With that weird moth-like motion that people get when sped up, he flits from a small table, where he eats dinner, to the barred window, to sitting on his bed, to making use of the room’s prison-style toilet.

Finally, after a chat through the door with the uniform on duty, he lies down in the lower right hand side of the screen, getting comfortable as the light beyond the drawn blinds fades. I’ve heard conspiracy theories that there’s a different shot, from a better angle, but if the footage exists, I’ve never encountered it.

What I know – what I’ve seen – is a bunch of restless blankets moving, then an eel, specifically – as I’ve been told by the team that was assigned to review the footage – a conger eel, writhing from the bedding and onto the floor.

Those same lab coats told me this was easily the longest one on record.

Now, Aurelio’s escape wasn’t pretty, but, honestly, neither was how we’d treated him. We’d chased him with robot dogs, forced him from the sky with armed drones, and, frankly, implied pretty heavily that we were going to have to take him apart to figure out how he could accomplish his feats of bioengineered prestidigitation.

You might say he’d already gone through so much shit, what was a little more? Especially when it meant his freedom.

Down the drain he went, and into the world. Must have been a hell of a squeeze through the toilet’s s-bend.

In the department’s defense, the safehouse was never intended to hold massive eels.

FP424 - The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 3 of 3What I find most amazing, though, is that he didn’t simply turn into one of us. Surely if he’d waited long enough he could have slipped into the guise of being a white guy – hell, an exact duplicate of his guard even – and made a, uh, clean break.

Of course, Uncle Sam wasn’t willing to let him, you know, wriggle from our grasp.

As far as we could tell from the conspiracy theorist websites, a man sporting majestic wings had been spotted gliding from an empty chunk of Texas and south towards the Chihuahuan Desert. Our man at the top nearly lost it over that, as we’d done a fairly decent job of keeping the nature of the operation secret until then.

The poor bugger who reported it should thank the Saint of Sasquatches that we didn’t have to knock on his door, as would have been the case if he’d managed to grab any credible video.

Anyhow, under the auspices of an ongoing anti-drug joint task force, we were given limited authorization to cross the border and operate in and around Aurelio’s former hometown. We were told to keep it quiet, as we didn’t need the Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional putting together the pieces with their domestic intelligence guys.

So there we are, Atlas and I, sitting in Aurelio’s otherwise abandoned shack. He wasn’t joking when he said he just picked up and left, there was still a pair of mugs in the sink that had been left to dry, and the square of garden hadn’t yet had a chance to wither.

We’re mostly sitting in the dark, as Atlas is all “mission security” and “standard operating procedure” and “silent running” and blah blah blah, so I was sharpening my Spanish by reading Mexican webcomics when we heard an engine outside.

Now, they gave me a gun, but I’m still pretty laughable on the range. I mean, I can flatten an entire opposing team in Call of Duty, all while they complain that having a neural interface hooked directly to my game console is cheating, but I still differ to Punchy when it comes to knocking real people over.

– and, of course, we were supposed to be taking Aurelio alive.

Thing was, it wasn’t Kafka’s birdman that came through the door, it was a local idjit named Bruno and a couple pals who thought they’d arrived to pummel a destitute local into keeping his mouth shut about how they’d killed his grandfather.

You wanna know what pisses Ms. Atlas off more than chasing a prisoner she’s already captured? Realizing that, despite all of her precautions, her operation has been compromised by some nosey punks with no clue what they’re actually getting themselves into.

Worse, they had gall and bad manners enough to try and shoot at her.

She’d lost all the robotics below her right elbow, and her patience, by the time she disarmed them, and there was so little of the hacienda left after she was done tossing them through, around, and over it, that we had to scrub the mission entirely.

A day later word came down the chain that Aurelio was to be forgotten – that is, at least until the media leaks started.

Stories still abound of the Nagual who supposedly walks, crawls, and flies across the southern Mexican states, but I can’t help but wonder: If we’d just been perhaps a bit more welcoming, maybe he’d be our Nagual.

 

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.

