The Newtown Pentacle

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old bugs

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Definitely on the mend, for my mind returns to thoughts of vengeance and contemplations upon the lamentations of my enemies. Still not quite at 100 percent, but the pernicious microorganisms which have infected my flesh seem to have realized their mistake in entering me.

Why not check out some lesser known Lovecraft stories while ill, I always ask- hence- check out the ineluctable pleasures contained at hplovecraft.com

From “Old Bugs” by HP Lovecraft

Sheehan’s Pool Room, which adorns one of the lesser alleys in the heart of Chicago’s stockyard district, is not a nice place. Its air, freighted with a thousand odours such as Coleridge may have found at Cologne, too seldom knows the purifying rays of the sun; but fights for space with the acrid fumes of unnumbered cheap cigars and cigarettes which dangle from the coarse lips of unnumbered human animals that haunt the place day and night. But the popularity of Sheehan’s remains unimpaired; and for this there is a reason—a reason obvious to anyone who will take the trouble to analyse the mixed stenches prevailing there. Over and above the fumes and sickening closeness rises an aroma once familiar throughout the land, but now happily banished to the back streets of life by the edict of a benevolent government—the aroma of strong, wicked whiskey—a precious kind of forbidden fruit indeed in this year of grace 1950.

Sheehan’s is the acknowledged centre to Chicago’s subterranean traffic in liquor and narcotics, and as such has a certain dignity which extends even to the unkempt attachés of the place; but there was until lately one who lay outside the pale of that dignity—one who shared the squalor and filth, but not the importance, of Sheehan’s. He was called “Old Bugs”, and was the most disreputable object in a disreputable environment. What he had once been, many tried to guess; for his language and mode of utterance when intoxicated to a certain degree were such as to excite wonderment; but what he was, presented less difficulty—for “Old Bugs”, in superlative degree, epitomised the pathetic species known as the “bum” or the “down-and-outer”. Whence he had come, no one could tell. One night he had burst wildly into Sheehan’s, foaming at the mouth and screaming for whiskey and hasheesh; and having been supplied in exchange for a promise to perform odd jobs, had hung about ever since, mopping floors, cleaning cuspidors and glasses, and attending to an hundred similar menial duties in exchange for the drink and drugs which were necessary to keep him alive and sane.

Read the rest at hplovecraft.com

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Posted in animals, insects

Tagged with , , , ,

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