Monday, December 30, 2019

"Prophet Still, If Bird or Devil"

DOUBLES IN FICTION have been a popular trope from ages past, and in detective fiction the notion has proven no less popular with Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, and many other writers, with today's author being no exception (see "Resources: Doppelgänger" and 
"evil twin" below).

"The Feathered Detective."
By A. Hyatt Verrill (1871-1954).

Illustration by [Leo] Morey (1899-1965; HERE).
First appearance: Amazing Stories, April 1930.

Novelette (12 pages in original text).
Online at Roy Glashan's Library (RGL; HERE; HTML).

     ". . . then I noticed that the cage of the parrot was empty and that the bird was dead, too, lying in a mess over by the window."

Murdering a man is one thing, but also murdering his bird seems to be overdoing it . . .

Major characters:
~ Carrie, the maid:

  "Murder it is, sir! Oh, Lord, ha' mercy on me; but I can see his eyes now, sir. All glazed and glassy like, an' rolled up and his face as purple as a pansy, sir. Lord ha' mercy!"
~ Constable Haley:
  ". . . wasn't taking any chance of being called off by the coroner, and was leaving both corpus delictis where he found them."
~ Chermondy, the coroner:
  "Choked, strangled. 'Pon my honor, yes. Garrotted with a thong. Well, well!"
~ The sergeant:
  "Maybe the murderer cut himself, or maybe the parrot nipped his finger, sir. No doubt he wrung the bird's neck to stop his squalling, and parrots have a nasty way of nipping, you know, sir. At all events he left bloody fingerprints . . ."
~ "Big Ben" Pollard:
  ". . . was buried, and a fine funeral he had, too, with flowers and a silver-trimmed coffin and plumes on the hearse and all, and everyone in the village out to follow to the grave. Yes, and even the man accused of murdering him was allowed to attend the services, though guarded by two constables at that."

~ The stranger:
  ". . . aside from the beard, and he being a younger man, I'd have said he and Big Ben might have been twin brothers. But there was one thing; this man didn't bring a parrot with him."
~ Professor Judson:
  "It was a species of touraco—a rare, an exceedingly rare bird of African origin. And a most remarkable bird. Perhaps in some ways the most remarkable bird, for it's the only bird in the world whose feathers are actually green but actually contain red pigment. And this was a unique specimen, a specimen in captivity."
~ Roger Keats:
  "Whether the bird was killed first or whether the murder was committed first has no direct bearing on the case."
~ Jimmy:
  ". . . just then Jimmy the porter comes in and takes the bird, cage and all, and starts to go out."
~ Bob, the narrator:
  "I looked at Bess and Bess looked at me and we both shook our heads."
~ Bess:
  ". . . the neatest bit of a barmaid that eye could see—a pert, bright-eyed, laughing lass with hair as red as his own, but a right proper girl at that."


~ "And where do you suppose he got gold, me lad, with no gold knocking about ol' England since the war?": After World War One England temporarily abandoned the Gold Standard, resulting in the virtual disappearance of gold coins in common circulation.

   "The gold specie standard ended in the United Kingdom and the rest of the British Empire at the outbreak of World War I, when Treasury notes replaced the circulation of gold sovereigns and gold half sovereigns. Legally, the gold specie standard was not repealed. The end of the gold standard was success-fully effected by the Bank of England through appeals to patriotism urging citizens not to redeem paper money for gold specie. It was only in 1925, when Britain returned to the gold standard in conjunction with Australia and South Africa, that the gold specie standard was officially ended." (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "coming up on the Portsmouth coach we'd taken it for granted he'd come over seas": To Englishmen, the name Portsmouth is synonymous with sea-faring. "At the turn of the 20th century, Portsmouth was considered 'the world's greatest naval port' when the British 
Empire was at its height of power, covering a quarter of Earth's total land area and 458 
million people." (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "passing the bit of spinney by Ockam Dean": "chiefly British: a small wood with under-growth." (Merriam-Webster Dictionary HERE).
~ "in Basutoland they find the stones as thick as thorns on a gorse bush": Like most former Crown colonies, it has a different name now.

   "Basutoland was a British Crown colony established in 1884 due to the Cape Colony's inability to control the territory. It was divided into seven adminis-trative districts: Berea, Leribe, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mafeteng, Qacha's Nek and Quthing. The colony was brought under direct authority of Queen Victoria, via the High Commissioner, and run by an Executive Council presided over by a series of British Resident Commissioners. Basutoland was renamed the King-dom of Lesotho upon its independence from the United Kingdom on 4 October 1966." (Wikipedia HERE).

