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Split Decision by David Perlmutter

Split Decision

by David Perlmutter
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Page 6

V.

Samuel Poodle’s intent, as he returned to the small house he had inherited from his parents, was remarkably similar to Hamilton Pomeranian’s—curl up in his plush, comfortable bed and go to sleep. Alas for him, like her, he found a stranger in his domicile when he arrived—one that, also like hers, was not of the Earth he knew.

He was a male dog like Sam himself, but there the similarities between them ended. The stranger’s fur was white, as opposed to Sam’s light gray, and he was both taller and more powerfully built than the Hudson High cheerleader. This meant that Sam would likely lose if he chose to fight him—though Sam was not much of a fighting guy, anyway. But what was most odd to Sam was the stranger’s dress—a cape, speedo and boots, all red, with a white “R” insignia prominently displayed on all of them. At first, Sam wondered if his reputation had preceded him, and that this was a member of his “tribe” (as Jody had called them) who was after the particular brand of “loving” only he could conceivably supply. But that idea quickly passed—Sam knew full well that his “kind” didn’t advertize themselves that flamboyantly in public. Only beings who mocked them publicly, in the subtle racist fashion of the times, did that. So Sam decidedly to deal with this fellow purely based on what he clearly was: an invader of his personal sanctity.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “And how did you get into my house? I have a deadbolt!”

“I expected that from the likes of you,” answered the stranger curtly. Then, in mocking stereotypical “gay” tones, he added: “Even though you’ve likely seen some royalty in your time, huh? Just not me, sugar—not ‘til now!”

“And you are?” Sam prompted angrily.

“Remus The Twenty-Third,” came the reply, as the stranger switched back to his normal, commanding heterosexual tone of voice. “I’m the King—KING, mind you—of a little plot of land way out there in the farthest regions of space. Some place that you could only dream of visiting!”

Sam, calling on his speed in place of his limited strength, tried to rush past Remus and escape him, but Remus caught him mid—sprint, and, with a powerful thrust, threw him backwards into a conveniently placed chair, from which the seemingly invincible monarch continued to pontificate down towards the secret agent/cheerleader, whom he clearly regarded as a very inferior being.

“I can come here to Earth whenever I damn well please,” Remus continued, “thanks to some rips in the space time continuum that some dumb humans created back in the days when nobody knew what the hell they were doing! I know what I want, though—to take over EARTH! Granted, I’ve been thwarted every time I’ve tried to do it in the past, but, I swear to God, NOT THIS TIME!”

“And I’m supposed to believe that?” countered Sam. “A long winded monologue from a guy who only claims to be a king,’ when he easily could just be a professional wrestler who can’t get a steady gig anymore!”

“DAMN YOU TO HELL, pal!” Remus snarled back viciously. “Didn’t I just tell you I was a king? Didn’t that Twenty-Third’ mean a damn thing to you? Yeah, I’m a king, and a damn good one, at that. You would be, too, if you had to live up to what twenty-two guys with your name did before you! I don’t have to take this kind of crap from a swish who goes around wearing a goddamn SKIRT!”

Sam’s blood boiled, and his fur nearly turned purple, upon hearing this remark.

“If you’re casting aspersions on my doghood, sir,” he snarled, “..then I suggest that you…”

He never completed the suggestion, for Remus grabbed his muzzle and began to squeeze it tightly.

“I don’t need to hear any more shit out of you, you tail chasing lemon squeezer!” Remus said. “I hate everything you guys are and what you stand for! Hell, I made it illegal in my armed forces so I wouldn’t have to look it in the face! And I wouldn’t even have crossed your threshold tonight were it not for the fact that my business partners seem to look on you as a big wheel of some sort. So I’m taking you with me as a way of sealing the deal, you dig? But that doesn’t mean I can’t personally think of you as the walking pile of slime you are—or to treat you like it if I feel so inclined. Which I do!”

He threw Sam down on the floor and allowed him to gain his breath.

“Come on!” Remus ordered, motioning for Sam to rise. “We’re late as it is, thanks to you being a stuck—up jerk—like all the guys in your “tribe” pretty much are. Get up, damn it!”

He kicked Sam in the skirt to emphasize his need for prompt compliance. After whining in obvious pain from the kick for a few seconds, Sam slowly rose up. In spite of the pain, however, Sam was still defiant, and his next words made that clear to Remus.

“I insist on my right to have one phone call before you abduct me!” Sam said.

“Do I look like a cop to you?” retorted Remus.

“If you’re after me for the reason I think you are,” responded Sam, “then I have to let my associate know about it. You know, in case she wants to liberate me from your clutches, which I have no doubt that she will!”

“Whadaya mean, your…?” began Remus.

