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Cast of Wonders 428: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 4


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

“…and I’ve written it all down here,” Simms said, offering a tattered notebook to the Captain. “After a while, all the speculation got so wild I couldn’t keep track of it all. There wasn’t a single name that showed up on the list more than twice, I checked.”

“Mmm.”

Simms waggled the notebook at her, trying to draw attention away from her gently steaming coffee cup. They’d met up in one of the many coffee shops they routinely used for that purpose. Captain Ramos had entered with an exhausted, panting Chippy tucked under her arm like a purse and set him in her lap as soon as she’d sat. The little dog had proceeded to fall into boneless sleep, the Captain’s hand idly tracing figures on his pale little forehead. It was all very odd, disquieting almost. In Simms’s years of knowing her, Captain Ramos had never showed any sort of interest in animals, let alone affection—and hadn’t she been all set to shoot the poor thing before?

Though far more disturbing was the fact that she didn’t seem to be listening to him, in a real sense, rather than that studied nonchalance with which she normally took reports, indicating her mind was working furiously.

“Captain?” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 427: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 3


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1Part 2 – Part 3

Simms had greeted his change of costume with relief, finding himself far more comfortable in the clothes of a lower-class laborer than those of a gentleman. He felt nearly buoyant after ridding himself of the hated collar and turned his energy fully to the task of finding out more about Clementine Nimowitz’s missing maid. Or as the Captain often put it, “Turning over all of the obvious and boring stones.” This was fine with Simms; boring was his loudly proclaimed preference. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 426: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 2


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

Part 1 – Part 2

They met Elijah among the warehouses not too far from Union Station. He’d brought one of the more innocent looking railcars down from the mountains and thus was able to berth it along the public tracks. Elijah Masterson was a man of medium height and untidy habits, though today he seemed particularly untidy, perhaps because he’d been called down so abruptly. His brown hair stuck out in untamed curls and a shadow of stubble decorated his chin. He wore a rumpled brown-checked shirt, one sleeve half rolled-up, and a vest he hadn’t bothered to button, no jacket in sight.

Or, Simms thought upon a closer look at the younger man’s rather red eyes, today he wasn’t so much untidy as quite hung over. This really only served to affirm Simms’s decision to give him this task. It’d certainly keep him out of trouble.

Elijah still offered the Captain a snappy salute, after first glancing around to confirm that they were alone. “Sir, I was told you had an important task for me.”

Captain Ramos waved a hand dismissively. “Oh indeed, Mister Masterson. Simms?”

Obligingly, he held Chippy out toward Elijah. The tiny dog began to squirm, yipping excitedly at the prospect of making a new friend. “Here you go.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 425: The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz – Part 1


The Curious Case of Miss Clementine Nimowitz (and her Exceedingly Tiny Dog)

by Alex Acks

It was a perfectly ordinary parlor, nicely decorated, pale lace doilies sitting atop furniture done in heavy brown and gold brocade. The general color scheme was maroon and brown, with enough pink and yellow accents to keep it all from seeming too heavy or dark. While many such parlors were given to clutter as the wealthy owners attempted to display both their taste and overflow of cash with countless bits of frilly golden bric-a-brac, this one was neat and carefully tended, enough empty space around objects to draw the eye and invite inspection without being overwhelming. It was austere and quietly dignified.

The careful effect of the decorating was, quite unfortunately, spoiled by the body majestically putrefying in the center of the rich carpet, a petite pistol with a mother-of-pearl grip still sitting in its lax hand. Even more disturbing to the serenity of the parlor was the shockingly tiny dog that stood next to the body, the white fur of its muzzle rusty with old blood. The little animal growled in what was presumably a threatening manner, though it sounded more like a teakettle burbling than anything else. (Continue Reading…)

episode art: 424

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Cast of Wonders 424: Like Faded Joy


Like Faded Joy

by Ashley Bao

We were born during a lightning storm, thunder cracking a whip through the hospital walls. Lei came first, not even crying when her head popped out. She pulled me by the ankle, and I tumbled and bawled as I left the comfort of the womb.

Our mother cursed in Mandarin when the nurse brought in the paperwork for the birth certificates. We were one month early, and she hadn’t picked out names yet. Our grandmother, our wai po, piped up from her stool next to the bed.

“Xiao Lei, Xiao Yu. Little Thunder, Little Rain. The thunderstorm brought them here tonight,” wai po said, leaving no room for argument.

Our mother wrote the names in crisp English letters. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 423: For He Can Creep – Part 2

Show Notes

Extract from Jubilate Agno


For He Can Creep

by Siobhan Carroll

Part 1 – Part 2

Jeoffry is in pain. The bite the devil gave him throbs fiercely. It is in the wrong place to lick, and yet he tries, and that hurts too.