- Doppelgänger and evil twin:

   "A doppelgänger is a non-biologically related look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a ghostly or paranormal phenomenon and usually seen as a harbinger of bad luck. Other traditions and stories equate a doppelgänger with an evil twin. In modern times, the term twin stranger is occasionally used. The word 'doppelgänger' is often used in a more general and neutral sense, and in slang, to describe any person who physically resembles another person." (Wikipedia HERE).
   "The evil twin is an antagonist found in many different fictional genres. The twin is physically nearly identical to the protagonist, but with a radically inverted morality. In films, they may have a symbolic physical difference from the protagonist—such as a goatee beard, eyepatch, scar, or distinctive clothing—which makes it easy for the audience to visually identify the two characters. Sometimes, however, the physical differences between the characters will be minimized, so as to confuse the audience. Both roles are almost always played by either the same actor or the actor's actual twin (if the actor has one). Though there may be moral disparity between actual biological twins, the term is more often a used figuratively: the two look-alikes are not actually twins, but physical duplicates produced by other phenomena (e.g., alternate uni-verses). In other cases, the so-called 'evil' twin is a dual opposite to their 'good' counterpart, possessing at least some commonality with the value system of the protagonist." (Wikipedia HERE).
   "Take a popular character and introduce us to the evil version of this character. Naturally, it's a favorite Soap Opera device. It's also very 

prevalent in genre shows . . ." (All the Tropes HERE).

- The touraco (normally spelled turaco, with the one in our story actually belonging to the tauraco genus) is indeed a rara avis, but not a parrot as many think. "Indeed, as opposed to any other known birds, Tauraco turacos are the only living bird taxa that have any significant green pigment whatsoever, as the greens of many parrots etc. are due to structural color, not pigment." (Wikipedia HERE and HERE). It's very important to our story that the feathers of 
the bird have turacin pigment. (Wikipedia HERE).
- Alpheus Hyatt Verrill was quite the polymath; the SFE characterizes him as a "U.S. naturalist, explorer and author, most of whose circa 105 books were nonfiction; he contributed a science column to American Boy. He also wrote juveniles, of which 
the Boy Adventurers sequence is of some sf interest." See Wikipedia (HERE), the 
SFE (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE).

Friday, December 27, 2019

"The Door Swung Further Open Until a Man Lurched Out Sideways"

OUR NEXT NARRATIVE (epistolary in form) is a slippery item indeed; let Ellery Queen (the editor) elucidate:

   ". . . here is another story by Mr. [Lawrence] Blochman — this time an original about Marshall T. Custer, demon detective-story writer and a 
devil of a deducer with clue and corpse — and again the author, with 
malice aforethought, has scattered errors throughout the text. There 
are eighteen intentional mistakes, with as wide a range of subject 
matter as in Mr. Blochman's earlier story ['The Girl with the Burgundy 

Definitely a challenge to the reader, but to relieve your anxiety editor Queen does offer in his introduction three possible approaches to reading the story. Good luck!

"The Man with the Blue Ears."
By Lawrence G. Blochman (1900-75).
First appearance: Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, November 1954.

Reprinted in EQMM (U.K.), November 1954, and EQMM (Australia), January 1955.
Short story (14 pages; errors list, 2 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "Both ears were blue right down to the lobes . . ."

Spoofing the public has its perils—murder, for instance . . .

Major characters:
~ Betty Morningstar:

  "I think somebody is going to murder my husband, and that they'll blame me."
~ George Aladdin:
  "Wire coat-hangers jangled as he stared at me with dead eyes."
~ Marshall T. Custer:

  "Now you're beginning to look like a story-book shamus, Custer. What hit you? 
A beer truck?"
~ Irving Jeffries:
  "Where's Annabel?"
~ Annabel:

  "I did come early. But George wasn't here so I went out for an ice cream soda 
with Mr. Newsom."
~ Frank Newsom:
  "Blue ears! Oh, lord! Blue ears!"
~ Kenneth Kilkenny, detective first grade:
  "Tuck that babe under your arm, shut yourself in the kitchenette, and scramble 

a few clues. Goodbye now."


~ "Central Casting":

   "In popular usage the term 'central casting' has come to denote an unspecified source of stereotypical types for film or television, as in a character being 'straight out of central casting'." (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "Abie's Irish Rose": Initially a play dating from the '20s, later a radio series and films.