Then he stopped—and suddenly seemed to realize what Sam was getting at.

“Fine, twist!” Remus said. “Go ahead and call her. But first, I’m gonna tell you what to say—cause she needs to be where I want her to be for this whole thing to work! Here—use my phone! But you say exactly what I want you to say, understand? Or else I’ll rip your skirt clean off of you and put my boots to you—and not in a way you’re gonna like! Dig? And don’t talk so damn long, either. I’m gonna get stuck with roaming charges for every damn call I make on your planet. Yeesh!”

So saying, he tossed his phone to Sam with a warning glare, and Sam, not wasting any time, called the phone number of his best friend.

After returning from her adventure on the tennis court, Jody Ryder carefully placed her tennis trophy—one among many—in a private glass chamber bedecked with her athletic prizes, in the equally private chamber at Fort Hugopolis where she resided when she was not on athletic or superhero duty. This being done, she yawned mightily, and then lay down in the special decompression chamber that allowed her to “sleep” while making sure that her body was recharged with energy in the interim, not unlike the sleep patterns of her “natural” colleagues. It pleased her that she could be “just like them” in this way.

Alas, the twelve-hour slumber Jody had had in mind for herself was not to be. For, just over ninety minutes later, she was awoken—violently. One component of her robotic programming was a combination television/telephone concealed in her torso, which functioned the same as a cell phone in the outside world, except that it was only used between Jody and her colleagues at American Intelligence. Including—and especially—Sam.

As she vibrated, Jody sat bolt upright, opened her eyes, sighed deeply, and watched as the TV set emerged from out of her torso and pulled up to the level of her eyes. Sam, holding Remus’ cell phone camera up to his face, appeared on the screen immediately.

“Jody!” Sam croaked nervously. “Help!”

“What the hell is it?” responded Jody. “Have you got your toe stuck in the faucet again?”

Her tone implied that using this communication system was a privilege that Sam had perhaps abused—more than once—in the past.

“Yuk, yuk!” Sam said sarcastically. “This time I’m serious!”

“What is it?” Jody asked, now concerned. “Are you in trouble?”

Sam’s emphasis on the word “serious” was what convinced Jody because, for all his jocularity, Sam took his job seriously, more than even she did at times. And, though he had a tendency to exaggerate the status of problems he got himself into, he was very level headed in terms of an actual crisis, which is what this seemed to be right now.

“You might say that,” Sam said in response to Jody’s concerned questions. “It turns out that someone’s broken into my house, and he…”

“Get on with it!” Remus hissed off camera.

“Well, why don’t you talk to her, then?” said an annoyed Sam in response.

That got him a punch in the face from one of Remus’ fists, as the other one pulled his cell phone towards his own visage.

“What the hell…?” Jody exclaimed as her friend’s face was replaced by that of the stranger. “Who are you?”

Remus introduced himself, in the process displaying his typical immodesty by tacking on a large number of superlatives in addition to his name and number, hoping he might sway her feminine nature in his favor by boasting about his masculinity. It didn’t work. After enduring as much of his posturing as she could stand, Jody vocally made her displeasure with him known.

“You jerk!” she spat. “You better leave Sam alone until I get to wherever it is you are, or so help me…”

“Ah! A firecracker!” Remus leered. “I know how to fix your type!”

“That won’t wash, scumbag!” Jody shot back. “I’m a robot!”

A thwarted Remus swore, loudly, violently and profanely. Once he controlled his temper, he continued addressing her.

“Well, maybe I can’t hurt you the way I want to, but I can still hurt you!”

He took the camera off his face and pointed it back over onto a shiner—sporting Sam, miming firing a gun with his mouth as he did.

“You wouldn’t dare!” Jody roared.

“Think I wouldn’t?” Remus said as he put the camera back on himself. “You want to save your crush…”

“He’s not my BOYFRIEND!”

“…you get your metal plated ass over to the ruins of that old abandoned monastery outside of your town. And pronto, dig? Otherwise your faggot friend gets it!”

He signed off, and the screen went black, retreating into Jody’s torso as it did. Opening her chest soon afterwards, Jody “upgraded” herself into her all-powerful heroic form, waiting for the hatch in her room to open so she could fly out of it.

“When I get through with you, Mr. Remus The Twenty Third,” she vowed, “the only thing you’re going to be king’ of is YOUR LOUSY, PERVERTED MIND!”

With that, she took off out of the building to confront her newest enemy, and, as least she hoped, to prevail as she normally did.