FP423 – The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 2 of 3

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

Flash PulpTonight we present The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 2 of 3

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
(Part 1Part 2Part 3)
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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 run from a car crash and find ourselves under the watchful eye of the law.

 

The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 2 of 3

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

 

September, Year One
Excerpt Source: Verbal Debrief Following Operation El Soñador

Adviser: Major Nelson Wily
Subject: Corporal Jennifer Glat, AKA Ms. Atlas

Atlas: I’d have thought the target would simply surrender once injected with a foreign substance and having his arm shattered in a wrecked vehicle, but I rarely understand the motives in this sort of incident.

We deployed to the scene after a unit involved in [redacted] detected the signature of a dangerous strain of bioengineering.

Wily: Did you actually see any of the new dogs in use?

Atlas: Yes, we had three helping us with door knocking. They’re really just smaller versions of the room-sized machines immigration uses to weed out potential medical problems in green card applicants – cancer, lung issues, inherited conditions, whatever might be a drag on the healthcare system – but they’ve managed to cram it all onto the quadruped mechanical frames that normally only hunt the stinkier narcotics.

Wily: Huh.

Atlas: Anyhow, as I was saying, the dog’s footage clearly indicated five runners, and, since we knew [redacted] and his bodyguard had nothing more than an empty needle on them, we figured the [redacted] had to have been squeezed into one of the absconders.

Head and I were sent directly from the facility in [redacted], and, as per orders, we split duties. He went aloft to coordinate the drone and helicopter patrols, and I was left to ground pound with law enforcement.

As all highway and sideroad access had been locked down at the first sign of contamination, we were 90% sure the target was still within the city limits.

Wily: Just like we had him locked down at [redacted]? Hell, just like we’ve locked down the border in general?

Atlas: [redacted]

Excerpt from the interrogation of Aurelio Medina
Conducted [REDACTED] at [REDACTED], the afternoon of the subject’s escape
Interviewer: Major Nelson Wily

Aurelio: Honestly, at first I couldn’t even believe I was able to stand up. I mean, I looked over and the trio of teen girls seemed to be all right, but the brothers were clustered around the youngest, yelling at him to get up. He wasn’t going to though – not then, not ever.

At least they got to escort his casket back when they were deported.

Anyhow, I ran. Eight blocks over I found a 7-Eleven, amazingly one with an exterior payphone, and I managed to dial my, uh, friend, whose name and address I can’t seem to remember. He drives a cab under the table. I remember sitting on the bench, clutching my arm and breathing heavily. I was probably in shock, but no one approached to ask if I was okay. There were never even news reports that I’d been spotted there, although plenty of people had wandered along to buy smokes and lottery tickets.

FP423 - The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 2 of 3It was like I was invisible.

I was a sitting duck on that bench. I kept losing consciousness. I had this dream that my mouth had disappeared, that I was helpless and alone, and it seemed like I woke and wasn’t able to scream. Maybe I did.

A second time I floated up, and I was lying in the cab, but the beating of the crash had set in. My body felt bruised and swollen, and it felt like I was expanding to fill the whole back seat. My cousin told me later that he was afraid I was going to push out the windows or break the doors.

Wily: Why didn’t you seek medical attention? Your, uh, friend didn’t want to get caught with you?

Aurelio: Ha – yeah, right. I was a border jumper who’d fled from a car crash partially caused by a US government hunting machine. I’d been injected with what I thought was a high powered drug causing me to hallucinate all sorts of weird things, and I had no money to cover whatever care I needed even if I could get it.

No, I don’t blame him for not dropping me at the hospital – I thank him.

Wily: So where did you end up?

Aurelio: Let’s just say it was a townhouse shared by a few others. I was given a mat in the basement, and I guess my cous – uh, friend, had to fight pretty hard to keep me there. His roommates had seen the news, and they weren’t excited about having a bunch of guys in riot gear pounding down the door. They simply wanted to be left alone to earn a few bucks and help their people back home. I don’t blame them either.

There were more dreams while they argued. My arms weighed a million pounds and I couldn’t lift them. My fractured bones were grinding against each other like the other half of my forearm was a snake trying to cuddle up to me..

