Escape Artists

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  • Voting has started for the Podcastle Flash Fiction contest. Anyone who has made at least one post should be able to see the stories down in the Arcade.

    New groups are posted every two days through the end of April.

News

Voting has started for the Podcastle Flash Fiction contest. Anyone who has made at least one post should be able to see the stories down in the Arcade.

New groups are posted every two days through the end of April.

Author Topic: PC672: Rewind  (Read 102 times)

Ocicat

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on: April 05, 2021, 01:02:00 AM
PodCastle 672: Rewind

Author: Josh Rountree
Narrator: Peter Behravesh
Host: Setsu Uzume
Audio Producer: Peter Behravesh

Previously published in the Eighteen anthology from Underland Press.

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Content Warning:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Show Notes
Rated PG-13.



The dust biker comes into the video store that afternoon looking for slasher flicks. He heads straight to the horror section, not bothering to remove his breathing apparatus, and pulls a couple of classics from the shelf. Friday the 13th Part III and the original Halloween.

“You like this kind of stuff?” I ask when he hands the tapes to me for checkout.

“Yeah, so?” His voice is a mechanical whine and the desert winds have rendered his gray body suit smooth and practically transparent. I can’t see his eyes through the scored surface of his goggles, but I can feel the edge in the way he’s staring at me.

“I like them too,” I say. “I’ve seen hundreds of them. Slasher flicks, I mean.”

“Yeah, so what’s the best one?”

I don’t even have to think about it. “You ever seen Sleepaway Camp?”

His neck makes a stretching, leathery sound as he shakes his head side to side. “No.”

I sprint to the back of the store, pull the sun faded VHS box from the shelf, and add it to his pile. “On the house. Just let me know what you think when you drop it off.”

“You aren’t charging me?”

“No, just a favor from one fan to another.”

He might be smiling but I can’t see through the grill of his mask. He looms there like Jason Voorhees, silent and unreadable. Dust rides the creases of his suit and he reeks of illegal petroleum. He’s s seven-foot shadow come to life, an abstract artist’s rendering of torn metal and melted rubber pooling along an endless broken highway. He exhales heavily and it sounds like the rattle of failing pistons.

“Do you have a bag?”

I bag up his tapes and he grunts his thanks on the way out the door. The front wall of the store is made of glass and I watch as he starts his bike and speeds away toward the shimmering red horizon.

I hope he likes the movie.




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Álex Souza

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Reply #1 on: April 05, 2021, 12:05:52 PM
This story gave me mixed feelings. :o

I’m confused if this was supposed to be a parody of something or comedy. Or both. Or something else entirely.

The MC works in a retro VHS rental store while, outside, the world has gone SHTF. It’s pretty much Fallout or Borderlands or Metro 2033 or anything like that outdoors, and the MC is a shut-in that just don't care. I like this concept. Reminds me of myself. Watching anime while protests are erupting outside is a big chunk of my life.
 
I understand that the protagonist is a troll that likes to mess with people by recommending bad movies to them (Sleepaway Camp! Oh Gosh, that ending! I cannot unsee it! My eyes! My eyes!). So I'm wondering if this is one of those stories that the author writes about himself. Does Josh Rountree like to recommend trash to his friends, only to mess with them? I dunno. Never heard of the guy.

There are some things happening that I got the joke, but I don’t know their purpose in the story. Like Groundhog Day watched on repeat or the following lines:
Quote
“There’s a musical I saw once that I liked but can’t remember what it’s called.” She turns and I see the scar bisecting her face.
“Is it the movie starring that guy who was in that other movie with that one girl?” I ask.
She smiles, and her teeth are crooked in just the right way. “Might be.”

It’s clearly inspired by the pandemic. So maybe the author is stuck at home with bad movies and post-apocalyptic videogames? The characters that come in the store, all geared up, are, like, his family coming back from the supermarket? Or maybe he likes bad movies so he decided to make jokes about those movies and then mixed these jokes into a story? I’m puzzled.

PS: Don’t get me wrong. I like bad movies. Acknowledging that they’re bad doesn’t mean I don’t like them ;).
« Last Edit: April 05, 2021, 02:29:32 PM by Álex Souza »

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