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About the Author

David Perlmutter

David Perlmutter is a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Story Discussion

Stories by David Perlmutter

Split Decision by David Perlmutter

Split Decision

He was a male dog like Sam himself, but there the similarities between them ended. The stranger’s fur was white, as opposed to Sam’s light gray, and he was both taller and more powerfully built than the Hudson High cheerleader. This meant that Sam would likely lose if he chose to fight him—though Sam was not much of a fighting guy, anyway. But what was most odd to Sam was the stranger’s dress—a cape, speedo and boots, all red, with a white “R” insignia prominently displayed on all of them. At first, Sam wondered if his reputation had preceded him, and that this was a member of his “tribe” (as Jody had called them) who was after the particular brand of “loving” only he could conceivably supply. But that idea quickly passed—Sam knew full well that his “kind” didn’t advertize themselves that flamboyantly in public. Only beings who mocked them publicly, in the subtle racist fashion of the times, did that. So Sam decidedly to deal with this fellow purely based on what he clearly was: an invader of his personal sanctity.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “And how did you get into my house? I have a deadbolt!”

“I expected that from the likes of you,” answered the stranger curtly. Then, in mocking stereotypical “gay” tones, he added: “Even though you’ve likely seen some royalty in your time, huh? Just not me, sugar—not ‘til now!”

“And you are?” Sam prompted angrily.

“Remus The Twenty-Third,” came the reply, as the stranger switched back to his normal, commanding heterosexual tone of voice. “I’m the King—KING, mind you—of a little plot of land way out there in the farthest regions of space. Some place that you could only dream of visiting!”

Sam, calling on his speed in place of his limited strength, tried to rush past Remus and escape him, but Remus caught him mid—sprint, and, with a powerful thrust, threw him backwards into a conveniently placed chair, from which the seemingly invincible monarch continued to pontificate down towards the secret agent/cheerleader, whom he clearly regarded as a very inferior being.

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by Rhys Griffiths

The robot Robot by Rhys Griffiths

This sparked an activation in Robot’s GuardDog protocols, and it seized Mr. Rekubak, pinning his arm behind his back. When the conflict had dissolved and Mr. Rekubak’s heart rate had dropped, Robot let go. Mr. Rekubak took this as his cue to spin around and punch Robot in the face. Normally, a human being would find it nigh on impossible to damage a robot barehanded, due to their inferior strength and general ignorance of robotic functions, so Robot allowed the blow to his him square on. There was a loud noise, which Robot assumed was the bones in Mr. Rekubak’s hand.

From the corner of its vision, Robot saw an analog signal creeping inwards. Images of Mr. Rekubak nursing his fist and of Michelle crying disappeared behind a veil of zeros and ones.

What happens to Robot? Find out in this new story from Rhys Griffiths!

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The Person Who Puts Down the Keys

by DeAnna Knippling

The Person Who Puts Down the Keys by DeAnna Knippling

FTL pilots were a rare breed. They traveled the galaxy faster than light. Faster than it was possible to go. Strange things happened to them. They changed.

People who signed up were people with a death wish, or people with long-term ambitions. The desire to see one era disappear and be replaced by something else. At first, he’d thought he was one of the second kind.

What will Tom actually find when he returns? Find out in this new story by DeAnna Knippling.

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Eye of the Beholder

by Danica Green

Eye of the Beholder by Danica Green

“Hello Alice,” Brian said, not looking her in the eyes. She reached out a hand and tilted his chin up, opened her mouth to ask him why he was there but was silenced by a kiss before she could voice it. Brian kicked the door closed behind him as she stumbled back, carnally locked, then started to respond to his advances. When they broke apart, both were panting, hands arranged haphazardly on each other’s bodies.

“Brian,” Alice said warningly, “your wife.”

See what happens next in this new story by Danica Green

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The Wilson Boys and the Ship From Space

by Pete Wood

The Wilson Boys and the Ship From Space

Their Dad was Quentin Wilson, world famous detective. They hadn’t seen him all day, but that wasn’t unusual. The last few months he hadn’t been spending much time at home. The boys had left word with his answering service…

Dad had not gotten into many scrapes until about a year ago. Since then he seemed to be chloroformed and bound and gagged an awful lot…

Can the Wilson Boys solve the mystery without the full help of their detective dad? Find out in this new story by Pete Wood

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In the Shadow of the Watch

by Barbara E. Walton

In The Shadow of the Watch by Barbara E. Walton

Alitza scrambled backward until she hit a barrel then pulled herself up on it, trying to keep her feet on the wet and thrashing deck. The serpent caught her movement and turned its head toward her, baring its teeth. Its neck was narrow and writhing, its claws lashing at the ship.

“Alitza!” someone yelled. She couldn’t have responded if she’d wanted to, and didn’t try…

Will Alitza survive? Will she earn one of the coveted Apprenticeships? Find out in this new original fantasy story by Barbara E. Walton, author of Quantum Leap: Odyssey.

