No, it's not on the main GW feed, but the patron feed: but it's on a Wolfe story so this seemed the right forum to post this on. Anyway, the patron feed is full of great stuff so anyone who hasn't heard it, go toss Brandon & Glenn a few bucks and listen.
All right, comments on the podcast:
Comment on "Cues
I will admit I liked this story much more than you both seemed to— I found it very funny, and very clever. You seemed to find it about as simple as "Car Sinister"; I thought it was richer than that, for all its brevity. But I'm glad you covered it!
I would note a few things.
First, you aren't quite clear that the bowling ball probably doesn't look like a bowling ball—not just to each other (you do note that) but to other humans: that is, presumably, the young man (not really so young any more)'s cue limitations kicking in. (We are told artists see spheres with stars. I wonder what the young woman thinking sexy saw?)
Second, the "the traveling mountebank with his wand and coins and cups" is almost certainly a tarot reference. Of course Wolfe, author of the Rhysling-award winning poem "The Computer Iterates the Greater Trumps" (that'd be a great patrons-podcast episode, by the by), knows the tarot well. And of course wands, coins and cups are three of the four tarot suits ("coins" is sometimes called "pentacles", but "coins" is equally common)— the fourth, by the by, is "swords", and I think its omission is not accidental: presumably the not-so-young-any-more man's noticings are already being affected, and swords aren't as funny? I don't know for certain who the mountebank is supposed to be, but my guess would be the Magician (the Major Aracana numbered one, although in most decks these days the Fool is considered 0, so the Magician is the second card even though it's number one). I am not quite sure what to do with this reference (if anything), or what it's import is, but it's clearly there.
Third, I'll note is that Robert Borski has an analysis of it which nearly ruined the story for me. I don't think he's right. But it's just convincing enough that it stick sin my mind. I'm glad you didn't mention it, I guess, except insofar as I was hoping you'd refute and/or heap scorn on it.
(After getting this far I reread Marc Aramini's write-up, and see that he beat me to the Tarot allusion (unsurprisingly), and that he argues that the missing sword is the clue, and the bowling ball is the montebank. Unlike Borski's analysis, Aramini's is well worth reading.
A final thing I'll note is how well the story fits with Wolfe's recurrent concerns about perception and its reliability. Wolfe, writer of elusive stories, puzzle stories, is very attuned to what we notice and what we don't, what cues we pick up. He plays with this a lot—his readers miss his cues, his protagonists miss cues, his readers miss his protagonists missing them, etc, etc.
I've always liked this story. Thanks for covering it!