tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 112: "live in memory forever"
by horace p sternwall
illustrated by roy dismas and eddie el greco
editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo
nolan noticed the guy sitting at the bar as soon as he entered the prince hal room.
it was not exactly that he "didn't like his looks". more like he excited his curiosity a little bit. nolan could not quite place him. and there were not too many people nolan could not place.
nolan took the first stool at the bar, in front of the passage from the lobby. there was one empty stool between him and the stranger, who, he now saw, was drinking coffee.
despite the late hour, the place was still pretty full, with most of the tables taken, though not a lot of people at the bar. tony winston was noodling at the piano, but the other band members were either taking a break or had played their last set.
no sign of miss shirley de la salle. too bad, she was about the only thing in the place nolan thought worth looking at.
you didn't need a watch or a clock to tell how late it was - you just had to look at the smoke in the room, which now formed a cloud as thick as a feather mattress just below the ceiling.
two people who were at the bar, at the far end, were miss hyacinth wilde, and the girl reporter - what was her name again? flaherty? flanagan. the pair were deep in conversation, waving their cigarettes at each other, and took no notice of nolan.
raoul left the stranger, whom he had been listening politely to, and came over to nolan.
"another rheingold, mister nolan?"
"it's getting a little late, raoul. i think i'll have what this gentleman is having - a nice cup of coffee."
"coming right up. a little cream, no sugar, right?"
as raoul had just made a fresh pot for the stranger, he had nolan's cup ready quickly, and set it down in front of him.