tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 76: "Hank and Harold"
"Hank and Harold"
by Horace P Sternwall
edited by Prof. Dan Leo*
illustrated by roy dismas and danny delacroix
*Associate Professor of Medieval Latin Studies, Assistant Billiards Coach, Olney Community College; editor of The Garage Door That Wouldn’t Open and 33 Other Stories of Post-War Malaise, by Horace P. Sternwall; Olney Community College Press, “The Sternwall Project”.
Harold P. Sternhagen stared at the black-and-white photograph on the poster.
Shirley De La Salle.
Shirley De La Salle, her glossy lips opened in song. He could hear her only slightly muffled voice now, singing behind the doors of the Prince Hal Room.
“Dere's an ol' man called de Mississippi,” she sang, “dat's de ol' man dat I'd like to be! What does he care if de world's got troubles? What does he care if de land ain't free?”
“Excuse me, sir?”
“Ol' man river,” she sang, Shirley sang, “dat ol' man river, he mus’ know sumpin’, but don't say nuthin'. He jes' keeps rollin’, he keeps on rollin' along —”
“Excuse me. Pal?”
It was some guy, talking. Talking to Harold. Why?
“Sorry, buddy,” said the guy, “don’t mean to disturb you.”
“Oh, no, that’s okay,” said Harold, although he immediately thought: no, it isn’t okay.
“My name is, uh, Hank,” said the man. “Hank, um, Blank.”
“Your name is ‘Hank Blank’?”
“Yes, heh heh, I know it sounds, um, odd. I believe your name is Stern-, uh, Sternwell? Sternhall? Stern-something.”
“Sternhagen, that’s it. How are you?”
“I’m — excuse me, but — may I ask why you are introducing yourself to me?”