Sunday, March 17, 2013

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 101: "Mack is back"

by Horace P. Sternwall

edited by Dan Leo* 

illustrations by danny delacroix and eddie el greco

*Assistant Professor of Cyber-Culture, Associate Checkers Club Coach, Olney Community College; editor of Highway to Eternity: 7 Previously Uncollected Short Novels of Speculative Fiction, by Horace P. Sternwall, with a Foreword by Fred Flynn; Olney Community College Press.




Mack Treacher woke up in a dark alleyway, in a large trashcan. It had to be a large trashcan, because Mack Treacher was a large man. He struggled to climb out of it, the can fell over, and Mack crawled out, onto the slimy cobblestones.

If the Professor had calculated right, Mack should be in New York City, sometime in late September of 1950.

Mack felt shaky, and, as usual after one of these trips, a little sick to his stomach.

He always felt this way after a trip through the Professor’s Temp-O-Rizor™. The last time he had made a trip he had to go all the way back to late-Victorian London, to straighten out that Jack the Ripper case. Time before that it was Berlin, April 1945, a mission to keep that bastard Hitler from setting off a giant “biological” bomb that would have wiped out all of humanity from the face of the earth, which would have meant that he, Mack Treacher, would never have been born. Of course that also would have meant that his bitch ex-wife would never have been born either, not to mention Mack’s ungrateful slattern of a teenage daughter.

Sometimes you had to take the bad with the good.

That last job was supposed to have been his last one ever. 

The President had been grateful, very grateful. The tall slim politician had made some phone calls to his old Ivy League buddies, and had gotten Mack’s viper-tongued trollop of a daughter into Harvard, full scholarship.

Then the President handed Mack a certified check for one million dollars, tax free.

 

“Thanks, Mr. President,” Mack said, and he slipped the check into the back pocket of his acid-washed 501s.

“Now that business is out of the way, may I offer you a beer, Mack? I’ve got the good stuff: Heineken.”

“Sorry, Mr. President, I guess you didn’t know, but I’m a recovering alcoholic. Too many bad memories I guess. Too many people I’ve seen die. Too many people I’ve had to kill.”

“Maybe a nice single malt scotch then? People give me this stuff all the time. You like Glenlivet?”





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