Archive for Rated R

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PodCastle 732: Fire in His Eyes, Blood on His Teeth

Show Notes

Rated R


Fire In His Eyes, Blood On His Teeth

By R.S.A. Garcia

 

He comes to me with fire in his eyes and blood on his teeth. Sometimes the blood is his enemies’. Sometimes it’s mine. Eventually, it’s mine. Always.

He is different today, striding across the sandy soil toward my home with scuffed, much-mended boots. Often, he’s charming and beautiful, like the first time I met him. Smooth brown skin and white smiles, smelling of freshly scraped coconuts. Sometimes he is fierce and tall and smells of the salty sea, with a glorious shining beard braided around the fuses he hides beneath his battered hat. His teeth are longer, yellow, and his skin burned from the sun. They call him a pirate then, and men on land and sea tremble to speak his name. He has harsh words, but there are no teeth for me yet. They come later.

They come with the fire and a shadow on the sun. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 728: The Fireman

Show Notes

Rated R


The Fireman

by Christoph Weber

 

I face the forested mountains, raise my hands like a conductor readying an orchestra, and point to my first section. A glow flickers to life in the inky darkness beneath a grove of trees. Arms of flame climb the bark and the canopy explodes, turning trees into torches, illuminating my canvas.

I sweep my hand from left to right and a mile-long slash appears like a knife wound in the mountains, bleeding fire. The flames crawl upslope. Not fast enough. A few twists of my wrists and I sculpt a stampede — orange bulls of fire, a few charging tigers, and one galloping zebra striped red and blue. I pause to appreciate the canvas come to life. It’s my best work.

And I’m just getting started. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 725: Miss Bulletproof Comes Out of Retirement

Show Notes

Rated R


Miss Bulletproof Comes Out of Retirement
by Louis Evans

Miss Bulletproof comes home and there’s a god sitting at her kitchen table talking to her kids. “Did you like my presents, children?” says the god. “It was I who got you those gifts, those funny little things, including that long and slithery one, which you both found so amusing.” The children had not found the Malayan pit viper to be amusing; they had found it to be terrifying, and shrieked so loudly in the middle of the night that they had almost awakened Miss Bulletproof’s wife, which, well, that would be bad. And the kids — quite reasonably — had kept on screaming until Miss Bulletproof came sleepily into the room, allowed the pit viper to shatter its fangs on her palm, and then crushed its skull with her trademark efficiency, which she has come these days to regard as maternal rather than professional.

Miss Bulletproof sees the god at her kitchen table talking to her kids and she sees red, in that order. In those days when Miss Bulletproof worked for gods and did their bidding, she would have gotten up in that smug motherfucker’s face and given him a piece of her fucking mind, not sparing the obscenities. But now Miss Bulletproof is a mama, and her two beautiful kids are in the room, looking at her with trust and terror in that classic high-proof childhood cocktail of feeling, and she knows she has to set a good example. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 720: Where the Old Neighbors Go

Show Notes

Rated R


Where the Old Neighbors Go

by Thomas Ha

 

The man standing on the porch that night seemed like an ordinary gentrifier at first glance: young and tall and artfully unshaven. His jeans were tattered but strangely crisp, and his shirt was loose and tight in all the wrong places. He had the appearance of someone vaguely famous, like his face could have been in a magazine ad or on the side of a bus. And to anyone other than Mary Walker, he would have successfully passed for a human.

Mary widened the opening of her front door, knowing she could no longer avoid him. She clutched the edges of her stained bathrobe and stared up at the man through the tangle of her gray and white hair.

He smiled, and there was something off, as if his features were meant to be stationary, not stretched in that way. “I thought I should finally introduce myself,” he said. “I’m the new neighbor.”

(Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 719: Smilers

Show Notes

Rated R


Smilers

by Chip Houser

 

Aiden rests his chin on the back of the living room couch, watching his older brother mow down zombies in ZomPlex. The zombies grab at Zach’s avatar, mouths moving like they’re chewing. Aiden’s not sure if they’re supposed to be hungry or angry or both. Their facial expressions don’t match any of the cards from the game he plays on Tuesdays with Ms. Hampton. Zombies don’t make a lot of sense to Aiden, but that’s okay, lots of things don’t make sense to him, he’s barely seven.

