a wonderful place

of quiet peace

me and tissue

and my flabby crease


I hope it's private

I have a fear

that someone can see me

those laughing leers


waiting for that moment

of a glorious deposit

hoping that it's

of ideal composite


then I grab

that cushiony roll

and in it falls

into that cavernous bowl


Crap! It's the last one I have

so I use the mush

the best I can

in a hasty rush


I usually don't impart

such a poignant story

but I find it touching

this ordurous allegory


DeaBeePea 7-9-18

Important 1

what is important?
I know not for sure
in this crazy life
that's a lonely blur

but filling in spaces
is lots of fun
with wonderful friends
and a newborn sun

I'm still alive
and enjoying life
and trying to ignore
most of the strife

problems are laughable
when considering things
and all the joy
that miracles bring

writing in rhyme
and singing songs
not at all concerned
about thinning thongs

it's not about me
or any other
but the handheld total
of loving smother

thank you all
for making things
more important
with all you bring

as I ponder existence
I become aware
of keeping it going
in my spinning chair

DeaBeePea 7-20-18

Important 2


what is important

I'll never know

as I sit here writing

as the mind does blow


a spiraling thought

that lingers in numb

as I try to exercise

an intelligent thrum


miracles happen

and people hug

Thank God for that

and the little bug


that taunts my imagination

with eight-legged tickle

fast and sneaky

leaving me fickle


but all my friends

leave a reminder

that we are here to celebrate

a world much kinder


we hold our hands

and encourage each other

to open windows

to cease the smother


and each pane of glass

gives us a view

tinted in a way

before curtains drew


pictures and shadows

that mesmerize our soul

and change our view

of the cereal bowl


DeaBeePea 7-20-18



goals and visions

dancing in my head

being ignored

until I am dead


why do I bother

with all these thoughts

as they soon disappear

as fading blots


an ongoing storm

that never dies

disturbing my sleep

as my conscience cries


I take a drink

and laugh a little

and take some solace

in my rational tittle


how's the weather?

I ask myself

looking for that book

on my cluttered shelf


that answers questions

and quiets me

quelling the storm

over my infinite sea


but it's only temporary

this peace and quiet

as the wind keeps blowing

as a steady diet


so I salute the madness

and smile with glee

accepting this life

in puzzled esprit


DeaBeePee 7-20-18

New Born



a miracle

spinning into a universe

so spherical


cycling from heart to mind


instincts learning

breathe is flowing


cries of why

few answers coming

except the love

and lullaby humming


cribbed in package

of fears and wonder

direction betwixt

the message usunder


but hugs and kisses


and join the questions

that make us squirm


the tears are essential


that make us

clearer in elocution


and each hair grows

in sudden alarm

we the pick up

in parental charm



at ourselves

forgetting what is on

our daily shelves


sucking and bouncing

we watch with delight


in our shining light


this time remains


God bless the child

in its innocent clever


DeaBeePea 7-20-18



I impart my passions

but my words

are they deemed untrue?

place upon my broken heart


It throbs for you

not a thoughtless claim I declare

my willing touch

aiding such a flame to dart


discovering this realm

so pointless the battle

of selfish misunderstanding

circling my open hand


a dare not share

what I do not know

except my passive ignorance

so innocently unplanned


my enchanting reign

as a beau between you and love

this pain is silent

but soon a silver waters glide


streaming from me

bursting towards a boisterous flood

landing elsewhere

a village place to abide


a tranquil place

though thorns may be hidden

I will slumber in my want

reclined in scornful doubt


to revert to careless lying

from this hollow place of refuge

as cold horizons darken

would seize my soul to mournful gout


If I was a flatterer

my dance would have more spring

with green and yellow flowers

donning your face so bright


but my mind is old and tired

despite my silly youth

and the hills and dales I run

no longer share their light


what do you feel?

I dare to ask

as my answers await your flesh

and closeness of our yesterday


I am over my feet no longer

saddened by futility

is it wrong for me in weakness

to kneel down and pray


DeaBeePea 9-13-18



the bird and blossom

in pleasurable message

in mid-air stoop

nourishing their letter


a note to me in twirp

and quiet lucid sizzle

provision for hope

and a day much for better


flight and fancy

celebrating the sun

singled out and sung to

thrilled and yet erratic


is this beauty confusion

for my battered soul?

straining now for peace

and guidance of a vatic


but a noted ecstasy shone

from this sprinkled leafy dawn

as my wandering heart

smiled with unknown bliss


I see and hear the miracle

of nature's golden enjoin

the containment of two

and the magic of a kiss


feathers, beaks and petals

satiny and sharp

a fateful bond I say

that kindles my faulty brain


is their a chase?

or just instinctive unity

as in the dusk and darkness

I feel the potent stain


the clouds are rolling

so I follow the melody

as my neck slowly turns

to view the salutation


the trees unmoved

but for a foliaged waltz

and a faraway mountain

in heightening dictation


a summit of bounty

why should I fear?

the loyal thoughts that behold me

when my breath is clear and fresh


I turn and engage my home

in prickly humid tickle

and sense that life has entered

my pale and languid flesh


DeaBeePea 9-13-18



has thou forgiven

my laughable tainted eyes

looking to horizons

of shameless darkening skies


am I such a fool

to suggest that I am unworthy

being scorned in fury

that your turning head implies


my pants are modestly torn

and my shirt is rather gaudy

but my soul is full of love

and my peaceful hands are clean


I look to fame so foolishly

and brag much of my words

and sometimes disrespect you

thoughtless in where I've been


I hear your hissing sounds

destruction with thy glamour

your breast is hurling shouts

that are fondless sharp alarms


maybe you are envious

am I bold to say?

you are vexed in my soliloquy

withholding all your charms


I feel a fatal hour

that presses against my loins

such imposing poweras I turn my face aside


I hide my trembling tears

this game I hate to play

and think of ways to conquer

this mad and reckless abide


might I be a judge?

my gavel in my hand

maybe this guilt is innocent

in its hopeless childish fable


is there atonement I can make?

no longer to be free

in your bonding clutches

laid on your gaming table


maybe I will surrender

and let thy soul persist

to be this cunning fox

that my heart yearns for in lust


the dark and light floats by

and my breath forever heavy

as I pant in useless passion

my dishonour I do thrust


DeaBeePea 9-12-18

Dull Sword


I am pale

and my thought has transpired

yet mirth still battles

with the whitest roses


that glow of rudeness

that seeketh my thwart

weakness doeth rush

as fear disposes


yanking at my heart

and darkening deep-blue eyes

stern in imposition

long lashes low


melancholy gentleness

looks down

at my pitying distress

in unaccepting flow


a river dry

of sticks and stones

I have lost the shore

of my hearts warm home


yea, I am not lost

but spread apart

majesty and sweetness asunder

in they rootless brome


worshipping thy ghost

in aimless plot

deciding my victim

is it my soul I have thrown?


beauty's daughters do laugh

skipping on waters feet

the toes squirming

in a tickled drone


what has conquered me

as the lull'd winds dream

and the midnight moon stares

with beams so weaving


I feel this throbbing passion

is that my despair?

in my infantile sleep

as I feel her love heaving


my spirit bows to me

a respectful nod and wince

assuring my normality

I look down at my feet


this soft and stepless emotion

swelling like the ocean

placing me inside

on my strange and pathless street


DeaBeePea 9-12-18



am I still this child?

hidden in my cave

illusions of bounding courage

and wings that soar to sky


the King of clouds

daring all the storms

taking on the thunder

so strong to never cry


not to fear the villains

that threaten simple joy

laughing at the scorn

that tears my inner skin


popular and roguish

clicking my two heels

gathering crowds of cheer

dancing through the din


deep inside so fearful

am I such a joke?

baring silly limbs

no muscle to repair


the broken thoughts of love

not understood at all

chomping at my treats

that poison that flare


spreading conscious rumour

of many things of weak

sending sinful falsehood

to ignorance so pale


looking all around

not knowing what or why

shaking in my boots

muddied in stumbling fail


there have been many years

is there any change?