For a night and a day and a night, I slept, then I rose hungry. So hungry.

There was a cup of water beside me, and I drank it in one long gulp. No one was around, they all had jobs to be at, so I stumbled to the fridge on the main level and pulled it open. It was a mix of stuff – fresh vegetables, takeout leftovers, random condiments – I ate it all.

It was while I was chugging down the last of the milk that I realized I was using my broken arm to lift the carton. The pain was gone, and so was the break.

The thing is, I was still exhausted – or maybe it was the big meal making me tired. Whatever the case, I refilled my water cup and went back downstairs.

Now, you have to understand, this wasn’t a fancy place, this wasn’t a McMansion in the suburbs, it was a dozen bodies living in a too-small space, but, with my belly full, my body whole, and my bed firmly in America, I went to sleep pretty satisfied.

I dreamt I was flying.

Shouting woke me a few hours later. The owners of the food I’d eaten were chewing up my friend and he was trying to keep them from heading down the stairs to kick my ass.

Still, I felt lighter. Trimmer. Limber.

Turning the corner at the top of the landing I figured I’d make some apologies, promise them that I’d pay them back as soon as I made a few bucks – and, by the way, did they know of any jobs?

Thing was, they all stopped to stare as I came into the kitchen. I was spreading my hands wide, you know, to show I was sorry and didn’t mean any harm, and I felt my shoulders brush against the walls.

September, Year One
Excerpt Source: [redacted].com/rambling/Aurelio.html

Author: Head

Title: You Will Believe a Man Can Fly

Body:

So there I was in the helicopter, but, if I’m totally honest, I wasn’t crazily into the whole thing. Sure, it was neat to be deploying clusters of drones from a whirlybird, and to mentally send those whizzing around the block, but, once I’d gotten yelled at for losing a couple toys while conducting an alleyway re-creation of the Deathstar Trench run, most of the fun was out of it.

We’ve done things I can get behind. We’ve made a difference, I think, but – well, chasing some poor bastard who really only wanted to blend in and live a not-miserable life didn’t seem like the best use of a guy with an illegal computer in his brain and a woman who can punch buildings sideways.

That isn’t to say, though, that it didn’t have its moments.

I’m sitting there, supposedly scanning social media for any personal communications or sightings that might give us a lead, but really just boredom trawling, when the chopper’s heat rig – usually used to bust grow ops with hot roof tiles – goes nuts.

It was the fever caused by the serum that gave Auerlio away.

Well, I mean, that and his giant soaring wings.

 

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.

FP422 – The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 1 of 3

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and twenty-two.

Flash PulpTonight we present The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 1 of 3
(Part 1Part 2Part 3)

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 hear the tale of Aurelio Medina, a man on the run.

 

The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 1 of 3

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

 

Excerpt from the interrogation of Aurelio Medina
Conducted [REDACTED] at [REDACTED], the afternoon of the subject’s escape
Interviewer: Major Nelson Wily

Aurelio: I loved Mexico, but I wasn’t sure I could survive my corner of it. While there were many places in my beloved country that I’d heard were beautiful and untouched by the violence upon my doorstep, I knew there was little chance I’d ever see them in my Abuelito’s broken down pickup.

Yet America was inescapable: It arrived to me on my cousins lips and through the very air around my radio. If you don’t want people to come to this country, why do spend so much time advertising yourselves?

We sometimes sat on the roof of our squat home, waiting for the summer heat to drift out the open windows, and I’d wonder what made this patch of desert so different than what I’d seen beyond the fence outside Ciudad Juárez.

When I asked my grandfather he’d just say, “it’s the same sand.”

Every now and then a relative from down south would come by, looking to stay before meeting with the sort of unshowered fellas who run secret trucks across the border. They’d always make the same pitch to me – you’re young, strong, smart, come with me – but my answer was always no.

The old man had spent most of my life looking after me, and, though he’d never admit it, his knees were getting bad enough that he needed me to return the favour.

They weren’t the only people trying to sucker me into something though, and some weren’t willing to take no for an answer.

