Tuesday, January 1, 2013

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 90. "the man who buys the mona lisa"

by manfred skyline

illustrated by konrad kraus and rhoda penmarq

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo





cosima watched from the window as fortescue and carol got into the cab and the cab pulled away from the curb and headed downtown.

williams was waiting behind her. she turned to face him.

"did you say i had a couple of phone calls tonight?"

"indeed i did, miss. i wrote down the names and numbers. i can get them now, if you like."

"no rush. anybody you didn't know?"

williams hesitated. "one call was from mrs babson - young mrs babson, whom we both know very well."

"yes, only too well. and the other?"

"the other was from a gentleman who identified himself as mr slomo. he gave the impression of wanting to introduce himself. so i don't know if you are already acquainted with him."

"slomo?" cosima seemed momentarily startled. then she laughed. "it was probably a joke. from bucky burnside or one of his pals. or pete palomine."

"it didn't sound like mister burnside or mister palomine. of course i could be mistaken."

"well, if they were joking they would have been trying to disguise their voices."

"of course."

cosima stared at williams. "was there something else?"

"well, miss. perhaps i am being a bit presumptuous - "

"oh, williams, williams, presume away, please."

williams laughed politely. "but the name 'slomo' was not entirely unfamiliar to me."



"oh?"

"if i may continue in my presumptuousness, may i ask if it were familiar to you - apart from your perception of it as a joke?"

"yes, it was familiar. anyone in the little world of art has heard of mr slomo - which is not to say they necessarily believe that he exists."

williams seemed a little startled by this. "there is some disbelief as to whether mr slomo exists?" he stared at cosima.

cosima stared back, amused. "well, do you believe mr slomo exists? have you had some experience of this legendary creature yourself?"





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