Saturday, October 27, 2012

“Railroad Train to Heaven”, Part 322: let’s go

Our hero Arnold Schnabel has escaped from one forgotten novel, only to find himself in the world of yet another obscure masterpiece, i.e., Ye Cannot Quench, by Gertrude Evans, author of numerous other sadly-out-o-print novels, e.g., Three Young Ladies Fair; The Bark of the Poodle; The Testament of Rose Underwood; and Return to Rogue Mountain

The time:

    A warm wet evening in that fateful August of 1957.

The place:

    Mr. Philpot’s Rare Books Shop, in Greenwich Village.

The Dramatis Personae:

    Arnold Schnabel, now in the guise of the passionate and handsome young poet “Porter Walker”.
    Mr. Philpot, a dealer in only the rarest possible books, those which have not yet been written.
    Theophilus P. Thurgood, novelist, crank.

(Please click here to read our previous episode; go here to return to the very first chapter of this Gold View Award™-winning 53-volume memoir.)

“Whenever I hear the words ‘a stunning achievement’ I immediately think
Railroad Train to Heaven. But that’s just me.” — Harold Bloom, in The Jewish Daily Forward.

Suddenly — I suppose he couldn’t hold it in any longer — Mr. Philpot burst out laughing. It was a spluttering, wheezing laugh, a little old man’s laugh, but then what other kind of laugh would he have?

“What the hell’s the matter with you, Mr. Philpot?” said Thurgood.

“Oh, Christ,” said Mr. Philpot, gasping.

“What?” said Thurgood. “What’s so damned funny. I hope you’re not laughing at me.”

“Oh, shit,” wheezed Mr. Philpot.

“Because if you’re laughing at me —”

“You’ll what?” said Mr. Philpot, suddenly not laughing, and he fixed Thurgood with his little old blurry eyes, magnified by the thick lenses of his pince-nez, eyes that looked like they might once have been blue, when he was much younger and just starting out in the book-selling trade, back when writers like Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott were the current rage. “What’ll you do, Thurgood?”

“Well, I wouldn’t strike you, but only because of your advanced age. But I would — I would up and leave!”

“Is that a promise? Because if so I shall immediately burst out into another great and even heartier peal of laughter.”

And he did burst into laughter again, but this time it sounded a bit forced.

“What the fuck are you laughing at?” said Thurgood.
“Oh, shit,” said Mr. Philpot, wheezing again.

“Tell me, damn it!” said Thurgood. He was still grasping his book to his thin chest. Did I mention he had a thin chest? Well, he did, in fact everything about him was thin, not just his chest, but his whole long body, his arms and hands, his face, his nose, his neck, his hair, his beard, and of course his skin, both in the literal and figurative senses. “You know how touchy and insecure and racked with self-loathing I am! Why must you torture me, you greedy and evil little gnome?”

“Oh, relax, Theophilus,” said Mr. Philpot. He tapped his pipe out into the dirty glass ashtray. “I’m not really laughing at you. Not too much, anyway.”

“Then what is it, damn it!”

Thurgood picked up the jelly glass he had been drinking out of, but it was empty.

“I’m laughing,” said Mr. Philpot, and he paused while he blew through his pipe, “I’m laughing at what Mr. Walker here is saying.”

“I fail to see the humor in anything Mr. Walker —”

“This ‘Josh’ he’s going to meet,” said Mr. Philpot, “is in fact none other than — Jesus Christ!”

And after saying this he picked up his leather tobacco pouch and began calmly refilling his pipe.

Thurgood looked from Mr. Philpot to me, then back to Mr. Philpot.

“You mean ‘the son of God’ Jesus Christ?”

“That’s the one,” said Mr. Philpot, tamping the tobacco with his ancient little index finger.

Thurgood again turned to look up at me, I was still standing there near the desk for some reason or more likely some host of reasons, some of them dating back to my unhappy childhood.

“No shit?” said Thurgood, to me.

“Um,” I said.

“So you’re really friends with Jesus Christ?”

“Well,” I said.

My right knee was still hurting, so I put my hand on the back of the chair I had been sitting in and shifted most of my weight to my left leg, which wasn’t hurting, not yet, anyway.

“Wow,” said Thurgood. “What a contact. I mean, Jesus — he’s got to be a good person to know, right?”

“Uh,” I said.

“Ah, Thurgood,” said Mr. Philpot. “Thurgood, Thurgood.”

