edited by Dan Leo*
illustrations by roy dismas and danny delacroix
*Associate Professor of Romance Literature, Assistant Volleyball Coach, Olney Community College; editor of A Bible and a Six-Gun: The “Preacher Jones” Stories of Horace P. Sternwall, Vol.1; Olney Community College Press; available exclusively at Kresge’s 5&10 Stores.
The desperate and drunken young lawyer Michael Chandler (called “Henry” by his wife Carol, because of his innate “Henryness”) and his new acquaintance Harold P. Sternhagen (author of Cast Caution to the Winds, High Yella Gal, Return to Okefenokee, The Angry Privates, and numerous other “paperback originals”) were heading for the bar in the Prince Hal Room of the venerable Hotel St Crispian when they were suddenly accosted by the notorious Lord Wolverington, who was sitting at a table with the equally notorious heiress Miss Caroline Charlton, the world-class bore and remittance man Phineas “Farmer” Brown, and Harold’s colleague in the dismal trade of letters, the science-fiction author Fred Flynn.
“I say, Mr. Sternhagen, do you just walk by without saying hello, my boy?”
“Oh, hello Lord Wolverington,” said Harold. “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.”
“That’s because he only has eyes for that canary,” said Fred (the author of Starfleet Traitor, A Moon for Möbius, The Stars Are My Bailiwick, Cast-Offs of Betelgeuse, and numerous other books and short stories).
“The lovely Shirley De La Salle,” said Farmer Brown. “She’s a peach all right!” “A little trollop you mean,” said Miss Charlton. “I’ve seen a thousand young janes like her come and I’ve seen them all go just as soon as their looks start to fade, straight down to the Bowery or to those low dockside bars frequented by unemployed stevedores and merchant seamen.”
“Ignore Miss Charlton,” said Lord Wolverington. “The dear lady quite simply cannot bear to have any other female mentioned in her presence.”
“Trollops,” said Miss Charlton. “Seen them come, seen them go. And if it were not for the decayed likes of them I should so much more enjoy my own occasional visits to the Bowery or to the aforementioned low dockside bars.”
The band had begun another song, and Shirley was singing again:
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon…”