HIGH ADVENTURE FOR HORACE HENDERSON & CO.

INTRO

Deep within the hallowed halls of Harvard, Professor Hezekiah Higginson was hard at work for countless hours hatching a scheme to help the Allies defeat Hitler in WWII. In his herringbone suit, horn-rimmed glasses, and homburg hat, he certainly exuded the role of honorable learned scholar. The hallmark of his output was that he always did his homework before hashing out the details instead of handling things haphazardly like many half-hearted hacks. Over the years this had put him in some heady company as he was now hardwired to the higher-ups in our government much to the chagrin of his hifalutin, headshaking, heckling Harvard colleagues who harrumphed his ideas as so much harebrained hooey and hogwash. Yet while their recommendations were hurriedly hurled down some big hopper in Washington and stayed buried, Hezekiah had the well-earned ear of the heavyweights at headquarters, guys like Admiral Halsey and Secretary of State Cordell Hull. They didn't dismiss his plan as mere hokum and horsefeathers but felt it worthy of their heartfelt support and convinced the rest of the honchos including Harry Truman and FDR to make it happen.

From one of our host of spies shadowing the Nazi hierarchy we had gathered that their high command had a vacation hideaway not deep in the heartland in Hamburg as was previously hypothesized but out in the hinterland in the Black Forest. At any given time many of Hitler's most heinous homicidal henchmen with no regard for humanity could be there. The hush-hush plan was to sneak in there with a heroic team of three each handpicked by Hezekiah and wipe it out.

HEZEKIAH'S DREAM TEAM

The handover of power in Germany to these Nazi hooligans had been a horrid mistake. The horrendous scourge of Nazism now threatened all humankind as they tried to assert their hegemony over the hemispheres. Hezekiah's hopes hinged on the hunch that he could draft this team of hired guns whose members would harness their different skills and though heterogeneous, work in harmony and be homogeneous. His only choices were (me) Horace Henderson-hotshot gunman, Hubie Huckabee-Herculean he-man, and Helen Harlow-a regular Mata Hari.

Before joining the Humanities Dept. at Harvard, Hezekiah Higginson had been the headmaster at Benjamin Harrison High in Hoboken (ten miles form Hackensack) N.J., the hometown of (me) Horace, Hubie, and Helen. We three were inseparable, hanging out at the local hash house eating hot dogs and hamburgs, lolling around in hammocks under the hickory tree, or playing hooky so we could shoot hoops, toss horseshoes, or play handball. Invariably, Hezekiah would herd us into his office and harangue us admonishing, "For the hundredth time you harlequins, no corporate headhunter will add a holdover as a hireling! He'll just say he hasn't any need for you and henceforth you'll be have-nots not haves!" He must have made some headway since none of us ever did get held back a grade but honestly, in hindsight we should have heeded him more often and not been so headstrong.

Anyway, though he was a bit hardhanded and harsh on us, we knew deep down he was amused by our horseplay and had a soft spot in his heart for us. Before driving off to Harvard in his old Hudson, Hezekiah told us, "Now hear this you three. Hopefully you'll understand you're headed for horizons unlimited. You may run into some hard knocks here and there but hang in there because I haven't figured out how but I just know you'll make history together."

Like Sherlock Holmes (or a Hound of the Baskervilles?) he tracked us down and humbly requested we visit him up at his seaside home, a remote headland mansion in Harwichport near Hyannis, Cape Cod for a hugely important reunion. It was heartwarming having the old gang together again after a lengthy hiatus. We hugged and exchanged warm hellos then huddled by the hearthside and put our feet up on the hassocks as Hezekiah laid out the whole mission. He then said, "I understand this will be no hayride or holiday in the Hamptons, but I feel it's a matter of honor to preserve our American heritage in this historic conflict and go after these hawkish hardliners as hell-bent for conquest as Attila the Hun and who carry out the horrifying crime of holocaust...Now I'm not going to employ any more hortatory oratory to whip you into hysteria but just ask plainly for a show of hands."

Delighted no one hedged and he had no holdouts, Hezekiah gave us each a firm handshake and from his impressive desk hewn form the hardiest Honduran hardwood retrieved some forms to which we added our John Hancocks. He beamed, "Heavens to Betsy. Maybe he's crazy but Uncle Sam herewith officially has the wolves guarding the henhouse. Ha!" We celebrated by puffing on handmade Havanas from his hermetically sealed humidor and after he got some handblown goblets from his hutch, sharing a few Heinekens whereupon he toasted, "Here's to you three hell-raisers!"

