tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 137: is life a dream?
by horace p sternwall
illustrated by rhoda penmarq and roy dismas
editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo
by the time mortimer had helped miss wilde up to her suite, gone back downstairs to the employee's room to get his coat and cap, and filled jackson and chester the bellhop in on what had happened at the automat, the police cars had all left and everything outside seemed back to normal.
he stopped in at the automat. it was now after five o'clock and it was filling up a little.
everyone who had been there at the time of the arrests was gone. jake and cosette had gone home.
betty, who had been shouting louder than anybody - mostly about the reward money - had gone somewhere. maybe she went with the police, to try to collect.
polly, the pretty and polite though not overwhelmingly friendly change girl who worked the graveyard shift was gone too, replaced by louise, the grumpy middle-aged woman who worked the morning shift.
mortimer, of course, talked to everybody and knew everybody's name, even the kind of people whom most of their fellow humans would regard as somewhat less than friendly. but louise looked like she was in an especially foul mood so he just nodded to her.
besides, it was not likely that she would know anything that he didn't.
he would pick up a paper on his way home, at maxie fleischman's newstand on bleecker street, either the gazette or the federal-democrat or both. maybe one of them already had an extra out.
you didn't see as many newsboys out on the street shouting "extra! extra! " as you used to, like you did before the war.
times were changing. mortimer didn't like it much, but what could you do?
he didn't really want a cup of coffee or anything else - his mother would make him a nice cup of chase and sanborn when he got home. but he didn't like to stop in at a place without buying something - it just seemed rude - so he got a cup of coffee and took a seat beside the window.
what a night! not that he hadn't seen plenty of even crazier nights in his twenty-six years at the st crispian. especially when the stock market crashed. and during the war.