Friday, May 29, 2009


Friday, May 29, 2009

The following comes from the Rocky Stone notebooks, dated April 18, 1949:

I sat in the end booth at Portly's Diner and watched the kid behind the counter spread the filth around the floor with a dirty mop as I waited for a man to arrive. He called me an hour earlier. He had a voice so powerful and direct it could shred paper at twenty paces and I had to hold the phone an inch away from my ear to listen to him properly. He said nothing other than he would meet me at this place at noon. He was cutting it close. I watched the clock above the grill and saw the second hand float to the twelve and with two seconds to spare the bell on the door tinkled and in stepped a youngish man in black. His face was steeped in a scowl as he stomped across the floor to my booth and sat and stared at me.

“You're early,” I quipped.

If he got the gag, he didn't acknowledge it. He opened his mouth and his thunderous voice blasted out at me, causing minimal damage. “Mr. Rocky Stone. My name is Cornelius Hosea. Pastor Cornelius Hosea of the Diablos Valley Church. You'll excuse me not mentioning that earlier, but what I have to say is confidential.”

I didn't see how that could happen. His voice was still echoing through the joint and every eye in the place was on us. I would have told him he was barking down the wrong snorkel but there was something about him, a determination in his eyes I liked to see. Whatever he wanted me to do, he was going to see through it to the end, and more importantly, he was going to pay me in the end.

“Carry on, then,” I replied, “but I'd keep it down if I were you.”

He didn't look around to notice the stares. His eyes didn't even twitch. “Very well,” he said with the volume knob turned down a few notches. “I would like you to find my wife. Her name is Marjorie.”

“Divorce or abandonment?”

He pulled his head back an inch and looked confused. “Neither, Mr. Stone. I sent her away.”

“That's a novel idea. What made that happen?”

He didn't answer me in words. He pulled out a crumpled photograph from the inside of his jacket and slid it across the table, face up. It was a publicity photo, the smoke-stained kind that hangs on the wall in a seedy club. The blonde female pictured in it was adorned with a showgirl costume and she had affected that phony smile and that fishnet-stockinged-leg-lifted pose you associate with that kind of woman. She was pretty enough, but underneath the paint and feathers she probably wasn't all that special.

Hosea said: “That's her. Five years ago, before we were married.”

I winked at him. “Why, preacher, I didn't know you had it in you. She doesn't look like your type, though. What exactly brought you two together?”

He cleared his throat. “When I met Marjorie she was a common harlot, walking the streets. I thought little of her at first glance, but I was instructed to marry her, as she was a symbol of the corruption of this vile city.”

I broke in: “Instructed. By who?”

Because space is limited, the next page of this entry will continue and appear next week. Be sure to continue reading The Adventures of Rocky Stone!

Go on to part 2

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Edson Stanley said...

It should be noted that "barking down the wrong snorkel" is a strange statement to say the least. Through my research I have discovered the writer of the notebooks wrote some very odd metaphors to say the least. These do not exist in the stories apearing in True Real Detective, which leads further to the 'two seperate authors' theory we at the University of Dubuque at Dubuque have formed.

Thank you.

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