Flash Pulp 142 – The Murder Plague: Community, Part 2 of 3

19 Mar

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode one hundred and forty-two.

Flash Pulp

Tonight we present, The Murder Plague: Community, Part 2 of 3
(Part 1Part 2Part 3) Download MP3
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This week’s episodes are brought to you by The Ladies Pendragon.

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Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight, Harm Carter encounters a new obstacle to remaining alive in a world dominated by a homicidal epidemic.


Flash Pulp 142 – The Murder Plague: Community, Part 2 of 3

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May


The wall of heat that was following the five strangers down the road was oppressive, and yet, bless their foolish hearts, they stopped to help me. There was little time for discussion, but, for whatever it was worth, Jeremy took up the hose attached to the Hernandezes, and started spraying the closest wall, while Johanna grabbed Baldy’s, and did the same for the other side.

I was grinning, I must admit. Human kindness can be quite touching when the majority of your interactions with other people lead to a murder attempt.

The remaining three looked up questioningly, having run out of reasonable water sources.

“There’s some food inside, it would probably be a good idea to grab as much as you think is suitable to travel, and relocate it to the trunk of the Escalade.”

To be fair, I wasn’t entirely swept away by their good will – I knew the keys were safely in my pocket.

The Murder PlagueTwo of the group, Minnie, no older than fourteen, and Alyssa, a blond woman just old enough to be mistaken as Minnie’s mother, began to transfer canned goods from my pantry to our escape method.

Through the process of elimination this left the laziest of the bunch, the old man, Tyrone, to make the introductions. After he provided a quick explanation of names, my throat was growing agitated from the heat and smoke, so I invited him up.

Once he’d topped the ladder, I asked the obvious.

“This may sound like an odd question, but aren’t you concerned I’m going to murder you?”

“Well, you had time and opportunity for a better set up than getting us up on your slick roof in hopes of an accident, and, really, no one locked in that whole murder or be murdered mindset shouts hello.” He had a point, but he pushed on with a grisly detail. “I was trying to save my place before it went up as well – you’ll see, as the fire gets closer a lot of these garage doors will burst open and the last of the rats that have been hiding inside, instead of helping you, will abandon ship.”

It wasn’t something I’d considered – frankly, I’d thought Baldy to be amongst the last.

I nodded, sloshing tepid water across the tiles.

“Where do those kind of paranoids lodge? The Bates Motel, I suppose,” continued Tyrone.

He went on, but I don’t really recall the dialogue. Despite the approaching crackle, and the marching pop of backyard barbecues, he’d immediately fallen into a posture that I can only imagine was familiar to his normal life: idle conversation while watching others work.

He talked, and we scurried about, and it all amounted to about the same anyhow: it was obvious well before any flames touched my house that it was a lost cause.

Minnie and Alyssa had joined us by then, helping share some of the brunt of Tyrone’s unceasing prattling, and Alyssa specifically struck me as having a solid handle on how to direct his energies.

“Shut up and do something useful,” she’d said while clearing the final rung onto the roof.

It wasn’t an easy decision – it felt as if I was abandoning the memory of my wife to smolder with the rest of my possessions, and it stung to think that Rebecca, should she ever come looking, would find no home to return to. There was no real option, however, and I could almost hear Kate’s voice, as it had been just before her death, calling me an ornery mule for having waited so long.

It was the grinding of an automatic garage door, followed by the swift departure of a white, bloody-windowed, Lexus, that finally sold me. If even the crazies knew it was time to go, I reasoned, so should I.

“I believe we ought to be rambling on.” I announced, making sure my volume would carry the words to the two still on the ground.

We descended, and began to take up our places within the stolen vehicle I’d so quickly fallen into the mindset of calling my own.

Jeremy was the last straggler, and his reply reminded me oddly of my daughter.

“Screw that man, we can totally do this.”

A small explosion two doors down rained flaming debris across my back-deck, and there was no need for further argument – though he did find reason to complain when he finally arrived at the SUV, as all of the plush leather seats had been occupied.

He’d opened the rear door where Minnie and Alyssa sat, side-by-side, and there was something in his weighing gaze that I did not enjoy.

“You can sit on the old man’s lap,” I said, reaching across Tyrone – who’d presumptively taken the front-passenger seat – and opening the door. I began rolling slowly away from the curb in encouragement.

He hopped in, yanking the handle shut.

As the pair exchanged awkward glances in their new-found intimacy, I peeled away from my doomed lawn, eager to be gone before I could consider what I was leaving behind.


(Part 1Part 2Part 3)

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to skinner@skinner.fm, or the voicemail line at (206) 338-2792 – but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

– and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.