“What?” said Thurgood. He finally put his book down on the table, face up. He was still holding the empty jelly glass in one hand.

“You slay me,” said Mr. Philpot, “you really do.”


“Because our friend Mr. Walker is personal friends with our Lord and merciful Savior, and all you can think of to say is that he — the son of God mind you, one third of the Holy Trinity, co-creator of heaven and of earth — that he — I should say He with a capital H — He is ‘a good contact’.”

“Well, can you think of a better contact?” said Thurgood.

Mr. Philpot took a match out of the box on the desk, struck it, and lit his pipe with his careful little old-man’s puffs.

After he had it lit, and after exuding an enormous cloud of smoke, he said: “God the father?”
“Well, okay,” said Thurgood, “God the father, sure, but next to him, and I think even more than the Holy Ghost, you’ve got to admit that Jesus is about the second-best contact in all of creation.”

“Whatever,” said Mr. Philpot.

He picked up his own jelly glass, which still had some of the straw-colored wine in it, and he tossed it down.

“By the way,” said Thurgood, “Mr. Philpot, do you think I could have just a little bit more of the Amontillado?”

He held out his empty jelly glass.

“No,” said Mr. Philpot.

“Well, fuck you, then. I’ll just leave, too.”

“Don’t let the door hit you in your narrow ass on the way out,” said Mr. Philpot.

Thurgood put down the jelly glass, picked up his book, pushed his chair back, and stood up, although it seemed that he could barely take his eyes off the bottle of Amontillado.

“Let’s go, Mr. Walker,” he said. “I know when I’m not welcome.”

“I’ll tell you when you’re not welcome,” said Mr. Philpot. “Always. That’s when you’re not welcome. Always! Ha!”

He took up the bottle of Amontillado and poured what was left of it into his jelly glass, nearly filling it.

“I am really going to enjoy this glass of a hundred-and-seventeen-year old Amontillado,” he said.

Without another word Thurgood turned and walked the few steps over to the door, and began turning and opening the various locks and bolts on it. It looked as if he had performed this operation many times before.

Finally, he opened the door, and turned.

“I am never setting foot in this shop again,” he said.

“You’ll be back,” said Mr. Philpot.

“Are you coming, Mr. Walker?” said Thurgood.

“Oh. Yes,” I said.

I started to go, but Mr. Philpot pointed with the stem of his pipe at the book he had sold me.

“Don’t forget your book, Mr. Walker.”

“Oh, right,” I said.

I picked up the book. 
The Ace of Death, by Horace P. Sternwall. 
I didn’t want it. 
What was it? Just another tawdry novel about some poor sap who gets caught up in a whirlpool of despair and passion, a deadly vortex in which I also might find myself trapped, but doomed perhaps to play not even the friend of the lead character but some one-dimensional loser who gets bumped off in the first chapter. 
But I didn’t want to be impolite, so I took the book anyway.

“Well, good night, Mr. Philpot,” I said.

“I’m not so sure if you will be back, Mr. Walker,” he said. “I suppose it all depends on if you’re able to find your 'friend' Josh?”

“I really wouldn’t know,” I said.

“Well, if you don’t succeed in returning to what you consider the ‘real’ world, please visit me again. No obligation to buy anything of course.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Mr. Walker, are you coming or not?” said Thurgood.

“I’m coming,” I said.

He was standing to one side, still holding the door open. I limped over, favoring my injured leg, and went through the doorway and out into the warm and humid night air, onto a small, iron-railed concrete landing under an awning, with steps leading down to the pavement and MacDougal Street, which looked the way it had when I had last seen it, wet with the rain that had fallen earlier in the evening and gleaming with the soft light of streetlamps. A car swooshed slowly by, I think it was a ’48 Hudson. Thurgood came out behind me, closing the door behind him.

“The hell’s the matter with your leg?” said Thurgood.

“I hurt it,” I said. “I tripped over a pile of books in Mr. Philpot’s —”

“You believe that guy?” he said.

“Um,” I said.

Such an asshole,” he said.
I didn’t say anything. I had this awful feeling that Thurgood was going to be yet another person who was going to become a part of my life, whether I wanted him to or not.

But,” said Thurgood. “I got over on him, the little toad.” He reached into the side pocket of his suit and took out a cigarette and showed me. “See this? I grabbed a whole handful of Pall Malls out of the box when the mean old bastard was looking the other way. Got a bunch of matches, too. You want a smoke?”

