Monday, October 30, 2017

the princess in the tree


a tale






a beautiful princess was sitting in a tree.

robin hood came along.

he was carrying a big suitcase.

it was so heavy he kept moving it from one hand to the other and stopping to rest.

robin hood, asked the princess, what do you have in that suitcase and why is it so heavy?

it is filled with gold bullion, said robin hood, and i am taking it to the holy land to ransom good king richard from the saracens

at the rate you are going, replied the princess, king richard and the saracens will all be dead of old age before you get there.


you have a point, robin hood agreed, i was hoping to encounter genie or a magician who would assist me in some way.

you do not say so, said the princess, in that case i may be able to help you out.

do you mean that you know a magician or genie in these parts who can assist me? asked robin hood. perhaps yu are n possession of a magic lamp yourself?

no, replied the princess, but there is a witch in these very woods who might help you out.

a witch exclaimed robin hood, good king richard does not approve of witches, and would not right be right pleased to receive assistance from such creatures.


o but this is a good witch said the princess, and she has received the blessings of st christopher, patron saint of wayfarers, st john the eremite, and st elegius the patron saint of goldsmiths, among many other worthy denizens of heaven.

the patron saint of goldsmiths, cried robin hood, that it is indeed fortuitous, in that case perhaps an exception could be made to king richard’s wishes.

would you like me to take you to the witch, asked the princess.

after a moment’s hesitation, robin hood replied that he would.

the princess hopped down from the tree and led robin into the depths of the forest.


darkness fell as they walked along a dusty road.

a few stars could be seen above the branches of the dark trees.

are we almost there, asked robin hood?

almost, replied the princess.

suddenly they came to a clearing in which stood a large, busting railway station.

the railway station was brightly lit up but was surrounded by dark narrow streets.

the princess led robin hood down one of the darkest streets.


robin hood could see that the streets were little more than alleys and were filled with gin shops and low haunts where congregated some of the scum of the earth.

a couple of ruffians known as billy the barber and java drinking jake watched with knowing smiles from a doorway as robin hood and the princess passed within a few feet of them.

bob’s your uncle, whispered billy , and winkled at jake with his glass eye.

here we are, said the princess to robin hood. she had stopped in front of a crooked little building, little more than a hut, on a corner in front of a large hole in the ground.

there was no light in the hut but the princess entered it and robin hood followed with his heavy suitcase.


although there was no lamp or candle visible, the interior of the hut was faintly illuminated by a strange unearthly glow.

wait here, said the princess. she disappeared behind a curtain.

there were no chairs in the hut, but robin hood, glad to take a load off his feet, sat down on the suitcase and waited.

after what seemed an eternity, the curtain parted and the witch appeared.

robin hood had expected an old crone, but the witch was as young and beautiful as the princess.

she might have been the princess’s sister, but with longer and darker hair, the color of a raven’s dying croak.


and eyes as dark and old as the depths of the sea.

robin hood explained his plight to the enchantress, and asked if he might be transported immediately to the holy land.

i can not do that on such short notice, the witch replied, but what i can do is lighten your load.

she pointed to the suitcase. go ahead, she told robin, pick it up.

robin did as he was told - the suitcase was as light as a bird’s wing!

robin started to thank the witch but she had disappeared.


he decided to say prayers of thanks to st elegius and the blessed virgin instead, and turned and went back out into the street.

billy the barber and java drinking jake were waiting for him.

what’s in the suitcase, country boy? drawled billy.

a picture of my old mother, robin replied, an arrow from the side of st stephen, and a feather from the wing of the archangel gabriel.

country boy’s got a sense of humor, drawled jake.

let’s take a look, said billy, and snatched the suitcase from robin’s hand.


the bars of gold spilled out, blinding billy and jake.

billy was turned into a toad and jake into a mouse and they scurried away whimpering onto the dark shadows.

suddenly the princess reappeared and helped robin scoop the feather light bars of glowing gold back into the suitcase.

let us make haste, she told billy, you have to catch the express to constantinople.

the express to constantinople, exclaimed robin, i have never been on a train before.


