Author Topic: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny  (Read 6437 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« on: July 10, 2015, 08:25:06 PM »
Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny

by Robert Reed

Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny” is original to Pseudopod.

ROBERT REED lives in Pekin, Indiana with his wife Shelley and despite what the title of the story might imply, they love animals and have 2 dogs, 5 cats and 3 sugar gliders and are amazed that the pets let them all live together. Robert and his daughter Stephanie started NaNoWriMo in 2010 and found writing a great way to spark story ideas and spend father daughter time together. Robert can be found on Facebook by searching for Robert A. Reed, where you can also find out what projects he is currently working on. Robert and his friend Craig co-edit a quarterly magazine called Man-O-Pause where we discuss all things media and story, with the spring issue focused on Euro-Horror. It can be found at MAN-O-PAUSE.

Your narrator – Dave Thompson – THOUGHT he escaped from Escape Artists… but is currently consulting editor emeritus for Podcastle!



“Ms. Simmons had asked me to speak plainly about what happened from the beginning, but I was scared at first. I told her I would try and tell her everything, but July was a hot month, I have a hard time membering things when it happens in the hot.

My mom had just died a few months before, and my dad left me here. I don’t think mama ever liked dad, she said he was a liar and a cheat and, mama said you can never trust a person like that. Aunt Jenny never loved me like mama did. She came closer to liking me more than dad did, but that wasn’t much at all. I didn’t have much of anything, but some clothes and a baseball bat. I didn’t even have a ball. I use to stand in the gravel driveway and throw rocks in the air and try to hit them. I’m a real hard swinger, that’s what dad said. Aunt Jenny said I was horrible at baseball and that I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. I thought that was funny, because barns were so big that anyone could hit a barn, as long as they got close enough.

In the hot of July, Aunt Jenny said I needed to get out from under her feet and if I was going to sleep under her roof and eat her food then I needed to contribute more to the house. When Aunt Jenny used the word contribute, she meant get a job. We lived in Hyde Park Indiana, I still do I guess, but mama doesn’t, cause she’s dead. Like I was saying, it was in the hot of July, and aunt Jenny wanted me to contribute. In Hyde Park there just ain’t that many jobs, specially when your nine years old. It’s a small town. It seemed to me that everyone grew corn, everyone had a truck and everyone had a dog. And usually not just one dog, but a bunch. Aunt Jenny said it was because that all dogs do is eat your food and have sex, and that one day, I would like sex; and then she laughed. I didn’t like being compared to a dog.”





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?

Ryan H

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 07:26:18 AM »
I liked this episode quite a bit (and was relieved the "puppy killing" wasn't too extensive). I've been a fan of Robert Reed since reading his story "Five Thrillers" in F&SF. The reading of the story was GREAT, and Dave Thompson gave the protagonist a lot of heart, and very reasonable consideration of events.

Also...did Alasdair throw in a sly reference to the sample from Beck's "Loser" after the story?
"...a driver, a winner. Things are gonna change, I can feel it."

Excellent.


robert.reed.auth

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 09:59:37 AM »
I am glad you enjoyed my story. My name is Robert Reed, but I am not THE Robert Reed of hundreds of books and stories. This is first and only published story to date. You have not been the only person to assume I was the great fantasy and science fiction author. I would hope to have a career as half as glorious as his, but until then I will keep plugging away the best I can. Again thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Alasdair5000

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2015, 01:57:58 PM »
I liked this episode quite a bit (and was relieved the "puppy killing" wasn't too extensive). I've been a fan of Robert Reed since reading his story "Five Thrillers" in F&SF. The reading of the story was GREAT, and Dave Thompson gave the protagonist a lot of heart, and very reasonable consideration of events.

Also...did Alasdair throw in a sly reference to the sample from Beck's "Loser" after the story?
"...a driver, a winner. Things are gonna change, I can feel it."

Excellent.


VERY well spotted! Yes I did:)

Ryan H

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2015, 08:38:19 PM »
I liked this episode quite a bit (and was relieved the "puppy killing" wasn't too extensive). I've been a fan of Robert Reed since reading his story "Five Thrillers" in F&SF. The reading of the story was GREAT, and Dave Thompson gave the protagonist a lot of heart, and very reasonable consideration of events.

Also...did Alasdair throw in a sly reference to the sample from Beck's "Loser" after the story?
"...a driver, a winner. Things are gonna change, I can feel it."

Excellent.


VERY well spotted! Yes I did:)

Thank you for the verification! It really made my week. I haven't coaxed my wife into being a full-fledged listener because she's not quite as into horror as I am, but on several occasions I've handed her the earbuds to listen to some of your exceptionally delightful or heartfelt comments (I find them all delightful, or heartfelt, or many times both, but even a woman with the patience of a saint shouldn't have earbuds thrust at her that often). Today I gave them to her just to hear that line, and she cracked up too.