Poor Jeoffry! Poor Jeoffry! the poet says. O you brave cat. May the Lord Jesus bless you and your wounds.

Jeoffry’s ears flick back and forth. Worse than the pain is the heaviness in his chest that comes from having lost a fight. Jeoffry lose a fight! Such things were possible when he was a kitten, but now—

I can feel the paper calling to me even now, the poet sighs. O Jeoffry, sleep here and grow well again. I must to my task. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 422: For He Can Creep – Part 1


For He Can Creep

by Siobhan Carroll

Flash and fire! Bristle and spit! The great Jeoffry ascends the madhouse stairs, his orange fur on end, his yellow eyes narrowed!

On the third floor the imps cease their gamboling. Is this the time they stay and fight? One imp, bolder than the others, flattens himself against the flagstones. He swells himself with nightmares, growing huge. His teeth shine like the sword of an executioner, and his eyes are the colors of spilled whale oil before a match is struck. In their cells, the filthy inmates shrink away from his immensity, wailing.

But Jeoffry does not shrink. He rushes up the last few stairs like the Deluge of God, and his claws are sharp! The imps run screaming, flitting into folds of space only angels and devils can penetrate.

In the hallway, Jeoffry cleans the smoking blood off his claws. Some of the humans whisper their thanks to him; some even dare to stroke his fur through the bars. Sometimes Jeoffry accepts this praise and sometimes he is bored by it. Today, annoyed by the imps’ vain show of defiance, he leaves his scent on every door. This cell is his, and this one. The whole asylum is his, and let no demon forget it! For he is the Cat Jeoffry, and no demon can stand against him. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 421: We Sang You As Ours


We Sang You As Ours

by Nibedita Sen

The new egg was going to be a boy.

Cadence had overheard Mother Reed and Mother Piper saying so in the kitchen, last night, after they were done singing to it. She didn’t know how they could tell–it looked just like her little sisters’ eggs had. Maybe a bit bigger than theirs had been at three days old, but otherwise the same: fat as a pumpkin and ribbed like one, flushed with the faintest hint of venous blue. It looked like the dead jellyfish that would sometimes wash up on the beach, plump and gelatinous, clear near the surface and fibrous white at its heart, making you want to dig your fingers in, or maybe take a bite. (Continue Reading…)

episode art 420

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Cast of Wonders 420: Devil’s Bridge


Devil’s Bridge

by Frances Hardinge

“That man.” Lauren peered across the street, eyes narrowed. “He was outside school when we came out. I think he’s following us.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 419: Little Wonders 26 – Fathers’ Day


The Last PoMatic
by Amanda Helms

Rain dripped down PoMatic!365’s chassis and occluded its camera. Running its tiny wiper over the lens, it continued the Standard Enticement Protocol.

“Step right up, folks! No visit to Blue Seas Boardwalk is complete without a customized poem from PoMatic! Love poems, haiku, sonnets, sestinas, free verse, all tailored to you, from a simple scan of your identichip! No two poems are ever the same!” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 418: So Much Cooking


So Much Cooking

by Naomi Kritzer

Carole’s Roast Chicken

This is a food blog, not a disease blog, but of course the rumors all over about bird flu are making me nervous. I don’t know about you, but I deal with anxiety by cooking. So much cooking. But, I’m trying to stick to that New Year’s resolution to share four healthy recipes (entrées, salads, sides…) for every dessert recipe I post, and I just wrote about those lemon meringue bars last week. So even though I dealt with my anxiety yesterday by baking another batch of those bars, and possibly by eating half of them in one sitting, I am not going to bake that new recipe I found for pecan bars today. No! Instead, I’m going to make my friend Carole’s amazing roast chicken. Because how better to deal with fears of bird flu than by eating a bird, am I right? (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 417: Please, Stop Printing Unicorns


Please, Stop Printing Unicorns

by Fran Wilde

It shouldn’t need to be said that home bioprinters are not toys. And yet, as The New York Times reported last week, Fisher Price Waterhouse will soon offer a line of kid-friendly bioprinters in bright colors.

As a parent, I understand the temptation. There’s so much possibility here for creativity, for immersive learning through technology. But caution is necessary. The moral and environmental consequences of bioprinting extend far beyond the grasp of young minds. This is a moment for modeling moral behavior for tomorrow’s leaders, not a jumping-off point for imaginative hedonism.

Making bioprinting more accessible to the public — especially to children — will be likely to lead to even worse disasters than last Friday’s blockade of the Chicago I-899 skyways off-ramp by a herd of miniature unicorns. Sure, the unicorns (whose origins are unknown) were the size of ducklings, but their appearance caused several accidents and a moral quandary. (Continue Reading…)