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THE SHAGGY SAGA OF SEA CZAR CITY, VOL. 7, PAGE 34

Jacqueline Lantern, of Booklegger’s Books , does a book hub on Sundays.

This week it was “Return To Knotty Pine”, by the notorious Joyce Bitts.

Knotty Pine is, of course, the pseudolimb of the former village of White-On-Rice, now Coupling-On-The-Sly on Basketune Island.

The meeting was advertised as “A sleek peek at the underbelly of a hot bed of high heels”.

Perfect fonder, I figured, for a tattle hustler, so I invited myself along.

“How nice to have a booster in the den house”, Jacqueline laughed when I arrived.

Netty Trawler was there,the Widow Sider, Pie Annie Eels, Miss Laid, the librarian, and Miss Prim, the school teacher.

“P.I.,meet our other newcomers”, Jacqueline said, indicating two ladies I had somehow not seen.

“This is Mellon Teller, and her companion, Miss Chance”.

Teller was a sight for sore lies, bent nearly double under a hunch and walking with a red cane because of her blind beggar eyes.

Well she might of been blind, but more likely the kind that shaded the sidewalks of Coupling-On-The-Sly.

Right off the chat, she told us Grope Captain Fondle was a cover for Lord Bonkers whose spoiled son appeared as Mold Fondle.

Constant Deflower was in reality, Widow Maidenhood, while Lorelei and Creepy Shacks were Sudden Tracks and her angry daddy, Cross.

michaellewisart

NEWCOMERS AT THE BOOK HUB

 

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THE SHAGGY SAGA OF SEA CZAR CITY, VOL. 7, PAGE 33

At the end of the room was a claque of rackers, unknown to me.

I asked Max who they were and he told me they were the Eight Balls out of Drunken.

I asked who was behind them.

He said Fast Teddy Feltsom.

I introduced myself to Fast Teddy and showed him a couple steamy kodaks and asked if he knew the bare.

“Yeah” said Teddy, “only she isn’t any Tattle Dale, she’s Mini Soda Katz.

Ran into her at the Brew Tea Coop in Port wine.

She pretended not to know which end of the cue to line up at but by the end of the night she’d put my wallet on a diet.

You get her in your range, you want to count cattle.

She’s always got a story.

You can lay book on that.”

michaellewisart

FAST TEDDY WITH EDDY MONK, ERSKIN BINKLE AND MAX MOON

 

 

 
 

THE SHAGGY SAGA OF SEA CZAR CITY, VOL.7, PAGE 32

It was only seven days ago, but it felt like a week, when I first set eyes on the looker at my feet.

I was tying up loose ends on a Frayday when Helen, my perceptionist, wheeled a much healthier version into the inner office.

She was introduced as a Miss Kim Bow.

Seems Miss Bow had moved to Sea Czar City on the Tides Of March and because she gave-in easily, got a job working the concession stand at the Fair To Midland.

She said she had a twin sister in town called Tattle Dale who worked as a teller at the Moola Grande Bank.

While there, it looks like Dale ran afoul of the old buzzard, bank president B.B. Wolf, in her capacity as a pinch hitter.

The upshot was that when someone left her cage open Tattle Dale flew the coot and vaulted over the safe with some samples.

“Dale loves her stollen on the Holly Daze”, said Kim “but that doesn’t make her a thief.

You’ve got to fine her before the law does.”

With twins it means your looking for a reflection and the best place to find one of those is in a pool.

Which is why I was in Max Moon’s Bilious Parlour the next day, looking to get snookered.

michaelewisart

MAX MOON’S

 
 

THE SHAGGY SAGA OF SEA CZAR CITY, VOL. 7, PAGE 31

First there had been the election, then the early opening of The Fair To Midland. followed by a case that looked like it wasn’t going to be brief.

There had been a couple of blowouts on my Keister which made me two tired,,

I had had it.

So I decided to  get back to “The Big Creep” in the  comfort of my after hours office.