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Science Fiction, Fantasy Stories, 1 Story At a Time

We publish short (up to novella-length) fiction in all genres (although for now we'll be starting with Science Fiction and Fantasy).

Get Only What You Want
Stories in eBook/ePub and PDF

Pay no subscription fee—buy the stories that you want—in iPad/tablet-friendly eBook or PDF format! (For as little as $0.50!)

Free Intros

And of course you can't judge a story just by a title. Click through, and read the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the story, then decide!

What’s This All About?

Why Another New Fiction Site?

If you read short genre fiction—personally, I mostly read science fiction—then you're familiar with the traditional digest-sized pulp magazines. I'm thinking here of magazines like Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction or Asimov’s or Analog. Also Hitchcock’s and others in other genres.

They have their online analogues, too.

The thing about these magazines—and frankly they publish really good stuff—is that you have to buy the whole magazine. Suppose you’re flipping through one at a newsstand, and you see one story that looks interesting. Well, to get that one story, you’ve got to buy the whole magazine; and they retail for about $5. $6 for an electronic edition at FictionWise.

Why? In the digital age, on this Earth, why?

And answering that question—why—is why we’re here.

At Pulp Corner, you can buy only the stories that you want. We’ll give you about 1/3 of the story to sample for free, and if you want it, you can buy the whole story for $.25-$.75, depending on length. (And we’re sell in PDF and ePub to start with.)

And w’ll share a good percentage (details still to be worked out) of the revenues from those sales—and from display/banner/CPK ad revenue too—with our writers. We’ll pay on the back-end, on an ongoing basis (essentially royalties) rather than up-front for-hire.

This means that we don’t have limits on how many stories we can buy. We’ll publish anything we deem interesting and competent. No more, “Your story is good, but we sold the last spot in the issue to someone whose work is more popular.” And we intend to take full advantage of web technologies. We plan to eventually have a reader-rating system, and readers will be able to sort by other readers’ ratings.

Oh. And while my background is primarily in science fiction, we plan to publish in any and all genres: Mystery, horror, western, romance… Anything character-and-plot oriented.

Personally, I’m really excited about this new venture. And I want to hear from you. Our forum isn’t quite built yet (although the site does function), but in the meantime, you can email me at scott.epstein@pulpcorner.com.

About Me

I’ve written and read science fiction and mysteries since I was 7. More recently, I have 18 years’ experience in publishing, starting as an Editorial Assistant at Oxford University Press, then moving into Marketing at Elsevier Science, and then through a few other companies. I’m currently a Senior Product Manager at Springer SBM. This means: I have extensive experience in marketing (particularly the promotion of electronic publications), promotion, editorial, production, publishing operations, electronic publishing… You name it.

What’s Different About Us

In case you haven’t read my editorial on what makes PulpCorner.com different, and what it means for you the prospective contributor, here’s the executive summary. We aren‘t selling subscriptions, and we’re not looking to give your story away for free. Rather, we want to get your story into the hands of the readers who want it, without making them pay for the stories they don’t want. So your story will be “sold” on its own, in epub and PDF, for a competitive price. And—we split the revenue with you. This is a royalty—like with a book—only at a higher percentage.

This means two main things for you as writer. First: You will never hear from us a sentence like, “You’re story is good, but we don’t have room for it.” Because I publish electronically, and because I pay you a share of the sales revenue, I have no hard limiting factors—I can accept everything I judge to be a good story. This isn’t self-publishing; we will be reviewing and judging your story, editing it, designing and distributing it (and, just to be extra clear, at no fee).

I have 18 years’ experience in promoting published work, and I have an interest in maximizing story sales. But you can also do your part in promoting your own work on the PulpCorner.com.

Our Guidelines

We’re looking for character and plot driven genre fiction.

Submit via Submishmash here

My background is primarily in Science Fiction, and that’s where we’re starting. But going forward, we’ll be rolling out sub-sites in other genres like fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, western… If you see something missing from this list, please contact me.

Length

I’m looking for short to mid-length material; anything from flash-sized to 30,000 words or so.

The Process

We‘re using a system called Submishmash, accessible here. Please let us know if you run into any problems using the system.

Details

Please submit in standard manuscript format. SFWA guidelines are here.

Please no simultaneous submissions

I am looking for first electronic publishing rights. I do’t mind if you’ve had your story up for free on your own site or blog, but not in someone else’s magazine or site.

Eventually, I would like to sell your story through the iBookstore and Google Books (sharing the net revenue with you). You may opt out of that if you wish. You may also retain copyright if you wish.

I would also like to retain the right to electronically anthologize your work. You may also opt out of that, as well.

Submissions are now live!

Submit to the Pulp Corner

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