PseudoPod 657: Waxworks


Waxworks

by W.L. George


Henry Badger rapidly paced the City churchyard; his air of anxiety seemed to overweigh his small, though not unpleasing, features. He was an insignificant little man, dressed in pepper-and-salt tweeds. His hair was cut very close, except where a love-lock, plastered down with jasmine-oil, trailed over his forehead from under his hard black hat. Whenever he completed the circuit of the churchyard he peered towards the gate through which must come disturbance and romance. Henry Badger was in love, and he could not escape the consequences of his share in our common delight and affliction.

Suddenly brightness overspread his sharp features. It was she! She, in a pink crêpe-de-Chine blouse, disconnected rather than connected with her white serge skirt by a patent-leather belt. Above the pink blouse was an equally pink neck, and a rather pretty face, all soft curves. She was bright blue of eye and tumbled in pleasant fairness about the hair, under a large straw hat from which drooped on one side a fragment of ivy that might with advantage have been placed elsewhere. But her name was Ivy, and she liked to live in harmony.

“I’m late,” she said, with pretty-briskness, as they shook hands. “So sorry, Henry. Only the boss got dictating, and he likes to hear himself talk, even if it is only to little me. Still, better late than never,” she added, with a smile indicating wit.

(Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 656: House Party Blues

Show Notes

“I used to live next door to a house rented out to college students, and while they were actually mostly very nice, the near-nightly, all-summer-long, ’til 3am outdoor bonfire & bongo parties when I had infant twins trying to sleep definitely was not my favorite thing about being neighbors. This story was written one of those nights.”


House Party Blues

by Suzanne Palmer


He settles into the house like a new layer of skin, this fresh shell with room to grow and thrive, for a little while. He makes the pipes in the walls sing with his own heartbeat, dresses himself in the wallpaper, clothes himself in rug and woodwork, adorns himself with knicknacks and old family photos full of forced, unconvincing smiles. A husband, a wife, arms around each other, but space evident between.

The husband: beginnings of a beard in one, clean-shaven elsewhere, eyes dark, smile thin. Nowhere does it say wife-beater, but so he is, and those memories taste of beer and blood.

The wife: always in something floral, often long-sleeved, even at the beach, at the park. Leaning towards her husband, as if to try to draw him in turn towards her. That age-old myth told to women: if you love him enough, if you are a good enough wife, he will stop hitting you. He is surprised by the fury in her now; after all she put up with, the bruises and black eyes and broken bones, she never got to see her husband redeemed, her own sacrifices cashed in at last, and she is enraged.

No children; it made taking the house easier. It is not a place stained by laughter or joy. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 655: Black Matter

Show Notes

“I’m an aviation nerd with trainwreck syndrome, so air crash investigation is a subject dear to my heart. Having watched documentaries on (and read NTSB reports about) ever so many crashes, I began to wonder what it might be like if the investigators had one last secret fall-back option when no clear cause for an accident could be found, and what it’d be like to be that fall-back option. I write fiction in which the supernatural and the ordinary exist side-by-side — monsters and magic are real, if not commonly understood — and the idea of a practical necromancer contracted to the NTSB seemed like an obvious conclusion.”


Black Matter

by Vivian Shaw


… when all those legs and arms and heads… shall join together at the latter day and cry all “we died at such a place,” some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left…

Shakespeare, Henry V


It’s easier if you use a finger. If you have a finger to use. I don’t have fingers, on this one. What I have is a case full of samples, in tubes, and I can already tell this is a complete shitshow: they’re hopelessly garbled, mixed up together in a cacophony of terror and pain that gives me the kind of headache that will last for days. I need to get out to the site.

They don’t like people poking around, of course, during an active investigation, but I’m nominally part of the National Transportation Safety Board – got the blue nylon jacket with the letters on the back and everything, like some overgrown high-school kid who lettered in nerd instead of football. I’m allowed access to the crash site, it’s written down in the rules, and if I pick up fingers that don’t belong to me it doesn’t technically fuck with the chain-of-evidence protocol. Sometimes I get lucky and find what I need right away, soaked into the cockpit: human flesh and bone pulverized at the point of impact to a pink soup which nonetheless is capable of standing up, on this latter day, and telling me a tale. Sometimes I don’t, and it takes longer.

I’m strictly last-resort. When everything else is coming up empty, when both black boxes and the quick-access recorder, if there is one, are useless; when they cannot from the radar track and transponder data work out why the plane did what it did, when there’s no obvious evidence of explosion and the pilots didn’t say anything useful to ATC and all the shreds of aluminum and rubber and plastic are keeping their secrets to themselves – when they simply do not know enough to determine probable cause – that’s when they call me, and it’s always four a.m. when that call comes through. Stacy, we got one. Pack up your crystal ball and shag ass, we need you. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 654: Flash on the Borderlands XLVIII: Parts & Maintenance

Show Notes

“A Real Death” is a PseudoPod Original

“Kintsugi” is a PseudoPod Original — Kintsugi: “I wrote the story for a contest on Codex Writers forum. So much fun to join with more than a hundred people in getting a story done each week for a month!”

“How to Construct a Gun from Your Own Flesh” was first published in the Spring 2018 issue of Vastarien.


this isn’t meant to last
this is for right now


A Real Death

by Kurt Hunt

narrated by Graeme Dunlop


“Find a real death. But there is no real death any longer. There are bodies that break down the way the cars do.”

–Antoine de Saint Exupery, Flight to Arras


Bad luck. Voice went first. Hard enough to communicate with it, but without? Gesticulation. Exasperation.

The woman at the repair shop snaps her gum and raises an eyebrow at me. I signal again for something to write with. “Vocal cords,” I want to say. “Mute now. Graft? Transplant? Help a guy out?” But of course I say nothing.

She sighs and flips her visor down to block her eyes. Some vid, or maybe chatting with a boyfriend. Whatever. No help here. I’m invisible. Scansorted when I walked in: (1) warranties expired; (2) credit unsatisfactory; (3) accounts canceled; (4) nothing to barter.

As people used to say: “broke.”

I leave.

Fuck.

Bad, bad luck. (Continue Reading…)