Dead Presidents in the Castle

By Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin

Part of the Sinclair Narratives

Boston's Gold Coast collected old presidents like most beds collect dust bunnies. With a few exceptions, the dust bunnies were prettier. I did still call one a friend, but I rather find myself waking to his stuffed effigy in the morning versus the real McCoy. Truth be said, during a winter hunting trip I did find myself cheek to cheek with his stubble…Now for the last 3 years, I am left sleeping with his toy. Though Teddy was dead, I did find myself being escorted to this party by his scandalous daughter Alice, while her husband and lover were meeting in Congress for the whole month. When the cat is away the mice will play….Though not with me, for Caroline was on my other side in ermine. Though, someone would be on the menu for Alice tonight.

Three presidents had left the White House (Teddy, Taft, Wilson) and Coolidge got stuck with the Great Crash. Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson had slept in their beds while the Robber Barons snuck through the window leaving Coolidge to investigate the empty wall safe in the morning. Coolidge, no one was sure if he had a pulse up to this point. If he had an opinion on the Robber Barons, he told no one.

Taft had lived here on the North Shore during his presidency. Then the man who had beaten Taft and Teddy, Wilson, had spent time here also bending on the Colonel's every word in Manchester-by-the-Sea. Charles Richard Crane also pulled Wilson along by the nose and changed Russian history for the Morgan's and Rothschilds for the cost of a few bells he delivered to Harvard and a tiara some say Anastasia might just one day reclaim from the Peabody Academy. It all had something to do with where the Choo Choo goes...Coolidge also had family here; he spent a summer in Swampscott in 1925 and had been our good governor.

Nineteen twenty eight amidst the depression we had found humor in a talking mouse. New York state started watching something called TV while housewives stopped slicing bread for themselves. Hemingway (a fan and big hunter like Teddy) moved to Key West and his father had just committed suicide. Like Teddy, Ernest's father had met an untimely death. The Yo-Yo was created as the stock market goes up and down. The country begins to hear snap, crackle, and pop in the morning. DNA is found and Cthulhu spawns into our world and Randolph Carter vanishes. The Graf Zeppelin lands in Lakehurst (where Bjorn caught the Bird Flu) and becomes the first transatlantic flight by a zeppelin. It did better than Emilio Carranza who crashed in the Pine Barrens nearby after flying through the Bamber Triangle. Many believe the zeppelins to be fire-resistant. Boston's United Fruit massacres unionists once more in a Banana Republic. Stalin released his five-year plan. Mussolini battles for control of Italy with the Pope while supporting Emperor Haile Selassie take over of Ethiopia. Chiang Kai-shek was declared ruler of China as another Charlie Chan novel spreads the Yellow Menace threat. Lydia Pinkham continues to get the suffrage movement sloshed with her elixirs while priests made Napa Valley famous for ignoring the warnings on bricks of wine to be reconstituted.

On the winter solstice of the year, the Hammonds were having their debut gala at their new castle. When John Jr. was knee-high to a gin and tonic, he spent a summer reliving the tales of Robin Hood and Arthur while skinning his knees on the rubble of the forgotten ruins where those sagas had been played out. His father was brought to England to recover from the torture that befell him in South Africa.

After a failed revolt to secure some diamonds for Cecil Rhodes, Rhodes' brother and John Sr. were saved from the noose by my friend Samuel. Mr. Clemens knew the twain, Tesla and Hammond, and introduced them. After many years, Junior had brought to our shores those ruins he played in to build himself a fine castle to envy any fairy tale Walt could imagine.

Like Poe's Masque of the Red Death, we were heading to a sumptuous affair as many were making soups out of old rubbers and pants hoping to receive some nutrients from the seeds that stuck to them while toiling in the fields. Many looked forward to Crane's finest liquor bootlegged from Nova Scotia. Many in Lynn, just around the corner from Pinkham's factory just died from Wheeler's gin last week. Drinking the alcohol solvents from the shoe factories, legally poisoned by federal mandate.

Louie was driving the two of us with Nikola, who had mixed feelings about Junior. He was part of our raid preventing Junior, Taft, and his Illuminati from returning one of the Younger Gods to our dimension. Not to mention the failed electric company, Tesla & Hammond Wireless Co. . Nor Senior's investment in copper to string through the fake tarred trees to connect to the Thompson's boxes on the side of our houses. Our friend Farmer from Salem shared Tesla's feeling about free electricity, but he died all those years ago at the great Chicago fair. Junior's mentor had been stripped of his company by Morgan. Nowadays, Thompson had more control over General Electric (than Edison ever did) while residing in Swampscott. So I was not sure how Nikola would act, but this would be the greatest Spiritualist event of the season advertising Sir Arthur Conan Doyle presiding over the affair.

This was too much for all of us to ignore...

Alice was hoping Margery would be there, the Spiritualist Houdini ruined during Doyle's Scientific American contest. Not that Alice wanted to see the repudiated ectoplasm flow from her vagina, but usually a good orgy followed her around. Plus we all heard of the rumors about the debauchery Hammond had with the traveling players of the day.

We were just passing Rafe's Chasm on the bend of Hesperus Ave. (The road named after Longfellow's poem in which he reimagined the wreck of the Hesperus off the chasm like he reimagined Revere finishing his ride...) when Eleanor in her Cadillac 16 (purchased early) zoomed past us doing 50 with Miss Emmerton in tow. Louie just dropped his goggles down from his forehead and stepped on the gas. I just got Louie this Lincoln K Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton and he was not going to let some girl pass him without a challenge.

He soon passed her, but it did not take her long to catch up to us in the other lane as we sped up hills and around hairpin turns. Just as we were approaching the castle, a horse-drawn milk wagon appeared around the next curve heading toward the Cadillac. She was not yielding so Louie pulled aside and dipped us down the hill toward the ocean off the road and the carriage swerved as Eleanor turned sharp behind them into the castle's drive. Louie lost it when he saw Caroline give him some raspberries. Alice just loved it all. My Caroline just hung her head in her hands.


We walked through a low bell tower and turned on the path to join the invitation line. Before us was a short drawbridge between two towers. We were amazed to see the great tub of a man with his Nellie and not some trollop of the week. Taft was never that picky and over the years we all were afraid we had seen more of him than we ever wanted. Some sights no matter how broad the brush can never be erased from your memory...Behind us was Crane; I caught him appreciating the bell. He was talking to Colonel House. I began second-guessing our choice to come as I scanned the crenels above for archers.