Hezekiah mused, "Hmmm, I'm no longer young (don't let the hairweave on my hairpiece fool you, heh!) but I'd hurry headfirst into this fray. I mean...the highlight of my life was WWI when my company had 'em hemmed in and drove right into the Kaiser's homeland and routed 'em handily. But now I'm now just a hobbling has-been barely able to haul my handcart up the hill from the grocery store. So since my wife Harriet is one housewife who makes it clear she doesn't need her hubby as a helpmate with the housework, I tend to my hedgerows and hydrangeas and putter around the house with my hammer and handsaw.

ME-HORACE HENDERSON

I had always been a handful even as a toddler in my highchair. I wanted to be on the hobbyhorse and practice my draw from the holster on my hip till I was a faster hombre than even Hopalong Cassidy. For me high school was just a hassle and I would've preferred homeschooling since the tiny classrooms were like hencoops (yea worse, hatboxes) and made me hyperventilate. I had no use for hypotenuses and hexagons and Hamlet was just so much hieroglyphics to me, but I did perk up in history class when they got to Wild Bill Hickock and Doc Holliday. I got bored once and hotfooted a kid in homeroom and hilarity ensued, but when my dad found out he whacked my hindquarters with his horsehide belt. I used to go hot-dogging it on my Huffy bike and zip though Main St. doing a handstand on my handlebars without hitting any hydrants or chickening out by using the handbrake.

Now I had already done my hitch in the army when Hezekiah called. Heralding me as the greatest marksman since Robin Hood and therefore wholly irreplaceable, they kept me stateside for the humdrum job of trainer honing the shooting skills of hundreds of others even though they knew I was het up for combat. Disillusioned, I now mostly hung around my houseboat. I'd venture out for haddock, hake, halibut, and herring, but I wasn't really getting over the hump as a fisherman. With hardly a halfpenny to my name, I was no better off than the hurdy-gurdy man or the homeless hobo panhandling for handouts. So I took a job passing out handbills touting the corned beef hash for a half-dollar special at the local Howard Johnson's (where the hostess always gave a nice hallo and the waitresses practiced good hygiene by wearing their hairnets).

After that I worked for a homebuilder as a hod carrier hauling heavy bricks and mortar at his homesites, but when I started hurting so much I thought I might have a hernia, he made me his housepainter instead. One day when I was high up near a housetop, I upset a hive of honeybees who so startled me I fell over the handrail of the scaffold (if I were more of a handyman I would've fixed the hobnails and mended the heels of my boots and prevented the mishap) and hit the ground in a heap. It wasn't humorous breaking my humerus and since I now had a heightened fear of heights, I quit.

Bored and broke, I was ready to go to the hockshop to hock a Henderson family heirloom, a Hans Holbein the Younger portrait of Henry the Eighth (yaknow, the guy from the Herman's Hermits song) when Hezekiah called. Never much of a homebody, I was tired of sitting on my haunches and was so hyper for hijinks I did handsprings and cartwheels over his opportunity, and when he mentioned how handsomely I was to be paid, I was hog-wild!

HUBIE HUCKABEE'S SAGA

After our boyhood days in Hoboken, Hubie had fallen in with some hophead hippies who dealt their own homegrown hashish and hemp. They were habitués at seedy beatnik hangouts where they took hits of even stronger hallucinogens, eventually graduating to horse (heroin), that horrible drug injected by hypodermic needle. Hostages to their habit, he and his hoodlum pals had perpetual hangovers and went from stealing hubcaps to housebreaking to holdups to support it. Hubie, hirsute like some non-Homo Sapien in need of a haircut and with a haggard hollow look and bad halitosis, was no longer very hygienic and was going to hell in a handbasket. After each heist the gang would go to the fence, a hardcore criminal, with whom they'd hawk their hot goods to get cash for getting high.

On these drug trips they'd hallucinate and be hysterical like laughing hyenas going ha-ha like everything was hilarious until the drugs wore off. Then the addiction made them hyperactive so they got the heebie-jeebies and became so herky-jerky they'd leave their higgedly-piggedly hovel in a great hurry-scurry to run helter-skelter committing crimes planned so haplessly harum-scarum they were eventually caught and led to the hoosegow in handcuffs.

