dawn was just beginning to break over the saw mill river when michael eased the mud-pattered studebaker into the driveway of his elmsford home.
his home. all his.
because he knew carol wasn't coming back.
he didn't know where she had gone, but he knew she wasn't coming back.
he would have to listen to questions from his parents and people in the neighborhood, and maybe put up with some razzing or snide remarks at the firm, but basically he felt relieved.
he would never have to listen to carol again.
he could be michael again, and never again have to answer to the name of henry.
he got out of the car and locked it.
he went to the front door and unlocked it.
what a bore life was, forever locking and unlocking things.
suddenly he wondered if he would ever have another girl friend, or another wife.
gee, why think about that now, when he was newly freed? he pushed the thought out of his head.
it was replaced by another thought - would he have to go through the rigmarole of actually divorcing carol? she was not coming back. not even for some of his money. somehow he knew this. so why bother?
unless he wanted to marry someone else.
that was the least of his worries right now.
he hung his hat up on the coatrack inside the front door and sat down on the couch in the living room .
did he want a drink?
not really. not enough to bother making one.
strangely, he was not tired. and he didn't have to go to work.
he looked up and saw his most precious possession.
his television set.
he looked at his watch. almost five thirty. the news would come on in another hour.
pete palomine turned the key in the front door of his modest three story walkup (with loft) on spring street.
"hey, pete!" came a voice from the shadows.
pete was used to being braced at all hours by all sorts of people. for years he had encouraged it, made it his stock in trade.
now he was starting to get a little sick of it. he turned. two figures came toward him.
"bunchy. how it's going, old timer?"
"good, pete, good. hey, you don't seem so excited to see me."
"i've had a long night."
"all nights are long, pete. you don't mind if we come in, do you?"
"no, that's all right, come on in."
"this is my friend rooster. i don't know if you two have met."
pete took in the skinny red-haired young man with his black turtleneck. " i don't think so. you an artist?"
"rooster is a poet."
"that's even worse. but come in, come in." he opened the door and started up the dark stairs. bunchy and rooster followed him.
"there's not much light here, pete."
"you should learn to see in the dark."
when they got to the top of the stairs pete pulled the chain on an overhanging bulb. it shone a yellow light on the door of the loft and he opened the door with a large old-fashioned key.
inside the loft, there was a standing lamp beside the door and pete turned it on, then flopped down on a big stuffed couch.
"you two can make yourselves at home." pete looked up at bunchy. "but i'm not in the mood for much. i'm tired. " he took his jacket off and tossed it on the end of the couch. "were you looking to do some work for me?"
rooster looked over at bunchy. "work?" he asked him.
"you know," pete went on, "i got nothing against other artists - or even poets. but what i'm really looking for is just ordinary folks, you know? winos, junkies, bums - people who are innocent of artifice. the salt of the earth. maybe even people who work for a living."
bunchy laughed. "no, no. pete - you got it all wrong. we're not here about that at all."
"then what are you here for?"
"well, we thought you might have some dope we could buy."
when sniffy returned from the ladies room to her booth in bob's bowery bar her new poet friend was still there. it looked like he hadn't touched his beer.
"thanks," she told him, as she slid into her seat.
"not a problem," he replied. "i guess the seat must be very important to you, " he added with a straight face.
was that some kind of smart crack? but sniffy just said, "i'm waiting for somebody."
"of course." he stared at her.
"so you're a poet, huh?" she asked him, just to break the silence.
"yes, of sorts."
"aren't all poets of sorts?"
"ha ha. yes, well, i dabble in poetry but it is not my primary avocation."
"no, my primary avocation is science. i am a scientist."
"bully for you."
"yes, i am engaged in a groundbreaking study which i believe will cause a revolution in human understanding in our time."
"double bully for you."
the poet - scientist stared intently at sniffy. "tell me, have you heard of doctor alfred kinsey?"
sniffy stared back. "heard of him? yeah, i've heard of him. and talked to him, too. me and my friend rooster were some of the first people he talked to when he started coming around." she laughed. "so, if you're trying to pass yourself off as kinsey, pal - "
"oh, no no! ha ha, what a thought! no, my name is morgenthaler - percival morgenthaler, and i assure you i am my own man. very much my own man, ha ha!"
"so what's kinsey got to with it?"
"i was just going to say that, like kinsey, i aim to explore a vast area of human experience too long neglected by respectable science. something far, far more fundamental than sex."
shirley was flying. it wasn't the best dope she ever smoked, not by any means, but the price was right. like absolutely free, no questions asked.
these two guys from duquesne, iowa - or was it dubuque, iowa? - wherever - were a hoot. they acted liked total squares from squaresville in some ways, but they weren't cheesegrinders, giving their dope away like that, and if you asked them anything they gave you a big smile and an answer.
