Monday, April 8, 2013

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 104: "the poet"

by Horace P. Sternwall

edited by Dan Leo* 

illustrations by roy dismas and eddie el greco

*Assistant Professor of Popular Literature, Associate Skee-ball Coach, Olney Community College; editor of Hooray for the Damned! 47 Previously Uncollected Stories with Unhappy Endings by Horace P. Sternwall, with an Afterword by Oscar Levant; Olney Community College Press.

Landon “Rooster” Crow and Alice “Sniffy” Smith, failed hipsters, still sat at the same table in Bob’s Bowery Bar at which they had been sitting for over an hour now, waiting. 


Waiting for the “two Bills”, Bill Grey and Bill Leighton, to return with a “lid” of marijuana, which Rooster and Sniffy hoped to sell at an enormous profit to two well-dressed idiots they had met in the musty stairwell of the Hotel St Crispian.

Sniffy as usual was oblivious to the passing of time, soaring on the high attained from her seemingly endless supply of Benzedrine inhalers, jabbering on and on, about herself, about her life. 

To hear Sniffy tell it, she had had the most interesting life of anyone in the history of humanity.


She really was profoundly boring, thought Rooster, and he didn’t know why he loved her, but he did, even though she had never, in all of the nearly five years that they had known each other, shown him the slightest sign of physical affection, and precious little of any other kind of affection.

“Y’know, Sniffy,” said Rooster, “I’m starting to think ‘the two Bills' may not be coming back.”

“What do you mean, interrupting me in the middle of a sentence?”

“Oh, sorry, please go on.”

“Okay, so, as I was saying —”


Sniffy stopped speaking, for once, and both she and Rooster turned to look at the man who had just spoken.

“Absolute shite.”

It was the Irish poet Seamas McSeamas, standing there next to their table with his hands on his hips and a cigarette in his mouth. 

“You heard me,” he said. “Absolute shite. Even standin’ over there at the bar amongst a crowd of drunken loudmouths and over the plaintive tones of the lovely Billie Holiday herself wailin’ the blues on the jukebox I could still hear your grating voice across the barroom, woman, talking shite nonstop.”

for complete episode, click here

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