Tuesday, July 12, 2016

3 portraits

by roger "pegleg" wilson

illustrations by eddie el greco

as originally appearing in the 1940 issue of the furrow , a publication similar to the old farmers almanac , distributed by the adams and bradley farm implement company.


yancey farrington was born in a little town in indiana about 53 years ago. apprenticed to a druggist, he received from a distant cousin an unexpected inheritance which freed him from the “rat race”.

since then he has traveled the earth seeking a remedy for a mysterious ailment which he declines to describe in detail.

in all climes and weathers, mr farrington can be seen wearing a seersucker suit, a straw hat a strangely disquieting shade of brown, and red suspenders.

in his travels, he has accumulated a rich store of anecdotes, which, however, he recounts in such a rasping, monotonous voice, that listeners are invariably driven away.


yoko was born in a small island off the northern coast of the land of the rising sun and kidnapped by pirates at an early age.

a small but sturdy child, she was sold by the pirates to the proprietors of an exclusive hotel on a small island about two thousand miles off the west coast of antarctica, frequented by robber barons from all corners of the earth.

she was taught the trade of boot and shoe polishing , and in thirty years put a high shine on over 70,000 pairs of footwear.

one morning shortly after dawn, yoko was walking along the beach and saw a piece of driftwood whose shape could be taken for that of a seahorse, or an angel.

dragging the piece of driftwood into the water, she floated away on it, and was never seen again.


miss zelma mortenson was the sole remaining member of a once thriving clan of riverboat speculators in a small town in ohio. the mortenson men had also been active in local politics.

she lived alone in three rooms of the large house built by her great grandfather on a hill overlooking the ohio river.

the most notorious and relentless gossips in the town had never found the slightest chink in her spotless reputation, and she could not even be accused of parsimony, as she gave generously to all local charities, and patronized all local businesses, excepting those a lady could not be expected to employ.

one day miss zelma reported to the sheriff that she had found a dead man in one of the many unused rooms in her house.

the man was found on a four-poster bed in a dusty guest room in the abandoned west wing. all the other furniture in the room was covered with cloths or tarpaulins.

the man weighed over 400 pounds, and although there was no sign of a struggle, he had clearly been strangled.

his identity was never learned.

miss zelma’s assurances that she had no idea as to who he was or how he had met his fate, were accepted without demur by the sheriff and by the entire town.

except for one man.

clarence weatherly, a young lawyer who had recently arrived in town and hung up his shingle, and who fancied himself a bit of an amateur detective, thought there was more to the tale than met the eye.

miss zelma has long since met her maker, but mister weatherly, now a trifle gray but still trim and upright, has never ceased in the last thirty-odd years to pursue his enquiries as to the fate of the anonymous victim, whose shade he is determined to avenge.

a curious tale, and one perhaps worthy of further elucidation!

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