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Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:48 pm
by Algernon Sydney is Dead
Feature: The Mouth of God by Ramsey Shehadeh
No drabble for this episode.
Genres: Horror

Image

Thursday, August 21st, 2014
There's a dream you have.

It's not a proper dream. It's impatient, fired with urgency. It arrives without warning, veering suddenly out of the night.

You're kneeling on the bridge. It's late afternoon. Clouds mass low in the sky, seagulls wheel over the bridge spans, humidity hangs thick in the air. Cars speed by on either side of you, the whoosh of their passage filling your ears.

Read by: David Cummings of NoSleep Podcast
Episode Art: Angstyboy
Additional credits:
This story is a Drabblecast original.

Twabble: “ Local cops are looking for witnesses to a recent hit and run. I'll bet it was the same guy who threw a tricycle under my car. ” by unreliable narrator

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:24 pm
by Ignoranus
I really enjoyed this story. Two things that struck me: David's voice and inflection, at times, reminded me of Garrison Keillor - not in a bad way, of course! This story also kind of reminded me of a much darker, less absurd version of "Angel of the Ordinary", featured in Drabblecast 183. Protagonist, a man, suffers loss and proceeds to have a breakdown, believing himself to be communicating with a larger power.

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:49 am
by Lisa3737
Loved, loved, loved Norm's intro song!!

Fabulous production for the story. Liked everything about it. :D

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:50 pm
by danthelawyer
Sadly, I was not a fan of this story. I really, really loved the previous week (I thought the Shaenon Garrity story was great -- funny (of course), but heartwarming and touching, and the twabble was hit right out of the ballpark, really one of the best ever), and still remember Ramsey Shehadeh's "Creature" quite fondly.

But the "Mouth of God", when it wasn't confusing me, bored me near to tears. One of the problems, I'm sorry to say, was the production. Even on my iPod's "faster" setting, it was still way too slow. But beyond that, the story just sounded to me much more like insane raving than the seemingly-insane-but-actually-based-in-a-spooky-reality ranting that I think the author was aiming for.

I get that this is H.P. Lovecraft month, so we're going for stories that reflect that sensibility -- narrator turned into gibbering idiot by the horror witnessed. I think in Lovecraft, though, there's a much stronger sense that there really is/was something witnessed that turned the narrator into a gibbering idiot. Here, the traumatic event was the narrator's wife's death in a car thrown from a bridge that collapsed. Was the narrator's god really behind the bridge collapse? I got the sense that I was supposed to have a stronger suspicion of that possibility than I did. Maybe I listen to too many skepticism podcasts, but I just couldn't help thinking that the bridge collapse was just that -- a bridge collapse -- and had nothing to do with any bizarro god. Or maybe I live too close to the Bay Area, where the new $9 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge turns out already to have rusting rebar that could cause it to collapse way before its predicted 100-year lifespan is over.

Oh well, some stories are clearly not for everyone.

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:36 am
by c_lucio
I was really happy with this one. I normally listen while I'm out, but I was home this time, and I read along with the text while listening. It kicked the immersion up quite a few notches, which helped, especially since the story is written in second person. And especially since I just started spending a lot of time talking to a woman named Sarah.
danthelawyer wrote: Here, the traumatic event was the narrator's wife's death in a car thrown from a bridge that collapsed. Was the narrator's god really behind the bridge collapse? I got the sense that I was supposed to have a stronger suspicion of that possibility than I did. Maybe I listen to too many skepticism podcasts, but I just couldn't help thinking that the bridge collapse was just that -- a bridge collapse -- and had nothing to do with any bizarro god.
The way this particular story played out, I thought the edge of doubt (that there was no god, only a man imposing his nightmare on the situation to deceive himself) added a touch of discomfort to the story. There's already a disconnect when you're hearing a story say that "you" do things that you know you wouldn't do. That "you" might be interpreting things completely wrong seems to be a given in the narration.

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:14 am
by Algernon Sydney is Dead
Welcome aboard, C_lucio!

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:40 am
by c_lucio
Thanks! This was definitely a story that compelled me to comment.

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:17 pm
by Penman Bland
I liked the story somewhat in spite of the second person. I usually don't get a useful disconnect out of the use, as C_lucio mentions; rather, my response when presented with "You shamble forth, knife in hand..." is a grumpy no, I'm sitting in a moderately comfortable chair, drinking chocolate milk. I don't think I'll ever grow to love second person narration, but this story at least had enough thrust to overcome my resistance.

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:56 am
by Spindaddy
Bast! Meow meow meow...

Dude, fo realz I've been listening to that little section all day long.

Oh yeah, I liked the story too. Totally freaked me out. Perfect listening for a pre-dawn commute in Jersey City.