Eleanor in pants and Emmerton in skirts were just entering the great door. As Emmerton crossed the door she gave Louie the raspberries once more. Louie was hopping with rage. Caroline just put her arm around Louie and smiled at him as we advanced in line. She kissed him on the cheek and he just melted and smiled. She rubbed him on his head and then grabbed my arm and snuggled in and smiled.

We walked through the door and were met by one of the toughs from Lynn. He was checking the invitations. He read ours and handed them to a flop who went before us. We circled down the granite stairs for a few turns. With Crane and House on our heels, I expected the stairs to lead down to some dungeon in which we would be chained up on the walls. Later we learned, the dungeon was up in the tower and not below. Complete with a medieval cage suspended at the top of the stairs that would hold Hammond's guest that dropped food or liquor on his tiles in the dining room.

Upon the bottom step, we paused as the flop in a voice that sounded like escaping nitrous introduced us, each in turn. We joined the party in the great hall. One could imagine King Richard entertaining his lords in this hall, replete with bastard swords and men in armor. To our left was a grand Hammond organ with Hector Morneau playing for the night. Rumor had it that John had the towers built to hide the massive pipes needed for the organ. Alice's retort was she had heard his organ was not that big. Louie inquired if she knew first hand; I kicked him as Alice with her left hand out answered, "First and last," as she then held out her right. She laughed and claimed she was only kidding, but she winked at Louie just to confuse him more.

I was brought back to my last alias, Edward Francis Searle. As an immortal you have to switch identities on occasion. I had an organ built as big in Methuen. I was keen to give Morneau a bathroom break and tickle the ivories. This time around I was using my original name once more. A great great grandson of sorts of myself from Roslyn through Nova Scotia. It was a relief to be known to the world as Henry Sinclair once more. Also to have one name to worry about...Well, at least for another 60 years.

John Jr. came up and shook hands with Nikola with great aplomb. Nikola faked a smile and asked about Irene. Speak of the devil, she just walked up with a glass of champagne in one hand and her other on the arm of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. "Nikola, I always wanted to meet you," Arthur had said as he excused himself from Irene to shake Nikola's hand.

"I have admired your Sherlock, for years; especially The Sign of the Four."

"I myself am enjoying these new hard-boiled American writers; Dashiell Hammett, his Continental Op…"

"I see you released your Complete Sherlock Holmes and another volume of short stories. I do think Sayers does rival your Christie."

"Too right, she is wonderful, and has a better pair of gams than the old bird," replies Arthur with a sly wink, "Though I must say that this new character, The Saint is my favorite."

"He is one of my favorites too…"


To my right, I noticed a small, wiry, and unattractive man, with a beard and short hair that stuck up, but he stood out apart from the crowd. The crowd moved past him as comets sense the displacement of space around a nearby planet, he was observing the spectacle. Not really part of it, but it was hard to ignore his presence. A man set apart from time, not much different from myself. I walked over and introduced myself.

"Quartermain, Alan Quartermain. May I have your acquaintance?" asked the man with an English accent affected by some Afrikaan twinges.

"Henry," I said shaking his hand, "I enjoy watching people like fish in a fishbowl as well. Or maybe you're looking for someone?"

"Aren't we all looking for someone?"

With that Caroline found me and gave me a smile, "Luckily I found her years ago. Caroline, this is Alan."

"Nice to meet you. Are you looking forward to the show put on by Doyle and I fear Margery?"

"I do believe in Doyle's integrity, I have dabbled with taduki and have been led through the journey of my own past lives, but I do believe Margery was brought in to lead the vice which follows the séance," says Alan, "I don't personally believe she will be emitting ectoplasm, but I can promise somebody or a few people are destined to make her wet."

"Now you seem a simple quiet man," I asked, "What brings you into this crowd?"

"Oh I met the Hammonds in Africa," Alan answered, "In fact, I was touring with Samuel when we came about the Transvaal as Senior and Rhodes were about to be strung up. He is as quick to action as his whit!"

"But, you do not seem to be part of the dog and pony show," Caroline added.

"How can a world be good in which Money is the moving power, and Self-interest the guiding star? The wonder is not that it is so bad, but that there should be any good left in it. I like to keep around these people; it helps me when I find the most hackneyed common person to find joy in the banality of the simple acts of the common man. It refreshes my hopes in the world."

A man bumped into me and kept walking; I only caught a glimpse of a dark soul with thick shoulder-length hair in a Baltimore suit before he slipped into the crowd. I checked my pocket for my watch, but instead had found something was added and not subtracted.

From the other room came a booming voice.

We walked up the great stairs through the first door, the other smaller door was a protective measure to keep men in armor from entering. Over the main entrance, which would have let in a troop of Stoned Elephants, there was a broad tapestry panel with a knight rescuing a lady who was attached to a tree and didn't have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed his vizor back to be sociable, and he was toying with the knots and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, Caroline would sooner or later have me climb up there and slap him while she went up and freed her. He didn't seem to be really trying...

As we made it halfway up the stairs there was a flash of lightning and a boom of thunder with John Hammond Jr. bellowing on top. A fog floated from his feet. Steam bellowed below him off the shallow pool. "Join us for a night visiting beyond the veil!" With that, he jumped into the pool, tails and all. Many shouted fearing the pool was not deep enough. John popped out of the pool closest to us in only his bathing suit (we were lucky since he was known to come up in the buff at times...) "I introduce Sir Conan Doyle and Marie Steiner."

Marie was on Doyle's arm as he introduced her from the balcony, "I welcome you to tonight's festivities," he paused as one of Tesla's coils emitted another spark.

"There is no end to Hammond appropriating my inventions..." Nikola complained as he took a sip of his drink.

"Marie Steiner is the widow of Rudolph Steiner, Member of the OTO, and heir to Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical Society," Doyle continued with mustache raised high in the air with his free hand waving in the air.

I knew some of Theosophy from Clemens who was a member and friend of Blavatsky. Marie had just released her husband's autobiography and you could say this was the beginning of her book tour.