   "Although initially receiving poor reviews, the Broadway play was 
a commercial hit, running for 2,327 performances between May 23, 
1922, and October 1, 1927, at the time the longest run in Broadway 
theater history . . ." (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "the nervous Cerberus": Used metaphorically in our story.

   "In Greek mythology, Cerberus, often called the 'hound of Hades', is a multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving." (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "Pisco punch": An American invention originating in San Francisco (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "The Poverty Row producer": The bottom of the Hollywood barrel which, remarkably enough, nevertheless produced the occasional gem.

   "Poverty Row was a slang term used in Hollywood from the late 1920s through the mid-1950s to refer to a variety of small (and mostly short-
lived) B movie studios. Although many of them were on (or near) today's Gower Street in Hollywood, the term did not necessarily refer to any 
specific physical location, but was rather a figurative catch-all for low-
budget films produced by these lower-tier studios." (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "a head chancery": If you can't punch, then grab.

   "Also known as 'Neck Wrench', the wrestler faces his opponent 
who is bent over. The attacking wrestler tucks their opponent's 
head underneath his armpit and wraps his arm around the neck 
so that the forearm is pressed against the throat. The wrestler 
then grabs his own wrist with his free hand, crossing it under-
neath the opponent's armpit and chest to lock the hold in, com-
pressing the opponent's neck. The attacking wrestler can then 
arch backwards, pulling the opponent's head forward and thus 
applying extra pressure on the neck." 
(Wikipedia HERE).

~ "LaGuardia Field": There was a time when plane spotting was a favored pastime.

   "The airport was dedicated on October 15, 1939, as the New York 
Municipal Airport, and opened for business on December 2 of that 
year. It cost New York City $23 million to turn the tiny North Beach 
Airport into a 550-acre (220 ha) modern facility. Not every-one was 
as enthusiastic as La Guardia about the project; some regarded it as a 
$40 million boondoggle. But the public was fascinated by the very idea 
of air travel, and thousands traveled to the airport, paid the dime fee, 
and watched the airliners take off and land." (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "a press-agent hoax": Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

   "A publicity stunt is a planned event designed to attract the public's 
attention to the event's organizers or their cause. Publicity stunts can 
be professionally organized, or set up by amateurs. Such events 
are frequently utilized by advertisers, and by celebrities who notably 
include athletes and politicians." (Wikipedia HERE).

- Our previous encounter with Lawrence Goldtree Blochman's supersleuth Marshall T. Custer is (HERE).


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

"If He Had To Be Destroyed by a Gadget, an Infernal Machine, at Least It Was Better To Be Killed As an Individual Rather Than in a Group So Large He Would Be Nameless in Death"

HERE WE HAVE a story plausibly chronicling a hot chapter in the Cold War . . .

"Murder Beneath the Polar Ice."
By Hayden Howard (1925-2014).
First appearance: Worlds of IF, July 1960.

Short story (14 pages).
Online at Project Gutenberg (HERE).

     "The Arctic Sea was deadly in every way—its icy water, crushing ice, avid beasts. Still something there was more lethal than these!"

It's a good thing Santa's never had to ditch since, under the terms of our story, if he did he could start World War Three . . .

~ Barney:
  "That's what the taxpayers pay me for—to protect them from—you name it."
~ Murderer:

  "Speaking of murderers, you all are potential murderers—on a big scale. Let's say ten thousand victims apiece. I kill a few fish, so I'm a murderer? But you are all gears and 
cogs of a mass production murder mechanism . . ."
~ The commander:
  "One last thing. No aggressive action. If you should meet—someone—break off contact 

in a dignified manner and come home."


~ "Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine": At the time of our story, FBMs were just entering the inventory (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "sixteen hydrogen-warheaded Polaris missiles": The Polaris was the first generation of U.S. sea-launched ballistic missiles (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "the minisub": Small submarines come in two vaguely defined types: midgets (Wikipedia HERE), which usually have a military purpose, and submersibles (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "at the time of the Wonsan-Inchon landings to give advice to General MacArthur": Referring to a wildly successful operation (1950; Wikipedia HERE) planned by General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964; Wikipedia HERE) to halt and eventually reverse the Communist 
North Korean takeover of South Korea (Wikipedia HERE), all but ending the war—until 
tens of thousands of Chinese Communist troops "volunteered" to counterattack.
~ "an Underwater Demolition Team diver": The U.D.T.s were the ancestors of the Navy SEALs (Wikipedia HERE).

