Tags: flash fiction, pulp fiction, weirdness
What is pulp, exactly, other than the stuff I don’t want in my orange juice?
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Over the Top Pulp Insanity
Igor had his simple humped ass bitch-slapped across the lab.
“Silence!” The doctor did not have time for simpering. “I have to fix your mess.”
*Or exploit it.*
The doctor spun on his heels—did he hear a voice? Dr. F surveyed the bloody destruction of his lab. It seemed so…raw, so carnal. Good thing he was wearing a lab coat, like evil scientists do.
He grabbed his assistant by the collar. “Where is it? Where is my creature?”
A husky, earthy voice hissed at him. “Right here, Doctor.”
All of this spinning was useless without a cape. His gaze was transfixed on the creature.
“Did you not know what I was when you stole my body? Silver stake in my chest, in a silver-lined casket?”
This shortcoming is why werewolves were frequently resurrected. But this creature was not just a werewolf. After his first monster was such a hit, he had to go deeper, harder, *more*…
The bottom half was a horse. The top half should have been a woman. Dr. F’s eyes searched frantically–escape, a weapon, his iPod—something.
“Looking for this, Herr Doctor?” The creature pulled out the tranquilizer gun. “This shit won’t work on me. Should work on you.” He crumbled to the ground. Samantha trotted over to Igor, who was trying to crawl out the door. “Hold on there, chum.” She picked him up. “How would you like to work for me?”
The good Doctor woke up not quite feeling himself. His eyes came into focus on what looked like a human body…but it had a lion’s head on it. The lion growled at him, but the body was strapped down. “Holy fu-“
“Ah, Doctor! You’re awake. Excellent!” Samantha was now human on her top half. She got right in his face and whispered, “Oh, you are going to *love* this!” She pulled the sheet off of him, revealing his body.
“I was really tempted–I was–to put your head on Igor’s body. But this was just a perfect opportunity.” The Doctor’s mouth was open in horror, but no noise came out. She admired her work, seeing the body writhing in a tank of water just below the doctor’s head. “I mean really–the Creature from the Black Lagoon just does not fall in your lap every day.”
Igor’s head came strolling in on top of the body of Johnny Depp. You couldn’t tell that by looking, but Igor loved to brag about it. “Some of Tim Burton’s best work, eh?”
Samantha said, “You have to stop saying that. No one gets it.”
“Doesn’t matter, Master; I’m happier than a pig in shit. Here’s the permits.”
“That’s what I’ll do next! Whose head should we put on a pig?”
By the time summer came, Samantha’s freak show was touring everywhere she was allowed. Igor was the managerial face of the circus, acting through her. Samantha herself was the headliner. She loved show business. Even the one night a month she was a werewolf didn’t stop her—but she did stay in a cage that night.
Dr. Frankenstein stayed in his tub. Due to a related anomaly that created the creature part of him also gave him an enzyme deficiency that caused his body to dry up and crack painfully if he was out of the water for very long. He looked forlornly at the cages of nightmarish creatures that his perfect vision had been perverted into. That is too many heads for a dog. A cat should not have the head of an anaconda. And seriously—a jackalope?
The Doctor’s nightmare was never-ending. Julie was the mermaid in the next tank over. The top half was human, and surprisingly pissed at her situation. She had no desire to explore her oral fixation with a weird fish-creature like Frankenstein, either. Maybe he should have waited few days before bringing it up, but he was never very good with women.
“Top-fish bottom-human would have been better.”
“What did you say, fish bait?”
“Give me some butter sauce.”
Samantha’s Circus of Freaks headed home, to Transylvania. This was the final insult, Frankenstein thought. Igor noticed the Doctor was more melancholy than usual. Since there was no show, however, there was no reason to medicate him. “What’s eating you, Gilbert Grape?”
“This was *my* home.”
“Well, it’s still in the fami—uh oh.”
“What did you say?”
“Best you ask Master.”
The doctor sloshed out of his tank. He had a good twenty minutes. He stood outside her office and eavesdropped on her phone conversation, then walked in when she hung up. “Explain to me how we are related.”
Reflexively her tail bristled. “You haven’t figured out how you know me?”
“Know you? The first time I ever saw you was when I…uh, when I did this to you.”
Samantha stepped closer to him, slowly. “You’ve operated on me once before. Maybe you don’t remember. I was a child. A boy… Your son.”
The memories came flooding back to him, as his skin scaled and dried, he welled up inside with tears. The son he had turned into a daughter. The son he had left on the doorsteps of an orphanage like casserole. “It…it was a mistake. I had to give you up. If I didn’t, something horrible would happen to you.”
“Lucky me.” Samantha noticed her father’s drying and cracking skin, took him in his arms and picked him up. He was bleeding in places. “Listen, Pop. There’s no hard feelings. I was happy as a woman. Getting turned into a werewolf was my own dumb luck. If it wasn’t for you, I would still be dead. And I never would have made it in show biz without you.”
She helped him back into his tank. “Maybe…maybe I’ll get a different body for you.”
“Sammy, I heard your phone call.”
“There aren’t wings big enough to make a rhinoceros fly.”
A scene I had to delete to make sure the story was under 1000 words:
[There, on the table, was the answer to the Doctor’s question: The head of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, alive, and floating in a jar like a celebrity cameo on Futurama. Dr Frankenstein shared the Creature’s obvious forlorn demeanor. He was also taken by how much the creature resembled Darth Vader (with mask). He sounded like him as well, with the ancient but complex machinery attached to him keeping him alive–probably against his will.]
