Three Things Serial: 11 – Ice Cream, Sound, Thimble

1920s FanThe very first “thing” in this serial (oscillating fan) sent my mind to the 1920s, providing the time-frame of the story.  For the second episode, I took a challenge from another blog, and that gave me some information about the characters.  (That was Ballerina, Fireman, Astronaut, Movie Star).  Up until now, one thing that has been missing is where the story takes place.

So special thanks to Lynn for dropping by and giving me “three things” that took me to the setting.  She was very specific with “sound,” indicating that she meant a body of water.  That took my mind to Florida.   … And now episode eleven.

11.  Ice Cream, Sound, Thimble

It had been a crazy night, what with the shooting at the theatre, and then the weird burglary at Boris’ place.  It took hours before I could settle down enough to go to sleep.  Not that I didn’t try.  I knew I had a big day ahead — a lot bigger than going out for ice cream with my pals.  Mona had invited me to go with her to a party thrown by a movie studio bigwig.

 

The shindig was going to be out at Santa Rosa Sound, and it was going to be real ritzy.  I admit I was a little nervous about it too.  I didn’t think I’d fit in with those actors and studio types, but I’d put on my glad rags and go for Mona’s sake.  I could tell that she felt nervous about the whole thing.  She was probably worried about some of those producer jobbies coming on too strong.

Anyhow Mona said that studio bigwig had planned the whole to-do around a big race around the island, Santa Rosa Island, that is.  It was going to be a hundred mile race for sailboats that ran half its course through the sound.  The movie people were going to film it, and she was hoping to get a part.  Mona said one day it would be a big annual event, but I didn’t see how they’d ever manage to pull anything that pricey together again.  After the land boom went bust, most folks could put their entertainment money in a thimble.  Either way, I figured it’d be swell to check it out.stpetersburg-1920s

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Oz and Accountability

Need a mid-week boost?  I’m sharing a motivational message that I wrote last year.

***

Ruby slippers witch handsMany business and leadership books, seminars, and training sessions have been built around L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Life is full of “lions and tigers and bears.  Oh my!” just like Oz.  But we have to keep moving down the yellow brick road.  We have to deal head-on with obstacles.  That’s taking accountability.  We have to stay true to our values and mission, but always give some help along the way.

Yes, of course we have to build our reputations; the way the world sees us.  However, we can do that and still stay true to ourselves.  If we start believing our own fairytales, that is to say the way others perceive us (whether good or bad), then we ignore that “person behind the curtain” at our own peril.  When we connect to other people, genuinely, authentically, that’s when we get our feet firmly on the yellow brick road; the path to accountability.

The characters in Baum’s book recognized their weaknesses – and they took accountability for them.  They banded together and began their search for the things they lacked; the things that would allow them to take accountability.  The reasons why each character wanted to go to Oz were different.  However, the destination was the same.  Everyone needed to get to the Emerald City to see the Wizard.  By banding together they made their journey safer and more productive.  It’s easier for us to face obstacles when we build the trust necessary to take accountability.

Deal with what comes at you.  That might sound harsh, but it’s part of taking accountability.  Just don’t lose heart.  Yes, I know… when you think it can’t get any worse, here come the flying monkeys!  I hate to break it to you but – you’ve still got to deal with it.  Face brutal reality head on, but at the same time never lose faith in your ability to be the person you want to be.  Taking accountability is a lot easier when you know you are being true to yourself.flying monkey

In the land of Oz, the little band of underdogs persevered until they finally saw the Wizard.  They got the things they needed to allow them to take accountability.  Those needs are different for everyone, but as you’ll recall they asked the wizard for a brain, a heart, courage, and of course Dorothy wanted a home; the place from which her spirit drew strength.  So must we also draw from the head, the heart, courage, and the human spirit.

Ultimately Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin-Man, and the Cowardly Lion became a powerful team.  Although their foe seemed much stronger than them, working together they defeated their nemesis – flying monkeys and all!  And they did it because they were willing to take accountability.Emerald City

You’re Driving

Don’t “call shotgun.”  Get behind the wheel!

Remember the Three Things Serial is driven by you sending me “things” (preferably three of them) to include in the story.  There’s no telling what road the story will take, until you send the “things” that point the direction.  1920s Flapper Driving

So get your mental wheels turning.  Loosen up and let your thoughts flow wherever they may.  Now, tell me three random things that pop into your head.  You can leave the “things” as a comment, or email them.  It’s that simple.

It’s a new week.

Have a Marvelous Monday!

Three Things Serial: 10 – Grandma, Big Feet, Woodpile

Enchantment… Doesn’t the word make you think of that harp-like sound effect? Of bright sunshiny magic, and unbridled potential?  No?  Maybe I’m feeling homesick then.  Today’s “three things” come to you from the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, courtesy of RC.

