Monday, March 4, 2013

pals, part 4: reenter henry

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by danny delacroix and konrad kraus

click here for previous chapter

click here to begin at the beginning

we walk through this world alone
with secret dreams and silent moans
in impenetrable dark
with only an occasional spark

what was jane to me
but the same old mystery
that envelops the trillion separate earths
of a trillion separate births

the whimperings and curses
of a trillion universes
abandoned and forlorn
never asking to be born

what had jane seen that night
that had caused her to take flight
was it any business of mine?
a casual observer might well opine

here i must confess
i am beginning to digress
i return to my narrative line
next night i was right on time

at the end of another day
in "my" seat at rays cafe
jane was not there, to my chagrin
and then - henry walked in

after greetings all around
the bar he found
and lovingly caressing his drink
into "his" chair he did sink

my world had been turned upside down
but henry didn't laugh or frown
in fact he hardly glanced at me
but looked around quite placidly

at the assembled denizens of rays
who did not seem to be changing their ways
they were staring at their suds
as if all eternity was in their blood

nothing seemed worth a mention
then henry turned his attention
to me - his features rearranged
and he said "you've changed"

i had the wherewithal to say
"everything changes every day"
he replied quick as a cat
"you don't get off as easy as that -

i think you will agree
that nothing gets past me"
"no," i replied, slightly nettled
"i didn't know such a thing had been settled."

henrys eyes grew slightly wide
and he casually replied
"no reason to get testy, old boy
i didn't mean to annoy

it has been a while since we met
and i must confess i forget
where we ended our last converse -
did we leave the world better or worse?"

a fool could plainly see
that henry was trying to placate me
in his usual easy way
so why did i hear myself say -

"i don't know how i lasted so long
without your dance and song
your infinite knowledge of all events
your deep wisdom and profound sense

of all that has been and will be "
henry just stared at me
as if i had grown a second head
and then he said -

"my, aren't we in a lather
i thought you enjoyed my blather
or if not actively enjoyed
at least were never annoyed -"

henry's eyes narrowed and then
he opened them wide again -
"ah" he exclaimed with a trace of glee
"i think i begin to see -

you are showing all the signs
most of them not benign
of a guy who has had his brain
hammered by a dame

yes, i see it now only too well
one of them has cast her spell
maybe on purpose, maybe not
i never would have thought -"

i felt i'd been punched in the gut
"never would have thought what?"
"oh, i didn't mean to upset you"
henry took a sip of his brew

"we can talk about politics instead"
a whirlwind roared in my head
henry nodded and winked
i didn't know what to think

and where was jane tonight?
nothing seemed right
i really didn't know what to say
about this game i didn't know how to play

part 5. no escape

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