Tags: dinosaurs, flash fiction, Westerns
For this week’s challenge, we had to include dinosaurs in the story. Finally, something I could sink my teeth into. Secretly, this is a mashup–see if you can guess what other genre or genres are in play.
To read more, stop by the Jurassic Park cafeteria here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Must Love Dinosaurs
The Masked Man shifted uncomfortably in his chair. The sheriff pressed on.
“Well, Reid? Come on. Do you want the job or not?”
“This is not—see, normally what we do—“
“Yeah, yeah. Truth, justice, the American dream. Not my problem. What *is* my problem is them animals down in Lizard Valley Gulch. Eatin’ livestock and so forth.”
The Masked Man caught his companion’s worried look and misinterpreted it. “Fine. We’ll do it.” The men stood up and shook hands. There was a glint in the eyes behind the mask. “I expect to get paid when we get back.” He looked around. “Saddle up, Tonto.”
The two men were quiet for most of the ride. Tonto was simmering on the inside. *I have to say something to this ridiculous fucker. He’s lost the vision. And his mind.* As he was about to speak, Reid spoke up.
“’Tonto.’ That’s a funny name for an Injun. Rather atypical.”
“Kemosabe, we need to have a discussion about your recent decisions, especially where you seem to have lost focus on our original mission statement.” He was glad to finally get it out.
“That’s another thing. ‘Kemosabe.’ I can’t help but think you’re calling me a son-of-bitch in your native tongue.”
“No, it’s merely an informal greeting from a dead aboriginal language. The connotation is positive. But look, Reid, I have to take issue with this current mission. This is not what I signed on for. We’re supposed to be searching for truth, justice, law and order, and so forth, while blindly turning our back to the federal government’s hypocritical eminent domain ideology.”
Reid turned and stared at Tonto. “You got a problem with that, cowboy?”
“What? Me? No, I’m all in. I know how to pick a winning horse. A fella’s got to eat.”
“Well, Sundance, that’s what *this* is all about: A fella’s got to eat. They’re paying us for this extermination job. In case you haven’t noticed, lofty ideas about fighting the good fight may get you laid but it sure don’t get you paid. A fella’s got to eat.”
They trotted along for a short distance before Reid said, “Hey, I started to ask about your name–?”
The swarthy Italian hushed him and pointed. They had a panoramic view of the valley below. From their vantage point they observed a small stampede of about three dozen head of cattle, running scared and making hysterical cow noises.
“What the Zeus?” The two observed two creatures they had never seen before, about twice the size of a large bull but standing upright like a bear—or a…a bird, or something. The animals screeched horrifically and seemed to be able to jump amazing distances—onto their prey. One cow went down in a bloody fashion and the rest of the herd scattered like giant roaches.
“I’m getting the fu—shit, Tonto, where’d you go?” His answer was a trail of dust not heading away, but heading *toward* the carnage. *That crazy sumbitch.* The Masked Man shook his head and followed, because the sidekick is not allowed to show up the hero. He read that in the manual.
By the time he got down to the scene, just a few minutes behind Tonto, he saw that friend had already dismounted and was approaching the now sated and tired animals with a noose. He observed him walk quietly and confidently up to them, whispering and making clucking noises. He slipped the noose easily around the neck of one of the beasts while stroking its rough, dry neck. The creature purred loudly. To Reid it sounded like a Buick with a bad muffler.
He followed suit, gathering his noose like Tonto. He noticed that they seemed to be lizards of some type, but they weren’t no Gila monsters. More like a giant bird. Tonto said, “Careful, Reid. Do like this,” and he made the noises that seemed to hypnotize and calm the beast. He got his noosed as well.
“Now? Now we ride.” With that, Tonto swung up on his animal’s back. The creature cawed like a bird. A big bird. A big blue and green bird, with orange feathers around its neck. Reid did the same.
They spent the better part of a week with the creatures, learning them. They were oddly docile towards the men, but their horses fared slightly worse. They didn’t need to eat every day, and they had just had a big meal. But after four days, the fragrant aroma of horse got to be too much for them, and they ate Tonto’s mount. He was heartbroken, but his saddle didn’t need much adjustment to fit his new mount, who he named “Robin.”
The Masked Man did the same, setting his horse free. Silver was a good horse, but he had the wild look of fear in eyes that only happens in thunderstorms or when you’re attacked by zombies. Reid named his new mount, “Batman.” When Tonto asked why, he said, “Came to me in a dream.”
They began their long ride back into town. These creatures had an odd gait, but no worse than a horse at a gallop. And they were *fast.*
“Are you ever going to tell me the deal with your name?”
“Oh, that.” Tonto spoke nonchalantly. “The chief of my tribe had it in for my dad—that’s part of why I left them yahoos. But the chief had naming rights on all babies. “He named me ‘Goat’s Afterbirth.’ That makes it hard to get laid in high school, for real.”
“So when I left, I renamed myself ‘Tonto.”
“What’s that mean?”
They continued to ride in silence.
Reid was lost in thought when Tonto broke his daze. “What the hell are you smiling about?”
The Masked Man said, “Oh, I was just thinking about how fighting for truth and justice is going to be a whole new ballgame now.”
Tonto laughed. “Kemosabe, you’re a sonuvabitch.”