[inaudible]

Aurelio: No, it wasn’t fear – not exactly, anyway. One day Tito was down at the shop, grabbing a pack of Marlboros, and he caught a local tough guy, Bruno, screaming names at his aunt. Apparently Mrs. Rojas had given his mother an ear full of news on her son’s misdeeds, and even some gangsters still blush to hear their mama is disappointed in them.

FP422 – The Irregular Division: Crossing, Part 1 of 3Bruno hit his tia, slapped her across the cheek, really, and my Tito gave him some of the same. I can’t imagine there was much force behind his stick arms, but the thug got back in his truck and took off.

Pops was shaking when he stepped into the kitchen and told me the story. He finished by saying it was the end of it, but we both knew it wouldn’t be. It wasn’t even the end of it for that day.

We were on the roof, that night, when an SUV came barreling down the road and swung into our yard. Abuelito stood, shielding his eyes and telling me he thought it was Mr. Torres come to return his ratchet set, and there was a Pop-Pop-Pop.

The engine noise was disappearing over the horizon by the time I managed to make it to the patch of dirt where my grandfather had fallen.

Maybe I could have moved south. Maybe I should have. My nearest relatives, though, were really only an hour’s drive away – well, if it was a quick line at the border.

I guess I knew who to ask, enough of my cousins had gone over, but I also knew I couldn’t trust anyone who knew Bruno, and that made things tricky.

That’s how I found myself in the back of a short box truck, huddled behind a plywood board that was supposed to fool immigration into thinking it was the back wall of the storage area. It was me, a couple with a baby, four thick-armed brothers who complained the whole time that they’d had a better plan but had been held up visiting family, a trio of teen girls looking to be nannies if they could stay away from the grabby-handed bastards behind the wheel, and two others.

Listen – those two others… they’re the ones who did this to me. One looked: Well, let’s just say he was making a statement with his knuckle tats – but his partner’s fingernails were manicured, and he was getting a nice suit dirty. They also knew the white guys behind the wheel.

Wily: Interesting – and these two men held you down and gave you wings?

Aurelio: [Inaudible]

Wily: Sorry, just a joke. They look, you know, majestic – I mean, they’re feathered at least. A pair o’ leathery bat wings would be creepy as hell.

Aurelio: Just fix it. Please.

Wily: Oh, yeah, that’s just what I need, a bunch of Texan taxpayers getting wind that we’re giving you free medical care.

Both: [Laughter]

Wily: Honestly, we don’t know how to help until we know what you were stuck with. Finish the story okay? Every little bit helps.

Aurelio: It was a long trip, and it was hot. There was a lot of moving and braking and moving again, and there wasn’t enough room for more than the lady with the baby to sit down. Eventually we stopped, it must have been six hours in, and there was a pause.

We could hear talking outside the truck, then a curse, and the guy who originally took my money started yelling “run!”

Well, we weren’t sure if he was talking to us or to his partner, but we were halfway to the door before the engine gunned it and the floor lurched forward. Papa caught Mama who held baby, but we all went down like bowling pins.

Knuckles managed to get one of the double doors open, and we see a dog.

I don’t know if they call them that over here too. I mean one of those four legged robots that sniff drugs and such at the crossing.

Wily: Yep.

Aurelio: It was a big dog, bigger than they look on TV at least, and it was chasing us at top speed. I swear it was digging pits in the pavement as it ran.

Tats and the suit started arguing, then a well-tended finger was raised in my direction, and I was grabbed. Everyone else was already screaming, so I joined in, but it didn’t matter. I don’t know if it was just the panic, but the needle looked huge – like the kind of thing you’d see in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Anyhow, they poked me, and we made it maybe three blocks. The driver was hauling too fast for his corner, though, and we went sideways. Both doors were flapping by then, and we started tumbling around in space like barbie dolls caught in a dryer.

Suddenly, I was on the lawn. I don’t know if I passed out, or if I just don’t remember the middle bit, but my arm was broken. I realized there was a trail of us, spread across a kids playground like discarded toys. One of the white guys had jumped from the cab and started running, so the dog headed his way.

That’s when I went the other.

 

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.