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Author Topic: PC128: Something Wicked This Way Plumbs  (Read 14649 times)
Heradel
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« on: October 26, 2010, 06:07:16 AM »

PodCastle 128: Something Wicked This Way Plumbs

by Vylar Kaftan

Read by Elie Hirschman (Voice Actor for Hire)

Originally published in Shimmer. (Read the text here!)

It happened last year.  I’d come into the office early, because I was on deadline–and a month behind on bills.  To make things worse, my girlfriend had the flu, and I’d promised to be there by 5 to take her boys trick-or-treating.  So here I was in the men’s restroom, at 7:30 on Halloween morning.  I shook out a few drops, zipped my pants, and went to the sink.  It’s one of those two-faucet deals with handles on each side and a wide central spigot.  I turned the cold water tap.

Candy streamed out of the faucet like the entrails of a slaughtered piñata.  The sink filled with Skittles, candy corn, and jellybeans.  They rattled against each other as they spilled over the basin’s edge.  Startled, I turned the faucet off.

I hoped someone was playing a Halloween prank, because the alternative was disturbing.  Or maybe I wasn’t awake yet.  I glanced at the mirror.  In dreams you’ve always got weird things about your face, like snakes crawling from your eyeballs.  But I looked normal.  A bit scruffy, and my sleepy eyes were bloodshot.  Neither of these were a problem for a freelance writer–in some circles, they might count as street cred.  I looked at the sink.  Still candy.

I went to my office for a paper bag.

Rated PG: Contains tentacles, and a whole lotta candy
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2010, 10:04:48 AM »

  Very cute story, and one that kept me guessing as it went. I really had no idea where it was going until it got there.

  Now I know that I should not nitpick in a story that is this silly, but I was surprised when Dana gave Gary a bologna sandwich. after her little rant about the un-healthiness of candy I would have expected tofu or granola. Also, I kind of expected Krishna to be a little more important to the story than just being used as a doorstop, don't know why though.

  Oh, and candy corn is nasty. I'd rather have the toothbrush Wink
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 07:40:16 AM »

I really liked the story. The X-Files were mentioned in the intro, so as I listened to this story, I couldn't help but think of the vampire episode with Luke Wilson and the kid from the Sandlot. I do like the funny horror stories and the way it was introduced as a flashback helps add to the enjoyment because you know the main character is ok (They've survived to tell the tale).  I think everyone works with someone like Dana, the kind of person you really don't mind being around, but at times you wonder what really makes them tick.

Happy Halloween!
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Ocicat
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 11:54:54 AM »

Still wondering... where *did* the candy come from?

...why do I think I don't want to know?
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 01:47:14 PM »

This story made me laugh several times.  Nicely done!

Also I liked Elie's interpretations of the characters.

(Speaking of which, Listener hasn't been around lately.  Anyone know where he went?)
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 02:01:38 PM »

(Speaking of which, Listener hasn't been around lately.  Anyone know where he went?)

Work plus gym membership plus minimum 2-hour RT commute daily = no time to write, blog, keep up on forums, or sleep enough. My weekdays literally consist of wake, gym, commute, work, commute, dinner, kid time, pack lunches, pack gym bag, and by then I'm so exhausted that I can't spend the rest of my 35 minutes doing anything but reading and going to sleep.

The more you know...
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 03:29:40 PM »

Wow, man.  My sympathies.  Thanks for letting us know, though.

At least the long commute gives you enough time to listen to stories and books (I hope).
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2010, 08:46:50 PM »

I loved this one!  It very reminiscent of one of my favorites, "The Moving Finger" by Stephen King (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moving_Finger_%28short_story%29); that one also involved a drain and was quite whimsical, albeit darker as Stephen King usually is.
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2010, 08:17:16 AM »

This one was quite fun, absurd.  I especially liked the revelation that the candy was child-bait--does it reflect badly on me if I admit that was my first guess?  Smiley

Where did the creepy-crawly get the candy, though? 

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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2010, 08:35:32 AM »

This was a totally super charming story. I loved it, from the narrator's initial punchy, up-beat tone, to his characterization of the other characters, to the story's own "screwball buddies against the outer dark" themes. This story had me smiling and laughing half way to work and half way home. In fact, I'd go so far to say that this story was nearly perfect: every word placed exactly where it belonged, every plot point paced in just the right way. Wonderful. I need to look out for more stuff by this author.