those mirrored hairs of grey

messages of end


but touches of peace have entered

less servile hands I open

blending with the soil

less futility I send


place me among the trees

among the scenes of love

and let me cry a little

naked in my dreams


flashes of youth before

I am just one in time

dark and light forever

of soft and worried screams


DeaBeePea 9-12-18

Folding Light


my eyes acast

dancing in the night

one star amidst

in search of thought


interiors muddle

seeking pastures

simple dreams

daytime caught


but now it is eve

the orbs delight

and moonlight athwart

beside my shadows


darkness reigns

in looming hope

that a new awakening

that glittering durado


I speak in silence

for what I fear

is knowing truth

to thou hallowed touch


those awaiting sprigs

of the sun's morning laughter

hearing the crickets

of rants so much


echoes of hours

a melody of time

that shares all minutes

unknowing of end


I feel someone near

and a smell of lips

whispering feet

my heart ascend


it is above me

this breath of salience

am I to look up

to what now appears


her face is of beauty

I know not her mood

are they raindrops

or frozen tears?


her hand touches mine

and dim silver streaks

cascade upon me

of meandering threads


stillness remains

the black music refrains

I like this heaven

my soothing bread


DeaBeePea 9-12-18

Smile Enroute


crying for freedom

with its ugly smile

still with its beauty

and evocative lure


without dignity or shame

the battle ensues

as I stab my own heart

to render it pure


my patience runs out

I run to that place

that I do not know

with its borders unsure


I trip and fall

and get right up

kissing the sky

in infinite allure


my past is beckoning

"I dare you to go"

but my feet keep trudging

over blood and dirt roads


my smile is a smirk

as I stumble to the crevice

where heaven and hell

send ambiguous codes


I then look back

but only hear cries

of criticism and hate

doors opening my fate


the windows are grimy

and faces are sad

but there are signs of humility

a soothing bate


my awareness strikes

a dawning blow

telling me of how endless

this elusiveness throws


messages of hope

in an answerless voice

my hearing somewhat shattered

by laughter's blows


no end I dare say

to this meandering story

of aimless travel

and searching brows


guiding my eyes

to those quiet ponds

where girls play

in cheerful drowse


DeaBeePea 9-10-18



where is this monster

in its metaphored world

of scraggly oaks

and stormy nights


created by fear

and the life unknown

inside myself

of impassioned blight


reckless and torn

by shivering winds

and even the sun

shining on shadows of capes


that open and close

in man's dishonest swirl

as he dances to avoid

emotions inescapable rape


lilies in ponds

rippling their announcement

of our unavoidable strains

of manufactured thought


we speak the words

that romance the heart

but fall to our folly

our selfishness caught


it takes forever

to learn of wisdom

and truth to ourselves

lingers in our beds


we stay asleep

in that tranquil face

our cheeks are wrinkled

by pure white threads


our tears are on call

in unpredictable recourse

but unrealized

is the ducts river of glory


we sponsor our thoughts

with edited quirks

to sell the love

that tells a story


but we cannot deny

the monster's reality

created by man

as his evil lurks


but we can feed him

and show understanding

and make him whole

in our pungent murk


DeaBeePea 9-10-18



a measure of success

with a growing smile

that all there is to it

with life's ticking dial


waking each day

inspired to do

the heartful things

from your mindful stew


tasting the coffee

for its real flavour

looking outside

for a miracle to savour


everything has bliss

as its inner workings

have love to send

and questions that are lurking


adhere to rules

of your consciousness derived

from passion and giving

where the future thrives


as well as your health

from an inner mercy

calming your doubts

and relieving the pursy


breathless in awe

rather than fear

is the path to freedom

and the happier tears


beautiful friends

that encourage your craziness

and forgive you often times

for your apparent haziness


loyalty and encouragement

and gatherings for meals

sharing thoughts

nipping at our heels


laughter and concern

that blends our dressing

bitter and sweet

our ideas expressing


the never-ending story

of living each day

with a confusing plan

like a farcical play


but the growing joy

is life's biggest lesson

warm and rich

like a gardens luminous cresson


DeaBeePea 8-17-18



a place to write

where the chipmunks play

where my urban mind

has gone astray


the hummingbird's flutter

and chickadee hops

on your seeded hand

for some little drops


so you stay in tune

with environmental factors

that impose their spirit

on this newly staged actor


spinning around

with each little squeak

curiously inspired

for your words to tweak


get up for wine

but not too much

it is easy to stray

for beverages and such


an exercise of discipline

pumping creative steel

tapping the keyboard

with demanding zeal


a poem, a novelette?

it does not matter

let the mind explode

on your papered platter


a meal of courses

each one leading

to the next inspiration

your instincts pleading


the evening appears

as well as the stars

and you relax a bit

your mind afar


new thoughts arise

but they are not written

they stay in your dreams

until morning has bitten


there is no end

just a possible plot

spinning its yarn

of which a climax is sought


the canoe can tip

and the splash can awaken

the wilderness reality

that has us all shaken


a retreat of the soul

but not in surrender

the imagination still drives

in emotional splendour


DeaBeePea 8-17-18



sticky and hot

few reminiscences

but so often now

a constant meow


nagging persistently

dripping on face

a message of distress

for futures dress


unstylish and steamy

wilting the plants

a grimy slime

committing this crime


demotivating people

to a wet palms knell

sucking the power

from this imposing shower


the beaches are full

that's a good thing

as we splash and play

as the stillness preys


for some with the fears

of winters rebirth

there is very little sign

of snow-laden pines


warming the earth

with this toasty warning

there is a point

to this perspiring appoint


our job to tolerate

but also act quick

changing trends

that nature ill defends


so while I sit

in this fan-made breeze

I nod my head

as my concentration shreds


DeaBeePea 8-17-18



I am here


for what

I do not know


is it sunshine?

a smile

or a compliment

with hopeful glow


a smack

to smarten me up

a kick

to get me to move


a song

to brighten me

a request

for my honest behoove



to encourage my soul


to stir my rancor



to assist me

and allow me

an anchor


bad news

to make me aware

of my good fortune

and luck


good news

to allow

me to celebrate

in comforting tuck


a call

from above

to tell me of faith

in power


that is quaint

and holy

and gives me

a soft light shower


a creative surge

to let me write

a thoughtful verse

of delight


which I will do now

my words

one by one

an end in sight!


DeaBeePea 8-8-18



today I will change

from underwear's range

as I ponder the small

and forget my pall


Laurel and Hardy

and Dick Van Dyke

all those memories

and my little trike


Captain Kangaroo

and visiting the zoo

twenty-five cent cones

and twilight zones


hugs from my sister

punishments of love

exciting new things

and laughing shoves


this makes me look

at all these books

and wonder why

I don't fly


I do everything else

it seems to me

in imaginations place

where all I can see


so much beauty

colours so fruity

refracted light

and things so bright


champagne glasses

and popcorn machines

a checkered sofa

and painted scenes


my gazes are awed

and my coldness thawed

my smile is wide

and I dare not hide


bulging drawers

and unwashed dishes

half-empty bottles

and shower swishes


all are miracles

my senses acute

looking deeper at things

that are kinda' cute


it's all of mind

as I nod today

how special life is

for this I pray


DeaBeePea 8-7-18

Tall Pines


we stand like pines

reading our wares

collaborating with our voices

throwing our tines


parcels of thought

and fanciful observation

pinpoints that intrigue

and irony so caught


our minds then swirl

and we think to ourselves

why didn't I think of that?

such a memorable pearl


some are transfixed

others to daydream

caught in this verse

as our minds are fixed


in floating awareness

a meditative realm

laughing or crying

in a newfound bareness


the applause is accord

some for genius

and others for courage

down this literary fjord


a ride so gentle

and yet suspenseful

taking us places

steep-sided and instrumental


a music of passion

and quirky ideas

as we expand our minds

doubling the ration


the needles are strong

yet sometimes fall

and the cones spread seeds

then ground in throng


the roots far-reaching

in an emblematic search

as we all share ears

for more beseeching!


