Pseudopod 030: Seller’s Market

By Joel Arnold

Read by Matthew Wayne Selznick

“You were lucky,” I say, testing her. “To find a place so easily with this guy, even in this current housing market.”

Ellen nods again. I try to get her to look at me, but she won’t.

“He just showed you this house. Said it’s yours if you want it?”

Ellen yawns. “I’m tired,” she says. “I had a busy day.”

“Sounds like it.”

Then she snaps. “Look, what are you trying to imply?” Her eyes flash. “I got the house fair and square. It’s a nice house, and now you’re accusing me — ” She stops.

“Accusing you of what?” I ask.

Her eyes smolder. My heart races.

“You should thank me,” she says.

I leave the room.

Hey kids! Have a free ebook from Scott Sigler! Click here for his his hit novel Ancestor as a free PDF!

March 25th, 2007 9:20 am

Thanks for posting the link! Like I needed ANOTHER reason to have a crush on Mur …

March 25th, 2007 8:01 pm

Get in line, buddy, get in line.

Hey, everybody — read Scott’s free PDF — then BUY THE BOOK on on April 1st, darn it!

(He didn’t pay me to write that — or even threaten me with a pair of poultry shears!)

March 27th, 2007 10:21 pm

I’m looking forward to buying the book–Bag Man was a great story, and I look forward to more.

Seller’s Market…this didn’t really impress me. I think it may just be Joel Arnold’s stories in general. Turista and Mother’s Day really didn’t hit me, and neither does this one.

Don’t get me wrong–it started out wonderfully. A little pregnacy craving, an evil best friend, and a house with an odd storage space. Perfect recipe for disaster.

But then, all of the sudden, the guy gets it into his head that his wife is having an affair. Not even a slight build-up to it, and after that the double-entendres start.

After that moment, the story degenerates into a collection of loose threads. What was Ellen’s deal that has do to with those corpses in the attic? No idea. Robin fades away into the background, after having a major part in the story. The evil real estate agent…no explanation as to his motives, or if he did the same thing to Robin. And then, finally, the narrator locks Ellen in the basement room because he thinks she might kill him. And the readers/listeners are no closer to figuring out what’s going on than we were at the beginning of the story.

So that’s my opinion. Having said that, if someone happened to like the story, more power to them.

March 28th, 2007 10:51 pm

Remind me to pick up Earthcore too…

Jon Sebastian
April 2nd, 2007 6:07 am

Uh can anyone explain this story? I have loved the other stories by this author but I don’t get this one.

Tiffany from Australia
April 3rd, 2007 2:39 am

What were all the corpses for anyway? There was no explanation as to what their significance was in the story or anything.
The best friend had a huge part at the begining, then she kind of disapeares.
What was so spooky about the real estate agent? Unless he was a monster who fed on the corpses, no … the house was the real estate agent, no one would move in so it became sentient and fed on the brains of local animals or anyone who walked to close to the front fence and got the couple to move in ….
Maybe this story would be better if it was longer and the all the loose ends could be tied up rather than being left in the dark.
I have really enjoyed all of Joel Arnolds other stories and kind of felt a bit let down after listening to this one.

April 12th, 2007 1:10 pm

Hmm.. I will try to help.


I think the idea is that the real estate agent was a normal human scuzzball who likes to get women to do degrading things for him in exchange for good deals. Ruth just had sex with him (and apparently enjoyed it quite a bit too), but Ellen was too ethical for that. So our faceless freak of an agent asked her to do something even stranger. The story is ambiguous as to why; maybe he was into the occult and really believed it would do something for him. Or maybe he just thought it would be extra traumatizing to her, and therefore extra fun for him. Since she turned him down for sex and all.

Just my speculations.

April 17th, 2007 3:47 am

Here’s my 2 cents:


I don’t think Ellen was sleeping with the real estate agent. In fact, I believe the agent is either a demon or the devil in human form, whom in exchange for that wonderful house, requires Ellen to join a cult and kill small animals(cat and dog) and then work her way onto human sacrifices. In the end, you know Roger’s going to get gutted and offered as a sacrifice just like the rest. I think Ruth might have joined the cult and may have been posessed or gone mad, thus explaining as to why she was trying to seduce Roger.

But then again, from listening to the last bit, (where Roger locks her into the ‘Well Room’) Ellen might have just been mad from the beginning. There may have never been an evil real estate agent. But you just know Roger’s going to end up in the attic…

May 14th, 2007 6:10 pm

I love the podcast, but this story straight up sucked…

November 20th, 2007 11:53 pm

I LOVE Pseudopod, and this is the only story I’ve disliked so far, mostly because of the PAINFULLY long pauses Mr Selznick made at the end of each paragraph. Good LORD! He read well, and I appreciate his giving me the opportunity to take a break, go to the bathroom, make dinner, detail my car, finish my PhD….but when I flip on Pseudopod, I’m not going anywhere til that episode is done. I had the hardest time not skipping this one entirely. True, it is possible the extra shot in my latte coupled with godawful Chicago rush hour traffic played a role in my even THINKING of skipping a Pseudopod!

March 24th, 2008 8:30 pm

Quite atmospheric.

Mari Mitchell
April 9th, 2008 8:57 pm

I disliked the long and frequent pauses.

I cannot help but wonder if I penned this tale throw up to WDC, how may comments I would get about the ending? I can hear some of them whining now, “I don’t get it.”

It not easy to find a balance of lightly telling a story and allow space for a reader to think and fill in some bits for themselves and spoon feeding it to them.

I personally like a story that wants you think.

January 23rd, 2009 4:40 am

I agree slightly with Dave comment 8. I think the agent was a demon of somthing of the sort and they were sacrifices. The rest eh. I did like this Podcast but I have to say the pauses were really distracting for me, I kept worrying about if the file was okay blah blah. But aside from the the pauses I liked it a lot.