Friday, November 23, 2012

“Railroad Train to Heaven”, Part 325: beauty

Our hero Arnold Schnabel — now in the persona of “Porter Walker, broodingly handsome bohemian poet”, a character in the all-but-forgotten novel Ye Cannot Quench (which topped out, briefly, at #93 on the New York Times’ Bestseller List in October of 1960) — has finally found his divine friend “Josh”.

Let us rejoin Arnold and Josh then, on this hot wet night in 1957, in the dark areaway outside a Greenwich Village basement bar called Valhalla

(Kindly go here to read our previous thrill-packed episode; the bold of heart may click here to return to the very beginning of this Gold View Award™-winning 47-volume masterpiece.)

“Arnold Schnabel! How trippingly those words roll off the tongue whenever one of my students asks me who my all-time ‘fave rave’ author is!” — Harold Bloom, on
Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Isn’t life always this way?

We set out on one of our little missions, or one of our great missions, great to us, anyway, and while we’re on our mission, in fact when we seem on the verge of perhaps accomplishing our mission, we run into someone else who is also on a mission, a mission which has nothing to do with our own, nothing at all.

“Do you really think she’s great, Arnold?”

“Yeah,” I said, “um —”

Did I mention that Josh had a black eye? How inept of me not to. Because he did, a great big shiner, also a bruise on his cheekbone on the other side of his face, and I noticed that his hands were swollen and his knuckles scraped, from that bar fight he had gotten into earlier that same evening, a time which felt to me as if it had happened approximately two years previously.

“Or is it just me?” he asked.

“Um,” I said.

As ignorant of the ways of God and man as I am, I realized that this was not the time for complete honesty. And, after all, who was I to say that Carlotta was not great? For all I knew she was the greatest woman who had ever been born, maybe even beating out Josh’s own earthly mother.

“Well,” I said, “I can’t say I know her all that well —”

“But you live down the hall from her.”

“That’s true,” I said.

“She seems to think she knows you pretty well.”

“Oh,” I said. “Well. Um?”

Josh was forgetting for the nonce that it was Porter Walker — the fictional character whose body I now inhabited — who lived down the hall from Carlotta and Pat, and that I, “Arnold Schnabel”, knew next to nothing of whatever Porter might be expected to know; but I didn’t get into all that now. For one thing, it was obvious that Josh was even drunker now than he had been the last time I had seen him, when he had been very drunk indeed.

 He had been staring at me, his mouth slightly open, while these last thoughts rumbled slowly through my brain.

“So you don’t think she’s absolutely wonderful, do you?” he said.

“Sure I do,” I said, although I might have unintentionally paused before speaking.

Josh continued to stare at me.

“I feel as if you’re not saying something, buddy.”

“I’m practically always not saying something,” I said.

“Yes, but I sense you’re holding back something, Arnold. Or should I call you Porter?”

“It might be less weird if you call me Porter,” I said. “Since that’s what everyone else calls me. But I really don’t care.”

“What is it you’re holding back, Arnold? Or Porter?”

I wondered if he knew that Porter had had carnal relations with Carlotta. True, as one of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, Josh was generally supposed to be omniscient, but in my experience — and if I recalled correctly, even by his own admission — he was in all practicality somewhat rather less than that. Maybe the world and all the worlds that men and women had created within the world had finally just got to be too much even for the son of God to comprehend. Or maybe he just found it all to tedious to comprehend. Anyway, I made a snap decision and decided not to mention Porter’s having slept with Carlotta. After all, if the shoe were on the other foot, and if my friend had slept with a girl I was in love with, the last thing I would want to know would be just that fact.

“She’s a really beautiful girl,” I said, at last, which didn’t answer his question, but at least it was something I could say that was not a baldfaced and arrant lie.

“Yes,” Josh said. “That’s true. She is very beautiful, isn’t she? But what is physical beauty? Is that reason enough to be madly in love with someone? Especially when one considers how fleeting human beauty is. In ten years she might well start losing her looks. In twenty she’ll be middle-aged. In forty years she’ll be somewhat shall we say elderly.”

“This is all true,” I said.

“While I will always look just as I do today, for all eternity.”

“Well,” I said, feeling a little desperate now, “couldn’t you use your, uh, special powers, as, as —”

“As the son of God,” said Josh. “You can say it.”

