There was still the smell of cigars on her coat as she took that one last walk. The dinner party at the little bistro in Neuilly had been everything she’d hoped it would be. Somewhere over by the woods she could hear a wind chime; its one last defiance in playing a pretty tune. They would be here soon and it was the reason they had all departed early. The army was on the outskirts of Paris and soon she would no longer be welcome in her city. There was a distant cry of ‘Vive La France’ and she wept.
Glasgow, Summer 1888
A bird, a cat, a dog, a sheep and then a horse. Those were all the things he had relieved of life since he was a child. Now he wanted to try something new, something more exciting, something dark and dangerous. He had followed one or two of them through the park, but when he needed it most, when he required all his fortitude, it had deserted him. He wanted to know what blood, human blood, smelt like in the rain. Then it struck him, London might be a better place, and he would start with the prostitutes. Why not?
Hotel Nevada stood at the corner of Fremont Street; he’d driven out west in ’29 when things got real tough back home. His plan was to head for California where they were making Talking movies. The problem was that he’d stopped off in this one horse town, run up a liquor bill and was working fourteen hours a day to pay off the debt. Jake, who worked in the Hotel Apache, had asked to pull their greenbacks and invest in a small casino but he had to say ‘no’. Who was going to come to a place like Las Vegas?
Her Daddy says she ain’t to come back into the house until she asks the Lord for forgiveness and that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon given that she ain’t done nothing wrong. The runt, he called, and that hurt real bad. She can see her Mom praying at the window and wishing her youngest would just say the things her husband wants to hear and then they could all get on with their lives. One day she is gonna keep on walking but until then she ain’t gonna listen to no old man tell her she can’t dance to Elvis.
That harsh winter came without warning, which meant that we spent so much of our time indoors. I knew him as the man who gave away money. He was a friend of the family and, as such, was always in our home.
“Tell me another story”, he would say, and I had those stories by the hundreds. “Ask the boy”, my father would tell folks, “He can conjure up such wonderful worlds”.
I always wondered what happened to the man. I hear tell that he left his family and went to London; imagine that, our Mister Shakespeare in London Town.
bobby stevenson 2016