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Last updateTue, 06 Aug 2013 2am

Back You are here: Home Themed Collections Writers in Residence: Pablo D'Stair
Writers in Residence: Pablo D'Stair
Writers in Residence: Pablo D'Stair

Writers in Residence: Pablo D'Stair

Pablo D'Stair presents a complete novella, Helen Topaz, Henry Dollar. Enjoy!


Held each drag the smoke in long, until it hurt and my breath out was colourless. Couldn’t walk anymore, had come to rest at a row of payphones outside a gas station, cup of cheap coffee almost empty and sitting like a coil of worms in my gut.

Took up the phone—it just didn’t matter—dialed Helen at home. Considering the time of day, was a bit surprised she picked up, a weak Hello, kind of froggy like a little kid playing hooky.


Driver stopped at a convenience store, he’d asked me could he after giving dispatch a call, said it was for a cup of coffee and something. Seemed reasonable enough considering I was asking him to drive more than an hour out, city called Alster—only other city I knew was a good way off, only thing’d popped to mind when I’d asked You do long distance drives? Told him I’d direct him to an address once we were in town off the main highway exit.


Rode around the metro until I knew it’d be about to shut down for the night—timed it as much I could to get me out by the Ramada. Both compartments next to me were empty, mine was empty except for three people none of who were following me, just obviously weren’t. Then out in the open air, still no one couldn’ve been keeping an eye—hint of orange to the sky like it’d snow, good mile walk from the hotel, nobody, nothing.

Going through my pockets for my room key, struck me how lucky it was the gun hadn’t fallen out my coat at Helen’s, shook my face around, rubbed at my eyes a long time, both of them watering, itching.



Cab let me out in front the Ramada, glanced to the meter found the trip hadn’t hurt so bad as I’d figured it would’ve. Asked the driver wait, I’d be just ten minutes or so—thought better of this, it’d mean the meter’d keep going and even if not it’d be too awkward to ask that, confirm. Told the driver Nevermind. Wasn’t any reason to go around skimming off ten bucks here, ten bucks there for nothing, idea was keep things as frugal as could be managed.



Made arrangements to have my last set of shifts covered, Delmare Street, before I’d start permanent out in Weld. Last night on shift, I let myself in Helen’s office, put a wrapped gift box with her three thousand dollars in the same drawer where she’d left it, before—also put in with it some nonsense, short note of Thanks, things’d turned out alright. Used one of her Post-Its, stuck it to her computer screen, let her know her present was in the drawer, signed it HD.


Training shift came up, from nowhere, out the site in Weld. Supervisor hadn’t been kidding about the train ride—Weld was nowhere. I’d been thinking somewhere in the city or the surrounding town just out the opposite direction from Delmore Street, but place off some tangent the commuter train, not even the metro, thicks of wet tall grass all around it few miles, humid even in the stiff cold.


Laid out diagonal across the bed in the Xavier Suites, three nineteen, staring at the curtains I could close around me, canopy. Since I’d had to check in at eleven’d just spent the afternoon lounging—place was a hotel made for one thing and a gaudy version of it, made me wonder almost how’d Helen come across it.



I got antsy choosing which computer to use make the stills from, first thought the computer the guard station’d be fine, then thought it’d be better use a particular office I could access—wasn’t until past midnight and I’d slow poked through my first set of rounds I finally plugged the camera into a slot, tensed my way through the program set up, certain to the point of doom the thing wouldn’t work how I’d thought, the nothing I knew about computers dead weight, making me want to sleep.

Helen Topaz, Henry Dollar is the third of five novella in the Trevor English series by Pablo D'Stair.  Information on the series--including links to Free E-Books of the first two novella (this letter to Norman Court and Mister Trot from Tin Street) can be found at www.normancourt.wordpress.com.