Showme Supplement Number Two December, 1956Showme Supplement Number Two December, 195620081956/12image/jpegUniversity of Missouri Special Collections, Archives and Rare Book DivisionThese pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Please contact email@example.com for more information.Missouri Showme Magazine CollectionUniversity of Missouri Digital Library Production ServicesColumbia, Missouri108show195612supShowme Supplement Number Two December, 1956; by Students of the University of MissouriColumbia, MO 1956
All blank pages have been eliminated.
To Encourage Student Writing
You knew the room better than
you know yourself. But that was
ridiculous - when did you ever
really know yourself?
Outside the clouds were vom-
Inside, the light needed fixing--
but didn't Biff say he'd fix it.
Couldn't see what you were writ-
ing when it flickered like that.
Damnit though, for $40 a month
it's not as bad as you thought it
would be. Could you really run
into a dump up on the near north.
But it was good to have it all
in one room; you never did like
to move much in the winter any-
way. Needed another table in the
middle though - wasn't right to
have all those beercans getting in
the way of the typewriter -- made
it hard to think - and you knew
that this was the story that had
to come off.
Where the hell was Biff any-
way? Didn't he tell you he was
going to Lou's to pick up some
beer? Probably with some broad --
* * *
Remember the night you first
saw that grubby little bar? Inti-
mate, small, good jazz, cheap wom-
en, stiff liquor -- no spot for a
writer who knew that rejection
slips didn't taste like scotch.
Outside a deathly white was
smothering the world. It was
"Got a drink for me, Jimmy?"
"Hell, boy, I've got a bus-
iness to run -- you know I can
hardly pay the rent every month.
Already you owe me . . . ."
On Christmas Eve yet!
You know that was your cue to
light out. The only trouble was
that everything you had was in
hock, and the whole world was
beginning to do somersaults. The
combo started to dixie up Begle
Street Blues and you got up to
"Dammit,, give him a scotch --
it's on me."
He was about six feet tall,
gaunt, sunburned, with a hard look
carved on him. His clothes were
simple -- he might have been
mistaken for a prospector out west
-- but here on the near north side
you thought he was just another
oddball. What the hell though,
you'd accept a free scotch from a
"You're thinking wrong, bud.
You looked like you needed it
more than I did. Quit looking at
me like that and drink it. Name's
You always were too friendly
for your own good. Three scotch-
es later you find yourself talking
to the first guy you'd ever met
who'd sold for money. Hadn't you
always imagined authors living in
penthouses, dragging jaguars and
getting their kicks from good-look-
in' blondes. You never would have
figured this guy.
"Yeah, I was up there with the
best of them at one time or an-
other. Right now I've hit a dry
spell -- can't seem to get started
again. Sometimes you get like that.
When you begin to push yourself
all hell breaks loose and you don't
write naturally -- you can't get the
feel of what you're trying to cre-
ate. Do I make myself clear?"
You didn't mean to laugh, but
when you did he must have
thought that you were crazy. He
should have slugged you but he
kept silent and just stared.
It didn't take much to convey
the idea that your headache was
not only similar -- but worse.
You didn't know whether he
thought you were a crackpot -
frankly you didn't care.
Two poverty stricken authors
meeting in a bar - sounded like
a plot for the stinkin' movies --
but what the hell, you had no
where else to go.
"Look buddy, my name is Biff
and I've got an idea. You say
you've never sold -- I say I've sold
but can't get started again. Drop
me a minute."
You were about to cut out,
but figured maybe this guy has an
angle so you nurse the scotch and
"The way I figured it is may-
be if both of us work on the same
idea, we can get somewhere.
Look at it this way -- you're no
where now and you don't figure
on going anywhere in the near
future, right? So what can you
The hell of it was he was
"Keep talking, you got me listen-
"You noticed him nervously fon-
dle his last cigarette and you
lit it for him. The combo began
playing the opening bars to Bas-
in Street Blues.
"Look, I think this might be a
way out for both of us. I've got
a plot, a good one, but I'm afraid
I might ruin it like the others.
I need a writer's mind to help
me. I need someone who can think
and write like a hunted animal.
You help me out and I'll cut you
You sensed that for the first
time you had met a person who
was on the level and had some-
thing to say.
"Okay, buddy, I probably need
my head examined, but I'll
listen. Before you start in on this
project give me a little back-
ground. Let's get out of this hole,
it's giving me a headache."
The air felt good for a change.