the conductor of the train is st basil of cappopdocia, said the princess, and st augustine is the engineer. they will see you safe to constantinople, where you will find the prophet ezekiel waiting for you. he will escort you to the tent of the king of the saracens, where you will deliver the ransom for good king richard. but hurry, we do not have a moment to lose.

they reached the train station without incident, with robin clutching the weightless suitcase.

the princess delivered robin to st basil, just as the train was pulling out.


the express thundered through the night, through cities bright as jewels, forests as quiet as graveyards, and fields dark as the center of the earth.

nobody, not even st basil or st augustine, spoke to robin after he was in his seat, and he fell asleep, with the suitcase full of gold in his arms on his lap.

dawn was breaking when they reached the imperial city.

but the prophet ezekiel was not waiting for robin, nor was anybody else.


with a strange feeling of foreboding, robin decided to check the interior of the suitcase, and ducked into an alley beside the station to do do.

the suitcase was empty except for a small toad, which robin recognized as the fallen angel moloch, and which quickly hopped away into the throngs which were starting to crowd the streets with their hawkers and beggars cries.

it would be many years before king richard was ransomed from the saracens.


but as king richard was the most forgiving of men, as well as the bravest and most warlike, he never upbraided robin hood for his unfortunate adventure, or for losing half the gold of his kingdom, and they both lived to hoist many a golden foaming tankard back in merry old england, in the green depths of sherwood forest.

thus ends the story of the princess in the tree.




Friday, September 29, 2017

less than 3 months away








christmas is less than three months away!

total dissatisfaction press has a wide selection of over 60 books available

total dissatisfaction press specializes in old-fashioned poetry books, coffee table books including coffee table poetry books, cut-up poetry and fiction, and books that make great gifts for surly children, sullen adolescents, confused elders, and persons who might like a gift that makes them say “what the ________ is this?”

all books illustrated unless otherwise noted

“and what is the use of a book,” thought alice, “without pictures or conversations?”


books available from total dissatisfaction press as of september 29, 2017:

total dissatisfaction books can be purchased at www.lulu.com.

for descriptions and thumbnails search by title or author or enter keyword “total dissatisfaction press” for complete list

prices listed are as of september 29, 2017 and do not include shipping.

lulu offers many discounts with coupons or for bulk purchases



fiction:

*darkness, my home town, and other stories, by fred flynn - $3.46

anniversary, and other stories, by nick nelson - $3.61

death in the rain, by nick nelson - $5.25

long con on a dark road, and other stories, by nick nelson - $4.13

ms found in a white notebook, and other stories and poems, by nick nelson - $4.17

31 stories, by nick nelson - $4.85

fun: a tale for a rainy night, by harold p sternhagen - illustrated - $5.25

*fun: a tale for a rainy night, by harold p sternhagen - not illustrated - $3.32

games: a tale for a stormy night, by harold p sternhagen - $5.29

the little cheeseburger girl, and other stories, by horace p sternwall - illustrated - $5.01

*the little cheeseburger girl, and other stories, by horace p sternwall - not illustrated - $3.04


*not illustrated


poetry:

hey! and other found poems, by anonymous - $2.41

song of the open road, and other poems, by jack dale coody - $2.09

across the wounded greyhound stations, by corinne delmonico - $2.29

every child should sing, and other poems, by corinne delmonico - $2.17

*leaves, by mary c fogg - $2.05

billy blood, and other poems, by timothy t jones - $2.49

*this guy came at me with a knife, and other poems, by timothy t jones - $2.81

*the unexplainable man, by timothy t jones - $2.53

i should get out more, by wiggly jones, “the little hippie boy” - $2.17

poems for everyone, by wiggly jones, “the little hippie boy” - $2.13

**beat, and other poems, by chuck leary - $3.05

i was the one, and other poems, by horace p sternwall - $3.01

*lover, and other poems. by horace p sternwall - $2.17

untitled, and other poems, by horace p sternwall - $3.01

amanda, and other poems, from a sternwall family album - $2.49

life is horrible, and other poems, by bofa xesjum - $2.85


* not illustrated

** contains some nsfw material


cut-ups:

drifting highway, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq - $3.13

joey isn’t the problem, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq - $3.29

