Saturday, August 31, 2013

toquette - 4. the postmistress

by jolene de joinville

illustrated by roy dismas and rhoda penmarq

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

life was as satisfactory as the sky was blue, the young marquis of whitethane thought absently as he sipped his coffee on the small terrace outside jacques' cafe. and the sky above was very blue.

the marquis - actually the son of a duke, with the courtesy title of marquis - was the very portrait and embodiment of an englishman. nothing could disturb his tranquility when he did not wish it disturbed. and he almost never wished it disturbed. of a naturally indolent, though easy disposition, he enjoyed, and sought, the company of those who liked to talk, and who would spare him the burden of speaking much himself.

he also enjoyed the company of those who could tell a story, and never concerned himself as to whether the stories were "true" or not. to exercise your mind to decide whether a story was "true" - what a bother! and how was one to decide in any case?

toquette's assertion to the policeman that she was from "the sovereign kingdom of asmodea", of which the young man had never heard - although he considered himself a dab hand at world traveling - had piqued his curiosity to the extent of offering her his worthy company, which is how it came about that they were now sitting across from each other outside the cafe, sipping jacques' excellent coffee.

"so, mademoiselle, do you have skies as blue as this in the sovereign kingdom of asmodea?"

"but, monsieur, i am no longer in the sovereign kingdom of asmodea. i am sitting here with you on a sidewalk in paris."

"to be sure." the young man smiled with his impenetrable imperturbability. he had already noted this quality of literal-mindedness in his companion, on their walk over from the street where he had encountered her, in front of m. hobart's establishment .

"when i was in asmodea the sun never shone for more than a few hours a day and it rained all the time, " toquette continued. "it has probably not changed all that much since i left."

"it must be mountain country."

"very much so. there is always an excellent view of the sky and clouds."

"and did mademoiselle leave the kingdom to get a better view of the sun?"

"monsieur is pleased to be droll. i left because the kingdom of asmodea, after thousands of years of existence, finally succumbed to the implacable forces of the new mechanized society which is engulfing the earth (400), and threatens to overwhelm heaven and hell themselves."

for complete episode, click here

Sunday, August 25, 2013

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 122: "the same magnetic cloud"

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by konrad kraus and eddie el greco

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

for complete episode, click here

Saturday, August 17, 2013

the corsair - 4. marie

by paulette popolescu

illustrated by roy dismas

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

like all creatures who have spent too much time flying close to the sun, or at mountainous altitudes, the comtesse de colinson loved the sound of the sea, and as the chateau she had repaired to was only a mile from the shore, and as she had few guests, and as those she might expect were, like the baron de b---------, for the most part excruciating bores and preferably avoided, she spent much of her time walking beside the waves and gazing out at the alternately stormy and placid atlantic.

her favorite spot to pursue this timeless occupation was beneath a cliff about two miles north and west of her chateau. the cliff provided protection, if necessary, from sun or rain, and the watery vista, unmarked by rocks even at low tide, provided an excellent view of an edifice whose presence she found both soothing and curiously romantic - an old lighthouse. (but in this part of the world, there would, of course, be no new lighthouses - or anything new.)

in her visits to the beach the comtesse had seen no sign that the lighthouse was occupied. she enjoyed speculating on the possibilities of a romantic narrative regarding its abandonment, and had forborne to enquire as to its actual circumstances, either from servants, tradespeople, or the local gentry, any of whom might have quickly enlightened her.

on the afternoon our narrative recommences (for the comtesse never rose or bestirred herself before noon), she was walking along this favored spot accompanied by a single maid, the same child the reader has already encountered in our desription of the baron de b----------'s visit.

the coachman who had brought them to the spot had been despatched to the woods behind the cliff, on the pretext of catching some small game, or picking mushrooms.

the tide and the waves were high, a light rain fell through a mist, the lighthouse presented a supremely picturesque and forbidding aspect, and the comtesse's curiosity got the upper hand of her.

she turned to the maid, whose name was marie, and asked whether the lighthouse was still maintained?

