Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 41

                  The Glass pavilion

The detective is on the trail. He is following a lead and is in pursuit
of the felon. Watching the perpetrator enter a small walkway between
buildings, Detective John Sloan carefully removes his brown fedora
and places it on the seat of his 1936 Delahaye 134.

Taking the first swig of whiskey and the last drag of his cigarette, he
releases the smoke from his nostrils before leaving the bottle on the
passenger seat beside his hat. Swiftly, the detective springs into action.
Before the thug realizes what is happening, he is tackled in the alley.

“Before I pummel you into the dirt, I want answers.”

“Now listen to me ya dirty screw, I don’t know nothin.”

“You're gonna know less when I pound your skull into the ground.”

“Get your hands off me, unless you want to end up in the morgue.”

“We’ll see who ends up in the morgue.” (A fight ensues)


(Commercial break)


We return to that dark and desolate alley where detective Sloan has
George “The Watchdog” McNarry in a headlock. “If you don’t start
talking, I’m gonna cut off your ears one by one until you do.”

“All right, all right, you win. It was Phil and Joe. They
ran the whole operation. I don’t know anything more.

“Philip and Joey Grifols?”

“Yeah, that’s them, but I never said nothin.”

“I never said ya did, now dust yourself off and get outta here.”

Entering his car, the detective reaches for his hat and places it on his
head. “Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?” Looking smugly at himself in
the rear-view mirror as he starts the engine and slowly drives away.

(The scene fades to a cut-rate hotel)

Detective Sloan is lying on his back, lost in contemplation while looking
up at the ceiling of a dingy hotel as his mind narrates the story.

“What am I still doing awake? It’s almost three o’clock in the morning and
I’m ready for burnt toast and black coffee. Hey, the life of a gumshoe ain’t
easy; but every time I get that call, I know there’ll be another paycheck
coming in. Another bottle of booze to buy, another pack of smokes. In a
way, I think I’m getting too old for this life. The next chance I get, I’m
gonna shake a leg. Where to, I don’t know, but somewhere nice.

Somewhere kids are playing games instead of rats running
around me in a maze. Somewhere the sky is blue and white
instead of dark and gray all the time. Somewhere...”

(Tumbles into a dream)

                                                                               Pg 270

Detective Sloan is walking down the street in a part of town
that doesn’t exist on any paper map. Carefully, he brushes
the lint off his lapel with the back of his hand.

“Don’t you look dapper,” said the alluring woman dressed in
a sleeveless brown polka dot dress complemented by a pair of
charcoal black peep-toe heels. On her head, she wore a small
black velvet half hat with a veil and feather off to the side.

“Thanks for the compliment; say, where you headed?”

“Don’t you want to know my name?”

“Not particularly,” said detective Sloan as he proceeds to light a cigarette.

Her mouth opens as she enhances her stance by placing a hand
on her hourglass waist conveying a look of astonishment.

John begins to laugh out the smoke. “C’mon you little minx,
can’t ya tell when someone is ribbing you?”

Her countenance bore a piercing stare that seemed to border upon
dark and threatening.

“Look, I’m sorry for being such a dope. Can I get your name?”

“Violet,” she uttered in a way that seemed to imply she’d rather
plunge a knife into his throat than to say another word to him.

“Violet huh, that is a very pretty name for a dame so… Beautiful.”

Her smile was like a sliver of the crescent moon that barely illuminated
the sky, but when you’ve never seen the moon before, it was entrancing.

His chiseled features were already carved in her mind, and
she wanted to ride him like an outlaw rides a mare through
an arid desert – for many hours – without stopping.

She couldn't help but wonder what thoughts occupied his time when
working hours drew to a close. What particular damsel suited his fancy?
Oh, he was hard-boiled all right; but after a couple of drinks, she was
going to be his inamorata, and he was going to be her beau.

Now, all she had to do was make him forget about bashing skulls and
acting gruff... Unless of course, that was what made his world revolve.

“Walk with me,” said Violet, as she pursed her lips to make sure
her lipstick was going to remain wherever she chose to put it,
which was usually on glassware, straws, non-filter cigarettes,
and other unmentionable parts of the human body.

“So where are we headed exactly?”