"Hello, my friends! We will open the veils together and peer into the other side!" Marie went on with great aplomb with the finest elocution. Margery just turned her head and I noticed she was now flirting with the dark man who bumped into me earlier.

Then I noticed Hammond holding up a woman who looked quite doped. On her other shoulder was the Lynn tough who took our invitations. Most likely a worker from Irene's x-husband's shoe company. Hammond left her in the shoe worker's hands.



"This evening on the solstice, we will call on those souls you have lost, whom remained in your hearts will come forward to bring you comfort and ease," Marie continued with much grace and dignity as she grabbed the railing as Doyle released her most carefully. "Then we will call up a great entity of the past who has had many lives and infinite names!" Doyle then helped her to a throne that appeared within the next blast from the coils. She took a seat as lights illuminated her from below. Doyle went down the stairs and passed the dining room to join Margery and the dark man. This mysterious person, was looking a bit more familiar. Someone from my past. With that I looked at the item I found in my pocket once more.

The lights dimmed leaving the surface of the pool illuminated with its steam rising and Marie above as she began chanting in a foreign tongue. The coils now discharged irregularly lighting up the courtyard and as quickly bringing us back into the shadows. Within those blasts I looked around and saw Taft eyeing up Margery as Nellie was watching Marie, Coolidge looking toward the dining room with his usual pickled face, Greta Garbo was on Hammond's arm, David Sarnoff and Guglielmo Marconi (Hammond's partners in RCA) were pointing at Nikola's coils, Hearst could be seen in the dining room pointing at the tiles he gave as a gift to the Hammonds on the ceiling from his estate, and Quartermain was set apart watching past the stairs. Watching everything, but Marie.

Alan's attention was only broken for a moment as Rudyard Kipling handed him a port. Kipling began to watch intensely as Alan.

Crane seemed to be missing from the group. Maybe he was checking on his bootlegged supplies for the night.

Marie went on and called out in numerous voices calling on loved ones. Some souls who had died in the great war, one son called to his mom who had died in a trolley accident saving two children, one man came through to tell his wife to shut up long enough to be able to speak his mind once in their marriage, but the biggest surprise was when Houdini called on Doyle.


The two had a parting during the Scientific American contest after Doyle's wife contacted Houdini's mother and spoke in clear English when his mother spoke with a broken Hungarian accent. It didn't matter that Doyle's wife spoke the truth, but sometimes the truth hurts and Houdini in the papers called his wife a fraud. Houdini only said one word from the grave, "Sorry." Doyle was with Kipling and Quartermain at the time.

With a loud outburst, Greta Garbo laughed and dropped her absinthe. Little did we know that more than the green fairy had grabbed her spirit that night. Crane was walking out of the dining room with Hearst.

Marie's eyes rolled back in her head. Silver emanations floated in the light around her as the coils lit with fierce intensity. It began to drizzle in the room as the fog grew. A wind picked up. Some of the planted palms blew over. Thunder broke. An ozone blue flashed in front of Marie. It spread open and sparked neon magenta and opened a violet hole with a dark center which blocked us completely from seeing our medium. It danced away from her throne over the pool like a will-o'-wisp. An unearthly sound, a sound almost inaudible for we have no context to perceive it though it raised goosebumps and ran down our spines like nails on a chalkboard. A retching sound that produced its physical counterpart, which many blamed on the bootleg spirits. A scream came from in front of the pool and the portal snapped closed and the room went silent and still.


Doyle had been running up the stairs to Marie as the portal appeared and grabbed her before she staggered and fainted over the railing into the pool.

Alan was watching from the dining room, that Crane and Hearst had left from, with the best view of the scene. I noticed the dark stranger was standing next to me, I nodded to acknowledge what was written on the paper he had slipped into my pocket. He then disappeared into the crowd.

The crowd slowly began coming out of their silence. The caterers were intermingling into the crowd passing out appetizers and high balls. It seemed Louie knew each and everyone and filled his napkin full with each passing person. I think he knew this routine, he had stationed himself next to a tray stand to place the high balls glasses and used napkins on like one of Ford's assembly lines. The cobbler followed the woman who once was in a daze in front of the pool as she stormed out of the courtyard through the small door like Cleopatra leading Mark Anthony.

I had seen Taft excuse himself from Nellie and follow Hammond who was talking to Crane now. Nellie then walked over to Louie, noticing he was receiving the bounty of tonight's affair. Soon enough they were toasting each other over high balls and stuffing their faces with prime rib on crostini with crème de' Fraiche.

Doyle was heading Marie down the stairs after she recuperated and was met by Alan at the bottom. Alan followed them till they went inside the dining room, then he walked back up the stairs to the balcony. My friend Teddy would have admired him. A truly bully man. Both enjoyed the big game that Africa delivered them. Teddy was never a great shot, but Alan was repudiated on three continents as just the opposite. Some say he might have bested my old friend the La Longue Carabine.

From the great hall a great bellow came out of what could only be a stout English man doing his best Henry VIII, "Gather round! Gather round! The festivities and debauchery will begin!" spreading out from behind him was the cast of Ziegfeld's Three Musketeers. With his hands in the air Joseph Macauley, Vivienne Osborne, Detmar Poppen, and the rest of the ensemble walked past Louis Hector. As they entered the crowd they found their paramour for the night and spread out throughout the courtyard and up on the balconies into the bed chambers. Many reached the courtyard without a stitch of clothing on.

Doyle found Hector. "My sir, you are what I always thought of Sherlock in my head. Your delivery and bearing are just like my old teacher Dr. Bell."

"Thank you, that means a lot. Do you think I should apply a little more humor? How much should I play up his weaknesses…"

The play had just let out from the Boston Theater that was built by John Wilkes Booth's brother who had a mansion up the coast in Manchester-by-the-Sea. The Booths were friends with presidents and Edgar Allan Poe. Edwin's success even outshined John's infamy after Lincoln's disappearance. Hammond over the years would host many parties whenever a new play came to town replete with their cast down to every chorus girl or boy.

Emmerton and Eleanor looked at each other and let out a joyful glee as they grabbed their straps from their shoulders and just let their unseasonable summer dresses just fall off as Margery and Miss Osbourne took each one of them by the arm. Caroline just covered her face with her hand and buried her head into my shoulder. I looked over at Louie and Nellie; they were oblivious in conversation, drinks, and snacks.

