Friday, March 29, 2013

“Railroad Train to Heaven”, Part 340: millions

Let’s catch up with our hero Arnold Schnabel and his friend “Josh” (occupation: son of God), in the hallway leading to the men’s room of a rather unusual subterranean bar in New York’s scenic Greenwich Village, on a sultry night in August of 1957…

(Kindly go here to read our previous thrilling episode; if you’ve finally gone quite mad then you may click here to go back to the very beginning of this Gold View Award™-winning 78-volume autobiography.)

“Arnold Schnabel’s massive
chef-d'œuvre may not be the greatest masterpiece in the history of literature — and after all, terms like ‘the greatest’ are utterly meaningless in the world of art — but it might very well be the longest masterpiece.” — Harold Bloom, on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

As soon as we left the men’s room we could hear the noise of the band and the drunken people out in the bar, and this clamor grew progressively louder as we walked down the hallway and came to the turning into that short passage at the end of which churned the crowd of people between the bandstand and the end of the bar, the noise rolling over us in a warm wave of tobacco smoke and the smells of sweat and beer and whiskey.

“Well, I suppose a cold beer wouldn’t hurt, anyway,” said Josh, speaking almost in a shout because of all the noise. “You want to have one before we go back upstairs?”

I stopped. Josh still had his arm in mine, and he gave me a little tug.

“Hold on, Josh,” I said, or almost shouted.

“Come on,” he shouted back. “I’m buying. And if I were you I’d try one of these fine malt whiskies if they have them —”

He gave my arm another tug, but I put my free hand on his tugging arm, and gently but firmly disengaged it.

“Josh,” I said, leaning closer to him so that I wouldn’t have to shout, but speaking as firmly as I could. “You just threw up.”

“Yes?” he said.

He was still chewing his gum, and he still looked pretty bad. His straw Trilby hat was all crooked on his head, and not on purpose. His sweat-darkened hair still lay stuck in sickly-looking strands on his forehead which now seemed to have not only the color but also the texture of a week-old peeled hard-boiled egg. I instinctively wanted to push those greasy-looking locks back the way one might with a messy small child, but of course I did no such thing.

I did however speak up.

“Listen, Josh,” I said. “I know you’re not very used to all this.”

“Drinking in bars? I’m learning the ropes, I think.”

“Maybe so, but I have to tell you. Throwing up is a sign that you’ve already had way too much to drink. The last thing you want to do is start drinking again.”

“But just one beer?”

“I think you’ll regret it,” I said. “It might make you temporarily feel better, but it will only make the hangover worse.”

“I could really go for a cold beer though,” he said. “I’ve discovered I really like beer. Also fine malt whiskies. Do you like them?”

“I normally drink cheap whiskies,” I said.

“You really should try these fine malt whiskies,” said Josh. he had a very sincere-looking expression on his pale, damp face.

And then it hit me.

“Wait,” I said.

“For what?” he said.

“You’re the son of God,” I said.

“Well, yes —” he said, as if he were going to add a qualifying statement of some sort, but all he did was glance away, toward the dirty old bricks in the wall.

“So,” I said, “I would just think that, being in your position, you don’t really have to have a hangover if you don’t want one. In fact you can probably make yourself feel better right now just by willing it to be, like, so.”

“Well, you know, what you say is true, Arnold,” he said. “I suppose I could do that.” He took the gum out of his mouth again, with his thumb and index finger. “This gum has totally lost its flavor,” he said. “Now it’s getting kind of annoying.”

Like a lot of things in life, I thought. They start out okay, but then suddenly they’re not so okay, and then finally they’re downright annoying.

“That’s a depressing thought,” said Josh, putting the gum back in his mouth, and I remembered that he could hear my thoughts.

“Well, look,” I said, “if I were you I’d just, you know, make myself feel better. There’s nothing worse than being pitifully drunk, except being pitifully hungover, which is inevitable once you’re reached the pitiful drunk stage.”

“But here’s the thing, Arnold,” he said. He was still chewing the gum, but very slowly now, chewing for the sake of chewing. “I told you,” he said. “I want to be a man.”

“Even if it means getting hungover?” I said.

“Well, yes,” he said.

You might think differently tomorrow, I thought.

“Arnold,” he said. “Again, I heard that.”

“Okay,” I said. “Now listen, Josh, I’m going to say something, and if it’s disrespectful I’m sorry, and I will perform a suitable penance.”

