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Author Topic: Pseudopod 158: Regulars  (Read 11347 times)

Bdoomed

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on: September 06, 2009, 03:56:39 AM
Pseudopod 158: Regulars

By Frank Oreto
Read by David Moore

It was nine p.m. when Jesus Christ tried to get into Drake’s Bar and Grill with no ID. Jimmy stood up from wrestling a new keg of Yuengling into position. He spotted Jesus and had to smile. In his 30 years of owning Drake’s, Jimmy had seen the local frat kids do a lot of laughable things, but they weren’t usually intentional, and more rarely still – were they clever. This, he had to admit, was both.

Christ’s apostles, all of whom seemed to be members of Phi Delta Theta, were arguing with Big Pete at the door. Pete, towering a good six inches over the largest Phi Delt , was calmly shaking his head.

Jimmy came from behind the bar and worked his way through the Saturday night Carson Street crowd until he was within talking distance of Pete, and Christ’s entourage.



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Scattercat

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Reply #1 on: September 06, 2009, 04:25:20 AM
I really enjoyed the first half of the story.  I was really getting into the story of Jimmy and his bar and his weird customers.  It was almost disappointing when the quasi-supernatural stuff started up.  I'd have actually been very interested in Jimmy's experiments in dabbling with actual illegal drugs in an effort to keep his bar going.  The mystery cult was an overt evil and made the moral decisions a lot less interesting.  I can believe someone agreeing to sell drugs because his dead wife believed it was the only way to make enough money; kidnapping and sacrifices and mystic rituals, not so much.

Overall, pretty good.  I wouldn't skip it in a book of short stories.  Damning with faint praise, I know, but there's not a lot that's "wrong," just stuff that didn't quite grab my imagination.

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kibitzer

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Reply #2 on: September 06, 2009, 12:56:16 PM
About halfway through, I thought, "How is this a horror story?" And then, with a single line, I knew.

Wonderful. I could feel and relate to the characters. Even when Jimmy turned out... a little nasty.


r4diation

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Reply #3 on: September 07, 2009, 08:36:22 PM
The beginning of the story showed promise, with well fleshed out characters, but it trailed off towards the end. It seemed was trying to dribble out just the right amount of information to lead us along without giving everything away, but he just didn't manage that in my eyes.



Unblinking

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Reply #4 on: September 09, 2009, 03:23:49 PM
Quite a good story.  The characters felt like real people, and the voice acting was good overall.  I didn't like the kid's voice, but no big deal.  I thought at the beginning that the Jesus might be an actual Jesus, so I was guessing in the wrong direction--not a bad thing, mind you.

I do have to agree with Scattercat that I would've been satisfied with dabbling in drugs rather than supernatural predators.  And that's unusual for me to say that, I pretty much always ask "more supernatural please!".  :)



Sgarre1

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Reply #5 on: September 09, 2009, 03:50:53 PM
I don't believe its explicitly stated anywhere in the story that the "regulars" are supernatural.  Scattercat used the term "mystery cult" which implies cultists, but not necessarily supernatural (or supernaturally empowered) ones.  I mean, they wear loafers and sneakers, etc....

I thought it was an interesting meditation on co-dependency and addiction linked in a number of interlocking societal forms (cigarettes, alcohol, marriage, drugs, murder).

Oh, and I liked the drug dealer's voice - sounded like Jonathan Richman with a cold....



Brave Space Monkey

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Reply #6 on: September 09, 2009, 07:13:30 PM
I really enjoyed the story.
Early on in the reading I like other found myself wondering where the "horror" was... It came. The "Horror" wasn't 3D CGI in ear splitting surround sound, half nude starlets covered in fake blood - horror. No, the horror was more the horror of simpler thing: hating your job, and know what it is doing to you.

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Unblinking

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Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 12:43:39 PM
I don't believe its explicitly stated anywhere in the story that the "regulars" are supernatural.  Scattercat used the term "mystery cult" which implies cultists, but not necessarily supernatural (or supernaturally empowered) ones.  I mean, they wear loafers and sneakers, etc....

