Pseudopod 344: The Pit

by Joe. R. Lansdale

“The Pit” originally appeared in THE BLACK LIZARD ANTHOLOGY OF CRIME FICTION (1987) (“and this was the original Black Lizard line, before it was owned by Random House”). Joe describes the story as “Alice In Wonderland meets Southern Gothic.”

JOE R. LANSDALE has written over thirty books, and numerous short stories. He has won a multitude of awards, including the Edgar for his novel THE BOTTOMS, and his novella BUBBA HO-TEP was made into the popular film starring Bruce Campbell. His current book is EDGE OF DARK WATER, and forthcoming in September is THE THICKET, both from Mulholland Books. Joe blogs here and you can also follow him on Facebook.

Your reader this week – John Bell – is the president, CEO, and Lord Emeritus of John Bell Creative, LLC. Need voices, writing, or production? Write If you like odd books (imagine Douglas Adams meets Timothy Leary) go get the audiobook version of THE BIG BLEEP. Coming soon, probably in August, another book voiced by yours truly: REVELATIONS. In the meantime, catch the laughs at Bell’s In The Batfry.


“Six months earlier they had captured him. Tonight Harry went into the pit. He and Big George, right after the bull terriers got through tearing the guts out of one another. When that was over, he and George would go down and do their business. The loser would stay there and be fed to the dogs, each of which had been starved for the occasion.

When the dogs finished eating, the loser’s head would go up on a pole. Already a dozen poles circled the pit. On each rested a head, or skull, depending on how long it had been exposed to the elements, ambitious pole-climbing ants and hungry birds. And of course how much flesh the terriers ripped off before it was erected.

Twelve poles. Twelve heads.

Tonight a new pole and a new head went up.”


Pseudopod 330: Flash On The Borderlands XV: At Your Service!

Do you feel an implicit threat in the query “How May I Help You?”

“Last Waltz in Texas” by Bryce Albertson

This story originally appeared in Necrotic Tissue #10 and was reprinted in THE BEST OF NECROTIC TISSUE.

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.

Read by Jacquie Duckworth, who grew up sneaking out of her room in the wee hours of the night to watch Twilight Zone and Night Gallery (my kind of girl – ed.). 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!

“Hey there, cowboy. Have a seat.”


“Sterile” by Christopher Tepedino

“Sterile” has not been published previously. Pseudopod is the first publication to pick it up.

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.

Read by John “Man Of Many Voices” Bell – why haven’t you gone and listened to BELL’S IN THE BATFRY, yet? Are you MAD?!?

“‘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.”


“Meat” by David Steffen

“Meat” has not been previously published.

DAVID STEFFEN writes video processing algorithms for traffic control systems by day. He lives with his wife and three dogs in Minnesota. His fiction has been published in Daily Science Fiction, Bull Spec, AE, and twice previously on Pseudopod, among others. He has been a dedicated listener to all the Escape Artists podcasts for years, and you can find him on the forum as “Unblinking”. David co-edits the non-fiction zine Diabolical Plots, focusing on interviews, reviews, and other topics of interest to speculative fiction fans. Also check the site for a full bibliography.

Your reader, Josh Roseman, has been published in Asimov’s and on Escape Pod, among other places, and his reviews appear regularly at (he’s on the forums as Listener). His most recent fiction sale was
“Secret Santa”, which appeared on THE DUNESTEEF last December, and he is currently seeking a publisher for his new superhero novel. He’s in the midst of a Buffy re-watch on his blog, Listener. His main website is
Josh Roseman; his twitter is @listener42; and you can follow him on Google Plus or like him on Facebook.

“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.”