Pour Some Gravy On: Hammersmith (twenty)

  Pour Some Gravy On (twenty)     Piggott came to sit, next to Hogben, settling into this chair with a luxuriant spread, and motioning to the waiter attending them. “Give me a slab of that roast…pour some gravy on. Think I’ll have a bite after all.” He winked at Mossbunker. The next half-hour went […]

Are You Alienated: part six

Are You Alienated (six)   “I don’t want to say the wrong thing…” Minta was cautious. Emmett, having checked his emotion earlier, had spoken this time with real anger. “…but I don’t understand. I mean, it’s awful, but what makes it a joke?” She let her voice trail into meekness. She found Torbay unlikeable, as […]

Are You Alienated: part five

  Are You Alienated (five)   They’d woven across a broad, intersecting street, and begun retracing their steps. Emmett pinched Minta’s sleeve at the elbow. He stepped up into an entryway; following, she saw a white sign, cheerfully lit, its lettering blue, and to her eyes unreadable. The sign was framed in the window beside […]

Autocratic Mysteries: Hammersmith (nineteen)

  Autocratic Mysteries (nineteen)   A torch flared. That one might, in an upstairs reception room, in a city hotel, tended to beggar belief, and Aimee at first started, thinking something had gone wrong with the gas. But a second torch, and then a third, made the room dance with light, before the flames settled. […]

Are You Alienated: part four

Are You Alienated (four)   “If I look you up,” she asked Emmett, “what would I find out?” “You might try the experiment now, if you are really interested.” Minta thought she ought to. It hadn’t occurred to her to use her phone. But no, she realized…she would probably find out nothing, or he wouldn’t […]

Are You Alienated: part three

Are You Alienated  (three)   “Uh huh,” she answered. “She does. We do.” “You live in a neighborhood within a community. You hob-nob among family, friends, co-workers…and neighbors, as one supposes. Many of these people are known to you; many are liked by you. Some, you dislike. “Let us postulate, for the sake of example, […]

The St. Bernard Hotel: Hammersmith (eighteen)

The St. Bernard Hotel (eighteen)   The St. Bernard Hotel had a back way in, that allowed a cab to draw to the curb; the front, which they’d trotted smartly past, a narrow vermillion door next to a bay window stacked under a second-floor counterpart. And through this paned glass poised above a railing, Aimee […]

Are You Alienated: part two

Are You Alienated (two) “One,” said Emmett, “ought never speculate as to another person’s education. However, I have come to St. Petersburg in the hope of learning…” He turned fully to Minta, not caring that half his audience had left him. “…you will be interested to know what.” She sat close enough to scrutinize Emmett’s pallid, […]

Are You Alienated (novella): part one

Are You Alienated (one)   Everyone moved with a purpose. The doors opened; the queue bunched . . . like the oysters of Walrus and Carpenter fame, the group were mostly fat; and many, by this time, winded. Their Americanness did not stand out badly. They were tourists, but wore what everyone wore, parkas and […]

Having a Treat: Hammersmith (seventeen)

  Having a Treat (seventeen)   A sofa—with a blanket draped along the seat, trailing the scant carpet; a pillow on the seat, and one on the floor—was taking the wall under the windows, leaving clearance for only this rug and a little chest. Jane’s sewing table filled the angled space that made the corner […]