I was just at the part where Phillip Friday was saying: “I’d been traveling her topography and was camped out on her hills when she slapped my mug hard enough to spill last year’s coffee” when the cathode tube in my brain when blank.

When programming resumed I had a hard time adjusting my vertical.

My scull was giving birth to a goose egg that was in no way golden.

In the back of my throb, I heard the Phantom Rooster squawk.

There was a lead body at my feet, laid on a bed of cheap carnival geegaws.

This was going to be The Case Of The Kitschy Sink Mirrors and I already had my first suspect.

Me.

michaellewisart

BARE SKIN, NO RUG

 
 

THE SHAGGY SAGA OF SEA CZAR CITY, VOL. 7, PAGE 30

I told the time merchant my plan but confessed I wasn’t looking forwards, or backwards, to stuffing both Oldman and myself into Fly’s Teleport Booth.

“Hatrack, forget your hangups.” the old clock retearman said.

“You are about to embark in my new puppy.

A two seater with a look that will sleigh you.”

It did look like something horse drawn, if you happen to know a horse that can draw.

We climbed aboard, set the dials to our last visit and whiz, bang, there we were back in Baba Alley.

Oldman was sitting in the Five And Dine with his smoking jacket just recently put out.

“Okay”, I said, “before the deja view clears up and I take you home,  what is suppose to happen?”

“Home?

But you’ve already taken me home, dear boy.”

From the locked jaw look in his eye, I knew I’d never get him to buzz off from his B-girl again.

So I tried to get the mixologist, Sue Veneer, to take Connell’s seat and come away with me from the cash bar.

But when the Moona Leta lookalike refused, I did what any tourist would do, took her picture and ran.

It was only later when I got the painting home that I noticed the nervous signature of Lee Nardo Deflinchy.

michaellewisart

THAT MOONA LETA SMILE

 
 

THE SHAGGY SAGA OF SEA CZAR CITY, VOL. 7, PAGE 29

It was a night of heavy drinking to get the B-sotted actor to stagger, with me, out the Five And Dine.

Somehow we went round the bend and found ourselves back on Wharf Street.

So now, like anyone else who has ever been down Baba Alley, I can only revisit it in my sleep.

Which is what I tried to explain to Oldman a while later when he called me to the  sitting room of his apartment at the Harbour House.

“Oh you’ll dream something up”, Connell said.

He said I had to, that he was haunted like a spiritless bottle that can’t be returned.

Maybe it was because he obviously hadn’t bathed in days but suddenly I got a “you reeka!” moment.

The next morning I used some ice cubes to hale Sheila Hack’s cab at its stand in front of the Harbour House and told her to take Oldman and I to The No Account Garage, and do it like chewing gum, make it snappy.

The No Account Garage is home to the Last Cab Company and resides behind the Wayword Building.

Ever since Willet Fly, inventor, western story righter and chief cook and throttle washer of The Tick Dock Travel Tours moved down to the main floor of the Wayword, he has rented out half of the garage for his workshop.

michaellewisart

FOR WHOM THE CAB STANDS

 

 
 

THE SHAGGY SAGA OF SEA CZAR CITY, VOL. 7. PAGE 28

Oh yes, I’d had my Baba Alley daze and not that long ago.

It was on a case and not of Old Jack Horner.

Connell Oldman, the matinee idle, had been off set from “The Printer”, his new movie, for over a month.

So Follywood came calling.

I tracked Oldman to Chinablock and Baba Alley where I became a mazed and hit my head against a wall that went blank.

When I came to, three gets you four, I was at sixes and sevens.

I was in a twisty dream of a street with Baba Alley Books, Baba Alley Junk And Forgettables, The Fall Inn, Low’s Illusionarium and the Singaport Five And Dine.

It was in the eatery, I found Oldman, his reality ajar under the spell of a B-girl named Mason.

They were listening to the B. Giles Band, which I thought had disappeared years ago.

Then I saw her.

She was a portrait of the Moona Leta, as was the painting above her.

A mixologist, this Moona had grown bitter from spending her life behind bars.

michaellewisart

THE STREET OF NO RETURN

 

 

 
 
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