Friday, September 27, 2013

HEP - 55 - Gunning for Time Travelers

On this episode Al and Tony ruminate on the film adaptation of The Time Traveler's Wife. Tony envisions an entirely disproportionate revenge for the man who smashed up his car; the guys geek out about guns.

[NOTE/Spoilers for the book version of The Time Travler's Wife: In their discussion of the movie, the guys suggested a number of ways in which the story did not go far enough in exploring the specifics of time travel element. Upon further research, it appears that nearly EVERYTHING they discussed, including the teleporting fetus, were covered in the book.]


Samuel L. Jackson on Talking Bad

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

HEP - Short Echoes 7 - Zombies Have No Respect For Plumbing by Tony Southcotte

Zombies Have No Respect for Plumbing 
by Tony Southcotte

Zombies have no respect for plumbing. They don’t
teach you that when you fill out the paperwork for your
apprentice license.

Since the plague slowed down, people didn’t see the
need to finish off their family members. You just pay a
wrangler to tie them up, slap a rubber ball in the mouth,
and send them home. They may want to tussle with you every
once in a while, but for the most part they just sit there.

People hold on to some hope for a cure, but I know better.
Christ could raise Lazarus, but Lord knows he wouldn’t try
to bring a pork chop back to life.

I used to just pull hair out of drains. Use a snake or
some other such tool to drag natted balls of bath grime and
shaving leave-ins out of bathtubs.

This brings me to my current predicament. Standing in
the shower of some blue haired granny who just couldn’t say
goodbye to her oaf of a husband. I saw him walkin’ in, that
festering pile of meat. The red ball in his mouth would
have made him look like a pig on a spit, that is, if he
still had any natural color left in him.

She called to tell me her drain was backing up; that
a horrible smell and rusty colored substance was coming
through. I figured it was a sewage back up. Not my favorite
call, but you can gouge these people and they have to pay

Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t sewage.

When I start pullin’ the snake back, the white chunks
start dropping off the cable, little flaps of raw skin.
At this stage, it starts to fall off like a bad sunburn, 
only meatier. The smell hits me and I want to double over.
At least if the worst happens I am in a bathroom and can
easily find the can.

“Ma’am, do you know anything about this?” I ask,
pointing at the muck, retching under the stench. I’m pretty
sure more than a couple teeth are in the mess now.

“Oh dear. Why don’t you plumbers make these drains
good enough?”

“Well, we don’t expect you to push the cherished
remains of your dead husband down the drain.”

“But he needs his shower, his hygiene was never in
order, even before his accident. I just pushed it down with
my toes.”

Now, I normally don’t take kindly to this sort of
viscera, or the type of person who puts up with it, but
something struck me in that moment. Its brilliance was so
simple, but the idea that would revolutionize the in home
zombie phenomenon and plumbing as we know it. “Miss, would
you like me to install a garbage disposal in here?”

“Can you do that?”

Yes. Yes I can.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

HEP - Short Echoes 6 - Suspension by Caleb Newell and Hannah-Elizabeth Thompson

by Caleb Newell and Hannah-Elizabeth Thompson


Sometimes it looked like we were dancing.

There was nothing for us to hear, we could not verbally communicate anything. And so we watched each other. We watched each other dance. The slow motion twirls and spins. We found we couldn't speed up to reach anyone else, our only means of communication being found in glimpses when we managed to catch eye contact when our spinning matched up just right. 

The planet below became the center of my vision. I closed my eyes for this. I always do. It lasts for about an hour, until the blackness of space comes into view again. I sometimes imagine that the planet below is one I've never seen before. That it's inhabitants did not send me and my kind into the depths of space.

Suspended in the shadow of the planet. Freezing. But even the burning of the veins of ice creeping beneath my skin was relief compared to the hell that met us under the hateful glare of the sun.