And, finally, I enjoyed the Oakland shout-out. I teach middle school in Oakland, I have to admit that I imagined the off-screen boyfriend as one of my boys, all growed up. It was a little thing, but it made me smile.
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 11:06:52 AM »

This one was quite fun, absurd.  I especially liked the revelation that the candy was child-bait--does it reflect badly on me if I admit that was my first guess?  Smiley

Where did the creepy-crawly get the candy, though? 



Perhaps that's another reason the candy was "slimy"?   ^_-

I don't recall anyone actually eating any of it.  Maybe the beast from beyond could only conjure up the image with its telepathy, so that's what it went with. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 12:27:06 PM »

This one was quite fun, absurd.  I especially liked the revelation that the candy was child-bait--does it reflect badly on me if I admit that was my first guess?  Smiley

Where did the creepy-crawly get the candy, though? 



Perhaps that's another reason the candy was "slimy"?   ^_-

I don't recall anyone actually eating any of it.  Maybe the beast from beyond could only conjure up the image with its telepathy, so that's what it went with. 

That's true!  Or maybe it had a particular talent of shaping and coloring its excrement!  Ewww....  I'm glad no one ate it.  In any case, I'm guessing it probably would have a tranquilizer effect to make the children easier prey.
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Ocicat
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 12:40:22 PM »

maybe it had a particular talent of shaping and coloring its excrement!  Ewww....  I'm glad no one ate it.  In any case, I'm guessing it probably would have a tranquilizer effect to make the children easier prey.

I repeat:

Still wondering... where *did* the candy come from?

...why do I think I don't want to know?
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2010, 04:49:24 PM »

I smiled.  It was cute.  Really, that's all one can say about a light-hearted piece that successfully achieves light-heartedness.

My wife (daikaisho) was deeply unenthused, however.  She wasn't sure if it was the story or the reading.  She's not much for cute, though...
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2010, 11:22:19 PM »

I really enjoyed this story. I thought the banter about magic vs. aliens was a nice comic relief. I was glad that at the end, he found a way to save the creature. It is nice to have a happy ending in a Halloween tale.
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2010, 05:00:20 AM »

I really enjoyed this story.
It was cute, and funny, and witty, and the voices were superbly done.
I'm not too worried about where the candy came from. It was a mass hallucination brought on by the telepathic powers of the creature. We never hear of it traveling too far beyond the bathroom (all the offices seem rather close by). Also, think of the difficulties in getting gummy bears and candy corn to actually travel through pipes bent and kinky, water-logged pipes.

This offers a plausible answer to a problem I've been speculating on for years.
See, I am one of that weird breed of sub-human males that actually read the instruction manual.
And I'd always assumed that they were translated from Chinese to English via Amharic by a Korean. That was the only reason I could think of that explains the terrible spelling and grammar used.
Now I know it's just the random tentacle pounding of a hungry extra-terrestrial.
It seems much more plausible, somehow.

Also, how did he (she? it?) get here? If it dies so quickly out of water...
That's just a side point and does not detract from my enjoyment of the story. Just a little something to ponder afterwards, and perhaps best left to the readers' imaginations.
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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2010, 09:06:36 AM »

maybe it had a particular talent of shaping and coloring its excrement!  Ewww....  I'm glad no one ate it.  In any case, I'm guessing it probably would have a tranquilizer effect to make the children easier prey.

I repeat:

Still wondering... where *did* the candy come from?

...why do I think I don't want to know?

Oh, was that a hypothetical question?  I thought I'd hazard a guess at the specifics.  Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2010, 09:09:19 AM »

Also, how did he (she? it?) get here? If it dies so quickly out of water...
That's just a side point and does not detract from my enjoyment of the story. Just a little something to ponder afterwards, and perhaps best left to the readers' imaginations.

If it doesn't require too much water, then it could reside in the P-trap (I think that's what they're called).  It's a bend in the pipe intended to fill with and hold a small amount of liquid at all times.  The purpose is that the liquid keeps stinky gases from rising up from the piping system, but it could help keep a water creature wet--there's not a lot there, so it would probably be like trying to keep a dolphin moist in a kiddie pool, but it might work for a very short stay.
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« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2010, 03:09:57 PM »

Also, how did he (she? it?) get here? If it dies so quickly out of water...
That's just a side point and does not detract from my enjoyment of the story. Just a little something to ponder afterwards, and perhaps best left to the readers' imaginations.

If it doesn't require too much water, then it could reside in the P-trap (I think that's what they're called).  It's a bend in the pipe intended to fill with and hold a small amount of liquid at all times. 

Yep, that's the P-trap. There are also double-bend types, called S-traps.

(I used to work in inventory control for a water heater service company).
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« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2010, 09:18:51 PM »

I loved this!  It was a light comedy that did everything a light comedy should do.
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