Pseudopod 067: Memories of the Knacker’s Yard

By Ian Creasey

Read by Ben Phillips

“How long have we had this one?” I asked, shivering in the morgue’s chill.

“Two days,” the white-coat guy said. I didn’t know his name. I try to remember the lab people and support staff, but turnover’s too high. This line of work burns people out faster than a crematorium on overtime.

“What did you leave it that long for?” I said, annoyed. “Waiting for the killer to turn himself in?”

“We were waiting for the ghost to show up,” he said.

I shook my head in disgust. “Look, when someone’s been murdered, they want us on the case. If their ghost doesn’t turn up in twenty-four hours, that’s because it can’t.”

That was the problem. If a ghost complains that it’s just been murdered, it can help us by describing the killer, or at least telling us about its enemies. Investigating a murder without a ghost is much harder. The slashing was the third this month, all without ghosts, and the eighth this year. Or was it the ninth?

Hell, when you lose count of the corpses, you know you’re losing.

01
December 8th, 2007 4:33 pm

My general opinion is that ghost stories stink but this one…er, didn’t. It really worked for me, the whole hard-boiled after-life milieu, and especially with that snide, ironic voice of Ben Phillips reading it. He sort of chews and spits out each word like the tip of a cheap cigar.

02
MonkeyOne
December 9th, 2007 3:09 pm

This by far is my favorite story so far from pseudopod….very noir and very creepy…it gave just enough explanation of this strange new world in the narrative at the same time assuming that the reader was apart of this strange and wicked place. My imagination ran wild trying to figure out the possible reasons why this world was the way it was….very well done.

03
Jay
December 9th, 2007 4:25 pm

Wow! I think you could expand this concept into a novel, or better yet, a series. I’m not a publisher, but if I were, I’d pick it up in a New York second.

04
Sam
December 10th, 2007 12:04 am

I agree with Jay that this story has the potential for a strong novel or series of novels. In fact, I think that would be the best thing for it.

A short story tries to tell us one thing while a novel tries to tell us everything, or so the adage goes. Stories like Glen Krisch’s “Finding Allison” from last week are perfectly suited to their medium. “Memories From the Knacker’s Yard,” not so much, though I have to admit I enjoyed Creasey’s story more.

Part of what I liked was the ambition he brought to the table. Creasey hooked me, but I couldn’t but feel a little let down. Downing the killer’s memories could have been a wrenching and terrifying experience for the reader…if we’d known the protagonist better. Say a hundred or so pages better. And I want to know more about Roger. I want to see his suffering and dissolution prolonged. And just to be clear, I don’t necessarily want to know how this world came to be. “World’s Dumbest Hackers” says it all.

Keep ‘em coming!

05
David
December 10th, 2007 1:52 pm

Good story, I also think it would make a great series.

Looking forward to a pseudopod christmas!

06
T.K.
December 10th, 2007 5:10 pm

Great story, This has to be my favorite from the last few months of shows. I have to agree with everyone this would make a great series or even a full novel.

07
TL
December 13th, 2007 12:49 am

This is by far the best story I have heard on Pseudopod. It wasn’t just a string of events leading up to a scare or some twist, but a slice of a greater living world that is (hopefully) a promise of more to come. It’s amazing to think of how such a tiny detail, can change things so radically.

Keep up the great work in spreading literature to the masses, and keep ‘em coming!

08
Girl
December 13th, 2007 1:12 pm

This was a good story.
Creepy and good ideas about life after death.
it makes you think.
“What will happen when we die? Ghosts?”
I enjoyed it a lot.

09
December 14th, 2007 2:51 pm

I have to disagree with Sam. For me, this is everything a short story should be (although if Mr. Creasey expanded it into a novel or a series of novels, I’d be the first in line). Definitely my favorite Pseudopod in recent memory.

10
December 20th, 2007 2:01 pm

Easily the best Pseudopod tale you guys have run in a long time. The author nails it. All the pieces came together perfectly. The pacing was right on target, and the world-building at work here was phenomenal.

Someone needs to option this one, stat.

11
Spork
January 1st, 2008 10:37 pm

I listened to this on vacation where I was unable to post a reply.

This was fantastic and should be developed into at least one novel.

Oh psuedopod, dearest psuedopod. When you have gems like these, why do you offer such garbage most other times? Werewolf presidents, tree humping goth girls, religious zealots getting bitten by snakes without any supernatural elements at all… Maybe the new year will be better.

I hope.

12
January 14th, 2008 5:09 am

Great story keep em coming.

13
Greg
January 17th, 2008 11:58 pm

Wow.

Memories has stuck in my head since I finally listened to it. I have become an addict to podcasts and this has to be about the most intriguing short tale that I have had the opportunity to hear. Thank you for having it….I will be checking out his other tales…..I really want more of this world…..

14
scatterbrain
June 8th, 2009 5:28 pm

I’m a fan of Creasey and this just about hit the spot.