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February 25, 2024 40 mins

Margaret reads Gare one of her stories, set in the world of Penumbra City.

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Cool Zone Media.

Speaker 2 (00:07):
Book Club book Club book.

Speaker 1 (00:09):
I totally forgot. I totally forgot.

Speaker 2 (00:12):
Club Club book Club.

Speaker 1 (00:15):
It's been way too long.

Speaker 2 (00:17):
Yeah no, it's fine. Welcome to Cool Zone Media book Club,
the only book club where you don't get to read
the book ahead of time because of the way that
the podcast world works. I'm your host, Margaret Kiljoy, and
my guest today is gahar Hi Gary. Hello. Cool Zone
Media book Club is where every Sunday I read you

a story that's really kind of the whole of it.
But this week we have a story by perhaps the
best storyteller of our generation, a once in a millennia talent.
This woman is a humble woman. She has a podcaster
and an author by the name of Margaret Kiljoy.

Speaker 1 (00:57):
Okay, all right. I was really wondering who you're going
to pull out there and be like, oh, who does
Margaret thinks the best storyteller this g oh oh, okay, all.

Speaker 2 (01:07):
Right, yeah No, I don't know who I would actually
say for this generation. It was last generation. I just
assume I would be talking about Butler or LeGuin. But sure, no,
I'm going to read you one of my stories because
I've got a new tabletop role playing game out called
Number City, and this story is called Confession to a
Dead Man, and I wrote it because I wanted to
write in that world. The whole world actually of the

Number City started off me writing fiction before I later
turned it into RPG stuff. Nice, but I can't remember.
Do you play RPG as much? Yeah?

Speaker 1 (01:39):
Yeah, I play an RPG now. And then were you
we played in South Island?

Speaker 2 (01:44):
Yeah, okay, that's what I think.

Speaker 1 (01:45):
Yeah, I played a really obnoxious wizard.

Speaker 2 (01:48):
Oh yeah, I don't even remember what podcast feed that's
on to send people too.

Speaker 1 (01:53):
It was probably The Strangers Strangers Ones, I think, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:57):
If you want to hear me and Gahre and Robert
and someone else to do a.

Speaker 1 (02:04):
James baby Ooh, I don't know.

Speaker 2 (02:05):
I don't want to.

Speaker 1 (02:06):
I totally forget. It's been way too long.

Speaker 2 (02:08):
But it could be James. It might have been James. Yeah,
if you want to hear us play Escape from Insul Island,
you can somehow find that on the podcast feed. But
this game is a different game. It's called p Number City.
But this isn't the game. This is a story. And
if you don't like RPGs, dear listener, don't worry because
the Kickstarter did really well. So I'm on the I'm

on the hook to write a hole novella in this world,
but that doesn't come out yet. The story, however, has
What type.

Speaker 1 (02:39):
Of world is this that we're going to be delevated to?

Speaker 2 (02:42):
It is a roughly diesel punk with magic alternate world
where god kings rule over the world and use people
like ponds, and people are running around with swords and
armor as well as bolt action weapons, and there's occultists

and radio coexisting.

Speaker 1 (03:08):
Occultists and radio. Yeah, isn't that just what we're doing
right now? Well, yeah, podcasting is not really radio.

Speaker 2 (03:14):
But yeah, no, but this isn't the furthest thing from that. Yeah, okay, okay,
that's true. No, see, you've got it all wrong, Alecti said,
laughing a little, even though rain water dripped down on
her through the leaky carriage roof, even though she couldn't
reach the drops to wipe them off because of her handcuffs,
even though the cheap lawman's carriage hit yet another pothole

and her face cracked against the wood of the door.
I didn't kill that guy. He was dead when I
got there. No, yeah, I mean I would have killed him.
It tried to even just missed my chance. The man
sitting on the bench opposite of her just stared, waiting
for her to say more. He was wiry, so was

his beard. He was nearly enveloped by thick wool overcoat,
but a hint of his pale gold uniform stuck out
near his collar. ELECTI could just make out. The insignion
is lapel, a sword crossed with a shepherd's crook. It's
a cute name, ALECTI said, I'll give you that what
the King's Boys and Girls Club. It's a cute name,

like you're just a bunch of bootlicking murderous cops. Was
the irony intentional when you came up with the name?
I don't know, the man said, it was before my time.
Maybe that's not what matters. What matters, ELECTI asked. Blood
was starting to trickle down from her right nostril. It tickled.
What happened tonight is what matters, The man said, If