“Forget about a penance. Believe me, Arnold, the idea of doing penance is nothing but an absurd human invention. Even my father thinks so. And don’t even mention it to the Holy Ghost, he’ll laugh in your face.”

“Okay, well, here’s the thing, Josh. If you really want to be human I think you’re going to have to stop listening to people’s thoughts.”

“Oh,” he said.

“You see what I mean, right?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “I do. I hadn’t thought of that.”

“Well, you have been drinking quite a bit, or so I gather.”

“Yes, that’s true. But still, I should have remembered. I won’t do it anymore,” he said.

“You don’t have to not do it on my account,” I said.

“Oh, no, of course not,” he said. He reached into his jacket pocket and took out his cigarette case again. He clicked it open, it was still empty. For a moment I wondered if he was going to perform a miracle and make the case become full of cigarettes again, but he clicked it shut and put it back into his pocket. “No,” he said, with a small smile. “You’re right. If I’m going to be an ordinary mortal then I really should restrict my powers to those a normal human being might have.”

“It really doesn’t matter to me,” I said. “I was only saying.”

Now I felt a little guilty about even bringing it up. Who was I to tell the son of God what to do?

“You shouldn’t have that attitude,” said Josh. “I value your opinion, Arnold.”

“Josh,” I said, “no offense, but you’re doing it again.”

“Doing what?”

“Listening to my thoughts.”

“Damn!” he said. “Okay, look, from here on out, that’s it, no more mind-reading.”

“You’re sure?” I said.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Besides, do you know how annoying it can be, hearing everyone’s thoughts?”

I thought about this for a moment.

To hear everyone’s thoughts, everyone on the planet, in ten thousand different languages and dialects, simultaneously — this would seem to me, who found it tedious enough listening just to one or two or maybe three voices in my head at a time — this would definitely seem to me to be a recipe for madness and a definition of a sort of hell.

“It’s not quite that bad,” said Josh. “You just sort of learn to filter stuff out, y’know? But, yes, it can be maddening if you let it become maddening. All these voices, all these millions of separate personalities, all of them usually wanting something. Primarily food, but other times water, or sex, or warmth, or coolness, or for the cessation of some pain or agony, be it physical or spiritual — all these millions of people, each of them the center of their own private universe, yes, it can be maddening if you let it become so, especially since so many of their thoughts are direct supplications to me — or to my father or to the Holy Ghost, which all amount to the same thing anyway — all these people wanting something from me, as if even I have it in my power to grant them what they really want when you get right down to it, which is happiness.  And even though they never get it, they keep asking for it anyway. Happiness. Oh, and eternal life, don’t forget that, they’re all really big on this eternal life thing. So, yes, it can get a little tedious, but, as I say, I’ve gotten used to it.”

Tedious, I thought, but not as tedious as the lives all these millions of human beings were condemned to live.

“Ouch,” said Josh, “I heard that one.”

Okay, I thought, see? You’re doing it again.

“Doing what?” he said.

You’re listening to my unspoken thoughts, I thought, you’re doing it again, right now.

“What? Oh, shit,” he said.

Sorry, I thought.

“Damn!” he said, again. “No, don’t be sorry. Okay, look, from now on I’m really going to stop it.”

“Only if you want to,” I said, aloud.

“Why else would I do it except if I want to?” he said.

“Well, I didn’t want you to think you should stop doing it on my account,” I said, realizing the absurdity of what I was saying as soon as I said it.

“It’s not that absurd, Arnold,” said Josh. And then, “Shit, I did it again, didn’t I?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Well, I’m really, really going to stop it now,” he said. “But if I slip, let me know.”

Okay, I thought, wondering if he heard me think this.

“Well, I did in fact hear that,” he said. “But now I’m quite serious. From this point on, Arnold, it’s the new me. Just plain old ordinary Josh, just another guy, and not the son of God. I herewith abjure and abdicate and renounce and give up now and forever all divine and supernal powers.”

And, smiling, he made a sign of the cross.

“Oh, wait,” I said.

“Wait for what?”

“Abjuring your divine powers and all,” I said.


“Because I just remembered my whole purpose in coming back to this universe.”

“And why was that?”

“To find you, Josh.”

“I’m flattered, old buddy.” He gave me a little punch on the arm. “Did you just want to hang out?”

