The angles to the corners (when you can see them through the smoky haze) are bent a'kilter. It seems to go on forever.
And the clientele ... well, most of them are undead ... like me.
No, I'm not a revenant
(what Hollywood calls vampires - though some are here tonight). I just have the blood of the Angel of Death in my veins is all.
Michael Panush nervously pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
He was sweating a bit, though the damned liked it hell-cold in here. "Ah, Captain McCord. I - I thought Roland was going to be here."
"Call me Sam, and set easy. No one will hurt you as long as you sit at my table. Roland was called away on a blood run."
"A- A blood run?" Michael said, looking at Major Strasser sitting close by smiling that fanged grin of his.
"Roland's a rare blood courier, Michael. Right now, a dying baby is getting the blood she needs because Roland's driving in this pouring rain."
I pushed the brim of my Stetson back with a gloved thumb.
"You've racked up quite the record for a young fellow. You've published numerous short stories in a variety of e-zines including:
AuroraWolf, Demon Minds, Fantastic Horror, Dark Fire Fiction, Aphelion, Horrorbound, Fantasy Gazetteer, Demonic Tome, Tiny Globule, and Defenestration. You're the author of Clark Reeper Tales, your first novel."
I tried to smile away his obvious fear as he was staring at Billie Holiday doing a duet with Diana Krall.
"S-Sam, Billie Holiday is d-dead."
"Still sings good for a dead gal though, don't she?"
I sighed, getting back to his accomplishments,
"You won first place in the Sacramento Storyteller’s Guild “Liar’s Contest” in 2002 and was a finalist in the National Youth Storytelling Olympics in in 2003.
In 2005, your short story entitled, Adventures in Algebra, won first place in the annual MISFITS Writing Contest.
In 2007, you were selected as a California Art’s Scholar and attended the Innerspark Summer Writing Program at the CalArts Institute. You graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 2008, and now you attend UC Santa Cruz."
"A-And I have a new book out, too, Captain McCord. DINOSAUR JAZZ."
I glanced uneasily at the striding Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, steamrolling his way towards Michael and me.
Sadly for the ghost, he didn't see the even angrier Harry Houdini swiftly trying to catch up to him.
Houdini blamed the man for his murder.
Yeah, things don't get boring at Meilori's. I asked Michael,
"I can't even begin to imagine how you came up with the idea to combine Jazz age gangsters with a prehistoric island and dinosaurs. What was your inspiration?"
"It’s pretty simple, actually" he said.
"The time around the 1920s was when the Lost World genre really took off. The Lost World, a silent film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel, came out in 1925 and then there was, of course, King Kong in 1933.
Edgar Rice Burroughs (the author who created Tarzan and John Carter of Mars) has his Land That Time Forgot series starting in 1918 and he also had the Pellucidar series about a Hollow Earth world full of cavemen and dinosaurs being discovered.
The highlight of that series, 1929’s Tarzan at the Earth’s Core, has Tarzan traveling to the hollow earth and fighting dinosaurs. It also has a stegosaur that uses its tiny fins to, somehow, fly around.
The Lost World stories are all part of this obsession with the primitive that filled the 1920s, when documentaries about Eskimos like Nanook of the North in 1922 .
These Lost World stories are exciting adventure yarns, but a lot of them are blatantly imperialist and racist fables. I wanted to try and write a story that had that same sort of rip-roaring adventure yarn feel, but told with a modern sensibility.
I’ve always been fascinated with the 1920s and stories about dinosaurs and prehistoric worlds. After I learned about all these Lost World stories, combining them with the Twenties felt very natural."
"Modern sensibilities!" huffed Sir Conan Doyle, as he sat heavily in the chair beside my startled guest. "There is nothing modern about theft, young man! I have half a mind to ...."
"To kill him as you killed me, you seance fraud!" growled Houdini, sitting on the other side of Michael.
"This is my interview!" Michael strangled out, his eyes wide.
"Now, at long last," Houdini murmured, "I kill you, Doyle."
My Walsh Navy Colt was in my gloved hand. "Houdini, I know where to shoot a ghost to kill. Don't make me ruin the rest of the night's entertainment."
"But this is my interview!" Michael protested to no one in particular.
TUNE IN MONDAY FOR PART TWO OF THIS INTERVIEW ...
if Michael survives that is!