Remember, you can do catch-up reading at the Three Things Serial page.  Now, the next episode.

10.  Grandma, Big Feet, Woodpile

1920s Woman in DoorwayI was stunned by what had just happened.  For a moment I couldn’t think what to do.  Boris the Ballerina ran pell-mell into the night after a burglar, (or maybe something worse).  I knew one person had already been badly hurt, or possibly killed, that night back at the theatre.  Had that glint of metal been a gun?  A knife maybe?  Should I try to catch up with Boris, and what would I do if I did?  The other man had seemed pretty big.

In the instant it took for those questions to run through my head, Andy and Mona came running up to see what had happened.  They both looked frightened.  As I described the scene their eyes got wider.  And wider.  Andy the Astronaut, ever the reluctant hero, at least when Mona was around, bravely plunged past his fear.

“I’m going after them,” he proclaimed.  Then there was a heartbeat’s hesitation on his part.  However, he took a breath and started running in the direction I had pointed.

As Andy rounded the corner, I heard a bump-tumble-crash from the woodpile in back of our building.  A muffled “I’m okay!” followed the commotion, and the sound of Andy’s running feet began.

It took a moment for me to decide, because I didn’t want to intrude on Boris’ privacy, but I went upstairs to look at his apartment — I mean office.  The door was standing wide open.  I hesitated, and then went inside, Mona at my heels.  She seemed more than curious.  She was positively eager for a look inside the Russian’s home.  When I stepped over the threshold I gasped.  Everything that had a drawer had been ransacked.  Papers, clothing, photos, and books were strewn around the room.1920s Russian Nesting Dolls

A collection of Russian nesting dolls was overturned and disassembled.  Then I spotted a beautiful ceramic vase that looked like it had been deliberately broken against the corner of the table.  When I picked up the top half I realized that the vase had been made with a false bottom.  The bottom part had a stopper that secured a small opening.  I could see how it might be easier to put something inside it than to get it back out again.  It would have to be something quite narrow though.

Had Boris hidden something the strange vase?  And maybe the man who ransacked the place had gotten in a hurry and shattered the vase to get whatever out quickly?  But what and why?  I mean, what kind of valuable would fit?  Jewelry?  Or maybe… Jeepers!

I clutched my pocketbook.  I felt the bent key still inside.  But the guy couldn’t have been looking for the key, because it dropped from the getaway car.  But if it had been dropped by the old woman… maybe Boris also had a key to the same thing.  Whatever it might be.

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of male voices outside.  Mona and I exchanged a “were busted” glance.  We both felt guilty for going into Boris’ place without invitation, so we hurried quietly to the building’s entry foyer.  I recognized Andy first because the streetlight caught his glasses.  Boris was supported by Andy and another man — a large man with only one shoe.  Then I realized that man was Frankie.

Mona rushed to Boris to make sure he was unharmed, and backed away awkwardly when everyone noticed how much attention she was showering on the retired dancer.  He had not been attacked, but the chase was too much for his injured knee.  Andy said that he thought Boris also twisted his back when he tripped, chasing the burglar.

“Frankie, I thought you went home,” I said.  “And what happened to your shoe?”

“Oh I went back and got it,” Frankie said holding up the shoe.  “I just didn’t stop long enough to put it back on.”  When he saw my puzzled face he explained, “When I got home I saw a note from my cousin Flavio, asking me to go over to my grandma’s and help with something.  So I was headed that way when some jerk half ran into me.  Then Boris here charged up behind him.  I figured the first guy was up to no good.  But I’m not so fast.  Coach used to say my muscles slow me down.  Anyhow I knew I couldn’t catch the guy so I threw my shoe at him.”

I stood in mute amazement.  He threw his shoe at a thief?  Andy chimed in, “Yeah, beaned him good too!”  I tied him up and we left him there for the police.  Frankie went back inside to call the coppers to come and get him.”

Frankie held his shoe closer to me and I saw that there was blood on the heel where it must have hit the guy.

“Good thing I’ve got big feet!   I get them from my grandma,” Frankie said proudly.

Three Things Serial: 9 – Aspic, Empty Milk Bottles, Ice Cream

How different our food supply is from what it once was! A friend at work became very interested in the many unexpected things that lurk in our groceries.  She thought about serious questions, like “Where does it come from?” and “What goes into it?”  The answers were much more complicated than “From the grocery store” and “Seeds, sunshine, and rain.” It can be hard to run down the answers to those questions, and in looking you will often find the phrase “genetically modified organisms (GMOs).”

