Fiction Friday – The Street That Wasn’t There

Fiction Friday – The Street That Wasn’t There

Who the hell is Carl Richard Jacobi? In short, he was one of a host prolific of the pulp horror writers from the 30’s and 40’s and yet most of his work has largely been forgotten or pushed aside for the sparkly vampire nonsense that permeates current fiction. He wrote literally hundreds of short stories and novellas in many different pulp magazines and anthologies. In the mid-40’s he had a short story collection published with moderate success.

I present to you on this Fiction Friday one of his more intriguing tales, the story of a day in the life of Mr. Jonathon Chambers: “Man himself, by the power of mass suggestion, holds the

Carl Richard Jacobi 1908-1997

physical fate of this earth … yes, even the universe. Billions of minds seeing trees as trees, houses as houses, streets as streets … and not as something else. Minds that see things as they are and have kept things as they were…. Destroy those minds and the entire foundation of matter, robbed of its regenerative power, will crumple and slip away like a column of sand….”

This is the story of The Street That Wasn’t There;

Mr. Jonathon Chambers left his house on Maple Street at exactly seven o’clock in the evening and set out on the daily walk he had taken, at the same time, come rain or snow, for twenty solid years.

 The walk never varied. He paced two blocks down Maple Street, stopped at the Red Star confectionery to buy a Rose Trofero perfecto, then walked to the end of the fourth block on Maple. There he turned right on Lexington, followed Lexington to Oak, down Oak and so by way of Lincoln back to Maple again and to his home.

 He didn’t walk fast. He took his time. He always returned to his front door at exactly 7:45. No one ever stopped to talk with him. Even the man at the Red Star confectionery, where he bought his cigar, remained silent while the purchase was being made. Mr. Chambers merely tapped on the glass top of the counter with a coin, the man reached in and brought forth the box, and Mr. Chambers took his cigar. That was all.

 For people long ago had gathered that Mr. Chambers desired to be left alone. The newer generation of townsfolk called it eccentricity. Certain uncouth persons had a different word for it. The oldsters remembered that this queer looking individual with his black silk muffler, rosewood cane and bowler hat once had been a professor at State University.

 A professor of metaphysics, they seemed to recall, or some such outlandish subject. At any rate a furore of some sort was connected with his name … at the time an academic scandal. He had written a book, and he had taught the subject matter of that volume to his classes. What that subject matter was, had long been forgotten, but whatever it was had been considered sufficiently revolutionary to cost Mr. Chambers his post at the university.

The rest of the text can be found here.



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