“No,” I said. “It’s embarrassing really.”

“You shouldn’t be embarrassed in front of me. Please, just think of me as your friend Josh, and not the son of God.”

“I feel ashamed,” I said.

“Did you kill someone?”


“Did you deliberately hurt anyone?”


“Then knock off this shame nonsense.”

“Okay,” I said. “The truth is I willed myself back into this fictional universe to find you again so that you could use your divine powers to help me.”

“Oh,” he said.

“So, you see, I’m no better than all those millions of other people, all of them trying to get something from you.”

“Well, I suppose I could make one last exception just for you, Arnold.”

“No,” I said. “It wouldn’t be fair.”

“Since when have I ever been fair.”

“Well, I think you were pretty fair the last time you walked the earth. You know, with the Apostles and all.”

“I did try,” he said.

“I’m sure you did,” I said. “And, look, lots of people still follow your, uh, teachings.”

“That’s true,” he said. “But they’re really no better than the teachings of any other religion out there.”

“You shouldn’t be so modest,” I said.

“Well, anyway, what was it you wanted?”

I threw my back out trying to open a window, and I was in agonizing pain. I wanted to ask you to make the pain stop.”

“That’s all it was?”

“Yeah, that was all,” I said.

“I thought it was going to be something really important.”

“It seemed important to me at the time,” I said.

“Really agonizing pain, huh?”

“Excruciating,” I said. And then I remembered reading that the word excruciating came from the same Latin root as crucifixion. Which Josh had suffered on his last sojourn on the earth.

“Yes,” he said, “that was excruciating. Quite literally.”

I really feel like a fool now, I thought.

Don’t, he thought back at me. You’re only human, Arnold.

Yes, I thought.

And I’m doing it again, he thought.

What? I thought.

Reading your thoughts. When I said I wasn’t going to do it any more.

I shrugged, not visibly, but mentally.

“Look, I’ll take care of your back for you, Arnold,” he said, aloud this time.

“No,” I said, “really —”

“Forget it,” he said. “It won’t be the first miracle I’ve performed, nor anywhere near the greatest. But first I have a favor to ask of you.”

“Me?” I said.

“You, Arnie. And that favor is — but I don’t want you to feel obliged to do it in any way — but I’m just asking —”

I guess I looked reluctant. And I was. I was afraid.

Josh smiled.

“Relax, pal.”

“Okay, look,” I said. “Whatever it is, if you really want me to do it, okay, but I hope it’s nothing too complicated, because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to, to —”

“Arnold,” said Josh. “I just want you to have a beer with me. That’s all I want. Just to have a beer together.”

“That’s all?” I said.

“A cold beer,” he said. “Or maybe a fine malt whiskey.” 

“Well —”

“And a little chat,” he said.

“Oh,” I said. “A chat.”

“Yes, just a brief chat. I mean if you don’t mind.”

“No,” I said.

“In fact we’ll have to keep it brief, because we don’t want to keep the girls waiting.”

“The girls.”

“Carlotta. And Pat,” he said. “They’re in the bar upstairs, waiting. Or at least I hope they’re still waiting.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Great,” he said. He smiled and gave my arm another little punch. “Don’t you want to know what I want to chat about?”

“Um, yeah, I guess,” I said.

Maybe he was going to tell me whether I was insane or not, or whether it was just the universe that was insane.

“Well, that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind,” he said, reading my mind, I guess it really wasn’t that easy for him to turn his divine powers off.

Then what? I thought.

Before answering he took that little grey wad of gum out of his mouth again, one last time, and he turned and stuck it into the space between two bricks in the wall, pressing it in with his thumb.

Then he turned and looked at me. He wasn’t smiling anymore.

“Women,” he said. “I want to talk about women.”

(Continued here, because we’re obviously just getting started.)

(Please turn to the right-hand column of this page for a rigorously updated listing of links to all other published chapters of
Arnold Schnabel’s Railroad Train To Heaven©. Now also available in the Collingswood Patch™: “South Jersey’s lone voice crying in the wilderness.”)

tales of the hotel st crispian: chapter 102

"in the arena"

by horace p sternwall and manfred skyline

illustrated by roy dismas, rhoda penmarq and konrad kraus

a rhoda penmarq©studios production

(click here for the entire chilling episode!)

