Leaf of the Lotus – Guy Russell (1937)

sascoverLieutenant Pat Gardner drives to the Hawaiian home of Ah Lee Cheng-kai.  A beautiful Chinese woman serves them tea.  Seeing that Gardner likes her, Ah Lee introduces her as Puen T’ang  — oh come on!  Who wrote this, Ian Fleming?

Another white girl as disappeared, the daughter of a officer at Pearl Harbor.  Cheng comments, “White flesh has an irresistible attraction for the mongrel spawn of these brown people.  The misbegotten liliha dogs.

Gardner is investigating the disappearance of several girls.  None ever turn up, even dead.  They just seem to vanish.  Poon Tang pours Gardner another drink but accidentally spills some on him.  Cheng instructs his huge servant — also Flemingly-named Wun Kow — to take her to the quarters below for punishment.  Gardner says this is not necessary, but adds, “I don’t even want to know what you’re going to do to her.”  Add this to the fact that many of Cheng’s wives have disappeared, and we may deduce Gardner is no Charlie Chan; or Erle Stanley.

After a 2-hour meal, Cheng takes Gardner below to watch One Cow mete out the punishment to Poon Tang.  Gardner is stunned to see her hands cuffed above her head, held by a rope and pulley from the ceiling.  She is draped in some sort of “sack-like garment“, that is it is kind of “shapeless“, I mean sort of a “tubular shroud” with some sort of “drawstring” and . . . oh hell, in 5 seconds, she’s naked anyhow.

Her upstretched arms threw every line of her perfect body into bold relief against warm, velvety skin.  From glowing honey-colored breasts down the smooth swell of her stomach, to rounded curving hips, her perfect little body raised the already dangerous temperature of Gardner’s blood to another degree.

One Cow whips her with a 3-foot braided whip.  Gardener tries to stop him, but Cheng assures him that the beating is light.  Her anguish is really at “the lack of a young strong man to assuage her.”  i.e. she just needs a man.  Cheng leaves Gardner alone with Poon Tang, but he is a gentleman and just releases her.

A week later as Gardner is preparing for a swell night of playing Bridge, he learns that his date has disappeared.  He races to Cheng’s house and shoves a .45 in his gut. Cheng knows where the girl is but says he won’t tell Gardner for his own good.  As he is leaving Poon Tang sees him, and tells him Cheng is responsible for all the disappearances.

Poon Tang directs him back to the underground lair. He sees Cheng and One Cow standing beside a “girl’s slender, naked body hanging head-downward from a great hook”.  Gardner shoots Cheng, then sees his erstwhile Bridge partner “alive, clothing stripped from her long smooth thighs and swelling, upthrust breasts”.

One Cow then attacks.  Gardner is able to fight him off, but gets an assist from Poon Tang who stabs him between the shoulder blades, then flees.  Gardner gallantly offers the unclothed girl a raincoat.  Well, after untying her straps . . . explaining to her why Poon Tang wasn’t killed . . . marching her buck-naked up the stairs . . . then totally nude down the driveway . . . and 100% bare-assed down the road . . . to the car where he left his raincoat.

I also imagine a lot of fumbling with keys, and maybe her shivering in a light freezing rain, but that’s really reading between the lines.


Message to Morgan – Guy Russell (1937)

sascoverBlonde-bearded” Don Jaime is hanging out with “bright-bandanna-ed Caribs, huge ring-nosed West Indian blacks, and hawk-nosed Spanish soldiery” in a Panama bar where everybody knows your hyphenated name.

He is feeling pretty good that everyone thinks Admiral De Vaca has taken his fleet to Cartagena.  He expects Captain Morgan to attack the town, falling for De Vaca’s ruse.  His scantily-clad serving wench cares only for the jewel Morgan wears in his neckerchief.  Note that the man at the bar, and two men not even on the mainland had names on the first half-page while the wench still does not.

As she wends her way through the crowd, a strap on her blouse is unraveled, so “a firm white curved breast escaped from its flimsy moorings to gleam naked and inviting.” The wench sneaks out the back door to make a name for herself — Rosa; also traitor.   She spills the beans to Roger Blake that De Vaca is just setting a trap for Morgan.  Blake sends a warning to Morgan then bangs Rosa behind the tavern.  Remember boys, Loose tits sink ships.[1]

The fiesta is interrupted by men who bust in and capture Blake as Rosa attempts “to cover her ivory nakedness with two small hands.”  So she is a triple-agent who has ratted out Blake for an unspecified number of pieces of silver.

Blake is hauled back to San Cristobal and chained in the dungeon.  Also in the dungeon is Black Richard — let’s just call him Richard — the man Blake sent to warn Morgan. He got the message through, but returned to town to look for Blake.  Now Rosa and Don Diego are laughing at his predicament.  As they are leaving, Rosa manages to leave behind a knife for Blake — aha, she is a quadruple-agent!

Blake orders Bl . . . er, Richard to try the ol’ sick prisoner routine.  Sure, it’s an oldie now, but maybe this was the first time it was ever used.  However, the sentry comes in and kicks Richard in the ribs.  This gets guard close enough for Blake to over-power him.  He and Richard go up the staircase.

As escapes go, this ain’t the great one.  Richard and Blake are recaptured almost immediately.  Realizing that Rosa gave Blake the knife, Don Diego orders her put into the Iron Maiden.  After being stripped, of course.  Richard explodes in a rage and breaks free of his chains to save the day and free Rosa before the Iron Maiden’s spikes can do much damage.

They head for the wharf so they can swim out to Morgan’s ship to warn him of the true plot.  Rosa is only wearing a cloak which she can’t swim in.  She nudes-up again and swims to the ship of pirates.  The spikes in that Iron Maiden might not seem so bad compared to the penetrations she is about to suffer.

Another story I just could not care less about.


  • [1] Remembered from National Lampoon circa 1915.
  • First published in March 1937.
  • Admiral De Vaca in the same issue was a story by Jose Vaca?  Coincidence? Vaca is Spanish for cow — who would use that was a nom de plume?

Also seen today: The Break-In (Amazon Prime). Just awful.  Only 110 minutes and not one goddamn thing interesting happens for the first 105 minutes; or in the last five.  Actually, I did like the “twist” but it was not worth the wait; it might been tolerable as a short in a VHS anthology.  Or better yet, ABCs of Death.