Escape Pod 235: On the Human Plan


On the Human Plan

By Jay Lake

I am called Dog the Digger. I am not mighty, neither am I fearsome. Should you require bravos, there are muscle-boys aplenty among the rat-bars of any lowtown on this raddled world. If it is a wizard you want, follow the powder-trails of crushed silicon and wolf’s blood to their dark and winking lairs. Scholars can be found in their libraries, taikonauts in their launch bunkers and ship foundries, priests amid the tallow-gleaming depths of their bone-ribbed cathedrals.

What I do is dig. For bodies, for treasure, for the rust-pocked hulks of history, for the sheer pleasure of moving what cannot be moved and finding what rots beneath. You may hire me for an afternoon or a month or the entire turning of the year. It makes me no mind whatsoever.

As for you, I know what you want. You want a story.

Escape Pod 234: The Secret Protocols of the Elders of Zion


The Secret Protocols of the Elders of Zion

By Lavie Tidhar

It was afternoon, after school has ended for the day. Sash has been working in the hydroponics gardens, helping the adults with the delicate work of picking the buds. It was flowering time, and the ganja plants were at the end of their cycle.

It was then, with her hands sticky with resin and her skin tingling pleasantly from the work and the heat, with Mama Kingston’s deep, melodious voice saying ‘a good harvest, child, a good harvest’ with a throaty chuckle, when Sash felt about herself the presence of Jah in everything she did and was profoundly happy: it was then that Sash discovered, for the first time, the existence of the Secret.

Escape Pod 233: Union Dues: The Threnody of Johnny Toruko


Union Dues: The Threnody of Johnny Toruko

By Jeffrey R. DeRego

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.

Escape Pod 232: Flash Special

Show Notes

Referenced Sites:
Cybrosis — A podcast novel by P.C. Haring


This week Escape Pod presents three flash stories:

Alloy

By Marissa Lingen
Read by Electra Allenton

Flare

By Kyle Deas
Read by Stephen Eley

My Grandfather’s River

By Brenda Cooper
Read by Anna Eley

Escape Pod 231: Solitary as an Oyster

Show Notes

Special Closing Music: “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” by Twisted Sister.


Solitary as an Oyster

By Mur Lafferty

“Who’s there?” the voice asked, rough and unpleasant. Robert and Lydia glanced at each other.

“The Paranormalists, Mr. Scrooge. You called us a couple of hours ago,” Robert said.

“Took you long enough,” the voice said. The door clicked as Scrooge unlocked several locks, and finally it slid open a couple of centimeters. Scrooge peered out, the heavy chain still on the door. Jenny flipped the night vision off her camera to get a clear view of him in the foyer’s dim light. He was much smaller than his voice implied, a diminutive man who was probably a bear in the conference room, but a pussycat when in thin pajamas and a robe.

Well, not a pussycat. Something more like a weasel.

Escape Pod 230: Candy Art

Show Notes

Special Closing Music: “Podsafe Christmas Song” by Jonathan Coulton.


Candy Art

By James Patrick Kelly

“They’re uploads, Jennifer.” When I first met Mel, I thought the sleepy voice was sexy. “How can they move in with us when they’re not anywhere?”

“They bought a puppet to live in,” I say. “Life-sized, nuskin, real speak – top of the line. It’s supposed to be my Christmas present. Bring the family back together for the holidays and live unhappily ever after.”

“A puppet.” A puzzlement glyph pops up at the bottom of my screen. “As in one puppet?”

“It’s a timeshare – you know. They live it serially. Ten hours of him, fourteen of her.”

“Not fifty-fifty?”

“He’s giving her the difference so he can take extra time off for his bass tournament in June.”

Escape Pod 229: Littleblossom Makes a Deal With the Devil

Show Notes

Sponsored by SleepPhones – Pajamas For Your Ears


Littleblossom Makes a Deal With the Devil

By S. Hutson Blount

From beneath the camouflage of kindling on her back came Grandma Thinkbox’s quiet voice. “You should have something hot to drink, child. Do not make yourself sick.”

“Yes, nainai. As soon as I check on Pig.”

After Comrade Liu had been evacuated with the last of the support troops, Xiaoying had rearranged the personality of her assistant battlefield AI into something that suited her better. If she were going to spend months carrying it around, she wasn’t going to listen to it drone on like a party chief. The way it talked now reminded her of her grandmother. The missiles had overlays for their small brains, too, and she’d decorated them with personalities as well. Boredom was a more immediate enemy than Japan.

Escape Pod 228: Everything That Matters

Show Notes

Closing music: “Heartache Over Innsmouth” by Norm Sherman.

Sponsored by SleepPhones – Pajamas For Your Ears


Everything That Matters

By Jeff Spock

“I have done over fifteen hundred dives,” I said, and let that sink in. The number was astronomical for a guy my age, even for a professional. “I have done free diving down to eighty meters. I have worked as a commercial diver and in commercial salvage.”

They were listening and nodding, concentrating on me while recording the conversation. “Then you, of all people, should have known better,” said the little guy.

“I did know better!” They were acting like the shark was the victim, not me. “How many people in the whole fucking galaxy could have come up alive, huh? How many would have had the technology and experience and conditioning?”

“If you want our congratulations, you got ’em,” said Odenny. “But we’re more interested in what you were doing.”

Escape Pod 227: His Master’s Voice

Show Notes

Referenced Sites:
PodDisc.com


His Master’s Voice

By Hannu Rajaniemi

Before the concert, we steal the Master’s head. The Necropolis is a dark forest of concrete mushrooms in the blue Antarctic night. We huddle inside the utility fog level attached to the steep southern wall of the ice valley. The cat washes itself with a pink tongue. It reeks of infinite confidence.

“Get ready,” I tell it. “We don’t have all night.”

It gives me a moderately offended look, and dons its armor.

Escape Pod 226: Pirate Solutions


Pirate Solutions

by Katherine Sparrow

You could feel their heat. Not a metaphor, I don’t mean that, I mean literally the room grew warmer when they were in it. They were both so powerful. Whenever Anne and Jack (they weren’t named that then, but that’s who they were) strolled into the room you got contact highs from their lust. People who would never make out would find excuses to go to the bathroom together and come back with monster hickies. Everyone always wanted to sit near them because of their heat, and because they always said the thing you wish you’d said but only thought to say a billion blinks later.

When I first joined the Freebooter tech collective Anne and Jack were happy to have another girl in the group, but otherwise they ignored me. I could stare and stare at them all day long, hiding behind my black-rimmed glasses. But then one day Anne looked at me, and then Jack looked too, and we all just sort of fell toward each other. Like gravity. Like magic. Like there was a God.