There was a grand hoo-hah among the angry townsfolk over these captured hellions. The lynch mob didn't want any court hearing or habeas corpus but wanted them to face the hangman or headsman or drink hemlock but not before being horsewhipped and being splashed with hydrochloric acid. The judge put an end to the hullabaloo by sending first-offender Hubie to a halfway house to be followed by a move to the family homestead in Helena, Montana far away from his more heartless habitual offender friends who received hard time.

HUBIE OUT WEST

Hubie quickly adopted the hillbilly life out in hicksville. He tended the hogs, fed the hens and their hatchlings, and would hoe the many hectares while battling the heat and swatting horseflies. He would don his Stetson hat with the horsehair hatband (I prefer a havelock over my cap to keep me more heatproof) and roam the hacienda high and low on horseback without getting heatstroke rounding up the herds of Holsteins and Herefords and their heifers. The agreeable country life made him hardy and hale and quite husky too.

His favorite hobby was to go hot-rodding in his hemi-powered drone and at night he'd often go to the local honkey-tonk for a real hoedown full of hurly-burly fun. And though most city folk were like 'Humph!' and now regarded him as some homebred halfwit hayseed from a ho-hum (yes it's hyphenated when an adj. not an interj. you hopeless grammar hounds) hick town, he preferred the farm and ranch to the hustle-bustle and honking horns of the city anyway. To Hubie, the fragrance of honeysuckle and huckleberry, not to mention hibiscus and hyacinth and even heather and minty hyssop had it all over the smoggy, thick haze and smelly hydrocarbons any day. And whereas the haughty urbanites were so hoity-toity like they were above the hoi-polloi, his country folk though maybe less hip had more honesty than those Jekyll and Hydes.

The consummate hunk, he played on the local football team and when they'd yell 'Hut! Hut! Hike!' he'd be catching Hail Mary passes and snatching handoffs and playing such stellar halfback the game was always over before halftime. At hockey he was so adept at landing a haymaker on hookchecking opponents that the Chicago Black Hawks scouts rated him higher than Gordie Howe (and even Bobby Hull later!). In the wrestling ring he wore a headband that said 'Handsome Hubie' and so mastered the holds like the half nelson, headlock, and hammerlock that he could've taken Haystack Calhoun and Hulk Hogan no sweat. But one day he absorbed a vicious headbutt sans headgear and got such bad hematoma they were hewing his headstone, but he regained his health and all gung-ho, joined the military.

I once visited him out there in Helena where he and his grandma Hattie, a happy homemaker, gave me a grand howdy and treated me to a hearty meal with heaping helpings of homemade ham hocks, hash browns and husks of corn along with piping hot hoecakes and yummy hush puppies from the hearth too with some wholesome homogenized milk to wash it all down plus honeydew melon for dessert and hoghead cheese to snack on later. Now too much of this would probably make your arteries harden and give you high blood pressure and chronic hyperacidity, however, I just took a few heartburn pills and enjoyed myself.

THE 'HERSTORY' OF HELEN HARLOW

From the tomboy that hung out with (me) Horace Henderson and Hubie Huckabee, Helen Harlow blossomed into quite the heartthrob. A real humdinger with an hourglass figure in her heyday, she had all the boys doing headstands just to get a hint of a smile from her heavenly face. Later though, as a wide-eyed young hatcheck girl at a hopping nightclub, she fell for this hedonist hepcat Hannibal hoping he would be her husband and henceforward they would live happily ever after. But this huckster was nothing but a pimp who busted her hymen (cherry) and then hornswoggled her into joining his harem of hookers. He decked her out in high heels, a low hemline skirt, fishnet hosiery, a revealing halter-top to accent her ample hooters, and then laid on excessive highlighter. A helluva hottie now, she hustled the streets while guys (too horny to worry about getting herpes from hanky-panky with a harlot) hooted and shouted, "Hiya honeybun" or "Hubba- hubba!" a very hackneyed expression indeed. A low class heel, this Hannibal promised to go halves with her but instead hoodwinked her and hoarded most of the hard earned loot to later spend at the haberdashery on fine hats with hefty prices printed on their hangtags. When she realized she was being hosed by this hoaxer, it was too late since he had hooked her on hard liquor like Hennesey and Harvey's Bristol Cream causing her to further descend into this hellish hardscrabble life. There was nothing hokey about the change in her demeanor as she became a hectoring, henpecking, hypercritical, hairsplitting, hussy prone to hissy fits. It was heartbreaking to hear she was becoming such a haggish harridan.

