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Episode 226: Wished by Amanda Helms

Show Notes

Happy New Year!


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Wished

by Amanda Helms

 

The wishing well discovered its meaning in existence only through a case of mistaken semantics. In point of fact, it started its existence not as a wishing well but as a decorative fountain. In point of another fact, it was sentient, all of which is most unusual for either a decorative fountain or a wishing well.

The way these three unusual things came to be is this:

On one summer solstice, a mother and her toddler stopped by the decorative fountain in the middle of Longview Mall, a middling shopping center located in a middling town in middling America.

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Episode 225: Little Wonders 9 – Comfort Food


The Four Stewpots

by D. K. Thompson

 

Review: The Four Stewpots

by Darcy E. (14 friends, 27 reviews) 1 star out of 5

 

I’ve been coming to uptown for the past year since getting a new job and moving to Whittier, and somehow had never seen The Four Stewpots before. I’m actually not a stew fan. I like my food fresh. Soup is okay, some days. Stew? Bleh. It’s been sitting for ages – this place actually suggests one pot they have is a thousand years old. Bon Apetit? But my daughter’s first report card had come home from junior high – she’d done exceptionally well – she wants to be an astronaut, a monster make-up artist, a superhero, a cryptozoologist, or a cartographer of parallel universes – whatever she decides to do she’ll be brilliant, and so as a reward, I let her pick. She saw The Four Stewpots as we were driving down the street, right next to Undercity Comics, and demanded we go there. Again, I do not like stew, but I am a supportive and proud mother who wants to encourage my daughter’s academic achievements, and realize that it isn’t always about me. At least, until it’s time to write the Yelp review.  

 

It is time to write the Yelp review.

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Episode 223: The Oulough by Francesca Forrest


The Oulough

by Francesca Forrest

 

“Are there any bandages in this house?” Tina asked. “I’ve found an oulough, but it’s hurt.” She likes to do this: come into my—sorry, make that our—bedroom when I’m trying to study and ask me for something.

 

Tina’s not my little sister. She’s my half-niece, I guess you’d say. Her mom is my half-sister Shari. If you were ever to hear any authority figure talking about Shari, you’d hear things like “poor impulse control” and “bad choices.” One of those last landed in her in jail, and that’s how Tina came to be living with my mom and me and telling me about a wounded oulough.

 

I had not actually ever heard of ouloughs before. It’s disconcerting, when you’re nineteen, to have an eight-year-old mentioning animals you’ve never heard of. It occurred to me—this might have been intellectual ego protection kicking in—that maybe it was just that Tina’s pronunciation was off, like maybe she was trying to say, I don’t know, orangutan or something. Not that it’s likely she would have run across an orangutan in Indian Orchard.

 

“Say that again? You found a what?” I asked.

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Episode 222: The George Business by Roger Zelazny

Show Notes

Image is “Saint George And The Dragon” in Alexander Gardens, Moscow


The George Business

by Roger Zelazny

Deep in his lair, Dart twisted his golden length about his small hoard, his sleep troubled by dreams of a series of identical armored assailants. Since dragons’ dreams are always prophetic, he woke with a shudder, cleared his throat to the point of sufficient illumination to check the state of his treasure, stretched, yawned and set forth up the tunnel to consider the strength of the opposition. If it was too great, he would simply flee, he decided. The hell with the hoard, it wouldn’t be the first time.

As he peered from the cave mouth, he beheld a single knight in mismatched armor atop a tired-looking grey horse, just rounding the bend. His lance was not even couched, but still pointing skyward.

Assuring himself that the man was unaccompanied, he roared and slithered forth.

“Halt,” he bellowed, “you who are about to fry!” (Continue Reading…)

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Episode 221: Dinovember! The Jungle Between by Holly Schofield

Show Notes

A special thank you to our audio producer Jeremy Carter for the excellent photo in this week’s episode artwork. Check out his Etsy shop, On The Edge Photos.


The Jungle Between

by Holly Schofield

 

Tanya:

I look over at my wife Anahita, where she squints at yesterday’s video of the theropod. She pushes her hair back from her sweaty forehead, the very picture of a field biologist. We have extended a canopy over our work area in front of the shuttle yet the temperature is still 34C and heat radiates up from the ground under my boots. I close my eyes for a second and roll my shoulders. In our ten days on Munroe Two, we have only collected minimal data on the tool-using parthenogenic dinosaurs, not enough to publish. Any conclusions will be iffy at best. Our allotted time ends tomorrow.

