PC026: Black Ribbon

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains poison and prostitutes. May not be suitable for the young or immature.

Intro Links:

Chasing the Bard by Phillipa Ballentine
Heather Welliver’s band The Shillas

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.


Black Ribbon

by Dawn Albright

The woman measured three drops of poison into the milk and then poured the milk into the first baby’s bottle. She picked up the first baby, the twin wearing the black ribbon.

“Hush, sweetheart, hush,” she said, as she fed the baby girl the poisoned milk. The baby made a face at first, like she wanted to spit the cloth nipple out, but then she tasted the milk and drank everything in the bowl.

The woman gave the baby one of the last kisses she would ever feel and then she picked up the sister, the baby wearing the red ribbon, and fed her pure milk. The nurse wore no gloves, but in a few weeks she couldn’t touch the black-ribboned baby without protection.

 

PC025: Anywhere There’s a Game

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains locker room talk (and bouncing balls).


Anywhere There’s a Game

by Greg Van Eekhout

I got a call from Sports Illustrated yesterday. They’re doing one of those sidebar pieces where they ask guys to name their starting five, the best basketball players they ever shared a court with. “You don’t want that,” I told the kid on the phone. “I was in the NBA for seventeen years. I could tell you about guys like Lon McGee, who wore one pair of sneakers his entire career, held together with tape and glue and sheer will-power. Or Pig-Iron Von Ziegler, who smelled like machine oil and whose joints screeched like a stepped-on cat by the end of his career. The best? Who cares about the best? Why settle for the best when I can give you the most remarkable?”

The kid thanked me politely, but he told me that wasn’t what he needed for his piece. He’d talk to his editor, though, and mention my idea to him. He’d get back to me.

Well, I’m not going to live forever, and I can’t wait for his editor. I’ve got tales to tell, and I’ve got to tell them while I’m still kicking. So here it is, my starting five. Not the most talented guys I’ve ever played with, but instead, the dirt workers and edge cases and oddballs and sideshow escapees. These are the guys that I’ll never forget. These are the characters.

PodCastle Miniature 011: The Fable of the Moth

Show Notes

Rated G. Contains philosophical meanderings.


The Fable of the Moth

by Peter S. Beagle

Once there was a young moth who did not believe that the proper end for all mothkind was a zish and a frizzle. Whenever he saw a friend or a cousin or a total stranger rushing to a rendezvous with a menorah or a Coleman stove, he could feel a bit of his heart blacken and crumble. One evening, he called all the moths of the world together and preached to them. “Consider the sweetness of the world,” he cried passionately. “Consider the moon, consider wet grass, consider company. Consider glove linings, camel’s hair coats, fur stoles, feather boas, consider the heartbreaking, lost-innocence flavor of cashmere. Life is good, and love is all that matters. Why will we seek death, why do we truly hunger for nothing but the hateful hug of the candle, the bitter kiss of the filament? Accidents of the universe we may be, but we are beautiful accidents and we must not live as though we were ugly. The flame is a cheat, and love is the only.”

PC024: It Takes a Town

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains impossible science and a skyward thrust.


It Takes a Town

by Stephen V. Ramey

“They ain’t really going through with this,” Tom said. “Are they?” The pig smell intensified, driving off more pleasant fumes of paint and honest sweat. “First the casino. Then the amusement park. Now a rocket?” He chuckled. “Won’t you crazy townies never learn?”

“This is different. This will really put Thornhope on the map.” Anthony turned back to his work. “The whole town is pitching in.” He finished outlining the final T and selected a sash brush from his tool belt. The brush’s upper portion was crusted but the tips were flexible enough. He dipped it into black paint.

“What about materials?”

“Folks are donating–”

“And what about the rocket? Where you gonna get that?”

Anthony licked his lips, trying not to lose concentration. “There’s talk about that old silo on your property–”

“My silo!” Tom laughed hard and slapped his thigh. “What in hellfire makes you think a bunch of morons and a queerball crossdresser can launch a silo to Mars?”

Anthony rolled his eyes. This was exactly the attitude he hoped to escape. “Who’s to say we can’t?”