STAG : Man’s Own Magazine (Spring 1946)

The second world war is over. And out of those ashes arose a plethora of new publications, borne from the minds of civilians and veterans alike. STAG: Man’s Own Magazine (Vol 1 # 1, Spring [March] 1946) was edited by Bevis Winter, and claimed to be exclusively for “men.” The opening pages are written and signed by the editor, welcoming readers out of the hell of war to the progress of tomorrow.

Stag 1

It’s also littered with stock-photos of Hollywood actresses in various poses.

  • Page 2 – Cyd Charisse
  • Page 27 – Jean Kent
  • Page 28 – Margaret Lockwood
  • Page 32 – Marilyn Maxwell
  • Page 37 – Phyllis Calvert
  • Page 41 – Ava Gardner
  • Page 42 – Frances Rafferty
  • Page 67 – Patricia Roc

An assortment of articles aimed at men include historical male figures, sports, men’s dress code, household, automobiles, etc. Then there are the usual cartoon and comic joke-snippets interspersed by artists such as “Merlin,” Geoffrey Wadlow, and a pair of others.

The real gems are the fiction stories, most of which are supplied by quality writers.

  • Ralph L. Finn – A Dame with a Difference (pages 7-11)
    A man jaded on women finds the woman of his dreams and they romance each other to pieces but he bails out on her when marriage is brought into the equation.
  • Hervey Elliot Scott – He Shot a Fat Lady (pages 16-20)
    A humorous circus murder story, involving the presumed murder of the Four Ton Florrie by the India-rubber Man. The police try him for murder, he is convicted, but, when they attempt to exact vengeance in the name of the law, bullets bounce off him, hanging him only stretches his neck, electrocution fails, etc. You get the idea. We then are informed that the Fat Lady is not dead! She merely was in a coma due to the folds of her fat, where the bullet had lodged.
  • Dennis Wynne – And the Blood Coursed Freely (pages 21-26)
    The story involves a man reliving his youthful days through a variety of action-filled silly scenarios; finding a beautiful woman, fighting and losing her. Purely a humorous tale.
  • Denys Val Baker – Water (pages 49-51)
    Baker delves deep into the sinister fascination a hydrophobic deals with on a regular, daily basis, in all forms and fears.
  • Gerald Kersh – Vision of a Lost Child (pages 55-58)
    A man grows up re-living a nightmarish tragedy from childhood in his dreams and each time he sleeps, he sinks deeper and deeper in mud. Believing that when the mud succeeds in creeping over him that he will die, he puts off sleep for over a week and seeks the aid of a psychologist. In the end, he falls asleep, and the mud wins. A deep, dark story by a clever writer of weird stories.
  • Brett Ogilvie – The Abnormal Talent (pages 62-66)
    A painter’s works-of-art come to life upon completion, only, he desires to exit the business lest he go insane. When asked by a friend to draw a gun, he performs the task. It is used against him. Thus dying, all his creations-come-to-life immediately vanish. However, the dead artist returns to life, sans his former ability! A entrancingly humorous fantasy.
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STAG : Man’s Own Magazine (Spring 1946)

2015 August 8: “Stories for All Moods” edited by Stephen D. Frances (UK: Pendulum Publications, 1945)

On 22 July 2015, a dealer on ABEbooks.com made an egregious listing error….
That error led to shelled-out funds, and a surreal, unique pleasure.
It arrived from the UK in a tiny padded envelope.
I giddily ripped the flesh of the packaging to shreds on the 31st of July.

Grab some tea and scones. Use the toilet, while you have the chance. AND please, leave me your comments on this blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the stories below, or, whatever else you might like for me to cover in the future….

Published in 1945 by Pendulum Publications (UK), “Stories for All Moods,” noted as “No. 1,” hence suggesting on the merit of this edition that future volumes might one day exist, is edited by Stephen D. Frances, widely recognized in name as the man behind the widely popular Hank Janson gangster fiction novels. This collection also boasts what well may be the first ever fiction story by S. D. F.