DeaBeePea 8-7-18

Never Learn


history is certain

it's our final curtain

look at our spot

on future's lot


reserved for a fate

of ongoing hate

the politics of fear

clambering for cheer


some have jumped

on this bandwagon and dumped

all their dignity

and potential for benignity


others are mad

and are outspoken's clad

demanding justice

for us to encompass


the power that kills

mind, body and chills

the surface of our soul

at shattering tolls


kindness is laughed at

like a weak and broken bat

hovering over our heads

as we dream in our beds


there has been little victory

and a hopeless valedictory

how can we win

with so much sin


ignoring the heart

and each humble part

we must form a thread

of breakless stead


the course must be changed

from capitalism deranged

as our hands are joined

in love so coined


DeaBeePea 8-7-18



I have a temporary solution

for my current anger


drink some beer

and resonate my clangor


meet some people

and face reality


as much as it hurts

this ironic duality


tasting the hops

and the mellow malt


and watching the suds

as white as salt


and toasting love

and all my friends


some I know

and others new trends


regardless of what's happening

in our troubled world


people are awesome

as our passion is unfurled


so here's a toast

to our weekend of cheer


but please be careful

not too much beer


DeaBeePea 8-3-18

Angry Rants


How I love

my angry rants

they help me vent

and aerate my pants


telling what I see

as real truth

as I try to be

a political sleuth


although I confess

I'm not always right (God forbid)

I don't mind taking

these critical slights


I think I know stupid

and selfish crooks

when I actually see them

with their vicious hooks


swiping at kindness

and mocking love

and giving the poor

a thoughtless shove


so when I do this

it's basically for me

to spew my passion

with pointed glee


and if some listen

that's a bonus

to spread the word

and responsibilities' onus


DeaBeePea 8-3-18

Try Not to Think...


this horrendous situation

of blowhard leadership

maniacal men

whose lids have flipped


these populist a-holes

with painful missions

self-serving arrogance

and sanity's remission


why are they here?

are we that stupid

to vote for these men

who are the anti-Cupid?


they say they will help

but we all should know

that they have one goal

that thinks we should blow


this meanest of spirits

is a prevailing wind

that we should recognize

and hope to rescind


the rich get richer

and the rest are ignored

it's a money-power world

for us to abhor


yes, capitalism has gone

to its ultimate crest

destroying all values

and creating unrest


we need a new pyramid

that starts from the underside

giving us power

and restoring our pride


this right-wing movement

of fear and hate

is a path to the end

a dangerous skate


on the ice of oceans

that have dark waves

taking us to nothingness

in a land of slaves


so we must unite

and make a loud roar

or else we will perish

on hell's black shore


DeaBeePea 8-3-18



this spectacular fungus

that continues to grow

bookcases billowing

and tables aflow


pages yelling

that are too squeezed

suffocating to death

in a chaptered wheeze


every week

new ones arrive

thinking that this

is a place that they'll thrive


and they patiently wait

for an opening day

for a reader's eyes

sadness to defray


this room of anxiety

as each novel waits

to fly off the shelf

in freedom's alate


two rows thick

as the ones in behind

seem hopelessly afixed

in darkness' blind


but there is a mood

of genre's reflection

that gives a book hope

for sudden detection


this river will flow

in global warming's throe

because I am here

in this wordful show


books are books

words are words

my thoughts are spinning

like aimless birds


this epidemic

probably won't transpire

so I will be buried in books

from wire to wire


DeaBeePea 8-3-18



imagine the privilege

of not having to think

what a concept to ponder

as I take this drink


a spontaneous mind

with everything outpouring

a continuous flow

certainly not boring


but this unfiltered process

would cause some flack

and create a lot more

then a pat on the back


a new kind of honesty

might actually prevail

rather crunching debate

with aggressive assail


but would it make sense

of that I'm not sure

it would be quite exciting

but hard to endure


and my poetry would be different

and indeed so curt

inspired by love

and impulsive dirt


a strange combination

of nerve-ending plot

with a fateful finish

of mortality's rot


so for now it appears

that I will think

as long as I'm here

and not on the blink


DeaBeePea 8-3-18

Beer Weekend


parties galore

and festivities onshore

kiddie rides

and watery slides


the pubs are packed

and the park is racked

people laughing

and frequent carafing


microbrewers announce

their products to flounce

crazy silly names

with hoppy claims


so many toasts

and sarcastic roasts

but all with a hug

and a carefree shrug


all day long

this nonsense will prolong

from party to party

consuming a la carty


the head will rise

but disappear I surmise

as the glasses empty

this action preempty


no avoiding here

a state not so clear

a swimming head

and not soon to bed


sooner or later

it will be belater

history's story

about former glory


but a year after this

we will return to bliss

it will happen again

in this grassy glen


DeaBeePea 8-3-18

Short poem day:




politics is political

and very solicitical

and many are critical

but sometimes they deservical




the most wonderful thing

in a culinary fling

it's so good I could sing

as I look at my tummy ring




foamy and hoppy

it makes me kinda floppy

and talk is rather sloppy

and sometimes quite stroppy




an every morning deal

along with an orange I peel

when strong it's almost a meal

and makes my doziness heal




blended or single malt

it's really not my fault

I never hesitate to exalt

in my whiskyish assault




each word is that of thought

that my imagination bought

new things that I sought

avoiding mental clot




is there anything better

in a very sexy sweater

I think I'll write a letter

to be a romantic abettor




they often take place

of people trying to save face

they are seldom ever a disgrace

and impossible to efface




it's either very welcome

or despised is watery strum

but it never makes me glum

as I bang my lonely drum




education of this sort

is an issue of much report

to some it's a kind of sport

with ecstatic loud retorts




there is one that's artificial

but I think that's superficial

with creativity it's beneficial

not used as prejudicial




losing ground in time

with stupid reality grime

but at least there's PBS sublime

to enjoy before bedtime




libraries are more than books

they offer quite a hook

reading of crooks and cooks

such a sedentary nook




my favourite kind of light

in black and shadowy sight

I ponder what is right

without the benefit of white




I am not a thing of beauty

but I have moral duty

never to be snooty

about my gorgeous eyes of bluety




a syncopated joy

that is my musical toy

may the bebop sounds employ

a mood of swinging coy

DeaBeePea 8-1-18

The Universe



no mode of ease

other than my mind

in its laughing tease


on another planet

where I was born

wandering the wilderness

pulling out the thorns


I don't fit in

and there is no green

and very little sun

where I have been


I see the asteroids

asking me advice

and I have no answer

because I don't have the dice


the probability of immortality

only a hopeless dream

but it doesn't really matter

with my innocent little gleam


there is no ring around me

in a fast and reckless spin

there is no protection for me

on the point of this very pin


so this illusion goes on

when will I wake

because when I am conscious

much more will be at stake


this parallel world

that attacks me every day

seems a lot like Shakespeare

an ironic silly play


the roles are misconstrued

I don't know where I'm at

all alone in the shade

with a joker's vivid hat


madness is the answer

a sanity that beckons all

opening doors to understanding

in this crazy panoramic ball


pale faces and masks

from places far and wide

no suppositions from me

a willingness to abide


the chronicles of me

and my Narnian thoughts

talking to mastodons

by interpretation untaught


roars and powerful grunts

as I run to a comfort zone

only to find prickles

that hurt my brittle bones


so now I'm on a wheel

a gigantic Ferris vision

my exit is uncertain

as I fear my own derision


but Love is pointing a finger

and brings me back to here

sitting in my circling chair

and my imagination's weir


this miracle continues

telling me o0f hope

and what the future holds

on the end of this candy rope


DeaBeePea 7-31-18

The Cliff


with family till then

in fun-filled frolic

over fields serene

in this world bucolic


we came to the edge

and my father warned

of the safest way

of dreams adorned


of sky and hope

and waves of fear

and wistful astonishment

so far and near


my eyes overlooked

the daunting abyss

as the breeze touched me

with its taunting kiss


I turned and smiled

In an edgy thrill

My sister was by me

On this endless sill


It went for miles

In a sweeping curve

I knew the world

Was ready to serve


A volley of challenge

My weightless felt

Back and forth

My fate was dealt


Through the air

Like a screaming gull

By body spinning

In a helpless lull


There was no splash

Just an end of black

A quiet applause

And no final smack


DeaBeePea 7-25-18



they are brainless

in their forward plunge

finding dung

so carelessly flung


but they have a reason

for their stubborn temperament

having to tolerate

a smelly fate


feet are inserted

in daily ritual

sometimes in haste

starting unlaced


and this careless hurry

can be neglectful

with yesterdays socks

that can smell like lox


and the inconsiderate heel

walks through puddles

and the holes that exist

are conduits of grist


and they are ignored

unless they're polished

or a very loud hue

like ultramarine blue


but the eyelets can see

and the tongue does flap

so if you really listen

your ears will glisten


and the right and left

talk a lot

about their souls

and uncared for holes


and because they're in pairs

they don't get to meet

alternative styles

and discuss their wiles


but occasionally at parties

they get dumped in a pile

and share their bouquets

in the mountainous fray


and some end up dropped

in a foreign place

on a Rubbermaid mat

in a room of gnats


but the story of crocs

is a mysterious one

with their perforated life

of rainy day strife


they do talk to me

when the wind blows through

a contented whistle

like a paper-plane missile


and I swear my old brogues

speak with an accent

"Good morning old chap"