With its 1920’s setting, the characters in our Three Things Serial didn’t have to worry about such things. Food was simpler for them. Since this post is also a continuation of our story, I won’t delve further into the GMO topic.  However, here is a great link with lots of well-presented information.  It’s supplied by Laura in Virginia, who also gave me three old-fashioned-food “things.”

As always, you can do catch-up reading for the entire story at the Three Things Serial Story page.  And now another episode…

9.  Aspic, Empty Milk Bottles, Ice Cream

1920s Ice cream Flapper

Viola Dana, 1920’s Film Star

The coppers weren’t letting anybody inside the Nickelodeon Theatre, and there didn’t seem to be anything else for us to see there.  We loaded back into Andy’s jalopy and went for ice cream to kill some time.

I put the bent key carefully into my pocketbook while I listened to my friends discuss what had happened.  Mona hadn’t gotten a very good look.  About all Andy had seen was a commotion around the group of Russian dignitaries when the car paused beside them.  But Frankie, being the tallest in the group, had seen the white-haired woman get nabbed; pulled into the getaway car.  Andy, ever the screenplay writer, was coming up with some wild theories about the whole thing.  The Russian hadn’t said a word, but the more Andy speculated, the more worried “Boris the Ballerina” looked.

Within a few minutes we were all ordering our favorite sweet treats, unsettling thoughts pushed aside for the moment.  I commented that I wasn’t sure if I should get anything, since Frankie had brought me that yummy gelato earlier in the evening.  But what the heck!  Mona the Movie Star, who carefully watched her figure (though not as carefully as Andy the Astronaut watched it) was aghast at my appetite.  But she laughed it off.

“Honey, don’t worry.  You can make up for it tomorrow.  I’m going to make a nice tomato aspic.  You can come by for lunch tomorrow and share it with me,” she said.

I tried to look enthusiastic about Mona’s offer.  I hope I looked more optimistic than Boris.  He was positively peaked.  I suggested he get a Coca-Cola float — that should pep him up.  He agreed almost absently, but within a few minutes it seemed to be doing the trick.  Boris looked more like himself, and everybody was having a good time.

Later when we were all stuffed with ice cream and sodas and syrupy goodness, Andy dropped Frankie off at his place.  The fireman teased me that I still hadn’t read his palm, but he was a good sport about it.  Then the rest of us went back to our pseudo “office” homes.  (Who cared if we lived in what was supposed to be office space, as long as the rent was cheap!)

Andy pulled right up to the front door, and we got out of the Studebaker, Boris stopped in his tracks, looking up at his windows.  A light was on.  I knew he wouldn’t have left it that way.  He took a quick step toward the front door, but I grabbed his arm to hold him back.  There was definitely something bad going on in the Russian’s life, and I didn’t want to see him rush in and get hurt.

empty milk bottlesJust then Andy put the car into gear to go park it.  The Studebaker backfired.  I jumped.  Mona shrieked.  Boris whirled toward the sound.  The light went out in his apartment — I mean office.

I shoved Boris as hard as I could; pushing him into the shadows of some decorative bushes when the sound of running feet met my ears.  Then a man in dark clothes rushed past us.  He seemed to realize someone was there.  He gave a look over his shoulder in our direction, and that caused him to stumble over some empty milk bottles that Tim the Tailor had put outside.  When the man turned, the light caught something metal in his hand.  Was it a gun?

“Oh Applesauce!” I exclaimed as Boris broke loose from my grasp.  “Come back, I’m afraid he has a gun!”

However, Boris was already gone.

Three Things Serial: 8 – Flight, Itch, Heartbreak

I’m really excited to have received “three things” from two different readers over the weekend.  So I’m doing a mid-week post with the first set I was given.  The story continues with new things from Provincial Lady.

Flight, Itch, Heartbreak

Louise BrooksI was pretty sure the strange key had fallen from the getaway car.  That would make it evidence, so I hurried over to the group of policemen to give it to whichever one was in charge.  One of them grinned at me with a leer and muttered something I didn’t catch, but I knew nobody’s grandmother would have approved, based on the smirk on his mug.  I had an itch to slap his face, officer of the law or not!  A younger one pointed out the captain, so I pushed my way through to where he stood.  I honestly tried to give him the bent key.  I said I had something that might have dropped from the getaway car.  But he just gave me a condescending laugh.

“This is man’s work doll face.  It’s past your bedtime.  Go on home.”

If that’s how they were going to be, those flattie cops could just kiss my…  I’d just keep the key for myself.  Maybe I could figure out something about it, and what was going on to boot.  As I stomped back to my pals I was so mad I growled.