you didn't kill the reverend who did, tell us what
you know, we'll let you walk. Oh honey, ELECTI said,
I don't like when you lie to me. Who says
I'm lying. The man asked, if you didn't kill him,
we'll just hold you at Hazard long enough to get
everything sorted. Let you go. The only thing we agree on,
Electi said, licking the blood off of her upper lip,

is that you're going to let me go. The road
sounds changed from mud to gravel to cobble, and Electi
looked out the tiny window. She couldn't make anything out
through the rain and grime, but she knew they must
have made it to p Number North at this snail's pace.
It was another thirty or forty minutes before they reached
Hazard Penitentiary. Electi and her friends didn't spend much time

in Panumber North, where the streets are made out a
street and the people are made out a misplaced loyalty.
She said aloud, what nothing, Tell me what happened? The
cop said again, yeah, fine, She said, no reason not to. Besides,
she missed her therapy appointment that week because her therapist, Joan,

had been on a bender with the squad from the
South Docks. The dog girl what was his name? Dog
girls all had stupid names like wrench or carburetor or
Petunia or whatever Petunia that was. It had a nice
bike didn't even explode very often, so he claimed he
was cute. Couldn't blame Joan for missing the session. Yeah fine,
I'll tell you what happened, but only because I'm gonna

kill you. So it started, like every good evening does,
at a party thrown by the anarchists. It's the fun anarchists,
of course, the Errenian, not the boring anarchists, the Corsaurians
of course. The don't call us anarchist anarchists from the
North Docks where are even more boring. The industrial workers
of Harrow, not them. It started at a party. It
was a good party, mostly on a rooftop one of
those weird theaters in the shadow of Triumph Tower. So

you've got the sunset coming pretty through the ash haze
over the factories, and you've got the stupid glow from
the stupid Silver Church, which I do not like admitting
is pretty. Some of the clackers were up for their warrens,
trying out those bulbs you run electric through and they
glow all handsome and light the evening up, and most
of them don't even explode. There was a troop over
from the Dead Quarter doing a pantomime plus half an

orchestra from the Alps with their heirloomcellos and shit. So
I'm having a good time because I love all that shit.
I love the shitty mushroom beer that's all we get
to drink because your God's dumble or as all the
farms blown up and a forbid he bother importing some barley.
I love the potluck snacks everyone brings. Who knew you
could fry a rat in so much oil that it
tasted good? Who knew you could grow hot peppers in

the top of Triumph Tower. We're a little bit more
sun peaks in. You know what I love the most
about all these parties, though, I love that we fucking
have fun despite how hard you and your immortal bag
of dicks of a boss God try to make us suffer.
I love that we still have music even if we
barely have food. I love when you fail to take
things like that away from us. I know what you're
gonna say to that. You're not trying to make us suffer.

You're trying to, like what, bring us back into his
grace so we can win the war, rebuild the farms,
and go back to living boring lives of quiet mediocrity
like we supposedly had seventy years ago, right, get people
trusting that money will feed us instead of us feeding
each other. However, we can return the flock to the fold. Well,
you got to get a new metaphor, because there's no

more flocks of sheep anywhere anymore because they all got
slaughtered for food ten years ago and all of their
fields have been bombed as shit for half my life.
But anyway, the party, party good, that's not the part
you want to hear about. I guess who am I
to deny you your last wishes? You want to hear
about the Reverend Lemon hened the fourteenth. You want to

hear about who it was who decided his ear would
look better with an eighty bity teeny tiny spike stuck
into it until it hit the brain. I mean, let's
be honest, lots of us would have decided that. But
you want to hear about the guy who actually pulled
it off. Who wasn't me? So I'm at the party.
I'm there with my friends. Malice, she was a marine

before she went a wall kept her armor and her
trauma pretty useful in a fight, which is good because
she gets us into a lot of them, Sannie the
rat king God. They're weird. Most people who use they
them pronounsi us them singularly. Right, Sanni uses them plural.
See a has the royal we se sees a god king.
He says, we do not approve of you a lot
having fun in the one and only life you have

on this planet. We are not amused by your mockery
and all of that. Right, Sanny uses the vermin. When
you talk about Sannie, you're talking about the human kid
buried under all those rats, But you're talking about the
rats too. Love Sannie and Losa was there, of course. Honestly,
I'm not sure about Losa. Are we even friends anymore?