Alan was leaning into the balcony, as revelers brushed past him from behind—like a ghost. Then the man in the Baltimore coat stopped to confer with him before moving on once more.

Taft was already standing in the nude yelling 'yahoo' once more. I need to learn to stop coming to affairs where Taft attends. Each time his image burns a bigger hole into my mind.

Crane was walking Greta Garbo over to him as his grin became ravenous. The flop was leading Coolidge up the spiral stone stairs where I had seen the cobbler and the hop head go through after leaving the courtyard.

Alice then led Nikola off as he looked to me to save him.


I and Caroline walked through the dining room down the stairs to the circular War Room. The note in my pocket asked for me to meet the dark man there at midnight.

Below we found Dupin, the detective created and played by Poe after his death. Poe and I were part of the Treasury Department which protected presidents. Poe continued as Dupin through Black Friday preventing Gould and Fisk from assassinating Grant after he foiled their gold plans. After suffering from a gunshot from Fisk, Poe passed on his role to Henry Grattan Donnelly, author, and playwright from Baltimore. Boss Tweed was behind Gould and Fisk's plans which were foiled by Poe and had Garfield assassinated. Donnelly pushed


on and working with the illustrator Remington brought Tweed's reign to an end. At this current time, John Knight Waters was wearing the Baltimore coat. Each one of them was commonly known as the Poe toaster who arrives at Poe's gravesite on the day of Poe's death and Dupin's birth. All who followed Poe were sad to say, poetaster...

Waters was a friend of General Patton's. He just took leave from George Peabody's John Hopkins University in Baltimore to become Dupin. This was my first meeting with him. I knew of the name on the letter, but I didn't recognize the personage within the famous Baltimore coat. I haven't seen Donnelly since after McKinley's death and Teddy's rise. I had lost track of the secret agency and Dupin for years till this night.

In this castle were two presidents. One was stepping down in March and another was Supreme Justice.


Dupin said in a whisper, “Keep this to yourself…,” which reverberated from the spot I had my back against the wall back to where Caroline was watching the stairs.

“Shhhh! you are carrying up the stairs.”

“How!” Dupin was heard up in the dining room.

“The dome ceiling in a round room plays tricks with sound,” answered Caroline.

So we walked into the basement kitchen and found Nellie sitting up on the counter and Louie feeding her appetizers straight from the oven his cousin was placing on the counter for them. “You know my wife is named Nellie too..,” Louie was saying, “She loves these pigs in the blanket too. She hides them from the kids. Bless her heart.”

Nellie was laughing as Louie gave her another.

“Louie, can you too give us some privacy?” I asked.

At that moment Louie’s cousin came back and he waved him on through the War Room where Nellie was in the lead.

“OK, Quartermain had just come back from Rhodesia where Rhodes’ concerns dug up a Qliphoth stone. The Hammonds had snuck it in the country and presented it to Mrs. Steiner before her séance,” explained Dupin, “That ozone blast in front of her was Yog-Sothoth entering our dimension which settled into the hop head Hammond swam to. Maybe it was Carter returning...”

“I think I heard a scream from somewhere else?” Caroline mentioned.

“I seemed to be upon the verge of comprehension, without the power to comprehend as men, at a time, find themselves on the brink of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember,” Dupin said scratching his head, “There was something else. Either way, Crane is working with the Hammonds to control Silent Cal to stay in line with his distant cousins to protect their bananas and lead the world with the right-wing hardliners and consolidate the link between Stalin, Mussolini, and some strange little man in Germany. Coolidge’s depression will flip Germany into the Brown Shirts’ hands as they fall out of industrial growth. Crane is linking Rhodes’ Round Table with the concerns of the Council of Foreign Relations to support Stalin’s five-year plan and genocide in Ukraine. Through Mussolini they will control north Africa through that little emperor in Ethiopia and Hammond with Rhodes will control southern Africa. Also, the fat Italian is weakening the Pope’s control of what remains of the Holy Roman Empire after Germany left. With Stalin, they gain eastern Europe and Mussolini is hoping the guy with the funny mustache will merge the empire back over Europe. Rhodes and Hammond are working with Morgan and the Rothschild’s to continue England’s rule of our nation through the Northern Confederacy.”

The agency had little belief in the Alien Generation as I had. So I didn’t go into it with him. I believe that Cromwell’s little roundheads aliens with their bowl cuts have cycled through American generations infesting bodies before human souls can occupy them. Some call them walk-ins. Well, at least white Anglo-Saxon Protestants…. As the generation was dying off they planted seeds of WWI for them to be born in time to fight our future world war which I fear this depression will lead to. They have been controlling our world to mine conductive metals and gems that can concentrate beams of light.

Ever wonder why the major currencies in the world all conducted metal before we learned to use electricity….

Yog-Sothoth was one of their leaders who controls things on the ground here over the centuries. He must think the timing is ripe to destabilize the world once more. Our visitor to Salem over the years has tried to warn us of his coming and the Alien Generation’s return in his book Call of Cthulhu.

“So, which one do you think they are after?” I asked.

“I am not sure?” Dupin said scratching his head, “Coolidge only has months left in office, but Taft could be on the bench for years. We have been watching both of them. Now I need to be back mingling in the crowd as Alan keeps an eye from the magdala.”

With that, he left up the stairs in a hurry. I was thinking of bringing Caroline down to the rock cliffs below the castle and spending some time under the moon and her, but that would have to wait.


As we went back up, everyone was running around searching for any clothes they can grab to cover themselves as they escaped out of the castle. They had found the flop dead on the circular stairs. The hophead was missing. They found a green-handled knife that looked like a limp penis with a flat keen edge at the end.

Dupin was standing there with the knife in a handkerchief. Doyle was there conferencing with him.

“..and into this bizarrerie, as into all his others, I quietly fell; giving myself up to his wild whims with a perfect abandon,” Dupin said looking down at the body.

“I was trying to abandon myself into the festivities between these fair mounds holding a pile of cherries,” Doyle said, “OH WELL, now down to the crime.”

“Who is this?” Dupin asks one of Louie’s cousins who found him that was holding a tray in which Louie was eating off.

“He is, was Guy Pierce. He was John’s houseboy and lover; well Irene’s too…” the caterer answered.

“Lover’s spat between the couple?” Dupin asked.