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 2:55 pm
by El Barto
I really liked the episode overall and see a semi-hidden message that feels worth discussing here. Or should I say it feels worth me bringing it up. If anyone responds we have a discussion.

The intro fake album was brilliant, and I can’t help but wonder if Norm paired it with this story to draw attention to the fact that in the story we appear to be watching a man go insane, but he is arguably more sane then the huge number of people on Earth right now who claim to believe/follow/obey a god who demands loyalty to himself over all else.

As many remember, in the old testament bible, a certain religion's god demands that one of his followers kill his son. That father attempts to kill his son in compliance, until an assistant to the god intervenes once it is clear where the father's loyalties lay. (“God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. (Genesis 22:5 and 22:8). After Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, saying "now I know you fear God." At this point Abraham sees a ram caught in some nearby bushes and sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac.” ) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binding_of_Isaac

In our story, the hero is faced with the same choice -- but he chooses a different path –- despite clear evidence (to him) that his god is real.

As a father I applaud his choice, and hope I would make the same choice, for I would rather burn for eternity than betray and kill my own child, and I am highly suspicious of religions that include that atrocity as an option.

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:10 pm
by SpareInch
El Barto wrote:I really liked the episode overall and see a semi-hidden message that feels worth discussing here. Or should I say it feels worth me bringing it up. If anyone responds we have a discussion.

The intro fake album was brilliant, and I can’t help but wonder if Norm paired it with this story to draw attention to the fact that in the story we appear to be watching a man go insane, but he is arguably more sane then the huge number of people on Earth right now who claim to believe/follow/obey a god who demands loyalty to himself over all else.

As many remember, in the old testament bible, a certain religion's god demands that one of his followers kill his son. That father attempts to kill his son in compliance, until an assistant to the god intervenes once it is clear where the father's loyalties lay. (“God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. (Genesis 22:5 and 22:8). After Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, saying "now I know you fear God." At this point Abraham sees a ram caught in some nearby bushes and sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac.” ) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binding_of_Isaac

In our story, the hero is faced with the same choice -- but he chooses a different path –- despite clear evidence (to him) that his god is real.

As a father I applaud his choice, and hope I would make the same choice, for I would rather burn for eternity than betray and kill my own child, and I am highly suspicious of religions that include that atrocity as an option.
Since you bring it up. Someone I occasionally speak to elsewhere on the web, who was sexually abused as a child by senior members of a certain religious cult, told me she was once told by an elder of that cult, "If God tells me to do something, even if it turns out to be wrong, then I will do it to show my humility."

As my friend said, any god which would demand what was done to her, or what was demanded in this story, which is another form of abuse, deserves no respect, let alone worship.

Every time I see the title of this thread, I think, "Oh, that's the one with the hole in the road. Wonder what else was in it?" and need to check the topic intro post to jog my memory.

I agree totally that resisting any compulsion or coercion to do terrible things is laudable in the extreme, but if I was supposed to be impressed with it, then it needed a story which was less bland and aimless than this one.

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:31 pm
by larusse777
Who else listened to the intro repeatedly to hear the hilarious "worship" songs again? I did. :D Who else thought, "But Chad sounds SO much like Norm...oh, it IS Norm. Darn, I wanted that CD."?

The story's good, too. It does a good job of being nightmarish and bleak, and switching between settings somewhat confusingly (like in a dream) but not so confusingly that I couldn't follow. The sound effects were great, and the narration made me check out the No Sleep podcast. I like the part where Ellen's face shows fear, or resignation, or sadness, or all of these things, or none - it adds to the feeling of uncertainty. And the last lines are... haunting, dreary, full of resignation, I don't know what else to say.

Re: Drabblecast 336 - The Mouth of God

Posted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:27 am
by tamarbucks
WOW!! Usually I get perturbed when Norm doesn't read the piece - and this was a definite exception. I'm usually not one for a background production, however, in this case, the shifts in the ambient backgrounds were very helpful for me in navigating between the dream states and storyline.

Ooooh la la, the imagery was gorgeous, especially at 32:26 the passage describing her, "the moss growing in dank corners of forgotten alleyways", "the rust blooming on disused handrails". This section, somehow, reminded me of the Plastic Bag scene from American Beauty. Perhaps you have to suffer a deep loss or have a deep love for the world to see the world that way. I don't know.

I interpreted Her as a metaphor for a way of seeing the world in the absence of folk tales to sort it all out for us. And lacking comfort from traditional concepts and abandoned by your Mother's God, realizing, as David Lynch puts it “There is goodness in blue skies and flowers, but another force--a wild pain and decay--also accompanies everything.”

Beautiful piece. Excellent delivery. It made me think. Thank you for sharing this story.