Far Fetched Fables


FarFetchedFables No 183 Paul R Hardy

Ep. 183

“Customer Service Hobgoblin” by Paul R. Hardy

(Originally published in Unidentified Funny Objects 5.)


"Good morning, you're through to Robin. How may I receive your prayer?"

"Oh. Hello? My name is Bishop Augusto de Figueroa. Am I speaking to God?"

"No, sir, my name's Robin. How can I --"

"Well, young man, I wanted to talk to God. You see it's very important that I speak to him."

"Yes, of course, sir. You've come through on the Methodist line, is that --"

"No, no, no, this is wrong. I am Catholic."

"Well, sir, it would help if you chose the Catholic line to start with, but I can --"

"Are you a saint?"

"No, sir. I just work here. But if it's not a Methodist prayer then I need to --"

"If you're not a saint then I don't need to talk to you."

"Sir, in any case you're not going to be able to talk to God. That's not how it works."

"Good afternoon, you’re through to Paul R. Hardy’s biography. Please listen carefully to the following options: For a humorous anecdote about his employment history, press 1. For a tedious list of his writing credits, press 2. For a heartwarming glimpse of his personal life, press 3. To listen to these options again, press" -- [beep]

"You pressed 1. Paul weathered the economic crash of 2008 by working at a call centre for the London Congestion Charge, a fact which may seem relevant as you listen to the story. Unless you’ve ever had to pay the Congestion Charge, in which case you won’t be listening any further because you’ll have already thrown your device at the wall in a fit of" -- [beep]

"You pressed 2. Paul’s short stories have appeared in both the fifth and sixth editions of the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology, and will also be seen in Diabolical Plots in about a year or so -- unless you’re on an archive binge in 2065, in which case all of this happened a long time ago and the nurse will be along with your tea in just a minute, smiling indulgently at your addiction to obsolete" -- [beep]

"You pressed 3. Paul lives in the English Midlands and lives almost entirely on home-baked cakes and earl grey tea. He recently survived open heart surgery, which left him with a persistent ticking noise emanating from his chest and a rib cage held together by titanium wire. He has therefore given up any hope of passing through airport security without setting off a major" -- [click, brrr]

About the Narrator:

Rish Outfield is a writer, voice actor, and audiobook narrator. He can be heard co-hosting the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine and That Gets My Goat podcasts, where he and Bigg Anklevich entertainingly waste much of their time. He also features his own stories on the Rish Outcast podcast. He once got a job because of his Sean Connery impersonation... but has lost two due to his Samuel L. Jackson impression.

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FarFetchedFables No 186 Michael Rimar

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FarFetchedFables No 185 Greg van Eekhout

“In the Late December” by Greg van Eekhout(Originally published in Strange Horizons.)Here's a secret of the North Pole: Santa powders his hands with talc before donning his thick red mittens.It is a small secret, true, but some would give anything to steal even that. A secret is a detail, and here in the late December, a detail is as precious as a true name.Santa, a red exclamation in a white world, walks the reindeer line, stroking sugar-and-cinnamon fur. The reindeer shiver and snort and stamp their hooves, the lines connecting them to the parcel-laden sleigh jingling. Santa looks over to his candy-brick castle and waves good-bye, but no one stands in the doorway to wave back. With a sigh, he climbs onto the sleigh's driver's seat, the bench creaking beneath his weight. He pauses, holding the smooth and supple leather reins, and considers how to start the team. Onward? A-heya? Giddyup? Ho-ho? No, he's already used those. He makes a point of uttering a different word to inaugurate every outing, because he's been doing this for a long time, and if he didn't deliberately insert some bit of novelty into the procedure, he fears his jolly round head might well explode. That is another detail.Then he has it. He snaps his fingers (no mean feat in his mittens) and with a brisk snap of the reins, he shouts, "Zorxa!"Zorxa was a great emperor whose realm once encompassed sixteen degrees of the Curvature, and though his despotic rule made him a natural enemy, Zorxa knew how to accept a gift as well as anyone.Greg van Eekhout lives in San Diego with his astronomy/physics professor wife and two dogs. He used to develop educational software for a living, but now writes full time, which he enjoys much better. His novels range from adult science fiction and fantasy to middle grade and include The Norse Code, the California Bones trilogy, Kid vs. Squid, and The Boy at the End of the World. His next book, a middle-grade novel about dogs on a spaceship, is due out in Fall 2018. You can find more about him at his website: writingandsnacks.com.About the Narrator:Eric Luke is the screenwriter of the Joe Dante film Explorers, which is currently in development as a remake; has written for the comic books Ghost and Wonder Woman; and wrote and directed the Not Quite Human films for Disney TV.His current project, Interference (a meta horror audiobook about an audiobook... that kills), is a bestseller on Audible.com. His website for creative projects is Quillhammer.com.