“No, he was just a toy,” the man answered as Louie waved him on to fill the tray again.

“Louie, you mind if he finishes questioning him first?” I asked.

“OK, but I am getting hungry,” with that Louie was heading back to the kitchen, but paused, “The problem with putting two and two together is that sometimes you get four, and sometimes you get twenty-two.”


Heading down the back stairs to the Great Hall I led Caroline back up to the pool room and saw Alan still watching from above. It was not till then did I see him shift his duster to see his two-part rifle hidden within.

It was then I met Greta. She had walked in between me and Caroline. I tried to move to Caroline’s side so I can make eye contact with both of them as Greta began her conversation.

“My you are a fine man; why didn’t you find me in a dark corner?” Great had asked as she ran a hand up my arm. A strange shock ran up my arm as I lost my vision for a you feel when you stand up too quickly. I nudged my way closer to Caroline. Caroline just took a Greek tart from a passing tray and just watched me squirm. She knew Greta was fighting a losing battle, but she liked busting my balls from time to time. “What is your name Sir Fucks a’ Lot…” she said fondling and leaning against the suit of armor against the wall. Caroline then grabbed a baby lamb chop like she was eating popcorn watching a movie.

I excused myself quickly as I wrapped my arm around Caroline and led her to meet Alan.

“What have you seen?” Caroline asked.

“My lady, that Greta has been acting weird. Taft and Coolidge have been missing from the crowd for a while. Dupin has seen them from time to time. Taft is still running in the buff and I hear Cal is still in spats and boxers. We have a few agents who snuck in with the ensemble who have been keeping a constant eye on each.”

“Which one do you think Yog-Sothoth will try to occupy?” I inquire.

“We look for the one whose mind was carefully drilled and educated out of any originality or self-resource that nature may have endowed them with,” answered the small wiry man.

“You sure Yale or Harvard didn’t do that to them already?” I ask as Alan laughs and Caroline shakes her head.

“Could she have been the one who yelled right before Marie went into her trance,” Caroline exclaimed.

“Yog-Sothoth does tend to bring a lieutenant with him. A Shoggoth,” I added, “Also for a time I have been hearing stories of the Dark Man has returned, his scout then shapes the world for his coming. The same man who got the girls in Salem to accuse the innocent in the village.”


“Whose body do you think he took over?” Alan asked.

“I have my ideas. He is probably here tonight; maybe Hearst, House, or Crane. I don’t think Hammond, his passions are way too unstable and he loves an audience. He could never stay behind the curtains,” I poised.

It was then Louie came back and I asked him if he knew anything of the murder.

“We didn’t come here to stay sober. You want me to think straight?” he said as he leaned his head on Caroline’s shoulder and she patted his head.

“Any luck in finding who stabbed him?” asked Alan.

He scratched the back of his neck and said, “Somebody with a knife.”

“How are you feeling Louie,” Caroline asked as she continued rubbing his head.

“Terrible. I must be getting sober,” he answered.

“You always have a very smooth explanation ready…” I mentioned.

“What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?” he said as he closed his eyes and enjoyed Caroline’s patting.

“Did your cousins hear anything while passing appetizers?” I said lifting his chin.

He opened his eyes to a slit and smiled, “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter. Or is that platter; I’m hungry, where are one of them and their platter.”

“Come on Louie, wake up!” I said lifting his chin higher.

“I once knew a man who stole a Ferris Wheel…” Louie chimed in.

“Louie, we know you know more. Just open one little eye and tell us what it had seen about this mystery.” Caroline pleaded.

“Listen, darling, tomorrow I’ll buy you a whole lot of detective stories, but don’t worry your pretty little head over mysteries tonight,” Louie said with a smile as his eye joined the other one shut. Caroline just dropped his head.

Louie said as he stumbled away, “My way of learning is to heave a wild and unpredictable monkey-wrench into the machinery.”


I started walking about. Many have ventured into the castle again and forgotten about the blood. Most were naked once more. From 30 feet away most of the women looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away they looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away. That’s actresses for you...The castle was as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars. I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was my cane, Ticker, and a ball of this new double bubble. I went on chewing and went out of the room.

The castle seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in. I saw Greta again and she gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket. I moved on quicker since Caroline was not around to protect me. Then she gave Taft a look that ought to have stuck at least four inches out of his back. I looked up at Alan and he nodded.

It was getting late and waiters lifted their platters to the tables as they dropped their trousers. Many of Louie’s cousins look like they had been shaking two nickels together for a month, trying to get them to mate, but these women tonight were not looking for a two-story house with a white picket fence and a car in the garage tonight. Maybe they wanted their car in their garage at least.

Mostly I was just killing time; it was dying hard. I was playing it smooth, but I think playing it like a waffle iron would do more good. Time passed again. I don’t know how long. Ticker was taking a siesta. They don’t make that kind of time in watches anyway.

Then I had seen her. She was the music heard faintly on the edge of sound. Cal was still there in his spats. He turned and walked across the floor and out. I watched him leave the courtyard. I listened to his steps going away down the marble stairs. After a while they got faint, then they got silent—Cal silent. I kept on listening anyway. She followed with the cobbler.

Dupin followed through the arch down the steps.

It was then I had seen Kipling through the arches by himself. He looked up and smiled. I sat by his side. “I see you know my friend Alan?”

“I just gained the pleasure of his acquaintance tonight.”


“Have you figured out where the snakes are in the garden tonight?”

“I have my ideas, Alan is watching one and Dupin the other.”

“What about the third Alan was mentioning?”

“The problem tis the third is in the three.”

“I heard someone earlier complain about the difference between 4 and 22 earlier.”

“Which is easier than finding out the meaning in 42…”

“Though what is the better question?”

“Did you spend time with the Rabbis and Sufis?

“What is the better question?”

“Well Col. House is getting older, but he still shapes some corners of world affairs through men in Congress like Alice’s husband as the Speaker of the House.”

“His world is passing. Whose world is hatching?”

“Well Crane’s hatched as House’s was at its climax; as Indra had learned when he saw the ants in his palace, from your pinnacle you can only go down.”

“Yes, who is your third of three?”


“When was his climax?”

“He beat the drum Teddy wanted so he could charge up San Juan Hill with Keno; both have passed many years since.”