Anyone familiar with the small pocket books of Pendulum will readily appreciate this publication. Unlike their soft cover counterparts, this edition was perfect bound in red boards and splashed with black. The spine has the text “STORIES FOR ALL MOODS NO. 1 * FRANCES ED.” all in caps, in gold, backed upon a black strip. Indeed, a very simple, innocuous-looking volume.

IMG_0859                     IMG_0860

My copy lacks a dust jacket and sports all the hallmarks of being an ex-libris edition, as far as the library card and lending slips attached. Otherwise, it is a remarkably clean copy, with no other odd marks left by dealers or handling! This 170-page neat volume (stories begin on page 8) is brimming with 30 mixed-genre stories of varying length and 2 poems.

Frances introduces the volume briefly, but the intro is hardly memorable. Let’s skip that, shall we? The book is a mixture of reprinted American tales from quality publications, some British veteran writers, but mostly new or young talent, peers that the editor rubbed shoulders with along the way in life.

The first is a long tale, “The Spider and the Fly,” by Stephen Fleming.  Mr. Twigg, a chemist, years ago served on a jury, and found that one Ferdinand Simpson, was to be found guilty of murder, however, the jury was advised that due to a technicality, he should be set free. The burden lifted, Mr. Simpson was set free and never heard from again. Many years pass, and Twigg’s life crosses paths with that of Mr. Simpson, however, under the new surname of “Everard.” The latter fails to recognize Twigg as one of the jurors, and upon closing shop, runs to the mayor’s house to tell his tale. He fears that Simpson may murder again, that the local police should be informed, but the mayor calmly informs him that Ferdinand was found innocent, and can no longer be judged by a past crime. Months pass, and Ferdinand comes to be engaged with the local wealthy widow, Mrs. Holmes. Time again passes and Ferdinand enters his shop requesting weed-killer, the very stuff he’d reportedly used to kill his last victim! Running back to the mayor yet again, he is again rebuffed, and the mayor begs him to wait five days, then do as he pleases. While both are walking together, they later learn that there has been a death and immediately assume the newly made Mrs. Everard is dead. However, it was the Mister that died, not she! The mayor later explains that he grew up in this town since a child and attended school with Mrs. Holmes, whom is NOW a three-time widower, and suggests off-hand that she actually murdered all three of her husbands for THEIR money! It is a simple crime story told with a closing twist.

There really is little for me to say about Reginald Moore’s “A Bad Investment.” It is a short story spanning no more than four pages, a war story, and quite quaintly English. By the time I finished, I felt the title aptly defined the time I had spent in [suffering through] reading it.

Letter at Dawn” by Captain J. E. Morpurgo is confidently written and entrancing. I kept expecting an uncanny finale, but, no, we simply have a case of a soldier that went on a blind date, fell in love, engaged, marriage begged off (by her) until after the war, and he goes on to serve (thus far) for four years, globetrotting various battles. The entire length of the Morpurgo’s story is a letter written by our soldier, currently on a destroyer, awaiting landfall to attack the enemy stronghold. He writes what is likely to be his last letter to a lover that has begun and eventually does fail to continue to write him on a regular basis, which leads him to mentally lose hold on sanity and begin to imagine that she has taken up with a stable man of good financial standing and zero chance of becoming a soldier. Our “hero,” if I may be so bold, goes on to describe this fantastic usurper of his love and closes that he now knows what he looks like and will kill him upon landing.

The identity of the author means nothing to me, a Yank, however, on research,
I found him to be quite interesting, and famous in his own right.
Proper name is Jack Eric Morpurgo. He was born 26 April 1918, schooled at
Christ’s Hospital, attended the University of North Brunswick and fled (via transfer)
to the College of William Mary (Williamsburg). There, in 1938, he became the first
Brit to graduate since the American Revolution. Enlisted 1939 in the war effort for
four years (in India, the Middle East, and Italy), and in by 1946, joined Penguin Books
as editor until 1967. For the next two years he worked with the National Book League.
1969, Jack became a professor (of American Literature, no less) at Leeds University.
He died at age 82, and was blind the last 15 years of his life.
The above tale is NOT his first story, but a damn fine tale indeed.