I hear after my nap


but the ones most traveled

are environmentally aware

and observe the clutter

that makes them sputter


and cigarette butts

annoy them so much

chemical additive smells

that alters their cells


and tired feet

that drag with fatigue

scraping their foundation

with painful striations


but I don't actually know

any old ladies

who live in a shoe

and make homebrew


but in closing I can say

that my shoes are imperfect

the backstays are bent

and they all have a scent


the toe boxes are squished

and the shanks are split

and the vamped have veered

where my feet have steered


so once a year

I have an occasion

just for my shoes

with lots of booze


I have a shower

and buy new socks

and Dr. Scholl's spray

for their special day


and I hurt their feelings

when I go barefoot in the park

they feel incidental

and just ornamental


I love my footgear

cause it hides my feet

that are craggy and rheumatic

and give me static


DeaBeePea 7-24-18

Dorothy Parker and the Epigram Mysteries

Episode 1

The Mystery at Land’s End

Part 1

The tennis match was over.

On the third floor of the Land’s End, Herbert Bayard Swope announced to his guests, “Time to gather outside for a match of headlight croquet.” The oak floor was not tarnished, except for the spills of Chateau d'Yquem. The gentlemen, in their propensity to show-off, relied on direct forehands, as they stabilized their wine glasses in their other hands.

It was a beautiful evening of misty dusk. Sailboats from the Manhasset Yacht Club dotted the still detectable choppy turquoise water of the Sound. Dorothy Parker was accustomed to the small villages on Long Island’s south shore, but not this elaborate sanctuary on the north shore, known as the Gold Coast. It almost numbed her as much as the martinis she had been drinking all day.

Dorothy was already establishing herself as writer of short stories that were ideal for the popular magazines of the day… Vanity Fair, Vogue, Ainlee’s, Life. Her round table of friends, who were meeting daily at the Algonquin Hotel, loved her sharp acerbic wit and daring-do. Her poems and her bright and biting satire took a cynical look at romance. She loved to ‘carve-up’ the men she had dated, referring to them as idiots and a perfect reason to remain a single woman. As a critic, she was known as a piranha, not from a desire to be destructive, but more from the satisfaction of belly-aching.

But on this weekend holiday, which was becoming a regular activity, her reasons for being a part of the opulence were many. Her round table friends were there, Robert Benchley, Deems Taylor, Edna Ferber, and Alexander Woollcott among others. It seemed they couldn’t get enough of each other. In New York on 44th Street, the Algonquin Hotel rested in squirming grandeur as the group of playwrights, poets, novelists and dramatists met at lunch hour, sometimes for two, even three hours. When they went back to their offices, it was not long until they met again at the office of illustrator Neyes McMein in the late of afternoon. This was followed by get-togethers in a second floor suite at the Hotel, to play poker on Saturday afternoons.

The summer playground where she now found herself was certainly not a place to write. It was a place to drink, pass out, and revive. Besides playing croquet by the shining lights of the automobiles they would partake in treasure hunts, and end up disassociated, and found themselves at estates that were not necessarily welcome. 

Dorothy was pleased with the free-flowing gin and the comradery. It closed temporarily the door of sadness that was always with her. As a person who never really fitted in, she had already tried to remove herself from the gift of life by slashing her wrists. It was seen by others as an eccentricity. 

Dorothy particularly liked the imported Scotch, and Mr. Swope was very careful to have all his liquor tested by a pharmacist. Too many cases of fatally poison tainted booze scripted the lives of the wealthy.

On this particular weekend Dorothy was joined on the west beach by Ruth Gordon and her husband Gregory Kelly, Robert and Mary Sherwood and legendary actress Ethel Barrymore. Ruth Gordon was recovering from surgery. She had both legs broken and re-set to repair her bow leggedness. She and her husband had just started up a repertory company. Robert was a close friend of Dorothy’s, working with her and Robert Benchley at Vanity Fair. Ethel was taking a break from performing, having just completed the silent film, The Divorcee.

There were often people there who Dorothy thought must have connections. They spoke of travelling to Washington D.C., negotiating peace treaties, speculating, and their part-time life in Paris. One such man was Gordon Simpson. Late one Saturday evening, the Scotch was finished, and she sat on the endlessly long veranda sipping gin with him. She had never met him before, and asked him a question that she hoped would be betwixting.

“Why is your name Simpson Gordon? Is it not Gordon Simpson?”

“My father’s name is Gordon,” he replied. “John Gordon. My mother liked the name Gordon, but she did not think that Gordon Gordon would be appropriate.”

“Her maiden name is Simpson. So she initially decided on the title Gordon Simpson. My father insisted on the maintenance of his surname. So she reversed it. But she put up quite a kafuffle.”

Dorothy winced, the rebounded. “Ah… you would like Ruth Hale. Have you heard of her? She once refused a passport because they insisted on inserting her name as Ruth Broun. She is married to Heywood Broun.”

“Of course I know her, and Heywood. As a matter of fact, they were here two weeks ago.”

“So was I. How did I miss you?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I am hard to mistaken with my skinny, rather ugly head, and my long wisp of grey hair shooting straight up from my otherwise vacant head.”

Dorothy laughed. “So you see yourself as a caricature.”

“Why not, it has made me famous. The subject of many cartoonists.”

“I should practice such humility, my new-found friend. I get very angry when my poems are refused by editors.”

“You shouldn’t be. You are a voice of the times. A journal that does not carry one of your creative jaunts through scathing profiles, should not be recognized as a magazine of current times.”

“Well… I thank you. I do not see myself as modern, only as an individual who asserts my identity, which I confess, I cannot always identify.”

Mr. Gordon’s head kept slipping to his right. There was no wide backrest or large arm to catch him.

“Damn, I am getting tired, and I think I sprained my neck. I had better get to bed. Now that I think of it, I do not think that I have been assigned a room.”

Mr. Simpson, or Gordon if you like, I have been assigned such an entity. You are welcome to pull up a section of floor in my room. However, I believe there is only a China-Wool rug on which to sleep.”

“I thank you Miss Parker. This place has twenty-five rooms; one of them must be unused. The invitation is one of kindness and disregard for etiquette.”

“Exactly,” said Miss Parker.

Dorothy awoke shortly after ten the following morning, feeling a slight ache in the head. Not because of too much alcohol, but not quite enough.

A quick shot of gin and a cigarette is what I need right now. Otherwise how can I face breakfast, let alone the exasperatingly nutty bunch sitting at the table?

She reached the bottom of the stairwell that led to a large veranda on the second floor, overlooking the east garden. Mr. Swope was standing at the elaborate railing, staring straight ahead… motionless.

“Good morning Mr. Swope. I apologize for my lack of convention. I realize that honoured guests are not supposed to sleep in.”

He turned to her but seemed void of response.

“Do you know Mr. Gordon.?”

“Oh… you mean Gordon Simpson.”

“No, I mean Simpson Gordon.”

“Right, excuse me, yes, Simpson Gordon. I met him last evening.”

“He’s dead,” spoke Mr. Swope.




Chapter 2


“Are you sure?”

“Couldn’t be more sure." He insisted sleeping on the south porch. It’s not enclosed. He was pretty drunk when I spoke to him last night. I went to check up on him, and I also wanted to ask him something that I didn’t want to bring up at the breakfast table. Feet are blue, no pulse. Early sign of algor mortis.”

He’s looking at me accusingly, thought Dorothy.

“I know nothing about it. I’m sorry.”

Mr. Swope said nothing as if he was awaiting some kind of information from me that would immediately answer his multitude of questions.

