Tag: "Jeffrey DeRego"

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EP304: Union Dues – Sidekicks in Stockholm

By Jeffrey R. DeRego
Read by Stephen Eley
Special guest host: Stephen Eley
An Escape Pod original!
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Rated appropriate for older teens and up for language and disturbing imagery.

Union Dues: Sidekicks in Stockholm
by Jeffrey R. DeRego

Five of them at least, with submachine guns, body armor, and more dynamite than I’ve seen outside a Tom and Jerry cartoon. They all sound the same thanks to some digital vocal thing built into their black suits. They all look the same with black ski masks underneath a mesh sort of fencing helmet, black everything else right to the boots, and all about the same size, like someone took a picture of a terrorist and photocopied it.

This whole drama seems like it began a million years ago by now. I was scheduled to come here and open a convention of business leaders and up-and-coming corporate types. My speech, Good Corporate Citizenship, with examples of how The Union gives back to the communities it serves, is a two year old piece worked up and updated by Marketing and Promotions to accommodate a new administration in Washington, and some new economic stuff that I don’t really understand. I’d delivered only half of the text before these guys burst through the door.

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EP257: Union Dues: The Sum of Its Parts

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by: PG Holyfield of Murder at Avedon Hill
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Langton has been under lock-and-key observation since two weeks ago when he sucker punched Paul right in the middle of a publicity shoot for Stars and Stripes at a USO hall in Phoenix. The five of us almost couldn’t bring him down. The melee wrecked most of our stage props — Van De Graff Generators, Tesla Coils, a whole bunch of blinking and flashing, stuff bought from a bankrupt low-budget film studio. Frida recovered the 30 seconds, or so, of 16mm footage shot that morning. Police found the reporter a few hours later unharmed but minus any memory of the previous two days.

The DC3 taxis to the hangar. Paul joins me at the base of the control tower then the four of us walk down towards the plane.

“Hi gang,” The Corporal says and waves as he lumbers down from the fuselage to the sand. He walks right to Paul. “How’s the chin? Sorry about popping you one. I don’t remember any of it, but Frida says I was a real dope.”

Paul laughs a little. “It’s okay. No broken teeth or nothing.” He rubs his anvil-like jaw with a boxing glove-sized fist. “Next time I won’t go easy on you.”

Rated PG

Show Notes:

  • Show your love for Union Dues at the new website!

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EP233: Union Dues – The Threnody of Johnny Toruko

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Stephen Eley.
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I duck through the door behind her. The place is jammed with customers. “You have any money? I didn’t think to ask Miss Jennifer for any.”

TK answers, “don’t worry, just tell me what you want.”

“Large with extra sugar and cream.”

TK grins and focuses her attention on the line of people stretching from the entrance down to the counter. They all sidestep and she walks unimpeded front of the pack. “One large black, and one large with extra sugar and cream.”

The barrista, a girl of about 18, repeats the order in a flat monotone.

“And these are on the house. Everyone gets free coffee for the next two hours.”

“Free for everyone,” the clerk answers then puts our order together.

TK snickers and hands the coffee over.

Rated PG. Contains mature themes, violence, and some profanity. You know. Teenage stuff.

Referenced Sites:

Official Union Dues Web Site

Union Dues on Twitter

Clonepod – Previous Team Shikaragaki stories

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EP185: Union Dues – All About the Sponsors

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Stephen Eley.
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Sponsored by CONTAGIOUS, by Scott Sigler.

I suck in my chest and tighten the buckles before getting lightheaded. I don’t have to wear the costume anymore, but it seems disrespectful to leave it in the closet for this one last mission. I get the boots on and struggle with the leather straps and silver buckles until my fingers feel like they’re ready to fall off. I surrender and creak back up to standing position. “Ok screw the boot buckles, Jim,” I whisper. “This is it.”

I glance at the open briefcase laid across the corner of my desk but I’ve got everything I need. I pick up the silver frame with the little black and white photo of me, Frida, Alex, Paul, and Steve in our original Liberty League getup. Frida Freedom called me four hours ago. Her voice broke when she said the words, “Alex is dead.” I drop the frame into the case atop a weathered manila folder then close the whole thing up before hobbling out towards the waiting jet.

Rated PG. Contains some profanity, some violence, and strong rhetoric.

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EP172: Union Dues – Tabula Rasa

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Stephen Eley.
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Audible.com Promotion!

Get your free audiobook at: http://audible.com/escapepodsff

I raise my hand and she stops chattering. “Just tell me who you are and where I am.”

She freezes and blinks twice. “Tell you where you are? Cap, you’re home. This is the Cleveland Pyramid. I’m Sarah Shadow. You don’t recognize me?”

“That doesn’t mean anything to me!” I stand up. Frustration washes over me like heat from a blast furnace, and worse, my stomach is rumbling. “I woke up today. The first person I saw was you, but I’ve never seen you before in my life. I figured as long as I was in the hospital, or wherever, I’d start to remember, but it’s a blank. Where am I, what is this place, what are you people?” I point at her costume. “And that, what’s that, are you part of a circus act or something?”

Rated R. Contains profanity, sexual innuendo, and a bit of soap opera.

Referenced Sites:
Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty

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EP154: Union Dues – Freedom With a Small f

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Nuri (of CandyCorn Studios and Artist Alley).
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Closing Music: “Juzt Mizunderztood” by Norm Sherman.

