Archive for January, 2012

Pseudopod 266: This Is Now

This Is Now

by Michael Marshall Smith

If you were seeing the fence for the first time, you’d likely wonder at the straightness of it, the way in which the concrete posts had been planted at ten yard intervals deep into the rock. You might ask yourself if national forests normally went to these lengths, and you’d soon remember they didn’t, that for the most part a cheerful little wooden sign by the side of the road was all that was judged to be required. If you kept on walking deeper, intrigued, sooner or later you’d see a notice attached to one of the posts. The notices are small, designed to convey authority rather than draw attention.


That could strike you as a little strange, perhaps, because you might have believed that most of the marked-off areas were down over in the moonscapes of Nevada, rather than up here at the quiet Northeast corner of Washington State. But who knows what the military’s up to, right? Apart from protecting us from foreign aggressors, of course, and The Terrorist Threat, and if that means they need a few acres to themselves then that’s actually kind of comforting. The army moves in mysterious ways, our freedoms to defend. Good for them, you’d think, and you’d likely turn and head back for town, having had enough of tramping through snow for the day. In the evening you’d come into Ruby’s and eat hearty, some of my wings or a burger or the brisket – which, though I say so myself, isn’t half bad. Next morning you’d drive back South.

I remember when the fences went up. Thirty years ago. 1985. Our parents knew what they were for. Hell, we were only eight and we knew.

Pseudopod 265: Biba Jibun

Biba Jibun

by Eugie Foster

read by Kara Grace

When the train arrived, it was jammed with commuters: students, salarymen, and office ladies. I squeezed into the last car, and more bodies pushed in behind me. My stomach churned, assaulted by cloying perfume, stale cigarette smoke, and sour sweat.

I was so intent upon not being sick that at first I didn’t notice that somewhere between Shibuya and Harajuko stations, a man’s hand had settled on my leg. Surrounded by blank-faced commuters, wedged so tightly I couldn’t move, I had no idea who it belonged to. As the train jostled along, the hand slipped higher, burning a sweat-slick trail from knee to thigh. At the next juddering stop, my agitated insides heaved, and I shoved free from the car. I fled into the closest ladies? toilet to throw up. Stomach as empty and deflated as my spirits, I splashed water on my face, trying not to cry.

The door opened, and a girl in a school uniform identical to mine stepped to the sink beside me. She pulled a glittering gold bag embossed with distinctive Louis Vuitton monograms out of her schoolbag. After dumping an array of makeup on the counter, she proceeded to sketch in her eyebrows with a dark pencil.

“I saw what happened, you know.” Her voice was low and rich. “You’re supposed to yell ‘chikan’ when they grope you. Everyone says train perverts make them want to puke, but you’re the first I’ve seen who really has. You must be new to Tokyo.”

Pseudopod 264: A Study In Flesh And Mind

A Study In Flesh And Mind

by Liz Argall

‘Try to observe closely,’ says the Great Teacher, not really looking at her fresh pose, tapping the baton in his palm and smirking at the short-skirted student. ‘It’s like this.’

The model observes his new stance, the way his right hand grasps his hip, the left held in the air. She mimics his pose exactly, although she keeps her face carefully blank and does not include his sneering expression.

The Great Teacher snorts in disgust, shakes his head and rolls his eyes. She swiftly finds a new pose, a mangled combination of the previous three, fighting down anger and a hint of panic. She has no idea what he wants and she will not survive at this school without his recommendation.

Pseudopod 263: The Republic of the Southern Cross

Show Notes

As for the real world – check this out.

The Republic of the Southern Cross

by Valery Bryusov.

A detachment of well-armed men passed into the town, bearing food and medical first-aid, entering by the north-western gates. They, however, could not penetrate further than the first blocks of buildings, because of the dreadful atmosphere. They had to do their work step by step, clearing the bodies from the streets, disinfecting the air as they went. The only people whom they met were completely irresponsible. They resembled wild animals in their ferocity and had to be captured and held by force.