June 2023 – The Month Ahead – The Business of The 3:57 by William E. Spear

A regular accounting of the The 3:57 published on the first Monday of each month.

Monday 5 June 2023

Re: An Introduction

Dear All,

Thank you for stopping by and it is my hope this finds you well.

The 3:57 by William E. Spear is six months into weekly posts and podcasts. It’s been a successful re-launch of a previous effort. These few paragraphs are offered as a formal introduction to, and insight on, the intent of the publication.

The 3:57 is an endeavor of mostly my own actions. It is my narration, and editing of same, that is heard. Except for bus stations and cheap bars, the recordings and accompanying artwork are posted in highly trafficked places for greatest impact.

This approach has been implemented with my twin titles of CIO – Chiefly Introverted Observer – and WLCC – World’s Least Comfortable Collaborator.

Self-deprecation aside, one reason for embracing the titles is to make this first point: A single voice can tell a story. One human, shorn of deliberate intent to bludgeon, humiliate, or intimidate can entertain, educate, and illuminate. Much like a solitary candle in the darkness, a solitary voice can be a beacon.

Further, The 3:57’s stories – whether original, interpreted, or curated – are those which have caught and sustained my attention. Whether they angered, fascinated, frightened, or humored me, all are examples of a second point: Stories are Everywhere.

Noting the above, and with fair warning of my voice once again on the recordings, this month’s stories are part of a series titled A FORCE OF POETS. The release schedule includes the following:

6 June: Episode 01 – Helen Hunt Jackson
13 June: Episode 02 – Emily Dickinson
20 June: Episode 03 – Christina G. Rossetti
27 June: Episode 04 – Phyllis Wheatley

As each is released it will be found at the home of our podcasts.

As a reminder, the LET ME GO TO HER series was released in May. Interpreted from Elizabeth Gaskell’s OLD NURSE’S STORY published in 1852, those episodes and links are below:

2 May: Episode 01 – Two Tragedies
9 May: Episode 02 – Furnivall Manor
16 May: Episode 03 – Discoveries
23 May: Episode 04 – Rosie is Missing
30 May: Episode 05 – What is Done in Youth

It is my hope you find them enjoyable. If you don’t, come back next month. Actually, come back in August because we are taking off July. The World’s Least Comfortable Collaborator needs a rest from the past six months.


William E. Spear, Jr.
New Jersey, USA

Tuesday 11 April – THE MESSENGER DINES OUT, Episode Two – On the Menu

William E. Spear

Volume 1, Issue 15


Full Transcript –



(Theme for Jim and Francine’s Place fades up)

Hello . . . and welcome to the still dancing Three Fifty-seven.

(Theme for Jim and Francine’s Place plays)

My name is William Spear and this is our series titled THE MESSENGER DINES OUT.

(Theme for Jim and Francine’s Place plays)

The Messenger has received troubling news that the diner started by Jim and Francine Dale is about to go broke. It was started in the nineteen fifties and has many, many cherished memories. But the Messenger is doubtful.

Now, Episode Two titled On the Menu.

(Theme for Jim and Francine’s Place fades out)

The boss is a master manipulator but I play along: “Broke? What are you talking about? I hear the parking lot’s full every day.”

The boss continues: “It’s okay now. But it’s about to have a Moment and Jim and Francine – God rest their souls – aren’t around anymore.”

I speculate someone’s losing money on lottery tickets.

“Worse,” says the boss who is reeling me in like a dumb halibut. “There’s a funeral and the new owner is staying open.”

My jaw fell open. Jim and Francine always closed the diner to attend services. Sent meals to the family, too. They used to joke if people died any more often they’d go broke from being closed and giving away so much food.

“You mean to tell me one of their kids is not paying final respects?”

The boss snarled, “It’s one of their grandkids and the joint’s all fancified. Has a website for online orders and . . .” The boss choked up and turned to the window.

“What? What! Don’t leave me in suspense!” I begged.

The boss checked for witnesses to avoid accusations of blasphemy then leaned forward and whispered: “They changed the music.”

The pain cut into my soul like a jagged knife.

Imagine pork roll, egg, and cheese on a hard roll with ketchup, salt, and pepper and a side of french fries being taken off the menu. For the first time since baseball went on strike, I wept openly.

“What are we going do?” I sobbed.

The boss, the great angler, came out from behind the massive desk and put an arm around me: “Two things. You make a Visit to the grandkid and explain the rules for owning Jim and Francine’s place. But before that, and even more important, . . .”

I was hanging on every word. “What could be more important?!”

Calmly and coolly, with steely nerves developed over decades of leadership, the boss spoke, “First, you go down to the police station and get your car that’s being towed.”

(Theme for Jim and Francine’s Place fades up)

You’ve just listened to Episode Two of THE MESSENGER DINES OUT.

Theme music is through the courtesy of Francesco Biondi at PixaBay.

The Three Fifty-seven is written and produced by William Spear.

Thank you for listening and . . . . . . dance while you can.

(Theme for Jim and Francine’s Place fades out)