"oh yes, madame, old mother morneau has kept it these many years, as did her husband before her, in the olden days."

for complete episode, click here

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 121: modulations of a bar napkin

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by roy dismas and eddie el greco

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

"what are you doing to that poor bar napkin, that never did anything to you?"

rooster had found a pencil stub in his pocket and was scribbling something on a curiously pristine napkin he had found wedged under the jukebox selection in the booth.

"i'm writing a poem, what else would i be doing?"

"writing a suicide note, maybe?" sniffy blew a perfect smoke ring, but it was barely visible in the bar's murk.

"ha ha. that's not funny," rooster replied without looking up.

"you gave your life savings away to those so-called poet clowns and now you decide to write a poem yourself? a little late, isn't it?"

"i was suddenly inspired."

"great. i'm suddenly inspired myself."

"oh?" rooster added a word or two to the napkin.

"i'm inspired to think that maybe our friends the bills aren't going to show up and maybe we should look elsewhere. instead of just sitting here like a couple of cockroaches under a sink."

"well, that was always a possibility. i mean, that's life, isn't it? possibility."

sniffy sighed. "no philosophy, please. check out those idiots over there, will you?"

she looked over at the bar. the irish poet seamas mcseamus, the western poet howard paul studebaker, the nature poet frank x fagan , and the romantic poet hector phillips stone were huddled together. their drink-ravaged faces, barely visible through the smoky haze, were lit up with laughter - laughter tinged with desperation, but laughter all the same.

"can't you see what they are doing?"

rooster followed her gaze. "having a good time, i guess. why begrudge them?"

"they are laughing at you! doesn't that bother you?"



"look, you walk past thousands of people every day. or see them on the subway or in elevators. how do you know what they are thinking when they pass you? any of them could be thinking - that guy looks like a complete idiot - or that girl has no fashion sense at all and should be thrown in the river. and you will never know it. you start caring what people think and you'll go crazy." rooster kept his eyes fixed on the napkin as he delivered this soliloquy.

sniffy blew another smoke ring. "you're hopeless. let's get back to serious business. i think one of us should stay here and wait for the bills and the other go out and try to score someplace else."

for complete episode, click here

Saturday, August 10, 2013

3 poems

illustrations by penmarq studios


by horace p sternwall

dante wrote about heaven and hell
things he presumed to know very well
in his smooth and elegant rhymes
he chronicled all things and all times

he knew the living and the dead
all were lined up in his head
saints and sinners, early and late
he assigned them each a fate

and when the final judgment sounds
and st peter makes his last go round
and the check is cashed for the human race
no smile will flit across dante's face

as he stands beneath old eden's tree
unfazed by any mystery -
all very edifying, no doubt
but what did he really think about?

i bet dante had some folks back home
and a little gal he could call his own
and a faithful dog who trotted by his side
and a favorite chair by the fireside

a home cooked meal and a hearty brew
a good cigar would be welcome too
when curfew tolled at the end of day
heaven and hell would be far away

love poem

by chuck leary

oh mary anne, i love you
i love you oh so much
though i can not express myself
with ten dollar words and such

i know i'm not much to look at
and i can't sing or dance
but i will love you forever
if you just give me a chance

sometimes life is a thunderstorm
sometimes a raging stream
and yet it goes by quickly
like a saturday afternoon dream

love is the answer to a question
that should never have to be asked
i would tell you how much i love you
but i'm just not up to the task

oh mary anne, i love you
i love you oh so much
though i can not say what i feel
with ten dollar words and such

the fire

by mary c fogg

is a beast
cries when it

is fed and
wants more, strains

against death

lives on in
ashes, like

memories -
at last the

ashes grow
cold, and blow

away, like
the lives of

the few who

Monday, August 5, 2013

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 120: "without being too extraneous"

by horace p sternwall and manfred skyline

illustrated by danny delacroix and eddie el greco

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

for complete episode, click here

Friday, August 2, 2013

l'amour, part 44

by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy

illustrated by rhoda penmarq

part forty-four of seventy-eight

for previous chapter, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

virtuously thrusting violent thoughts into the deeper recesses of his still befogged brain,

jean-louis reached for the knob of the front door.

as he did so, he thought for the first time since he had been rudely awakened,

perhaps someone i have offended has come to assassinate me.

but, after all, what could one do?

he opened the door.

part 45