I was on the sofa, wallowing in self-pity and blankets, when my sister answered the door.
“Sadie, honey,” old Mr. Smith said from the hallway, “I beg your pardon. So sorry for your loss, again, but are you going to cross the street soon? It’s just that I haven’t had anything to eat since Thursday.”
Now, I was sitting in the exact same spot the day before when Sadie gave him a can of beans after he said the exact same words, but Sadie just smiled and spoke receptionist-polite to him. “I’ll have to ask my momma, Mr. Smith, but I’m sure it’ll be soon.”
This week we present Taxidermy and Other Dangerous Professions by JR Johnson. JR grew up in the folded Appalachian hills, where she learned to love Fall, blueberries straight from the bush, and the stream beneath the willows near her house. The fact that Fall is inevitably followed by Winter, that picking berries means crossing paths with bears, and that the stream was laced with dioxins may also have had some impact on her outlook. For more on her latest projects visit her website.
Cast of Wonders is thrilled to welcome back your narrator this week, MK Hobson. You may remember her from my staff pick for 2013, The Giant Who Dreamed of Summer. M.K. Hobson recently decided to follow a time-honored authorial tradition and become a bitter recluse. She swore off all social media and left her website to go to seed. At the moment, she exists only as a voice on short fiction podcasts such as this fine enterprise and Podcastle. She leavens the tedium of her vastly expanded free time with misanthropy, paranoia, and weight lifting. She assures anyone who might be interested that, when she does finally decide to re-engage with the public sphere, she will bring with her several new stories, perhaps a novel or two, and some heinously sick lats.
Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.
This is Little Wonders, our collection episodes featuring flash fiction and poetry centered around a theme. This episode we bring you the conclusion of our flash fiction month: Trope Twists!
Our first twisted trope — and the story which inspired this Little Wonders collection — is The Hero by Jessica Holscher. Jessica is a freelance writer in Oregon who loves to write fun fantasy stories. She has two novels published by ASJ Publishing: Legend of the Phoenix and Kenneth Randall: Grower. She’s on Twitter as @jessholscher, and you can find out more about her on her Facebook page.
The Hero is narrated by the extremely talented John Cmar. John is an infectious diseases physician in Baltimore who splits his time between treating horrors such as syphilis, and molding the next generation of doctors, while repeatedly washing his hands in between. When not herding his five cats or going fanboy over the space endeavors of his wife Moon Ranger Laura, John infectious various podcast and radio projects with his voice. He is the Chief Medical Officer and Bad Doctor in Residence at his personal blog, where he consults and ruminates over all manner of things at Saint Nickanuck.
Next we have The Secret Life of Sleeping Beauty by Charity Tahmaseb. Charity has slung corn on the cob for Green Giant and jumped out of airplanes (but not at the same time). She’s worn both Girl Scout and Army green. These days, she writes fiction (long and short) and works as a technical writer. Her novel, The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading (written with co-author Darcy Vance), was a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback pick. Her short speculative fiction has appeared in the Unidentified Funny Objects and Coffee anthologies, Flash Fiction Online, and elsewhere.
Next month, her YA novelette Just a Matter of Time will appear in Volume 3 of Sucker Literary Magazine. She’s on Twitter as @geekgirlx2, and her blog is Writing Wrongs.
Your narrator is Chloë Yates. Chloë has written several pieces for the excellent Fox Spirit Books, and her latest story, ‘Well Our Feeble Frame He Knows’, closes out Guardians in their Fox Pocket series. More of her work will be included in several upcoming anthologies, including ‘Tits Up in Wonderland’, which will round off the Missing Monarchs Fox Pocket and can also be heard in Episode 16 of Dark Fiction Magazine.
As well as ‘All Things Fall’ in the upcoming anthology Girl At The End of the World, Vol 1.
She writes humorous, if somewhat macabre, poetry. You can contact her through her website, while she wanders through Twitter under the sobriquet @shloobee.
She’s currently working on a collection of short stories for Fox Spirit and on her first novel. English born, she lives in the middle of Switzerland with her bearded paramour, Mr Y, and their disapproving dog, Miss Maudie.
Michael Strickland’sBigfeet is next. Michael has published a handful of other short stories in small indie outlets. In addition to Bigfeet, his story Pale Green Pants — inspired by What Was I Scared Of? in Dr. Seuss’ Sneetches and Other Stories — recently appeared in the anthology Green Eggs and Horror. By day, Michael wrangles words as a professional copywriter, and you can find him online here.
Michael says this story was created when a friend challenged him to reduce a screenplay idea into a flash story under 300 words.
Regular listeners of Cast of Wonders will recognize our next two narrators, the podcasting duo of Big Anklevich and Rish Outfield from the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine. Dunesteef features genre stories brought to you as fullcast audio productions created by some of the most talented producers in the podisphere. After each story, Big and Rish treat you to scintillating, thought provoking, and often mind-numbing conversation…oh, sorry, I meant mind-opening…opening?…mind-expanding maybe…conversation related to the day’s story and other geek-centric topics. Check it out!
To bring our twisted tropes to a close we present Alexandra Grunberg’sJack and the Griffin Eggs.
Alexandra is a New York City based author and actress. Her work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Perihelion Science Fiction, and here at Cast of Wonders in episode 106, our Little Wonders collection “The Journey” with Treasure Hunter.
Her story Any Ending won third place in Fiction Vortex’s August Monthly Contest and her story Finale in Blue won third place in their October Horror Contest. She is currently writing a web series, HOUSED, in which she will also be appearing as a lead character. You can find links to her stories at her website.
Rish Outfield’s prior narrations for Cast of Wonders include episode 91, “Open 28 Hours” and the chilling “Cosmetic Procedures” from episode 69. We’re thrilled to have him back.
Theme music is “Neversus” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.