Archive for Stories

PseudoPod 726: The Sneakaboo

The Sneakaboo

by John Waterfall

I bought the walrus at the carnival off I-95. The one that sets up in the lot next to the Carvel every August. And I say bought because I couldn’t knock over a physically impossible pyramid of soup cans. My wife whispered “pussy” into my ear and squeezed my butt a bit too hard for it to be funny. So while she and Jackson were spinning in the tea cups, I doubled back and slipped the carnie a twenty. Then I went cock-walking back with a big grin on my face, windmilling my throwing arm, a spaniel-sized walrus tucked behind my back, Windex blue with a pink Santa hat stitched on crooked. For Jackson it was love at first sight.

I said I won it, and to this day Meg doesn’t know any different. It remains one of the great secrets of our marriage. I’m proud that she thinks I earned it. But I bought it. And I wish to God that I hadn’t. Because for a summer it ran our life, and so did Jackson, who was an imperious little shit around that time. And I know this is something all parents say. But for us it was true. It really was. Because when we didn’t do what Jackson wanted, Sneakaboo got upset. And that’s why my nose looks the way it does. That and the frying pan. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 725: The Lonesome Place

Show Notes

Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight Pals:

The Lonesome Place

by August Derleth

You who sit in your houses of nights, you who sit in the theatres, you who are gay at dances and parties—all you who are enclosed by four walls—you have no conception of what goes on outside in the dark. In the lonesome places. And there are so many of them, all over—in the country, in the small towns, in the cities. If you were out in the evenings, in the night, you would know about them, you would pass them and wonder, perhaps, and if you were a small boy you might be frightened . . . frightened the way Johnny Newell and I were frightened, the way thousands of small boys from one end of the country to the other are being frightened when they have to go out alone at night, past lonesome places, dark and lightless, sombre and haunted. . . . (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 724: Flash on the Borderlands LIII: What Dreams May Come

Show Notes

“The Funeral Coat” is a PseudoPod original.

“Cherry Wood Coffin” first appeared in Apex on May 29, 2018

“Grave Mother” was first published in Vine Leaves Literary Journal and The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, 2014.

Alasdair Birthday List (because why not, right?)
Story notes:
Spoiler Inside SelectShow

To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.

The Funeral Coat

by Lyndsie Manusos

narrated by Carlie Bergey

When I was five, my grandmother took me to Macy’s to buy my first funeral coat. It’s tradition in my family to have a separate coat for funerals. Something black, sleek, with sharp edges and elaborate buttons. A coat with high collars, to hide our pulse and the tender arc of throat to shoulder. By the end of the day I was crying, exhausted from trying on dozens of coats. My grandmother had to carry me out of the store with the coat she chose wrapped in tissue paper under her arm.

Grandmother bribed me back to calm with a frosted cookie at a nearby bakery.

“It’s a sensible matter,” she said while I stuffed myself. “Only wear it to funerals and on holy or sacred ground.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Different coats for different weather,” she said. “You wouldn’t wear a rain coat in a snowstorm. Don’t wear your funeral coat to a birthday party.”

Perfect logic for our family. Later on I discovered not every family took funeral coats so seriously, or even owned funeral coats, for that matter. Nor did people go to as many funerals as we did. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 723: Silver as the Devil’s Necklace

Show Notes

La Llorona Wiki Page

Old Gods of Appalachia

La Llorona Folk Song

Silver as the Devil’s Necklace

by Isabel Cañas

A black wail of wind curls around the house, la Llorona’s cold embrace, as Ruth opens the dresser drawer and takes her father’s pistol. Its weight is an old friend, the handle nestling into her palm like it was made for her. It was already an heirloom when Da brought it to Montana, when he immigrated from the old country in his youth.

It is strictly off limits.

Ruth slams the drawer shut with her free hand. Damp wood scrapes and sticks; the flick of the hurricane candle shudders. The waxy complexion of la Virgen glowers at her as she clicks the pistol open and checks the chamber with trembling hands.

A silver bullet gleams in the flickering light of la Virgencita’s flame. Silver, Da said, was for killing the devils that lurked in the wetlands of the old country. Or so the superstition goes. (Continue Reading…)