Do you feel an implicit threat in the query “How May I Help You?”
“Last Waltz in Texas” originally appeared in Necrotic Tissue #10 and was reprinted in THE BEST OF NECROTIC TISSUE.
“Sterile” and “Meat” are PseudoPod originals.
“Last Waltz in Texas”
by Bryce Albertson
“Hey there, cowboy. Have a seat.”
by Christopher Tepedino
‘A shiny quarter. It’s on the pale green floor outside room 133, bright and sparkly, and Reynolds Parker stoops to pick it up. He’s a short, hunchbacked man, with missing teeth and a left eye that rolls in its socket without purpose. He has a mop in one hand; the tendrils hang toward the floor, splotched in dark red. He clutches the mop, sure to not let it fall — it’s his, after all — and hesitantly folds the shiny quarter in his palm. His hand shakes as he turns the quarter over, examining the eagle on the back, wings spread, perched on a branch of olives above the block letters E PLURIBUS UNUM, and then the decapitated George Washington head, a letter halo LIBERTY poised above his balding skull. It’s silver all around, not a speck of red blemishing its smooth surface, and Reynolds tucks it into the front pocket of his pants. Such items did not go in his apron; those pockets are for messiness. This quarter is clean.
by David Steffen
Try as I might, I fail Master. Keep the house clean and keep red meat in the fridge, he said. These are menial tasks, yet I fail.
About the Authors
CHRISTOPHER TEPEDINO is a speculative fiction writer currently living in Champaign, IL, just south of Chicago. His other works have been published in Fusion Fragment, SNM Horror Magazine, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and Arable. He is hard at work on a western zombie apocalypse novel that involves the pursuit of a mythical gun that may save mankind.
BRYCE ALBERSON is a writer from Fort Smith, Arkansas whose work has appeared in The Brooklyner, THE BEST OF NECROTIC TISSUE, MALPRACTICE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF BEDSIDE TERROR, On The Premises, and other places. His screenplay, PAPER EMPIRES, won first Place in the 2012 Las Vegas Film Festival‘s screenplay contest. He was a guest judge for issue #17 of On the Premises and his story, “Like the Title Goes Here and Stuff”, will be featured in that issue, which should come out sometime near the end of July.
David Steffen writes video processing algorithms for traffic control systems by day, and writes fiction at other times. He lives with his wife and three dogs in Minnesota.
He is the co-founder of the Submission Grinder, and co-edits the non-fiction zine Diabolical Plots. His fiction has been published in many great venues including Escape Pod, Daily Science Fiction, Bull Spec, AE, and Pseudopod, as well as Tina Connolly’s Toasted Cake podcast.
David has been running periodic “Best Of” podcast fiction lists for many years.
- Diabolical Plots Best of
- The Best Podcast Fiction of 2014 for SF Signal
- a mega-list of The Best Podcast Fiction of All Time, also for SF Signal
He has also created the Long List Anthology, which is a self-publishing anthology project collecting stories from the longer Hugo Award nomination list. (Info and vendors here.) Among other points of interest, it includes several stories that have been previously published in Escape Artists casts: “Makeisha in Time“, “The Truth About Owls“, “When It Ends, He Catches Her”
About the Narrators
Josh Roseman (not the trombonist; the other one) lives in Georgia and makes internets for a living. He has been published in — among others — Asimov’s, Escape Pod, and Evil Girlfriend Media, and has work forthcoming (or already released) in 2016 from Abstract Jam, Stupefying Stories, and The Overcast. His reviews appear regularly at Escapepod.org (he’s on the forums as Listener). In 2015, he released his first collection, The Clockwork Russian and Other Stories. When not writing, he mostly complains that he’s not writing.
Jacquie Duckworth grew up sneaking out of her room in the wee hours of the night to watch Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. She is an actress in the San Francisco Bay Area performing everything from Shakespeare to sketch comedy and is proud to have been featured as the “Bondi Neighbor Woman” in a television episode of Discovery ID Channel’s I ALMOST GOT AWAY WITH IT!