Saturday, February 9, 2013

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 96: "Kid Conrad"

by Horace P. Sternwall

edited by Dan Leo* 

illustrations by roy dismas and rhoda penmarq

*Associate Professor of American Literature, assistant Debate Club coach, Olney Community College; editor of A Dame of Ill Fame and Four Other Previously Uncollected Novellas of Doomed Love, by Horace P. Sternwall; Olney Community College Press. Available exclusively in the books department at Woolworth’s.



Frisco Johnny Ramirez took an envelope out of his inside suit-jacket pocket. The envelope had been folded four times, and he unfolded it and then poured a white powder out of it onto the little ormolu table between his arm chair and Conrad’s. 

“You don’t mind, do you kid? I like a little snow now and then to give me a little lift, a little pick-me-up on top of the booze.”

“I could ask Williams to make us some fresh coffee if you like,” said Conrad.

“No thank you, Conrad,” said Johnny. “You see, I drink too much coffee it gives me gas.”

“I understand,” said Conrad.

“You like a line, pal?”

“A line?”

“Of snow. The Bolivian marching powder. The Big C.”

“I’m sorry, Johnny,” said Conrad. “You must forgive me, but I suppose I have lived a rather sheltered life. So, to be honest I have no idea what you’re talking about, in what I can only suppose is a sort of netherworld argot or patois.”

“I’m saying this is cocaine here, Conrad,” said Johnny. “And I’m asking you would you like to snort a bump or two?”

“Cocaine? Gee. What’s it like?”

“It’s great. Put hair on your chest. Only thing is it might keep you up all night. Which is nothing to me, me I always like to go to bed not till after breakfast, and a late breakfast at that. But a guy like you I know it’s different.”

“Well, I don’t have to work tomorrow. Tomorrow’s Saturday.”




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