Norm and author Ramsey Shehadeh talk about Mr. Rogers and the apocalypse.
“Birds Are What Come After.”
I don’t know if this is the same tape as last time, because They keep moving things around and stealing them. I don’t know who does it. It may be the staff here, or my own family when they come to visit, or the aliens, but somebody’s always doing it — taking my glasses, my tapes, my TV remote, anything I put down for a second. I don’t think it’s the other residents. I used to think that, but I don’t think they’re that organized. Some of them are a bit senile, to tell you the truth…
In this episode of the Drabblecast, Catherine is an 89-year-old nursing home resident plagued by someone who keeps taking her things and a son and daughter-in-law who treat her like a child. When she gets a visit from an alien named Tom, they strike a bargain: He will tell her who the thief is if she tells him the secret to longevity. His race does not live to old age, they die after reaching breeding age and having children (the human equivalent of about 40 years old); he is trying to learn how to extend their lifespan. Despite her insistence that there is no secret he doesn’t believe her, but does tell her no one is taking her stuff – she just can’t keep track of it. Catherine thinks he is lying because he didn’t like that she didn’t have an answer for him and becomes convinced that the people who are taking her stuff are actually looking for alien, looking for clues about their existence among her possessions. She makes a tape recording of her experience, hoping that when they inevitably take the tape and listen to it they will realize they have no reason to continue stealing from her since she will freely tell them everything she knows. In the drabble, a young girl wakes up with a new set of stitches and doesn’t stop searching until she finds the quarter the kidney fairy has left her.
Norm begins this with a warning concerning graphic violence and gore. We return to one of the Drabblecast’s favorite topics, the Zombie Apocalypse. The theme receives a fresh airing, which is just as well, as it was starting to smell. Sal Lemerond, veteran of the horror webzine “Necrotic Tissue,” posits the connection between drug addicts and zombies, in a 100-word drabble. Norm chimes in with a tasty public service announcement about the nutritional value of your brain on drugs. In the feature story, J. Alan Pierce whose work has appeared in Kaleidotrope, as well as twice on the Drabblecast (#18 “The One that Got Away” and #31 “Beekeepers”) – takes us through a zombie plague via the eyes of an early victim. The condition first manifests as Synthesesia, the scientific name for the ability to taste colors, smell sounds, and other bizarre sensory hallucinations. The story culminates in a family dispute and a choice betrayal.
I mean I’m a fan of the band rather than a fan of the concept. Although, hey, what’s not to like about the idea of being no longer subject to torture over the fires of greed, hatred and delusion? Free from all suffering – yes, that sounds pretty good. But if I really wanted to free of everything that makes us human then I probably wouldn’t dig bands like Nirvana any more, and that would be bad. Then I wouldn’t be me any more.
The energy and personality of a person can get stuck before it evaporates from our world. Wood is a fair dumping ground. Something about its pore size and how cellulose vibrates. A person can get himself pasted inside the wall or the floorboards. The body and brain quit, but the rest of the bastard lingers, and that’s the weird quantum trickery that for thousands of years people have called a ghost…
Jeff Soesbe, graduate of The Viable Paradise Workshop, gives us a tender feature about a family of the future, and a unique robot with a special purpose. In Drabble News, Norm Sherman makes all the men jealous with the tale of a sexual powerhouse: a prolific, philandering Guinea Pig! Norm tells us more about the Mega-Beast Death-Match. Feedback is for Episode #70 “Reality Bites!” and Episode #71 “Perfect Down Further.”
Glum weather in Baltimore inspires Norm to treat us all to a pair of melancholy stories. In Shane Shennen’s Drabble, “Ancient Apple Tree,” the passing of an old, faithful robot is mourned by nary an organic eye. Next, accomplished writer Mike Resnick (who appears in Drabblecast #67, “Malish,” and #102 “The Last Dog”) bases a sad tale of attrition and mourning on the traditional song “Old Blue.” Accompanied by Norm’s gentle rendition of the song, the story describes the mutual loyalty of a hermit and his canine companion in a harsh season. A grateful Norm confesses to his love of dogs after the song and story conclude. This is followed by feedback for Episodes #88 (“The Toys of Peace”) and #89 (“Starry Night”), which is generally positive.
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