Without saying a word, she pointed to the building across the street,
and without him even knowing, she had him on the hook, or should
I say, spoon, and she was about to lower that spoon onto a flame
right before she injected him into her vein like heroin.

“The Glass Pavilion,” said John Sloan. “It looks more
like a rat-infested flophouse that's slowly depreciating.

“Do you have any idea how much a building like that is worth?”

“I wouldn’t give you ten-cents for it.”

“When was the last time you trusted someone, detective?”

“When I was four years old, I trusted my father when he told me he was
coming back from the liquor store. That was the last person I ever trusted.”

“I am sorry to hear that.”

“And I’m sorry to have said it. Hey, wait a minute, I didn’t tell you
I was a detective.”

“You didn’t have to; it’s all in the eyes.”

(Opening the door for Violet)

“After you, sweetheart.”

“Whoever said chivalry was dead?”

“Lord Byron said it.”


“Lord Byron, the poet… Hey, didn’t you ever go to school?”

“Once upon a midnight dreary.”

“Impressive, so you did go to school.”

“In theory, I did a lot of things, detective, school not being one of them.

“You’re certainly smarter than you give yourself credit for dollface.”

(Stepping through the doorway)

“And you would know that how?”

“Let’s just say, if you gimme a minute, I can read someone
like a book. Take you for example… What the…”

The interior was hand-painted in finely detailed gold leaf with
unapologetic splendor that brought opulence to a whole nother level.
Where actual paintings by renaissance artists hung on display,
and its occupants appeared to be from another century.

Exquisite marble floors led to an elevator of shimmering gold.

Emerald, sapphire, ruby, and amethyst chandeliers created a
palace-like atmosphere. Detective Sloan took a step back while
holding his chin as if to be in a state of deep contemplation;
looking up at the delightfully ornate chandeliers like he was
investigating a crime scene on the continent of Atlantis.

“Slap me, because I think I’m dreaming.”

“If you were dreaming, that would mean I don’t exist, and that is
the silliest thing I’ve heard in a long while.” (Laughs playfully)
“This place is like you, handsome; ravaged by time on the outside,
but on the inside, a caring heart and a very forgiving nature.”

“I can’t argue with you on that, toots…
My God, we could buy Brooklyn with this place.”

“The only thing you’re buying with me is a drink.”

(Commercial break)

                                                                               Pg 271

“I’m serious, Violet. I am in awe right now, and that
doesn’t happen to people like me. Not now; not ever.”

(Entering the gold elevator)

“Say, where are the buttons?”

“The gold elevator doesn’t have buttons.”

“It doesn’t have any buttons? I’ve lived in Brooklyn
my entire life, and I’ve never heard of… what's the
name of this place was again?”

“The Glass Pavilion.”

“Yeah, that’s it… Hey, this elevator is going too fast for a
twelve-story building. What gives?”

“Never judge a book by its cover, detective.”

“You gotta be kidding me.”

(Elevator stops at the 58th floor, where the pressure exerted
lifts both Detective John Sloan and Violet off the ground.)

“This is our floor. Come on”

As they stepped out into the magnificently carved hallway of
purest ivory, it was certainly a wonder to behold. As intricate
as a Chinese puzzle ball was the detailing involved to create
such an intricately woven masterpiece of artistry.

“Our room is to the left. After you, tough guy.”

“The name’s John.”

“Okay, so I got to first base, now we’re getting somewhere.”
said Violet with a tinge of sarcasm infused with lust that
could only be contained for so long before it erupted.

As detective John Sloan opens the door, he can see how elaborate
the room is. With a bed that appeared to be carved from an eight-
hundred-pound pearl and a lacquered mahogany bar set into
the backdrop of a giant aquarium, where every type of liquor
imaginable stood upright on tinted glass shelving.

“So, what’ll you have,” said Violet in a seductive voice.

“I’ll drink pine varnish right now, because this ain’t real.”

“Lie down on the bed and close your eyes.”

“Lie down, huh?”

“Yeah, do as I say.”

“Okay, but shouldn’t I undress first.”

“You let me worry about that.”

“All right, but I might fall asleep.”

“Trust me, I’m not going to let you fall asleep.”

“I hope you’re right about that because I am feeling a bit shagged.”

