Sunday, December 16, 2012

pals, part 3: dangerous

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by roy dismas and konrad kraus


click here for previous chapter

click here to begin at the beginning





night turned to dawn
the world moved on
on the details i will not dwell
but evening finally fell

i told my brain, don't start
but with a palpitating heart
i made my way back to ray's cafe
wondering what i would say

for i was trembling with fear
that jane would not be there
but if the truth i could tell
i was also afraid of the strange spell

she had cast on my fevered brain
that i could not explain
and i told myself i believed
i would actually be relieved

if she did not even show
and then i could safely go
back to the warm embrace
of the life i had learned to face

life just goes on and on
another night, another dawn
what is wrong with that anyway?
that would be hard to say

now jane had entered the mixture
and changed the whole picture
could i ever go back again
to the way i had always been?

in my brain i heard a roar
my steps brought me closer to the door
i pushed it open with a force of will
and then everything grew still

that is, in my own perception
to everyone else, without exception
nothing in the room, or the world, had changed
everything was still the same

again, henry was not there
but seated in "his" chair
as if she had every right to be
was my woman of mystery

she was looking down at the table
as though she were not able
to unravel some mysterious rune
or hear some forgotten tune

i approached with some hesitation
and fearful trepidation
she suddenly raised her head
"oh, there you are," she said

as if it were the most natural thing
my presence to her to bring
i steadied myself on the table
and responded as well as i was able

"i will only be a minute"
i brought back a glass with liquor in it
what could be more civilized?
a hurricane whirled behind my eyes

"as i was saying", she resumed
and started in on what i would soon
recognize as her obsessions
which branched off in many directions

like henry she was a fund of knowledge
perhaps not learned in any college
of wide repute - but rather
the strange fancies the wind would gather

and scatter to the desperate brains
of those who walk in wind and rain
and seek to look behind the curtain
of this world so flickering and uncertain

she expounded on the "new hope"
but scorned the masons and the pope
einstein and darwin, freud and marx
were only fit to feed the sharks

it all made perfect, and no sense
i was her perfect audience
her flow of words fell down on me
like raindrops on a calm blue sea

then suddenly - she stopped
i thought perhaps she wanted to cop
a cigarette - and offered my pack
but she was staring out the window behind my back

i turned and looked -
nothing - she shook
her head - "for a minute i thought
i saw - wait - i forgot - "

and with this and other mumbles
she jumped to her feet and stumbled
out the door - leaving me
in a cloud of wavering mystery

perhaps at this juncture
i should take the time to puncture
any thought you might entertain
that jane was a "dangerous dame"

and in view of what i will relate
as to my and her ultimate fate
that she was some kind of "femme fatale"
and not just an unfortunate gal

another speck of human dust
wandering blind , as we all must
who fell in with the wrong crowd -
the roaring in my brain is getting loud -

4. reenter henry



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