let’s see if we can’t do better this time, by rhoda penmarq - $3.61

maisie and the clowns with pointed shoes, and other stories, by rhoda penmarq - $4.05

the other side of the cadillac, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq - $3.21

that’a an improvement, but a little more energy please, by rhoda penmarq - $3.29


illustrated fiction:

it isn’t only crocodiles that cry, part 1, by chuck leary - $16.00

it isn’t only crocodiles that cry, part 2, by chuck leary - $12.75

it isn’t only crocodiles that cry, part 3, by chuck leary - $10.50

a face in green chalk on the sidewalk, by rhoda penmarq - $10.75

letter from an unknown, by rhoda penmarq - $12.25

letter from an unknown 2: sally’s dream, by rhoda penmarq - $12.25

letter from an unknown 3: the lost city, by rhoda penmarq - $16.00

letter from an unknown 4: the wages of guilt ,by rhoda penmarq - $12.25

letter from an unknown 5: the captives, by rhoda penmarq - $14.75

the waitress and the satanist, by rhoda penmarq - $13.00

l’amour, by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy - illustrated in color - $14.75

l’amour, by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy - illustrated in black and white - $3.37

the disappearance (complete in 1 volume), by jeremy witherigton - $34.50

the disappearance, part 1, by jeremy witherington - $19.50

the disappearance, part 2, by jeremy witherington - $18.00


graphic fiction:

into the interior, by roy dismas - $11.75

the road to yucatan: heisenberg’s castle, by rhoda penmarq - $11.75

high speed, and desolation express, by bofa xesjum - $14.00

wild to be free, and other illustrated stories, by bofa xesjum - $16.50

betty goes to the museum - $11.25


coffee table books:


from eddie el greco:

these are your neighbors: 1 - one human hive - $19.78

these are your neighbors: 2 - snotty kids and ignorant adults - $20.15

humans among themselves : 1 - the secret laughter - $19.78


from danny delacroix:

on this day in history: 1 - winter - $19.41

on this day in history: 2 - spring - $19.78

on this day in history: 3 - summer - $20.15

on this day in history: 4 - fall - $19.41

from roy dismas:

randomly selected humans (black-and-white) - $3.57

randomly selected humans - deluxe edition (color) - $16.00

randomly selected humans 2 (black-and-white) - $3.57

randomly selected humans 2 - deluxe edition (color) - $16.00


coffee table poetry books:

i put my hat upon my head, and other poems, by samuel johnson and others - $17.93

jennifer was full of sass, and other poems and limericks, by walter “whappy” wilson - $14.23

a winsome lass named laura, and other poems and limericks, by walter “whappy” wilson - $14.23





Wednesday, August 23, 2017

books with pictures and conversations






books available from total dissatisfaction press as of august 23, 2017:

new releases highlighted in red

total dissatisfaction books can be purchased at www.lulu.com.

search by title or author or enter keyword “total dissatisfaction press” for complete list

prices listed are as of august 23, 2017 and do not include shipping.

lulu offers many discounts with coupons or for bulk purchases


all books illustrated unless otherwise noted

“and what is the use of a book,” thought alice, “without pictures or conversations?”


fiction:

*darkness, my home town, and other stories, by fred flynn - $3.46

anniversary, and other stories, by nick nelson - $3.61

death in the rain, by nick nelson - $5.25

long con on a dark road, and other stories, by nick nelson - $4.13

ms found in a white notebook, and other stories and poems, by nick nelson - $4.17

31 stories, by nick nelson - $4.85

fun: a tale for a rainy night, by harold p sternhagen - illustrated - $5.25

*fun: a tale for a rainy night, by harold p sternhagen - not illustrated - $3.32

games: a tale for a stormy night, by harold p sternhagen - $5.29

the little cheeseburger girl, and other stories, by horace p sternwall - illustrated - $5.01

*the little cheeseburger girl, and other stories, by horace p sternwall - not illustrated - $3.04

