Pseudopod 99: Photo Finish

By Adam La Rusic

Read by Cheyenne Wright

A painful kick to my shin woke me. Squinting against the harsh fluorescents
in the office, I bleared up to see Kim holding out my hat and coat.

“Come on, Gerry. It’s show time. Let’s ride,” she said.

The police scanner sputtered with the kind of staccato dialogue that
indicated something big was happening. I leaned forward and cranked the
volume, bowling over a collection of styrofoam coffee cups in the process.

“10-47. We’re going to need more units,” the scanner blurted. Hostage!
Cruisers headed to the area like swarming wasps. Every other news beat in
town monitored the police bandwidth and I bet they’d be clamoring at the bit
for this one. We had to get there fast.

“What’s going on?” I asked, accepting the hat and coat, forcing myself

“In the car,” she said.

“Hang on,” I said, but she didn’t. Grabbing my camera bag and checking my
battery supply, I took off after her.

July 18th, 2008 9:15 pm

Good story, lousy sound quality.

July 18th, 2008 9:30 pm

This was a pretty good story, and I think the “moral” behind it was just as great. I didn’t really like the main character, but I think that was part of the point.

Of course, this story wouldn’t have turned out as great as it did (in my humble opinion) without the fabulous reading by Cheyenne Wright, who I’m continually amazed by. Pseudopod gets a lot of readers who keep their same “default” voices whenever they read, and I’ve only hear one other besides Cheyenne who actually get -into- the character.

Great job, Pseudopod! 7.7/10

July 20th, 2008 12:29 pm

Well I enjoyed the story even if it was rather old fashioned.

July 22nd, 2008 10:39 pm

Very good story. I tend to agree that the sound was a bit poor and the accent was a bit too much at times. But I would also like to comment on a person mentioned at the end of the story during the notes section. The person is Russell Lee Klika. As a member of the Tennessee Army National Guard, I have met SSG Klika and he is a great person as well as combat photographer. His website can be found at
Well worth checking out.
Again, great story, and thanks.

July 23rd, 2008 6:38 am

Good story! It’s a great way to get most readers scared, to suggest that, when it comes down to it, “just doing my job” is meaningless. As more and more people are expected to enforce ridiculous rules on innocent people all over the world and things get more and more authoritarian, there are going to be millions of people “just doing their job” and praying that gets them off the moral “hook.” Of course, it doesn’t. And that rightly scares a lot of people.

August 5th, 2008 8:12 pm

I thought this was pretty good. Nothing amazing – as others have pointed out, protagonist haunted by the outcome of his callous deed is a fairly well-worn horror plot but it’s lasted that long for a reason. In this case, it’s not about originality but execution. And I liked the whole “CASEY CRIME-PHOTOGRAPHER thrown into a Kitty Genovese situation” framing.

Of course, these kinds of stories are ultimately reassuring, as they promise a universe that cares about “justice” – unless he’s just lost his mind. Someone once posited that the EC TALES FROM THE CRYPT Story Model A (killer gets his comeuppance in poetically appropriate way, usually involving the risen dead) was a last gasp of Romanticism in an unlikely form – gosh darn it, the universe still cares about un-righted wrongs but the only vehicle it has left is a rotting corpse.

Thanks for listening.

“Humor is a developed sense, stemming basically from cruelty. The more primitive a mind, the less selectivity exists. … A man slips on a banana peel and breaks his back. The adult stops laughing at that point, the child does not. And a civilized ego finds embarrassment as acutely distressing as physical pain. A baby, a child, a moron is incapable of practicing empathy. He cannot identify himself with another individual. He is regrettably autistic; his own rules are arbitrary…”
Lewis Padgett, “When The Bough Breaks” (1944)

August 15th, 2008 9:51 pm

It was okay, but I’m really not sure why so many people are dying to jump into Cheyenne’s lap every time he over-reads a story.

Mike G
October 18th, 2008 3:31 pm

I can’t say much about this story since the abominable accent of the reader made me turn it off after 3 minutes of bug eyed incredulity. I’m sorry, but worst reader ever.