47 episodes

There is a country beyond that which is known to humankind. A stray country. A country that exists west of October. Whose borders are somewhere between midnight train whistles and the distant howl of a dog. A country that lies somewhere in the stitched and jittering static between radio stations. A country that drifts through America like a travelling salesman, but every now and then stops to nest on a small town. A small church. A single street.

And maybe, just maybe, some kinda delayed radio broadcast you've stuffed in your ears . . .

STRAY COUNTRY is a fiction podcast. Original novels. Delivered chapter by chapter.

Find out more at www.straycountry.com

STRAY COUNTRY C.K. Turner

    • Fiction
    • 5.0 • 20 Ratings

There is a country beyond that which is known to humankind. A stray country. A country that exists west of October. Whose borders are somewhere between midnight train whistles and the distant howl of a dog. A country that lies somewhere in the stitched and jittering static between radio stations. A country that drifts through America like a travelling salesman, but every now and then stops to nest on a small town. A small church. A single street.

And maybe, just maybe, some kinda delayed radio broadcast you've stuffed in your ears . . .

STRAY COUNTRY is a fiction podcast. Original novels. Delivered chapter by chapter.

Find out more at www.straycountry.com

    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Opening Narration

    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Opening Narration

    Portrait of a small suburban street. This is the world homecoming G.I.s built after witnessing death delivered on an industrial scale. Small. Quiet. Ordinary. Well behaved to the point of being boring. Green manicured lawns stretched out like slumbering cats. Polite little houses, all standing in a row. Two trees per yard. A streetlight keeping watch on every corner and smoke panting up out of a thousand chimneys like the soft plumes of far away trains. There's something of a carousel quality to it all. Been here before. Seen this already. But this is where men who'd gone to fight the first fully mechanized war tried to forget about it. A war without horses. A war dedicated to the patron saint of internal combustion. Where cannons drove themselves, and gasoline was as good as gunpowder. A war governed by bombs and bigger bombs and bigger bombs until the bombs had grown so big there was fear they'd crack the planet like a nut. These poor boys came home looking for a quiet not even the churches could portion. Hushed corners of America had to be built to suit, named Southmoor, or Westmoor, or Moormont where former soldiers tried to drain their heads of all the noise of the frustrated, frightened century. The jangled century of hate and heavy industry and fascist wars. If you've ever stood on a quiet suburban street in the middle of the day and noticed the hushed picture has something of a cemetery quality to it, you may consider who it was built for, after where they'd been, and what they'd seen. Men who thought they were running away from the machines, but ended up in the same place. Like a ride on a carousel. Because their homes and streets were milled at a rate of thirty houses a day in a distilled twenty-six step process. Manufactured on the same scale, using the same principles and converted energy of industrial war engines. You see, a hungry beast built this peace and quiet. A hoggish, greedy entity that shows up once humankind starts playing with machines. A type of pig.

    . . . and even though this is 1987, there is still something hungry on Eastmoor Road.

    • 4 min
    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 1

    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 1

    Old Lady Brogan dies on Halloween trying to light her cigarette.  A cigarette clutched in the mad conquistador grip of a dying woman all Halloween day.  Turning a simple Marlboro Red into some kind of backwards and badly-spoiled relic.




    This is a woman who began her dying early, hoisting her automatic knuckles, walking a long agonizing route through a maze of smoke and cellophane.  A woman who lived for the spark of a flint wheel, the candle-like glow of a cheap plastic Bic, and the prayer-like ritual of the very first drag.




    You see, this was Mary Brogan's very last cigarette.  And she's not going to leave it behind.

    • 18 min
    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 2

    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 2

    Halloween night.  Four hours from November.  Jack-o'-lanterns flicker on porches.  Leaves fall from the trees.  The street is washed in all the milk colors of the moon.  And the trick or treaters have thinned to nothing.




    A reverential hush has descended on Eastmoor Road after the passing of one of their own.  Neighbors are tucked back into their warmly lit homes to think on the lost bits and pieces of a woman named Mary Brogan - here only this morning, now plucked out of the fabric of humankind.




