Pseudopod 301: “The Last Man After The War”, by Erich William Bergmeier (A Post Apocalyptic Audio Short Story)


Pseudopod is, in their own words, “the premier horror podcast magazine“. In my words, it’s a short story podcast that features short and flash fiction ranging from simple campfire ghost stories and audio gore-fests to brilliantly deep and dark, and sometimes downright Lovecraftian, tales of eerie emptiness and the terror of utter confusion.

Today, however, as I was working my way backward through the sizable backlog of archived stories in an effort to drown out the maddening monotony of my day job, I came upon a story that didn’t seem to belong.  It wasn’t necessarily horror.  It featured no supernatural element nor otherworldy dread.  This story was about men – two men, both doing their best to provide for their loved ones, whose paths crossed in a single, fateful encounter.  This is technically a post apocalyptic story, though it contains no elements of science fiction or camp.  It could just as easily take place during the 1800s, the great depression, or in modern rural America.  This story is as old as time, and as true as you and I.

Listen to this story, wastelanders.  Place yourself in a similar situation, and think, “What would I do?”

Creepy Baby Leg Lamp

I am occasionally commissioned to make things for others.  Recently, I was asked to build an “avant garde” trophy for a high school slam poetry competition (thus the microphone finial).  The man gave me carte blanche, and asked only that it be “weird”, and display a plaque with the usual trophy-esque information.  As you know, I like all of my art to be functional, so I made a trophy lamp.  As for the “avant garde” portion, I made the trophy lamp out of a creepy porcelain baby doll leg painted to appear in a fishnet stocking with red painted toe nails.  The picture below doesn’t have the plaque attached.


The Light Switch Guest Book

I attended a craft show this weekend in which I sold covered and decorated light switch plates and journals.  Last night, I sat down at my coffee table (still covered in the aftermath of my mad last minute crafting) and, on a whim, glued a small journal to the front of a light switch plate.  I cut a hole through the book with a razor blade, and then drilled the screw holes.  Had I been thinking clearly, I’d have only screwed the holes through the back cover, as that is the only part actually affixed to the plate – if I’d put the screws through the entire book, nobody could’ve opened it.  Then, I reinforced the front cover with two layers of duct tape (on the inside), recut the switch hole, and then cut two slits through which to put a pen.  I went out to a local slam poetry club with a flat-head screwdriver and secretly switched out the unisex bathroom’s switch plate with mine.  By the end of the night, the journal was ten pages deep with shout-outs, signatures, and random words of advice.

The moral? No object is so mundane that it can’t be turned into practical art. Craft outside the box.

the post apoc light switch guest book

Replace Poor Quality Bag/Luggage Straps with Guitar Straps

Guitar straps are made to comfortably and reliably hold a great deal of often very expensive weight for long periods of time. With bag straps and luggage straps, comfort is often an afterthought to aesthetic. I recently bought a really nice black hemp canvas messenger bag, but I wasn’t very happy with the thin nylon shoulder strap – It was uncomfortable, and though it had a sliding shoulder pad, I had to adjust and position the pad every time I put the bag on.  It was a hassle.

So, I bought an adjustable black canvas guitar strap for $9, put grommets through the leather tabs on the ends, and used mini carabiners to attach it to the existing plastic loops on my bag. The result matches the bag BETTER than the nylon strap, and is WAY more comfortable. The wider strap distributes the weight more evenly across more of my shoulder, and the softer cotton canvas doesn’t rub my skin raw after hours of carrying the bag, weighted down, like the grippy shoulder pad on the nylon strap did.  I will probably do this to all of my bag straps.  There are a variety of really cool guitar straps out there.

the post apoc guitar strap bag strap

Use Your Pocket Knife as a Coat Hook in Public Restrooms

I hate entering a public restroom stall and taking off my coat, only to realize there are no coat hooks for me to hang it on.  Now the Sophie’s Choice of the public restroom coat debacle: do I hang it over the door allowing a passing stranger to possibly nab it while I’m halfway through the birthing process, or do I put it on the back of the toilet or the floor, and then burn it when I get back home?

It occurred to me, recently, that the pocket knife I already carry is the solution to this problem.  Simply wedge the knife in the door frame (see the pictures below) and hang your coat on it.  As you know, I highly recommend Cold Steel , though I was using my SOG Pentagon Elite I in the pictures below.

the post apoc knife coat hanger 1


the post apoc knife coat hanger 2


the post apoc knife coat hanger 3


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