Is Your Journey Really Necessary?” by Ann Gordon is a two-pager describing briefly a woman’s attempts towards getting to an appointment the next day and all the things that do invariably go wrong trying to grab a train. She finally defeats all that can-and-will-go-wrong and begins the upward spiral of thankfulness as things settle in, only to arrive at her final destination and learn that the business arrangement was cancelled and that they had attempted to contact her back at the hotel only to have missed her by five minutes.

Episode (To B.)” by Muriel Harris is a poem. Some of the authors in this volume have short biographical snippets appended to the end of their entry, and she is one of those. Born 1922, came to London during the Blitz, currently employed by the B.B.C. staff but finds works with the Features and Drama Dept. “limiting.” Well!!! Her poem sure did not inspire much with THIS reader, either! (NOTE: She was the editor’s personal secretary)

Disappointed with the last two entries, I was spiritually lifted by the romantic war entry supplied by Joseph Anthony. “The Colonel Apologises” involves a young Czechoslovakian recruit by the name of Victor Novotny, whom is literacy-challenged in all ways, but is sharp in the street-wise department, apparently. When his troop is sent out (at Camp Crandall) to head North to a rendezvous point, he notes by reading the position of the stars that they are heading East. When he informs his immediate supervisor, he is chastised and informed to keep formation and that he, the Sergeant, has a compass. Novotny begins to lag behind, and then, inexplicably, vanishes. Some hours later, he is the only one to emerge from the mission at the predetermined rendezvous point. The rest of the troop were listed as casualties; Novotny was given a stripe, promoted to first-class private. He went on to wear that single stripe proudly. Time passes, and we find our simple Czech-man lumbering eight miles to civilization on a day of leave. Arriving in Cooperstown, he enters a Czech restaurant (what ARE the odds of that, eh?), drinks a beer, and plays his accordion. He then sees the Lieutenant that promoted him at a lone table with a lovely young lady, ambles over, asks if his music is annoying them. The girl finds his music charming, but must insist the Lt. to encourage him to play-on! He acquiesces, annoyed to have been approached by a lower ranking member in such a fashion. True told, he is annoyed because the girl’s mother won’t have him marrying her, the original descendant of Cooperstown, Miss Cooper. The Lieutenant informs her of this, and they go their way. Weeks later, Novotny enters the Lt.’s office and asks him to write a love letter to his girlfriend in Pittsburgh in appeal of marriage. Asked WHY?, the Czech notes that he can’t write. The Lt. grudgingly agrees, but, when the Colonel enters, quickly adjusts his manner to protocol and demands explanation for Novotny asking such an imposition, to which he replies: “If I need love letter, I go to man that is in love himself.” The Lt. informs him that if he knew HOW to read, he’d have seen in the local newspaper that she is to be wed shortly to another man, and, educates the Czech, that here in America, just because a man sits down and dines with a girl, doesn’t mean they are in love. Chastised, and banned by the Colonel to never enter the offices again, he departs, crestfallen…only to return later that evening! He barrels through a staff sergeant and delivers a letter to the Lt., with the Colonel as spectator. Opening it, they both read that it is from Miss  Cooper, accepting the Lt.’s offer of marriage! Novotny never posted the intended letter to his own girlfriend, but, adjusting to the matter-at-hand, delivered the letter to Miss Cooper! The Colonel, as the title suggests, apologizes, shakes his hand, and notes “there are times when I think that literacy is an over-rated institution.” Unsure of his situational standing, the Czech scratches his head, and begs of the Colonel “Can I scr-ram now?

There is no biographical data supplied, however, it is safe to assume that
this Joseph Anthony is the American playwright, born 24 May 1912 and
died 20 January 1993. He was born Joseph Deuster in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
He served enlisted and served from 1942-1946. He became a regular
contributor to The Saturday Evening Post throughout the 1930s.
For more information, check out his Wiki-stub.