Ryan H

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2015, 08:39:45 PM »
I am glad you enjoyed my story. My name is Robert Reed, but I am not THE Robert Reed of hundreds of books and stories. This is first and only published story to date. You have not been the only person to assume I was the great fantasy and science fiction author. I would hope to have a career as half as glorious as his, but until then I will keep plugging away the best I can. Again thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Robert, I sincerely apologize. I should have paid closer attention, but I have to say the story was so good I didn't doubt it was the work of an immensely accomplished author. Now that I know I'll be keeping an eye out for more of your stories in the future!

robert.reed.auth

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2015, 09:20:54 PM »
RonlyBonlyJones you are now my best friend. Thanks you are too kind.

DerangedMind

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2015, 09:26:27 PM »
I am glad you enjoyed my story. My name is Robert Reed, but I am not THE Robert Reed of hundreds of books and stories. This is first and only published story to date. You have not been the only person to assume I was the great fantasy and science fiction author. I would hope to have a career as half as glorious as his, but until then I will keep plugging away the best I can. Again thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

I'm glad I didn't realize that when I started listening to the story!  I started to turn it off after listening to the intro -- not sure if I wanted to deal with puppy killing  (and I'm *really* glad that it was humane, not torture!) -- but after hearing the author's name of 'Robert Reed', I decided to give it a chance.

And I'm glad I did!  The story was great! 

Unblinking

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2015, 02:56:40 PM »
This one was really hard to listen to, to sit through all the abuse this poor kid was put through, apparently just for sport.  I can't feel much grief over Aunt Jennie's death.  Even though most of the cruel ideas seemed to come from the boyfriend and Aunt Jennie seemed to show at least muted signs of regret and remorse for the things that were being done, she did still allow them to be done and she was along for the ride the whole way, and as his legal guardian it was her responsibility to care for him.  It was thematically appropriate (and logically consistent in his head) that their cruel lies for sport turned around in their grasp at the end and killed her (was he dead too? I don't remember).  But in the end, even though in a sense he is free of her, I don't think he will ever be free of this act.  If he ever grasps the full reality of the situation he will live with murder on his conscience, and he might end up spending the rest of his life in a psych ward when I think he could've otherwise had a very functional life with just some job training.  Worst of all, if he ever gets out, Peanut Butter will probably have already died.

I almost didn't listen because of the promise of puppy killing, because I am very much a dog person myself, but I decided to stick with it.  That was hard to listen to, but I made it through that part okay.

Overall, very effective, but hard to recommend because of some of the more touching elements.

I am glad you enjoyed my story. My name is Robert Reed, but I am not THE Robert Reed of hundreds of books and stories. This is first and only published story to date. You have not been the only person to assume I was the great fantasy and science fiction author. I would hope to have a career as half as glorious as his, but until then I will keep plugging away the best I can. Again thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Have you considered using a different name for publishing?  Maybe using a middle initial?  Having the exact same byline as a well-established author, that's going to cause you some ongoing problems with people mixing the two of you up.  If you are ever considering writing novels, any publisher you end up with would almost definitely ask you to not use the exact same name, because otherwise there'll just a whole shelf of Robert Reed and easy way to tell from the spines which are which.

For instance, there is a Kevin J. Anderson and a Kevin Anderson who are separate people.

Anyway, just a thought.

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2015, 09:48:34 PM »
Thanks for listening to the story. At the end of the story Carl was locked in the cellar and was probably taken into custody. As for Oliver, I've written several stories about him as an adult and while they don't have much in continuity, they revolve around him making his way in the world being just a little naive.
This is my first published work and It never crossed my mind that my name would be confused with such a famous author. A rookie move on my part for sure. If I will be so fortunate to be published again I will use either Robert A. Reed or Robert Allen Reed.

Lisa3737

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2015, 07:54:22 PM »
I'm glad I listened to this story in spite of the warning.  Sad, moving, and poignant.  Excellent narration.  Well done all around.

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2015, 03:26:01 PM »
Great story. It is entirely possible that I am a sucker, but any violence against animals (particularly dogs) usually hits pretty hard for me in just about all types of media.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
It does disturb me a bit how deadened I am to violence against people in stories, while throwing just about any type of (non-murderous) animal into the mix gets me all fired up. I suppose you just see much more of the former in books, movies and TV.

The simple logic the kid applies to what he did is pretty poetic. I find it hard to feel any sympathy for Aunt Jennie at the end, but I do feel terrible for the kid. I think about what the future may hold for him at the end of the story and then realize I don't want to think about that too much.

Anyway, really well done.

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2015, 04:42:22 PM »
I'm a regular listener to all of the escape artists podcasts.  I love the content.   I'm a dog person and have always owned one...or more.
I was concerned when I heard the opening 'disclaimer/warning' for 'sensitive' people who don't like puppies being killed.  I'm thinking this is a horror show.  I was thinking what the heck could they be doing to puppies to cause a warning.  geez I'm thinking meat grinding or biting the heads off and gutting them for sacrifices to the cat gods...uuuu I get chills thinking about that. 

but seriously... I was shocked!!!!! 
its a dog.   
1. not a human
2.  not a retarded boy being physically, emotionally and socially abused and bullied by his aunt and her boy friend.
3. not an aunt that was violently murdered by the retarded kid.   
4. not a kid who was being lied to about anything and everything they wanted to lie to him about to manipulate him...including the fate of his other relatives.   

a dog.   
yes everyone loves puppy breath and puppies as a whole. 
but they are dogs...not (see list above). 

