Wednesday, September 22, 2021

"Someone in This House Is Going To Kill You"

"Repeat Performance."
By Rog Phillips (1909-65/66).
Illustrator unknown.
First appearance: Imagination, January 1954.
Short story.
Online at (HERE; original text: 21 pages), The Luminist Archives (HERE; original text: 21 pages; go down to text page 108), and Project Gutenberg (HERE; 17 pages as a PDF).
     "Your murder was never solved."

The expression "as queer as a three dollar bill" takes on ominous overtones when a petty crook finds himself marked for murder—or is he?

Main characters:
~ Benny:
  "My momentum left me as my hand touched the doorknob. It flowed out of me. I turned around and faced them."
~ The cashier:
  "The law says I must turn all counterfeit money directly over to the nearest F.B.I. office."
~ George Wile:
  "Where are you, Ben old boy?"
~ Sam Golfin:
  "In exactly one hour and seventeen minutes you are going to be murdered. A man doesn't just get murdered without knowing who might have done it, who his enemies are."
~ Sarah Fish:
  "You see, you must tell us who did it."

References and resources:
- "a picture of Truman": The original "The buck stops here" chief executive:
  "Harry S. Truman (1884–1972) was the 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953, succeeding upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt after serving as the 34th vice president in early 1945" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "in the process of having a prophetic dream": But they don't always come true:
  "Several historical people have experienced dreams which they believed to be warnings that they were to die after they woke up" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "In amnesia the conscious mind jumps over a period of time and stays there": For authors and screen writers amnesia has proven to be one of the most lucrative plot gimmicks of all:
  "There are two main types of amnesia: retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is the inability to retrieve information that was acquired before a particular date, usually the date of an accident or operation. In some cases the memory loss can extend back decades, while in others the person may lose only a few months of memory. Anterograde amnesia is the inability to transfer new information from the short-term store into the long-term store. People with anterograde amnesia cannot remember things for long periods of time. These two types are not mutually exclusive; both can occur simultaneously" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "the Davis Street El station": In service since 1892:
  "The Chicago 'L' (short for 'elevated') is the rapid transit system serving the city of Chicago and some of its surrounding suburbs in the U.S. state of Illinois" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "A night extra": Time was newspapermen (and -women) really worked at their jobs:
  "A newspaper extra, extra edition, or special edition is a special issue of a news-paper issued outside the normal publishing schedule to report on important or sensational news which arrived too late for the regular edition, such as the outbreak of war, the assassination of a public figure, or even latest developments in a sensational trial" (Wikipedia HERE).
- We've come across Roger Phillip Graham's stories a few times: "From This Dark Mind" (HERE), "You'll Die Yesterday" (HERE), "The Man from Mars" and the non-SFFnal "A Case of Homicide" (both HERE), and (possibly) "Deadly Dust" (HERE).


  1. I read his novel THE WORLD OF IF not long ago. A very clever time travel story but with a bit too much political heavy-handedness.

    1. Rog Phillips kept returning to the time travel motif; as a useful gimmick for storytelling, time travel has been a cornucopia for modern writers since Irving's Rip Van Winkle.