Pseudopod 025: Fetching Pepé

By K. A. Patterson

Read by Mur Lafferty

In the photo he was holding a large, thick black snake. Three other large snakes encircled his neck and legs.

“That’s me, Zorbo the Great, snake charmer extraordinaire! Now I am retired. No longer working for circus. I do lecture tour now. Talk to children ’bout snakes. Make them no worry that snakes might bite them. Tell them not all snakes are hurtful.”

“That’s wonderful,” Carol said, impressed. “What am I to do for you and Mrs. Dicicco?”

“You help me get Pepé.” Zorbo said, taking a moment to puff on his pipe.

The tobacco he used gave off a pleasant, fruity scent.

“Pepé?”

01
Jaye Sunsurn
February 16th, 2007 1:58 am

Okay.. it was a good story, though am I the only person who kind of saw what was coming almost too easily? Maybe also after working 8 years as a temp I am jaded and cynical enough to not at all be surprised at the fact a temp assignment would be something like this, to be honest I believe I’ve done worse working as a temp than be snake food.

02
que!
February 16th, 2007 5:49 pm

This was very predictable. :0( I wanted to say “boooo!” at the end. However, I’m not a writer, I just like short stories – and I don’t know how hard it is to conceive = one… sooooo I’ll just say I didn’t like it.

03
February 19th, 2007 8:50 pm

I agree. Saw the ending from miles away. I think a lot of it relies on a basic fear of snakes, which I don’t have.

04
phignewton
February 20th, 2007 5:06 am

well fear of snakes + fear of ductways, also sweet old couples living in decrepit buildings, i thought it worked… relying as it does on the basic formula of horror that the victim of giant snakes must do something to bring that fate on themselves… like crawling into vents.. never crawl into vents!

05
Jack
March 7th, 2007 2:24 pm

I thought it worked, too. Not a great story, but it conveyed the necessary sense of claustrophobia.

06
April 27th, 2007 1:36 pm

Being a temp worker atm, I always dread getting THAT job.

07
Amber
May 29th, 2007 5:32 pm

I think next to Bliss this is my favorite so far. I think that despite the simpleness of it, it was just for kicks, not necassarilly to be afraid of snakes but of people. You know, the ones who are old and krinkly and like animals better than humans.

08
Eroom Tam
July 30th, 2007 9:17 am

I liked the juxtaposition of hispanics as wealthy and caucasian as hired, disposable worker. I also liked the convention that was broken where the MC did not deserve this. It would be one thing if her parents had owned a huge factory where dozens of Mexicans were killed and maimed and now she is down on her luck and walks into this job. But no, none of that. She could be anyone who falls into this trap.

Would have been better is Pepe *was* the dog, which might have thrown us all off the obvious ending, then flip it back again to the obvious ending.