“So who is walking with the Dark Man then?”

“I would say 42 is stitched in Crane’s underwear. We can look under the stall and check when he goes and uses one of his family crappers…”

“That a boy. Now for which of the presidents, if not both, are they after tonight,” Kipling said before pausing, “In my tale in Afghanistan, a man enters the kingdom and poses as a god. The jig is up when a pretty woman thought she would burst into flames touching a god, so she goes for the last act of defiance and bites him to find out that he is no god as he bleeds down his cheek. Not sure if it helps, but I have realized in my old age random nonsense I say...sometimes others find the greatest wisdom within. Who am I to disagree?”


I began to follow Irene and Hammond out of the Great Hall down the stairs to the back lawn, as I made it to the first landing I was hit from behind. The stars vanished from the sky as I was looking up and I fell.

I woke up with my face in a cow pie. Somehow I was transferred to the back of the Essex Aggie. I heard the strangest Moo I ever did hear. It actually sounded like, “Mooove over. We need to get by.”

The cow was quite angry. Sad to say it was a bull and I was wearing red. “Move over please, we need to get down to the cows.”


“Well, I and my protege here are heading down the hill to satisfy the lot,” said the eldest bull.

“Excuse me,” I said.

“Well it is like the old adage, my boy here suggested that we run down and screw that ye lass in the distance; where I said with my wisdom and all, ‘No me boy we walk down and screw them all.’ Though at this moment you are blocking our walk.”

“I mean you are talking,” I stammered.

“What you thought we were just a walking T-bone? Maybe you felt I was like that kid in the Ginger Bread House sticking his thumb out every day for the witch to see if I was fat enough for the oven.”

“You mean bone?” I asked looking up from my pile of cow shit.

“No, not Hansel! The kid she ate the week before,”

“That is sick!”

“But, it is OK to herd us behind these fences, skin us, split us in half, and string us up on some giant meat hook; that is fine. To herd us around for a few years and fatten us up and throw us on the old barbecue.”

“Well, that is how it has been …”

“So it is fine? Just last week I saw you eat my sister and—You Think That is Fine!”


The next thing I noticed was a UFO hovered above. A beam was emitted from its bottom above the girls’ dorm. A hole opened in its roof and the girls began to float in the light into the ship. In the glow, I noticed a book next to the cow pie. It read, How to Serve Man. Then I read the subtitle: in four courses. “That is disgusting!”

“Why! You don’t like being herded behind fences, skinned, split in half, and strung us up on some giant meat hook by some smarter race of beings? Why you think all those hipsters were sent down here for?”

As he was talking I began to float toward the light with the girls with the cow shit dripping from my face. “Help me!”

“Did you help my sister before she went to the Danvers slaughterhouse on Endicott Street?” The bull said with the young one nodded in agreement, “I think I see part of her thigh right now stuck in between your teeth.”

As I was being sucked into the ship where I could hear the yells of the girls followed by numerous bits of silence, I looked back to see Harvey the Pookah in his usual six-foot rabbit guise, but this time he had the largest rack of horns on his head.

I woke up to find Louie holding my face off the ground. One of my eyes opened up and squinted at him, “Are your cousins serving a vegetarian entree?”


Louie had followed me out and seen the cobbler hit me over the head and follow the Hammonds to the rocks.

“By the way, the Cobbler that clobbered you...”


“He killed the flop,” Louie answered over his shoulder as he went down the stairs onto the lawn, “One of my cousins was walking down the stairs with a tray of shrimp when he rounded on them; he just sat there, had a few himself, and stepped over the body after the cobbler left.”


Louie didn’t answer, he just disappeared into the night.

The Hammonds were long gone, so I decided to head back into the castle.

Caroline had seen me walk back in holding my head and took a look. “Are you OK?”

“Yeah, it will heal, but I could use a kiss?”

She kissed me on the head and pulled me in tight.

“So have you seen any of the presidents?”

“Taft is in the pool with a few trying to straighten out his Longfellow and another bunch holding up his belly.”

“Is Greta still with him?”

“Yes, but they have not been anywhere private yet,” Caroline paused and hung her head, “For god sakes, I wish he would find somewhere private…He is enjoying the attention too much.”

We walked back into the courtyard. Alan shifted to the other balcony above the European storefronts. Hearst and Crane walked out with Col. House from the dining room. Hearst probably showing off his panels again. Crane looked at Greta in the pool and she smiled back seductively. Most of the cast from The Three Musketeers was in the pool with them.

“One for all, all!” yelled Taft as the ensemble pawed over him.

Dupin was walking back with a dressed Coolidge. The hophead followed close with Irene with her arm around her hip. Kipling was sharing a plater of shrimp with Louie.

All of a sudden, Greta had wrapped her hand up my leg from the pool’s edge.

Caroline just stepped on her head and dunked her and strolled off with me without skipping a beat.


As the Witching Hour was tolling 3, staff, cast, and guests were sneaking off for more private dark corners in the castle and beyond. Everyone was leaving the pool. Taft was followed by a mob as he exited. Most of them had donned dark robes that hid their faces. Another Bohemian Grove thing I assume. A resort for actors that the Illuminati took over.

Alan followed Taft since Dupin was not seen for a while.

Cal was sitting on the bench with the organist in the Great Hall. The hophead held out her hand and the president followed her out. I and Caroline followed them as they joined a group heading for a more discreet location. Caroline noticed Crane following behind us, alone.

Then we saw Tesla running up the stairs. He had been missing for a while.

“Where have you been?” I asked.

“Well, I had a little talk with Sarnoff and Marconi, they kept going on with their radio patents they secured with Junior,” Tesla said just a little miffed, “My patents! They just expired last year. They went on about Junior’s radio control boat in the harbor they’ve been scaring the local fishermen with—my idea! The money they are making at my expense. I...think Edison taught him a thing or two more than engineering!”

“You didn’t do anything…” Caroline asked softly.

“I decked them both and tossed them in the ocean next to the boat,” Tesla said smiling with a straight back checking his cufflinks, “Anything happened since I was gone?”

We caught up with the President, we both decided we had seen the Superior Court Justice enough in the buff for three lifetimes, Alan or Dupin could handle it. When the hophead looked back, Caroline leaned in deep for a kiss and I began to move my hands about. She just took him a little further into an alcove. We at least knew for sure one of the creatures from beyond had entered her. The two of us had to make sure she didn’t transfer her intelligence into her as Asenath Waite did to her husband Edward Derby in the Crowninshield-Bentley House leaving him locked in the attic stuck in her body.

