a real soundtrack for an imaginary spy film

Episode Five - MISTER MISTERY (or "Who is this Claude, anyway?")

Copyright © 2002 - 2005 Arthur Jarvinen

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        Obscurio's Arcane Books and Artifacts

        - "If we don't have it, you won't find it." -

Claude is at the end of the far aisle taking considerable delight in a painted poem by Kenneth Patchen (for which the bookseller's price is based to some extent on wishful thinking, as the item is not in pristine condition) and enjoying a quick nip from his small pewter pocket flask of Irish single malt, being particularly discreet, as beverages of any sort are disallowed in the store.

A mustachioed gentleman enters the book store sporting a suit that, though stylish in the classic sense - i.e. "timeless", by which we mean not representative of nor especially fashionable in any specific time or place yet somehow always appropriate to any occasion – is obviously well-worn, yet worn well by its owner, and inquires as to the availability of any of Kenneth Patchen's painted poems.

"I'm sorry, no. We had one, a while ago, quite a while. But they're very hard to find now. Most in private collections. Nothing on the market anymore that I know of. But if you're  interested in Patchen memorabilia, I might be able to put you in touch with someone who has a copy of the Warren G. Harding yearbook he edited in his last year of high school, signed to a friend."

"Umm, no. No thanks. Thank you….No."

The dark gentleman looks a bit puzzled and hesitant; clearly he was expecting a different answer. His querying look invites further commentary or an alternative response, but none is forthcoming. He glances a bit nervously around the store and, seeing Claude across the room, makes brief eye contact, never guessing what the stranger holds so lovingly in his hands. Claude smiles roguishly and returns his attention to the beautiful hand-painted, one-of-a-kind literary artifact.

The mustachioed man reluctantly turns and exits the store, glancing back momentarily, then, once outside on the sidewalk, looks quickly and suspiciously about as he walks briskly up the street a short way before ducking into an alley.


"Neglected genius, let me turn to you."
Hi-Y '27, '28, '29; French Club; Civics
Club; Vice President Science Club; High
Life Staff  '28; Parlimentarian Dramatic
Club; Soph. Football '27; Varsity Foot-
ball Squad '28, '29; Inter-Class Track
Champion '29; Varsity Track '29; Class
Treas. '27, '29; Debate '27, '28; Pres.
Debate Club '29; Pres Aeneid Club '28;
Orchestra '28; Band '28, '29; Editor-in-
Chief Echoes; Honor Society.

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