(After a period of time elapsed our detective speaks.)

“I hope you didn’t forget about me, Violet?”

John Sloan opens his eyes to find himself looking up at the nicotine-
stained ceiling of the dingy Pannier hotel before lifting his arm to
glance at the time on his tarnished Bulova wristwatch.

“Ten thirty… Now you know why I don’t trust anyone.”
He spoke to Violet as though she was still in the glass
pavilion, preparing him a drink.

I should have known it was too good to be true. He thought
as he grappled for his Zippo lighter. Lighting a cigarette,
he took a deep inhale before closing the door and exhaling
the smoke as he proceeded to walk out of the hotel lobby.

(Commercial break)

                                                                               Pg 272

(The scene cuts to a Jewish deli)

“Gimme a coffee black and a plate of Schmaltz and Gribenes, E.”

(Short for Ezekiel.)

“Sure Johnny, coming right up.” (Yells in Yiddish to the cook)

“What brings you to this side of town, Johnny?” asked Minerva as
she sat on the floor-mounted chrome bar stool beside him, the one
with the red cushioned seat that could spin around indefinitely.

“It's detective to you, kid.”

“Aww, but he calls you Johnny; why not me.”

“Because he’s serving me food. If you serve me food,
you can call me whatever you want.”

“And I probably will before the morning is over; am I right?”

“Something like that. Hey, you’re pretty perceptive.”

“Does that mean I’m not dumb?”

“Look, I didn’t say that.”

(Punches his arm in a very feminine way) “I-di-ot.”

Detective Sloan laughs in a deep gravelly voice.

“I’m glad you think I’m funny.” Minerva utters in an uncaring tone.

“I don’t think you’re funny; I think you’re adorable.”


“Yeah, seriously.”

“Hmm, we Jews have to stick together,” she uttered sweetly.

“I’m about as Jewish as Irish boxer, and you’re about as Jewish as a minaret.”

“Ha-ha, very funny. You know I have roots in Russia.”

“And you also have roots in Ankara.”

“Here you go, Johnny. Cooked to perfection just the way you like ‘em.”

“Thanks E.”

“What do you look forward to in life, Johnny?”

“I look forward to a quick and painless death. A final psalm where no one
has to stand over my casket and cry fake tears because that's all they are.”

“How could you say that?”

“Because it's the truth.”

Minerva lights up a cigarette and gently exhales the smoke.
“You do not mind me smoking while you eat?”

“Why should I mind, everybody smokes? Just don’t blow it on my food.”

“That’s it, I’m out.”

“I’m sorry, doll.” (Laughing heavily.)

“So, first I am dumb, now I am stupid…”

“Listen Minnie, if I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t even talk to you.”

“So, you are saying, what now, that you like me?”

“I’m saying, you’re the perfect definition of a blonde.” The words came
out so sincere, it would have sounded beautiful in a wedding vow.

“My God, finally you speak as a man, not hiding behind
words for fear of being wounded. I am proud of you Johnny.”

(Crushes out her cigarette and steps off the stool.)

“Where are you going?”

“I am leaving, before you do something to spoil my mood.”

(The scene cuts to our detective leaving the Brooklyn eatery)

Walking out and into the street, the wash lines could be seen strung
near and far from low-rise tenement buildings to the high-rise apartment
complexes that cover the land like the brushstrokes of a filthy drunkard
in a perpetual nightmare. Slowly, he walks past the fruit stand man
selling an array of fine edibles on a long wooden push-cart mounted
to what would appear to resemble two small wagon wheels.

Getting into his car, he turns on the engine and drives to his office
on the corner of Montague Street.

                                                                               Pg 273

The office was small for its size, surrounded by piles of old newspaper
clippings sorted out in sturdy cardboard boxes. There was a file cabinet,
a timely old fan, a ‘smaller than average’ desk, and a little metal rolling
chair. Let’s not forget about the alarm clock and the bottle of booze in
the drawer. Now what kind of story do you think this would be without
the cheap bourbon? Okay, you want a dame, we’ll throw her in too.

It was around six o’clock in the evening, that our detective got the
phone call. He had been sweating it out in the office with that toy of
a fan that only seemed to blow the hot air and cigarette smoke around.
The telephone rang, and Detective Sloan answered it promptly.

