CatsCast 341: Bargain


by Sarah Gailey

Malachai loved his work. He loved wandering among the trappings of enormous wealth and influence, seeing the baubles that humans excreted to express their status. He especially loved watching those wealthy, influential mortals tremble before the might of his inescapable superiority.

Malachai worked exclusively with those humans who had found themselves at the limit of how much power they could possess. They called him to bend the rules of time and space around their whims, so that they might be even more feared and loved by the other mortals. Their desires were predictable—money, knowledge, talent, authority. These were the kinds of people who hunted down ancient parchments with the Words of Invocation inscribed upon them. These were the kinds of people who did not concern their consciences with the compensation Malachai required for his services.

They appreciated a bit of theatrical flair.
(Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 750: The Artist and the Door

The Artist and the Door

by Dorothy Quick

The advent of the artist and the door was almost simultaneous. I have always wondered if the one would have been as sinister without the other. Of course, the evil was in the door, but if the artist hadn’t come along just then perhaps it might never have been released. I say that to comfort myself, but I know it isn’t true. Evil is evil. It is a power and its strength is beyond mortal knowledge. Even without the artist there would have been horror. He only served to give it speedier expression. 

But I am ahead of myself. The story goes back to my desire to have a carved door for my Elizabethan farm house. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 749: Notes on a Resurrection

Show Notes

The Feast Day of Lazarus is March 17 for the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Notes on a Resurrection

by Natalia Theodoridou

the reporter

I heard about the story from the friend of a friend of an acquaintance, and didn’t put any stock in it at first. In my profession, you hear things like this with some frequency. You’d be a fool if you went running every time you heard someone cry fire. And if you end up getting your whiskers singed once or twice, you should consider yourself lucky.

But this?

I keep asking myself why didn’t I stop them. I was there. I was the only sane one, right? Personally unaffected by the tragedy. That’s what the judge said, anyway, even though I was never prosecuted. Not by the law, anyway. People stopped asking eventually, but I never stopped asking myself, all these years. Probably never will. For a long time I hid behind professional clichés: we’re there to report, not influence, blah blah blah. All I can say now in my defense is: who would want to be the person who robbed a people of their miracle? No matter how certain your lack of faith, how level your head. You know?

And in the end, I wonder, did we kill a kid or did we kill a god, and does it possibly make a difference. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 748: The Infinite Error

Show Notes

This is this story’s first time appearing to the public. It will be included in the forthcoming collaborative collection The Latham-Fielding Liaison.

The Infinite Error

by Jon Padgett and Matthew M. Bartlett

“Everything exists; nothing exists. Either formula affords a like serenity. The man of anxiety, to his misfortune, remains between them, trembling and perplexed, forever at the mercy of a nuance, incapable of gaining a foothold in the security of being or in the absence of being.”

—E.M. Cioran, The Trouble with Being Born

Of course, I would have preferred to defecate at home in the privacy and comfort of my own bathroom, but my bowels refuse to move for the first two hours I am awake. I suffer from insomnia and can achieve a deep sleeping state only in the very early hours of the morning. Forcing myself awake before 6am is a misery, so I simply wait to use the office facilities.

As you know, the office has only one lavatory, which is miniscule. The entrance has a swinging, louvered door that cannot be locked, and it contains a single stall. A unisex facility, there is no urinal present, so if the stall is occupied, one must wait. Each weekday for years now, I have arrived at work fifteen minutes early so I can enter and use this toilet without disturbance.

Why? I don’t like beginning my day in a negative frame of mind. It is not rage that I feel whenever I enter the lavatory to find the stall door closed, but it is a proximal feeling. Also, I cannot abide sitting on a warm toilet seat, let alone being assailed by the stench of another body’s recent evacuations. And then there are the particles that they so often leave behind in the toilet’s bowl.

You would think it a simple courtesy: a second flush. Why, I myself have been known to wait until the water recedes, and wipe at the leavings with a wad of toilet tissue sufficient to provide an unbreachable border between my hand and the porcelain. To leave behind any trace of my presence would be simply out of the question. (Continue Reading…)