19 Mar

I don’t believe I’ve posted this image before, from a New York Times gallery, but I’ve been deriving a lot of inspiration from it in the last while.

I can’t recall where I originally came across it, but there’s a high chance it was somehow via Jim of Relic Radio.
Hindenburg in New York, 1936 or 1937 - http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/09/26/realestate/20100926scapes_ss.html#4

Enter The Night Parrot

19 Mar

Shane McInnes' Kakapo for http://www.theworldsrarestbirds.com/en/about-photo-competition.html

The Kakapo (Māori: kākāpō, meaning night parrot) […] also called owl parrot, is a species of large, flightless nocturnal parrot endemic to New Zealand. – wikipedia

I think these amazing birds have been in the news quite a bit lately, so I won’t spend too long running down their fascinating habits – what I did want to mention, however, was the interesting (to me, at least) fact that their most invasive predators are feral house cats, introduced by settling Europeans.

Kakapo found at http://blog.elliottfox.com/?p=95

End, Week, End.

18 Mar

RecordingSo, after last night’s FlashCast, and from the whining I’ve done this week, you may be aware that I’m a little more Doc Brown than Marty McFly at the moment.

I apologize, but we’ve been making our way through a once-in-a-lifetime level of ridiculousness, and it’s put the schedule off a bit.

Tomorrow – Saturday – we’ll be releasing FP#142, (Community, Part 2,) and Monday we’ll be posting the finale. Two one-parters will follow, and hopefully we’ll never have to deal with a disruption of this magnitude again, or, at least, until Kar’Wick cracks the earth and devours us all.

In the mean time, why not catch up on the history of Harm Carter?

Pulp Rescue

18 Mar

Iron Man ArmourWho wouldn’t love to be able to send a besuited, and belligerent, Robert Downey Jr. into the heart of Japan’s crippled reactors to manhandle the unruly portions, and provide the flow of water necessary to reverse the current tragic trajectory?

We’re not there yet, but we may not be that far from it:

The next generation of this type of product won’t have hand-repulsors, or the ability to fly, but I’m sure the strength to carry another hundred pounds of shielding would, and will, be most welcome.

FlashCast 012 – Tom Jones

17 Mar

FC12 - Tom Jones(Download/iTunes)

Hello, and welcome to FlashCast episode twelve. Prepare yourself for glasses, Harm Carter, exhaustion, Tom Jones, and new promos.

Mentions this episode:

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If you have comments, questions or suggestions, you can find us at http://skinner.fm, call our voicemail line at (206) 338-2792, or email us text or mp3s to skinner@skinner.fm.

FlashCast is released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

The Long View

17 Mar

Screenshot from http://www.ustream.tv/channel/geiger-counter-tokyo
Speaking of the situation in Japan, I wanted to bring up an item I thought might be of interest to Collective Detective fans.

With official estimations of the threat from radiation across Japan changing rapidly and sometimes inconsistent, a number of real-time amateur radiation monitors have popped up online. A live geiger counter at altTokyo.com updates a graph with data every 60 seconds, and a uStream channel broadcasting the digital display of another Tokyo geiger counter was drawing more than 14,000 viewers earlier today. – CNET

– and by “and sometimes inconsistent”, they mean “and sometimes possibly a lie”.

At the time this post is going up, I found the altTokyo page unreachable, but the uStream was available and displaying a cpm of 14.14 – from what I’ve read, a rating of 160 is something to panic over.

I find it fascinating, and disturbing, that average citizens have had to take this level of science into their own hands, for their own safety. Whatever the outcome in these next few days and weeks, the Japanese corporate and social structure is in for a long, intense, debate. Are the stoic calm of the people, and the possibly tragic results of trying to save political-face, two sides of the same coin?

A Sad Bit Of Googlery

17 Mar

Map Search For Fukushima
I just wanted to share this unfortunate bit of ad-symmetry, although the one-and-a-half star review may be a little high at this point.

Quick Poke

16 Mar

Bird on a limb
I attempt to keep maintenance posts to a minimum, but my week of brutal kung-fu fighting continues, and I wanted to check in to suggest you take another shake at the Flash Pulp Wiki. It’s slowly filling out, but it could definitely use your help.

We’d certainly appreciate it.

Oh – while I’ve ensnared your fantastic eyes, might I also coax you drop us a line for this Sunday’s FlashCast? Text or mp3s can be sent to skinner@skinner.fm, or call our voicemail box at (206) 338-2792.

Lurid Photography

16 Mar

I noticed an odd confluence of random items in my garage, so I thought I’d attempt a bit of a visual story in one frame.

Visual Story