*not illustrated


poetry:

hey! and other found poems, by anonymous - $2.41

song of the open road, and other poems, by jack dale coody - $2.09

across the wounded greyhound stations, by corinne delmonico - $2.29

every child should sing, and other poems, by corinne delmonico - $2.17

*leaves, by mary c fogg - $2.05

billy blood, and other poems, by timothy t jones - $2.49

*this guy came at me with a knife, and other poems, by timothy t jones - $2.81

*the unexplainable man, by timothy t jones - $2.53

i should get out more, by wiggly jones, “the little hippie boy” - $2.17

poems for everyone, by wiggly jones, “the little hippie boy” - $2.13

beat, and other poems, by chuck leary - $3.05

i was the one, and other poems, by horace p sternwall - $3.01

*lover, and other poems. by horace p sternwall - $2.17

untitled, and other poems, by horace p sternwall - $3.01

amanda, and other poems, from a sternwall family album - $2.49

life is horrible, and other poems, by bofa xesjum - $2.85

* not illustrated


cut-ups:

drifting highway, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq - $3.13

joey isn’t the problem, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq - $3.29

let’s see if we can’t do better this time, by rhoda penmarq - $3.61

maisie and the clowns with pointed shoes, and other stories, by rhoda penmarq - $4.05

the other side of the cadillac, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq - $3.21

that’a an improvement, but a little more energy please, by rhoda penmarq - $3.29


illustrated novels:

a face in green chalk on the sidewalk, by rhoda penmarq - $10.75

letter from an unknown, by rhoda penmarq - $12.25

letter from an unknown 2: sally’s dream, by rhoda penmarq - $12.25

letter from an unknown 3: the lost city, by rhoda penmarq - $16.00

the waitress and the satanist, by rhoda penmarq - $13.00

l’amour, by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy - illustrated in color - $14.75

l’amour, by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy - illustrated in black and white - $3.37

the disappearance (complete in 1 volume), by jeremy witherigton - $34.50

the disappearance, part 1, by jeremy witherington - $19.50

the disappearance, part 2, by jeremy witherington - $18.00


graphic novels:

into the interior, by roy dismas - $11.75

the road to yucatan: heisenberg’s castle, by rhoda penmarq - $11.75

high speed, and desolation express, by bofa xesjum - $14.00

betty goes to the museum - $11.25


coffee table books:

from eddie el greco:

these are your neighbors: 1 - one human hive - $19.78

these are your neighbors: 2 - snotty kids and ignorant adults - $20.15

humans among themselves : 1 - the secret laughter - $19.78


from danny delacroix:

on this day in history: 1 - winter - $19.41

on this day in history: 2 - spring - $19.78

on this day in history: 3 - summer - $20.15

on this day in history: 4 - fall - $19.41


from roy dismas:

randomly selected humans (black-and-white) - $3.57

randomly selected humans - deluxe edition (color) - $16.00

randomly selected humans 2 (black-and-white) - $3.57

randomly selected humans 2 - deluxe edition (color) - $16.00


coffee table poetry books:

i put my hat upon my head, and other poems, by samuel johnson and others - $17.93

jennifer was full of sass, and other poems and limericks, by walter “whappy” wilson - $14.23

a winsome lass named laura, and other poems and limericks, by walter “whappy” wilson - $14.23



Sunday, July 16, 2017

look at these prices!




books available from total dissatisfaction press as of july 16, 2017:

total dissatisfaction books can be purchased at www.lulu.com.

search by title or author or enter keyword total dissatisfaction press for complete list

prices listed are as of july 16, 2017 and do not include shipping.

lulu offers many discounts with coupons or for bulk purchases

all books illustrated unless otherwise noted

“and what is the use of a book,” thought alice, “without pictures or conversations?”


fiction:

*darkness, my home town, and other stories, by fred flynn - $3.46

anniversary, and other stories, by nick nelson - $3.61

death in the rain, by nick nelson - $5.25

long con on a dark road, and other stories, by nick nelson - $4.13

ms found in a white notebook, and other stories and poems, by nick nelson - $4.17

31 stories, by nick nelson - $4.85

fun: a tale for a rainy night, by harold p sternhagen - illustrated - $5.25

*fun: a tale for a rainy night, by harold p sternhagen - not illustrated - $3.32

games: a tale for a stormy night, by harold p sternhagen - $5.29

the little cheeseburger girl, and other stories, by horace p sternwall - illustrated - $5.01