I was more scared after the episode thinking how sick the people are that have to be warned about a dog being euthanized but not a retarded kid murdering people.     

oh how really sad for our society.   

good story Reed.   keep'em coming. 





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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2015, 05:59:17 PM »
An interesting insight into our culture is that there is often a more visceral reaction to animal killing/abuse than the same acts on children and again more than the same acts on an adult. Some of this goes into a spectrum of innocence and ability to control one's surroundings and circumstances.

To draw an interesting parallel to current events I read some interesting anecdotal commentary comparing the outrage and response regarding the lion poaching this week to the response to #BlackLivesMatter.
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Millenium_King

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2015, 03:14:17 PM »
I have a somewhat noncommittal response to this one.  I thought it was interesting enough to keep me listening, but overall fell a little flat.  It reminded me of this Ray Bradbury story (the name of which I cannot remember, of course).  It was about a little boy who used the same sort of "false causation" to try to save his sick mother.  I remember a part where he is convinced that if he can run faster than this car past a telephone pole, that she would get better.  Anyone remember the name of that story?

Anyway, because of the similarity between these two, I could not help but compare them.  I thought Ray Bradbury's was more poignant (of course, it's tough to compete with him...).

My issue with this story is not the euthanasia of animals, but the "simple simon" protagonist.  I think it's a little off-putting to have a character who commits murder just because he is limited mentally and manages to reason his way to it in a child-like manner.  It seems to be something of a common fear, but it has always felt like there was some ableism there.  Stories like this seem to imply that mentally handicapped people can be unpredictable and violent.

I once conceived of a similar idea where a janitor kills a surgeon while trying to "cure" his migraines (by splitting his skull open, of course).  I never pursued it because I thought it disingenuous to imply that the killer only killed because he was handicapped.  To imply that a "normal" person in the same situation would not have resorted to murder.

Similar example in "The Village (film)."
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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2015, 04:31:16 PM »
That would be Bradbury's bittersweet ode to adolescent magical thinking, ""The Miracles Of Jamie"".

Millenium_King

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2015, 12:38:26 PM »
Thanks!
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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2015, 08:09:33 PM »
About a month ago,  on my birthday,  Pseudopod released my story and I couldn't have been more pleased. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to post and comment it really has meant the world to me. I would like to thank everyone at Pseudopod and  Dave Thompson this is my first ever published work and it truly is a dream come true. Thank you all very much and if you want to get in contact with me look for me on Facebook at Robert A. Reed.
Again, thanks.

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2015, 05:18:55 AM »
I'm a regular listener to all of the escape artists podcasts.  I love the content.   I'm a dog person and have always owned one...or more.
I was concerned when I heard the opening 'disclaimer/warning' for 'sensitive' people who don't like puppies being killed.  I'm thinking this is a horror show.  I was thinking what the heck could they be doing to puppies to cause a warning.  geez I'm thinking meat grinding or biting the heads off and gutting them for sacrifices to the cat gods...uuuu I get chills thinking about that. 

but seriously... I was shocked!!!!! 
its a dog.   
1. not a human
2.  not a retarded boy being physically, emotionally and socially abused and bullied by his aunt and her boy friend.
3. not an aunt that was violently murdered by the retarded kid.   
4. not a kid who was being lied to about anything and everything they wanted to lie to him about to manipulate him...including the fate of his other relatives.   

a dog.   
yes everyone loves puppy breath and puppies as a whole. 
but they are dogs...not (see list above). 

I was more scared after the episode thinking how sick the people are that have to be warned about a dog being euthanized but not a retarded kid murdering people.     

oh how really sad for our society.   

good story Reed.   keep'em coming. 






I completely agree with this sentiment, but would like to clarify the psychology that leads to this disturbingly misplaced type of sympathy. 

Most people that read horror have experienced very little of it in their actual life times.  That is why child abuse or violence toward humans can be easily desensitized.  Having a dog or other pet put through euthanasia, on the other hand, is a very common place procedure in our society, I having experienced two such events before the tender age of 18.  We can relate to this type of event much better than vampires biting our necks or people around us having their heads blown off and guts spilled on the floor, and that is why it may be more horrifying for some of us.       

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Re: Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2015, 11:36:20 AM »


My issue with this story is not the euthanasia of animals, but the "simple simon" protagonist.  I think it's a little off-putting to have a character who commits murder just because he is limited mentally and manages to reason his way to it in a child-like manner. 

I don't think the character was limited mentally -- he was a 9 year-old child. That's how kids think.