Archive for 10 and Up

EP034: Free Will, Baby


By Janni Lee Simner.
Read by Swoopy (of Skepticality).

“Hello, this is Kara Donnelly, with Lucifer Enterprises. Whom am I–“

“Yeah,” the man said, as if he’d been expecting her. “My wife just left me. When she takes me to court next month, I want everything she’s got.”

“Well, I’m certain we can arrange that.” Kara smiled. She’d heard somewhere that if you smiled, your voice sounded more pleasant over the phone. “If I could just get some information, I’ll have one of our representatives call back to arrange a
meeting.”

Rated PG. Contains supernatural violence, sexual harassment, and telemarketers from Hell. (Not a redundancy.)

Referenced sites:
PodcasterCon
Escape Pod CD Offer

EP031: Robots and Falling Hearts


By Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout.
Read by Alex Wilson (of Telltale Weekly).
All stories by Tim Pratt or Greg van Eekhout.
All stories read by Alex Wilson.

I paused to tie a loose shoelace and a squat robot, like a dirty white trashcan on tank-treads, trundled out of an alley toward me. A red light on top of its domelike top blinked erratically. It said, in a high-pitched voice, “Klaatu barada nikto.” A small panel slid open in its front, and a pole with a cup on the end telescoped out. There were a few coins in the cup, mostly pennies and nickels, and the robot jingled the cup significantly.

“Take me to your leader,” I said, wishing it could be that simple, knowing that these things are never that simple. The robot beeped at me and jingled its cup harder, the coins rattling.

“It won’t go away unless you give it some change,” said a woman standing on the corner. “It followed me all the way to work one day, and hung around outside the door like a dog for hours.”

Rated PG. Contains slight profanity, long flirtations, and excessive Zen. Watch for falling metaphors.

Referenced sites:
Child’s Play
Hooting Yard

EP029: Crystal Balls


By Susie Hawes.
Read by Evo Terra (of The Dragon Page).

Yeah, that’s it. Oh, that’s nice. You’ve got strong hands, Mister. Are you psychic? Maybe just a little? No? Well, I can fix that.

Naw, I can’t tell you where to find a bottle of Mad Dog, but I can get you the money to buy one.

Rated PG. Contains violence, immoral psychic paraphernalia, and grown women scrying.

Referenced sites:
Rent
The Sci Phi Show
Dead White Guys

EP Poem: Making Monsters


A Poem by Tim Pratt.
Read by Stephen Eley.
All stories by Tim Pratt.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

He is the reason clowns so often seem
sinister, the reason mannequins and dolls
can be so unsettling, the reason a child’s
tricycle
sitting unattended in a front yard can be an image
suffused with dread. If he goes on
this way, who knows what other objects
will attain an aura of menace?

Rated PG. May provoke disturbing thoughts.

This poem originally ran in Strange Horizons in July of 2004.

EP027: Union Dues – Iron Bars and the Glass Jaw


By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Jonathon Sullivan.
All stories by Jeffrey R. DeRego

“You super folks must think we’re pretty damn foolish, especially us in the law enforcement community.”

Look at him leaning back with his feet up on the desk. Did he just walk out of Cool Hand Luke? Sheesh, you’d think a sheriff would want to be more dignified. “No sir. You and your brethren are integral to the fabric of society. We of The Union are grateful for your hard work and courage.” I can rattle that sort of crap off all day long.

Rated PG. Contains graphic scenes of class conflict and superhuman self-doubt.

Referenced sites:
HorrorView
Beyond the Storm: Shadows of the Big Easy
SFFAudio

EP Interview: Greg van Eekhout


Interviewed by Scott Janssens.

Greg van Eekhout, one of Escape Pod’s most frequent authors, speaks to us about the virtues of very short fiction, babies in blenders, and an explosive new term for flash fiction.

Greg’s site:
http://www.writingandsnacks.blogspot.com

EP Flash: Mount Dragon


By Vera Nazarian.
Read by Stephen Eley.

“Go to hell, idiot,” I said, using an astringent tongue he’d understand. “I
am but a monumental slab of granite, and you, mortality, are like one of
the droppings of a fairly large corpulent deity–an ephemeral honor I would
rather pass me by.”

“And yet, you speak to me, mountain,” said the mote of humanity. “Why is
that?”

I considered that for a moment. The creature had a point.

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly.

Rated PG. Contains some profanity. Paradigms may shift without warning.

EP025: The Great Old Pumpkin


By John Aegard.
Read by Stephen Eley. Music by Toby Chappell.

As you are no doubt aware, I am the issue of solid Dutch stock—the prosperous Van Pelt family of St. Paul. Mine was a comfortable and happy childhood, and I spent much of it in the devoted service of the Great Old Pumpkin. For him, I cultivated an annual pumpkin patch. I also evangelized him in the community, relating the tale of how, every year on Hallowmas Eve, the day when the spiritual most strongly encroaches on the substantial, this mightiest of gourds would rise to revel across the world with the most sincere of his adorers. My neighbors were understandably skeptical; after all, not once had this superbeing ever chosen to grace my pumpkin patch or any other place in our town. I vowed that I would coax him into my backyard, and I set out in the manner of a learned man to discover how I might do this.

Rated PG. Contains dark imagery and terrifying fruit.

Referenced sites:
Eyes of Ligeia
Amphigory
K9Cast

EP024: The Death Trap of Dr. Nefario


By Benjamin Rosenbaum.
Read by Chris Miller (of Unquiet Desperation) with Stephen Eley.

“Well, you know, Doc, safe is a relative thing in my profession, but I
have you on the headset, and I’m picking the lock on these handcuffs
as we’re talking. I think I’ll be fine, the piranhas are still 5 or 6
feet below me.”

“All right, but isn’t our conversation going to distract you?” I
asked. “I know you’re upset, but wouldn’t you rather call back at
another time?”

“I’d really like to talk about it, Doc. I always find talking to you
clears my mind and makes me more effective. I may need to go if the
henchmen come back, though.”

Rated PG. Contains childhood trauma and mild gratuitous villainy.

Referenced sites:
Dead White Guys
The Sci Phi Show

EP022: Don Ysidro


By Bruce Holland Rogers.
Read by Evo Terra (of The Dragon Page).

On that last morning, anyone who came to visit me could see that I was dying. I knew it myself. As if I had cotton in my ears, I heard the voice of don Leandro saying to my wife, “Dona Susana, I think it is time to fetch the priest,” and I thought, yes, it’s time.

We don’t have our own priest, or even our own church, so someone has to drive in a pickup truck to get the priest from El Puentecito. But don’t be fooled by what you may hear in Malpasa or in Palpan de Baranda. Here we remain Catholic. Yes, we make pots in the old way. That’s why tourists come here. And it’s true, as is sometimes whispered, that we have restored certain other practices from the past. But not as they were done back then. Those were bloody and terrible times, the times of the Mejica. They say that the sacrificial blood covered the sun pyramids from top to bottom. Thank the Virgin, we don’t do anything like that.

Rated PG. Contains death rituals with possible disturbing imagery, and numerous pot references. (No, not that kind.)

Referenced sites:
Short-Short Stories
Podiobooks