~ "dim names like Kwajalein and Guam": Underwater Demolition Teams played key roles in the Pacific war (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "former Seabees": A named derived from "Construction Battalions" (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "Admiral Rickover": That would be Hyman G. Rickover (1900-86), known as the "Father 

of the Nuclear Navy." (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "John Paul Jones": The Scottish-born hero (1747-92) of the American Revolution who "made many friends and enemies—who accused him of piracy—among America's political elites, and his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to this day. As such, he is sometimes referred to as the 'Father of the American Navy'." (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "an atomic depth charge": Probably meaning the Mark-101 Lulu (Wikipedia HERE; also 
see HERE).
~ "dead reckoning and inertial navigation": Two ways (Wikipedia HERE and HERE) of getting around when you're not sure where you are.
~ "a Wright Brother's airplane": They were slow but they got you there (Wikipedia HERE).

Note the propellers.
~ "cavitation": A major problem for shipwrights (Wikipedia HERE), especially those who want to design stealthy submarines.
~ "The drawing-board boys had designed the picket buoys so they would not be detected, and thoughtfully made them self-destroying in case they were.": Undoubtedly a reference 

to the Navy's SOSUS system (Wikipedia HERE and the USN's Undersea Warfare site HERE).
~ "Nitrogen narcosis": If you're swimming around, you don't want to experience this (Wikipedia HERE).
- There's more about John Hayden Howard in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia (SFE; HERE) and the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDb; HERE); Howard also had a series featuring the "Esks" (HERE), which the SFE characterizes as "seven stories published in Galaxy, beginning with 'Death and Birth of the Angakok' (April 1965 Galaxy) and ending with 'The Purpose of Life' (April 1967 Galaxy). These episodes describe how a group of indigenous Canadian Inuit (referred to as Eskimos, a term not then deprecated) is transformed by an Alien presence into an apparently benign, fast-breeding new species called Esks, which duly become an Esk Problem."

The bottom line:

Monday, December 23, 2019

Sparetime Prime Crime

AS IF YOU didn't have enough to do this week—with lots of free time on your hands, right?—here are some of our favorite Christmas-related crime, mystery, and/or detective stories (and if the story links are dead, it's not our fault). If you are a long-time follower of this web-
log, you've probably read them already, so this one is basically for newbies:

 (1) Fred White's "A Christmas Capture" (HERE).

 (2) John D. MacDonald's "Dead on Christmas Street" (HERE), coupled with the non-Christmasy "Who's the Blonde?".

 (3) A review of Thomas Godfrey's still indispensable anthology, Murder for Christmas (HERE).  (Sorry, no online links to the stories.)
 (4) Ellery Queen's "The Scorpion's Thumb" (HERE).

 (5) Arnold Bennett's "The Christmas Eve Burglary" (HERE).

 (6) R. N. Wall's "Santa Up Against It" (HERE).
 (7) Edward W. Ludwig's "Slay Bells for Santa" (HERE).

 (8) Johnston McCulley's "Death Plays Santa Claus" (HERE).

 (9) Larry Holden's "Home for Christmas" (HERE).

 (10) Johnston McCulley's "Santa Thumbs a Ride" (HERE).

 (11) Rex Stout's "The Christmas-Party Murder" (HERE).
The bottom line:

Friday, December 20, 2019

"If He Says He Hears Voices, He Hears Voices"

"The Non-Electronic Bug."
By E. Mittleman (?-?).
Illustration by [Gray] Morrow (1934-2001; HERE).
First appearance: Worlds of IF, July 1960.

Short short story (7 pages).
Online at Project Gutenberg (HERE).

     "There couldn't be a better tip-off system than mine—it wasn't possible—but he had one!"

There's one thing all gamblers have in common: They're always trying to take the gamble out of gambling (usually, sad to say, by cheating); however, it's likely they've never been given the opportunity to take the chance out of chance that our central character has handed to 
him on a silver platter . . .

~ Unnamed first-person narrator:

  ". . . everybody has got to like somebody, and I had the edge over most of the human race."
~ Henry:
  "Take your best shot. But mark my words. You're not going to make out on your own."
~ Skippy:

  "He laughed not only when the mark made some crack, but a lot of the time when he 
didn't. It got so the customers were looking at him with a lot of dislike, and that was 
bad for business."
~ Chapo:
  ". . . before I got a chance, this fellow from Chicago came in, a big manufacturer named Chapo; a wheel, and he looked it. He was red-faced, with hanging jowls and a big dollar 

cigar; he announced that he only played for big stakes ... and, nodding toward the kid 
and me, that he didn't like an audience."

