A special throwback episode. With One week left in the Drabblecast Reborn Kickstarter, Norm presents one of his favorite surreal stories from deep in the archive by Hootingyard writer and Resonance FM radio personality Frank Key, and gives us a teaser about Frank’s commissioned story for Drabblecast Kickstarter Supporters
The bullet-riddled corpses of our dead crew-mates, all sixteen of them, are coffined up, and the coffins stacked as a makeshift ping pong table…
As a part of the Relaunch Prelaunch we revisit a listener favorite with special insight from the author, David D. Levine. Enjoy the “Director’s Cut: Charlie the Purple Giraffe Was Acting Strangely.”
Our feature originally aired in Episode # 113 way back in 2009. It is a unique tale set inside a televised cartoon world. Our main character, Charlie the purple giraffe, has a disturbing and profound view of his world, one not shared by his best friend Jerry the orange squirrel. Floating question marks, colored word balloons, it may not be as light, airy, and humorous as appears at first blush.
Stick around or skip ahead to minute 22:00 for Part 2 of the episode, with Special Commentary and conversation with David and Norm.
We begin our month-long celebration of H.P. Lovecraft with a dramatic reading of “The Cats of Ulthar.”
Lovecraft Month is our yearly celebration of H.P. and his sprawling mythos. All this month you’ll enjoy some awesome original stories commissioned just for Drabblecast listeners. We’re excited to be featuring works by three of our favorite authors, Rachael K. Jones, Jeremiah Tolbert, and Frank Key.
The Cats of Ulthar is one of Lovecraft’s shorter pieces. It was originally written in 1920.
It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroë and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.
A plate, a plate, another plate burst upon the kitchen tile. This one broke into three large pieces and assorted ceramic crumbs. Giraffe closed her long-lashed eyes and prayed to her many makers. Why in the world would the people make one hard thing that was so likely to smash into a second hard thing?
“Another one?” Ms. Mtombe yelled. “Get out of my kitchen immediately!” She seemed to have been lurking near the kitchen entrance in anticipation. Giraffe didn’t bother to look. That unshining face made guest appearances in her night terrors. It was Tuesday, so it would be the zebra print dress, the long strand of Moroccan beads, and those slapping gold sandals.
A change came over Charlie then, like a cloud passing in front of the sun. He placed his hands flat in his lap, straightened his neck, and took a deep breath. “Us,” he said at last. “They read us.”
A delightful Drabble evokes a sage summation of the style from Norm: the mark of a good drabble is the rolling of the eyes and sounds of chuckling. The feature is a unique tale set inside a televised cartoon world. Our main character, Charlie the purple giraffe, has a disturbing and profound view of his world, one not shared by his best friend Jerry the orange squirrel. Floating question marks, colored word balloons, it may not be as light, airy, and humorous as appears at first blush.
You couldn’t describe a rath. You couldn’t even look at one for more than a few seconds before you started getting a migraine aura. Rovers were just blots of shadow. The breeder was massive, armored, and had no recognizable features, save for its hideous, drooling, ragged edged maw. Irizarry didn’t know if it had eyes, or even needed them…
Thomas takes his lunch outside the shelter, on one of the park benches that look out over the interstate and down all the way to the containment pond. He has wondered whether a passerby seeing him from the highway would know whether he worked at the shelter or was one of its clients. He has had this thought most days that he has sat here. Today, though, his attention has been arrested by a small patch of gooselike objects floating out on the containment pond. If they are geese, it will be the first time he has seen a living thing on that pond.
My car was broken, and I had a class to teach at eleven. So I took the city bus, something I rarely do.
I spent last summer crawling through The Big Thicket with cameras and tape recorder, photographing and taping two of the last ivory-billed woodpeckers on the earth. You can see the films at your local Audubon Society showroom. This year I wanted something just as flashy but a little less taxing.
Perhaps a population study on the Bermuda cahow, or the New Zealand takahe. A month or so in the warm (not hot) sun would do me a world of good. To say nothing of the advance of science. I was idly leafing through Greenway’s Extinct and Vanishing Birds of the World. The city bus was winding its way through the ritzy neighborhoods of Austin, stopping to let off the chicanas, black women, and Vietnamese who tended the kitchens and gardens of the rich.
Father Leggett stood on the sidewalk and looked up at the three narrow stories of gray brick that was 207 East Charlton Street. Compared to the other edifices on Lafayette Square—the Colonial Dames fountain, the Low house, the Turner mansion, the cathedral of course—this house was decidedly ordinary, a reminder that even Savannah had buildings that did only what they needed to do, and nothing more.
