I enjoy reading, and, in particular, I truly enjoy the two mystery magazines that I receive every other month. The short stories contained in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine are well-written, sharp, and very entertaining. I have even submitted my own efforts to the two story outlets a couple of times, but rejection has been quick and certain. They have way too much class for the likes of me!
Queen and Hitchcock's magazines are small, pulp (sister) publications which fit easily into a coat pocket. Putting them into my jacket pocket was, in fact, how I lost the set that I took along on the Alaskan cruise. One minute they were tucked safely (or so I thought) into my pocket, and the next moment they were gone. I walked several decks of the Celebrity Millennium in search of my prized reading material - with no success, and I was a daily visitor to the ship's lost and found where I again came up empty-handed time after time. My theory was that someone had found my magazines, stuffed them into their own pocket, and later discovered that they liked them as much as I did.
Live and learn.
Well, it's me we're talking about here, and apparently I didn't learn a damned thing. Last Monday I took along the new copy of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine when I reported to the hospital in Kansas City for my surgery. (Ellery hadn't arrived by the time I left home for the hospital.) I knew that once I was processed, changed, and planted on a gurney, I would have plenty of time for a couple of short stories before the man with the knife appeared. When I was called from the main waiting room, I left all of my stuff with Tim - except the magazine which I clutched to my frail old body. I stepped into the next room, sat the magazine down as I chatted with a nurse, and reached for it one nano-second later, only to discover that it, too, had disappeared. Remembering my shipboard experience, I began an earnest search on the spot, but the little pulp publication was gone - as gone as if it had fallen into a hole in the space-time continuum - whatever the hell that is!
Tim came back to sit with me a little later, and I sent him up to the scene of the disappearance to have a look around. A few minutes later my sister showed up - as a surprise visitor - and I cautioned her to look very closely as she walked through the area in question. I also let all of the hospital staff within shouting distance know of my displeasure.
Somebody, somewhere, was reading well on my subscriptions!
So, figuring that I probably would not be able to write my losses off as a charitable contribution to literacy, I stewed about it for a couple of days - and then decided to vent in a blog post. This afternoon, just as I finished typing the title and my name to the entry, my phone rang. Nurse Betty from Research Hospital was on the line telling me that Alfred Hitchcock had been found and that she was stuffing him in a manila envelope and sending him my way.
Thank you to the honest person who found my magazine. You have extended my reading pleasure by several evenings and restored my wavering faith in humanity.
And now, Celebrity Millennium, you need to do your part to keep an old man entertained. I will be in the library with Colonel Mustard awaiting your call. Now, where did I put that damned candlestick?