Can you believe this serial began with Oscillating Fan? That was our very first “thing.”
In case you felt like there was a bit too much unresolved, I’ve written an epilogue for our little 1920’s story. I expected that the characters readers would be most curious about are Frankie the Fireman and Mona the Movie Star, even though Pip is nearest to my heart as the narrator.
So for those who like things nice and tidy, here’s a bit more.
“Are you sure you won’t stay here in Sarasota for a while?” Mona pleaded. “You don’t have to breeze off. Bepa told me that Mr. Ringling asked you to stay as long as you want. There aren’t many places where you could get free room and board. And there aren’t any at all as beautiful as Ca’d’Zan!”
I looked down at my hands and shook my head mutely. I promised to stay until after the party Mable Ringling was throwing for her friend, Countess Babikov. However, everything I saw in and around the gilded mansion brought me unhappy thoughts. I was so disappointed in Frankie and all his cousins. How could they kidnap anybody, let alone a sweet old woman like Bepa?
What I overheard didn’t sound like Frankie wanted to commit those crimes, but nonetheless that’s what he did. Maybe when he saw that Flavio and the twins were going to prison, I hoped maybe he would straighten up. Maybe. But how could he reform himself when he was going to spend years running from the law? Ringling’s G-man friend told me that it might not be as big a deal, since they didn’t take Bepa across the state line.
He hinted around that if Frankie turned himself in that Countess Babikov would be willing to let the charges against him “go away.” Wealth and power had arms as long as those of the law. But the coppers would demand that Frankie testify in court against his cousins, and I knew the fireman wouldn’t do that. Besides, whether the police detective believed me or not, I didn’t know where Frankie was, and I didn’t expect to hear from him.
“Come on Sweet Pea,” Mona cajoled. “Cheer up. Bepa and Mable want to take us shopping for glad rags to wear for their swanky soirée. It’ll be the bee’s knees!”
I smiled and told myself to join in the fun and not bring everyone else down with me.
When we stepped into the hallway I could hear Andy pounding away at his typewriter. The events that broke my heart had inspired Andy to write an original screenplay. He wasn’t unfeeling, quite the contrary. He was just too creative not to put it all on paper.
“There are going to be studio big wigs here all the way from Hollywood,” Mona said. “Andy is determined to finish his story before the party so he can pitch it. He hasn’t slept a wink since it happened. I expect he’ll be moving to California. I really think his ship is on its way in.”
“And you Mona? Has Boris warmed up any? It’s obvious that his babushka adores you,” I said.
Mona blushed prettily. “Oh, I don’t know Pip. Maybe. I think Boris is a man who needs to take things slowly. I liked the countess the minute I met her, and after getting acquainted with Bepa, I think she’s the cat’s pajamas. So I’m willing to give this situation more time. Maybe I need to slow down just a little bit too. I’m going to stay here for the winter and maybe take trapeze lessons from some of the performers. They were encouraging me to when Andy and Ringling told them about the short film,” Mona confided.
The butler walked up to us. Yes, they had an honest-to-God butler. Can you believe it? I was surprised and apprehensive when he said there was a phone call for me. He led us to a sitting room with a phone. It was my father. I had sent a telegram to him so he’d know that I was alright, figuring he’d get wind of the shootout in the newspaper.
“Pops, how are you?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“Yes, Mona is fine too.”
“Granny? Is something wrong with Granny? … Oh thank goodness.”
“What? Cooking? Pops, you know I can’t even boil water. What do you mean that’s the point?”
“Yes, I know how Granny is when she sets her mind on something. But I’m a modern woman.”
“No, I don’t want to learn to cook! Flappers don’t pin all their hopes on being a good cook and housekeeper.”
“But… Oh come on Pops! I love Granny, but I don’t want to live there…”
“Pops… But… Pops please!”