The Wager” by George Watkins, begins with two morons betting another at night to walk, without aid of matches, etc., into a sealed cemetery vault, and pound a six-inch nail into the tomb. Easy, right? The story creeps of the weird and fantastic, but ends with our wager-accepting hero merely dying of fright.

According to a tiny biog at the end of the tale notes the author writes
for Free Expression, a monthly political journal (that began in 1939),
and this is the first-ever story written by George Watkins.

 A self-imposed reading assignment is particularly painful when reading a story that simply does not hold your interest, from the start, through to the finish. Even worse when the whole story is dull you and you couldn’t give a shit about the denouement. Such is the case with Elizabeth Williams’ “La Maison Stabel.” Two young unmarried girls, one perhaps corpulent to a degree and infatuated with stuffing her face with chocolates, the other moderately pretty, are sent to Switzerland and reside with Mademoiselle Lambert. It’s not entirely clear WHY they there, however, Lambert refuses to allow the ladies to accept the gracious offer to tea with Madame Stabel, on account of rumors concerning Mr. Stabel, the hairdresser. However, she reluctantly permits the girls to accept after a written formal letter arrives. The pair walk down and into the shop, and are invited upstairs to their room, where Madame Stabel, and English lady, has prepared the tea. We quickly learn that she is lonely for fellow English-persons, how she met her husband, and that she is ill and can not bear children. Mr. Stabel then makes his appearance, gets the prettier girl isolated, despite all being in the same room, and begins rubbing ankles with the girl. She jumps up, practically grabs her sister and excuses them. They’ve learned a hard life-lesson.

The snippet biog gives that Elizabeth Williams was born in 1908, London
attended a Swiss university, and visited Germany in the 1930s.

A Hair of the Dog” is brilliant work by the writer, David Boyce. Bible-thumping Joe Parker is mercilessly taunted about his religious ways and his untrained, smelly, thieving, ill-looking mongrel terrier, Hodge.  His fellow miners maliciously hurl rocks at the dog, but Joe turns the other cheek and forgives them. He preaches sermons at the tiny local church, and the ladies adore him, despite his shabby appearance, but equally, like the men, dislike that nasty dog. Time passes. The men all climb into the cage to lower into the mining shaft, to swap shifts with 80 men below. Hodge, whom usually calmly waits for his master’s return by the pit-head, runs into the cage and havoc ensues. In order to get the animal out, Joe tries to trick him with his meat sandwich. Hodge grabs it and adroitly dodges Joe’s hands, and leads Joe on a chase out of the metal cage. While running out, a metal cable snaps and the cage quickly descends, descends, descends…. The dog KNEW that something was wrong with that cage, and Joe? He was saved, just barely, by….(yes, the title).

David Boyce was born 1916, employed writing commercial-radio scripts.
He’s had stories printed in Modern Reading, Seven, Challenge, Male Magazine,
A Basinful of Fun,
etc.

One Man’s Honeymoon” by Fraser Wilson concerns two children, Duncan Ward and Ginny Hammond. Their lives, like anyone else’s, seem pretty much determined. Ginny is blonde, gorgeous, blue-eyed, an upturned nose…you remember the type? (Sure you do. I found her pretty, myself, but secretly I hated her guts). And our boy Duncan? Yeah, he was the organizer. He had everything planned, everybody’s chores planned, and when you got to be teenagers and the gang went out for a jaunt, he’d have the eateries all lined up to the exact time and each stop mapped out and you DID what he said, because he was that kind of a guy. And these two were inseparable as youths, dated, and hardly a surprise that they became engaged. But the surprises just kept on coming and the bubble popped when the row at the engagement party started. Ginny was flaming pissed that he had an itinerary, even for their honeymoon, down to exact driving times, where they were going, how long they were staying, and the final stop, his birth town! So, when she blew town and it was later learned that she had gotten married, nobody was LESS surprised than Duncan to begin receiving postcards from Ginny, each posted on the dates corresponding to when he had planned for their trip to coincide with each town-stop. But when that last postcard never arrived from Fall City, his birth town, the only person not surprised was me, because, you see, I’m the chap that married Ginny!