Aiden taps Zach on the shoulder. “You said you’d take me to the pool.”

“Busy here.” Zach jerks the controller.

They’ve gone to the pool almost every day this summer. Aiden even jumped off the high dive with Zach a few times. Aiden loves that feeling in his stomach more than anything. But the past couple of days, Zach hasn’t wanted to do anything except kill zombies.

(Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 715: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School

Show Notes

Rated R

This episode is a part of our Tales from the Vaults series, in which a member of PodCastle’s staff chooses a backlist episode to highlight and discuss. This, our final episode of the year, was chosen by our departing assistant editor and host, Summer Fletcher. “Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School” originally aired as PodCastle 336.


Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School

by Nathaniel Lee

When I came out of the coffee shop with my latte and my fresh walnut
brownie, the Archangel Michael was beating the ever-loving shit out of
Satan down on the corner.  I could see the impact crater, right in the
middle of the intersection, and one of the poles holding up the
traffic lights was cut right in two so the wires had all fallen in the
street and also it was on fire on account of the flaming sword, so it
was a real mess.  All higgledy-piggledy.  Michael was holding Satan up
by the neck with one hand and just slapping him across the face with
the other.  Which also by the way was still holding the sword, so it
wasn’t so much like slapping as it was punching with brass knuckles.
Also it was still on fire.

People were honking, but only the ones far enough back that they
couldn’t see what was going on.  Everyone else was kind of looking the
other way.  Fiddling with their cell phones.  Avoiding eye contact.
You know, like you do around angels.

I figured it was time.

“Hey,” I said.  Michael turned.  I lifted the hand with the coffee in
it and pointed at Satan, who was pretty beat up by then.  Missing some
teeth and all bruises and stuff.  “Not cool,” I told Michael.

The angel looked down at me with his bronze wings all clanging in the
wind.  Then he snorted and tossed Satan to the ground and just took
off.  I stumbled a little and nearly spilled my coffee.  Angels got
wicked backwash.

By then Satan was staggering upright.  “You okay, dude?” I asked him.

“Could’ve taken him,” Satan said.  He spat out a tooth and flared his
nostrils.  “Didn’t need your help.”

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PodCastle 714: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Nightfall in the Scent Garden

Show Notes

Rated R

This episode is a part of our Tales from the Vaults series, in which a member of PodCastle’s staff chooses a backlist episode to highlight and discuss. This week’s episode was chosen by associate editor Srikripa Krishna Prasad. “Nightfall in the Scent Garden” originally aired as PodCastle 271.


Nightfall in the Scent Garden

by Claire Humphrey

If you read this, you’ll tell me what grew over the arbor was ivy, not wisteria. If you are in a forgiving mood, you’ll open the envelope, and you’ll remind me how your father’s van broke down and we were late back. How we sat drinking iced tea while the radiator steamed.

You might dig out that picture, the one with the two of us sitting on the willow stump, and point out how small we were, how pudgy, how like any other pair of schoolgirls. How our ill-cut hair straggled over the shoulders of our flannel shirts.

You’ll remind me of the stories we used to tell each other. We spent hours embroidering them, improving on each other’s inventions. We built palaces and peopled them with dynasties, you’ll say, and we made ourselves emperors in every one, and every one was false.

If you read this, you’ll call your mother, or mine. They’ll confirm what you recall.

By then, though, you will begin to disbelieve it yourself.

If you think on it long enough, you’ll recall the kiss. I left it there untouched, the single thread you could pull to unravel this whole tapestry.

You’ll start to understand none of these things happened the way you remember. If you read this, you’ll learn how I betrayed you.

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PodCastle 710: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – A Hollow Play

Show Notes

Rated R

This episode is a part of our Tales from the Vaults series, in which a member of PodCastle’s staff chooses a backlist episode to highlight and discuss. This week’s episode was chosen by associate editor Devin Martin. “A Hollow Play” originally aired as PodCastle 277.


