A special Halloween show with fantasy writer Neil Gaiman.  He presents four eerie tales, two of his own, and two favorites of the author Chuck Palahniuk which he selected for a Selected Shorts evening he hosted. One of these is Charles Baxter’s “Through the Safety Net.”  A busy dentist is annoyed when her pet psychic keeps calling with prophesies of doom. The story is read by Becky Ann Baker, whose television work includes roles on “Freaks and Geeks” and “Girls.”  Mark Richard’s “Strays” refers to dogs and two woeful kids.

Another Palahniuk choice is Mark Richard’s “Strays.” From the opening line, you know it’s a set up to a bad joke.  Everything is just going from not so good to funny/awful worse in this tale of kids left in the care of a feckless uncle.  Reader Alex Hurt is a chip off a favorite SHORTS’ block—his dad William has contributed many moving performances over the years—but Alex makes his own mark with this deadpan delivery of bad news.

The program features two tales by Neil Gaiman. He gives a chilling  rendition of his own “Click-Clack, The Rattlebag,” a bedtime story you don’t want to hear twice (which was recorded in the studio especially for our show), and John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) reads Gaiman’s “October Tale,” about a genie who learns a thing or two about wishes.

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