We hang out together, sure, do crimes, but we haven't
talked in ages, not like really talked. God, you know,
it really feels good to just get to open up
about all this stuff, say, all the stuff that usually
just lives inside my head. I really appreciate that. I
appreciate you. I just want you to know that you're
gonna be inside kind of a living nightmare soon enough,

which you deserve because you're trying to lock me into
a cage. But I just want you to know that
you're appreciated as a person, even if not as a cop.
Los is a patchworker. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, back,
alley surgeon who flays corpses and mixes up fungal paste
and sows the skin of dead people onto living people
in order to heal wounds. You're thinking, A scary bitch
with a scalpel who doesn't think a thing about ripping

the bones out of living people. You're thinking, right, Losa's
a scary bitch. He does all those things. Also a
hell of a dice player, a good cook, and would
you believe it, and honest to a the vegetarian. And
we really did used to be close. I was at
all three of her weddings and the four resultant funerals.
But after that time in the basement of the club
fighting all those giant centipedes, it just hasn't been the same. Plus,

I think she's jealous of how close I've gotten with Malice,
or maybe it's the other way around. Right, So the
four of us are at this party and I'm just
trying to have a good time, But malice is all
We need a mission. Let's do a mission, and Losa
is kissing up to her about it, so she's like, yes,
look at me, I'm Losa. I will temporarily pretend I
share your ethical framework in worldview in order to get

closer to you and drive a wedge between you and Electe.
Or at least that's what I assume she said, because
suddenly she wants a mission too. Guys, can't the mission
Sometimes get drunk and maybe high, and maybe just ave forbid,
get late. No, no, no, it's time to do crimes
for the good of humanity or whatever. I look at Sanny,
but they're just feeding bits of mushroom to those rats,

and their eyes start spinning and they whispered. Whatever happens,
we're in, just like you can be in on these sweet,
sweet deals of capitalism that interrupts this podcast. Here we
go and we're back. So that's how I knew I

wasn't gonna get late at the party, because every single
one of those bitches would have died a thousand times
over if it weren't for my spookyes saving them with
a well timed curse or a jaunt into the ether.
We find a guy with the Ernni knows everyone. I
guess that's repetitive all the ERRENNI know everyone, we find
a guy. He's cute, but I'm not allowed to see
if he's down a fuck because we've got work to
do for some dumb reason. And he says, there's this

elbow guard. I know you know what I'm talking about.
I know you care more about that fucking thing than
you do about the life of the poor dear Reverend
Lambin Hend the nine hundred and fiftieth of his name
or whatever. I know that's why you followed us. Anyway.
The cute guy, he tells us and everyone else at
the party, besides about his elbow guard, holy to the outsiders,

ancient made out of granite and quarts in the ceremonial style.
Let's see if I get this chain of events right.
Lamban had this tenant, an old outsider lady who got
entired of sleeping in a crypt in the Dead Quarter.
And I tried to do things proper and get a
room in North Pannumber. Only now there's no money and
everything is favors and reputation and shit. Mister Hend doesn't
really like unprestigious guests, so he got into his head

that she owed him something, so he marches into her
house and picks up the most valuable thing he sees,
Like the prick that he is, the elbow guard, he
takes it to the esteem to see what it's worth.
Only I think a skip saw that go down. And
now the whole city knows. They especially know that there's
an inscription in the damn thing, and half of it
is written in the language outside, and half of it
is written in whatever fuck weird language related adult p number,

and that no one can read that scrawled across the
hole under city. So it's valuable to lots of people.
So first, yeah, the ideas that we're going to steal
the damn thing, get it back to the outsiders where
it belongs. It's just the right thing to do. And
sure none of us would mind that. They'd be grateful
and maybe let us use their gunsmithies sometimes. Then Losa, though,

see she grew up on the streets mostly because her
mom was from Panumber North Like she's fourth generation patchworker.
You see where I'm going with us. You remember when
your little King's Boys and Girls Club rounded up the patchworkers,
called them unholy, drove them out of your territory. What
was that? Ten years ago? When you know Loso was ten. Well,

guess who were mom's landlord had been? Guess who had
told you all Los's mom in the first place. Lemon
fucking henned the fourteenth. Sorry, Reverend Lemon hand the fucking fourteenth.
He ain't so revered as this title implies, not by
most of the city. Losa says her bit about what
happened to her, and what do you know, half the

party has stories about this guy hired some thugs, not you,
other thugs to blow up a pie shop run by
the lords of the New Order that was competing with
the one he had interest in. Ain't too good to
the people he hires either. He was one of those
thugs he'd hired who was at the party, turns out
Hand and tossed him to the lords as soon as
it was convenient. His friends rescued him. Funny thing about friends.

