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Episode 020: I Have No Mouth, Give Me Something to Sing About, Part 1

Guilliean reads part of her short story, I Have No Mouth, Give Me Something to Sing About.

Finally. Lunch. I could unwind for 60 minutes away from the madness and try to get back to square one before I would have to go back for another three hours and do it all again. What am I doing with my life? Why did I accept this job? Oh, that’s right, because I’ve got bills. How many other people have jumped into the abyss and been okay? Why am I so afraid?

These were the same questions I asked myself as I prepared my leftovers in our microwave, and fired up the TV in our break room. This particular TV got cable, one of the only ones that did on our floor, other than the dealer’s break room down the hall. It probably shared a link with the hotel rooms upstairs. No one questioned it and it was a welcome respite from the ugliness on the other side of the door.

Like most people who believed they were in the wrong career, lunch was the only intermission afforded to me from the false warmth I had to wear eight hours a day, five days a week. I chucked my gray jacket on my chair and glared at it. ‘Fake it ‘til you make it,’ they always said. I’d been here for over a year, and I had long ago seen the writing on the wall. I was so over it, I had hiked East over the Rocky Mountains already.

The door opened and the Filipino guy from the business center came storming in and sat down at the eight-top table they kept in our room. He seemed engrossed in something, scribbling on a scrap piece of paper. I quietly sat down across from him and began to eat. The television was playing E! It was a repeat of last week’s “Keeping with the Kardashians.” Bless their little cotton bobby socks. I tuned out but kept my eyes on the TV. Television had the wonderful addictive ability to prevent overclocking of internal processors further. God bless TV.

“Oh man,” he muttered, throwing the hotel-branded pen he was using aside. I never knew his name. But we were friendly.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he replied. “Well, not nothing. See, I DJ on the side, to make extra money.”

“Oh that’s cool,” I offered. “What do you spin?”

He smiled at me, appreciative that I knew the lingo. “Mostly hip-hop.” His face dropped into despair. “There’s rumors they’re planning on cutting our hours again, and I was thinking I could take on more gigs. I mean, if I could, I’d be a DJ full time.”

“So… you’re crunching the numbers, I guess?”

“Yeah, trying to see if I get X amount of gigs, then that would help. I mean, I could if I had to. But I also don’t know if I want to keep doing that, as good as it pays for a side hustle.”

I nodded. “Yeah, I feel you. I mean I get 40 hours here and there’s no shortage of work but I hate hospitality. It’s the only industry out here but I can’t live anywhere else. It’s too expensive and it’s not like I’ve got mad bills. It’s like that Smiths’ song, ‘why do I smile at people who I’d much rather kick in the eye.’ It’s so draining. I’m not cut out for this work!”

“I’ve never heard of that song, I’ll have to check it out,” he said.

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” I said, “you should definitely download it.”

He squinted at me. “What do you think I should do?”

The question caught me off guard. I don’t have my shit together, I shouldn’t be giving advice to anyone else. “I think you should do what you’re supposed to do.”


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Episode 019: The Balloon

Guilliean reads her short story, The Balloon.

“What a pretty balloon,” remarked the lady.

I looked up. It was a plain latex balloon, purple, tied off with two strings, weighed down by yellow, heart-shaped weights.

“Is it yours?” she asked.

I shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Well, you should take it,” she said. “It suits you.”

I shook my head. Wherever I was going, I didn’t need a balloon. I began to walk. I wasn’t even sure where I was. I wasn’t even sure where I was going. But it was quiet and I knew I wasn’t alone. I felt free if that made sense.

“Ow,” I said, a sharp pain erupting in my right wrist. I looked down at it. It was crooked. And bruised. I shook my arm gently and cried out in pain again. When did I break it? What was the black stuff embedded in my arm?

I saw the balloon again. From the corner of my eye. I turned my head abruptly, refusing its existence. I used my left arm to prop up my damaged wrist so I could continue my journey. I couldn’t quite piece together where I was going.

I was on a road now, and I could see the headlights of the cars going past me. I tried to wave them down, jumping up and down and screaming, and I guess I must’ve landed wrong because my ankle gave way.