I did actually. But I hesitated.

“Here, take this one,” said Thurgood, holding the cigarette under my face.

I really wanted the cigarette, but on the other hand, even in the dim light out here under this awning, I couldn’t help but see how dirty Thurgood’s fingernails were, and I wondered what was in his pockets. Who knew what was in them? Certainly it didn’t look as if his suit had been dry-cleaned for months, maybe years.

“I’m trying to quit,” I said.

“Oh,” he said. “One of those. One of the would-be immortals. Well, suit yourself.” He put the cigarette between his own lips, which were just as thin as his fingers and as sallow as the rest of his visible flesh, then, putting his book under his arm, he took a match out of his pocket, struck it on one of his two grimy thumbnails, lit the cigarette. “But I’ll tell you this,” he said. He flicked the match down to the sidewalk. “If I were pals with the son of God I wouldn’t be worrying about getting cancer.”

“Well, I do think I feel better since I quit,” I said. “I mean physically.”

Thurgood stared at me while he took a good drag on his cigarette. It looked like one of those stares people give you when they’re trying not to say something deprecatory. Very slowly he let out the smoke while he kept staring at me. Then finally he said:

“And how long ago did you quit?”

I thought this over. It felt like about five years, but I knew it wasn’t anywhere near that long, not in what might be termed “real” time.

So, rather than get into a big long tedious explanation I just said, “Yesterday morning,” which was true in a sense.

Thurgood rolled his eyes, and emitted a soft snort through his nose.

“You’ll be smoking again,” he said, and he kept staring at me, as if he had never been so sure of anything in his life, and would never in his life be so sure of anything else ever again.

“Well, okay,” I said. “So. It was nice meeting you.”

I didn’t hold out my hand. I didn’t want to seem rude, but his hands looked like they would feel like the insides of old banana peels.

“Where are you going, anyway?” he said.

“Um, I really did want to find this, uh, friend of mine.”

“Jesus. Jesus Christ.”

“Well, I call him Josh.”

“Why the hell not just call him Jesus, or, I don’t know, Lord maybe, or Savior?”

“Well, he prefers to be called Josh,” I said.

“Because Joshua is like one of the names of Jesus? Like Jehovah? Or, like, the Messiah or something?”

“Well, I think he just doesn’t want to draw attention to himself,” I said.

“Oh, I get it,” he said. “Incognito.”

“Yeah,” I said. “So —”

“But you still didn’t tell me where you’re going to meet him.”

I knew where this was leading.

“Um,” I said.

“I mean you don’t have to tell me,” he said. “It’s none of my business. I was just curious, that’s all.”

“I was hoping to find him in the bar downstairs,” I said, at last, knowing I would never get rid of this man now, for all eternity.

“Oh? Valhalla?” he said. “You like that place?”

“It’s — okay,” I said.

“Do you think you could get me in there?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Whenever I’ve tried to go in there they turn me away. They tell me it’s ‘private’. Private my ass. Just a bunch of stuck-up snobs, you ask me. Will you see if you can get me in?”

I said nothing. I was already thinking of what I should have done. I should have just made up some place I was going to, and then walked around the block, and — after making sure the coast was clear — ducked quickly into the bar, alone. But I had fouled up again.

“All right,” I said. “I’ll see what I can do, but I can’t make any promises. I’ve only been in there twice myself.”

“That’s all I’m asking,” he said. “Just try. And in return I’ll buy you a beer.”

“No, that’s okay,” I said.

“Or maybe you’d prefer a cocktail,” he said. “A Manhattan maybe? I told Philpot I only had ten dollars on me, but actually I have seventeen, and change. So I can buy you a top-shelf Manhattan if you like. What kind of whiskey do you like, Four Roses? Old Forester?”

“Look,” I said. “I’m glad to ask them to let you in, but you don’t have to buy me a drink.”

What I didn’t tell him was that I didn’t mind a free drink, I just didn’t want to have to drink it with him.

“Well, we’ll work it out once we get in there,” he said. “Do you think it’s okay that I’m not wearing a tie?”

I have no idea if I mentioned this or not, a thousand pages or so ago when I first mentioned Thurgood, but he wore a faded print bandanna around his neck, but no necktie.

“I wear a bandanna because I am an artist,” he said. “That’s why I wear a beret also, and this wrinkled white suit.”