Friday, March 22, 2013

“Railroad Train to Heaven”, Part 339: Bart

Let’s rejoin our hero Arnold Schnabel and his deific friend “Josh”, here in the men’s room of a mysterious subterranean bar in Greenwich Village, on this rainy night in August of 1957…

(Please click here to read our immediately preceding episode; if you’ve recently been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and are looking for a harmless outlet for your mania, you may go here to return to the very first chapter of this Gold View Award™-winning 64-volume memoir.)

“Reading Arnold Schnabel is the literary equivalent of taking a hit of vintage Owsley acid.” — Harold Bloom, interviewed in
High Times.

{This chapter is dedicated to Kathleen Maher.}

“Well, anyway,” I said, “do you feel better now, Josh?”

“Comparatively, yes,” he said, chewing vigorously. “The gum really does help immensely.”

“Indeed the Wrigley’s definitely does help, doesn’t it?” said Ishmael. “But y’know what’s the best thing for a chap in your present state?”

“Suicide?” said Josh, I wasn’t sure if he was joking or not.

“Oh, no, my dear man,” said Ishmael. “Let us not speak of self-slaughter. Because if there’s one thing I know, as all hearty seafaring fellows know, there’s never the most brutal and soul-destroying hangover but has an end to it.”

“Them’s true words,” said Billy, who was very ostentatiously smoking his cigarette, or maybe he just really enjoyed smoking. I didn’t know which, I didn’t care.

“No, as I say, the best thing for a chap in your present state,” said Ishmael, “— oh, but I have not introduced myself. Call me Ishmael.”

He extended his hand, and Josh, after only a second’s hesitation, took it in his.

“His real name be Bertrand,” said Billy.

“It’s true,” said Ishmael. “My baptismal Christian name, as Billy has pointed out, was indeed Bertrand, but, nevertheless, I ask you sir —”

“To call you Ishmael,” said Josh. “No problem, Ishmael.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Ishmael. He put his pipe between his teeth, and he added his newly free left hand to the shake that his right hand was already engaged in, pumping Josh’s hand up and down as if it were a recalcitrant bottle of Heinz ketchup. “And may I ask your name, sir?”

“Call me Josh,” said Josh.

“Josh, it is then,” said Ishmael. “And my friend with a penchant for exactitude over there is young Billy.”

“What’s up, Billy?” said Josh.

“Cheers, mate,” said Billy.

“So,” said Ishmael, “would you like to hear what’s best for a chap in your present state?”

“First I would like my hand back,” said Josh.

“Oh! I beg your pardon,” said Ishmael, and he released Josh’s hand at once. “I was overcome for a moment by an access of that feeling of brotherly love which is such a mainstay of the sailor’s life.”

“Okay,” said Josh.

He patted the side pockets of his pale blue suit.

“So, as I was saying,” said Ishmael, “the thing for a fellow in your current, oh, shall we say, condition —”

“Right,” said Josh, “go on.”

He brought a cigarette case out of his jacket side pocket; I didn’t remember seeing this one before. Of course it was a very nice one, it looked like platinum and black enamel.

“The thing to do,” said Ishmael —

“Oh. Shit,” said Josh.

“What?” said Ishmael. “Don’t you want to hear my recipe for relief? Because it really works, I assure you?”

“What?” said Josh.

“Well, I mean,” said Ishmael, “if you should rather not —”

“I don’t understand,” said Josh.

“If, after all, without even waiting to hear it, you are going to dismiss my remedy as mere — ordure —”

“Ordure?” said Josh.

“He means shit,” said Billy. “Like you just said.”

“Shit,” said Josh.

“Or shite as we calls it,” said Billy. “Which is what he’s usually talking.”

“But that wasn’t why I said shit,” said Josh.

“I don’t mind if you did,” said Ishmael. “It shouldn’t be the first time I have been accused of talking shit, I assure you.”

“Or shite,” said Billy.

“No,” said Ishmael. “Nor that neither. I’m used to it.”

“But I’m telling you that’s not why I said shit,” said Josh.

“You wouldn’t be far wrong if that were why you said it, I’ll warrant,” said Billy.

Ishmael looked at the floor, almost as if he had dropped a contact lens and was looking for it, but I suppose it was only a scrap of dignity he was looking for. And, fortunately for him, Josh granted him this.

“I was saying shit because I’m out of cigarettes,” said Josh, and he held out the open, empty cigarette case. “See? No cigarettes.”