“I hear you’re good,” he said.

“Good?” I questioned.

“Yes. Someone told me that you solved a crime recently. A body was found in the East River. You pieced together his background from your observations of his clothing and appearance. Then you talked to a lot of people. A bit embarrassing to the police, I must say.”

“Just luck. I don’t have any particular skill; I’m just inquisitive and creative.”

“I can believe that. How about checking him out? I’d prefer you do that before I decide to call the police.”

Dorothy thought it would be appropriate to act shocked, and reluctant. But it wasn’t in her.

“I am not sure that I should do that ahead of the authorities,” she remarked. “But because you asked, I will do it in the name of friendly duty. Obligation, if you like.”

“My dear, I do not want you to feel obligated, but I need your help for a reason that I cannot explain to you now.”

Intrigue! She thought.

“Well, let’s go!”

They went back up the stairs that Dorothy had so innocently descended a short time before. They passed her room and then arrived at a small alcove, with a beautifully structured arch with triangular inlays that reminded Dorothy of the Chrysler building.

“I didn’t realize that he was only down the hall from me. I sure as hell didn’t hear anything.”

“One of Scott’s ghosts, more than likely.”

Dorothy knew that he was referring to F. Scott Fitzgerald, a frequent visitor, and one who regularly hallucinates.

Mr. Gordon was lying in a semi-curl, his neck twisted and his face looking straight down the hall, as if he was on guard.

Dorothy knelt down beside him.

“No stiffness, yet.”

Then she felt around the stomach. “Seems like the muscles are relaxed. No sign of vomiting.”

He was wearing exactly what he had on hours before.

“He looks pretty disheveled,” said Swope. 

“He is and was disheveled,” commented Dorothy.

“No signs of frothing at the mouth. No signs of a struggle. I had better take the liberty of checking for bruises. But I doubt there will be any. Any disturbance and I would have heard it. I am not a sound sleeper.”

She nonchalantly pulled down his plus fours. All she noticed was some light scratches on his left thigh. “His skin is very dry, and the scratches are right by the lesions. I think he was just scratching himself.”

“Looks like it to me.”

“Any chance of alcohol poisoning, Dorothy?”

“Too hard for me to tell. He’s not overweight, and there’s no apparent swelling in his groin. I don’t know enough about him to know if he had any liver problems.”

“Nothing else looks suspicious. What I will look for is any signs of someone else being here.”

She carefully inspected the wall surface around the doorway to see if any remnant of fabric brushed against it. She then walked to the millwork railing. It was flawless in its white perfection.

“If someone climbed the wall and crossed over the balustrade, they did with satin flats and ivory chamois gauntlets.”

She looked at Swope with a sneer and said, “I thought maybe there would be remnants of a woman. I thought maybe it was a heart attack. I’ve killed many men with coition.”

“I bet you have Miss Parker.”

“Keeping on business, what do you think is next? Calling the police or interviewing the many suspects, currently attending to their morning repast.”

“Interviews first, then the cops. With you talking to them, they won’t be as guarded. We’ll be sure to catch somebody off-guard.”


“Well, you I suppose. But I know all the local constables, and I think some of their technique has rubbed off on me.”

“Technique my ass. I can see them like an open scroll.”

“But only with your glasses on, Miss Parker. I notice you put them on as soon as we started going down the hall. Why don’t you wear them normally?”

“Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

“Well, I think you look quite provocative.”

“That is because you are intelligent. Most of the men I know are handsome, ruthless and stupid. But I’ve learned to like them like that.”

“So that leaves me out eh?”

“For now anyways, we’re partners of detection at the moment.”

“Let’s head downstairs then.”

They first went to the group of people at the breakfast table. It was a referred to as the nook, but was actually a cavernous high-ceiling partitioned room, just off the cookery.  

Swope could see who was in the sunroom at the end of the short hall. The only person he was unsure of was Miss Barrymore.  

Swope asked Ruth Gordon if she knew of her whereabouts.

“Over at the bath house. On the terrace.”

“I think we’ll leave her to last,” decided Swope.

Dorothy nodded to Swope and eyed Ruth and Gregory.

“You two went to bed early didn’t you?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact we did. Not exactly early, but well before the others. Midnight I would say.”

“And you were on the second floor, right under me I believe. Did you hear any strange noises?”

“Nothing at all,” replied Ruth. “Although with Gregory baying at the moon, it’s unlikely I would hear anything.

“Robert’s not a sleep-walker by any chance?”

“Only when going in the general direction of the ice-box.”

The Sherwood’s look anxiously on, as if awaiting their turn to provide Dorothy with their version of the last six hours.

Dorothy looked at them pointedly. “Well, how do you explain yourselves?”

Robert scratched his forehead and shyly asked, “Is something askew Miss Parker.”

“We will let you know. Just answer my question. When did you go to bed, and where did you sleep.”

Robert was extremely tall, angular and awkward, with an oversized moustache. He was an outspoken critic of war, and very popular with the burgeoning new Hollywood set.

“We went for a late swim, and fell asleep in the change house. We woke up when Ruth Hale pulled in. Then we came back, it was almost sunrise. We went to our room just past the pantry. It’s a small guestroom, nothing fancy, but we like it. It feels like a cottage. We went back to sleep for a few hours. We got up when we heard clanging in the kitchen.”

“Ruth is here? She looked quickly down the hall again, and sure enough there she was next to Edna.

She then gathered herself and commented, “So that would have been seven-thirty, eight-o’clock?”

“I didn’t really check, but I think just after eight, yes.”

Dorothy’s best friends were in the sunroom, and she didn’t see any point in interviewing them, but then she realized, I can have fun with this. And with Ruth now present, she was preparing her chance for some verbal tennis. 

Robert Benchley was her mentor and partner in tom-foolery. He was also a married man, who spent more time with Dorothy than his wife. It was a relationship of respect and propriety.

“Now Robert,” she said. “I am asking you to be honest, no whimsical antics.”

“I want to know exactly where you slept last night, and where you were after midnight.”

“I am in no condition to be whimsical my dear. I do not recall last evening. I do recall cleaning lemon meringue pie off my face. I believe I was a victim of a prank. Harpo is not here this weekend… so Hark, who shall I accuse? Perhaps Mr. Woollcott a man who could be guilty through the art of pranksterism, or simply through distastefulness.”

Woollcott snorted, not clearly indicating laughter or sublimity.

“I would not lower myself to such primitive behavior. Maybe a rambutan pie with ginger cream. But lemon meringue. Certainly not.”

Dorothy looked at both of them to see if there was evasiveness in their eyes.

So hard to tell. Their eyes look like misty-grey hard-boiled eggs.

Edna and Ruth were sitting on two rattan chairs, with a small, round glass table between, as they sipped on Darjeeling tea and honey.

Ruth spoke to Dorothy. “Are you trying out one of Heywood’s new plays, Dottie?”

Dorothy hated Dottie, and Ruth knew it.

“If I am, how am I making out? Is the acting bad, or I the script crappy?”

Edna could tell that Dorothy was quickly gaining the edge.

“Neither, in particular, I was just noticing that you were nosier than usual.”

“It just so happens that my intrusiveness has been approved by the proprietor.”

“Really? What is the occasion?”

“I am not permitted to say, but I will allow you to speak on behalf of everyone here as well as yourself. We are surveying suspicious behavior on the third floor. Sometime very late in the evening or very early in the morning.”

“In other words, you want to know who was sleeping with whom.”

“If that was all I wanted to know, I wouldn’t be asking. In all likelihood it would be you and Mr. Taylor.”

At hearing this, Deems Taylor, the music critic of the New York World, coughed and sputtered at Dorothy’s impeachment.

“Dorothy, what are you implying?”

“It is not an implication, my dear Mr. Taylor,” she said, sneering with delight.

“You’re a bitch Dorothy.”

“Yes, but more of a vamp, then a floozy.”

Swope decided that things were going in the wrong direction.

“Has anyone spoken to Miss Barrymore this morning?”

Everyone looked at each other, and Deems took the liberty saying, very crisply, “No, none of us. Is something going on?”

We will get back to you on that Mr. Taylor.


Part 3

Bernard and Dorothy walked along the walkway, a cement river that meandered to a pool that seemed as large as the Sound beyond. The dramatic beach house beside it was a flowing dramatic wave of Colonial embellishment.

