Episode Art: Dave KrummenacherRead by: Aural Spice
The first time she woke, she was in the ruins of an abandoned gravity mine. At first the Community had chased around the outer strata of the great gloomy structure. But at last, close to the core, they reached a cramped ring. Here the central black hole’s gravity was so strong that light itself curved in closed orbits.
My boss, Danny, liked to brag that El Corazon was the best Tex-Mex restaurant just off the Vegas Strip. “Because of you, Bescha,” he’d say to me. “You keep the customers happy. You keep me out of trouble.”
I won’t say which part of my job was harder. I kept an eye on the help-wanted ads, in case something better came along.
Author Jay Lake knew about the devil and he knew about the clowns. When his story, Clown Eggs, first appeared on the Drabblecast, listeners said things like “This might be, hands-down, the weirdest story I’ve ever heard on [The Drabblecast]. I think I’m going to have nightmares forever. Can I send my therapy bills to you guys?” (Thanks, Talia)
In other words, people loved it.
Since then, the Drabblecast has produced three other outpourings from Jay’s singular vision of the world (or a world – or some worlds, but hopefully not our own). In fact, Jay’s last professional sale was “The Goat Cutter,” Drabblecast 321, the story from last April about the Devil in Texas. You remember that story- you can’t forget it, even though you’ve tried.
Jay lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, June 1, 2014. In tribute to Jay, we’re kicking off Drabbleclassics with several weeks of Jay Lake’s stories.
And now: Episode 115, Clown Eggs, first published May 25th, 2009.
The spring tide rolled across Momus Beach, tossing the flaccid corpses of clowns like so many torn balloons. Weathered to a dispirited pallor, they twisted in the foamy surf with the eternally surprised expressions of the dead..
The Drabble describes either an apocalyptic event, or a simple machine. The feature introduces us to old “bull” clown Uncle Swarmy. It’s not just another day at the beach. Learn more about the clown life cycle than you’re comfortable with!
1. The Tree
And so it came to pass, in the years past reckoning, when I served as a scribe in the court of the king, that there stood the last and only tree.
It is not known how this came to be the only tree. For a time there were disputing theories; it could hardly have happened by chance. As for me, I favor a hypothesis rooted in the fallacy of infinite halves. For in the strange world where we lived, it was once widely known that if you cross half a distance every day, forever and ever, you shall never reach your destination. Thus, if you consume half the riches of the world, every day, forever and ever, you shall always have some riches left. This truth was a fallacy. It is not possible to cut down half a tree.
Hunger has made you reckless. You track the sound of human voices through the woods until you find a man and a woman. They are shouting at each other. The woman slaps the man’s face. He presses his hand to his cheek for a moment, and then lunges at the woman, knocking her to the ground. He squeezes his hands tight about her throat. The noises she makes are ugly.
Your nostrils flare. You smell food. It is in the pack on the man’s back. You come closer to the couple, deliberately snapping a twig underfoot. The man whirls around, almost losing his grip on the woman. You point at the back pack.
They danced like young deer pawing the ground, they danced like devils let out of hell for the evening. They swung their hips and pranced and drank their fill of cactus–fruit wine.
They were shy creatures, the jackalope wives, though there was nothing shy about the way they danced. You could go your whole life and see no more of them than the flash of a tail vanishing around the backside of a boulder. If you were lucky, you might catch a whole line of them outlined against the sky, on the top of a bluff, the shadow of horns rising off their brows.
"A powerful reading and good example of how a story can be transformed when told out loud and told out loud well.
The Drabblecast is an award-winning, illustrated, listener-supported audio fiction magazine, released as a free to download, weekly podcast. It features short stories at the far side of weird, including science fiction, horror, fantasy, and everything in between. It is hosted and produced by Norm Sherman. The Drabblecast is open to submissions and is a paying market.
© 2007 - 2011 The Drabblecast. Narrated and Produced by Norm Sherman and released under a creative commons license