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Tales of the Jazzed Age
Three very short stories about what drives men to drink.
By Tyler M. Cole

Eleanor Hill

We had pinned our Rose Bowl hopes on Freddy McLaughlin, but like most of us before, he had pinned his own considerable hopes on Eleanor Hill. When she again refused his offer of escort to the Winter Ball, Freddy dedicated the weekend before the big game to a historic bender.

Having consumed his month's ration of scotch, Freddy was already the worse for liquor when he began a search for anything resembling an intoxicant and located Howard Garrish's hair tonic and half a pint of sour milk. Later, he retired to his room and set his mattress on fire.

Luckily, Inspector Harrigan was an alumnus, and to avoid charges, we only had to remove the offending mattress the next morning. We did so with great ceremony, but the game had been lost.

Josephine Merkle

When Josephine Merkle abruptly stopped returning his love letters, Howard Garrish once again found himself in the unwholesome company of Salve Spitale. Following a pre-evening drink, the two embarked on a brief but therapeutic tour of the lakeshore public houses, after which Salve suggested a nightcap at Mme. Lucia's. Howard, however, had little interest in Mme. Lucia's perfumed "cure," and he and Salve parted ways.

Despite Salve's absence, Howard managed to continue the evening in good company, walking arm in arm with a fifth of double malt Scotch. After an hour, though, this friend too had departed, and Howard, finding himself blind drunk and misplaced on the university Midway, bedded down next to a shrub with the full intention of catching a draft and contracting a terminal case of consumption. When he woke the next morning and found that he'd inadvertently fallen asleep atop a university steam tunnel, and thus had succumbed neither to the elements nor his broken heart, and further discovered, in fact, that the fresh air had only aided his good health, Howard returned to his dormitory room and took up tobacco.

Isabelle Weatherby

When spring returned and Isabelle Weatherby finally admitted she could not love if loved back, Sidney Campbell discovered he'd suddenly lost the knack for falling asleep. After briefly considering a leap from the window to jog his memory, he instead poured out two drinks and began a search for Howard Garrish.

Sidney eventually located Howard in the dormitory lobby, slouching in an armchair and spitting at the ceiling. Upon hearing of Sidney's affliction, Howard recommended convening with Freddy McLaughin, the funniest man alive on two rum swizzles. While noting that he must have always caught Freddy on three, Sidney nonetheless agreed to a late dinner.

The two reached the University Club and found Freddy already addressing the waiter in Pig Latin, prompting Howard to confess that an evening spent with Freddy was better than watching a play. Two additional scenes were entertainment enough for Sidney, however, and after finishing half a plate of scrambled eggs, he excused himself, stepped outside, and punched the heads off a dozen tulips.

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Toast the Raven
By Mark Angelillo

Once upon a late October, while I wandered, weak and sober,
Over many a quaint and spiritless road of some misbegotten shore —
While I plodded, hibernating — more, as if my soul were waiting,
As if it were ruminating, on what it was searching for,
"Tis not well enough," I muttered, "Only this and nothing more? —
     Things must change, and what a chore!"

So, permit me to go over, it was in the bleak October;
And I did prepare and plan to move my life pursuing more.
Eagerly I wished for better; — plainly laid out to the letter
A design devoid of fetter — allowing me to leave the fore —
To start my journey by departing from my home be-fore
     Nameless here, forevermore.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Right!" said I, but then backtracking, "Can this life be so abhorred?"
But the fact is, it was lacking; my impatience sure was stacking,
"So it's time I've started packing, packing halfway out the door!
And I'll move my home to Brooklyn" — here I'm fully out the door
     Leaving footprints, nothing more.

Here in Brooklyn I did putter, when, at my own humble shutter,
In there stepped a drunken raven, of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; he was far too hammered, maybe,
But with gassed expression laid he, right above my chamber door.
Perched upon a bust of Kohlberg, just above my chamber door,
     Perched to void, and nothing more.


Then this ebony bird beguiling my production into idling,
By the plowed and plastered impert'nence of the foul wind that it tore,
"Though you do invade my haven thou," I said, "art sure no maven,
Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, of drinking like a boar.
Tell me what the haps is, man, I really do implore."
     Quoth the raven, "Have one more."

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
And its answer so much meaning, so much relevancy bore;
For I couldn't help agreeing as the raven started peeing
That I should be drinking with this bird above my chamber door
So I downed a beer and checked the thing above my chamber door,
     Who responded, "Have one more."

Now the raven still beguiling my production into idling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned lounge in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to drinking
And each glass confirmed by clinking with this ominous bird's of yore —
Liquor, wine, and beer with soused and ominous bird of yore
     Who kept croaking, "Have one more."

Then, me thought, the room was swimming, and it seemed the lights were dimming
Ruled by seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Hey!" I cried, "I think I'm blasted — and these bottles sure have lasted
And been respite — respite and nepenthe from my memories of Swarthmore!
Quaff, o quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Swarthmore!"
     Quoth the raven, "Have one more!"

And the raven, never flitting, still is bidding, still is bidding
Me to consume booze at rates I've never hit before;
And his eyes have all the glazing of a frat guy's that is hazing.
And the fumes above him streaming like some nebula perdure;
And my soul from out this cloud that floats above the floor
     Shall be sober — nevermore!

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Menced - met by chance
Forelunch - any time of the day before lunch
Moone - that gray area between morning and noon typically observed among people who've been out partying the night before
Vostly - very and mostly
Chorminy - charming and ominous, or charmingly ominous
Dasoot - day when the sky is the color of soot
Trowers - tree flowers
Blumding - between blooming and budding
Overgloon - overhead, beyond the point where you can comfortably look up without losing your hat.
Yestrain - yesterday's rain
Pudlesking - soaking the ground and creating puddles
Derfloot - under the flooded boot
Brair - braided hair
Shlength- shoulder length
Freeth - front two teeth
Bunwhit - bunny-like and white; usually used to describe freeth
Confurst - first conversation
Knewfel - knew and felt, or feeling that one knows
Glonged - got along and belonged together
Bespite - because or in spite of
Cynesquit - cynical and non-sequitur
Charwit - charming wit or witty charm
Lungartwix - the area between the heart and lungs
Beflayed - torn open into two segments, but in a good way
Bronged - banged and rang as if a throng of people was moving through it
Aflond - along a fake pond
Pridled - walked idly in a park
unbeforce - a. not by force b. as never before
tintlight - tinted light
Broon - the part of the moon that can be seen through branches
Becked - beckoned + begged + asked
Coffeecourse - an invitation for coffee which actually means intercourse
Repulsied - replied in a repulsed manner
Trilly - truly silly
Doon - a person struck dumb by the moon's rays
compersnatch - comprehend immediately
Bly - blunt reply
Attemptried - attempted to try
Fiss - a doomed kiss one gives reluctantly, already knowing that it would miss its mark or purpose
Candicely - candidly and decisively, but nicely
Slurned - slowly turned
Snyle - snide smile