Ethel was on the deck above the change house. It seemed like a long walk up to the terrace, especially for the two sleuths, who had yet indulged in breakfast.

She must have seen them coming, but there was no wave, or quick look in their direction. It was not known to Swope, Dorothy or the other guests, that Ethel’s marriage to Russell Griswold Colt, was becoming unbearable. This weekend away was one of pensive meditation and not one for celebration with friends.

Swope was observant, and took the opportunity to initiate.

“Ethel, you appear to be in solitude, and I hope, comforted by it. But I do have to ask you a question. You are the first one we are going to tell of this terrible mishap. Do you know Mr. Gordon?”

“I only met him today, briefly. An odd eccentric lad I perceived. But perhaps that is judgmental.”

“Ethel, he slept on the open porch on the third level, by design. Early this morning he was found lying, but no longer living. Perhaps he died in his sleep. We know little of him, or his medical history. Dorothy checked him out to the best of her ability, and detected nothing.”

“Have you called the police?”

“That appears to be our next step. In my position, I felt it was advisable to survey the situation beforehand. We have talked to everyone, and there appears to be no one caught in the web of suspicion. But to be fair, I should ask where you slept.”

“On the second floor room you assigned to me of course. It was very comfortable I might add.”

“And you got up early to come out here?”

“Yes. Sunrise. I awoke early. The colour of the sky was so beautiful it startled me. I decided to come out here. But now I am very tired.”

“And you heard no commotion when you awoke?”

“No, I swear you could hear a pin drop.”

“Thank you Ethel, we will leave you to yourself.”

“Actually, if I may, I will walk back with you. I am going to take a nap to compensate for my early rise.”

“That would be fine Ethel; we must consider partaking in our morning meal. We realize you would like to rest, but we would be delighted to have you join us at the breakfast table.”

“That is very kind, but I will have tea and crumpets after my nap.”

As they walked back to the mansion, soon overtaken by its giant shadow, the sun was suddenly enveloped by a gigantic black cloud.

“Where did that come from,” cried Dorothy. “It seemed to come from nowhere.”

“Certainly portentous… foreboding,” spoke Bayard.    


 Part 4


Time for a team meeting declared Swope as he entered the modest pantry entrance. He often took the pantry entrance. It made him feel like a working man. He was not an aristocrat. Dorothy felt a reassurance with her ease of friendship with this man. He was a Pulitzer Prize winner for his twenty-one day crusade against the Ku Klux Klan (as editor of the New York World), considered by many to be the world’s greatest poker player, and was a member of the notorious Thanatopsis Inside Straight and Pleasure Club.

He picked up the brass ear-piece of the candlestick phone and asked for the police. His instructions were concise.

“This is Herbert Swope. There is a dead man at my house.”

He then gathered the entire group into the front parlour and announced, I am sorry for the previous inquisition, but it appears that Mr. Simpson Gordon is dead. He is lying in the south veranda on the third level.

Alex Woollcott said, “It’s always something. Last weekend it was rescuing Zelda Fitzgerald from the Sound. Trying to swim with a belly-full of gin.”

“That is why you come here Alex, the excitement.”

“By the way. Who is this Mr. Gordon? How does he come about being at these soirees?”

“Well, he is, or was a bit of a pest. No problem actually, just a moocher. He’s been known to stay at Mr. Lardner’s, and claims to be a friend of that Gatsby fellow.”

“Jay Gatsby. That charlatan?”

“Yes, and like Gatsby, his connections are unknown, if not questionable. But he seems, seemed harmless enough.”

“And quirky,” added Dorothy.

Edna added, “The brief conversation I had with him, suggested he dabbled in the occult. I don’t believe he used the word occult, he mentioned something about sacred schools.”

“Sacred schools!” exclaimed Swope.

“Gloria Swanson mentioned a group by that reference. She thought they were infiltrating Hollywood. She was quite alarmed by it.”

“Sacred in what way?” asked a suspicious Dorothy.

“Don’t know much about, except for what Gloria told me. There so called doctrine was based on a group of poems.”

“Right up my alley,” said Dorothy.

“I don’t think so,” replied Swope. “Apparently there have been raids at places of these teachings. Eastern religion blended with Christian love. Communing with God through sexual acts. But strangely connected to The Great White Brotherhood. Sacred phallic laws and mystical marriages. A freedom to explore love in all its exotic forms.”

“Sounds enchanting,” said Dorothy.

“I agree, other than being racist, violent and disease spreading.”

“Minor details.”

“The suffragettes pale in comparison,” spoke Ruth Hale.

Ruth Gordon jumped in. “Don’t forget we have a body upstairs. His death did not alarm me, but after our enlightening conversation, it is taking on a sinister odour.”

“I wonder what is holding up the police?” inquired Swope.

At that very moment, a shiny new Dodge patrol paddy wagon pulled in at the south driveway.

Officer Doubleday got out of the vehicle, and took a good look around the grounds, looking for something conspicuous? His younger sidekick inquired as to his approach.

“Aren’t you going in, Sir?”

“Yep, in a moment. I’m just taking a look around. I’ve been here before. Just seeing if my senses can pick up something that says unusual.”

“Sir. The croquet mallets are all lying out in the grass. It looks like they stopped suddenly in the middle of a game. Something must have happened.”

“Good observation Binkley, but I don’t think so. They usually do that. Somebody whacks a ball into the woods, and they all go looking for it. Then they end up going on a nature hike. A game called find-the-bottle. Mr. Swope is known to hide bottles in the woods. One of his scavenger prizes. The ultimate prize I might add is a bottle of The Dimple Pinch. A very fine whiskey I might add. Puts sour mash to shame.”

“I wonder what the booby prize is.”

“I shudder to think.”

“Looks pretty quiet around here. Mr. Swope’s boat is in the boathouse. I’m going to have a quick look.” He took the long walk to the boathouse. “It’s a long walk to even go to the bathroom in this place. He took note that the boat was dry and looked unused for a good length of time. None of the guest’s boats had been out, and the paddles were inverted and dry.”

“Nothing unusual here. Time to go in.”

Mr. Swope was there to greet them at the door. Well gentlemen, you took your time. You suspect foul play.”

“I have an open mind,” commented Officer Doubleday.  

“I appreciate that Durward, you have to have to have that with the guests I entertain.”

“That is an understatement Mr. Swope.”

The host introduced the officers to his many guests, some of whom were familiar.

“Good to see you again, Officer?” said Aleck Woollcott.

This could certainly be interpreted as a sarcastic acknowledgement, considering Woollcott’s caustic charm.

“Trouble follows you, Mr. Woollcott,” replied Doubleday.

“Guilty before proven innocent?”

“You could say that,” quipped the Officer.

“Let’s see that body.”

He was escourted up to the third floor, followed by everyone. He looked like a Pied Piper being followed by children of folklore.

“I appreciate your enthusiasm, or should I say curiosity, but please remain in the hall.”

As Mr. Swope took him to the porch he faced the officer while aiming his outstretched arm in the direction of the body.

“As yet, I do not see anything, Mr. Swope.”

Herbert turned to look. The body was gone.


Part 5


“Shit! He was here when I checked on him. I swear it. And he was dead.”

“Well, Mr. Swope. Either he wasn’t dead or one of your guests has played a monumental practical joke.”

Swope turned to the crowd in the hall, and said. “Believe me officer, there are many qualified candidates.”

Dorothy immediately informed them of what might have seemed the obvious. “When we were out talking to Ethel, someone hid the body. That’s the only possibility.”

“But no one knew he was there.”

“But they smelled a rat. I imagine they started a search. Led by the slipperiest sleuth this side of the Rockies. Detective Benchley,” said Dorothy.

“I appreciate the resourceful flattery, but I was downstairs all morning inspecting the whiskey cabinet.”

The officer realized it would take hours to interview everyone, so he decided to look for clues that would help lead him to the body.

“I am going to inspect the site, and look for information that will lead me to the method of removal and possible relocation. That is assuming that there WAS a body, Mr. Swope.”

“Would I lie to you?”

“That remains to be seen,” he smirked.

“By the way Mr. Swope, we have not discussed identification.”

“Yes, I have some information for you, but very little.”