The vignette was originally published in the American magazine,
Liberty (1943 May 22). No information could be located on this author,
nor any further stories. It is possible that he served during World War Two
and never made it home alive. Any information would be wonderful.

Foreboding” by Glyn Bevan is the story of a man whom awakens to the purring sound of his alarm clock and from a bizarre set of nightmares. A man whom takes stock in dreams, he can’t help but think HE will have a foreboding that day! Nearly everything goes wrong, from nearly killing a child on a bus, the lift-operator on the mining elevator suffers a stroke and nearly kills all on board via drowning, a runaway mining cart nearly runs into him, etc. Then he comes home to find the lights are out and he panics, thinking something terrible has happened to wife and children. He enters, the lights flick on, and…his family is there, with a cake, celebrating their tenth anniversary.

The author is given to be 25 years old, born in Aberdare, South Wales,
and leader of an International Voluntary Service for Peace agricultural unit
at Clows Top. Wrote a review that won a prize in the New Statesman.

Next is a semi-weird tale by Pamela Whitby. “The Man Who Saw Too Much” involves a man whom has survived a bomb blast only to awaken in a medical ward and learn that wherever he lays his eyes, he hears everything perfectly. No conversation escapes his vision! He decides to keep the news to himself, rather than end up an experiment…. He soon learns to take advantage of his supernatural ability, earn money on the side, and then ditches his bank clerk job and build up a nest of millions! In the end, we find that he is delusional and still reposing in that same medical ward. A fun story.

Sarge” is a story of pure World War Two stuff, but with heart. After their plane crashes somewhere in the Alaskan wilderness, the Lt. awakens to hear the gruff commands of the Sarge bellowing for the release of a dog from the wreckage of the plane. The Doc on board retrieves the dying, bleeding, nearly lifeless husky, then moves to provide a transfusion of his own blood to the fading-fast Sarge. But, Sarge has other ideas and orders the Doc to give the Doc’s blood instead to the dog. The dog comes first, because even if the others survive, they all will die. Only the dog can find its way out of the frozen wastes and lead them to their final destination, Caribou Creek, a remote meteorological station monitoring Pacific weather before it affects war zones.

The above story first appeared in the 19 March 1944 of This Week,
a newspaper magazine supplement, is by American pulp fiction writer
Frank Richardson Pierce, born 21 October 1881 in Massachusetts, and
died 7 January 1966 in Seattle, Washington. He wrote hundreds of Westerns
and frozen north tales that took place primarily in Alaska.

Art-Tralala” is categorically pure nonsense. Authored by Hugh Fraser and John Martin, whom take part in this story-narrative entirely themselves, bicker about the art of writing and breaking away from the norm. ‘Nuff said, the better….

Creation” by Marjorie Stace deals with a young man agonizing over two things. Foremost, his wife giving birth, and the sort of future it will have. And two, solving the riddle of getting that damn experimental aircraft up into the air so that it can menace the enemy. The author has our bedeviled man inexplicably come up with the solution to the plane’s dilemma, without expounding on where the idea was birthed from. Then he presents the idea to his boss, and caves in and calls the ward to learn the baby was born. He then enters a revolutionary state of hyper-awareness, realizing that he, like all men, friend and enemy alike, share what it is like to suddenly become a parent. And then the pit of his stomach collapses as he realizes the destruction his plane will cause to the parents of the children, the enemy….

I am not sure who Marjorie Stace is or was, however, I found that the name
is the alias of Marjorie Enid Wood. Searching that name didn’t lead me far.
The only direct match was an obituary in November 2013 edition of the Guardian.
It features a black lady, and notes her birth date as 29 June 1925, and death
as 14 November 2013. Could this indeed truly be the correct person?