REDEMPTION FOR HELEN

Feeling humiliated, hungry, and helpless, Helen just couldn't handle the heartache of any more hardship. After much handwringing and hemming and hawing, she looked heavenward with humility and Hallelujah! It hit her! Instead of consulting her horoscope or going to her hoodoo guru or some hydromancer or relying on some humanistic philosophy or joining the Hare Krishnas, she should hasten without hesitation to the safe haven of her old church to seek a higher power to repair her broken halo.

She had been hidebound against trying this since she was worried the holier-than-thou types would be hypocritical and deliver huffy hurtful homilies condemning her as a heathen heterodox heretic who would be hurled into the hellfire of Hades in the hereafter. But she had no reason to hide since they all rejoiced with much handclapping and hoopla and hosannas and humming of hymns. After some handholding and reassurance and checking out relevant passages from the Holy Bible (perhaps from the book of Habakkuk or Hosea? Or maybe it was Haggai) with hermeneutics, she described her hankering to be relieved of the heaviness wreaking havoc upon her, whereupon they did a laying on of hands and immediately she felt a world of hurt exit the top of her head like a hurricane. Hence she heaved a sigh of relief and thanked heaven for answering her prayers a hundredfold. She hadn't felt this heartened since her halcyon days as a sweet as honey little girl in Hoboken.

She could only now clearly hark back to scenes that tugged the heartstrings...playing hopscotch in front of the house, singing into a hairbrush pretending she was Billie Holiday with the houselights down, counting Hershey bars at Halloween, and being an avid hoofer, doing the hokey-pokey,the Hawaiian style hula, the hora, a hammy version of the hypnotic hootchy-kootchy dance, the lively sailor's hornpipe dance, and even the lindy hop (a precursor to the hully-gully perhaps?) at the dance hall. Feeling healthy and rehabilitated, Helen wanted to be helpful to her country in defeating its hostile foes so figured, "What the heck?" and joined up whereupon they instantly decided a Mata Hari temptress role was where she could make herself most useful.

THE MISSION

The professor picked a hazardous, hazy weather day to have us parachuted undetected behind enemy lines a short hike to that officers' fun hideout. Hubie was pretty handy as a ham radio operator so he kept in contact with our base until the handset broke and the whole mechanism went haywire with doohickeys and hairsprings flying everywhere. It wasn't very hi-tech (unlike today's handheld devices that run on nickel metal hydride batteries at high megahertz and have optional headsets) and we were worried the clunker was working as a homing device anyway, creating a hotline to the fuhrer, the hardhearted hateful hothead Hitler, who I meant to ask if by happenstance we bumped into him if he got hoarse from all his hollering and histrionics. It wasn't like we could just hitchhike like on the highway back home, so we kept our heads low, maintained our heading, and found the place. It was a plush hotel-more like the Taj Mahal than a Holiday Inn or a Hilton-nestled cozily near a hillside.

The plan called for Helen to play the part of bored hausfrau Helga who'd left her harmful husband Heinrich and was now a hot-to-trot honeybunch with an insatiable hunger for discreet hookups with the high muckety-mucks inside. When the beautiful Helen, looking like the goddess Hera, removed her fancy headpiece to reveal her flowing hair of a ravishing hue of henna (not her usual amber halftone), there was no haggling and they were like, "C'mon in hon!" After all, her competition in there was homely heavyset hippopotami with severely hooknosed honkers who belonged in headbags, had hemorrhoids on their heinies, and sported strange beehive hairdos which needed a whole can of haispray to make them hold.

At the lounge they offered her a highball but having overcome alcohol in a heartrending struggle, she opted for a hazelnut coffee. During hors-d'oeuvres she slipped away quietly so as not to appear hasty and undid the hasps to the back door allowing (me) Horace and Hubie entry. By happenchance the headwaiter caught us in the hallway and was like 'Huh?' So Hubie quickly crushed his skull so hard the guy's hippocampus leaked out causing no doubt a cerebral hemorrhage.