It's nice to have friends anyway. More and more people
saying this shit. He's a bad landlord, a shitty boss,
awful of the people he fucks. He's just this is
not a redeeming bone in that man's body. So pretty
quick we go from let's rob the guy, so let's
kill the guy you know how that goes. And a
couple of dog girls are around with their bikes, and

one of them even a a sidecar, and they figure,
what the hell, why not go for a joy ride
or I guess I'll kill Ride up to p number North,
find this guy's house, swap out his insides for his outsides,
grab the stolen elbow guard. Wham bam, thank you, ma'am.
All the good night's work. Nope, you fox her on
the prowl. Good thing. The dog girls are smarter than you.

Speaker 1 (15:18):

Speaker 2 (15:18):
The voyager patrols like six times. We stop at an
alley by the canal, hop up onto the second floor balcony.
The door was wide open. How the hell malice climbs
up in all that powered armor dragging a goddamn boiler.
The world will never know, I swear to a I've
never seen her strength fail her. And here's where it
gets good, right, here's where you start to care. The

damn man is already dead, like he's sleeping, and except
there's blood on the pillow. I know a thing or
two about a thing or two, And while everyone else
is just like what the fuck happened here? I can
tell them that, like Okay, bear with me. You know
that the world is made up of three worlds, right.
I know A tries to keep you in the dark

on basic cosmology. But there's three worlds form a triangle.
We live on the material. Then there's the ether, which
is I guess where you could call the angels. That's
where they live. Then there's the rot with you know, demons. Right,
we touch both other planes, and each of those other
planes touches ours and the other one. It's a triangle,
not your dumb hell or of heaven linear hierarchy you've

been lied to. So as humans live on the material, right,
But we're made out of stuff that transfers from one
to the other. What you call your higher soul than
your lower soul, which are dumb words for it, by
the way, I say, it's a gape and thelema, and
maybe those are dumb words for it too, Who knows.
When you die, your stuff moves on. A gape goes

in the circle clockwise, heads over to the ether till
it heads over the rot, till it heads on back
to the material. Thelema goes caraclockwise over to the rot,
then the ether, then back to here. You get the idea,
what has this got to do with ear spikes? See,
back before your fucking god kings ascended, people here knew
a thing or two about the planes, and more people
than just us weirdos could communicate across those borders. And

those people whose name is lost to us, probably forever
in my society, the hermetic order of nothing, we call them
the forgotten people, which is not super original, but it
is descriptive. Those people, the forgotten people. They used to
kill people by jamming spikes into their ear. That's my point.
It's kind of classy and not much mess. Didn't even

wake the guy up. You should try it. No, actually,
well not you. You shouldn't try it. You're a cop.
You actually shouldn't kill people or exist. I'd say quit
your job and find new friends, but it's too late
for that. So there we are, and I'm trying to
explain a Gape and Thelma to everyone, and they're kind
of ignoring me, because everyone does when I talk about
that stuff. And Malice is looking through the guy's bedroom

and there's like it's like a dumb, goddamn museum and
they are complete with stolen artifacts, pine glass and plaques.
There's an old, rusty saber from Kirik and a rovy
and rare book. And wait, get this, there's a human
skull labeled as having belonged to a chieftain of Sore.
Can you believe it? You're just staring at me. You
don't get it. Soor doesn't have chieftains. It never did.

The whole country is built on a plateau no one
was able to reach until the god King Sore lifted
his people up with his mighty magic or whatever. Come on.
Their whole religion is based on that. How do you
not know that Sora is even friends with eighth right now?
You should know that. And there's a glass case where
the elbow guard should be, But of course it's empty
because someone stole it, probably whoever earspiked our good friend.

Because of course the plaque is just a handwritten piece
of paper because there hadn't been enough time to find
an engraver. It says elbow guard probably important. We're all
having to laugh about the chieftain's skull. Unto a rat
runs in, looks up at Sanny, and Sanny looks down
at the rat, and they turn to us and tell
us that people are on their way a lot of people.
That's the good thing about having a swarm of rats

at your command. What kind of people, Losa asked, They
don't know their fucking rats, Sanny said, only Sanny probably
doesn't curse when they said it. We should get the
fuck out here again, probably without the fuck. It's hard
not to cuss when I'm in your shitty fucking carriage.
Do you people not know how to fix a roof?
You keep it shitty just so your guests have it worse.

But you have it worse too, you asshole. You're just
making the fucking world worse. God, I can't wait to
get out of here and kill you. My nose is
fucking bleeding and I can't see shit, and my hands
are cramping anyway, so we fuck off right back out
the window. The doggirls who drove us there, they're gone.
I guess they saw which way the wind was blowing.

And those bikers like some of us all right, but
not enough to fight off the cops and risks getting
killed or sent to hazard. That's how we figure whoever's coming,
it's probably you all. Malice wants to stay and shoot
you all with her bolt thrower, which sounds like a
reasonable plan to me, but Sanny and Losa don't like it,
so we break into the empty house next door and
lay low. Sure enough, it's you and your buds who

show up. Probably remember this part. You go in search
the house, find the body.