“Well, then, couldn’t you use your special powers as the son of, uh —”

“God,” he prompted me. “It’s not a dirty word, Arnold.”

“As the son of God to — to halt the aging process, I mean just in Carlotta’s case, that is.”

He stared at me for a moment, without saying anything. He looked out toward the street, took a drag on his cigarette, tapped the ash down to the shadowy concrete at our feet.

I became aware of the muffled rumbling of the jukebox music inside the bar, the faint yelling and laughing of human voices.

Josh sighed.

“Yes, I suppose I could do that.”

Suddenly I was thinking about something else. For some reason I was just realizing that I had to urinate. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had gone to the bathroom, in this or any other world.

“Listen, Arnold,” said Josh. “Despite the popular misconception, it’s not my job to perform magical parlor tricks. I tried that stuff a couple of thousand years ago, and look what good it did the world. How did we go from the Sermon on the Mount to the Children’s Crusade, to the Spanish Inquisition?”

Now I remembered, when I was in trapped in the world of that one novel, Say It With a .38, I had gone out to that foul outhouse in the backyard of that bar in Singapore.

“No,” he said. “No more of that miracle nonsense. But this is my question: is it just her physical beauty that I’m in love with — this beauty which is doomed to gradual decay and, ultimately, putrefaction — or is it her inner beauty?”

Then I remembered that, yes, I had indeed gone into that outhouse, but I hadn’t urinated, no, I had done something far more humiliating, and something which for that matter was technically a mortal sin.

Josh just stared at me again, smoking.

“I know you’re not paying attention,” he said, finally.

“No, sure,” I said, “you were talking about, uh, Carlotta’s, um, inner beauty, and whether that was what, you, uh —”

“I know you were thinking about something else, Arnold.”

“No,” I said, “I was just, you know, uh, taking it all in, sort of —”

“I mean I literally know you were thinking about something else, Arnold. Just because I prefer not to use all of my as you say special powers doesn’t mean I am unable to. And, you know, hey, if you find thinking about that sordid incident in that fetid Singapore outhouse so much more fascinating than the fact that I’ve fallen in love for the first time in all eternity, well —”

“Here’s the thing, Josh,” I said.

“If you’re going to apologize, please, there’s no need. I realize that you humans have absurdly short attention spans when someone else is talking, whereas you find every little detail of your own little lives to be of the most fascinating interest —”

“Josh,” I said. “It’s just that I have to go to the bathroom.”


“I really need to pee. It’s very hard to concentrate on a conversation, especially a philosophical one, when you have to go to the bathroom.”

Josh paused again.

“Now I feel like a jerk.”

“Oh, please don’t,” I said. “I mean, you know, you didn’t know.”

“Talk about being self-centered,” he said. “Will you accept my apology?”

“No need for an apology,” I said.

“But I insist on apologizing.”

“Well, okay, then,” I said.

“I apologize, Arnold. Porter. Whatever.”

“And I accept your apology,” I said. “So, now, maybe we should go back inside.”

“Oh, sure. You must be dying of boredom listening to me, anyway.”

“No, no, not at all, and we can talk about it some more, after, you know —”

“You take a pee,” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “Afterwards.”

He smiled, and his teeth, which only a few minutes before had almost seemed to be glowing, now actually were glowing in the dimness of that areaway, as if there was a tiny but powerful electric light in his mouth.

“You slay me, Arnold,” he said.

“Heh heh,” I replied, shifting from one foot to the other.

“I mean if I could be slain, you would slay me,” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “Heh heh,” fighting off the urge to press my hand against my organ of micturition.

He flicked his cigarette away, it soared in a thin red streaming arc up out of the areaway, and just kept flying up and up, so that it looked as if it must soar over the roofs of the buildings across MacDougal Street, but I couldn’t tell for sure if it did or not, because of the awning over the areaway.

“But, Arnold,” said Josh, and he moved a step closer to me, “before we go back in. I know it’s been almost two thousand years since I walked the earth and all, so maybe my memory’s just a little bit hazy, but do all human beings have to go to the bathroom as often as you do, and at such inopportune moments?”

I thought about this for a moment, but just for a brief moment, because after all I really did have to go, and each second spent out here only made me have to go more awfully.

“Josh,” I said, “there’s the world of books, and movies, and TV shows, where no one ever has to go to the bathroom. And then there’s the real world. And this, apparently, for me anyway, is the real world.”

