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Cast of Wonders 434: The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café


The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café

by Marie Croke

I came to her coffee shop, but never bought anything–things like that the owner’s bound to notice. Figured my days were numbered as soon as she took note, but my mom ran me off and the cold drove me in and there’s only so many stores one can pretend to be shopping at before people start looking at you all suspicious-like.

Took a coffee cup out of the trash and did the mime thing actors did, pretending to sip while I turned pages in my library book. Whenever the owner came near–wiping down a table, picking up dirty napkins, delivering a latte–I got all stiff, shoulders tense, waiting for her tap on them.

“Excuse me.”

Like I said…

“What are you reading?”

“A book,” I muttered, hugging the book awkwardly with my arm. (Continue Reading…)

shoes

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Cast of Wonders 432: 12 Tanzen Lane


12 Tanzen Lane

by H. E. Casson

Tanzen House was Victorian. At the time, I didn’t know what Victorian meant.

Then Duo said, like it was a thing people just knew, “It means this house was built while Queen Victoria was alive.”

Yeah, I guess that made sense.

Our house was Victorian and my room was the smallest. Duo called it the shoe box, so I cut out pictures of shoes and decorated my door. Nikes, Adidas, Manolos – they were all shoes I couldn’t afford. I wore dollar store shoes and hand-me-downs. He thought that was funny. (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 414: Flowers for the Dead (Encore!)


Flowers for the Dead

by Jamie Mason

“ … out the windows on the left you’ll see the recent construction across the tops of the factory and high-rise buildings where the more powerful Infernals have established themselves as a kind of informal aristocracy. Originally called Morningside, this neighborhood was abandoned when the factory closed. But when our City passed laws regulating the Infernals, many moved here because of their restrictions on to employment, welfare, housing and healthcare. The majority live at street level, in poverty. High crime rates, addiction and violence remain ongoing concerns among this population of supernatural beings …”


Kyle transforms his thirty-seventh cigarette butt into a geranium as Sick Willy talks to the police.

“Oh yeah she slummed around with us. A lotta rich kids do. Come and walk on the wild side, spend a night in the shelter before running home to mom and dad. Figured she was no different.”

“Oh she’s different all right.” Harriman, the cop, flicks an irritated glance at Kyle as a geranium drops to the sidewalk. “Different enough to wind up dead.”

“She was a nice kid.”

“The murdered ones usually are. When was the last time you saw her?”

Kyle remembers. It was night before last at the park where they went to score dope from a Grower with power over the Earth elementals. They watched him stick a few seeds in the ground, incant and, five minutes later, hand over a bag of fresh rich buds. Kyle, Sick Willie, Trad, Gryphon and Kimberly, the new girl. The rich girl. The dead one.

(Continue Reading…)

Oak KNowers

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Cast of Wonders 404: The Oak Knowers (Part 2 of 2)


The Oak Knowers (Part 2)

by Wesley Jenkins

“I don’t know how to find someone like this,” says Priscilla, loudly, over the sudden swell of midnight noise.

“I do,” says Renia, strolling confidently to the edge of the pit and kneeling. Silently we join her. It’s not a message she sends, more like a scent, something more primal than emotion. We always know when she is calling us. Only Jamian, still manning the circle’s rim, remains standing. Renia looks up suddenly, straight into my eyes. I’m surprised to see fear on her face, though I know we all feel it, but there is also certainty. “The killer. I can feel him.”

(Continue Reading…)

Oak KNowers

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Cast of Wonders 403: The Oak Knowers (Part 1 of 2)


The Oak Knowers (Part 1)

by Wesley Jenkins

When the moon sits high, and our parents have passed out for sure, we gather in the grove to do our business.