A Hollow Play

by Amal El-Mohtar

Dear Paige,

So, I’m here, but Anna’s not, and I awesomely left Memoirs of a Space Woman at home in spite of knowing I’d have two hours to kill, so I figure I’ll just keep writing to you.

Cabaret! I have no idea what to expect. Have you ever been to a cabaret show? I wasn’t sure how to dress for it either — when I asked Anna she just laughed and told me to use my imagination — so I’m wearing the red top you gave me, the button-down one with the sleeves that flare out and curl from the elbows. I can’t believe I still have it — it’s been, what, ten years, three moves? It’s not fitting so great now — since I started taking derby more seriously (I’m EMILY THE SLAYER now! Strong like Buffy!) my arms have gotten huge, and you should see the butt on me — but it’s still pretty and I love it, and it still matches my favourite earrings best.

I should probably tell you more about Anna, since obviously there’s more to her than being trans and my co-worker. She’s really great, and really cute — she just cut her hair short last week and dyed it bright orange-red, so she looks kind of like Leeloo from The Fifth Element. She’s vegan (sometimes I swear she likes the fact that I’m not, because it gives her an excuse to play “Meat is Murder” on loop in the cafe for the duration of my lunch break, which no one notices, because it sounds like every other Smiths song except the good ones, which she refuses to accept no matter how many times I explain it), an amazing cosplayer, and getting into burlesque. She hasn’t performed in public yet, just for friends in her living room, but she’s been developing this number that involves a chef’s hat, mixed greens, and oversized serving implements.

We’re not dating or anything. I’ve only known her for about a month, though it feels like way longer — and I refuse to entertain a crush, because she’s been in a closed poly triad for a while and they’re kind of going through a rough patch that she hasn’t told me much about. So I’ll tell you more about this cabaret thing instead.

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PodCastle 709: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – America Thief

Show Notes

Rated R

This episode is a part of our Tales from the Vaults series, in which a member of PodCastle’s staff chooses a backlist episode to highlight and discuss. This week’s episode was chosen by associate editor Hamilton Perez. “America Thief” originally aired as PodCastle 319.


America Thief

by Alter S. Reiss

I looked around the table. Most of the people there weren’t paying much attention. Lansky looked a little embarrassed, and Siegel shook his head. “You want me to find out if Chaim Goldberg can turn lead into gold, or if he’s running some sort of scam,” I said.

“Of course he’s running a scam,” said Lansky. “I want to know how he’s doing it.”

“My friend Meyer is unfortunately narrow-minded,” said Rothstein. “I am willing to entertain the possibility that he’s getting his gold through means that are not generally considered possible. Which is why I have entrusted this task to your care.”

“So you want me to find out where Goldbug is getting his gold from,” I said. “And?”

“No and,” said Rothstein. “Just that. It’s a simple job, and I’ll give you a thousand dollars for doing it.”

“A thousand dollars is a lot of money, Benny,” said Legs, putting his oar in. “Live things up a little, show your girl a good time.”

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PodCastle 707: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints

Show Notes

Rated R

This episode is a part of our Tales from the Vaults series, in which a member of PodCastle’s staff chooses a backlist episode to highlight and discuss. This week’s episode was chosen by associate editor Tierney Bailey. “Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints” originally aired as PodCastle 302.


Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints

by Alex Dally MacFarlane

Jump up! Take arms! Bare teeth!

We fight for these sands.

Sink iron knives and white teeth into their scented flesh, their soft city flesh, those stealers of our homes. This is our city now, this desert with its winds that scour our cheeks, its dunes that join us in song, its rare springs that we lap at so gently. We once gulped rivers of rubies and pearls; now they do and we will never be able to claim them back. We will not let them take this final city of air and graveyards from us! Jump up!

We fight for these sands with everything we have and sometimes we forget the feel of a sister’s shoulder beneath our heads, we’ve been so long without sleep–but today will be remembered for more than this.

Today we retrieve the bodies of our Saints.