Monday, December 23, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

the missing spoon

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by roy dismas

"and so, you obstinate creature, you persist in denying your guilt?"

"but i didn't take it, madam, i didn't! i swear i didn't!"

mrs morthwicke did not conceal her contempt. "what say you, mister stanforth?" she asked the lean, somewhat wolf-faced gentleman standing on her left.

"i am afraid it's as plain as a pikestaff, madam," he replied, with his long fingers firmly clutching the gray lapels of his frock coat. "the spoon is missing. no one else had the opportunity to take it. if there is only one possibility, it must be acknowledged, no matter how distasteful. therefore - ". he gave a rueful shrug.

"do you hear that, miss?" mrs morthwicke asked the weeping maid. "mister stanforth solved the case of the jackberry diamonds. he saved the life of the queen from the mad turkish anarchist. am i to take your word, or his?"

"oh, but please, madam, please," the girl cried. she looked around wildly. outside the windows tall trees could be seen waving in the wind, amid a few gusts of snow. "it's so cold out! and i didn't take the spoon, i swear!"

hanson, the butler, was a bit disconcerted by the proceedings, and not from any sympathy for the maid, whom he had regarded as a sniveling, incompetent creature, with no personal charms to offset her inefficiency. it troubled him that the missing spoon had not been found, either in the girl's chambers, on her person - thoroughly searched by mrs allen, the housekeeper - or anywhere else. but in the face of mrs morthwicke's cold fury, and mr stanforth's reputation, he kept his peace.

"please, madam, at least let me stay until morning! listen to the wind outside! how it howls!"

"i am afraid i can not allow you in the house a moment longer. take her away, mrs allen."

mrs allen stepped forward and escorted - virtually dragged - the weeping maid away, followed a few paces back by the solemn chanson.

"an unpleasant business, mister stanforth," mrs morthwicke observed, when they were gone. "i thank you for your assistance."

"unpleasant indeed, " mister stanforth replied. "but from my perspective, a trifle."

"i see no reason to further inconvenience the other guests. shall we join them?"

"if it is your pleasure."

mrs morthwicke rose from her chair, and mister stanforth followed her across the long room. as he did so he passed his hand over his inner vest pocket, ever so gently caressing the outline of the small silver spoon contained in it, and the hint of a smile crossed his lips.

for while it was true that mister stanforth had indeed solved the case of the jackberry diamonds (among many famous cases) and had saved the life of the queen on more than one occasion, it was also true that he enjoyed playing malicious pranks, especially on the more anonymous members of society.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

3 poems by 3 poets

illustrations by roy dismas and konrad kraus

fragment of a fragment

by horace p sternwall

comrades, let us rest a while
before we walk another mile
as into oblivion we sink
let us have another drink

let poets and philosophers
and others that the gods prefer
debate who's second, who is first
i only know i have a thirst

oh why rose empires and nations
and so-called civilizations
humans should have been contented
when booze was invented

to sit beneath the trees
as easy as you please
and imbibe its pleasant fumes
instead of pursuing heroic dooms

who needs golden palace rooms
and alabaster tombs
when the sweetest dreams of all
from an upraised glass can fall


by samantha monday sternwall

if i could only be myself
i would never be anybody else
i'd let them play their happy roles
and save my own unfathomed soul

and watch from my window serene
across the lawn so green
the rays of the sunset gracefully crack
across the gardener's bent back

if i could be a flower
for only one hour
it might be fascinating, yet
i am afraid i might regret

being unable to return
to a life i did not finally spurn
my own true life - the life of me
the only person i ever want to be


by chuck leary

i'm special. are you special, too?
let's go away together, me and you
to a magic world, where hearts are true
and no one can tell us what to do

we'll never have pimples, warts or hives
we will live our own lives
it will never be too hot or cold
we'll live forever and never grow old

i will pick you a new flower every day
and you will look at me and say
i never knew it could be this way
i love you more than the sun has rays

fairies and elves will bring us food
we'll never be in a bad mood
we'll walk beside an ocean deep
and the rain will sing us softly to sleep

Saturday, November 16, 2013

the last romantic

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by konrad kraus and danny delacroix

harold smith, a romantic soul
had a desperate resolute goal
he pined for the lady emmeline
and dreamed to ask, "wilt thou be mine?"

fortune favored harold not
and brushed him aside without a thought
the stars looked down on him unseeing
and cared not for his inner being

his fellow humans likewise cared
not a whit how harold fared
in pursuit of such romance
as might be granted him by chance

the city's drawing rooms are lit
by flashing eyes and sparkling wit
amorous hints and flashing glances
in which all manner of promise dances

but outside on the avenue
are those for whom the wind blows through
sad fantasies and ragged clothes
no love song, but the croak of crows

for such as harold, in the mist
the tale has no redeeming twist
no jolly songs around the hearth
no escape from this abandoned earth

the moon looks down on her rough sibling
no teardrop from her eye is dribbling
her face is smooth, her smile is cold
at every story ever told

his humble plaint was never posed
the book on harold now is closed
owls and bats look down askance
at dreaming love's last graveyard dance

Saturday, November 9, 2013


by horace p sternwall

illustrated by roy dismas

under a blue familiar sky
polly baked a cherry pie
the farmhands fell down in a coma
overcome by its aroma

through the fields the effluvia spread
the hands fell down as if struck dead
and through the corn rows, stern as sin
john the baptist came again

john, cried polly, half in fright
why are you here before midnight?
the end approaches, john replied
and i am just along for the ride

dark clouds appeared like flying banners
but polly did not forget her manners
she kept her wits as she was able
and asked john to sit at the table

in a calm collected state
she put some pie upon a plate
and poured a glass of orange juice
for catastrophe was no excuse

john tentatively took a sip
outside in the apocalypse
the sky had turned to darkest night
and demons howled in rare delight

as prophesied in ancient screed
the fearful four on flaming steeds
filled the horizon from side to side
the gates of hell were opened wide

from duty polly did not swerve
she thought a cup of tea might serve
before the world was finally gone
polly put the kettle on

before the water she could pour
the pale rider came through the door
no time for lengthy lamentations
or exculpatory explanations

"john, it was so nice knowing you"
"polly, i really liked you too"
then death, with a knowing glance so sly
finished off the cherry pie