- A similar dramatic situation to today's story can be found in an episode of the old Twilight Zone TV series, "The Prime Mover" (1961; SPOILERS; HERE and HERE), with Dane Clark's character corresponding to our unnamed narrator and Buddy Ebsen to Skippy, whose wild talent in the show differs from Skippy's in being psychokinesis (HERE).

- According to the ISFDb (HERE), this was "E. Mittleman's" only writing credit.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

"He Caught a Glimpse of an Arm—a Long, Bare, Extraordinarily Crooked and Scraggy Arm—Hurling Something in His Direction"

"The Adventure of the Coffee-Pot."
By Anonymous.
First appearance: Answers, the Amalgamated Press, London, August 7, 1909.

Short story (13 pages as a PDF).
Online at Roy Glashan's Library (RGL; HERE; HTML).

     "They was like brothers."

A negligently flung flying missile fails to rattle the brains of one of England's finest rivals of Sherlock Holmes . . .

The places: Richmond, Chelsea, the South Kensington Museum.
The time: The present.
The characters:

~ Mr. Fordham Baxter, deceased:
  "A certain element of mystery is, however, not absent from the case; for, despite the doctor's assurance that the cause of death was snake-venom, no mark of a bite could 
be found on the dead man's body."
~ Miss Sterling:
  ". . . a nicer young lady never breathed . . ."
~ Sexton Blake:

  ". . . spent half an hour in gathering up, with infinite care, the scattered grains of sodden coffee-dregs that bespattered the bottom of the boat. He refrained with great scrupulous-
ness from touching them with his hands, but gathered them up on the point of his knife, 
and placed them labouriously in an envelope, which he bestowed in a pocket-book."

~ The police inspector:
  "You seem to have had an accident, Mr. Blake."
~ "A grave-faced butler":
  ". . . my hinstructions are to give hevery information."
~ Professor Dudley:
  "I 'eard 'im with my own ears tellin' Mr. Dudley so."

- Several years ago in "Sexton Blake Redux" (HERE) we highlighted the Sexton Blake collection at Roy Glashan's Library (RGL), where background info links can be found. 
We're updating the IMDb link to (THIS).
- For more about Blake, see Mark Hodder's The Sexton Blake Resource (HERE; replaces Blakiana links in previous posting).


Monday, December 16, 2019

A Sylvia Jacobs Duet

LIKE RUTH CHESSMAN last week, today's author, Sylvia Jacobs, didn't generate much short fiction copy in her lifetime, basically just enough to count on both hands (data from 
The FictionMags Index HERE):

 (1) "God to the Ants," Collier’s, March 10, 1945
 (2) "A Stitch in Time," Astounding, April 1951
 (3) "The Pilot and the Bushman," Galaxy, August 1951 (below)
 (4) "Up the Mountain or Down," Universe Science Fiction, September 1953
 (5) "Old Purply-Puss," Vortex Science Fiction (Volume 1, Number 1), 1953
 (6) "The Sportsmen," Vortex Science Fiction (Volume 1, Number 2), 1953
 (7) "Hold That Helium!", Astounding, March 1955
 (8) [letter from San Pedro, CA], Astounding, August 1958
 (9) "Time Payment," IF, July 1960 (below)
 (10) "Young Man from Elsewhen," IF, March 1961
 (11) "Slave to Man," Galaxy, April 1969.


   "There's not one single, solitary Earth invention or service left to advertise!"

"The Pilot and the Bushman."
By Sylvia Jacobs (?-?).

Illustrations by David Stone (HERE).
First appearance: Galaxy, August 1951.

Reprints page (HERE).
Novelette (24 pages).
Online at Project Gutenberg (HERE).
     "Do you realize what I'm offering you? In return for ceasing this tourist promotion, I'm offering you the invention that obsolesces all others . . ."

Earth's first contact with aliens from outer space is usually depicted in fiction, movies, and TV as being fraught with danger. Will the aliens destroy our cities, kill us all, and then serve us up as lunch? In today's story, it's true that there's a strong element of peril involved in our first contact with galactic aliens in the person of a go-getting Madison Avenue maven named Jerry Jergins—but the danger, dear friends, is all on the other side . . .