Equipped with handguns, hand grenades, and all manner of hardware including a howitzer we hit 'em with a horrific hail of bullets and explosions and hightailed it out into the parking lot. Since there was no Hertz Rent-a-Car or hackney for hire, the plan called for us to hijack a Humvee. We hopped in one and hit the gas and with the frightening horsepower under the hood (unlike say my modern-day Honda hatchback) we raced the hell out at like a hundred miles per hour with bullets missing us by a hairsbreadth. I did my usual handiwork with a gun by picking off even more high-level officers I identified from having studied headshots provided by Hezekiah while Hubie drove and Helen studied the hachure marks on the map to warn him where the mountain road was most hillocky and hummocky (thank heavens for headrests!) so we could reach a designated hamlet of partisan habitants. Our headlights couldn't seem to penetrate the hazy fog hindering our progress (this was in the days before halogen and metal halide headlamps mind you) so when we hydroplaned wildly on the slick road (which could've used more halite) on a hairpin turn, we hacksawed headlong into a hayloft but we'd arrived. A herdsman quickly led us under an old youth hostel to an escape hatch which led all the way to a harbor. Waiting for us was a hydrofoil which we were to sail up the fastest headstreams that made up the headwaters to the main river with Hubie, a regular Thor Heyerdahl, as helmsman.

ON OUR WAY...(SORT OF)

Everything was hunky-dory until we noticed a humungous hideous beast which appeared part humpback whale. part hammerhead shark, and part Hydra monster from hoary myth but with a freshwater habitat not the high seas. This gruesome hybrid slithered past our harpoons and rammed us. Not only was the ship's hold flooded, but the hull, though made from heartwood of holm oak, was hacked to pieces. This was a major holdback since it wasn't like we could just hoist a distress flag on the halyard, and so heeling and sinking, we pulled over.

Helen felt we were in a highland area on Hezekiah's map and suggested we climb up a yonder hillcrest to look for an abandoned hydroelectric plant by the river. We made like Sir Edmund Hilary and realized that Holy Smokes! we were right above it and the plant was a honeycomb of quiet activity. We had a hilltop view of a secret scientific hub full of eggheads in white coats and luckily not hyped up hardheaded Nazi troops yelling 'Heil Hitler' instead of our 'Huah!' and 'Hup-2-3-4'. At this R&D hothouse they were field testing some highly futuristic alien-looking yet humanmade hovercraft type vehicle and since Hubie figured he could helm this hydrodynamic marvel, we swooped down like a horde of angry hornets creating a hubbub shocking the poor eggheads who looked as heartsick over losing their toy as when I did when my Alaskan husky died of heartworm.

We continued our hejira downstream but the crazy thing ran not at hypersonic speed like we'd hoped but slowly like a railroad handcar. We felt that with the heat on us by now, this slow hulky hovercraft was just a floating hearse. It wasn't like we could just say hocus-pocus and disappear like Harry Houdini (or maybe Doug Henning?) so we didn't ditch it until we happened to reach a secret hangar housing a prototype helicopter. This hangar was a little more heavily guarded so as we approached a German soldier yelled for us to halt whereupon Hubie buried a hatchet right through Helmut's helmet (Hey! A homonym!) so that his hypothalamus squirted out like when I squeeze a packet of horseradish sauce on my hoagie (hero) sandwich.

Hubie was pleased it hovered and moved horizontally for a helmsperson better than the hovercraft, but we felt hexed when this time we ran into the hindrance of bad headwinds which did hurl us violently hither and thither and made us go hedgehopping missing treetops by a mere handsbreadth. They harassed us so much we decided to make a harrowing landing short of Helvetia (Switzerland) and back in the Black Forest.

Whatever region in which we now hid felt haunted, scarier than any Hitchcock or Hammer horror film. We could hear the howling of huge hellhounds (not simple harrier hounds used for hunting hares) probably poised on hind legs with hackles raised and no mere herbivores either, ready to grind us into hamburger. These harbingers of death (who I had thought were only hearsay) together with the serpents hissing in the heath (who didn't sound like simple hognose or hoop snakes) had my heartbeat racing more rapidly then a hummingbird's wings causing me so much hypertension I almost broke out in hives for which I would've needed hydrocortisone cream and humectant soap. Getting more homesick by the minute and horrorstricken that any second I would be hobnobbing with hobgoblins in this hellhole, I was like a mad as a hatter headcase ready to crack like Humpty-Dumpty, but then we heard a friendly halloo...

Who appeared but a tiny homunculus, this German hermit, Herr Mitt (what a sense of humor that guy!). He assured us he was not some hobbit or humanoid alien but a human with our very same double helix DNA but of very small height who didn't see the need for growth hormone.

