PseudoPod 662: Indian Giver

Show Notes

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Indian Giver

by Ray Cluley


Every man carries his share of ghosts, but there are those who listen to them more than others. That was Grady’s opinion, anyways. And most of those listenin’ didn’t much like what they heard; that was his opinion, too. So he wasn’t surprised to see Tom stumblin’ across the darkening yard towards him. If he was surprised at all it was only that it had taken the man so long.

The taming of the wild west was something Grady never saw—he was a proper lieutenant, not a glorified book-keep or ledger-maker (though there were plenty of those) —but even so, all he saw of the west was tired and worn down. Land and people. Native people, mostly, but Tom carried the same look himself right now. He had something in his hand that was supposed to be Tennessee whiskey but probably wasn’t. It would taste right, though. And they’d drink it down just fine. A tale of woe was best punctuated with whiskey. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 661: The Happiest Place

Show Notes

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The Happiest Place

by Kevin Wabaunsee


Everyone knows the edge of the Kingdom of Fun out near the wall is the riskiest place to work. So of course, that’s where they put me on my first day. But it’s OK, I’ve trained for this. I have been thoroughly tested on my knowledge of the rules and th­­e procedures involved. I’m well-equipped to handle a shift in Cartoon Town or the Forests of Delight, or yes, even Magic Mainstreet. But pulling duty on the ‘street my first time out is really throwing me in the deep end. Magic Mainstreet is out on the edge, and one of the biggest draws of the Kingdom of Fun. When the Mainstreet gates swing open, a throng of guests surge through. They’re here to listen to the barbershop-quartet renditions of familiar top-40 hits and eat butterscotch kettle corn or pumpkin roasted walnuts or the legendary buttered marshmallow dumplings, all those sweet aromas filling my nostrils. And, of course, they’re here to see me and my foam-head compatriots bobble and traipse up and down the bright red cobblestones.

No matter how many smiling faces I see, though, I stay on constant alert. Out here, where the razor-wire walls are only a few hundred yards away (artfully disguised, of course, and never within the sightlines of a guest), there are some special considerations. I’m not just weaving a magical amusement experience for the guests. I’m also doing my damnedest to protect the guests from what the Funventors have termed “the unwanted encroachment of reality.” (Continue Reading…)

Flash Fiction Contest 6: The Curse of Flash Fiction


The original paraphernalia for the Flash Fiction Contest had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Stuart, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Lieberman spoke frequently to the forum members about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 660: Tiny Teeth


Tiny Teeth

by Sarah Hans


I risk walking to the doctor’s office from my workplace, because it’s only a few blocks, and I think the fresh air will do me some good. I don’t tell anyone I’m going alone, or that I’m walking. I know what they’ll say. Outside without an escort, without the safety of an enclosed vehicle, my heart thrums like a tap dancer’s quick steps. I should be scared or thrilled by the prospect of imminent danger, but I’m too frightened of the news waiting for me at the doctor’s office to be worried about much else. As I walk, I become more and more convinced the news reports about the gangs of feral children, with their pictures of mutilated bodies and wide-eyed reporters speaking in quavering voices, are attempts to manipulate us with fear. To keep us inside. My coworkers are fools to walk in groups, to rush from their cars to the office with Tasers and pistols clutched in their fists. There is no danger here.

But then I see the girl, and I know I’ve made a mistake. She crouches behind a bush, and when I spot her, I freeze like a rabbit. She locks eyes with me and rises out of the greenery. She’s maybe four years old, though that’s a guess. It can be hard to tell the age of a child who has been feral a long time, and I’ve never been around many children to begin with, even before the virus made them violent.

She wears a tiny pair of denim shorts and a purple t-shirt decorated with glitter hearts, both caked with gore. Her hair was once styled in pigtails, but one side droops sadly, and the other side is a crusted mass of red-brown scab in place of hair. Her face is twisted into a permanent snarl. Her front two teeth are missing, which would make the expression she wears comical if she didn’t have her hands held at the ready, fingers extended to grab, filthy fingernails ready to claw. A growl issues from low in her throat. Her eyes–bright green, shimmering like beetle wings in the sunlight–are filled with hatred and bloodlust. She smells like stale urine and blood and roadkill. (Continue Reading…)