“Oh,” said Ishmael.

Josh clicked the case shut, dropped it back into his pocket.

“That’s why I said shit,” he said.

“I see,” said Ishmael. “So, then, you wouldn’t mind hearing my antidote for the physical and perhaps even the spiritual malaise which I suspect you now suffer?”

“Will it take long?” asked Josh.

“Not at all,” said Ishmael.

“I only ask because I’d like to get some cigarettes,” said Josh.

“It won’t take long at all,” said Ishmael, “and I only wish I had a cigarette to offer you, but, as you can see, I am a pipe-smoker. Perhaps Billy would roll one for you?”

“Pretty free with other blokes’ tabaccy, ain’t ya, Bertrand?” said Billy.

“Well, I only thought —” said Ishmael.

“Look, it’s okay,” said Josh, he was still chewing the gum, but much more slowly now, “tell me what you were going to say, please.”

“I’ll gladly roll the bloke a cigarette,” said Billy. “I just don’t like other blokes offering blokes me tabaccy.” He brought the pouch of tobacco out of his pocket. “You like Players, mate?”

“Actually I prefer Pall Malls,” said Josh.

“See?” said Billy. “He prefers Pall Malls he does.”

“I believe they dispense Pall Malls in the machine out in the bar,” said Ishmael.

“Great,” said Josh. He put his thumb and finger to his mouth, and removed the Wrigley’s. He looked at the gum, it was like a dead and grey tiny moon. “I think I’ll go get a pack of Pall Malls now,” he said.

“But you haven’t heard my cure,” said Ishmael. “My secret for dispelling the dreadful humors resultant upon the excessive libation of alcoholic beverages —”

“Oh. Okay,” said Josh. He put the gum back in his mouth and resumed chewing, it had undoubtedly lost its flavor, but it was still better than nothing. “Please, continue,” he said.

“The best thing you can do,” said Ishmael, “I mean absolutely the best thing you can do — you really want to know?” 

“Yes,” said Josh. “I’m on tenterhooks.”

“Ha ha,” said Ishmael, “tenterhooks, yes, so — what you’ve got to do, what you really want to do —”

“Right,” said Josh. “What should I do.”

“What you really want to do,” said Ishmael, and you could tell he was trying to stretch out his moment in the sun, I suppose maybe he didn’t have much going for him in his life, “what you really want to do is just march right back out to the bar and ask the barman, in a firm, unwavering voice —”

“Oh, Jesus Christ,” said Billy, “will you get to the fucking point, man?”

“In your firmest voice,” continued Ishmael, I don’t think he even heard what Billy had just said, “ask the good fellow for a mug of the coldest lager he has — the coldest mind you — and one fresh raw egg —”

“Shite,” called a voice.

There were still a lot of guys going to and fro all around our little group through all this, some of them talking among themselves, none of them seeming to pay us the least bit of attention, and who could blame them, but this voice seemed to have come from the direction of the toilet stalls.

“Bullshite,” spoke the voice again.

“Pardon me,” said Ishmael.

“Absolute shite,” said the invisible voice, and now I could tell it was coming from the stall to the right of the one Josh had just left. “Or, if you prefer,” the voice went on, “shit.”

“What is shit?” said Ishmael.

“Your hangover cure,” said the voice. “It’s shite, and it don’t work.”

“Yes it does work,” said Ishmael. “You take the raw egg, and you break it into the cold lager. Then, what you do is, you drink it all down in one go —”

“Bullshite,” said the voice. “It don’t work. I tried it and I still felt like shit.”

“Did you make sure it was a fresh egg?” said Ishmael.

“How the hell do I know if it was fresh?” said the voice. “I asked the bartender for a raw egg and he gave me one.”

“It doesn’t work unless it’s an absolutely fresh egg,” said Ishmael.

“Shite,” said the voice.

“Well, look,” said Josh. He straightened the knot of his loosened necktie, but just a little. “Tell you what, Ishmael, I’ll give your cure a try.”

“It won’t work,” said the invisible voice.

“Oh, come out of there, anyway, Bart,” said Ishmael. “You’ve been in there twenty minutes already.”

“Aye. Shite or get off the pot, man,” said Billy.

“I don’t have to shite,” said the voice.

“Then what are you doing in there?” said Ishmael. “Come out.”