Not a far-flung premise. I remember in Don Stuart’s tale Who Goes There? of an entity that could replace your cells one at a time until they stand there as your exact replicant. Though that was not written for another ten years, some believed Admiral Byrd at the time of our tale did in fact visit Antarctica and found the alien which would inspire that future tale. Did he come back as himself? Did he encounter the world within the hollow Earth that Poe wrote about? A mysterious lost high civilization. One higher and more advanced than our own. Could this civilization have been pushed into another dimension, only now trying to return? Or do some of this race walk amongst us now?

Would Cal leave this night as himself?

We heard Coolidge yell like a frightened schoolgirl. We rushed into the next alcove. I had my sword out of the cane. Caroline had her small butterfly swords removed from her thighs from under her split pleated skirt. The hophead left Cal cowering on his knees once she sensed our approach, she turned to attack without seeing us. She sliced with these long extended sharpened fingers through the air, narrowly missing me. She extended up from her waist growing to a mere seven feet in height with an amazing reach as she swirled and sliced me across the shoulder blades shredding my jacket.

I rolled forward and Caroline sliced her on the nose as she struck again toward me. The monster fell back with a gurgle that sounded like a lion drowning as played on one of Edison’s sound rolls backward. A sound reminiscent of nature fighting the birth of an unsanctioned vacuum within its realms. Its arms extended in length from under her sleeveless black slinky evening gown, now resting just an inch from indecency that once skirted the floor. Her arms struck like tentacles snapping out and back as her leg swooped out long and forward tripping me up as I recovered. Caroline jumped over her leg and sliced open her stomach and hacked into her shoulder with the other sword. The monster recoiled and hit a man in armor, denting it before it collapsed.

I had rolled onto Coolidge. Now I was recovering my stance. I stood and the berserk was on. My back cracked. My eyes saw red. My speech was lost as time slowed. I assessed our situation. The beast struck over Caroline’s head as one sword parried above as the other readied herself to roll sideways. Up again, Caroline sliced twice into the monster’s back. More howling from the vacuum from beyond time and space. I ran in. As I approached I shifted my left hip to the side letting her strike to go beyond and I struck before she could plant her foot. I caught her unbalanced and had control of several creases in her posture which I manipulated resulting in her crash to the floor as I came down with my sword to strike through her neck. Her head was removed, but she fought on like an intelligent chicken. This green knight just kept up its vigilance long after it lost its brain from above its shoulders.

It was then sparks erupted from the air. Ozone tickled my nose. A sharp tentacle had struck up and was an inch from my juggler when it was vanquished within violet and electric blue blasts. Tesla had snuck up with a wire from some apparatus attached to one of his coils.

“Are you three safe?” Nikola asked.

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Years ago, as I and Hammond were carrying out one of our many psychic experiments lifting the veil from our dimension, we stumbled on some amorphous glowing critters that we fought to focus on, for they were here and not here. They had killed one of his lab attendants when I thought of throwing this same wire at it. Luckily, the thing you had fought was from the same dimension with its own laws that remained consistent to that previous night.” Nikola answered as he wiped his brow dropping his wire as rested on one knee.

“What was that I had seen!” Silent Cal yelled.

“Not sure,” I answered.

“One of two entities that came through tonight,” Dupin answered as he materialized out of the silk of the night.

“Sorry I was delayed with an altercation with that Lynn cobbler,” Augustus Dupin said within the Baltimore coat, “I caught him burning something in the fire above, I only received a portion of the letter in the flop’s hand.”

“What had that to do with anything,” Caroline asked.

“Nikola, can you control the coils above to strike these monsters on command?” Dupin asked knowingly.

“Yes, they…” Nikola answered before being cut off.

“Are they not a scaled prototype of your death ray?” Dupin stated knowing the answer already.

“Yes, I should have no one besides Hammond preventing me from going forward to the controls.”

“Good, I will have Alan place his sights on him and have Kipling nearby to trip him if needed to ensure you access to your toy.”

“Dupin, what is going on,” Coolidge demanded.

“Mr. President, we feared you or Taft were going to be possessed by entities from beyond our world tonight.”

“That is absurd. Entities, demons, and devils; what hogwash!” retorted the president.

“Did you not see the woman that attacked you?” asked Caroline.

“That attractive woman who lies dead before you,’” Coolidge said amazed in disgust, “That you two almost sliced in half? What a shame to see such beauty lie there now in gore.” Sometimes our brains protect us from madness and allow us only to see enough of what we need to see to keep us from going mad. I have heard others call this reaction, ‘somebody else’s problem’.

We left the president’s complaints about us as we left him to Dupin.

Now, which entity was that? Was that the shoggoth or a more dangerous entity? I was hoping that was the stronger of the two...Were there actually two that came forward during Marie’s séance? Now that one was gone, would the other still go after Taft or recoil back to attack Coolidge once more? Was there another entity?

Dupin decided to bring Coolidge to his carriage. We exited through the door at the bottom of the driveway on the opposite end of the castle from the courtyard. There we found Louie talking to Coolidge’s driver. Dupin ordered him to drive Coolidge away. From the arches overlooking the sea, the cobbler came charging with many other drivers stationed to Hearst, Crane, House, and others. Eleanor and Emmerton just appeared from the bell tower. Louie went to push Coolidge’s driver aside, but these two femme fatales just laughed and pushed him aside, “We will drive him, he can stay the night behind my estate’s walls,” Eleanor offered.

“I can drive him faster,” Louie countered as the horde came in on us.

“Who ended up in a ditch earlier…” Emmerton said as she held Louie back and Eleanor took Coolidge by the shoulder and led him to her Cadillac.

They zoomed off as we were attacked. The drivers were in on us. We left our weapons sheathed and went in. Louie followed Queensbury’s rules as I and Caroline followed the rules of Kenpo. I shifted my hips and caught one of their punches that overextended when I shifted myself inside of his strike and pulled on his elbow as he hit the car. I then took my other arm and pulled down on his neck as my foot swept his. Caroline shifted and caught one strike that did not pass far from his ear with one of his feet still in the air, she just pushed him backward. Louie caught one on the chin and he went over. The Cobbler had already retreated into the castle as the others bought him time.

