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PseudoPod 829: We’ve All Gone to the Magic Show


We’ve All Gone To The Magic Show

By Todd Keisling


Earlier this summer, word spread around our town that the Magic Show’s doors were open. Swollen and stained timbers that once barred the entrance were found scattered about its front stoop among a pile of last year’s dead leaves. The double doors, famously ornate from a lavish bygone era, stood half-open in offering. The building was a converted brick rowhome sandwiched between two residences and had always been there, I think, but no one could say for sure. Not then, and certainly not now. Anyone who might’ve offered conjecture to its origins is gone now. 

All I can offer in explanation is that it’s been here for as long as I have, and I was born in this little hamlet. While the other townsfolk called it by its name—THE MAGIC SHOW—after the chipped and peeling sign which hung above the entrance, I employed another name for my own private amusement, Mannequin House, after its bizarre form of decoration. 

Two mannequins stood in the storefront windows against a backdrop of thick black curtains. The figures were often shrouded in patchwork garb to reflect the season or holiday, from bathing suits and sunglasses on the 4th of July to jeans and sweaters for fall. Eyeless, expressionless, they stood on display to anyone who passed by on the sidewalk, silent sentinels for our little town. To new residents and tourists, the storefront offered nothing more than a curious mystery and a general eeriness inherent in the presentation: Just who maintained the storefront windows? And why was the entrance boarded up?  (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 828: Taxiptómy


Taxiptómy

By Shannyn Campbell


Taxiptómy [tak-si-toe-mee]

From the Greek words Taxis meaning “arrangement” and Ptóma meaning “corpse”.

Noun

  1. The controversial art of deliberately causing the death of a human as part of a public performance, before preparing and preserving the skin of the deceased person. The skin is then stuffed, and the body mounted in a life-like manner.

 

Taxiptómist [tak-si-toe-mist]

Noun

  1. An artist who kills a human as part of a public performance, before stuffing and mounting the deceased person in a life-like manner.

 

Synonyms for Taxiptómist

Red Artist (colloquialism), Babe-Butcher (colloquialism, vulgar), Stiff-Stuffer (colloquialism, vulgar)

 

Muse [myooz]

Noun (2)

  1. (capitalised) any of the nine sister Goddesses in Greek mythology presiding over song, poetry, and the arts and sciences
  2. A source of inspiration
  3. Poet
  4. (colloquialism) A person who allows themselves to be killed as part of a Taxiptómy performance and their remains to be preserved and displayed.

 

Webster, Noah. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. London: Pocket Books, 1977. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 827: She Works in the Office Where They Died


She Works in the Office Where They Died

By Alex T. Singer


Dezra works in an office where 1000 people died. Well, 1082. People round down. 

No one’s told the ones who died.  (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 826: Dream House


Dream House

By C. O. Davidson

Alice and Rick turned off the highway onto the twisting gravel road. Oaks arched overhead, a tunnel of green. “Haven’t I always said I wanted a long driveway,” Rick said. “A daily nature hike to the mailbox?”

At the final turn, a break in the woods, and Alice’s stomach tightened.

Midday sun sparked the tin roof. The driveway looped past the white farmhouse.

“Better than the picture,” Rick said. 

Alice pulled up next to a silver Lexus and cut the Subaru’s engine.

“Competition,” Rick said.  (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 825: Flowering Evil


Flowering Evil

By Margaret St. Clair


Captain Bjornson shook a grizzled head. “I never saw a plant I liked the looks of less,” he said. “I don’t know how he got it through the planetary plant quarantine. You take my advice, Amy, and watch out for it.” He took another of the little geela nut cookies from the quaint old lucite platter, and bit into it appreciately.

Mrs. Dinsmore sniffed. “I don’t know what you’re driving at,” she said coldly, “or why you’re so prejudiced against my poor little Rambler. You know perfectly well that Robert would never send me anything the least bit dangerous.” (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 824: Renascent

Show Notes

From the author: Renascent means ‘rising again into being or vigor’, an apt title for my story. The origin of this story came from my personal questioning about whether organ recipients take on the traits of their organ donors. I also learned about the horrific black market in organs during my research and wanted to shed light on that subject.


Godbomb

The Yellow Wallpaper

Get Out


Renascent

by Pauline Yates


The Scalpers took my left eye today, but I wish they’d take my heart. Every beat holds me shackled to this existence and I want out. I give up trying to escape. I can’t find the right connection with any of my recipients. I can’t even rely on my soul. I sold that to the Scalpers the second I signed the consent form. My face may now be on a missing person’s list, but I’ll never be gone. I’ll live on in other people while my ghost remains here, on this recliner chair in this grey-walled room, for eternity.

Since I’m not dead yet, I may as well continue tormenting the new owner of my right hand. She’s just arrived for her shift. I thought she’d show some level of kindness due to our new connection, but she still treats me like a piece of meat curing on a slab waiting to be sliced and diced. Her name is Cathy. She has small eyes and a paunch for a neck and greasy, black hair pinned up in a bun. She also has not one ounce of humanity. Not one of the Tubers do. If they did, they’d have reported the Scalpers long ago and this heinous body parts trafficking operation wouldn’t exist. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 823: Little Freedoms


Little Freedoms

By Ephiny Gale


The room is cylindrical, metal, no doors or windows. Nine of us stand in a circle, not touching, but spread your arms and you’d hit someone. I think I could lie flat in here without brushing the walls, but not by much.

The ceiling hatch above us locks shut with a scrape. We examine faces, muscles, body fat. I’ve seen six of these women before; two are complete strangers. We do not trade names or origin stories. We go around the circle and we say what we miss most from the outside:

Chocolate, Music, Flowers, Cigarettes, Hot Chips, Internet, Guns, Privacy.

I am Hot Chips. Privacy says hers while staring mournfully at the circular grate in the floor, and I think oh, she must be new. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 822: The Experiment of Erich Weigert


The Experiment Of Erich Weigert

By Sewell Peaslee Wright


The moment I gazed out over the audience I saw him. He was seated far back under the balcony that overhung the little auditorium, but even in the heavy shadow I could see his eyes; eyes that seemed alight with cold brilliance, like a diamond in the moonlight.

Although I was more or less accustomed to public speaking, and was very much at home with my subject that evening, “Radio As It Used To Be,” something about the unfaltering regard of the man under the balcony confused me. His eyes were on me constantly; every move I made, every gesture, every change in expression, those unwinking blue orbs seemed to register.

I wondered who he was; surely I had never seen him before, nor he me. I caught myself addressing myself to him, and when once his head seemed to nod slightly as though in approval of something I had said, a strange thrill of pleasure tingled along my spine. There was a power in the man; a sort of benign malignancy. I was glad when I finished and could escape from that unwavering regard. (Continue Reading…)