Pseudopod 136: The Eyes of the Crowd

By Bruce Boston

Read by Matthew Wayne Selznick

As rain began to speckle the partitioned windows of the station, an ancient engine groaned into view. Villers soon found himself squeezed into a dingy and narrow car of questionable vintage. Making his way to a window seat, he noted his fellow travelers were exclusively of the lower classes. Peasant women, shapelessly hunched within their shawls. Dark men who drank from bottles concealed in their coats and ate pieces of bread right from the loaf, breaking off the chunks with large, uneven teeth. Scampering children who seemed to belong to no one, or at least recognized no one’s authority.

In his suit and vest, Villers was uncomfortably aware of his relative affluence. He checked his watch chain to make sure it was securely fastened, shifted his billfold so that it was lodged deeply within his breast pocket. As Sophie had once warned him amidst the rumpled sheets of their conjugal bed, “Some people will steal the gold out of your teeth if you give them half a chance!”

01
phignewton
April 6th, 2009 1:02 am

aiiii, the matrix has you! if only the robot AIs had been interested in creating interesting character interactions like the neeblinkians…if onnnly…

02
noname
April 6th, 2009 5:43 am

well I loved it, again it plays on an anxiety we all have when dealing with people we are not 100% sure of, to add in the anxiety of thinking how your wife is going to ear bash you was the cherry on the top !!

I want to say great work to the author!!

03
Ken
April 8th, 2009 10:21 pm

Meh.

This episode didn’t do anything for me. It was a long buildup with a rather mild climax.

Maybe it’s because I’m the father of two small children – frequently being the center of a scene among a crowd of pointedly disinterested onlookers may simply have inoculated me…

04
Brave Space Monkey
April 9th, 2009 9:12 pm

As some one who has traveled through eastern Europe (and Russia) by train, I can tell you that this story had a eerie ring of truth to it. And for that reason I found the first half or so of the story almost funny.

05
devora
April 13th, 2009 6:42 pm

Loved this one. I’ve listened to it several Xs and it just gets creepier and creepier. Good, solid reading (the bon mot was a bit odd…is that an American pronunciation?). I like that the character was so desperate to begin w/ that he has a breakdown just b/c he missed a train. So vulnerable, then to be preyed upon….cool stuff, very dark.

06
David
April 16th, 2009 2:15 am

Can’t believe I forgot to review this one. Great story, really loved the town. I think I might have stopped there myself, briefly. :)

07
Dave
April 18th, 2009 7:56 pm

OK I’m stumped… where is this week’s quote from?

08
Spork Fu
May 4th, 2009 9:18 pm

pretty dull. energy vampires, so what. And the long, pointless scenery descriptions. What, how many donuts fell on the ground? what, two? What kind of donuts? Crullers? And what did it have to do with the story? NOTHING.
It was like the high school “descriptive writing” lesson, and just about as dull.
A nadir of quality. But the reading was really good, thank you for that.