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EP057: Chuckles Mulrooney, Attorney for the Damned

By Scott Sigler.
Read by Preston Buttons (of Air Out My Shorts).

After a decade of ceaseless writing struggle, Satan had come to him in ‚Äì of all places ‚Äì the soup aisle at Meijer’s grocery store. There was no fire and brimstone, no tail, no horns, not even that cool hipster pointy goatee the devil always sported in the movies. He was actually kind of fat, and wore a three-piece suit with Gucci shoes. He didn’t look at all like Satan — he looked more like Dom Delouise posing as a lawyer.

Rated R. Contains profanity, violence, clowns, and violence against profane clowns.

Referenced sites:
Infection – A Podcast Novel
2006 Hugo Ballot

Comments (16)

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  1. DMcCoy says:

    You Go Steve! I too am a man that cancelled his cable. I kept the local channels (for $10/month) but that’s it. I found that I watch 1 less show (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) and spend countless hours less of my day surfing the tube looking for something to watch. I don’t miss it a bit. You Go.

  2. Lee Murdock says:

    I also have just the basic cable. With broadband and a high retention usenet account I can download any show I want without commercials. I started doing this at the beginning of the 2005 fall season. I now have all those shows backed up as well. The big bonus is that I get to see BBC programming. Season 28 of Doctor Who anyone?

  3. Lar says:

    I too applaud your decision to remove your cable. I wish I could bring myself to do the same (I have DirecTV’s Total Choice package myself). Perhaps if the Mavs hadn’t made it to the NBA finals, I’d be more receptive to the idea of going pure NetFlix. Right now I wouldn’t even entertain the notion.

    GO MAVS!!!

  4. Pete Butler says:

    (Man, doesn’t anybody care about the story? ;-) )

    This was a very good story. My one concern was that the protagonist seemed to be overlooking an obvious solution — cop a pseudonym for the kids’ stuff. (In fact, I’m surprised his agent didn’t suggest it; seriously, if you were a parent and you saw Stephen King’s name on a kids’ book, would YOU be anxious to buy it?) From what I understand, putting your name on the stuff you’re proud of and a fake on the stuff that pays the rent is a time-honored literary tradition. :-)

    Still, the story very firmly established that the guy isn’t one for thinking things all the way through, so that’s quite forgivable. And I loved how, even though he saved our “hero’s” soul, Chuckles was a lying self-centered bastard who got what he probably deserved.

    This made a subway ride very enjoyable for me. Kudos, Mr. Sigler.

  5. I didn’t like this story. I didn’t understand what it was about. I think it was confusing. Maybe it’s just me…

  6. Vanamonde says:

    Wouldn’t the author goto hell for murdering the clown?

  7. noyb says:

    Stupid (though fun) story. Buttons is a better reader than he lets on at Air Out My Shorts. These talented readers keep getting the (relatively) worst stories – give ‘em a break.

  8. Jim in Buffalo says:

    I admit that when I first heard the phrase “Sold his soul to the devil,” I groaned. Not another Faustian Bargain story again, I whined. I do think that it’s overdone… heck, this is at least the 2nd Faustian Bargain story on Escape Pod alone. I can’t imagine anyone who is not too young to know better or not completely insane being so desperate to have the trappings of mortal, temporal success that he or she would submit to eternal damnation for it. And in the original story Dr. Faustus, the guy selling his soul was not some down-on-his-luck hack wanting to make it big. He was a guy who was essentially bored with terrestrial knowledge and wanted to have access to practically limitless magical power. He seeks out the bargain himself, actually summoning the hellish forces to come and make the bargain with him. So why in every version since then does the devil appear and offer the bargain to some lowly person in exchange for something like wealth or fame? (Or, in the case of the skit on SNL, a $50 Sears gift certificate.) I thought the pop culture references unwise, since they are going to date the piece in years to come. If I read this story and Lana Turner’s name came up, I’d assume it was written in the 30s or 40s. The one thing I really liked about the story was the ending, although in some Faustian Bargain stories the soul-selling person gains immortality and invulnerability, and only the devil himself can kill the person.

  9. I thought the story worked well. Sigler strikes again with his twisted, twisted sense of humour. Are we saying that we should be listening for Fanny the Fluffy Kitten as a next PodCast novel?

    To the recent changes in the Eley media intake…. Bravo. We shut ours off in January. Too damned many media streams coming into the house. I thought I’d miss coverage of the World Cup and the Tour de France, but there’s that Amazing DragonPage plane, and iTunes to look forward to for other series I “just can’t miss”… and there really many of those any more, thanks to my Blockbuster account.

  10. Colin F says:

    OK, so the “deal with devil” thing is something of a clich√©, but it was an entertaining twist on the theme.

    Just wish I hadn’t spoiled the end by reading the comments on here … D’oh! Won’t do that again.

  11. Jeremiah says:

    I liked the story, and I’ve had the phrase “Chuckles Mulrooney, Attorney for the Damned” popping into my head quite often since I listened to it.

    Good reading, nice differentiation between the characters.

  12. Steve L says:

    I’ve been following Scott’s own work for a while, in fact, it’s thanks to him I ended up listening to escape pod, for which I can’t thank him enough. Loved the story, great characters as always. This tale has a lot going for it (the clownsuits I found a particularly nice touch). Check out Scott’s current podcast ‘Infection’ for something a little grittier.
    Keep the great stories coming, Steve, you make the daily commute to Brussels a lot less tiresome !

  13. Chris says:

    I thought the story was great. Very fun. Not sure what some of you are complaining about. Lots of the stories at EscapePod are just fun (1/2?). A clown lawyer who didn’t read his own fine print? That is classic.

  14. J. R. DeRego says:

    Love it. The Devil and Daniel Webster – with greasepaint and vodka. Also, Preston Buttons is a GREAT reader!

  15. scatterbrain says:

    Didn’t see that end coming; Sigler is truly an original writer.

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