He must have noticed me looking at his suit, and a subtle change of expression on my face.

“What?” he said. He looked down at himself, his arms outspread. “Okay, maybe not white. This suit used to be white at one time. Now I guess you’d be hard-pressed to call it a pallid grey. But look at you, at least I’m not wearing — what — blue jeans, unpolished work shoes, a rumpled seersucker jacket, a plaid shirt, even if you are wearing a necktie.”

“I think I saw people in there without neckties,” I said.

“Ah! So it’s a bohemian establishment!”

“I guess so,” I said.

“Great, so what are we waiting for?” he said. “Let’s go.”

“Okay,” I said.

“How’s your leg?”

“It still hurts,” I said.

“Here, let me help you.”

He put his arm in mine. I’ve never felt comfortable with a man putting his arm in mine, and Thurgood’s arm, as thin as it was, felt like a steel cable fixing itself around my biceps.

We went down the steps, awkwardly, side by side, arm in arm.

It felt as if he were gripping my arm in his not out of friendly feeling but to keep me from breaking away and trying to escape.

(Continued here, inexorably, like the march of time.)

(Kindly turn to the right-hand column of this page to find what on certain days might be an up-to-date listing of links to all other cybernetically-published chapters of
Arnold Schnabel’s Railroad Train To Heaven©. Now published simultaneously but with differing typographical errors in the CollingswoodPatch™: “Everything that the New York Times does not deem fit to print.”)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

tales of the hotel st crispian: chapter 80

"i wouldn't mind having it"

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by roy dismas,   and rhoda penmarq

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

for complete episode, click here

Saturday, October 20, 2012

“Railroad Train to Heaven”, Part 321: stunning

We left our heroes Arnold Schnabel and Big Ben Blagwell (with their somewhat dubious companion Mojo) in a gallery way up high in the mammoth library of Madame Chang, somewhere in the dockside district of old Singapore.

Ben resumes his narration with his usual flair… 

(Please click here to read our immediately preceding chapter; go here to return to the very beginning of this Gold View Award™-winning 87-volume epic.)

“How sweet it is, of a brisk autumn weekend, to barricade oneself in one’s room and to open up with trembling fingers that just-purchased latest volume of Arnold Schnabel’s masterwork.” — Harold Bloom, in
The Catholic Standard and Times.

“Look, Arnie,” I said. “If you want to just skip it, we can lam out of here right now, I mean after we load up with some of Madame Chang’s swag that is —”

“No,” he said.

“Then let’s make it happen, cap’n.”

“Yeah, dépeche-toi,” said Mojo. He was leaning his head over the rail and looking down. “I think I see those two starting to stir down there.”

“Okay,” said Arnie.

He opened up the book again and started leafing through the pages. I took a drag of my Sweet Caporal and looked down through all those circling galleries of shelves packed with books, down to where Madame Chang and Mojo were still lying on their backs like one big bug and one small bug. They were definitely stirring a bit now, you could tell even from way up here. I tapped my cigarette with my finger and watched the ash float slowly downward in the dimness, then I turned and looked at Arnie again. He was still turning the pages of his book, and he wasn’t exactly going slow, but he wasn’t zipping right along either.

Meanwhile my stomach was growling I was so hungry.

“So, look, Arnie,” I said, “I don’t want you to fall all over yourself now, but just don’t take forever either.”

“Well, it’s probably not this volume, anyway,” he said.

“Then find the right one,” said Mojo.

“All right,” said Arnie.

He put the book back, took out the next one, it was titled Railroad Train to Heaven, Volume 2: This World or Any Other World.

Arnie started looking through this book, and now, besides being hungry and thirsty, I was really starting to get bored. If there’s anything more boring than watching someone else read, I don't know what all it is.

I took a gander upwards, and the funny thing was that those book-filled galleries just kept on going up and up, up and up, and you still couldn’t see the ceiling of this joint, just what looked like a black cloud or a black hole way up there. If we were at the S’s on this level, we couldn’t be too far below the Z’s, so I wondered what all those other books were up there. And if the books down here were all the books that had been written but never published, then maybe all those other ones up there were all the books that had never been written and never would be written. To tell the truth I didn’t care.

I looked over at Arnie again. He was still kind of nervously leafing through the same damn book.

This was just getting too excruciating, even for me who had once been buried up to my neck in the desert sand by some Arabian bandit vixens, so I figured I’d try to help out and move things along a bit.