Speaker 3 (20:05):

Speaker 2 (20:05):
What I do is I make sure my friends are
keeping watch, and I pull out the candles and the
incense and the chalk and the charcoal, and I get
myself a circle drawn up on the wood floor in
the empty house, and I tie a silk rope around
my waist and I project myself into the ether, or
to be more accurate, some portion of my gape crosses
over while my body stays put, and I'm walking around

like a ghost through walls and shit, tethered to my
body by that rope. I pop over next door and
guess whose essence is still lingering, not dissolved yet into
the ether proper, Reverend Lemon Hen the fucking fourteenth, that's
Who's It's funny because that's how I know you were
one of the kingsmen who showed up, because I was
in the room with you while you were investigating good eye,

catching that feather.

Speaker 1 (20:48):
On the ground.

Speaker 2 (20:49):
By the way, we'd missed that Lambon is standing there,
looking all angelic and blist out like every other dead prick,
And he seems surprised that I can see him, asks
if I'm an angel sent to help usher him into
heaven for his lifetime of good deeds. So I look
at him, and I never claimed to be an honest girl. Well,
I mean, I've claimed it, but it's never been true.

I look at him and I say, yep, that's me,
sirraphic as hell. Just need to tie up some loose ends,
get everything sort of with your paperwork. Tell me in
your own words, how you died. He tells me his story,
which wasn't too long. He went to bed same as normal,
then woke up feeling something weird. Flicked his eyes open,

saw a man, gaunt and age leaning over him, pale
skin like the lampreman. Then he caught, just a moment's glance,
just like the saw some horror the likes of which
he'd never dreamed. Some kind of taxidermy bird gone wrong,
six feet tall, feathered, beaked eyes everywhere across his body.
What was it? He asked, like I had all the

answers I did this time, though, and I wanted to
be addict to him and make something up. But I thought,
you know what, this guy's like, soular whatever. He is
about to disintegrate into the ether and he's never going
to experience anything ever again. And it looks like I've
got a soft spot for folks who are already dead
or like in your case, basically already dead. So I
tell him, and this is where I cut to ads.

But I think we're gonna run our don't talk to
cops ad because this is a whole story about someone
who talks to cops. You shouldn't do this. This is bad.
So here's an ad about not talking to cops. And
then if any other ads run it was a terrible mistake.

Speaker 1 (22:30):
The Washington State Highway Patrol.

Speaker 2 (22:32):
Yeah, totally, just the all sides of this picture. You know,
we believe in something over here.

Speaker 1 (22:41):
Here's that we believe in something.

Speaker 2 (22:44):
Yeah, not sure what these things we believe in, these
sponsors and we're back. And this is what you want

to know too. You and Lemon have got a lot
in common. Actually, I tell him that he's describing a
demon sort of. I'm telling him he saw a geddesist
above him. You think, as a cultists are rare and
scary those of us who fuck with the ether. Oh,
you're gonna love the geddesists, so they fuck with the rot.
I tell Lemonhon that this guy built a mannequin out
of dead animals and then ripped open a portal in

the rot and lit a little bit of that weird
shit that lives over there into the material to animate
his little death puppet, which means he likely made some
kind of deal, like you serve me for a week,
then you're free to go do whatever you want and
the material, which means the city is actually in for
some bad luck soon because that fucking thing is still
out there, and that's your fault. You know that people

you claim to protect are gonna die anyway. He tells
me about the Gaddesist, and I tell him, thanks, buddy,
you'll be whissed off soon enough. Don't worry about the
slow disintegration of what's left in your mind, all part
of the process. I don't tell them about the angels
that are going to be eating his soul, same as
Maggote to corpse. I just pop back over to my body.
Low Sun, Malice are playing dice. Sannie is talking to

their rats. I guess you could say, talking to themselves.
I tell them what's up, and Sannie's like, oh weird,
dead bird creature rats can track that. Off we go,
and you know where we went because you tracked us.
Ave only knows how you bastards are good at tracking people.
I'll give you that. All the way through p Number South,
around Triumph Plaza down to the South Docks, the rain

picked up and didn't help our mood, and it took
us half the night to get where we were going,
to a little run down shack up against a peer
with someone muttering insighed. So we're all set to kick
in the door. I've got a bomb out and everything,
cigarette lit and the holder in my mouth. When Malice says, you, guys,
I don't think this is how we should approach this situation.
And if Malice doesn't think direct physical confrontation is the

best solution, then it means a really not the right solution,
because she solves almost everything with silence. Soon we scoot
on over in the dark under the pier and back
out comes the candles and the chalk and the rope,
and I'm off to the ether for a second time
that night. You know how tiring. That is whatever, hop
on into the shack. There's this guy, there's the demon.