*the little cheeseburger girl, and other stories, by horace p sternwall - not illustrated - $3.04


*not illustrated


poetry:

hey! and other found poems, by anonymous - $2.41

every child should sing, and other poems, by corrine delmonico - $2.17

*leaves, by mary c fogg - $2.05

billy blood, and other poems, by timothy t jones - $2.49

*this guy came at me with a knife, and other poems, by timothy t jones - $2.81

*the unexplainable man, by timothy t jones - $2.53

poems for everyone, by wiggly jones, “the little hippie boy” - $2.13

beat, and other poems, by chuck leary - $3.05

i was the one, and other poems, by horace p sternwall - $3.01

*lover, and other poems. by horace p sternwall - $2.17

untitled, and other poems, by horace p sternwall - $3.01

amanda, and other poems, from a sternwall family album - $2.49


* not illustrated


cut-ups:

drifting highway, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq - $3.13

joey isn’t the problem, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq - $3.29

let’s see if we can’t do better this time, by rhoda penmarq - $3.61

maisie and the clowns with pointed shoes, and other stories, by rhoda penmarq - $4.05

the other side of the cadillac, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq - $3.21

that’a an improvement, but a little more energy please, by rhoda penmarq - $3.29


illustrated novel:

l’amour, by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy - illustrated in color - $14.75

l’amour, by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy - illustrated in black and white - $3.37


graphic novels:

into the interior, by roy dismas - $11.75

high speed, and desolation express, by bofa xesjum - $14.00

betty goes to the museum - $11.25


coffee table books:


from eddie el greco:

these are your neighbors: 1 - one human hive - $19.78

these are your neighbors: 2 - snotty kids and ignorant adults - $20.15

humans among themselves : 1 - the secret laughter - $19.78


from danny delacroix:

on this day in history: 1 - winter - $19.41

on this day in history: 2 - spring - $19.78

on this day in history: 3 - summer - $20.15

on this day in history: 4 - fall - $19.41


from roy dismas:


randomly selected humans (black-and-white) - $3.57

randomly selected humans - deluxe edition (color) - $16.00

randomly selected humans 2 (black-and-white) - $3.57

randomly selected humans 2 - deluxe edition (color) - $16.00


coffee table poetry books:

i put my hat upon my head, and other poems, by samuel johnson and others - $17.93

jennifer was full of sass, and other poems and limericks, by walter “whappy” wilson - $14.23

a winsome lass named laura, and other poems and limericks, by walter “whappy” wilson - $14.23




Thursday, June 1, 2017

books available from total dissatisfaction press






books available from total dissatisfaction press as of june 1, 2017

all books illustrated unless otherwise noted


fiction:

*darkness, my home town, and other stories, by fred flynn

anniversary, and other stories, by nick nelson

long con on a dark road, and other stories, by nick nelson

**fun: a tale for a rainy night, by harold p sternhagen

games: a tale for a stormy night, by harold p sternhagen

**the little cheeseburger girl, and other stories, by horace p sternwall

*not illustrated

** available in illustrated and non-illustrated versions


poetry:


every child should sing, and other poems, by corrine delmonico

*leaves, by mary c fogg

billy blood, and other poems, by timothy t jones

* this guy came at me with a knife, and other poems, by timothy t jones

* the unexplainable man, by timothy t jones

poems for everyone, by wiggly jones, “the little hippie boy”

beat, and other poems, by chuck leary

i was the one, and other poems, by horace p sternwall

*lover, and other poems. by horace p sternwall

untitled, and other poems, by horace p sternwall

amanda, and other poems, from a sternwall family album

* not illustrated


cut-ups:


drifting highway, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq

joey isn’t the problem, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq

let’s see if we can’t do better this time, by rhoda penmarq

maisie and the clowns with pointed shoes, and other stories, by rhoda penmarq

the other side of the cadillac, and other poems, by rhoda penmarq


illustrated novel:

l’amour, by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy (available in black & white, and color editions)


graphic novels:

into the interior, by roy dismas

high speed, and desolation express, by bofa xesjum


coffee table books:


from eddie el greco:

