Pseudopod 96: The Cutting Room

By Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Read by Damaris Mannering

Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.

The plaque gleamed, caught on the cusp of shadows and fluorescent light.
Burnished copper letters. Stark Roman font.

“This is the place where death delights to help the living.” Parrish’s
recital of the phrase was now ritual as he donned the second pair of latex
gloves. They snapped into place with a satisfying echo that hung in the air.
Smells of rubber and disinfectants clung to the place, thinly masking the
stench of decay.

The plaque had been there for as long as he could remember, even before the
tenure of crazy old Doc Kaufmann, who once famously ate a cadaver’s eyeball,
and perversely, taught him everything he knew about forensic pathology.

“Doctor Parrish?” The diener said, throwing his concentration into turmoil.

“What is it, err… Greg, wasn’t it?”

“Gary. The body’s been prepped.”

June 27th, 2008 10:25 pm

I LOVED this one, Pseudopod. It took me a few moments to get into it (I actually had to listen to the first five minutes twice to get the gist of what was going on). Once I was into it, however, I thought it was very creepy and on point.

Keep it up, Pseudopod. 8/10

Fluffy Bunny
June 30th, 2008 1:08 pm

Disclaimer: Horror isn’t really my favorite genre, and I’ve been thinking of dropping Pseudopod from my feeds.

That being said, this was the worst piece of dreck ever pulled from the bowels of any Escape Artists slush pile.

Unsympathetic characters? Check!
B-Movie dialog? Check!
Sexy, yet utterly unattainable (and therefore safe) woman? Check!

Amateurish fodder for otaku fantasies.

June 30th, 2008 3:29 pm

While I was not too thrilled with the story, I loved the reading. Ms. Mannering’s voice and tone reminded me of old time radio dramas like “Suspense.”

July 1st, 2008 12:18 am

Absolutely, the reading was excellent. Mannering’s voice fits the atmosphere of the piece very well, but I do have one little quibble about her pronunciation.

Diener does indeed mean servant, but the stress lies on the first syllable and it more or less rhymes with “cleaner.” For the first half of the story I thought Mannering was saying “daenir.”

Yeah yeah I know, a wizard did it : )

July 1st, 2008 1:35 am

Although I liked the story; I think that it could have been more delicious with some more “reveling” and ecstatic indulgence in the gore, pain and mess…
ala Hellraiser.


Kate G
July 3rd, 2008 11:11 pm

Oh, this is ‘scene’ material. Knife play? Check. Medical play (in an extreme form)? Check. Nice build-up, too. Gross but good.

While I liked the reader’s style, the sound quality was poor. I had to re-wind to figure some of it out.

July 4th, 2008 6:13 pm

At first it was hard to track. Was the diener’s name Gary? or Greg? I thought at first he was messing with his boss by correcting him, no matter what he said. Anyhow, it had lots of character, and was admirably creepy.

July 12th, 2008 10:00 pm

Do you even have any audio standards? At all?

The sound could only have been improved by being recorded in an actively used public toilet. I don’t even know what the story was about, because I can get better audio quality by calling people from a pay phone than I got from this file. It wasn’t worth enduring.

July 13th, 2008 3:06 pm

Wow, that was worthwhile. Not only was the audio quality terrible, but the “story” was puerile and pointless; like two kids trying to out-gross each other on the playground and throwing in sexual references to try and prove something.

I forgive you, Psuedopod, the nature of the genre being what it is; but please, let’s try not to waste each other’s time like this again, ok?

July 15th, 2008 9:19 pm

Actually, I’m kinda on the fence but leaning towards liking this. The reading was superb. I liked the compactness of the concept and the lack of a full explanation. I’m surprised that some feel that you could see a “twist” coming, because I thought this did a nice job of not at all falling into the “twist” trap some writers can’t shake.

Generally, sexual material is a tough sell as it’s so particularized, not to mention the combination with graphic autopsy imagery in this case. This struck a pretty good tone between disgust and luridness. It leaves you feeling dirty.

Quote from: Cerebrilith on July 02, 2008, 09:50:51 AM
“If there’s more then one of these people why don’t they just stay at home and cut each other up if that’s their thing? The girl got up off the table and met her friends out in the hall after all.”

Quote from: deflective on July 02, 2008, 02:04:13 PM
“i didn’t see the point of her friends either. fetish voyeurs? we already get that she’s not human (at least not wholly), the faces at the window really didn’t seem to add anything.

the rest of the story was quite strong tho. i like the direction that pseudopod has been taking over the last month.”

I assumed they were the lustful, wanton dead not lucky enough to be getting autopsied, so they at least showed up for the show. I didn’t assume they were anything human. I thought it had a nice touch of Ramsey Campbell.

Interesting to compare this to Georg Heym’s “The Dissection”.

Thanks For Listening
“Because no one has more thirst for earth, for blood, and for ferocious sexuality than the creatures who inhabit cold mirrors.”
Alejandra Pizarnik, “The Bloody Countess” (1968)

July 18th, 2008 11:48 am

I really enjoyed this story. The sexual part was a bit much, and I’m not sure I understand why it was necessary, other than to pull in male audience. However, I enjoyed the detail in this piece. For instance, it had never occured to me that there was a “first incision”. The new guy was kinda stupid, though. He wanted to cut before looking over the chart??? Is that what we pass in medical school these days? Next time I need surgery, I’ll choose death, thank you very much!

On a side note, the audio quality was very bad in the beginning, and I almostturned it off. It was hurting my ears. I don’t know if it improved, or if I just got into it. But I didn’t notice about 5 minutes into it. I’m glad I endured…

Guys, can we get some more audio checking before we publish these?

Ogion The Silent
July 30th, 2008 3:50 am

Is there an award for the most fucked-up pseudopod story ever? If so, this gets my vote. I mean that in a good way.

August 31st, 2008 10:31 pm

Great story, very unusual.

September 6th, 2008 4:44 pm

I could feel the stainless steel, smell the disin- fectant, and squint under the flourscent lights. I was there. Great story. Loved the reading. The first time i’ve listened to a Pseudopod story more than once.