And now enters the editor, Stephen D. Frances, with his short story, “No Lady!” Dan Leaman, a soldier, enters the home of Doris Carter, in the hopes of getting her to not abandon his war-mate, Tony, whom is an amputee. He ascertains that Doris called “it off” because nobody wants to be with a person that is maimed, out of pity. He hauls off and slaps her full in the face, and says she ain’t a lady, and departs. Once he leaves, she reaches under the table, for a wooden crutch… It wasn’t Tony being an amputee she was worried about; it was Tony wanting HER for losing a leg after being “bombed” out during the blitz.

Stephen D. Frances really needs no introduction to anyone
that is savvy with his history. He attained the initial footprint of fame
in 1946, a year after this tale, was printed, with his landmark alias
“Hank Janson,” constructed as a hard-hitting gangster-writing author.

Tragedy” by Muriel Harris. Earlier in this collection, she had a poem. Now Stephen D. Frances’ personal secretary has a one-page vignette focusing on a man’s heartbreak at the lady of his life being dead. She sung in beautiful harmony along with the piano that he stroked. And she was dead, he was going to bury her, and it was because of that damn cat that his feathered friend was gone, forever.

Ann Gordon, whom preceded Muriel Harris with a story in this collection, now chases the above with “Romantic,” a short poem.

Top Hat for Sale” is a ludicrous title for a story that does not involve the sale of a top hat. Written by the pseudonymous Victor Holdstock, we have an old man wearing a red-white-and-blue top hat and handing out flyers to anyone for several years, in the hopes that someone will take on his legal case. Finally, he lucks out, and a lawyer takes him on and wins the case. Really an irredeemable tale hardly worthy of publication.

The tiny biog notes that Victor Holdstock “hides the identity of a Civil Servant.”
This is his first fiction story published. The only other evidence of printed
fiction by this person is a tale three years later, entitled “The Vanishing Men,”
in Scramble, a small publication put out by Gerald G. Swan.

Quality returns with Michael Williams writing “Appointment in Belgravia.” Fielder, recently released for serving time, decides to serve up payback to a fellow crook that walked away cleanly with all the cash and upgrades his lifestyle from hoodlum to high-class citizen. After doing away with the impudent s.o.b., he coolly steps out into traffic and disposes of himself!

Born in 1915 and educated at Christ’s Hospital, he was employed at the
Bank of England, before war broke out. He has contributed to numerous
publications, including Everyman, Picture Post, Modern Reading, etc.

The Lincoln Penny” involves a young lady whom is broke, stranded in New York City, and starving. With only a penny to her name, she walks the streets, and decides to try feminine wiles to obtain food. She lucks out when a kind and prosperous-looking fellow comes along and takes her to dinner. While eating, he begs to know why she is such a predicament. She confesses her life, and notes the penny. He notes that the penny is rare and pays a handsome sum for it, and they come to gaze into each other’s eyes and all that nonsense.

I had hoped that this short by Dorothy Quick would be a strange story,
given that she has written for Weird Tales magazine. No such luck….
Born Dorothy Gertrude Mayer, she befriend Mark Twain. He was largely
instrumental in inspiring her to write due to their friendly relationship.
(NOTE: It is unknown to me where this story was first printed).

Aled Vaughan offers up a war story in “God, the World is Wonderful!” which sounds like the title to a movie script, right? Ronnie, a fighter pilot, downs two “junkers” and begins to suffer from black spots in his eyes. Quickly ascertained he has two detached retinas. They fly him back to England; he has his eyes operated on, and now he’s lying helplessly in the ward, bandaged, blind, his back itching from a rash, and his arms tied down. Then the real excitement begins! The Nazis are bombing the medical camp and he’s experiencing first-hand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a bombing raid.

Born in Wales, 1920, Aled exited school at 13, worked a variety of jobs,
was invalided out of the R.A.F. in January 1944, and since then, became
an Assistant Editor on a Fleet Street journal. He has sold stories to Blighty,
John o’ London’s, and is editor of “Celtic Story” published 1946,
by Pendulum Publications, which is a collections of short stories
written exclusively by Welsh writers. Aled also contributed a tale.