“Good evening, Detective.”

“Yeah, whaddya got, Danny?”

“I got some info on the…”

(Suddenly, there was a fast knock on the door)

“Gimme a minute.” (Knock-knock-knock) “I said gimme-a-minute,
will ya?” He then notices the arousing outline of a damsel with a
figure that could almost make its own silhouette feign. “Hey Danny,
I’m gonna have to call you back.” Placing the heavy black receiver
into its cradle and stretching his arms before walking toward the door.

(He opens it to see Naomi with a worried look on her face.)

“What is it, angel?”

“You gotta help me detective; I’m in some real trouble.”

“All right, come in and sit down.” Pulls a heavy cardboard box
down and places it gently on the floor beside her.

“You expect me to sit on that?”

“No, I just put it there to enhance the overall beauty of the room.
Of course, I want you to sit on it. Where else do you wanna sit?”
He pulls down another heavy box and stacks it on top of that one.
“Happy now? You got the executive model, now sit.”

“I guess it’ll do.”

“It better do, because it’s all I got. Now what’s your worry.”

“There’s this fella I met the other night over at Dokey’s.
He bought me a drink and I told him what was bothering me.
He said he could help if I did him a favor.

“Did you give him what he wanted?”

“Before you start getting any weird ideas, do you
remember the heist over on Clancy and 12th?”

“That was you?”

“No, that was him, I was only the driver.”

“So then, it was you.”

“Could you please stop saying that, I said, I was only the. . .”

“Stop right there. Do you take me for a fool, cupcake?”

“But I was. . .”

“I know, I know, you were only the driver, I heard you the first time.
A driver who’s gonna be taking a long ride to the state penitentiary.
A driver who’s lookin’ at twenty to life if she’s lucky.”

“Isn’t there anything you can do?”

“Trust me sweetheart, you’ve done enough already.”

“And just what is that supposed to mean?”

“It means there’s a dead body, and if you drove the getaway car, then
you’re an accessory to a crime, an accomplice; aiding and abetting a
criminal who commits an atrocity carries a hefty penalty, regardless
of the situation. When the crime becomes a homicide, the perpetrator
may be looking at the same fate as the victim, the electric chair!

(Commercial break)

                                                                               Pg 274

“Did it register now, or must I go over it again?”

Naomi breaks down in tears and begins trembling.
Detective John Sloan consoles her the best he can.

“Tell me, who killed the night watchman?”

“Tommy Fiderino.”

“Hey look, Tommy might be a hard jerk, but he ain’t no killer;
so what’s your angle?”

“Tommy’s had a crush on me for as long as I can remember, so when
my boyfriend started pimping me out, Tommy set the record straight.”

“And what exactly did Tommy do?”

“He beat my boyfriend with a lead pipe and left him hunched over
a fire hydrant, bleeding heavily. Tommy told him that if he so much
as looked at me the wrong way, he would finish what he started. So
now I owed him; big time. Don’t you see why I had no choice?”

“The picture is becoming clearer. Go on.”

“What more can I say? Are you going to help me or not?”

“I have the right to march you down to the station and wash
my hands of this whole mess. That’s what I oughta do.”

Naomi looks up at Detective Sloan and begins to sob uncontrollably.

“Look sweetheart, you came in here looking to do the right thing,
and I’m not gonna throw you to the wolves; unless you have a
card up your sleeve that I don’t know about.”

“I don’t, I swear I don’t.”

“Okay, then maybe I should take you home.
Nobody else knows about this right?”  

“That’s right.”

“Then let’s go.”

(The scene leaves off in the backdrop of an overcrowded tenement building.)

“Are you sure you don’t want to come up for a nightcap, detective?”

“On any other given day, I would gladly agree, but
I got a few things to do at the office that can't wait.”

“Get some rest, John.” She then gives him a gentle kiss on the cheek.

“Hey, what happened to detective?”

“You tell me…”

(Naomi enters the building and the door abruptly closes.)

“I guess he left,” mutters detective John Sloan before unwrapping a piece
of chewing gum and carefully bringing it to his mouth. As he walked, he lost
his footing when an irregular cobblestone in the street caught the tip of his
shoe just as a firework went off. He fell to the hard ground below, landing
squarely on his chest. “Tell me that wasn’t bad timing; I could have broken
my damn shoulder.” Dusting himself off, he continues to walk.