We never call it magic. Magic is something magicians do, pulling rabbits out of hats. I guess witches turn princes into toads and sorcerers cruise from kingdom to kingdom, toppling regimes and screwing everything in sight, but we have never been so outrageous. For one thing, we believe in rules.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 402: Gwisins of the New Moon’s Eve


Gwisins of the New Moon’s Eve

by Russell Hemmell

We walk out of the subway. The first train of the day has left us in a Gangnam still asleep. The last party-goers stumble back to their dormitories, in the freezing haze of the morning. The pervasive smell of yakiniku reminds me I had no dinner last night. I look around at the early morning with a deep sense of disorientation. This is something Miyumi is familiar to- not me, never me. At 5.30 AM, I’d normally be in my deepest slumber, while my roommate thrives and revels.

But not today. Today we’re together in the twilight hours before dawn, when everything is possible, and the world doesn’t watch.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 386: Cosmetic Procedures (Encore!)


Cosmetic Procedures

by Desmond Warzel

When I became a private investigator, it wasn’t for excitement, or for money. The work is humdrum, and whatever noir romanticism the profession ever actually had is long gone (though I’ve got a raincoat, a fedora, and a dusty bottle of scotch in the closet, just in case they’re called for). As for money, there isn’t much–and I don’t need it anyway. I’m a dilettante, and utterly unashamed of it.

It was an ego boost, pure and simple. I suppose I just enjoyed the idea that, when some poor desperate soul was in dire straits, stretched to the breaking point, with nowhere to turn, I would be the one he’d call.

Well, now I’m sitting at my desk, unable to take my mind off the lower right-hand drawer, and the unique item therein, and I have no idea who I should call.

I am, however, extremely open to suggestions.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 359: Tiger, Tiger


Tiger, Tiger

By Drea Silvertooth

Echo had always thought that when the world ended, she’d either be running with a motley band of survivors or instantly vaporized. Not a single book, show or movie had prepared her for being apocalypse adjacent.

In the Tropical Asia building, protected by thick glass walls and a ventilation system designed to keep air warm in the winter and sticky in the summer, she hid with her animals. Warty pigs snuffled through the decorative undergrowth, a siamang family sung like sirens in the canopy overhead, and the Malayan tapir and small-clawed otters had taken residence around the cement-bottomed stream that wound through the exhibit. There was still no sign of the sloth bear or the orangutans. Echo wondered if, while she’d been lying face down in the public restroom fighting for consciousness, they might have been evacuated.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 348: Radio Free Heartland (Staff Picks 2018)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders highlights some of our favorite episodes from the previous year. It’s a great chance for us to take a bit of a breather, and let you, our listeners, catch up on any missed back episodes with new commentary from a different member of the crew.

Our final Staff Picks 2018 episode is hosted by editor Marguerite Kenner.


Radio Free Heartland

by Corey Mallonee

When the car was just a distant cloud of dust above the corn fields I turned to Smoke and told him, “You ought to know I shot someone.”

“We all do things we regret,” he said, without looking up from the circle he was drawing in the dirt. His radio sat in the middle of the circle, tuned to nothing, just a hiss of static. It was made of something he called Bakelite, which I guess is a fancy kind of old plastic. It was brown like it was supposed to look like wood.

“I didn’t say I regret it,” I said.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 331: Radio Free Heartland


Radio Free Heartland

by Corey Mallonee

When the car was just a distant cloud of dust above the corn fields I turned to Smoke and told him, “You ought to know I shot someone.”

“We all do things we regret,” he said, without looking up from the circle he was drawing in the dirt. His radio sat in the middle of the circle, tuned to nothing, just a hiss of static. It was made of something he called Bakelite, which I guess is a fancy kind of old plastic. It was brown like it was supposed to look like wood.

“I didn’t say I regret it,” I said.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 324: The Sound of Her Voice (Banned Books Week)


The Sound of Her Voice

by Jennifer Hykes

I saw her van as I turned the corner by the convenience store.  It was exactly as I remembered it: the coat of green paint cracked and faded now, but the logo unmistakable.  It was burned into my memory like a brand.

I moved before I even realized my old instincts were kicking in, pressing myself against the brick wall and slowing my breathing so the sound would not give me away.

Every nerve in my body tingled.  I watched. I waited.
(Continue Reading…)