edited by Dan Leo*
covers of harold p sternhagen's works by roy dismas
other illustrations by konrad kraus
*Associate Professor of Victorian British Literature, Assistant Bridge Coach, Olney Community College; editor of Beat Me Daddy! 37 Previously Uncollected Tales of the Jazz Demimonde, by Horace P. Sternwall; Olney Community College Press; made possible in part by a generous grant from the Horace P. Sternwall Preservation Project.
In the lobby of the venerable Hotel St Crispian, just outside the Prince Hal Room, Michael Chandler (called Henry by his wife Carol) has introduced himself to the author Harold P. Sternhagen...
"Yes, I drew a blank like Hank Blank, and I wound up pointing to you over here and saying you were the friend I was meeting.”
“I never meet friends,” said Harold.
“That’s what the doorman said.”
“You are in a pickle, aren’t you?”
“Yes, yes, I am. I’m not used to lying, you see. Except for, except for — other sorts of things.”
“What other sorts of things?”
“Like, like —”
“Like lying about loving my wife, and being content with my life, and my work. About everything.”
“So you’re only used to lying about the big things.”
“Yes, yes, that’s exactly it.”
“But it’s when you try to lie about details that you get all — discombobulated?”
“So why are you here?”
“Why am I here?”
“Yes,” said Harold. “In this hotel lobby.”
“Why am I here in this hotel lobby?”
“Yes. Why are you here, lying to doormen, assuming a false name, pretending you’re friends with someone you don’t know from Adam.”
“I — I — I’m meeting a woman.”
“Ah, a woman. Now it all comes clear.”