Author Topic: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket  (Read 3446 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« on: March 20, 2015, 07:48:54 PM »
Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket

by Eric Esser

“Thing In The Bucket” was first published in Fictionvale #1 which came out in November 2013. It hasn’t yet been reprinted. “The setting is inspired by southwestern Shropshire, and the period by the Elizabethan era. The story concept came from playing around the ideas of the Four Humours and spontaneous generation, although of course the generation I ultimately went with wasn’t really spontaneous.”

ERIC ESSER lives and writes in San Francisco with his love Courtney and their black cat Mina. When he was small he used to wander the perimeter of his elementary school soccer field every recess imagining stories set in other worlds, and for some reason no one ever made fun of him for it. He suspects they discussed him secretly. He is an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, a graduate of Clarion UCSD 2012, and his fiction has appeared most recently in the Awkward Robots: The Red Volume anthology, a fundraiser for the Clarion Foundation and is forthcoming in The Electronic Voice Phenomenon podcast and Fictionvale, among others. Visit him at ericesser.net or follow him on Twitter (@ericdesser).

Your reader – Andrew Clarke — is a London-based musician, writer and actor who has created work for the stage, film and radio in an ongoing quest to work out how to make any money at all. He is currently writing the second series of The Lost Cat Podcast – which details the adventures he has had while looking for his lost cat – featuring monsters, ghosts, Old Ones, several ends of the world, some cats and lots and lots of wine. The first series can be found here. He is also currently demo-ing his latest album. The previous album, called ‘Bedrooms & Basements’ can be found at Bedrooms & Basements.

Brand Gamblin can be helped here and here



“‘Are you all right?’ he said.

She whispered, ‘I am bleeding.’

Pritcher dealt in the art of the bleed, so it was unsurprising she had come to him. ‘Can you show me?’

‘From inside.’ She pressed her belly, then brushed at her petticoat.

Pritcher considered Sarah’s young age and air of shame, and then smiled. ‘You mean it is worse than usual? Or at the wrong time?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘The time of month you bleed.’

She stared at him blankly. Was it possible she did not know? Her parents had died some years before, so she’d been raised by the barkeep, Elias Grubbs. He was well-meaning, but not the brightest man, and a widower without daughters of his own. Such subjects were not spoken of in Drumby Hole between young girls; the vicar taught them not to succumb to the corruption of flesh, to focus on God when it tempted them.

Surely someone must have taken an interest. That older barmaid, perhaps. ‘Has Lizzy never mentioned the curse?’

Sarah shook her head. ‘I’m cursed?’ Her voice trembled.”




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?

kibitzer

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2015, 05:54:25 PM »
Hi folks. Please note that when originally posted, the mp3 for this episode was slightly screwed up in the outro, with Al talking over himself near the end. This has now been rectified. If you have the screwed up version, just download it again into your podcatcher. Apologies for the slip.

Fenrix

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2015, 10:22:24 AM »
I'm going to set this on the shelf right next to The Wriggling Death and try not to look at either of them.

How the Barber saw the Thing was just as warped as the Aphex Twin video for "Come to Daddy".
All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 10:54:28 AM »
Eeeuggghh, yeah.  This one was hard to listen to, but in a good way.  Creepy, wrong horror.  I'm glad I'm not riding along in this guy's head anymore because eeuggh, especially from the moment he decided to give a young woman the treatment for her menstruation which he had never given to anyone so young or anyone who wasn't pregnant without any real idea of what would happen, it was steadily downhill from there.  I mean, a classical barber isn't exactly a paragon of scientific virtue at the best of times, making healthy people sick and sick people sicker, but even given the understanding of science and medicine at the time he very quickly went off the rails and never looked back.  The fact that something could be created in such a fashion makes me squirm just thinking about what it is, and in the end the little monster is him.  I don't know whether to feel sympathy for the little creature or not, but considering the volume of blood it needs to survive at even fetal proportions, there's no way something like that could live without it either killing at will or being fed by a large network of willing donors.

Sgarre1

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2015, 07:06:17 PM »
That is why we don't do summaries and try to keep warnings to an absolute minimum.

Glad you all enjoyed it.

ediblepenguin

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2015, 01:41:48 PM »
Definitely an uncomfortable story. Not just because of the metaphor of the thing in the bucket. I was most disgusted by the larger community, which typically, did nothing, despite the fact that the young girl had clearly told them what had happened.

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2015, 03:04:11 PM »
Hello! I'm the one who read it out. Thank you for the kind words - I hope the way I read it added to that sense of very listenable-ickiness.

First time through I did it as a straight narration - objective, omnipotent, outside of the action - but it felt too inert, and too one-dimensionally doom-filled (after all, *everything* that happens is dark and full of terrible portent).

So I started again, taking my lead for tone entirely from the main character's mood. Sometimes he's happy, sometimes worried, sometimes angry, always justifying his own actions to himself. I felt it came out much better - It's a much more effective sort of doom when there's some light and shadow for contrast. Plus, of course, you are inside this character's head and can't get out - from a POV perspective, you *are* him. Very icky! I enjoyed doing that a great deal though I too was very happy to leave his head at the end.

So thank you for listening, and for commenting, and I hope that Eric Esser liked how it turned out.

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2015, 07:22:49 AM »
Hello! I'm the one who read it out. Thank you for the kind words - I hope the way I read it added to that sense of very listenable-ickiness.

Yeesh.  Yes, you did.  Very much so.

And also, ew.