(Scene fades to the Pannier Hotel on 5th and Lex.)

(Commercial break)

                                                                               Pg 275

A narrator begins to speak in the style of a 1940s gangster movie.

“Our detective is pacing the floor, expelling clouds of smoke like a passing freight
train. He is nervous. He is unsettled. He is anxious. How has the entire room that
he slept in last night been given a complete makeover? There is something he just
cannot seem to grasp, but what is it? Maybe it’s the fact that it would take weeks to
completely remodel a hotel room, but to make everything look older than it should;
now that just isn’t possible. As he runs his hand through his disheveled hair like a
makeshift comb, his concentration is shattered when the telephone rings...”


(Yes, it was the jet-black telephone made out of Bakelite. A kind of plastic
that was heavier than normal and easily chipped if you knocked it against
something too hard. But hey, considering all things, it was a lot better
than using a candlestick telephone.)

Detective John Sloan swiftly snatches the receiver from its cradle.
“Hello, who is it?”

“Hi, (says the young boy) is this Mr. Ellsworth?”

“Naw kid, you must be off by a few days. He ain’t here anymore.”

“I’m so sorry to bother you…”

“Think nothin’ of it, kid.”

He leaves the receiver lying alone on the end table as he hunches
over to switch on the Stuart-Warner, a television set that appeared
to be crafted from cheap mahogany. How awkward it looked standing
on three legs with the glass protruding out of its casing, which from
an angle would appear to resemble a pregnant woman's stomach. The
picture was hesitant to come on, but eventually it did. The movie that
illuminated the set was Smart Money, featuring Edward G. Robinson
and James Cagney.

The film wasn’t clear, but the audio was right on target.
In other words, it was as good as it got.

As our detective switched off the main light, he sat down on the bed and
removed his galoshes. He then proceeded to belt down a shot of second-rate
bourbon. The kind of gulp that makes your eyes water. Capping the bottle,
he placed it on the end table next to the silent receiver. It was time to sleep.
Lying outstretched on the bed was more comfortable than crawling inside
it, so that was where our detective called it a night.

“Hey sleepyhead… I’m talking to you…”


“Who were you expecting, the night watchman?”

“I’m back. I tell ya, I’m back!” As Detective Sloan threw
himself out of bed, he ran toward the mirror. Much to his
surprise, there wasn’t much to see. “Hey, what gives. Why
am I seeing the room and not me? Ah, okay; I got it now.”


Hitting his forehead with the heel of his hand.
“It’s because I’m dreaming. I’m still dreaming.”


“Yeah sweetie.”

“Did you ever think that maybe this is the side that’s real.”

“Right about now, that doesn’t even matter.”

“But it should. Do you remember when a loud sound went off
as you tripped in the street?”

“Of course, that was yesterday.”

“Wrong Johnny, that was eighty years ago, and you didn’t trip.”
With a wave of her hand the entire length of the wall illuminated
into a crystal-clear computerized screen in living color.

“What the hell…”

“Just watch.”

As our detective begins walking, Tommy Fiderino appears
from behind and blows his brains out all over the cobblestone
walkway adjacent to Bergen Street.

“Why that no good, dirty rotten bum.”

“Don’t Johnny, he’s in a very bad place, so just
forgive him and move on. Let everything else go.”

“So, this is it huh? The end of the line?”

“No detective, this right here is only the beginning. Do you see that bar
across the street? If you walk in there and exit out the back door, you’re
on a beautiful tropical island. If you enter the drugstore beside it and
take the elevator down to the basement, you can go anywhere you want
in the past. To the wonderland of your innermost desires if you wish...

                                                                               Pg 276

Without hesitation, Detective John Sloan sweeps Violet off her feet in a loving embrace.

With lips locked together in passion, the room slowly dims to the backdrop of
a tangerine-colored sky. As the orchestral music seeps out of the celluloid reel
that seems to be sputtering around in my mind, the projector continues to
display the black-and-white imagery of a long-forgotten film production.