I thought it was an interesting meditation on co-dependency and addiction linked in a number of interlocking societal forms (cigarettes, alcohol, marriage, drugs, murder).

Oh, and I liked the drug dealer's voice - sounded like Jonathan Richman with a cold....

Ah, I took the slurping noises to be vampiric or something along those lines.



Scattercat

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Reply #8 on: September 10, 2009, 12:45:41 PM
Right; it's not *explicitly* supernatural.  It could just be a weird cult that has drinking human blood etc. as part of their articles of faith and some wealthy members to let them bribe this random dude into providing them a source of new sacrifices.  Or it could be some kind of vampire/monster/whatever.  It's never really made clear.  (Which is fine, by the way.  I'm actually advocating for even less specificity and clarity. :-P)

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Russell Nash

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Reply #9 on: September 10, 2009, 03:40:40 PM
I think I've been to this bar.



bamugo

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Reply #10 on: September 10, 2009, 08:18:44 PM
I'm not a huge horror fan, although the genre is growing on me. I listen to Pseudopod mainly because I feel like I need to subscribe to the EA trifecta in its entirety.

I agree with others that the first part of the story was much more interesting than the big reveal at the end. It went from a really interesting character drama to a B listing horror short. I could see something like this showing up on Tales from the Crypt.



600south

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Reply #11 on: September 13, 2009, 05:23:26 AM
After reading these comments, I realize this story went completely over my head. Might have to listen again...



goatkeeper

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Reply #12 on: September 13, 2009, 11:49:13 PM

I thought it was an interesting meditation on co-dependency and addiction linked in a number of interlocking societal forms (cigarettes, alcohol, marriage, drugs, murder).


That's what I thought was really neat about it.  And plus the reveal at the end had "vampire" written all over it to me, with the description of the footwear, slurping etc, so add to the co-dependency/addiction list vampires to blood.

Todd's awakening to the realization/horror was really downplayed and I thought the author missed a potentially very chilling moment there.  However, I have to go against the grain and say that I thought this story's architecture gave it a nice crescendo to the finish, mostly setting at first, then character development, then the horror.  Good setting, well-constructed characters.  Also, nicely read.



MacArthurBug

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Reply #13 on: September 14, 2009, 11:45:46 AM
interesting and odd. I tuly enjoyed the intro, but got lost somewhere in the middle. Had to stop and start over to see where the twisted path of this story was going. Enjoyed this over all, the bags were an.. odd and interesting touch. If he isn't allowed to look at  "them" this means "They" wear them for each other. WHY?!?! how odd! good stuff.

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wakela

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Reply #14 on: September 15, 2009, 07:04:31 AM
I think this should have been a story about a lonely bar owner OR a horror story.  As it is it feels like a story about a lonely bar owner with a horror element tacked on to the end. 



Admitsit

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Reply #15 on: September 16, 2009, 12:34:13 PM
I think I've been to this bar.
Funny you'd say that. Living in Pittsburgh, I'm just about positive I have. I don't spend as much time in bars on the South Side or in Eljay's  as I did a few years ago, but damn that was an eerie read for me. This setting could be any of a few spots just a block or two from the bookstore. Frank has always seemed like a cool guy in the brief encounters I've had with him purchasing books, I'll have to make a point to get down there again. I wonder if I still have credit on file...



csrster

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Reply #16 on: September 17, 2009, 11:05:14 AM
I thought this was a great story, with excellent writing all the way through. The first and last sentences were particularly striking. For what
it's worth, I didn't think there was a supernatural element in the story and still don't, although I can see why some people read it that way.



AliceNred

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Reply #17 on: September 29, 2009, 05:10:30 AM
I thought over all it was a good story. Took a bit of time to get to the point.

I liked the most of the ending. That said, I would have liked to have know what the masks were for? Did the creatures stop by the basement first? Do they wear them so they do not know who the other members are like the KKK? I found the masks interesting, I just did not see the point of them, since he never looked at them and if he did, they would eating him.