Characters (in order of appearance):
~ The Ambassador from Outer Space:

  ". . . sprang to his feet, taking Jerry's extended hand in a firm, warm grasp. Jerry had been prepared for almost anything—a scholarly brontosaurus, perhaps, or an educated squid or giant caterpillar with telepathic powers. But . . ."
~ Jerry Jergins, PR specialist:
  "You seem to have devoted a lot of study to the larceny in the Earthman's soul."
~ The blonde:
  "Don't you feel a little bit sorry for a girl like me, with nothing but perfectly civilized men to go home to?"

- Disinformation is the name of the game in today's narrative; see Wikipedia (HERE) for background.
- TV Tropes tells us that the Matter Repositor as posited in our story is inevitably "a form of Applied Phlebotinum [HERE] that gleefully ignores the laws of thermodynamics as it rearranges and reassembles matter at the nuclear level to do everything from fixing a radio 

to fixing a nice cup of Earl Grey [HERE]." Hirocker contemplates some of the consequences of such a technology (HERE); also see Memory Alpha Fandom (HERE) and Wikipedia (HERE and HERE).
~ "the gold at Fort Knox": Officially known as the United States Bullion Depository 
(Wikipedia HERE).
~ "Micronesian bushman": A generic term for several ethnic groups (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "the power and speed of a B-29": The bomber Japan wishes had never been built (Wikipedia HERE); in 1951 B-29s were still in frontline service in the Korean War.
~ "the N.A.M.": The abbreviation for the National Association of Manufacturers (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "One of the Duke University subjects tried to patent his ability to influence the fall of dice mentally.": "In the 1930s, at Duke University in North Carolina, J. B. Rhine and his wife Louisa E. Rhine conducted investigation into extrasensory perception. While Louisa Rhine concen-trated on collecting accounts of spontaneous cases, J. B. Rhine worked largely in the labora-tory, carefully defining terms such as ESP and psi and designing experiments to test them." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "perpetual motion machines": "Perpetual motion is motion of bodies that continues indefinitely. A perpetual motion machine is a hypothetical machine that can do work indefinitely without an energy source. This kind of machine is impossible, as it would 
violate the first or second law of thermodynamics." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "A name band revived 'The Thing'": A hit tune for Phil Harris (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "Goofy [HERE], My Friend Irma [HERE] , Mrs. Ace [?], and Gracie Allen [HERE]".
~ "the U.S. Post Office broke down and printed an issue of three-cent stamps": "The 3¢ rate for first-class had been unchanged since 1932, but by 1958 there were no more efficiency gains to keep the lid on prices, and the rate went to 4¢, beginning a steady series of rate increases that reached 49¢ as of January 26, 2014." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "a photo-mural of a ragged, depression-era breadline": "It is believed the term 'breadline' entered the popular lexicon in the 1880s. It was during those years that a noteworthy bakery in New York City’s Greenwich Village, 'Fleischmann Model Viennese Bakery,' instituted a policy of distributing unsold baked goods to the poor at the end of their business day." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "a billy descended on a well-barbered head": A weapon favored by police (Wikipedia HERE).
~ "the paddy-wagon": A police van: "The precise origin of the term is uncertain and disputed, though its use dates back to the 1800s." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "racetrack tout": "A tout is any person who solicits business or employment in a persistent and annoying manner . . ." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "supplement the Voice of America": "A U.S. multimedia agency which serves as the United States non-government institution for non-military, external broadcasting. It is the largest U.S. international broadcaster." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "a real honest-to-goodness juke box": Some are still around (Wikipedia HERE).

~ ~ ~

   "The whereabouts of a hideaway can be found—but what about the whenabouts?"

"Time Payment."
By Sylvia Jacobs (?-?).
Illustration by [Bob] Ritter (HERE).
First appearance: Worlds of IF, July 1960.
Short story (12 pages).
Online at Project Gutenberg (HERE).
     "The public's impression that the future can be altered or predicted is incorrect."

Can recidivism be cured? Maybe, just maybe, the metachronoscope is the answer . . .

~ Slick Tennant:

  "I ain't one of your nuts, Doc. And I don't want your money. I got plenty. All I want from you is a little trip in your time machine."
~ Dr. Richard Porter:
  "Metachronoscope. It's very misleading to call it a time-travel machine."
~ Dickie Porter:
  "You just do like he says. He's like the bad guys on TV."

- Sylvia Jacobs's full SFF-nal bibliography is on the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (HERE).

The bottom line: