Author Topic: PC371: The Fairy Ring  (Read 2633 times)


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on: July 08, 2015, 02:06:56 PM
PodCastle 371: The Fairy Ring

by Joe Pitkin

read by Steve Anderson

A PodCastle original!

I noticed another person in the room, the only other person, peering at me through a monocle. That was when lots of people in the city were wearing monocles—this wasn’t the first monocle I had seen today. The barista with the neck tattoos and the barbershop quartet moustache had a monocle when he served my tea. But this new person looked a little old for a hipster: short, slender, angular, wearing a three-piece cream colored suit, a fedora just taken off to reveal close-cropped thick black hair, barely gray—my first impression (which is everybody’s) was that the antiquarian was a person of great power. In fact, for a moment I thought Leonard Cohen was standing in front of me.

The antiquarian gestured at the chair opposite me to inquire whether it was free. With a sinking feeling I offered it: I foresaw small talk with a lonely old person. Not that I was especially interested in reading, but I was sitting there with a book—shouldn’t that have signaled something?

The antiquarian, I learned, was not much for small talk. “You are looking for a job, I see.” The voice was high and cracked, but still quite beautiful. “I am in need of a factotum.”

Rated PG.

Joe Pitkin has lived, taught, and studied in England, Hungary, Mexico, and most recently at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. He has done biological field work on the slopes of Mount St. Helens, and he lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and daughters. You can follow his work at his blog, The Subway Test:

Steve Anderson has narrated stories for all three Escape Artists podcasts (including a Parsec Award-winning story for PseudoPod).  He narrates audiobooks and produces online videos out of a home studio at, and he writes and performs live history programs on tour at Steve says, “If that sounds like an odd patchwork of things to piece together to do for a living… well, it is.  But thanks to this story, I finally have a succinct and impressive way of describing it: I’m a freelance factotum.”

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 12:02:21 PM by Talia »


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Reply #1 on: July 18, 2015, 12:04:46 AM
I for one quite enjoyed this story, a little peek into a curious and dangerous artifact, seeing the truth behind things can enlightening and frighting, and it can most definetly hurt. A lesson taught well via the Lion King. Equally one finds that once you have the truth, you have to do something with it, just holding it isn't of much use. If you see the danger but are unable to act you won't save anyone, even yourself! And this stroy catches all of that quite wonderfully and even holds onto off-kilter vibe that coffee shops with monocle wearing baristas hints are just around the corner.


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Reply #2 on: July 18, 2015, 01:36:56 PM
This was a rather interesting take on the Holmesian milieu. The active magic and the homuncular birth were wickedly bizarre.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


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Reply #3 on: July 20, 2015, 03:15:05 AM
This certainly went in an unexpected direction! I'm not completely satisfied with the antiquarian's explanations, but I'd like to hear more about this world.


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Reply #4 on: July 23, 2015, 02:27:45 PM
I had trouble focusing on this story for some reason.  Having not a lot of focus, I'm not sure I can pinpoint the reason.  Maybe I was just having an off day?  Sounds like other people dug it, so it's probably just me.  I should probably give it a relisten.


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Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 02:10:17 PM
Somehow this story reminded me of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, in a good way. Mysterious and possibly crazy elderly proprietor of an off-the-wall establishment draws in an unsuspecting young person who doesn't have much to lose. For their own good, of course! :D

It gave the impression of only dipping a toe into the great well this world has to offer. I also appreciated how the little details all came around. For example, the suggestion in the first few paragraphs that he pack a bag, forgotten as irrelevant until they wake up in sore need of some clothes!