these are your neighbors: 1 - one human hive

these are your neighbors: 2 - snotty kids and ignorant adults

humans among themselves : 1 - the secret laughter


from danny delacroix:

on this day in history: 1 - winter

on this day in history: 2 - spring

on this day in history: 3 - summer

on this day in history: 4 - fall


from roy dismas:

randomly selected humans (available in regular (black-and-white) and deluxe (color) editions

randomly selected humans 2 (available in regular (black-and-white) and deluxe (color) editions


coffee table poetry books:

i put my hat upon my head, and other poems, by samuel johnson and others

jennifer was full of sass, and other poems and limericks, by walter “whappy” wilson

a winsome lass named laura, and other poems and limericks, by walter “whappy” wilson


total dissatisfaction books can be purchased at www.lulu.com. search by title or author or enter keyword “total dissatisfaction press” for complete list

see lulu for prices, which may vary.

prices as of june 1, 2017 ranged from $2.05 to $20.15, plus shipping. books listed as fiction, poetry, and cutups were all under $6.00

lulu offers many discounts with coupons or for bulk purchases



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

the last of all his tribe


for previous story, click here

to begin series, click here





walter williams had long prided himself on being the last well-dressed man in the ever-expanding metropolis, and he had inured himself to the taunts of boors and riffraff and hooligans as he made his way down the various boulevards of the city in his homburg and spats, with his rolled umbrella and his perfectly starched collars and his pointed handkerchief in the breast pocket of his jacket.

he had, indeed, welcomed the jeers, and found his destiny in them, as surely as he looked forward to the day when taste and civilization returned ascendant, and he, walter, would be remembered as the lonely hero who kept the banner flying and the light burning in the darkest hours.

but of late, he begun to doubt, and to feel the stirrings of despondency.

not that his reception in the street had grown harsher. if anything, it had become milder, much milder, and instead of hoots and rude remarks, he now experienced only the occasional quizzical or milldly amused glance.

“is this the end,?” walter thought, as he sat on a park bench one late afternoon, “ am i, and my dreams, to simply fade away, without even a chance to take the battle to the enemy? am i the last of all my tribe?”

walter realized he must have spoken the last sentence, at least, aloud, for a voice from the other end of the bench replied,

“i, too, sir, often feel the same way. i, too, am the last of my tribe.”

walter turned his head and saw a completely nondescript individual, whose arrival he had not registered, leaning back against the slats of the bench and regarding walter with the trace of a wistful smile.

“do you now, sir?” walter addressed the nondescript personage politely, for he always extended to others the courtesy he expected himself, “and what might that tribe be?”

“the tribe of wizards,” the man answered.

“really?” was all walter could think to reply.

“i am indeed. and in my time i was the most powerful of all wizards, the veritable master of all time and space. kingdoms and empires whirled through my fingers like grains of sand, universes wobbled on their axes, and galaxies vanished at my touch.” the nondescript man shook his head with a rueful smile. “as for what use i made of my powers, delicacy bids me be silent.”

“i am sure you used your powers wisely and well,” walter murmured, as he considered the best way to make his escape from the wizard.

but before the conversation went any further, it was interrupted by the arrival of a third personage.

a fellow almost the twin of the wizard, but smaller and shabbier. who stood before walter and announced,

“i could not help overhearing you gentlemens’ conversation. i, too, am the last of my tribe.”

“and that tribe is - ?“ walter managed to smile.

“for many years,” the little man said, “i collected the labels of whiskey bottles, and in time i amassed what was undoubtedly the world’s greatest collection of such. but all the other collectors passed away, and i was left alone with none but myself to admire my carefully accumulated treasures. and then, just last week, my attic room was broken into and my life’s work stolen. no doubt by ignorant thugs unaware of its uniqueness, who probably consigned it to the nearest dumpster. so you see, gentlemen, i too am the last of my tribe.”

walter nodded, but the wizard exclaimed, “good grief! do you equate the collection of the labels of whiskey bottles with wizardry, with mastery of all time and space? what impudence!”

“now, now,:” said walter, with a philosophy he did not know he had in him, “who are we to say? when we each choose our path through this life, how do we know with what laughter, or with what indifference, the gods regard us?”

and all three fell silent, as the twilight closed around them.