They're talking. Demons talk weird. Imagine like eight people talking
at once, saying almost the same thing but not quite.
But the core of it is pretty banal. The getes
sist's a spy for her, is going to sell them
the elbow guard. That's it. Then the demon says there's
someone outside, and the two rush out the door, and
I turn around to rush back in my body, but
I don't even make it through the wall before I

black out. And guess where I wake up? Here with you?
Alecti was silent for a while after telling her story,
waiting for the lawman to say something or react in
any way. He didn't. A fear came over her for
the first time. She was certain that whatever else, her
friends were out there in the city looking for her,

tracking the carriage. They would call in some favors, and
any minute now a crew on dog's wheels were going
to roll up, engines roaring, and Malice was going to
use that big gun of hers to set her free.
She just thought it would have happened by now. She
hadn't figured she'd reach the end of this story. The
cop must have been able to see her confidence drain away,

because a smile slowly worked its way across his face.
She couldn't give up, not on her friends. Yeah, they'd
let her get captured in the first place, but they
must have been busy dealing with the spy and his demon.
Any minute now, she sighed, leaned her head against the
window as rain dropped down on her cheek. Next time,

she was going to go to the party alone, and
the only call to adventure she was going to answer
was the adventure of getting laid or maybe, And she
knew she was getting real desperate and sad when her
mind went into this the darkest of corners. Maybe she
should ask Losa back out. Yeah, they hadn't been good
for each other, but whoever was given up? Then the

lawman finally asked. She sat upright and glared. The carriage
slowed to a halt. Looks like we're here, he said.
Then blessedly, a foot long steel bolt shot through the
sidewall of the carriage and impaled the man through the chest,
pinning him to the firewall. Blood came to his mouth,
dripping into his gray beard, and he looked down with

surprise and horror. A scream broke through sudden and shocking silence.
ELECTI had heard that scream before. That was the scream
of a man covered in rats. Then the scream stopped,
replaced with a gurgling. That was the noise of a
throat cut with a scalpel. The driver, you do love me,
ELECTI said, as the door to the carriage was wrenched

off its hinges. What, Malice asked, tossing the steel door aside.
Los and Sanny peered in from behind her. I said,
what took you so long? ELECTI lied, Oh, Malice said,
looking genuinely Contrite. The demon and the spy slowed us down.
They got away too with the elbow guard. Losa stepped

into the carriage, pulled out a scalpel and picked the
handcuffs open. Thank you, ELECTI whispered into Losa's ear, where
the others couldn't hear it. Fuck I was so scared,
me too, Losa whispered. All I could think was that
what if I never saw you again? I'm sorry we
let them get you. They met eyes for half a moment,

then drifted away. All right, you dumb bitches, ELECTI said,
standing up glancing over quickly at the still dying cop
on the bench across from her. Let's go steal back
in artifact. That's the end of the story.

Speaker 1 (28:39):
That was fun.

Speaker 2 (28:40):
Thanks. I picked you because I think you're the only
person I know who will know if I pronounced a
gape orthelima right or wrong.

Speaker 1 (28:48):
You did not pronounce thelima right, But that's okay.

Speaker 2 (28:51):
Thelima is that the lima?

Speaker 1 (28:54):
Okay, sorry, okay, But all the characters do sound like
people I have noted my life. Yeah, ah, I see,
I see what Margaret's pulling from here.

Speaker 2 (29:08):

Speaker 1 (29:10):
No, even just the way they talk it like, oh yeah.

Speaker 3 (29:13):
You're you're obviously cofeeing someone's very specific speech patterns. Yeah, totally, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1 (29:25):
Oh that was fun. The wordflow was very nice to
listen to.

Speaker 2 (29:29):
Thanks. Yeah, it was fun to do the like I
tried writing. It's actually very hard to write D and
D style campaign things like adventures, you know, yeah, yeah, yeah,
and you know it'll never it's always sort of a compromises.
It's just a different way of storytelling, and so I
really like doing it at first person so that I

could be like a little bit more free form. Also,
Sophie has been asking me to do a love story
with this with this show for a while, and I've
been struggling to find a good love story, and so
that's part of why I chose this one. Okay, okay, Sophie,
this is the this is the love story that you
asked for.

Speaker 1 (30:10):
Oh yeah, it was.

Speaker 3 (30:11):
It was.