He looked again at the note the secretary at St. John the Baptist had left on his desk. This note read:
Samuel sat on the balcony, enjoying the fading light of day. When the ventilator pushed air into his lungs, he savored the salt brine from the sea. He pretended that he had control over breath, but it was much a fantasy as adjusting his wheelchair….
Old Tom was a very tall man. He was so tall he didn’t even have a nickname for it. Ned Black, who was at least a head shorter, had been ‘Tower Block’ since the sixth grade, and Jack, the owner of the Hog’s Head Bar, had a sign up over the door saying ‘Mind Your Head, Ned’. But Tom was just Tom. It was like he was so tall it didn’t bear mentioning even for a joke: be a bit like ragging someone for breathing…
“Hostile movement! Well inside the perimeter! Well inside!” I stripped off my Immersive Response goggles as adrenaline surged through me. The virtual cityscape I’d been about to raze disappeared, replaced by our monitoring room’s many views of SesCo’s mining operations. On one screen, the red phosphorescent tracery of an intruder skated across a terrain map, a hot blip like blood spattering its way toward Pit 8.
At the sack’s bottom, beneath an empty donut box, he found the beef jerky. It tasted mostly of pepper, but underneath it had a tingly, metallic flavor he tried not to think about. Who knew what it might have been made from? He doubted there were any original-form cows, the o-cows, left to slaughter…
Translating… Appendix 820 of The Forbidden Greeny Jungle Field Guide. This series of audio files was created by TreeFrog7. It has been automatically translated into text
In this episode of the Drabblecast, heavily pregnant jungle explorer TreeFrog7 keeps a recorded diary of data she and her husband are collecting for the Forbidden Greeny Jungle Field Guide. As they close in on a legendary mature CPU plant (MCPU), a wild version of cultivated CPU plants used as personal computers, they encounter numerous jungle creatures including an enormous flightless moth protecting the plant. Despite its attacks, the explorers do not want to kill the moth in case the MCPU needs it to survive. While treed by the moth in the MCPU, TreeFrog7 gives birth to their daughter while her husband downloads the MCPU’s data. Close enough to see the MCPU’s monitor, they watch a rapidly shifting display of locations and symbols. TreeFrog7 realizes the images are getting closer to their own location and represent another explorer’s collected data. Finally, the scene fades and the monitor shows only two eyes. The diary ends with an entry by an unknown voice that implies the explorers have themselves been collected. In the drabble, a teenage boy fails to convince an uninterested, gum-snapping girl that he understands her feelings of otherness and isolation.
This episode of the Drabblecast presents “Bears Discover Fire,” by Terry Bisson. We examine and interpret humanity through anthropomorphism.
When bears discover fire, stop hibernating, and begin populating highway medians in the southern US, people notice. Their changing behavior highlights how other families react to changes in their own lives with varying degrees of acceptance and grace.
We stayed on the path. The light seemed to drip down from the canopy of the woods like rain. The going was easy, especially if we didn’t try to look at the path but let our feet find their own way.
Then through the trees I saw their fire…
Once, at the beginning, you asked why you were brought here. This is what I told you: your parents made a deal. I would rid them of their plague of rats, and they would pay me. I cleared the town of pests, easily done, and returned for my payment. They laughed at me and tried to send me away with less than they promised. Money is not important. Deals are.
The theme of this episode of the Drabblecast is fairy tale child abduction. In David is Six, David cannot wait to be seven. In his desperation, he strikes a bargain with a fairy that appears to him as a talking toad and is taken to the fairy queen. The Best Boy, The Brightest Boy picks up where the Pied Piper of Hamlin left off, following the children and the Piper into his kingdom under the mountain where after a series of cruel games and tests, only one boy remains alive. He becomes the Piper’s apprentice. In Broken, a father stumbles upon a fairy in the act of exchanging his disabled child for her own enchanted brood. A heart-breaking decision follows.
The sound of running water came from ahead. The trail emerged from the woods and he looked up at the side of a rocky hill. A narrow waterfall trickled down the side of the rock, splashing into a pool of water.
His father claimed the water here was the most amazing color he’d ever seen – a vivid blue-green he’d dubbed Hokkaido green…
His home is in the dense jungle along the banks of the Liverpool River. Should anyone venture into that jungle Garkain, who can fly as well as walk, will wrap himself around the intruder, and smother him with the loose folds of skin which are attached to his arms and legs.
—Charles P. Mountford, The First Sunrise, 1971
In this episode of the Drabblecast podcast, the theme is mythical beasts and creatures, imagined, extinct or otherwise. Norm discuss fantastic animals from down Under (Australia). In the feature we are presented evidence of the existence of the frightful Garkain. The monster’s aspects are recalled in several accounts from eye witnesses and scholars.