OUR HERMIT BUDDY

A most humble and hospitable little fellow, he gave us each a firm handclasp and offered us hunks of hart which he'd just hunted, and being so hungry and tired of our rations of hardtack, we accepted. He cooked it on his handwrought hibachi and we ate with our hands since he lacked hollowware. He mused, "I finally get to host a housewarming party and I have not made any more housewares utilizing my considerable handicraft!" To help us wash down the meal he passed around his hooch of homebrewed hops and just one swig caused hiccups! He said he didn't harbor any hatred toward humanity but just preferred the less hectic forest where he kept himself hidden in a true hole in the wall, his cave, which had little headroom. Our hairy little friend, dressed in a handwoven animal hide, looked like one big hairball. When we skittishly refused what looked like hamster and hedgehog he heehawed with a great horselaugh and bellowed, "Either you're hypochondriacs afraid you'll get hookworm or maybe I just forgot the hollandaise sauce."

Herr Mitt was into holistic healthcare and had homeopathic remedies like herbs to cure both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and therefore restore homeostasis and also to cure hay fever, a miracle with all the histamines floating around that very non-hypoallergenic environment. After a long heuristic trial and error period involving as much brainy headwork as taxing handwork, he succeeded at horticulture by somehow hydrating his secret garden and making it harvest his favorite, homestyle hominy grits. He admitted, "Sometimes the humidity is a bit much but it can also go from mild hoar frost to hypothermia (frostbite) weather very quickly. Hailstones are no fun and I'm happiest when the bears are hibernating. I learned the difference between harmless holly berries and harmful hawthorn berries too. Yeah...hererabouts it used to be a hotbed of Nazi activity but Hooray! Huzzah! they moved out, but still it's safer not to have a loud hootenanny so you just hunker down for a brief homestay and enjoy this homespun tale...

A PERSISTENT MYTH/A PROPHECY FULFILLED

Herr Mitt continued, "Legend has it that in a solemn ceremony a Hopi headman, with handpainted face donning a special headdress of feathers of heron and hornbill, smoked from his hookah in his capacity as seer (a role homologous to our Edgar Cayce's). The tribespeople were horrorstruck as he conjured up a holographic vision for all to see of the four horseman of the Apocalypse approaching. They meant to split the earth and knock it from its heliocentric orbit, sending the planet hurtling into hyperspace in pieces. But as the hoofprints were getting closer, the heroics of a trio of souls brave as the hussars of old intervened and the ghouls receded as fast as their horses hooves would take them back to the depths of hell until another historically turbulent time."

He concluded knowingly, "Hoo-Boy! Eliminating those hellacious Nazis was a more humane gesture than you can imagine. Unwittingly or not, their black hearts must have been like honeypots attracting these horsemen like houseflies. But the horsemen have seen the handwriting on the wall thanks to you and know Hitler, Himmler, and eventually Herman Goerring are destined to commit hara-kiri and the jig is up."

HERR MITT COMES THROUGH

Then he admitted, "Hah! I sensed one day I would meet this trio from Hopi legend and help them get homeward bound. So I held onto this abandoned German hot air balloon I found that has just enough helium to get you across the Alps!"

We hugged Herr Mitt and said goodbye but alas! a bad hailstorm really hog-tied us during the voyage creating big holes in the canvas and though we didn't blow up like the Hindenberg, we went crashing down into a huntsman's hut...in Switzerland! So in the end, Hezekiah's attack plan had worked...it was just that the escape plan (ultimately successful) was hamstrung by a hodgepodge of mechanical difficulties.

HORACE RECUPERATES

Due to the crash, I was held up in the hospital where there was concern I'd be left handicapped if my bones hadn't healed properly. There was even talk of putting me in a hyperbaric chamber because of my low hemoglobin but I rebounded. Helen and Hubie were OK but I had to overcome a hairline fracture, broken hipbone, hyperextended knees, and a torn hamstring which kept me from the hurdles, high jump, and heptathlon. For a while I couldn't make a firm handgrip until my hamate bone came around, and a bad hangnail temporarily hampered my ability to hit homers like George Herman "Babe" Ruth and Hank Greenburg (Hammerin' Hank Aaron wasn't around back then).

Anyhow, after much surgery and hydrotherapy they let me leave as long as I stayed homebound for a spell. They sent a pretty nurse from Haiastan (Armenia) who fed me lots of halvah and hummus and treated me with witch hazel and hydrogen peroxide. To pass the time I'd prop my pillow against the headboard and read stuff like the epic Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, the House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the works of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. If I got into self-pity, I'd think back to the hospital where the hemophiliac with hepatitis to my left and the hysterectomy patient to my right hadn't made it. Then I'd lose my hangdog expression and stop boohooing into my hanky over my situation and be thankful.