He smiled again, those white teeth glowing in a way no mortal man’s ever could or would. Another thing I noticed, because he was now standing quite close to me, and because we were roughly the same height: even after all the booze, and all the Pall Malls, his breath didn’t smell bad. It actually smelled nice, like my aunts’ garden in Cape May in the morning right after a rainfall, like geraniums and delphiniums, roses and chrysanthemums.

“That’s what I like about you,” Josh said. He tightened the knot of his tie, but not completely, and he left the top three buttons of his shirt the way they were, which is to say unbuttoned. Then he adjusted his straw Trilby on his head, but it was still crooked. The hat that is, not his head. “You always keep it real, Arnold.”

“Um,” I said, and shifted on my feet again.

He gave me a pat on the arm.

“Let’s go back inside, pal.”

He didn’t have to tell me twice.

(Continued here, what else can we do at this point?)

(Please turn to the right-hand column of this page to find a current list of links to all other officially-approved chapters of
Arnold Schnabel’s Railroad Train To Heaven©, also now available, for a modest emolument, on your Kindle™.  Simultaneously published, absolutely free of charge, but with advertisements for many fine products and services, in the Collingswood Patch™: “South Jersey’s beacon of the arts.”)

Friday, November 16, 2012

“Railroad Train to Heaven”, Part 324: in love

Let’s rejoin our hero Arnold Schnabel (now in the corporeal host of “Porter Walker, bohemian poet”) and his companion the novelist Theophilus P. Thurgood, in the Greenwich Village bar known as Valhalla…

(Please click here to read our previous episode; the morbidly curious may go here to return to the very first chapter of this Gold View Award™-winning 57-volume autobiography.)

“For me the most agonizing deprivation I suffered due to the recent storm and my subsequent loss of my electric for several days was when I ran out of flashlight batteries and could no longer read Arnold Schnabel in bed at night. And, oh, what long dark nights of the soul those were!” — Harold Bloom, on
The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

At first I thought he was dancing all by himself, in his pale blue summer suit with his loosened blue tie and his straw trilby hat on the back of his head, but then through the churning and thrashing bodies packed into that tiny dance floor I became aware of the blonde hair and the face and the black dress of Pat, and the dark swirling hair and the face and the red dress of Carlotta, my fellow tenants in the Morgensterns’ apartment building on Bleecker Street, both girls dancing very close to Josh, Pat to one side and Carlotta to the other.

And then Josh saw me, perhaps only a second after I noticed him — after all he is at least supposed to be all-seeing — and he suddenly rushed and shoved through the throng over to me, and then, practically elbowing aside Mr. James, he took my right hand and pumped it, smiling broadly with his damp blond hair falling over his sweaty forehead, and clapping me on the shoulder with his other hand.

“Arnold, old buddy!” he yelled, through that crashing jukebox music. He had a big reddish-purple bruise on his left cheekbone, and full-fledged black eye on the other side of his face. “So glad to see you! Where have you been?”

’Arnold’, did you say?” said Mr. James. “You must be mad, sir. This is Mr. Walker, Porter Walker, the important new young poet!”

“Oh, that’s right!” said Josh. “’Porter Walker’, eh, Arnold? I mean ‘Porter’, excuse me!”

“It’s okay, Mr., uh, James,” I said, or shouted, to the fat man. “We’re old friends. He just calls me Arnold.”

“Oh, I see, ha ha,” said Mr. James. “A boyhood nickname, perhaps.”

“Yes, kind of like that,” said Josh.

“Dating back to the halcyon days of boarding school one should imagine,” said Mr. James, “where often shall we say special friendships between boys are forged, friendships which sometimes last even unto —”

“I had a nickname when I was a kid,” said Thurgood, butting in with no apparent shame or hesitation. “I didn’t like it though. They called me Corpsey, supposedly because I had a deathly pale and moribund appearance, but —”

“I had a special friend when I was a lad,” said Mr. James, interrupting his interruptor, “but it was not with a boy my own age but rather with my tutor, one winter season when we were stopping at the villa of the Princess Cassablissima in the lovely old city of Bologna. Vito my young tutor’s name was, and —”

“Hey, listen,” said Josh to Mr. James, “your name is Henry, right?”

“My pain is plenary, you say?”