"so what did you guys say your names were again?"
"mister burgoyne," mister burgoyne responded with a big smile, "and mister o'toole."
"i got that part, i meant what are your first names? besides mister? i mean, now that we're the best friends in the whole wide world, we ought to know each other's first names, right?"
mister burgoyne and mister o'toole looked at each other.
harold p sternhagen, who had inhaled a little less than the others, felt a little resentful that shirley - the light of his life - was paying so much attention to the two strangers. he knew it was stupid - it was their dope, after all - but he couldn't help it.
at first he had been euphoric just to be in the same room with her. now he wished she would look his way just once.
"johnny, " said harold. "all burgoynes must be named johnny, right?"
"ha, ha," burgoyne laughed happily. "that's me - johnny."
"and o'toole - let me think," harold continued. "what's a good name for an o'toole? how about - pete? pete o'toole. no, that's a little too thuggish. how about peter o'toole! that's got a nice ring to it. a nice manly ring."
"yes, peter o'toole," mister o'toole agreed, and they all laughed.
jewel thief, 2 other desperadoes nabbed in "triple play" by rookie detective
by florence flanagan, exclusive to the new york federal-democrat
escaped international jewel thief stanley slade did not end up breathing the sweet air of liberty for even forty-eight hours as his flight to freedom was abruptly cancelled early this morning by a sharp eyed rookie detective from the downtown 243rd precinct.
detective daniel dooley, only five days removed from his promotion to detective, was in the right place at the right time when he dropped off "an unidentified informant" at the all night automat on bedford st near washington square.
on entering the automat dooley was alerted to the presence of slade by another customer at the automat, elizabeth bronson. miss bronson , known as "bowery betty", a familiar figure in the neighborhood with her cat , gave her address as the hotel central on chrystie st.
miss bronson was quite emphatic in declaring to this reporter that she would aggressively pursue her claims to the various reward moneys offered for slade's capture.
"i've been pushed around and stepped on all my life," she asserted. "now my time has come. my light is going to shine or i will know the reason why, as the good lord is my witness."
police officials were noncommittal. "her claims will be assessed by those who offered the rewards. we have no other statement at this time," according to a statement released after slade was booked.
dooley admitted to this reporter that he might not have spotted slade, who had dyed his blonde hair black and otherwise altered his appearance, without miss bronson's identification. asked whether she should get the reward, he replied, "that is not for me to decide. i just work here."
but all this is only the beginning of the story. if dooley had help in spotting slade, he can take full credit for spotting the woman seated with slade in the automat as a fugitive from justice wanted by police "just about everywhere."
booked as "angela jones" because that is the name she was wanted on by the new york police for a burglary on park avenue in 1947, miss jones is also wanted under more than two dozen other names, such as "angelique st auberge" and "abby devereaux", on numerous fraud and theft charges. police identified her as a former protege of albert gordon, who is currently serving a forty year sentence in sing sing for the park avenue burglary and other crimes.
zender had always been vaguely aware that his colleagues in the modern history department regarded him as a pompous ass.
he had never let this bother him.
he was also aware that his field of study - anticipatory history, which he had done so much to promote and make respectable, but which was now widely considered to be totally discredited as a result of the recent worldwide upheavals - was no longer one calculated to win him fame, or a position beyond the one he now held as department chairman.
if, indeed, he could hold on to his position as department chairman.
he wondered what had happened to schon, his most determined adversary within the department, and if schon would be back.
no doubt schon, if he returned - had zender seen him at all on the few occasions he had visited the offices during the hostilities? - would have some cutting remarks about "anticipatory history", but would he actively mount a campaign against zender?
schon's specialty was the minute chronicling of the births and marriages of the prussian and bavarian aristocracies since the formation of the second empire, and he passionately believed - and defended the belief - that "history is documentation". he invariably concluded his briefs by striking the table and exclaiming - "no more and no less."
zender suddenly realized - why had he not realized it before? - no doubt because he had not thought about it - that he did not care if schon mounted a new offensive against him - might in fact, welcome it, if it did not involve any serious financial consequences.
financial consequences! why had he allowed such a poisonous thought to seep into his curiously and pleasantly lassitudinous brain?
for is there not always a strange - though often unacknowledged - for various reasons of courtesy and proprietary - exaltation at finding one in a new situation - or leaving an old one behind forever?
is there not a universal music in looking back and seeing something - no matter how previously cherished - grow smaller and smaller and finally disappearing on a receding horizon?
but now the music, pleasant enough as it had been, stopped.