    Mary Brogan.  The only smoker on the street.  A woman whose arms were lifted and lugged by a company called Phillip Morris.  A woman known for hoisting her automated knuckles, her marionette arms hauling tar and tobacco and the soft red glow of a cigarette.




    Billy used to walk past her house nights and see her Marlboro Red blinking on and off like a radio tower.  The signal is gone.  But as Billy passes her house tonight, his ears tune into something else . . . something that sounds a lot like radio static.




    A white plastic sack, fluttering in her willow tree . . .

    • 27 min
    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 3

    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 3

    Marlboro Country.  Stray Country.  Two countries that share a common border.  Spend enough time in one, and you're likely to find the other.  One exists in the semi-gloss pages of 1950s American magazines, a country once stumbled upon by accident, waiting in a dentist office or driving past a billboard at the side of a freeway.  The other is similarly a country entered by pure chance. 




    Both may kill you.




    Mary Brogan, former citizen of Marlboro Country, expatriated.  Current status - refugee.  Location - somewhere in Stray Country. 




    There is a nightmare endemic to the soil of both countries.  A nightmare by the name of nicotine.  It is the same nightmare as prison bars, leg irons, and state penitentiaries.  The kind of nightmare ghosts basted themselves in night sweats over.




    Mary Brogan.  Died trying to light her cigarette.  A woman who spent her life working on a single, solitary puzzle.  Morning.  Noon.  Night.  Kitchen.  Living Room.  In front of the television.  An enigma unraveled thread by thread.  Year by year.  A single-gram puzzle made out of tobacco, tar, filter, and paper that a woman needs to solve no matter how dead she is.




    No moral, no message, no prophetic tract, just a simple statement of fact




    Mary Brogan's not gone.  She's just crossed borders.  And she wants her cigarette.

    • 16 min
    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 4

    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 4

    A school off script.

    What makes up a school? Kids. Textbooks. Teachers. Noise. Daylight. Strip these away, one by one, and start stacking up midnight hours against the vacant building, what might you find?

    Maybe, a small corner of Stray Country.

    You see, if you're a boy like Billy, a boy who's begun to wonder if he's being followed by a white plastic grocery sack, then you're also a boy that can see a school is only a school when all the right ingredients are stirred together. But take them away one by one, mix in silence, space, quiet, nighttime, flickering fluorescents - and the tight threads of school begin to unravel . . .

    There's a science book in there somewhere. At least, there was by day.

    And a janitor.
    The type of man who might just whisper to white plastic sacks.

    • 9 min
    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 5

    Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 5

    There is a building not far from your home.  A squatty, ugly building.  Expansive.  Long.  But small, in the eyes of the world.  Of little historical consequence.  It will have no historian.  No lengthy narration.  No bound and shelved chronicle.  Someday, it will be torn down and built anew.  After which it will exist in the memories of those who were unlucky enough to have passed through it, until the bodies that hold those memories are eaten by worms or shut up in a furnace.  It is a building that haunts folks no matter how far they run from it.  No matter how many years they put between themselves and it.  A building that does as much to shape a kid as a rigid church, a broken home, a drunken father.




    It is a building composed in the main of bricks and mortar.  But in truth, built on the strange shifting tides of adolescent years.  A building where children are forced to inter their childhoods, and try on the strange, starchy, and ill-fitting funeration clothing of adulthood.  A burial ground for song, dance, and invisible friends.  A corner of the country where Americans lose the faith, in the religion of being children. 




    Which means an ill-lit corner of Stray Country.




    And would you believe there is a man who chose this building as his place of employment?  He's called a janitor.  And he's the man who mops up the molt of kids' childhood shells.  After hours.  Alone.  By himself.  Perhaps looking . . . perhaps, wondering . . . just where he misplaced his own childhood.

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

T.G. Mull ,

Smart and Fun

Stray Country is the most refreshing and original podcast I've heard in a long time. The wordplay is candy.

kekebug442 ,

suburban noir

If Phillip Marlowe wrote a horror novel that was edited by Christopher Hitchens.

bogqueenmama ,

Yes!!

I love this!! Very Stephen King. Love looking forward to my new chapter each week 😍