“Hey Pip, what’s the matter.  Whatever it is, there’s no point getting sore about it,” Mona said with an empathetic smile.  “Whatever those flatfoots were saying, you just ignore them.”

I sighed and nodded.  Andy and Frankie hadn’t paid much attention to our exchange, but Boris had.  He cleared his throat in a hesitant way, but the look in his eyes was pretty darned eager.

“You found something?  Something dropped from that car as it took flight?  Please, show me,” Boris asked hopefully.

I showed him the once beautifully worked key.  “There is something inscribed on it, but I can’t make it out in this light.”

Boris handed the key back to me, but put his hand on my wrist in a gentle grip, like someone might do to make sure a small child didn’t move away.  He hurriedly rummaged in his pockets.  With a relieved breath he produced a match, which he struck across the sole of his shoe.  I couldn’t help noticing his shoes were expensive looking for an out of work ballet dancer.

The sulfuric scent of the match tickled my nose.  He took the key from me and held it near the tiny fire of the match, turning it this way and that.  I don’t think I had ever seen anybody look so intently at anything.

“Can you tell what it says?” Mona asked.

Just then he gave a gasp as the matched burned down and singed his finger.  Boris handed the key back to me.  Without a word he walked away.  The look in his eyes spoke of old and deep heartbreak.

Three Things Serial: 7 – Bent Key, Empty Barrel, Torn Hem

Today’s “Three Things” are from Suki in North Carolina.  Among other things, she writes fan fiction.  Check out her site. I’m sure you’ll be entertained.

As always you can check out the full story (thus far), or catch-up if you’ve missed an episode, on the page dedicated to it, The Three Things Serial Story…And now let’s see where these three things take our characters…

Chapter 2

Bent Key, Empty Barrel, Torn Hem

MargaretYoung1921There was more commotion as the coppers went inside the Nickelodeon Theatre, nightsticks and guns at the ready.  We all stood taller, trying to see what was going on — all of us except Boris, that is.  He slumped down even further into the seat of Andy’s Studebaker.

“So, who got clipped?” Andy asked Frankie.  However, the fireman didn’t know who had been shot, or whether the person was wounded or dead.

Frankie spotted an empty barrel in the alley a few yards away and rolled it all the way to the car.  Then he lifted me up so I could stand on top of it for a better view of the action, though there wasn’t really anything to see.

I hopped down from the barrel so Mona could take a turn, but my skirt got caught on it.  I heard a little ripping sound and looked down in dismay at my torn hem.  “Oh applesauce!  This was my favorite outfit.”

Mona stooped down to inspect the damage and said that it didn’t look so bad.  “I bet Tim the Tailor can fix it in nothin’ flat,” she said, meaning another of our neighbors.  “Cheer up doll.  It’ll be okay.”  Then she took a safety pin from her pocketbook and made a passable repair in a jiffy.

When Mona finished I looked up to find all the boys staring at us.  Or rather at my legs, the police and the shooting were all but forgotten.  Even Boris had roused from his slump and got out of the Studebaker.  Honestly!  Men…  I cleared my throat meaningfully.  “What are you mugs lookin’ at?” I demanded and they made a big show of looking the other way.

Just then I heard the crack of “Chicago lightning” — gunfire and a lot of it, from inside the theatre.  A chair crashed through the big plate glass window in front and a man jumped through the shards.  He was dressed all in black and wore a hat, which made it hard to focus on him in the dim light.  He made a beeline toward the group of Russian dignitaries and grabbed that white-haired woman who was so rich looking.  A car from across the street suddenly roared up, and the man in black dragged the old woman into the car before it completely stopped moving.  Then it sped away.

The getaway car careened past us, mere inches away.  Mona jumped back with a shriek and Andy yelled angrily at it.  I heard a metallic ping and the streetlight glinted off something.  I moved to see what it was.  At first I thought Boris was following me, but he continued for several paces, staring in the direction the car went.  He had a pained expression on his face.

“You know her, don’t you?” I said and he turned back to me with eyes that were wide and questioning, but also fearful.  “The white-haired woman in the fox fur stole.  You know her.”

Boris didn’t answer.  He walked back to the Studebaker, and standing behind it stared at the very upset group of people and the police for a long moment.  Then he shook his head and looked down at the ground.

I sighed in frustration at his silence.  There was definitely something going on with him and this whole goofy mess. 1920s  Ben Key I almost forgot what I had been about to do… that metallic sound and the glint of light.  I bent down and spotted the source.  It was some sort of key.  I picked it up and turned it over in my hand.  It was a bent key and it was engraved with something, but it was too dark out for me to read the inscription.

 What mysterious words are engraved on the key?  Who is the white-haired woman?  Stay tuned…