Paul’s Present” is a romantic written juvenile piece featuring a boy that has been bedridden for eleven months, in a cast (no reason divulged) and today is his birthday. His mother had written a radio station to broadcast her son’s birthday and the courage with which he has faced his condition. Unbeknownst to her, the station wrote a return letter informing her that they no longer will be performing such tasks. Worst yet, Paul opened the letter, since it was addressed to “P. Hackett.” (His mother shares his first initial). He keeps the letter a secret, shamefacedly. Thankfully, she has a habit of falling asleep listening to the radio, so he saves face by waking her after the final night’s broadcast to inform her of the birthday message (that never was) and she believes it happened!

Published as by Kurt Steel, the author is actually Rudolf Kagey,
a short-lived American fiction writer born 5 September 1904
and dead 13 May 1946. He is remembered for writing a
detective series in the style of Dashiell Hammett.
“Paul’s Present” originated in Collier’s Weekly (12 February 1944).

Smythe is running maneuvers in Europe during WW2, preparing his men for an eventual actual mission. He and his men sneak up on an unsuspecting farmstead, and he notes something burning in the distance, a farm hand running. He then orders his men to surround the farm. Upon rising he is inexplicably fatally shot, and realizes then that the burning item is a downed German plane, and the shooter is likely the pilot, stationed in the farm. All this blasts through his mind in Antony Irving’s tale as Smythe’s last words are that needs send “A Message to the Colonel.” Those might well be his last words…..

Denys Val Baker is no stranger to the fiction field. In “The Way of the Healer,” Manson heals the body, mind, and spirit of individuals that seek him out. Bizarrely, a young woman of exotic beauty and body, a dancer, impresses herself upon him, and convinces him to work on her. He’s never worked on a body like hers, so young, supple, sexy, irresistible. She plays with him mentally, torturing him, comes to increase her visits, and breaks down his human barriers. In the end, he finds his way again and breaks free of her evil shackles.

Baker was born 24 October 1917 and died 6 July 1984. He has edited
numerous publications, both fiction and poetry, created The Opus Press
during the war, and has had his short stories printed and/or collected
in numerous publications, such as Seven, Tribune, English Story, The Citizen,
American Aphrodite, London Mystery Magazine, etc.

Brendan Gill writes of a woman whom had to give up her daughter to an older woman in America to care for during the war in England. Mrs. Herbert is an elderly woman, and has perhaps exaggerated her limits of care to the point that she does not wish to relinquish the child back into her mother’s care. She goes so far as to try and keep them apart by sending the child to bed before her mother arrives! However, the child, not asleep, takes to crying upstairs, and Mrs. Herbert goes upstairs to calm the child, but slyly insists the mother not go, as she must be SO TIRED from her trip over. The child refuses to calm down until HER mother comes upstairs to kiss her goodnight! The mother realizes then that the child still wants her, and that Mrs. Herbert, despite all her years of intentions, has failed to keep them apart. Feeling sad for Mrs. Herbert, she acquiesces and states that she will go upstairs, but wouldn’t mind if they went up “Together.”

This story originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, 1941 Aug 9 edition.

Lawrence Ward offers “Conquest by Surprise.” Here, we have Mr. Reeves, owner of a fire extinguisher firm, receiving by special mail six perfectly formed, clean brown eggs. We are never really informed WHY Mr. Reeves should give a bloody damn about eggs, but, there you have it. The sender, a Lewis Fletcher, finally meets with him and drives him out to a factory. While outside, they both light up cigarettes and Lewis tosses his onto a pile of garbage soaked in paraffin. Reeves is aghast by the flames while Lewis calmly extracts a foreign extinguisher and puts out the flames, quite easily. Reeves is impressed and realizes the eggs were a sham to illustrate this new extinguisher, which is far superior to his own brand, possibly. He also discovers the young man is actually looking for a job. In the end, we learn the extinguisher is painted over, disguising the fact it is actually one of Reeves’ own.