“No,” said Josh, a little louder, and slower. “I said, ‘Your name is Henry, right?’

“Yes, my friends address me as Henry,” said Mr. James. “I prefer it to ‘Hank’. Somehow I’ve never quite felt like a ‘Hank’ —”

“Yeah, well, listen, Henry, Arnold and I —”

“You mean Porter,” said Mr. James.

“Yeah, whatever,” said Josh, “but Arnold and I are just going to step outside for a minute. Do me a favor and tell those two girls I’m with that I’ll be right back. The blonde in black and the brunette in red?”

“The what? Tell who?”

“The two girls!” yelled Josh, even louder than he’d already been yelling, and boy, he did have a powerful voice, not like godlike like the way they have God sound in movies, but you could definitely hear him pretty clearly. “The blonde in the black dress and the brunette in red! The ones I’m with! Tell them I’m stepping out with Arnold here for just a minute but I’ll be right back!”

“Very well,” said Mr. James, as if it was just one of the many dull things customers asked him to do every night.

“Thanks,” yelled Josh. “And, here, wait, look —”

Josh reached into his back pocket and took out a wallet. It looked like a really nice one. Not that I’m any expert on wallets, I’ve had the same one from Sears for the last eighteen years, and it cost me ninety-nine cents when I bought it, but Josh’s wallet really did look nice, real leather and all, and, after all, what else would you expect considering who he was. He opened it up, I could see it was packed with bills. He pulled one out, and it was a crisp new hundred-dollar bill. I’d only seen a couple of them in my life, crisp or otherwise, but it looked real.

Mr. James stared at the bill as if it were the most amazing thing he’d ever seen.

“Here,” said Josh, “take this and buy the house a round.”

“Oh, dear,” said the fat man. “The entire house?”

“Sure,” said Josh. “Make sure to get everybody in the back room, too. Is a hundred enough?”

“Well, I’m sure it is,” said the fat guy, and he glanced at Josh, but then immediately his eyes dropped to the hundred again. “Yes, I would say it is. Our prices are quite competitive, you know —”

“Here,” said Josh, and he dipped into his wallet again, and took out another hundred dollar bill. “Just to make sure.”

He took Mr. James’s free hand right hand, the one that wasn’t holding his drink and his cigar, and pressed the two bills into the man’s palm.

“Make sure to hook up the musicians too,” said Josh. Well, he yelled again, actually. All this was yelling, over that loud boogie-woogie music. He stuck his wallet back into his back pocket. “Get everybody what they’re drinking and get one for yourself, too, what are ya drinking there, scotch?”

“Yes,” said Mr. James, tucking the two bills somewhere inside his suit jacket, “In fact I’m enjoying a glass of fine malt whisky, my own private stock, which I acquired through the good graces of my friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle —”

“Great,” said Josh, “sounds really good, so buy yourself another shot —”

“Ha ha, in point of fact I was having a double, sir.”

“Good, get yourself another double, and keep the change.”

“Oh, but, sir, as manager here I do not accept tips!”

“Okay, then give the change to the bartenders and waitresses.”

“Well, I suppose I could do that,” said Mr. James.

“Good,” said Josh. “Make sure the waitresses and bartenders have a drink, too. I mean if that’s okay.”

“Yes, I suppose one drink would not adversely affect their abilities to perform their duties.”

“What about the kitchen help? Can they have a drink?”

“Well, it would be somewhat irregular, but —”

“Hook ‘em up, Henry. And don’t forget the dishwasher.”

“No — no, of course not.”

“Even the humblest of men,” said Josh.

“Yes, of course,” said the fat man. “The humble people. I’ve often found that the humble of the earth are —”

“Okay, great,” said Josh. “So just tell those two girls I’ll be right back. Arnold and I both will be right back.”

“Mr. Walker, you mean,” said Mr. James.

“Right. Mr. Walker,” said Josh, and he put his hand on my arm.

“Can I get a drink too?” said Thurgood.

“What?” said Josh.

“I’m a friend of Mr. Walker’s,” said Thurgood. “Can I have a drink too.”

“You’re a friend of Arnold’s?” said Josh.

“I know him as ‘Porter Walker, the rising young poet’,” said Thurgood.

“Right,” said Josh. “But, yeah, sure, you can have a drink, especially if you’re a friend of Mr. Walker’s!” Josh turned to Mr. James. “See, I got the name right that time.”

