Monday, August 27, 2012

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 71: "ten grand to bora-bora"

by Horace P. Sternwall

edited by Dan Leo*

illustrated by roy dismas and rhoda penmarq

*Associate Professor of Middle English, Assistant Badminton Coach, Olney Community College; editor of The Final Furlough: Previously Uncollected Stories of War, by Horace P. Sternwall; Olney Community College Press, “The Obscure Modern Masters Project”.

It is past midnight in the great unsleeping city, and a man of about thirty years of age strides determinedly down Seventh Avenue. 

The man’s name is Michael Chandler, although his wife calls him Henry. 

Not fifteen minutes ago he had been on the verge of passing out -- not only from having drunk nine Old Fashioneds, but also because of the natural weariness incurred from having worked over fifty hours that week drawing up unbelievably tedious legal contracts, and from spending the present evening in the company of people even more boring than he was -- and Michael, unlike a true, dyed-in-the-wool master bore, knew himself to be a fairly boring fellow.

No, Michael was wide awake now, in fact he felt more awake than he had ever felt in his life, and he walked quickly and steadily, staggering and weaving not in the least.

He felt his manly stride gobbling up the six or seven blocks from Henry and Estelle’s building to his destination, the venerable Hotel St Crispian, and these were his thoughts as they rioted through his brain:

Ten grand.

Ten thousand dollars.

Ten thousand simoleons.

And for what? 

For giving the police some information leading to the capture of the arch criminal Stanley Slade.

Stan Slade, whom Michael and his wife Carol had picked up hitchhiking in the fog on their way into the city tonight. This charming fellow in his stolen, ill-fitting clothes, a fellow roughly Michael’s age, a fellow who had readily admitted to them who he was: the infamous Stanley Slade, international jewel thief and now escaped convict.

Why had he admitted his identity so readily, even cheerfully? Why had he trusted them, total strangers, not to turn him in?

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