We followed back into the Castle. The Cobbler stumbled over the concrete step that blocked the corridor from the Great Hall. He fell next to the organ player. The organist ran off on a sour note. We almost caught up with him, but he was up quick and off. On the stairs were Hearst, House, Hammond, and Crane. Crane motioned them on and waited for the Cobbler before he followed. We caught up with them as they ran into the dining room and went down the stairs to the War Room.

Down we went and passed through the kitchen to the laboratories beyond under the Great Hall. There we burst upon another of Taft’s Illuminati rituals in which he got to stand in the center of a throng of naked women once more in the buff. The dark robes had been abandoned. We entered in on a low murmur of a chant that was rising. From the concentric circles of women rounding on the president appeared Greta. She was closing into a receiving Taft. As the chant increased and Greta closed, a shot resounded out and hit her. She fell back and smiled. Alan let another off that hit her between the eyes. She only looked up at him and smiled.

In her place appeared 13 globes with eyes in the middle held together by 26 tentacles that sliced the air between the dimensions. Nikola was not in sight. I looked about and saw some apparatus that resembled his coils. One of which could be used as his death ray, but which? How?

Roaring with unearthly sounds the tentacles went out. Alan threw some more led within her gelatinous being which just got absorbed. The monster had sliced through many of the ritual’s participants. The rest stormed past us. Taft stood dumbfounded. Lucky the globes blocked our view of him from below the waist. Crane remained, but his compatriots fled with the rest.

Kipling appeared from behind and walked forward. He held one hand on his forehead and the other touched his heart and swooped down to his side pointing out in front of him at the ground.


The entity blinked and then imploded through a singularity.

In its place appeared Greta once more which had swooned.

Crane moaned and slashed past Kipling which he threw into me and Caroline. Alan and Dupin gave chase back through the kitchen and up the stairs. We got to the top to see our two friends chase him into the courtyard. The courtyard was raining as Crane ran toward the steps to the Great Hall.

A spark lit out through the wet air and struck Crane down. We saw Crane split in two sideways. Two complete beings mirroring each other. The one became translucent and transformed into something akin to a Baphomet. It smiled and disappeared after presenting us with a Welsh wave with the back of the hand holding up two fingers. Crane fell to the ground and looked up and smiled like a helpless boy in short pants. Nikola had struck him down with his ray. Dupin and Alan held him up.

Caroline and I went back to check on Taft. We found him being scolded by Nellie who was having Louie feed her. Taft picked up one of the caterer’s aprons that barely covered the important parts.

“Louie, what have you been up to?” I asked.

“Solving the murder.”

“What murder?”

“The Flops,” he said as Nellie was pushing food in his mouth.

“The Flops?”

“Yes, the Flops!” Louie said who was quite drunk by now, “Kipling, was he not working with you?”

“Yes, how did you know?” Kipling asked.

“My cousin saw you talking to him as they were setting up the event,” Louie explained, “You asked him to find the correspondence that Hammond wanted to send to Stalin through Marconi with his encrypted radio in the basement. Sarnoff had just delivered the signal extender this evening to empower him to message when Taft and Coolidge were possessed. The Flop was a spy Dupin had placed within the Hammond household to gather pillow talk from the Hammonds, but he got into an affair with the cobbler. Did none of you deduct that the limp penis knife was that of a cobbler’s trade…”

“No,” Dupin said with him rubbing his head.

“Yeah, I have cobblers in the family too. My cousin had seen the cobbler kill him on the stairs in an act of passion; my cousin just swooped down, who was standing just around the corner on the stairs with a tray of shrimp and picked up the paper that had fallen out of his pocket and stepped over him to pass out the appetizers. The paper had the codes necessary to prove to Stalin the authenticity of their message. Before Hoover’s coronation, the letter was to tell of Crane’s plan to have the Boulder Damn which just passed Congress commence blown up. Once the waters were raised sufficient enough, they were going to stage a terrorist act flooding the area below and have Coolidge declaring a state of emergency with Taft nullifying Hoover’s election to keep Coolidge in the White House for an indefinite period of time to combat the threat. With that act, he would weaken our protections within and without declaring martial law as he concentrated our military force to support Russia, Ethiopia, Columbia, Italy, and Germany which would soon be planning their own terrorist acts in which they will blame the Communist for. These countries are already being run by shoggoths that have taken over a generation of bodies before human souls could enter them. In many countries, they have allowed the Outer Gods to come forth to rule these countries. A war is definitely coming, but I must say, it is not today,” with that Louie opened his mouth and Nellie dropped another shrimp in. Taft went to complain, but she just threw a shrimp upside his head. “Nobody notices the caterers.”


Nellie drove Taft back to the house they were renting in Manchester-by-the-Sea. We said our good-byes to Alan, Dupin, and Kipling. Kipling said he was off to thank Professor Wilimarth for the spell he shared with him. Dupin’s car followed Taft back to their house and was to meet a larger guard. Alan drove with Coolidge back to his residence in Amherst before catching the train back to Washington.

We found Alice. Nobody had seen her the whole night. “You guys didn’t hear anything?” she asked meekly. A common phrase we were used to her asking after the party or the next day after she sobered.

“No,” Nikola blushed.

“OK, let us get Louie to drive us home.” She said in newfound confidence as she was the first to get in the car. Nikola followed her as I and Caroline joined next.

As we were leaving Doyle appeared to wish us a good morning as the sun was breaking over the ocean. “You will inform me of what happened?” he said with confidence that we would, “I could use a new narrative for Sherlock.”

Louie handed him his card, “I will tell you the whole story. My cousins were the caterers, and nobody pays attention to them; we will invite you back to the commissary after I drop these guys off and we can finish the wine and food there from tonight and tell you.”

All of a sudden a dark little pygmy appeared from the bushes with a blowgun aimed at Doyle, Louie just drove on and hit him with his wicked left as we drove by. The pygmy went down, “What is an orgy without a midget?”

The next day in the Salem Gazette, we read about Alice being on the roof of the castle, nude, drinking from Tesla’s shoe champagne as he sat tickling her feet with a feather boa as the pygmy was dancing the can can for her.

The End