Speaker 1 (30:13):
It was quite fun. I no it. It really did
sound like someone's like someone like a very specific person's
like a conversational flow. Yeah, either either with them just
like talking to themselves or just like going on like
a mini rant. They just like keep talking.

Speaker 2 (30:30):
Yeah, totally.

Speaker 1 (30:31):
It's like, yeah, that's that's kind of how someone sounds.
But they just like keep just like keep going.

Speaker 2 (30:36):
Well, and in this case, it's like she thinks that
she's going to get interrupted any second, and then she's like, yeah, yeah, fuck,
why am I still going? Like yeah, and probably like
slowly becoming aware that talking to the cop might not
have been the right move.

Speaker 1 (30:50):
Yeah, you know, this was this was perhaps a mistake. Yeah, ah, yeah,
that was that was quite fun. The uh, the rat
person kind of terrifies me, but that's fine.

Speaker 2 (31:05):
Well, if you want to hear Jamie Loftis play a
rat King character Jamie loftis is on If you search
for number City on YouTube, you'll find an example play
of an adventure where one of the other co writers
of the game inman runs a game for us. And
I actually don't even remember what my character is, but

I remember that Jamie's character is a rat king.

Speaker 1 (31:30):
I do remember a while ago Jamie getting really into
the rat king. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, that's a that's a
that's a solid Jamie character.

Speaker 2 (31:39):

Speaker 1 (31:40):
Malice is interesting to me as well.

Speaker 2 (31:43):
I malice is I've used that name for characters before.
I played an Orc labor thug and a Dungeons and
Dragons campaign where I like ran around with a mall
and tried to convince people to join industrial unionism, much
to the rest of no one else who was playing
that campaign with me was trying to make it about
a destroy union. What the fuck are you doing? We're

trying to play a game. Yeah, I'm like, why are
you like this? Yeah, it's more fun this way, but
uh yeah.

Speaker 1 (32:18):
All of all of the dog girl names were way
way more pretty than most of the dog girls I
have met, And it's like, what was it was like
it was like like Petunia or something. What was carburetor
is the least carburetor makes sense? Yeah, tracks wrench is okay?

Speaker 2 (32:38):

Speaker 1 (32:40):
The third one specifically was was much much Patunia, much
too pretty for yeah, for a dog girl. In my experience,
that's fine. As a dog girl appreciator, that is that,
it's fine.

Speaker 2 (32:54):
Okay, So, so dog girls are different than you're probably
perceiving dog girls. It's not a fir.

Speaker 1 (32:59):
No no no by your version of dog girls is
pretty spot on. Actually, okay, okay, in this case, they're
squad or bikers. Yeah yeah, no, yep, yeah yeah, all right,
you got it, you got it, all right, all right.
Most of the anarchist dog girls I have I have met.

Speaker 2 (33:20):
Yes, fair enough. I don't even remember where that name
comes from, like, because there was some of these characters
have existed as concepts for like ten years before I
started writing it as a role playing game, you know,
and I was like writing these like different gangs in
this city, and it was just going to be this
novel I was like plotting out. And so it's funny

because some of the styles of characters I remember where
they came from. Not all of them were by me.
The world soon became a much more open thing with
other designers, but dog Girl was one of the original characters,
and I just like, don't I have no fucking clue
where I came up with that name.

Speaker 1 (34:00):
I've never heard of Diesel Pug before, but I like
the idea.

Speaker 2 (34:04):
Well, so I started writing this. My deepest, darkest secret
is that I used to run a magazine called Steampunk Magazine.
Oh oh, And when I first started writing this, it
was kind of my like fuck you to steampunk. It
was my like, this could have been a beautiful, weird
anti colonial thing, like with fiction set during a really
interesting time period where capitalism and the distrialization were really

doing their thing, you know, to.

Speaker 1 (34:28):
The people with top hats and mice inside pulling gears levers.

Speaker 2 (34:32):
Yeah, exactly. It was like, instead, one of the most obnoxious.
There's many, many wonderful people that I met through that subculture,
but like it, it didn't go in ways that I
found interesting, and so I actually started writing it as
this kind of like steampunk world. And then this publisher
reached out to me and was like, hey, do you

want to write a role playing game world that I've
been writing the mechanics for, And I was like, yeah, totally.
And so he hired me to write this world. And
he was like, I want to write a steampunk world.
And I was like, can it be a fuck you
to steampunk world? Can it be a this is what
it should have been world? And he was like, yeah, okay, fine,
And so this was my like fuck you, I quit.
This is what it should have been that I started
in like twenty twelve or something like that. Okay, And

then and then that publisher just literally disappeared, just like
they had a successful kickstarter for some other game and
then never finished that game and then.

