PseudoPod 718: Tara’s Mother’s Skin

Show Notes

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Tara’s Mother’s Skin

by Suzan Palumbo

“You eat the rice you pick out of the dirt?” I asked Tara’s Mother. I’d found her sitting on a wooden bench in the gallery of her squat, concrete house, massaging her inflamed elbow. The heat had been a noose at our throats that day and she was enjoying the late afternoon breeze, a serene expression splayed across her brow. She swayed like a dried banana leaf, twisted and weightless, framed by her doorway as I stood on the cracked earth of her yard talking to her.

“Yes, Farrah, I cook the rice children throw when they pass on the road. It’s good food they waste when they pelt it at me.” Her voice had the texture of rust-covered velvet, gritty but soft underneath. I scribbled her responses in my notepad and drew a question mark after the words Tara’s Mother at the top of the page. When I’d returned from university, in St. Augustine, earlier that week, my inquiries about her identity and the daughter she was styled after had been met with a warning: “You looking for trouble, girl. Soucouyants don’t have first names,” Neighbourman had said. “Tara’s Mother is a leech. Only thing to do is leave rice on your window sill for her to count before sunrise so she can’t break in your room and bite you.”

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PseudoPod 717: The Mad Eyes of the Heron King

The Mad Eyes of the Heron King

by Richard Dansky

There was a lake or something like one near Leonard’s office, and it was to that lake that Leonard occasionally took himself after work. He did so in order to relax, to avoid thinking about work, and generally to sidestep the possibility of doing anything he might later regret.

But mostly, he did it to watch the herons.

Leonard liked watching them, finding something soothing in their manner. He admired the way they moved, standing still for untold minutes before suddenly striking, or advancing robotically back and forth on some secret avian agenda that only they would ever know.

And thus it was that when his work day was done, Leonard would come to the lake, and watch the herons, and do nothing else because nothing else needed doing. At least, not until the day the Heron King spoke to him.

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PseudoPod 716: Big Brother

Show Notes

Although I have a younger sister, I’ve always felt more like a single child, since we were never very close. Ever since I was little I wondered what it would be like to have an older brother who could be a constant companion like I never had, and maybe beat up bullies and things. I think a lot of kids secret hope for a guardian angel. Someone more devoted to them than their own parents. This story is my take on how that might play out in reality.”

Big Brother

by Evan Marcroft

I was seven when I first met my big brother. It was five minutes after school let out, and Jason Bigmore and his fourth-grade friends had caught me before I could make it out of school grounds. This was a game we played most every day—sometimes I won, but this time around, two of them held me down by the arms while Jason smushed my face into the black dirt beneath the dead old oak tree out by the baseball diamond. They called me the usual names and told me to stick your tongue out, pussy willow. They wanted me to lick the anthill—they called it eating hot sauce—and if I didn’t, they’d let those hungry red ants crawl into my ears and sting my brain. I didn’t know they couldn’t do that then, so mostly I just cried, being seven and all, and they laughed and laughed.

The difference between kids and adults is that adults want years in advance, where kids only want what the moment demands, and they want it with everything they have.

Right then, I wanted help.

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PseudoPod 715: Dive In Me

Show Notes

Caring into the Void:

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Dive in Me

by Selena Chambers and Jesse Bullington

The girls were a gang of three: a triad, a triumvirate, or what have you. Like the Gorgons and Moirai before them, they never made a move or decision separately. So when Spring was missing from their usual hook-up spot in the kudzu-veiled lot behind the Hoggly Woggly one Saturday morning, the gang was thrown into a state of chaos.

“Where the fuck is she?”

“You don’t think she got busted last night, do you?”

Gina paused to consider this, because it was a real possibility. They had been in the alley behind the skating rink throwing bricks at streetlights until the girls were broken up by crescendoing sirens and red and blue illuminations. In such desperate if not rare instances, they would all separate and regroup later.

“Nah, if she got bagged, we’d hear about it right?”

Gina sat on a vine-cushioned log. (Continue Reading…)