I crumpled to the ground, howling in pain. My entire right side was electrified by searing pain. I smelled gasoline. I smelled an acrid scent I couldn’t place. I smelled the summer weeds that reminded me of my childhood driving up and down 132.

I looked up at the balloon that hadn’t left my side. There were headlights headed for me but I had no reflexes left to move. I saw the car stop short of me, crunching on the tempered glass pooled around me.

I blinked. And saw the balloon again. Only it turned to look at me. It had black circles on its face. They were its eyes. It had a yellow-shaped X where its mouth would be. The tuft of white on its head looked like clouds.

“Miss?” said the voice. It was a man. He had kind eyes.

“Oh my god, I think she’s…” said another voice. A woman. I felt the fear in her voice.

“Better call the cops,” the man said.

The balloon came to float beside me. Its heart-shaped hand reached for me. I took it as it helped me stand up. I couldn’t understand why it could hold my weight.

In the brightness of the headlights, in the darkness of that night, I saw the old lady again.

“Grandma Ethel,” I muttered.

I had few memories of her.

“Hello ducky,” she said gently. “Are you ready to go?”

I looked up at the balloon. It turned to smile at me.

“Yes, Grandma, I’m ready to go.”


Music: Horror Atmospheres and Accents from ZapSplat.


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News You Can Use

New way to tip the podcast: bitcoin!

Are you looking to support the podcast in a different way?

Podnews shared an article on how to accept satoshis.

I’ve got it embedded into the RSS feed, but if you want to contribute, check me out on PodcastIndex.

If you’re not keen on sending bitcoin, I always accept tips via Ko-Fi too.

Every penny (and sat!) goes back into the growth of Raconteuse Radio, and I thank you in advance.

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Episode 018: Seven Days Ago

Seven days ago, I created their world. Now, nobody will talk to me.

I’m going to be honest (and you won’t get that every day from a girl like me). I’m not a selfish deity. I was raised to share what I could with others in this sick, sad world of ours. I decided to create the ultimate microcosm of life, where the objects of my imagination could live as free as a bird. A universe so practical that they could exercise the ancient arts of love, war, magicks, and ultimately, responsibility.

But I gave them the ability to think, and that was probably my first mistake. In my defense, I wanted them to think, and to make their own decisions. That is the fundamental gift of any higher power who creates life. You should give your creations the ability to believe in what they want.

It backfired, as I should’ve foreseen. They laugh in my face when I send them signs that it was I who created them. At least, they used to. Now, they don’t even care. They’re oblivious to the miracles that I gave to them, simply by creating them. They lived their lives and gave me no inspiration to continue, whatsoever. Their lives are steeped in war, famine, and false idols, but they disregarded me constantly.

I suppose it’s my own fault. You give them an inch, they’ll take it a mile, as the old cliche goes.

One day, I decided to put them away. I opened the file I had made for the characters of the Other Land, and shook my head in embarrassment. They – in turn – stuck their tongues out at me and gave me a good old Bronx cheer. So with a click of my mouse, I stuck them in a folder on my computer that I hardly use. I essentially sent them on a time out.

They’re still sitting there, wondering what happened. They’re beginning to question their mere existence though, and that excites me. Not enough to get me to pay any more attention to them, but enough to say, “Don’t forget about us.” They’re living their lives, but so am I. I needed a break from all of their drama, and it’s working.

It’s time for me to pick up the pen again and I don’t know where to go from here. How do people commit words to the page for a living? They’re completely mad. But they’re my people. No bones about it.

Music: Just a Story from Music Sesame.


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Episode 017: Requiem for a Fallout Shelter

Happy 1 year anniversary to the podcast! To celebrate, Guilliean reads poems inspired by her short story of the same name.

  • Closed In
  • Lost Youth
  • How I Learned to Love the Bomb
  • overwhelmed
  • I Left My Heart in Mountain Valley
  • Desperate
  • Misfocusing/Safe with Me
  • Requiem’s Lament
  • Storm
  • Secondary Plot
  • Sick

Music: Ghosts Walk Here (Drumless Version)


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