“My name is Thurgood,” said Thurgood, and he thrust his right hand at Josh, almost sticking his pointy fingertips into Josh’s stomach. “Theophilus P. Thurgood.”

Josh looked at that bony outstretched hand, and then gave it a quick shake and just as quickly pulled his own hand away.

“Pleased to meet you, Theophilus. Now if you’ll just excuse me and Arnold for a minute —”

“You can just call me Thurgood,” said Thurgood. “Everybody calls me Thurgood.”

“Okay, Thurgood,” said Josh, “Well —”

“I guess you’re Porter’s friend ‘Josh’, right?”

“Uh, yes —”

“I’ve heard a lot about you. I’m really looking forward to hanging out with you.”

“Yes, well, uh —”

“Look,” said Thurgood, and he held up his book for Josh to see. “Here’s my brand new book. I’m a novelist.”

“Well, that’s great, uh, Thurgood,” said Josh. “I’ll have to read it sometime —”

Two Nights in a One Stoplight Town,” said Thurgood (yelled Thurgood, like everybody else).

“What?” said Josh.

“The title of my book. Two Nights in a One Stoplight Town.”

“It says Two Weeks in a One Horse Town,” said Josh. “On the cover, anyway.”

Thurgood turned the book over and looked at the front cover of the dust jacket.

“Oh,” he said. “You’re right. I forgot.”

“Well, no matter,” said Josh. He still had his hand on my arm, and he gave it a tug.

“I wonder, though,” said Thurgood. “When you say ‘a drink’, does that mean I can have a double whisky, like Mr. James?”

“Sure,” said Josh. “If that’s what you’re drinking.”

“I was wondering if I could have some of that fine malt whisky private stock,” said Thurgood.

“Sure, why not?” said Josh. “I mean if it’s okay with Henry here. Is that okay, Henry?”

“Well, it is very dear,” said the fat man. “Very hard to get.”

“Well, look, if it’s okay, let Theophilus —”

“Thurgood,” interjected Thurgood. “Just Thurgood.”

“Okay,” said Josh. “If it’s okay, let Thurgood have a fine malt too.”

“A double?” said Thurgood.

“A double,” said Josh.

“Oh, boy,” said Thurgood. “I’m really going to enjoy this!”

“Well, that’s just great, Thurgood,” said Josh, “and now —”

With that he pulled me over to the door, quickly opened it, shoved me through it, and followed me out.

Jesus Christ!” he said, after the door had closed behind him, muffling the music, the shouting and laughter. “I know I shouldn’t say that, but, you know — Jesus Christ!”

He let out a sharp laugh, and then took a pack of Pall Malls out of his jacket. He gave the pack a shake, exactly two cigarettes popped up exactly one inch each, and he offered the pack to me.

“No thanks,” I said.

“Oh! That’s right, you’re still quitting! You don’t mind if I light up, do you?”

“No, not at all,” I said.

He put a cigarette in his mouth, put the pack away, patted his pockets, found his scuffed gold Ronson, in his side jacket pocket, lighted up, took a good drag, slowly exhaled, the smoke trailing up out of the shadowy areaway into the night.

“Wow,” he said, rather suddenly, looking at me, in the reddish glow from the neon Rheingold sign. “People, huh?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Sometimes I look at ‘people’ and I think, boy, what was my father thinking of when he created this crew, ya know?”

“Yes,” I said. “I think the same thing sometimes.”

“And, hey, Arnold, no offense, but — this guy Theophilus, or Thurgood — he really a friend of yours?”

“Well, not really,” I said. “He just sort of attached himself to me. You know how it is.”

“Oh, I know how it is, all right,” he said. “Talk about people attaching themselves to you, sometime I’m going to tell you some stories about the twelve so-called apostles.” He took another drag of his cigarette, gazing out toward MacDougal Street, then turned to look at me again. “But, look, that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.”

He paused again here, looking at me.

“Okay,” I said. Just to say something.

“Hey, what’s that book you’ve got there?” he said, pointing with the lit end of his cigarette at the book I was still lugging around, even though to tell the truth I wouldn’t have minded getting rid of it, just to be on the safe side.

“Oh. This,” I said. 

I held it up so Josh could get a look at the cover.