Unlike similar species back on Terra or on the fifteen other colonized planets, Munroe’s theropods balance on that evolutionary cutting edge. Anahita mutters in her sleep each night about reduced micro-aggressions and low degrees of intragroup conflict.

Our six-year-old daughter, Kelty, is equally enamored with the planet and with the theros–one dino in particular.

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Episode 220: Dinovember! Raptor Boy by Elise Forier Edie

Show Notes

A special thank you to our audio producer Jeremy Carter for the excellent photo in this week’s episode artwork. Check out his Etsy shop, On The Edge Photos.


Raptor Boy

by Elise Forier Edie

I am running between cornfields on a dark country road. A rifle, slung on my back, pounds my spine. The moon rises ahead, gigantic and golden. I think of werewolves, of holes in the sky. I picture my spine unzipping, and a giant lizard crawling out of my skin. My foot snags on a tuft of grass. I stagger and catch myself before my chin hits the ground.

Behind me, in town, my older brother Arnie rallies with a troop of redneck warriors. They are frenzied on drugs, eager to maim. Their loud laughter circles the lone streetlamp, shining above Happy Dak’s trailer park.

Earlier on Happy Dak said, “The Sa’id family needs to be taught a lesson. You gotta show them camel jockeys who’s boss in McCall.” He promised untold rewards for every drop of blood spilled. And when Silvie fired up the Sparkle pipe, and Happy Dak started chanting his pagan charms, I grabbed my gun and split. I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rifle. I can’t imagine shooting Arnie, or even any of his hyenic friends. But Happy Dak said the words “fire,” “rape,” and “blood.” So I’m running my feeble feet through the cornfields, a tottering Raptor Boy, trying to be a hero.

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Episode 219: Dinovember! Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure by Rachael K. Jones

Show Notes

A special thank you to Preston Stone for his generous permission in using this week’s episode artwork!

 

 

 

 

 


Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.

Read along with the text of the story.


Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure

by Rachael K. Jones

 

Mom had hands like dinosaur bones: fragile at a glance, but old and strong, hardened by time and pressure. Fossils endure. My mother had endured 80 years already, through disease and bereavement, through a long career ended in humiliation and disgrace, and now this final insult: her own daughter demanding she leave it all behind, the house and farm and everything in it.

 

“I’ve worked hard for this house. I worked for everything I ever had.” Her voice was a tight, tense warble. Fossil-hard fingers bent around a mug painted with a cowgirl on a lavender T-rex, lasso roping round the handle.

It wasn’t just the house, not really. Primrose Farms Poultry had forced her from her life’s work as an industrial engineer, and thanks to an intellectual property clause, Mom hadn’t even kept the rights to her own inventions.

 

“No one’s trying to take away your stuff,” I told her gently. “We’re just worried about you, alone out here and with the animals, and the house like this.” The farm was expensive, too. The upkeep outstripped its worth.

 

“I can take care of it myself. I’ll clean it up. I just need time.”

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Episode 218: Dinovember! Saurs by Craig DeLancey

Show Notes

Special thanks to Emma Thompson for the use of her photograph in this week’s episode art, featuring her three adorable dinosaur lovers.

And if you’ve a hankerin’ for a weird western that lets you fight an undead T-Rex, check out Deadlands! And tell Shane, Clint and Jodi I sent you.


Saurs

by Craig DeLancey

 

The fossil mages gathered in the shadow of the gully.  Four of them: three old men and a young woman. Old Jim lifted and replaced his wreck of a straw hat and then spat at a scorpion.  John Bloodeye and Harry watched the dark spot in the sand evaporate in the heat, until finally, as they’d all been hoping, the young one spoke.

“I found it near here,” Karyn Thomson said.   She put her hand into her pocket, fingering the bone there, but not drawing it out yet.

The three old men waited.  This was hard for them. They’d all been famous, in their day.  They had their pride still.

Finally Karyn tugged the bone out.  A hooked talon, as long as her own hand.  The old men leaned forward, careful not to show excitement but unable to keep their eyes from popping.

“T rex,” Bloodeye said.  “Manus claw. Left interior.”