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

an overheard conversation


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it all began on the rainy afternoon that emily discovered that glen was a murderer.

emily had always trusted glen completely, and paid no attention to the other women in the office, with their lurid tales of the mischief stay at home husbands could get into.

one afternoon emily was feeling unwell - probably from the terrible chicken croquettes she had had at lunch with a client - and she went home early.

when she got to the apartment she recognized a car parked on the street as belonging to glen’s friend richard, whom she had always found a very polite and pleasant individual.

she had described richard once to her friend at work marcia , and although marcia had never even seen richard, and had met glen only once or twice, she pronounced that glen and richard were “absolutely” lovers.

how ridiculous people were!

nevertheless emily decided to enter the apartment as quietly as possible, so as to “surprise” glen and richard at their no doubt innocent conversation. and put the silly insinuations to rest once and for all.

emily turned the key in the front door lock and slipped noiselessly into the carpeted front room.

she could hear richard’s voice in the kitchen - surprisingly loud and a bit grating. the two men were probably sitting at the kitchen table. drinking beer? talking about football?

but if they were in the kitchen they weren’t making love, were they? so there!

emily crept a little closer toward the kitchen.

“then she really started crying,” richard was saying, “and i told her, baby, there is nobody out here to hear you, nobody at all…”

and glen laughed, as emily had never heard him laugh before, and said “yeah, they get that way, don’t they, especially when they know the end is near…”

emily listened some more, and it got worse. much worse.

somehow emily found herself back outside the apartment. she got down the stairs and out on to the street, and the cold air and light rain slapped her in the face.

waking her up? had it been a dream? a hallucination?

no, it had happened! she had heard what she had heard.

glen was a serial killer! maybe a member of a cabal of serial killers.

emily hailed a cab, and went to see her best friend, jeanette.

jeanette was married to a junior hedge fund manager, and spent her mornings practicing karate and her afternoons baking chocolate chip cookies which she sold on the internet.

jeanette went on calmly ladling freshly baked cookies onto china plates as emily told her tale.

“what do you think?’ emily asked, after describing what she had heard. “do you think - do you think - they were maybe playing some kind of role-playing game?”

“they might have been,” jeanette said, “or running through a screenplay - guys with nothing to do are big for writing screenplays - but i wouldn’t count on it. “

“should i - do you think i should i confront glen?”

“no, don’t do that! that’s the last thing you want to do! what you need, babe, is a lawyer. get a lawyer, and then go to the police. let them sort it out, they are professionals.”

“but this is so awful! how can this be? how can such a thing be?”

“well, you’re not the first woman something like this has happened to.” jeanette finished putting the cookies on plates and checked her oven to make sure it was off. “it is all just part of the general misogynistic malaise of the planet. men, as you may have noticed, are not taking kindly to the revolt of women against them, and this is all just part of that.”

“but - but what can i do?”

“i told you, get a lawyer. you must know some lawyers, from your job.”

“yes, but they just do taxes and stuff. i don’t know any real lawyers, like perry mason.”

“you could find one online.”

“but how long will that take?” emily slumped down in jeanette’s kitchen chair. “no, i think i will just - go to the police and get it over with.”

“i tell you what,” jeanette said. “i will drive you to the station. then i have an appointment, and when i’m through i’ll come back to the station and see how you are doing. maybe i can pick up a lawyer on the way. jeffrey knows a million lawyers, there must be one who can help you. how does that sound?”

“all right,” emily agreed.

jeanette dropped emily off, and emily entered the police station by herself.

inside, the station was quieter than emily had expected. a young woman in uniform was seated at a front desk.

“can i help you, ma’am?”

“yes, i think my husband is a murderer. probably a serial killer.”

“please have a seat. a detective will be with you shortly.”

emily sat down on a bench. there was nobody else on it. the station was dreary enough, but not nearly as sinister or bustling as one in a movie or tv show.

how had it come to this?

emily remembered when she was young , and how her mother and dad had aways seemed to just get along. the closest they ever had to a disagreement was dad grumbling about having roast beef for dinner every single sunday afternoon.

what a nice world it had been.

how she wished she were back in it!


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