Speaker 1 (35:27):
Disappeared many such cases.

Speaker 2 (35:29):
Yeah, and so then I was just left with this
orphan world without a role playing game system. And then
eventually I brought on some other people or some of
my friends offered to help me basically, and started making
it this new thing. And then I was like, I
have no allegiance to setting this in the equivalent of
the early nineteenth century, And so now it has more
of like the diesel punk vibe, is more of like
World War One vibe in a lot of ways.

Speaker 1 (35:51):
I think some of it also feels like a world
that we could slide into. Yeah, Like it's not even
just a past thing. It's like, what if our world
goes through a sort of collapse, but people still use diesel,
but now diesel's like the OA, like most other technology
has now become not like functioning, Yeah, but the diesel
has remained like that is kind of also what it

reminded me as it's like it's like we're like sliding
back in time.

Speaker 2 (36:17):
Yeah, although but in this particular world, they actually still
use steam boilers and not diesel engines, but the vibe
is more diesel punk. Okay, okay, there's like radio and electricity,
but they haven't figured out the diesel engine. Interesting because
most places actually use magic more than technology anyway, because
you can enslave angels in this world, you.

Speaker 1 (36:39):
Know, many many such cases.

Speaker 2 (36:41):

Speaker 1 (36:42):
Yeah, they'll send you on a little treasure hunt. Yeah,
that's a that's a that's a little John d joke. Well,
I did like the ether. That was that was fun.
That was fun. The demon I felt was probably appropriately grotesque.

Speaker 2 (36:57):
Yeah, there's some I can't remember the name of the
word for that particular demon, a stole us. I think
that the people who wrote up the demons had a
lot of fun with them. I bet, I bet well
that does it for book club this week. If you
liked the number City, you can get it. There's a

print book and an ebook, and we finally started mailing
it out to the backers. It's back from the printer
and it's off in the mail towards people. If you
backed it last summer, thank you very much, and your
book will be in the mail shortly if it is
not already, and you can order it through Tangled Wilderness.
Strangers in Entangled Wilderness is a publishing collective that I'm
part of, and eventually it'll be available through other distributors

and stuff. But we are We're used to printing and
distributing books. But every every creative feel has entirely different
distribution systems. And like, if you want to make a
board game, you're dealing with an entirely different world than
if you make a tabletop role playing game. Then if
you make a legally distinct from chooser and adventure book,
then if you, huh, it's very annoying.

Speaker 1 (38:07):
Yeah that sounds that sounds complicated.

Speaker 2 (38:09):
Yeah, But and if you but once.

Speaker 1 (38:13):
There's a novella on the way, there is.

Speaker 2 (38:15):
I have no idea what's going to be about you.
I have some idea of what it's going to be
about yet but not totally. Might might be these characters,
might be other ones. I might write something that's just
like weird, sad nineteenth century nihilist literature, but said in
this world without like much in the way.

Speaker 1 (38:31):
Of an adventure at all. I mean, nineteenth century nihilist
literature is very different than modern nihlist literature. Yes, okay,
So like you mean actually nineteenth century nihlist literacy. Yeah yeah,
like like Russian, like like Russian nihlist literature.

Speaker 2 (38:45):
Yeah yeah, like basically social democrats, social democrats, yeah, yes,
a fascinating politics. Yeah. The eighteen sixties when people, when
boys with log hair, wanted to overthrow society much like
the nineteen sixties.

Speaker 1 (39:04):
Well, I certainly look forward to that.

Speaker 2 (39:06):
Yeah. Oh shit, now I might be stuck with that. Well,
if you want to hear more of Gear, you can
hear Gear on It could happen here, which might be
where you're listening to this anyway. And if you want
to hear more of me, you can hear me on whatever.
My cool Zone media show is called Cool People.

Speaker 1 (39:24):
With People Stuff Who did Cool Stuff?

Speaker 2 (39:26):
Yeah, yeah, in which I talk about the nihilist from
the eighteen sixties and one of the first episodes. You
can go back in this spice and we'll see you
all next week. And in the meantime, I don't have
a catchphrase to sign off with.

Speaker 1 (39:41):
Bye, don't talk to cops, Watch out for the Ether.

Speaker 2 (39:44):
Yeah, it could Happen here as a production of cool
Zone Media.

Speaker 1 (39:48):
For more podcasts from cool Zone Media, visit our website
cool Zonemedia dot com, or check us out on the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
You can find sources for It Could Happen Here, updated
monthly at coolzonmedia dot com slash sources.

Speaker 2 (40:03):
Thanks for listening.

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