HELEN'S GOOD FORTUNE

Meanwhile, one day Helen was studying her heredity when she realized the heraldry of the House of Hanover matched hers perfectly. The duke's handlers confirmed this and declared, "Hereby you are the true heiress of much of the family's vast holdings." So in a twist of fate she'd gone from 'Hellcat to Your Highness' (the title of her own hardback bestseller!). Now she was surrounded by handmaidens who dressed her to the hilt in haute couture carefully organized on hangers in her highboy and served her haute cuisine, a personal hairdresser to put her in the latest hairstyles, and assorted hangers-on like the highbred boys who would accompany her to the horseraces at the hippodrome. Luckily, she never became so highbrow and filled with hubris that she wouldn't say hi to everyone.

She went on to design a line of handbags that sold like hotcakes at Harrod's so launched collections of handscarves, hairbands, hatpins, huaraches, and hemistitched handkerchiefs to boot, and with the proceeds plus some of her inheritance she created and assumed headship over the following humanitarian concerns over the years:

  • A helpline for the heartbroken staffed by helpers who really give a hoot
  • Hydraulic presses to stamp out hardhats for the herdspeople in the hilly Himalayas so no harm will come to them from heavy boulders landing on their heads
  • Handbooks for first time homebuyers (& homeowners hypothecating loans) to combat lenders playing hardball trying to hook them with high interest
  • Hospice care for not only our homosexual friends with HIV but also heterosexuals with no homoerotic tendencies at all and hermaphrodites too.
  • The hookup with hip-hop clothing like hoodies for all the homies in the hood, homeboys and homegirls alike and high arch sneakers for hoopsters so they can practice their hook shots and other moves and be the next Spencer Haywood
  • Where possible, halfpipes where skateboarders can practice their heelflips and other tricks and be the next Tony Hawk
  • Funding to find a cure hitherto considered impossible for hopeful youngsters who are hydrocephalous i.e having huge heads
  • Harps and harpsichords to play Haydn and Handel and harmonicas to play Howlin' Wolf and Big Walter Horton for high schools everywhere from Hartford to Halifax to Hilo
  • And lastly,

  • For harried housewives (whose hubbies should really buy them a new housedress or even a housecoat or take them on a second honeymoon)...headphones to distribute to their headbanger teens whose heavy metal music (eg. Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix) blasting on the hi-fi is hurting the houseplants and giving mom such a pounding headache she can't continue housecleaning since up to now these hipsters who aren't even housebroken enough to throw things in the hamper have just said humbug while labeling mom as harpy and hypersensitive.

Eventually, she created a website www.helenharlow.com with a homepage with hyperlinks to each of these causes!

OUR RECEPTION

We received purple hearts and quite the hero's welcome at our homecoming. Everyone paid homage by giving us a big hand and shouting Hurray! Hurrah! while tooting all manner of horns including helicons. We made headlines and became household names at home and abroad. We received honorarium offers by the hatful to speak at schools like Harvard, Hofstra, and others in Helsinki, Hanoi, even Honolulu. Magazines like Harper's and Good Housekeeping had articles on us that were virtual hagiographies laced with hyperbole. Houghton-Mifflin, who sure could bang out hardcovers with their efficient yet dehumanizing machines quicker than my handpress, got Dashiell Hammett to detail our Homeric saga like Herodotus the historian when Hemingway wasn't free. The hardbound version not only got translated into Hindi, Hebrew, and Hungarian to name a few but was a hit everywhere especially in Holland, Haiti, and Herzegovina. In Japan, from Honshu to Hokkaido to even Hiroshima they eventually wrote more haikus about us than Hirohito ever got. Hizzoner Hubert Humphrey gave us a huge key to the city in Minneapolis too.

CONCLUSION

Finally Howard Hughes wanted to make a Hollywood movie about us directed by Howard Hawkes or John Huston. A-listers whose handprints grace Graumann's, starlets like Rita Hayworth and Susan Hayward were considered to play Helen but they decided on Katherine Hepburn for our heroine (Sorry, Audrey Hepburn wasn't around yet) edging out Helen Hayes. They enlisted hunky William Holden to play Hubie and suave Rex Harrison to play me Horace Henderson!

THE END

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