Karyn nodded agreement.

“It looks big,” Old Jim said.  “It looks as big as the claw on that old girl your Pa found out here.”

“Bigger,” Karyn said.  “Two centimeters longer.”  She pushed her hat back with the point of the claw.  Blond hair spilled out over her eyes.

Harry reached toward the claw.  Karyn flinched, but did not draw back.  He touched the fossil with two dry fingers.  “Lot of hum to it,” he whispered. The other men did not comment.  They knew there’d be magic in the bone. No need to taunt yourself, like hungry men poking another man’s fat goose.

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Episode 215: Banned Books Week – Problematic by Brian Lawrence Hurrel

Show Notes

Learn more about The Freedom to Read Foundation, an advocacy group that deals with a wide range of issues affecting our freedom of speech and our right to access information. A growing part of their mission is to educate librarians, library patrons, and the general public about issues related to the freedom to read and our right to access information.

 


Problematic

by Brian Hurrel

 

The Main Office is as spartan as the the rest of the campus. Three plain gray metal folding chairs arranged in front of Headmistress Dinali’s equally plain and unadorned wooden desk. In one of the chairs the slim ten-year- old frame of Luna Vega-MacPherson squirms restlessly, twisting strands of dark curly hair around a forefinger, and not at all trying to disguise her boredom. In the other two chairs sit her parents, looking equally uncomfortable but for different reasons.

I confess to taking some degree of pleasure in the final phase of the application process. Call it a guilty pleasure, but I do so enjoy seeing overbearing parents humbled. Since the Banks Institute is self-financing, and offers only full scholarships or flat out rejection, those of means have no more influence than those without. (Continue Reading…)

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Episode 211: Indian Rope Trick by James Fitzsimmons


Indian Rope Trick

by James Fitzsimmons

 

“Careful not to drop that on your head,” Edson Vole warned, pointing to the huge beveled mirror leaning against the wall. “Unless, of course, you know the Indian rope trick.”

Sanjeev Ravi laughed, clipping a tape measure onto his utility belt. “No such thing, Mr. Vole,” he said in a gentle lilt.  

“That mirror weighs a ton,” Edson said. “Couldn’t lift that even during my days in New Delhi. Back in an hour.”    

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Episode 210: Little Wonders 8 – Embracing Change


The There-It-Is Store

By Adam Gaylord

 

The bell over the door jingled and Claire hastily tucked her book under the counter. It was one of her favorites and she’d just gotten to the best part. She didn’t want a customer to come in and claim it.  

An older man, probably twice Claire’s age, entered the store. Actually, he really more danced his way in. The man turned this way and that, his eyes trained on the ground, all the while patting his pants, alternating front pockets and then back. Claire suppressed a giggle at the sight of his search dance – as it was fittingly known in the trade. The man gave up the floor and scanned the shelves by the door, muttering to himself while patting his breast pockets. “I swear I just had ’em. I was walking out the door…” He passed over boxes of buttons, jars full of jewelry, several large sacks stuffed with socks, and a pail packed with pocket watches before stopping in front of a particularly large crate nearly overflowing with keys. He gave a low whistle, eyeing the huge box with trepidation. 

“Good morning Mr. Crowhurst,” Clair interrupted his search.

“Hm? Oh, yes. Hello.” Mr. Crowhurst wandered up to the counter, still patting. “I really hope you can help me. Do you happen to know where…” He trailed off, his eyes drifting to the shelves behind her. Claire felt the tingle of the there-it-is magic and the man’s patting finally stopped, his face lighting up. “There they are!”  

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Episode 208: Questing for Princesses by Amanda C. Davis


Questing for Princesses

by Amanda C. Davis

 

Prince Harold swore off marriage at the age of six, when his older brother Yancey came riding home with a new bride and a waterfall of half-healed scars along his right side that he called “the unexpected bonus for winning a princess from a fire-breathing dragon.”

Harold eyed the puckered skin on Yancey’s neck and cheek. “Does it hurt?”

“Sure,” said Yancey, tugging Harold’s earlobe until he flinched. “But finding the right princess is hard stuff. You have to take the risk if you want the reward. Anyway, just wait ’til you meet Celiura. She’s amazing. Totally worth it. She’s going to be your new sister, you know.”

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