The Ace of Death,” he said, reaching out and tilting it a bit toward the light from the Rheingold sign. “By Horace P. Sternwall. Any good?”

“I have no idea,” I said. “You see, this old man who has this book shop upstairs, Mr. Philpot, somehow he got me to buy it, and, uh —”

“Listen, Arnold,” said Josh. “I have to tell you something.”

“Okay,” I said.

“It’s going to sound a little odd maybe.”

“Okay,” I said, again, but I have to admit that by now I was thinking: oh, great, now what?

Josh hesitated again. I waited. I had nothing else to do, standing there in that dim sunken areaway, with the glow from the Rheingold sign giving Josh’s tanned and sweaty face a rosy sheen. He took another drag of his cigarette and let the smoke out very slowly this time. He looked down into the shadows for a moment, then raised his head and looked into my eyes.

“Listen, buddy, I never thought it could happen to me, but I’ve fallen in love.”

“What?” I said.

“I’m in love. Me, the son of the big guy. One third of the so-called Holy Trinity. Me. I’ve fallen in love.”

“With a girl?” I said.

“Yes, with a girl,” he said. “With the most wonderful girl in this or any other possible world.”

For an awful moment I wondered if he meant Emily, that crazy girl who was the heroine of the novel we were in, but no, that couldn’t be.

“Okay,” I said.

“Just ‘okay’?”

“I mean, great,” I said. “That’s swell. Uh, really swell.”

“I should think so!” he said.

I knew one thing, if it was Emily, I was definitely going to have to say something.

“Uh, who is this girl?” I asked, trying to sound as if I were simply curious, and not worried that the son of God had fallen in love with a psychopath.

“Who is she?” said Josh, smiling.

He had very white teeth, I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned that, they almost glowed in the dimness of that areaway.

“Yeah,” I said, “I mean if you don’t mind my asking —”

“Carlotta,” he said.

“Pardon me?” I said.

“Carlotta,” he said, still smiling, broadly. “You know, the brunette you introduced me to.”


Carlotta, the brunette who lived across the hall from me (or from Porter Walker, anyway) with her girl friend, Pat, the blonde.

“Carlotta?” I said.

“Yes! Carlotta! Isn’t she great?”

“Yeah,” I said.

Carlotta, the one with whom I had apparently had concupiscent relations, or, anyway, Porter had, who was sort of the same thing as me. For all I knew after all, he was me, and I, Arnold, was some fictional character.

“Isn’t she great?” said Josh.

“Yeah,” I said. “She’s great, Josh.”

(Continued here, with all due reverence.)

(Kindly turn to the right-hand column of this page to find a rigorously updated list of links to all other electronically-broadcast chapters of
Arnold Schnabel’s Railroad Train To Heaven©, now available for a mere pittance on your new Kindle©. Also published, with fewer textual errors, in the CollingswoodPatch™: “South Jersey’s foremost journal of culture and literature.”)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

tales of the hotel st crispian: chapter 84

"20 c-notes"

by Horace P. Sternwall 

edited by Dan Leo*  

illustrations by roy dismas and rhoda penmarq 

**Assistant Professor of American Studies, Scrabble Team Coach, Olney Community College; editor of Journey into Angst: Seven Previously Uncollected Novellas of the American Intelligentsia, by Horace P. Sternwall; Olney Community College Press; available exclusively at Thrifty™ drug stores.

The failed hipsters Alice “Sniffy” Smith and Landon “Rooster” Crow sit across from each other at a small corner table in the Automat just across the alley from the revered Hotel St Crispian, each with a cup of coffee and a lit cigarette...

“Okay,” said Rooster, “now let’s see those C-notes, Sniffy. But be discreet.”

“I’ll be discreet,” said Sniffy.

“Take them out under the table.”

“I’m not an idiot, Rooster. You think I’m gonna flash twenty C-notes in this joint?”

Putting her purse on her lap, Sniffy opened it, reached in and pulled out a sheath of hundred-dollar bills.

“How do they look?” said Rooster.

“They look good to me.”

“The ink doesn’t rub off on your fingers?”


“Oh, dear God!” said Rooster. “Pass them to me under the table, I want to see.”

Sniffy, after only a slight hesitation, and not before taking a quick glance around the Automat, went ahead and passed the money to Rooster under the table...

(Click here for the entire thrilling episode!)