Dorothy added, “His name is Simpson Gordon, not Gordon Simpson. It’s a long story.”

“That’s about all we know,” interjected Swope. I really don’t know him. He just comes around. He seems to enjoy the company of this motley assemblage. He has also been known to be present at the home of Mr. Lardner, and apparently associates with Jay Gatsby.”

“Jay Gatsby? That leads us to the possibility of him being tangled into the web of race-fixing. There could be a connection there.”

“It occurred to me,” said Swope.

“But let’s not solve a murder before we confirm that there is one.”

“Believe me, there’s a murder and someone doesn’t want to leave any clues. But they’ll slip up. Sooner or later.”

“We can wait for them to slip up, or put pressure on them to slip up. It’s my policy to enforce the latter. I am going to call Inspector Powell to talk to Lardner and Gatsby. Me and Bink will concentrate on finding this so-called body.”

“From the information you have given me Mr. Swope, the gentlemen died sometime in the area of three A.M. And his body must have been removed, or simply vanished, around the time you were speaking to Miss Barrymore, which was between eight-forty-five and nine-thirty. Correct?”

“That’s it, almost precisely. And might I add, you have probably noticed the inquisitiveness and active participation of my dear friend Miss Parker. I think you will find her assistance of great value. In Manhattan she is recognized as a pest by some members of the police force. As a matter of fact, the D.A. has sent her a letter, a polite one, to ask her to butt out. But that request is procedure, not actually heart-felt. She has solved a number of recent murders. Remember the Steamy McAdoo case?”

“She solved that?”

“You’d better believe it. With almost no chance of identification, she traced him back to the Five Points, and found the guilty party working in a fencing operation.”

“Man, that took guts!”

“Well, my friend, Miss Parker can slice a man in two with words. She writes with a knife.”

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

“That must hurt,” commented Doubleday.

“I usually use it on men who are as dull as dishwater.”

Doubleday inspected the site repeatedly as Dorothy sketched out where the body had lied.

“All I can say Mr. Swope, is that I will have to come with something more. No sign of a body, and so sign of foul play. A crowd of people, and only two who saw the body. Hopefully a missing persons report will be forthcoming. He must have family, somewhere.”

“If he has family, I’ll find them,” suggested Dorothy.

“But you’re not on the case Miss Parker.”

“Unofficially I am. If you insist, I will pass on any pertinent information incognito.”

“I’m afraid I will have to disregard it.”

“That’s what the cops said before, Doubleday. They pretended to ignore her, but followed up on everything she reported. She was dead on. And just so you know, she won’t share her tricks. Magic I think.”

“And I’m going to follow up on that Sacred School thing,” Dorothy reminded them. “It sounds like it could have a long thread that leads to murder.”

“What the hell are you talking about now?”

Dorothy described the situation to the officer.

Miss Ferber had a conversation with Mr. Gordon. He mentioned some involvement which sounds like a cult to me. Something to do with Sacred Schools. Possibly trying to infiltrate Hollywood. Lots of power and influence there. Maybe connected to the Great White Brotherhood. Communing with god, sexual acts, sacred phallic laws, the whole shebang.”

“Scary shit. God damn.”

“And I think the brotherhood might be a place that a lot of the Klan have escaped to. There hiding from after my massacre.”

“This is heavy stuff,” said Doubleday, sweat started to slide down his forehead.

Swope looked to Dorothy and gave her a reassuring nod of support. She knew she would investigate, with or without the co-operation of the police. She also knew that time was in her favour, because at this point, the police weren’t even going to recognize it as a case. And chances are, they never will, depending on how much light she sheds on the situation as her investigation progresses.  

“I don’t have time to stand around here and stare down a bottomless pit,” said Doubleday. Swope I want you to send me all the names and contact information of your guests. It will good to have on file to link up to any new information, but I may be grey before I receive any. He looked at Swope with a combination of disgust, doubt, distrust and fear.


Part 6


That evening Dorothy was contemplating her next step. Invariably the choice between a lift from Aleck back to her shabby apartment at 57 West Fifty-Seventh Street or a train ride back to Grand Central was not one which offered any inspiring alternative.

Would her husband Eddie be out on a binge? Would be arriving home late in the evening after spending a few hours at a speakeasy after a day’s work at Paine Webber?

She described his disposition as “leaving him loud and querulous and bristling for affronts.”

They had moved to this new apartment because Dorothy always blamed marital problems as being a result of living in the wrong environment. But the high girders of Sixth Avenue cast shadows over their modest living quarters. The place was gloomy and unfashionable. The noise of the train was so deafening that it became a metaphor for the hopelessness of their ability to communicate. Their illusions were being eaten away bit by bit.

Dorothy’s hopes were raised because of the Bohemian life-style that was being suggested. There was a Swiss restaurant below them, a drug store that sold strong, safe gin and a lady on their floor had a studio and a live monkey as a companion. With the addition of a dog, named Rags, the floor began to warp from the result of neither Eddie nor Dorothy taking on the responsibility of walking him.

This domestic disaster was the perfect excuse for Dorothy to submerge herself in her new project as amateur sleuth. It was not exactly a conscious decision, as she took her personal responsibilities seriously. She simply did not have to emotional tools to deal with conflict that she was unable to comprehend.

One evening she called Robert Benchley.

“We have to talk about this. You are the one who can help me focus on some kind of method to take a step-by-step approach to this situation. Do you realize how much Herbert will appreciate us helping him? He does not want his name muddied. You must come over now.”

“I’m sorry Dorothy, but I know how things are going with you and Eddie. I want no part of being there in the event that he shows up. I will meet you at the Algonquin if you insist on meeting me.”

“Oh my dear Robert. You are actually afraid of Eddie.”

“Far from it Dorothy. But for your sake and mind we don’t need life any more complicated than it already is. I am a practical man.”

“Damn you Robert. You always have been. Why do I love you so.”

“You don’t love me Dorothy. We just get along marvelously well. We make each other’s lives more bearable than they actually are.”

“Sounds pretty damn close to love to me.”

“It is Dorothy, it is.”

“I am enjoying this mush immensely Robert but we must get the show on the road. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

“You haven’t given me much of a chance to tell Gertrude where I’m going.”

“Tell her you have to meet me for a rewrite, in order to meet a publishing deadline. It sounds so good I actually believe it.”

Benchley hung up, knowing his next move. He would meet her there.

Robert was first to arrive and sat on a plush ivory coloured love seat under a beautiful starry lunette. When Dorothy made her appearance, it was decided they would go to the stunning and modernistic Blue Room. It had been raining hard, and Dorothy’s wool velour coat was drenched.

“Why don't you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?” suggested Bentley.

“Very sound advice Mr. Benchley.”

“Don’t you have an umbrella?”

“Yes I do but tend to stab people with it. It’s safer at home in the closet.”

“Those you stab, Dorothy, usually men?”

“I would say so. They make me nervous. I shudder at the thought of men.... I'm due to fall in love again.”

They both took sips from their martini glasses in unison.

 “I really want to help Herbert. I think he would like it kept out of the news as much as possible. He’s been so good to me. Eddie wants to take a vacation to New England, if you call that a vacation. Not very exotic. But he’s trying to go on the wagon, and I think it would be a good time to be supportive. But I so want to find out more about the Jay Gatsby connection. I was thinking that you could possibly look into the cult in Hollywood. You could go out there under the auspices of your Liberty Bond tour.”

“You’ve really got things figured out. I might be able to think of something. But were starting with a big haystack and we’re looking for an awfully small needle.”

And what also comes to mind is that we have no body. Finding the body should be first priority.

“When Eddie’s visiting his family I might be able to slip away and head to Long Island. Something tells me we might be able to find out something in East Egg.”

“There you go with that “we” again.”

“Well, you’re here aren’t you?”

“You got me there.”

“I got you here, Mr. Benchley.”

They clanged glasses.

Dorothy and Eddie started on their recess and Dorothy missed Robert almost immediately. She sent him postcards endorsed with such names as Billie Burke and Flo Ziegfeld. Dorothy detested Robert’s wife Gertrude, but when they met socially, all was civil. She characterized Gertrude as a woman who might be inclined to eat her young. She also thought that she must have vast acquaintance among the myopic, as she always looked as if she was running from a raging fire.