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2015, 03:33:10 PM »
Author here! Thanks so much to everyone who has commented on, enjoyed, and/or were disturbed by the story. This is the first time I have heard a story I wrote adapted, and I have to say it was a pretty mind-blowing experience. To those of you who felt uncomfortable listening, or worse, I was right there with you. My wife turned to me multiple times as we lay on our living room floor listening to it on our stereo with the lights down to say, “This is so much worse than just reading it,” and I could only nod dumbly in agreement. Andrew did such an amazing job of not only drawing out but adding layers of meaning to the story through his rendering of it that it felt new to me too, and so in listening I experienced all the horror inherent in that. So yes, Andrew, to say I liked it is an understatement, and I can only say thank you so much for how well you engaged with the story.

Not to limit multiple interpretations, which I tried to keep open in the final version, but I also wanted to say that I thought Alisdair’s comments at the end were spot on, even though, ironically (and shamefully) I had never before heard of a tulpa. I was trying in part to base the Barber’s perception of his relationship with the Thing on a parent-child relationship, and to do that one of the concepts I tried to keep in mind was how parents can project their hopes and fears on their children. From what I now understand (from my hasty reading of the “Tulpa” Wikipedia article), it is through that very kind of projection in combination with intense focus (read here as obsession) that one can create a tulpa (at least in the occult rather than subreddit sense). It is hard to overstate how exciting it is for me as a writer to have someone interpret my story in a broader context of which I was unaware and thereby teach me something about the story in the process.

I’ll be periodically checking back in these comments if anyone has anything in particular they are wondering about.  Thanks again for listening and commenting, and to Pseudopod for doing such a wonderful job.

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2015, 09:58:21 PM »
Most enthralling. One of those things you can't look at, yet you cant look away.  Made all the more hypnotising by the narrators voice.  Please please please have Andrew Clarke narrate again, please. 

Maxilu

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2015, 12:10:00 AM »
So, late to the party on this one. I liked it. I liked the metaphor behind it. And, well, a bucket of blood made its way into my art journal  next to the picture of a brain monster--because both become what they are fed. 

I spent most of the episode thinking that he was making a human--trying to feed the thing good, happy emotions, but also including darkness, anger, and fear. It wasn't until he started feeding animal blood that he lost control of the creation.

Anyway, well done.

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 07:21:47 PM »
*Shudder*

Until recently, I spent a good deal of my working life as a butcher. This is the first time that blood has made me squirm. So, congratulations.

Furthermore, this was an interesting take, intentional or not, on the homuncular myth, which I studied recently in a Uni Seminar. Essentially, the homuncular myth began as the idea that there is a perfect man inside every male seed, and that the only thing preventing the creation of a perfect man is the negative influence of the female womb, which turns it into a woman or an imperfect male.

A lot of homuncular stories revolved around removing women from the equation, in creating artificial wombs, using bits of animal tissue, or various other incubatory devices. (I don't know if you can find it, but "The Man-plant: Or, Scheme for Increasing and Improving the British Breed" By Vincent Miller, is a pretty good benchmark, and involves as creepy an individual as the barber who is endeavoring to to create a British Ubermensch, part of which required setting up his young housemaid to get pregnant with a virile specimen from town. Of course, he made sure to observe act in secret because...er... SCIENCE!!) . Some of these stories would claim that this was for the benefit of women, since these stories and interests were of an age when childbirth was arguably a death sentence, but it's impossible to separate it from sexist, patriarchal roots.

Thing in the Bucket was interesting in that the story was actually trying to refine perfection, which the barber ultimately saw as inherently female. Instead, it's the bestial traits that he seeks to weed out.

As well, considering the origin of homuncular myth, I can't help but wonder if there is more to the barber's relationship with his blood bucket than the author describes, especially since it becomes a vision of himself.....

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Re: Pseudopod 430: Thing In The Bucket
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2015, 12:08:58 PM »
*Shudder*

Until recently, I spent a good deal of my working life as a butcher. This is the first time that blood has made me squirm. So, congratulations.

Furthermore, this was an interesting take, intentional or not, on the homuncular myth, which I studied recently in a Uni Seminar. Essentially, the homuncular myth began as the idea that there is a perfect man inside every male seed, and that the only thing preventing the creation of a perfect man is the negative influence of the female womb, which turns it into a woman or an imperfect male.

A lot of homuncular stories revolved around removing women from the equation, in creating artificial wombs, using bits of animal tissue, or various other incubatory devices. (I don't know if you can find it, but "The Man-plant: Or, Scheme for Increasing and Improving the British Breed" By Vincent Miller, is a pretty good benchmark, and involves as creepy an individual as the barber who is endeavoring to to create a British Ubermensch, part of which required setting up his young housemaid to get pregnant with a virile specimen from town. Of course, he made sure to observe act in secret because...er... SCIENCE!!) . Some of these stories would claim that this was for the benefit of women, since these stories and interests were of an age when childbirth was arguably a death sentence, but it's impossible to separate it from sexist, patriarchal roots.

Thing in the Bucket was interesting in that the story was actually trying to refine perfection, which the barber ultimately saw as inherently female. Instead, it's the bestial traits that he seeks to weed out.

As well, considering the origin of homuncular myth, I can't help but wonder if there is more to the barber's relationship with his blood bucket than the author describes, especially since it becomes a vision of himself.....


hoo, I had not heard of that origin of the homunculus myth.  Super creepy, and I can see how that ties in here.