Saturday, May 24, 2014

Episode 9: Pete Mesling Reads - A Radio Gothic Experience

If you count the minutes between Radio Gothic episodes of The Bare Knuckle Podcast, number nine is here to save your day. Pete Mesling takes up the roll of narrator once again to read you two of his published short stories, and this week's picks are not for the weak-stomached.

The action kicks off with "Slipknot," Mesling's controversial story of racism and rape set in the Old West. Not only is this your chance to hear the author read his shocking tale in its entirety, but you'll get the scoop on why it was censored upon initial publication, and why it's now been restored to its full glory. "Slipknot" can also be found in the anthology The Zombist: Undead Western Tales, from the Library of the Living Dead Press.

For the trivia-minded among you, "Slipknot" sat for a long while with nary an undead component. The zombie element isn't something that Mesling would have forced, but when the idea struck, it seemed like the right direction to take the story in. When he saw that bringing in the supernatural resulted in a far more interesting tale, there was no turning back.

The second story you'll hear in episode nine is called "A Pound of Flesh," and it takes you in a very different, though just as harrowing, direction. This story originally saw the light of day in the Cathy Buburuz-edited Champagne Shivers 5, from Sam's Dot Publishing.

As is often the case when it comes to Mesling's creative process, "A Pound of Flesh" came to fruition when two ideas collided. One was that of a stranger who arrives at a man's apartment and proves difficult to get rid of. This didn't amount to a full-fledged premise until Mesling began asking himself, What if said man has a briefcase that the reader will think contains something mysterious, when in fact it is empty and its owner has come to collect rather than deliver?

The hard part has been done, folks. Your job is easy. Simply kick back and let yourself slide into a world of anxiety and dread. Like hammer blows to the base of the skull, this week's episode will leave you feeling refreshed and revivified when the brutality finally ends.

UPDATE: You can now read Mesling's "Slipknot" and "A Pound of Flesh" for free at his None So Deaf blog!

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