Per the biog, Ward is given to be a Sergeant in the Air Force, and
stationed in India. This is his first published story. He had the habit
of writing humorous short stories to his family, and, at their insistence,
finally relented and agreed to try to get them published.

The Long Day” by Elizabeth Warner illustrates that despite how boring a story can be, and how eye-rolling the plot, and the fact that an author might deviate from the point, the conclusion can still be interesting … if you don’t mind the near decapitation of a cat via a scythe.

This story originated in the 26 June 1943 of The New Yorker magazine.
She had two other stories also appear in this magazine, in 1943 and 1944.

W. S. Meadmore supplies that “Strangers Knocked at the Door” of this unnamed first-person’s narrated tale. Content to live in his English home, which sports a hole in the roof of one room from a shell that failed to detonate, he receives a pair of visitors one day, looking to rent a room. Truth is, only the ONE person is looking to rent; the other is merely there to assist in placing the other fellow. Turns out he is was in Hamburg and displaced because his views differed from that of the Nazis (no kidding) so he fled until he ended up in England. An artist by trade, all he wanted to do was paint. However, by the story’s end, he is drafted into the English army and our narrator is once again alone.

William Sutton Meadmore was born in 1892 and died 1964.
During the 1920s, he was also associated with open-air theatre in
Florence before the first World War.  As a writer, he has
appeared in The Passing Show and The Grand Magazine.
He also co-authored a biographical text on Buffalo Bill.

Thirty Dollar Shoes” by Lew Dietz is one of those high-quality tales that deserves to be read again. Having escaped his poor upbringing in a small Eastern town, Parker landed in Hollywood and became a funnyman script writer. With the advent of the second world war, he finds himself presenting a movie concept, but, no script. Drawing heavily on a massive brain-fart, he’s sent packing from Hollywood to his hometown to draw upon some inspiration. Unfortunately, he is haunted by memories and a young blonde that had a crush on him as a child.

This tale originated in The Family Circle, 1943 Jun 18.
Lew was born in 22 May 1907 and died 27 April 1997.
He wrote for popular magazines such as Pictorial Review,
The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, The American Magazine,
and Argosy.
For more information, check out his Wiki entry:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lew_Dietz

Victor E. Richford’s “The Collaborationist” is a wonderfully crafted tale, delicately woven tale. Henri Piermont’s daughter, Angela, has fallen in love with a Nazi soldier, and they are married by Father Rollani, whom is not against their union. Henri isn’t against the union, either, and attends the wedding. Thereafter, Henri receives threats with his morning newspaper and jar of milk. These escalate to the point of death threats and he brings them to the attention of Father Rollani, whom shuffles with dust on his clothes. He appears to be dirty from crawling on the ground. The letters insinuate a lot, call Henri a traitor, etc. Finally, the town is bombarded and the townspeople grab Henri, strip him down and tie him up. They beat him mercilessly and finally blow his brains out, all under the hidden yet watchful eyes of Father Rollani, from a safe distance. There is a lot of meat to this story, innuendos, that I simply will avoid discussing, for I desire not to ruin a future reader’s experience.

The biog notes that the author is a pharmacist and only recently
took up the call to write, and enjoys expressing himself best via
the short story. He has appeared in the anthology
“Saturday Saga: A Collection of Contemporary Short Stories” as
edited by William Glynne-Jones (UK: Progress, 1946), and the
magazine Writers of the Midlands (No. 2)

Young Emmy” is a vignette that seems to involve a man picking up a girl from the roadway and bringing her home. It’s unclear just WHAT he wants, but, a modern reader would suspect rape would be the end result. One thing is clear: he was very surprised to find her to be 16, and not at least 22….

Maurice was born 15 March 1910 and died 7 January 1993.
He is buried at Dolphins Barn Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland.
He published under his own Dublin, Ireland press
a series entitled “Selected Stories” during the 1940s,
and continued printing through the late 1950s.

2015 August 8: “Stories for All Moods” edited by Stephen D. Frances (UK: Pendulum Publications, 1945)