Tuesday, June 7, 2016

twilight in the spice empire

illustrations by eddie el greco

an apology is a miserable vindication of innocence.

pushing the hobos aside, cathcart continued sipping his coffee, lost and dreaming in the heart of england.

he remembered the occupants of the club car laughing at him. he would show them.

the universe is a dream.

debbie kept an eye on the mailman and the pizza delivery man.

she had nothing to apologize for.

cathcart’s high technical merit never ceased to excite admiration.

especially from the lower classes, who loved the empire.

don’t be uneasy, cathy told debbie as she leaned out the window, depend upon future caution.

the shades were drawn in the back bedroom.

poor dears, prettiness won’t last long.

cathy and debbie had been the two prettiest girls at sunnyvale high, on the other side of the galaxy.

alice, the class clown, hardly recognized them when they came into the pizza parlor.

the denizens of mickey’s pizza were a fine class of people.

they had dined on cruise ships with kings and queens in their time.

they had been stunned, however, by the technical virtuosity of cathcart when he held up the pizza parlor.

cathy went back into the bedroom and lit up.

her destiny was not the least honorable, ever since jimmy had skipped town.

cathcart continued down the street, pushing aside all who got in his way, still slurping the coffee he had coolly appropriated for himself during the holdup.

debbie decided to take a chance on rendering an immense service to lieutenant miller, the cop who had busted her the other night.

she had apologized but he had just laughed in her face.

cathy still thought there was something familiar about the mailman, and the delivery man, who had been so conveniently in the way when cathcart made his getaway.

alice began to laugh uncontrollably, remembering the good old days.

lost and dreaming, on the streets of knoxville tennessee.

cathy lay down on the bed and fell asleep, dreaming of england.

the crew of young bold stout and well-armed villains strutted down the street.

heading straight for the mailman.

cathcart’s destiny had not always been so honorable.

he went wrong after being ridiculed on that fateful morning by foster in front of the whole class.

he decided then and there to betray his upbringing and become a spiv.

all this of course, was before he met jessie.

reaching the wide boulevard, he tossed the empty coffee cup in the street.

a trio of desperate young villains, wielding stout sticks, approached from the opposite curb.

“look at this guy,” maxie laughed.

“watch where yer going, mate,” billy cautioned cathcart.

it all happened so fast marcia hardly knew what happened.

one minute cathcart was strutting purposefully along after tossing his coffee cup aside, and the next minute the three young ruffians were pummeling him mercilessly.

all cathcart’s advanced technical knowledge proved worthless in this crisis.

mister ferris, the chemistry professor, always thought cathcart showed genuine promise.

but england is not what it was - neither are portugal or russia, for that matter.

ah, destiny, destiny!

“at last, sir, you give me liberty to speak - when it may be too late!”

cathy had fallen asleep in the back bedroom.

debbie was sick of covering for her.

she decided to write a note and leave it beside the bed before going out in the street to conquer the world.

the people in the world deserve better.

cathy thought she was so innocent - ha!

poor dears, prettiness won’t last long.

debbie took one last look around the apartment.

her future depended in equal measure on caution and boldness.

she still had her good looks.

destiny spread before her like coffee and doughnuts.

she closed the door behind her.

as she went down the stairs, she heard shouting in the street outside.

sources: clarissa, by samuel richardson; amelia, by henry fielding; eugenie grandet, by honore de balzac; vanity fair, by w m thackeray; madame bovary, by gustave flaubert; anna karenima, by leo tolstoy; diana of the crossways, by george meredith; tess of the d’urbevilles, by thomas hardy; portrait of a lady, by henry james; ann veronica, by h g wells; the old wives’ tale, by arnold bennett; main street, by sinclair lewis; when she was good, by philip roth

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