She enjoyed the wilderness in Maine and took long walks, delighting in encountering a porcupine. When they arrived in Hartford Conn. to see Eddie’s family, she took no short-cuts in disparaging them. This build-up of hostility was exactly what she wanted. It gave her the ideal excuse to excuse herself.

“Excuse me,” she said. “Harold Ross is vacationing in Sag Harbor and he wants to meet me to discuss some big changes in the magazine. I’ll only be a couple days. It’ll be easier for you to settle in Eddie, I’m just a nag anyways.”

Eddie looked at silently, but with eyes that suggested that’s putting it mildly.

The train trip was short. Her first visit was to the home of Ring Ladner. This incredibly versatile man had a taste for sports, music and the stage and had recently worked with George M. Cohan and George S. Kaufman.

His writing which commonly used idiosyncratic vernacular was satirical, and he enjoyed making fun of the athlete who had nothing between his ears. Because he was a voice of the underdog and so realistic in his characterizations he received praise form the substantially literary Virginia Woolf.

When she taxied to his door, she heard “Just a minute Dorothy!”

She looked up and saw him getting up from a lounging chair and rushing into his bedroom via the French doors. He arrived at the door seconds later, almost out of breath. He gave her an affectionate hug and welcomed her inside.

“What on earth, Dorothy. I’m so glad you found me home. Is this a social visit, or are you a woman in distress? I certainly hope it is the former.”

“Mostly the former, dear Ring. I will explain.

The large but somehow cozy home with the gambrel roof, suggested a combination of Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He casually threw her coat on a large plaid club chair and placed her small travel bag on the floor beside it.

“Have a seat. I right in the mood for a good story. Had a bit of block recently.”

“Mr. Ring Lardner with writer’s block. That is a headline!”

“Actually, a form of reverse-block. Too much to write, too much to say, too much to lampoon. Cannot take all these ideas and form them into a malleable ball of edible literature.”

“That brings us to my project, which could lead to a juicy mystery series. But I need some pulp. I am here to ask you about Simpson Gordon. I am under the assumption that you know him by that name, but it would not surprise me if you knew him by another.”  

“Simpson Gordon? You know Simpson Gordon?”

“Knew Simpson Gordon.”

“Knew? You mean somethings has happened to him?”

“I thought Herbert Swope might have let you know already. It appears his hush policy has been effective up to this point.”

Dorothy explained what transpired a week before, and informed Ring that she was getting to the bottom of it.

“It’s my calling,” she reminded Ring.

“I’m surprised but I’m not. I perceive Mr. Gordon as someone who under no circumstances could be considered a threat. He exercises no influence over anyone. But there was an apocalyptic shadow that hung over him.”

“He did work on the grounds for me. But I never hired him. He would come by and stay for two or three day, and work very hard. Then he would just disappear for weeks on end. He considered accommodation and meals more than ample reward.”

“He never told you about his associations, particularly with Jay Gatsby?”

“He would tell me that he would be off to one Jay’s fetes. He spoke kindly of him and referred to his elegant style.”

“That seems strange to me. Why would he find Mr. Gatsby’s style so enchanting? He seemed to be a humble man with no interest in first impression.”

“I agree. He was bordering on frumpy. Something doesn’t fit there.”

“I’m also trying to fit him into a possible cult. I know nothing of it at all, but it has links to California white-supremacists, maybe anti-Semites too… and religious quackery.”

“That’s interesting… our conversations were brief. Generally he would ask me lots of questions. About my childhood in Michigan, life and friends in New York, and Hollywood. He was mesmerized by Hollywood and its glamour and its promiscuous women. I told him that I thought it was flim-flam land. Mind you there is an ingenious think-tank out there but socially it’s a Xanadu with a collapsing roof.”

 “The only “ism” Hollywood believes in is plagiarism. I won’t go near that place.”

“I’m afraid to say it Dorothy, but most of our friends are going to living out there before the decade is up. Fame and money are magnetic. Not necessarily in that order. I wouldn’t bet against you being a screen-writer.”

“I admit, I am attracted to money, but money is not attracted to me.”

“So our friend was fascinated by Hollywood.’

“It seems to that he thought Jay would help get posted out there. In what occupation I have no idea.”

“Working in something illegitimate more than likely.”

“He dabbled in poetry. He might have wanted  to be a writer.”

“Mmmm,” murmured Dorothy. “Publicity, propaganda… a stooge. Set up as a front for Sacred Schools or the Great White Brotherhood. Some kind of new publication.”

“Sounds like a stretch, but I suppose there could be a connection. I can him being a puppet. But obviously the puppeteer got the strings tangled. Instead of untangling the strings, he shot the puppet.”

“That is where to start. I’d bet my life on it. Not a bottle of gin mind you, but my life.”

“Speaking of gin… what is your weakness?”

“Besides stupid men, who I am not currently in the mood for, which is one reason I am here, I would be inclined towards a Canadian Manhattan.”

“I can accommodate you.”

“I hope you remember, dry with a twist, not stirred.”

“I sure do. You converted me. No cherry, no bitters.”

As she took rather large gulp minimally iced cocktail, she looked at Ring with discouragement.

“Am I wasting my time? We don’t even have a body yet.”

“I think I can help you that. I know every nook and cranny around here. Assuming that there is a body, it would be dumped in the Sound, incinerated or hidden. If Jay is involved, he wouldn’t hide it at or near his estate. If he did hide it, it might be at another residence… a set-up. Maybe somewhere around Tom Buchanan’s. Otherwise it has been torched, or is at the bottom of the Sound. I would bet on the torch.”

“More betting, were really rolling the dice tonight.”

“Let’s go for a drive tomorrow. We probably won’t find out much in a day, but we’ll have fun. I enjoy my new vehicle. It’s Roamer. Hell of a motor in it. And it’s more fun on the island because the roads are shit.”

“That does sound like a hoot.”

“Do you feel like going to Herbert’s.”

“I don’t mind that at all. I think it would be important to let him know our plans. Is there a chance we could check out Sag Harbor? That’s where I told Eddie I was going. It’s not a must, but I do like to cover my ass.”

“Harold is vacationing there. Maybe we could drop in.”

“Harold’s in Sag Harbor? I had no idea,” replied Ring.

“Staying at the America apparently.”

“He loves that place. Likes writing there.”

“And it just came to me. He worked on the Leo Frank trial. He’s our man!” said Dorothy enthusiastically.

“He dug up the anti-semitic forces at hand too. That might help us with our case. The more I get a smell of this situation, the more I pick up Jay’s odor.”

“The odor of dry-cleaned Oswego serge and madras.”

“He is known to splash Eau de Cologne on his lapels too.”

The next morning was a dull, cool day, with rain threatening.

“We’ll keep the top up until further notice Dorothy.”

They drove to Land’s End, Ring accelerating at every bend along the way.

“This is grand Ring. How much are one of these beautiful creatures?”

“Twenty-nine fifty cold cash.”

“Shit! Isn’t the Model T four-hundred smackers?”

“That’s right. Even less. This is the “I’m not-quite-a-millionaire” Rolls Royce my dear. It’s the Rochester-Duesenberg engine that makes it so much.”

They arrived at the Swope mansion. They didn’t have to ring the bell. The sound of that beautiful purring six-cylinder engine and the bright yellow glow of its chassis was enough to gather the eyes of the proprietor.

“Herbert old chap, so good to see you.  Knew you’d be around. Heard you be staying until the meeting next week with Harold. I brought along a P.I. friend of mine.”

“Dorothy. You’re here to help me open the can of worms that I have been able to keep shut up till now.”

“Hard to open a can of worms with a corkscrew.”

“Dorothy, you put Will Rogers to shame.”

“I’m glad of that,” she said emphatically.”

“So come on in and we’ll see if we distract Dorothy from her mission.”

“Won’t happen Hebert, sorry.”

Dorothy and Ring filled in Mr. Swope on their discussion and agreed on their conclusion.

“And I’m glad it’s only you Ring, that Dorothy talked to about this. Of course we must take advantage of the fact that the police are co-operating by also being reticent.”

Dorothy interjected, “By the way Herbert, it might be hard to remember… but we don’t actually know when the police arrived do we. Remember, they were skulking around a bit before they acknowledged us.

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