As the fancy calligraphic credits conclude from the vintage movie on the
bubble screen, a message rolls up. Due to the light-sensitive processing
of the photographic film, the presence of small particles resembling hair,
vertical lines, stars, and blotches that look like protein spots seem to be
jumping around like crazy on the old film grain.

It is with a heavy heart that we bring you the following announcement:

During the winter of our year, 2054, beloved author and lover of life,
Charles Pendelton passed away quietly in his sleep. He will be
remembered for his contribution to the world of literature with his
unmistakable achievement, The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe.

Even though the day has not yet arrived as normal days tend to do,
it is imperative that you take in each waking moment because time
is tricky. If you ignore it, it will stalk you; if you treasure it, it will
find a way to upend you. So set a timer for every hour, if need be
and stay vigilant. Keep watch because the next second is now,
and there is no time to squander.

It is said that everyone in existence will one day have to take their final bow.
The last thing you want is to remember my words as you are taking your last
breath because by then it will be too late. When it is time for the changing of
the guard, do not fear. Everything old will be recycled into something new, so
do not be concerned about death when it arrives at your doorstep; embrace it.
It is a ticket to your new and wonderful place of residence, but without a ticket,
there is nowhere to go but down to the fiery brimstone of Hades. The gift is
within you, and if you choose to destroy it, know there will be no glass pavilion
awaiting you on the other side of the horizon.

In life, we are measured by the pain that is determined at the start of the
afterlife. If we suffer at the hands of others, we should seek to absolve them
of their wrongdoings because it takes strength beyond reason to not want to
avenge yourself when someone has done you a grave injustice or humiliated
you to tears. As difficult as it may be, you must forgive them and move on.

Some of us were bullied, while others were abused to suffer the indignity of the
unrighteous. Whereas some of us were damned on this earth to sustain pain and
unimaginable torment. It is merely a part of our trial, so stay the course...

Or should you prefer the alternative?

As Charles and Harmony walk away hand in hand, the sun begins to descend.
Together they will ride out eternity. They will neither grow old nor can they be
injured. Never again shall they experience sorrow, pain, anguish, or boredom.
And judging from the rooftop view of the glass pavilion at twilight, I would
have to say its new occupants are uncompromisingly content.

                                                                               Pg 277


Reviews for chapter 41


                                                      This review was posted on May/15/23
                                                                 Reviewed by aamnaaaa





                                                             This review was posted on Jun/19/23                                                                   
                                                                     Reviewed by yashodha_95





                                                             This review was posted on Jun/21/23
                                                                       kanchanninawe's review

                           The Embryo Man
and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 41 - The Glass Pavilion

                                                                   Reader's Report by kanchan



                                                                This review was posted on Jul/20/23
                                                                             Hajranoor's review



                                                             This review was posted on Aug/6/23
                                                                         Reviewed by tawhida



                                            This review was posted on Aug/22/23
                                                     iqrabashir871 's review    
        The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 41 - The Glass Pavilion
                                                    Reader's Report by Iqra






                                                           This review was posted on Aug/26/23




                                                      This review was posted on Oct/16/23
                                                                         Reviewed by labia_1903  




                                                             This review was posted on Nov/6/23
                                                                     Reviewed by suma303755



                                                             This review was posted on Nov/28/23
                                                                          Reviewed by alits29's




                                                           This review was posted on Feb/14/24
                                                                        Reviewed by pazkou





                                                              This review was posted on Mar/8/24                                                                                     
                                                                         Reviewed by hinaspatel



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PG 270) The Witness by Robert Maguire -

PG 271) Ten-story detective pulp cover
by John Hilkert -

PG 272) Free and easy by Howell Dodd -

PG 273) The counter girl by Robert Maguire -

PG 274) Wanted by Edmond Gray -

PG 274) The brass halo by Robert Maguire -

PG 275) Forced into illustration by Robert Maguire -

PG 275) Slice of Hell by Robert Maguire -

PG 275) Stopover for murder by Robert Maguire -

PG 275) Reefer girl by Rudi Nappi -

PG 276) Wild town by Jim Thompson -

PG 276) Woman hunter by Edmond Gray -

PG 276) Ann and Bill by Gloria Stoll Karn -

PG 277) Film Noir by A detective production -

PG 277) Parts of a gratissimum by Charles Pendelton -