PseudoPod 663: Birds of Passage

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Birds of Passage

by Gordon B. White


If I didn’t inherit my father’s natural instinct for adventure, it was drummed into me steadily enough by the time I was a young man that you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.  If you don’t go looking for adventure, he would say, adventure will come looking for you.  Over the years, I got so used to the counter-programming against my inborn tendency towards the comfort of safety that I wonder – if left to my own natural limits – would I have turned out differently?  Are there other dimensions with less driven, but perhaps more content, versions of me?  I’ve thought about that a lot since my father died.

My father and I had plenty of what he would call “adventures,” even though we sometimes disagreed on what qualified. Road trip to the mountains and across state lines?  Sure, that counted.  Pushing his broken car to the dealership and walking home?  Not in my book.  Nowadays, although I would not trade any of them for the world, the years have smudged away most of our individual adventures.  However, I will never forget Cotner’s Creek. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 662: Indian Giver

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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

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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…)