My head throbs. I think about the mess in the fridge, the heaps of crap in the flat while I force the clumps of wet clothes into the dryers.

As far as I know I am the only Union member who works outside the system, the only one tasked specifically with fighting crime, secretly, of course. Darksider put the program together with one of the Luminaries as a way to explore expanding our role in the maintenance of Normal society. He chose me specifically because I am the only super-agile who is also an orphan. Therefore, I won’t be tempted to throw my costume in a dumpster and make a break for mom and dad.

Communication with the Union ended seven months ago. Darksider was supposed to make sure that a stipend was deposited into a bank account under my phony name every month. But that stopped too. I don’t know why. I tried everything to make contact short of walking up to the Boston Pyramid and knocking. Not that it would have done any good since none of the regular Union knows I even exist.

Rated R. Contains sordid occupations, drug use, and violence. Welcome to the city.

Referenced Sites:

The Union Dues Series

Tales of the Zombie War

SciFiDig interview with Jeffrey DeRego

The DrabbleCast

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EP149: Union Dues – All That We Leave Behind

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Stephen Eley.
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All stories by Jeffrey R. DeRego
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If I just lay here they will get tired and leave. They can’t hurt me all that much; my body is too hard now, too strong. But I can’t let on that their kicks and punches don’t bother me or who knows what they’ll do next. So I’ll lay here, curled up in the grass like some lump of igneous rock cast from a far away volcano.

“You fat assed son of a bitch! Talk to Loreen again and I’ll kill you! You understand me? I’ll beat your fat lazy ass to death!”

I bet his foot is starting to ache. My stomach is big, but it’s not soft. Not anymore. Not since last month when the change happened. We don’t have a lot of money so my wardrobe is still designed for a three hundred pound teenager, the kind with an almost unnatural love for pizza and potato chips. I still sort of look the same. But I am different, I can feel it. The rolls of flab that once encircled my belly and back are nearly gone, replaced by rippling muscle. My arms and legs are like tree trunks. I could rip Scott’s arms and legs off and beat his torso like a kettledrum. Well, if I wasn’t terrified.

Rated R. Contains profanity and violence.

Today’s Sponsor:

Infected by Scott Sigler

Referenced Sites:

The Union Dues Series

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

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EP128: Union Dues – Send in the Clowns

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Dani Cutler (of Truth Seekrs and The Audio Addicts).
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Tina tugs on Kindred’s bullet-tattered red cape. “What kinda tricks do you do?”

Kindred shakes her head as if bewildered by the question. “Tricks?” She glances back at Megaton, who now juggles three Jersey barriers about a hundred meters out in the devastation.

“Let it go Kindred. We’ve been through a lot.”

“Well that’s good. So now you’re free to put on a carnival. Get everyone together and onto the jet now. And I mean now!” Her voice is so loud it draws everyone’s attention away from the show.

Megaton drops the Jersey barriers and the ground shakes.

Kindred lowers herself to one knee beside the little girl. “My trick is special,” she says, “I can make the whole circus disappear. Abracadabra‚Äî”

Rated PG. Contains superhero violence and organizational politics.

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EP080: Union Dues – Cleanup in Aisle Five

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Discuss on our forums.
Read by Rich Sigfrit (of Requiem of the Outcast and Amazing Pulp Adventures).
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Jeffrey R. DeRego
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“Which one are you?”

The kid fans out a small stack of super hero trading cards, but it’s not a Union deck. Figures. “Lemme see what you got there.” I flip through and remember my old baseball card collection. I knew there was something special about me, when at nine-years-old, I accurately calculated the probable batting stats of each player, on every team, in the 1996 season after opening only one pack. The Union recruited me five years later after my dad beat a couple of Atlantic City casinos for ten million bucks. I was caught on security camera tape telling him when and how to bet at the roulette wheel.

“These don’t look like you.”

The card displays a blue-costumed man leaping between buildings. I hand it back to him. “Those guys aren’t real, but I am.” Wow. Did I just say that? Maybe I’ll tell the kid that Santa and the Easter Bunny aren’t real either. He’s staring at me now, I can almost see his little brain struggling to make sense of my answer. I should tell him to buy Union Cards but, you know, he’s five.

Rated R. Contains profanity, some violence involving children, and retail corporate exploitation.

Union Dues Stories:
EP027: Iron Bars and the Glass Jaw
EP049: Off White Lies
EP062: The Baby and the Bathwater

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EP062: Union Dues – The Baby and the Bathwater

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Mur Lafferty (of I Should Be Writing and Geek Fu Action Grip)
All stories by Jeffrey R. DeRego

It’s never really dawned on me that the brochures manage to beautifully portray events and activities I’ve never seen as long as I’ve worn the tights and mask. The brochures don’t show the InterCity cops taking pot-shots at our Jump Jets, they don’t show the protestors outside a school when Landaar makes and appearance, or the new recruits worked to the physical breaking point for a year before they are even allowed third string uniform status, they don’t show how we didn’t put out the fire or didn’t rescue the family.

But since when has a marketing campaign ever focused on truth and reality?

Rated R. Contains profanity and… Well, profanity.

Referenced sites:
Union Dues – Iron Bars and the Glass Jaw
Union Dues – Off White Lies
Pseudopod Submission Guidelines