Leo was nearest to me, perhaps twenty feet away. He was still in his suit from the job he had on the planet below. Possibly the least violent of any of us, Leo had created an extraordinarily stable life with the mortals. He had even convinced one of them that he had feelings for her. Finishing off the picture. 

Past him were the others. Veronica, Leland and Tobias. The mortals had sent out a larger group of us before, much larger. Perhaps ten thousand. We had managed, using pure luck, to avoid their advanced detection methods. The world had calmed until groups of citizens, conspiracy theorists, convinced that their neighbors and co-workers and mothers-in-law were our kind, started using homemade versions of the methods used by each government. 

It was the mist that did it.

The garlic mist.

Some of them flew little remote controlled planes around town, spewing the stuff into the air. This was effective enough to get one of us when it went out of range of the owner’s controller and began dropping low near a crosswalk. It was close enough for her skin and eyes to react - enough for the people around her to know.

As for the others, they caught us by leaving the stuff everywhere. The entrance of every grocery store and coffeehouse. Doorknobs of houses and clothing hangers in department stores. No one was happy about the stench that eventually built, but after they got Veronica, the complaints fell silent out of fear and curiosity.

The mortals couldn't kill us, they couldn't trust us, they couldn't throw us in a cage somewhere; we'd be meat taking up space many places couldn't afford. 

And so they sent us into space.

The first group was sent in a few pod-like things. Just stuffed in, really to the brim. One of them was kept on earth, to supposedly be sliced and diced. Good luck to them - they’ll never break his skin.

Later on, they decided that even the pods were too merciful, since they protected us from the harsh vacuum of space. They designed small ships that were designed to disintegrate in the later stages of its flight through the atmosphere, leaving us exposed as we are now. To the void outside that made the pressure of every pulse agonizing. That made it impossible to breathe. That left us with no insulation from the biting cold. And no protection from the sun.

That horrible burning star. And so our immortality becomes our greatest curse.

I would give anything to breathe again. To feel air in my lungs. Wind. Solid ground under my feet. Anything. Anything but this freezing void.

I feel a heat at my back as my dead eyes are still fixed on the planet. This isn’t normal; the sun won’t find us for another hour. An impact. Solid, excruciating, but not enough to break me. It sends me spinning out of control, but I catch a glimpse of the culprit: a small meteor. I watch it falling, a fiery tail growing behind it, the rock slowly grinding away as the atmosphere tears it apart. Eventually it disintegrates completely. Only then to I realize that I was not watching it descend below me.

I had been falling next to it. It had sent me on a path back to the planet’s surface.

I start to feel warm. The ice in my veins is thawing as the friction of the atmosphere tries to break me apart as it did the meteor. Tries, and fails. I will not die. I will survive the fall. There is so much to do on the surface. They will be made to regret what they did to us.

Finally, I will have my revenge. I will bleed them dry.


About the authors:

Hannah-Elizabeth Thompson is an escapee of Clovis, CA. She is the creative mind behind numerous internet radio shows and podcasts, most recently including A Poetry Show and the WIP Apples Over Oranges. She has a keen fascination with the human brain, and plans on pursuing a career in neurology. She can be found on twitter as @SherlockMadame.

Caleb Newell is a blogger living in West Virginia who loves peanut butter on his toast and his doctors Whovian. Talking to him is like talking to a dictionary, history book, newspaper and comic book all at once. He's a very tall fellow with an interest in...well, kind of everything. Currently he's pursuing a degree in computer science. He can be found on twitter as @PriorityDefault.

Friday, September 6, 2013

HEP - 52 - On Vengeance and Vampires

In this, the fifty-second episode of the Human  Echoes Podcast, Tony and Al pay off a long-running joke and review Man on Fire (Albert felt cheated by this title as Denzel Washington is not immolated by the end of the film). Also featured in this title is the wonderful story "Suspension" that won the Vampires in Space flash fiction contest.


[Retraction: Tony stated during the discussion of Tony Scott's suicide but, according to the coroners official report Tony Scott had no such illness at the time of his death.]