Friday, November 11, 2016

"The Blowhard"

Yes, our dedicated staff of interns and graduate students are still feverishly preparing Volume One of the memoirs of Arnold Schnabel for publication as an actual "book" in time for the holiday gift-giving season, and so, in lieu of any new episodes of Arnold's
magnum opus at this time, we present the opening paragraphs of another "lost" novel by Arnold's good friend Horace P. Sternwall...

Pete Willingham had opinions, lots of opinions, but the problem was that nobody in Wheeler’s Corners would listen to him anymore.

“Shut the hell up, Pete,” they would say when they came into Baxter’s General Store, where Pete had worked since he was fifteen years old.

“Stuff it, Pete,” they would say, “nobody wants to hear what you have to say.”

“For God’s sake, stick a sock in it, Pete,” they would say.

Finally Mr. Baxter realized he was losing business because of Pete, and so, after many warnings, one fine day he fired Pete.

Pete didn’t mind. Getting fired was just the push he needed. He had just finished a correspondence course in public speaking, and he had saved up close to one hundred dollars, so he packed up a cardboard suitcase and took the bus for New York City, where he intended to realize his dream of having his own radio program, and then people would listen to him, they would listen to him good.

The Blowhard, by Horace P. Sternwall (Top Shelf Books, 1951;  “paperback original”, one printing only, never republished).

(Cover painting by James Avati. Scroll down the right hand column of this page to find a listing of many more excerpts from the sadly-obscure oeuvre of Horace P. Sternwall.)

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