It was about 3:30 a.m. and the
clubs would be closing up soon.
A scappel-sharp stillness cut the
air-light from the stars that had
shown down on another scene 2,-
000 years before seemed bored at
man's backwardness . . . it was
You found that you and Biff
agreed too easily. Biff had sold
and was hungry again. You were
just hungry. And so it wasn't
hard to agree on an apartment.
the next step was the plot.
Maybe there was something to
this Christmas garbage.
"Alright. Biff, we're settled -
now give it to me straight."
"Look," Biff started, "Imagine
yourself an average married bus-
iness man with two brats to
support. What if the pressure of
your business sudenly turns you
into a schizophrenic. One night you
sneak ont while the family's
sleeping and you commit a fiend-
ish murder -- cut up a woman
waiting for a bus. The next morn-
ing you read about in the papers.
You gasp over your morning cof-
fee and your wife comments that
only an insane man could have
committed this inhumanity. You a-
gree, never once realizing that you-
are talking about yourself."
You drank your beer and listen-
"There's only one catch -- you're
a cop, a detective, and that morn-
ing you're assigned to the case.
"We could describe his wild,
fantastic dreams of the re-enact-
ment of the crime, never once
realizing that he is actually dream-
ing about himself. Finally, after
meticulously placing together piec-
es of the crime, one night in his
study he comes upon the start-
ling realization that there can be
only one answer - he is the mur-
You noticed that Biff was breath-
ing harder as the excitement of
his tale wore on. A neon light a-
cross the street kept blinking on
and off, throwing grotesque shapes
across his face.
"Now comes the crux of the
story, He realizes if he gives him-
self up, his wife and family will
be disgraced, not to mention what
would happen to the career that
had taken him years to build.
Night after night he walks the
floors -- terrified by what might
happen if he falls asleep. Finally,
as the investigation drags on, his
attitude towards his family and
colleagues take on the appearance
of a highly strained wire under
pressure of too much weight."
You finish your quart of beer
and notice cold beads of sweat on
"After rejecting the idea of any
sort of psychological help, one night
the situation explodes. There is
another ghastly murder, only this
time it isn't perpetuated by our
detective friend, but by a total
stranger for an entirely different
motive. Our friend doesn't know
this however, and panics, think-
ing that he did it in one of his
fits. There is still no suspition
that he committed the first mur-
Matters had gotten so bad that
in the following months he begins
blaming himself for every minor
criminal occurance. Eventually he
quits his job and divorces his wife.
I haven't figured out the ending
yet -- how's it sound so far?"
Damn, you sound as if you've
really been workin' on this bit -
yeah, I'm with you - we can start
on it tomorrow."
You lie there on the pull-out and
and the night starts to get colder.
It looks like Biff won't be back
for an hour or so yet -- in a way
You've been working on this
"thing" for six weeks now and
what little money you had is be-
ginning to run out. Yet, you real-
ize that this is the one you've got
to score with. After years of ag-
gravation if this one doesn't
make it . . . . . .
But what's really been on you
is Biff's attitude the past few
weeks, especially since you've got-
ten into the meat of the story.
You've got to try to understand
a few things that just don't jell.
You began to notice the strain-
ed look on your companion's face
as you progressed further into the
story. At each turn of events he
would get up and nervously walk
around the room, always looking
out the window at the street with
a wild blank stare.
But then, around the fourth
week during the writing of the im-
portant murder scene, Biff became
so emotionally disturbed that he
had to pop a hypo. It took quite
a while to quiet him down. You
recall that this was the beginning
of the first of a series of nights
when he would leave after dinner
and stay out half of the p. m.
The first thing you noticed after
this all-important climax in the
story was that Biff's emotional
stability was gradually deteriorat-
ing into a state of complete men-
tal and physical exhaustion. It was
becoming increasingly hard to com-
plete work on the novel.
And then suddenly, with a terror
you had never experienced before,
you realized that all the pieces in
your new pattern of life began to
fit together. A vague nausea filled
The intimate details of the plot -
the scenes so minutely described -
the characters sketched as if they
were personal friends - it is all
too real. There could be only one
answer to Biff's peculiar behavior
and the fantastic story you were
Biff was the murderer you had
been writing about.
It was now a matter of self
control and pacification. Control
of yourself during the hours you
would be working with Biff and
pacification of him during his tan-
trums as the story of his life un-
folded on your typewriter.