I brushed past Arnie, and looked at the next few volumes.

Railroad Train to Heaven, Volume 3: The Brawny Embraces.

Railroad Train to Heaven, Volume 4: The Fly & I.

Then there was Railroad Train to Heaven, Volume 5: Two Weeks in a One Horse Town.

That one sounded good, so I took the book out and opened it up.

I flipped through it a little, and, hey, wouldn’t you know it, I was in it. Me, Big Ben Blagwell. And there was Mojo, and Maxine, too. I flipped through a bunch more pages, and sure enough, there was Madame Chang, and Futuyama. And there was me again, with Mojo on my shoulders riding piggyback, me climbing those iron stairs, huffing and puffing and sweating like a stoker in a tramp steamer crossing the Sargasso Sea in August, following Arnie up and up through those galleries all the way to the S’s.

And here was the part where we all were right now.

It was kind of creepy really.

“Arnie,” I said, “listen to this,” and I started to read, aloud: “’And here was the part where we all were. It was kind of creepy really.

’Arnie,’ I said, ‘listen to this’, and I started to read, aloud —”

I was back.

Or, more accurately put, I — I being “Arnold Schnabel”, not Ben Blagwell, into whose world I had fallen and in whose story I had been relegated to a secondary, or “sidekick” role, as opposed to the leading role I had been accustomed to play in what I thought of as my “real” life — I was back, if not in my own world, then at least back — in the guise of the preposterous poet “Porter Walker” — in the world of Gertrude Evans’s novel Ye Cannot Quench, which after all was only one world removed from that world which I considered, however laughably, the “real” world.

I was sitting at Mr. Philpot’s desk, in his book shop, holding a book open in my hands, and I was reading, aloud, the following words:

“…I started to read, aloud, and the weirdest damn thing happened, namely —”

I quickly closed the book, and laid it down, face down, on the table.

“Hey! Why did you stop reading?” said Thurgood. He was holding a cigarette in his hand, and it was almost burnt down to the end.

I stood up, almost knocking my chair over. I was sweating, and short of breath. My knee hurt. I had forgotten about the sore knee.

Mr. Philpot was sitting there on the other side of the desk, smoking his corncob pipe, and smiling.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I have to go.”

“Did you really find my book that bad?” said Thurgood. He looked at his nubbin of a lit cigarette, then tossed it into the ashtray on the desk without stubbing it out. “Well? Did you?”

“No,” I said.

I was sweating quite profusely. What else was new?

“I don’t think he liked your book, Thurgood,” said Mr. Philpot, sucking on his pipe.

“Fuck him then!” said Thurgood. He grabbed up his book in both hands, held it to his chest. “Everybody’s a critic! Well, fuck you, buddy! Y’know, I haven’t read even a word of your goddam book yet, and I don’t intend to, but you know what? I’m going to write an absolutely scathing review of it, and I’m going to call it a pile of shit, and I’m gonna send the review in to the Village Voice, and I’ll bet they publish it, because their book review editor owes me ten bucks! So fuck you! What was wrong with my book, anyway? What didn’t you like about it?”

“Look,” I said, "I didn’t mean to give the impression that I didn’t like your book. It was a — a very good book. It’s just that I have to, uh, go —”

“Wait,” said Thurgood. “You really thought it was good?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Really?” said Thurgood.

“Sure,” I said. “But, look, I have to, um, meet someone —”

Mr. Philpot was still smiling behind his pipe, and I got the impression he was biting on its mouthpiece to keep from letting out a yell of laughter.

“So how would you describe it?” said Thurgood.

“Pardon me?” I said.

“My book,” said Thurgood. “How would you describe it? Like in one word on the front cover.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “Interesting?”

“Only interesting? Not gripping? Not — riveting?”

“It was — riveting,” I said.

“And gripping?” said Thurgood. He was wide-eyed. I guess this is the way authors get about their books.

“Yes,” I said. “It was gripping. And riveting.”

“How about spellbinding?”

“Sure,” I said. “I found it very, uh —”

“Spellbinding,” said Thurgood.

“Yeah,” I said. “Spellbinding.”

“Really?” he said. “You’re not just saying that?”

“No,” I said. “Not at all.”

“Stunning,” he said.

“What?” I said.

“How about stunning.”

“Um —”

Not stunning?”

“Uh,” I said.

“Hey, but, you know,” he said, “that’s okay.”