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AliceNred

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Reply #18 on: September 29, 2009, 05:17:54 AM
Quite a good story.  The characters felt like real people, and the voice acting was good overall.  I didn't like the kid's voice, but no big deal.  I thought at the beginning that the Jesus might be an actual Jesus, so I was guessing in the wrong direction--not a bad thing, mind you.

I do have to agree with Scattercat that I would've been satisfied with dabbling in drugs rather than supernatural predators.  And that's unusual for me to say that, I pretty much always ask "more supernatural please!".  :)

For it did not go far enough into the supernatural arena's. I understand why he could not say what they looked like... I am fine with that. What I would have liked was more of her story, the wife. How did she come by her regulars? Why would she agree to such a thing?



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Millenium_King

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Reply #19 on: June 05, 2010, 12:17:47 AM
Liked it.  It was good - but not great.  Good narration.

Unfortunately, I felt that the beginning was very long and dragged on for some time before we even knew what the story was about.  Once the plot in ernest began, I was hooked - but a little let down at the somewhat weak payoff at the end.  It's not that it was a bad revelation, per se, but after SUCH a long buildup - I needed more.  This story would have done better had it been about half as long.

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ThinlyVeiledAlias

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Reply #20 on: June 09, 2010, 03:06:46 AM
I listened to The Hand You're Dealt and so tried this one. (same author and all). Liked it ok. It did feel a bit unbalanced. A bit like the story about the men gathering up dead soldiers bodies.  Except the dead soldier story (sorry. I can't remember the name, and I'm too lazy to check and come back) showed better writing skills.  This one did have Jesus peeing on people though. You got to give kudos for that.
    I noticed that Drake's Bar is a location in both stories.  And the bartender in Hand You're Dealt is named Jimmy and so I assume he's the bar owner from Regulars. I kind of like the idea of a bunch of slightly self referencing horror stories. 



Fenrix

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Reply #21 on: October 04, 2011, 07:26:55 PM
I really dug this one. I laughed out loud a couple times during the setup. Great dialogue and great character building. I thought Todd would provide soemthing to serve the regulars. I didn't realize how, so just damn.

I didn't take this as a vampire story. I recall the body disappearing without a trace by the end of the story. Why would vamps pay someone to provide a body but then take care of disposal themselves? Or cultists? I think there's something more all-consuming going on. Since they were in the kitchen, maybe they were making pate. It's written vaguely enough so that the reader/listener can take away whatever they feel is most effective for them. And frankly, the horror of what the monsters were doing is completely secondary to the horror of what sacrifices must be made on the part of the shopkeepers to keep the regulars satisfied.

interesting and odd. I tuly enjoyed the intro, but got lost somewhere in the middle. Had to stop and start over to see where the twisted path of this story was going. Enjoyed this over all, the bags were an.. odd and interesting touch. If he isn't allowed to look at  "them" this means "They" wear them for each other. WHY?!?! how odd! good stuff.

I was reminded of the bizarre scene in The Avengers movie when a group of conspirators show up to a board meeting all wearing fuzzy bear costumes.

I listened to The Hand You're Dealt and so tried this one. (same author and all). <snip>

I noticed that Drake's Bar is a location in both stories.  And the bartender in Hand You're Dealt is named Jimmy and so I assume he's the bar owner from Regulars. I kind of like the idea of a bunch of slightly self referencing horror stories. 

I didn't notice the connection before. That's pretty damn cool.




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HexD

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Reply #22 on: October 17, 2011, 05:39:43 AM
Good narration and a story that really got me in the end. Well done.



Marlboro

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Reply #23 on: December 20, 2019, 04:14:45 PM
I can only assume that the author forgot to fax the last page of the story in which Jesus busts through the barroom wall, screams "Transubstantiate THIS!" and begins staking vampires with a broken pool cue.


Pretty good story overall. I had missed the connection to The Hand That You're Dealt. This was the stronger story of the two, imo. Useless fact: I don't live very far from the author's home town.