* * *
You lay there waiting for the
creak of the stairs telling of the
return of what now the most im-
portant person in your life. From
now on you would sleep in the
same room, eat at the same table,
work with the same person whom
you now feared and respected to
a point moving you to tears.
But it wouldn't be long -- a week
or two. You must endure even if
you were cognizant of the hor-
Biff was the schizophrenic you
had been writing about. Some-
where there was a grave with his
victim lying in it. Somewhere
there was an abandoned family.
It was too late to turn back. Your
last hope in life was your own
You lay on your cot and wan-
der about many things -- but
mostly about two crazy lives that
happened to cross -- and then you
After a few minutes you awake
and your eyes catch a pile of
ashes in the corner. You catapult
across the room and tear at a
note book beside a six week pile
of burnt dreams.
Biff is dead.
Biff committed suicide.
Stunned, you wander into the
swirling whiteness, knowing that
in a matter of time the papers
would be screaming of a mystei-
ous body found in a bloody river.
You were naive -- how else could
it have ended? For Biff, life had
ended on that fateful night. The
book that he had wanted to sancti-
fy himself with had become his
tombstone. You who would die only
once had lived with another who
had known death a thousand times.
As you step outside, the wind
slaps at you rudely. The door to
Jimmie's was closed and it was al-
ways psuedo-warm inside.
"Make it straight Jimmy."
"Things still pretty rough?
Sold anything yet?"
"No, but I think I'm on a pret-
ty good kick. Listen, what ya'
think of a respected public offic-
ial in a midwest city who suddenly
R. L. S.
"How many hearts have you broken with that great big beautiful eye?"
There Must Be Somewhere
The fetal infant was fixed to a post;
Movement was limited.
The neonate flayed his stubby arms
Skyward, screaming and scared.
It was wet.
They fed him.
Wee tot now.
Junior's a good boy.
"Mustn't do, mustn't touch."
Send him to school.
Let him play.
"Young man, it's after class for you,
You've been naughty today."
Teen-ager . . . good years. Unrequited
Love, ball, lessons.
"We have rules here, lad,
The University . . .
This might be it.
"You yourselves are responsible for your
Conduct; however we do not
Condone such . "
There must be someplace
Where man can .
Marriage, a family, closeness.
A life-time gone by;
Going faster now.
Fight, old man, fight.
You'll show them yet.
There must be someplace
Where man can .
Where man . .
The twentieth cigarette
Who will strike
The twentieth match?
(Anonymously printed in the PIER ILLINI, student newspaper of the
University of Illinois at Chicago, May 28, 1956.)
The beach - an August night-
Behind me, raucous people-noise personifies
The city: gaudy glittering light.
Before me, water blends in black infinite sky
Reflecting this my city.
All sense of time and thought
Are swallowed in eternity. I cease to cling
To pointless questions meaning naught.
The workings of my modern brain now rest and sing
In tune with this my city.
My mind for now enslaved,
I burrow sensuous toes in mounds of clinging sand.
The gentle slap of ragged waves
Is mingled with the sound of screeching tires on land:
The song of this my city.
N. L. S.
By Jim White
The train rushed headlong into the
east, its operator oblivious to the im-
pending disater awaiting it on the
Rounding a bend and entering a
tunnel, the black beauty was given a
full throttle by the engineer. As the
train broke out into the light again,
the engineer was reflecting on the
magnificent power of this mechanical
beast of burden at his command. Just
a gentle flick of his hand on the throt-
tle and . . but, wait . . . up ahead .
What the! . . . But, too late, the sick-
ening screech of brakes and the deaf-
ening thunder of twisting steel as cars
dominoed and buckled, careening
wildly and jumping the tracks.
The engineer was the first to speak
"Aw, sis, why can't you keep your
dolls away from my track?"
the cocktail party
Distorted rhythm is the hollow theme.
The deadened eyelids burn with garish light
Reflected from a dozen mirrored sights
Which echo back the whitened ceiling's gleam.
Implicit is the pattern of the dream
That wards away the shadows of the night.
The room resounds, so falsely erudite,
With phrases blending in oppressive schemes.
Adagio waiters pass with trays, redeem
The often-emptied glasses. Appetites
Excited by the burning heat of gin,
And hands that dampen bare and powdered flesh.
The people chatting, drinking, laughing now
Are but the shells of painted manneqiuns,
And later will disintegrate, enmesh
Themselves in lies and chant their empty vows.
N. L. S.