“Why,” said the voice.

“Why?” said Ishmael. He looked at me and Josh. “’Why’ he asks.” He addressed the closed door again. “I’ll tell you why,” he said. “Because it’s absurd to just sit there on the toilet all night, that’s why.”

“Any more absurd than standing in that barroom drinking and talking shite all night?”

“What if someone else wants to use that stall?” said Ishmael.

The voice said nothing.

“He don’t give a shite,” said Billy.

“But this behavior is weird,” said Ishmael. “I fear it is the symptom of a diseased soul.”

“Aye, it probably is,” said Billy.

“Fuck you both,” said the voice.

“I say!” called Ishmael, speaking almost in a shout. “I say, Bart! Stop this nonsense at once and come out of there, man.”

We all waited, but the invisible voice remained unheard.

“Bart!” called Ishmael. He went over to the door and rapped on it with his pipe. “I say, old man, come out, and have a merry drink with us.”

I heard a mumbling, but I couldn’t make out any words.

“What’s that, Bart?” said Ishmael. “Speak up, man, what did you say?”

“I said I would prefer not to,” said the voice.

“Oh, boy,” said Billy. “’Ere we go again.”

“I would prefer not to,” said the voice again, louder.

“Oh, no,” said Ishmael. “Hey, Bart, come on, don’t be like this.”

“I would prefer not to,” said Bart, I suppose that was his name.

“Bart,” said Ishmael, “can we at least talk about this?”

“I would prefer not to,” said Bart.

“Forget it,” said Billy. “You know how he is when he gets like this.”

“I just wish he’d be reasonable,” said Ishmael.

“I heard that,” said the voice.

“Well, I wish you would,” said Ishmael. “Be reasonable.”

“I would prefer not to,” said Bart.

“Okay,” said Josh, “well, I think I’ll go get that lager and raw egg now.”

“It don’t work,” called the voice.

“Don’t listen to him, Josh,” said Ishmael. “Just make sure the bartender gives you a fresh egg.”

“Bullshit,” said the voice.

“Okay,” said Josh. “Fresh egg.”

“I’m telling you it won’t work,” said the voice again.

Ishmael rapped on the door again with the bowl of his pipe.

“Come on, Bart, come out of there.”

“I would prefer not to.”

“I think I knows why we won’t come out,” said Billy. “He don’t want to come out because it’s his turn to stand a round. Mean bastard he is.”

“Don’t call me mean,” said the voice. “I buy my share of rounds.”

“Then come out of it and buy one,” said Billy.

“Come to think of it, he missed buying a round before the last one as well,” said Ishmael.

“Y’know, you’re right,” said Billy.

“I went to buy a bag of peanuts from the machine,” called the voice.

“And you timed it perfectly, didn’t ya,” said Billy.

“I offered you both some peanuts.”

“Fuck your peanuts,” said Billy.

A mumbling came from the stall.

“What’s that?” said Billy.

Ishmael, who was still standing in front of the stall door, said, “What was that, Bart?”

Bart turned his head so that his ear was close to the door.

The man inside the stall mumbled something again.

“What’d he say,” said Billy.

Ishmael turned and looked at us all.

“He said he would prefer not to.”

“Let’s go, Arnold,” said Josh.

“I thought his name was Porter,” said Ishmael.

“That’s what I meant to say,” said Josh.

He took me by the arm and pulled me to the door.

“We’ll be right out,” said Ishmael. “Soon as we get Bart to come out.”

“I would prefer not to,” called the invisible Bart, in a clear loud voice.

“Okay, good luck,” said Josh. “Nice meeting you both.” In a slightly louder voice: “You too, Bart.”

The voice said nothing.

Josh opened the door and waved me through, then followed on my heels.

Out in the hallway we wasted no time in getting away. He had let go of my arm when I went through the door, but now he slipped his into mine again.

“Friends of yours?” said Josh.

“Never met them before in my life,” I said. “In any of my lives.”

“Do you think that cold lager and raw egg trick works?”

“I very much doubt it,” I said.

“I didn’t think so,” said Josh.

(Continued here, doggedly.)

(Kindly turn to the right-hand column of this page to find a listing of links to all other officially-released episodes of
Arnold Schnabel’s Railroad Train To Heaven©. Now also published in the Collingswood Patch™: “The kind of publication H.L. Mencken would write for were he not long deceased.”)