He still held the book against his chest with one hand, and with his other hand he was caressing its back cover, as if it were a baby.

“Um,” I said.

“No, that’s really quite all right,” he said. “What’s stunning? A début novel is stunning. But this is not my début, far from it, this is like my fourth or fifth book, I forget, something like that.”

“Okay, then —” I said.

“Now you can call a book a ‘stunning return to form’ I guess, but that’s just not the case with this book, because that phrase would imply that I had been off my form before this one, but that’s simply not true, because all my novels have been great, all four or five of them, or is it six.”

Thurgood couldn’t see him, but Mr. Philpot had taken the pipe out of his mouth and was holding his knuckles against his lips. You could tell he was trying not to laugh. Or at least trying to seem like he was trying not to laugh.

“But spellbinding,” said Thurgood. “That’s good.”

He settled back in his chair, still holding the book against his chest, and caressing it gently. And now he smiled. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

“Gripping, too,” he said. “Riveting. Spellbinding.”

I had to get out of there.

“Well, look, uh,” I said. “I really have to go.”

“Where are you going?” said Thurgood.

“I have to find a friend of mine.”

“What friend.”

“I don’t think you know him.”

“How could you possibly know that? I know plenty of people. Plenty. Too many. How could you possibly —”

“He’s new in town,” I said.

“Oh, that’s different then. What’s his name?”

“His name?”

“Yes, his name. He’s got a name, hasn’t he?”

“Sure,” I said.

“Then what is it?”

“It’s —”

I almost said his real name, but I caught myself.

“Josh,” I said. “His name is Josh.”

It seemed so much easier just to say “Josh”.

So much easier by far than saying that I was looking for the Son of God.

(Don’t worry, continued here.)

(Kindly look to the right-hand column of this page for what might very possibly be an up-to-date listing of links to all other officially-released chapters of
Arnold Schnabel’s Railroad Train To Heaven©; nihil obstat, the Most Reverend John J. “Bishop Jack” Graham, D.D. Now published concurrently in the CollingswoodPatch™: “What the New York Times is to the rest of the world, that’s what we are to South Jersey!”)

Friday, October 19, 2012

tales of the hotel st crispian: chapter 79

"how high the moon"

by Horace P. Sternwall

edited by Dan Leo* 

illustrations by roy dismas and danny delacroix

*Associate Professor of Romance Literature, Assistant Volleyball Coach, Olney Community College; editor of A Bible and a Six-Gun: The “Preacher Jones” Stories of Horace P. Sternwall, Vol.1; Olney Community College Press; available exclusively at Kresge’s 5&10 Stores. 

The desperate and drunken young lawyer Michael Chandler (called “Henry” by his wife Carol, because of his innate “Henryness”) and his new acquaintance Harold P. Sternhagen (author of Cast Caution to the Winds, High Yella Gal, Return to Okefenokee, The Angry Privates, and numerous other “paperback originals”) were heading for the bar in the Prince Hal Room of the venerable Hotel St Crispian when they were suddenly accosted by the notorious Lord Wolverington, who was sitting at a table with the equally notorious heiress Miss Caroline Charlton, the world-class bore and remittance man Phineas “Farmer” Brown, and Harold’s colleague in the dismal trade of letters, the science-fiction author Fred Flynn.

“I say, Mr. Sternhagen, do you just walk by without saying hello, my boy?”

“Oh, hello Lord Wolverington,” said Harold. “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.”

“That’s because he only has eyes for that canary,” said Fred (the author of Starfleet Traitor, A Moon for Möbius, The Stars Are My Bailiwick, Cast-Offs of Betelgeuse, and numerous other books and short stories).

“The lovely Shirley De La Salle,” said Farmer Brown. “She’s a peach all right!”

“A little trollop you mean,” said Miss Charlton. “I’ve seen a thousand young janes like her come and I’ve seen them all go just as soon as their looks start to fade, straight down to the Bowery or to those low dockside bars frequented by unemployed stevedores and merchant seamen.”

“Ignore Miss Charlton,” said Lord Wolverington. “The dear lady quite simply cannot bear to have any other female mentioned in her presence.”

“Trollops,” said Miss Charlton. “Seen them come, seen them go. And if it were not for the decayed likes of them I should so much more enjoy my own occasional visits to the Bowery or to the aforementioned low dockside bars.”

The band had begun another song, and Shirley was singing again:

“Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon…”

for complete episode, click here