Lucky 13 — that’s how I’ve always thought of the number. There have been cliffhangers in our serial lately. Will Episode-13 be lucky for the characters?
Ishita at Kooky Cookyng supplied the “ingredients” today. She playfully threw me a curve with “microwave.” It took a bit of storytelling for me to work that into a 1920’s story, so I hope this episode isn’t too long for anyone. However, it did give us a new character, and I rather like him. Thank you, Ishita, for the ingredients and for the character they inspired. Maybe he will turn up in other episodes too.
Coming Up: Stay tuned for Episode-14, when the ingredients come from scenic Vermont and Michael Fedison, author of The Eye-Dancers.
Remember, you can do catch-up reading of our past episodes by clicking the “Three Ingredients Serial Homepage” button at the top of the screen. And now… Episode-13.
Pigeon, Microwave, Prunes
I don’t remember getting out of the Model-T. I don’t remember Granny Fanny shouting the words “No, Pip. Don’t look!” I don’t remember the young policeman taking my arm to hold me back. And I don’t remember pulling free of his grasp to approach the tall bloody form stretched out on the ground with a hat covering his face. All I remember is smelling the coppery odor of blood, and seeing the fedora that belonged to Detective Dabney Daniels covering the face.
The hat was still rumpled from where Dabney crushed it in his hands when he told Granny and me about Marshal Moses Myrick being ambushed. The young copper caught my arm again, more firmly that time. Granny had my other arm. “I have to…” was all I could manage to say.
A Ford that vaguely resembled the one belonging to the marshal sat with steam coming from the radiator. Its front tires were flat, the windshield shattered. The metal was so riddled with bullet holes that it hardly looked like the same car.
Several pigeons sat on the roof of a small building, looking on curiously. I noticed the birds in a dazed sort of way. They fluttered off as two more police cars roared up to the place, sirens blaring. But I barely saw or heard the commotion.
“Miss, please. You don’t want to look. It wouldn’t help you!” the young officer said, seeming almost frantic to find the right words. I guessed that this kind of scene was as new to him as it was to me. As I tried to pull away from his grasp the young man spoke in a horrified strangle of a voice, “His face is a mess!”
Granny took in a sharp breath. She froze next to me. She tilted her head the way she did when she was unraveling a puzzle of one kind or another. Then her shoulders relaxed minutely. She was saying something but I wasn’t listening. Finally a sharp “Paisley Idelle!” pierced the fog of my overwhelmed mind.
“It’s not Dabney!” she said in a tone that suggested she had already said the same thing three times. Three was sort of a magic number with Granny. She’d repeat herself, but if she had to say something a third time… well, she didn’t appreciate it.
The young copper let go of my arm and spoke to the policemen in the two cars. In an instant both cars sped off in the direction the gangsters had gone.
“You have a radio, don’t you young man?” Granny asked him. He said that he did, but wondered how Granny knew. “Because you wouldn’t have gotten here before the others if you didn’t. You heard Dabney radio the station, from wherever you were, and headed straight here — isn’t that right?”
He looked at Granny like he thought she must have read his mind. “How did…?”
“Oh for goodness sakes, how else would you have known?” she said. “Now, use that radio and tell them that the crooks are probably headed to Wetson’s Mill. But they better not go barging in until you get more people there! Tell them that’s on the word of Moses Myrick,” she added. “They probably wouldn’t take a woman’s word for it,” she muttered in a tone so low that I was the only one who heard. Then she gave the young man a small but encouraging smile. “Go on now.”
The officer jumped into action, radioing the police station, talking back and forth with first the chief and then other officials. However, every time he mentioned Marshal Myrick’s name the people at the other end seemed to pay attention.
As he worked Granny shook her head sadly. The handle of the tin box labeled “Johnson’s Autokit” was clenched in her hand, but she didn’t need the bandages from the first aid kit. Both of the marshal’s men were dead. The young policeman told us that Detective Daniels had taken a badly injured Marshal Myrick. I asked how the revenuer was, and he shook his head and murmured, “Not good…”
Then he turned abruptly to answer a call on his radio and he stumbled to the ground. I tried to help him up and noticed a trickle of blood running down his face. When I pushed his hair up I could see that the wound was worse as it stretched back across his head. Granny opened the first aid kit and went to work.
“Bullet grazed your head, didn’t it son? Why didn’t you say something?” she asked in a very kind voice.
“I didn’t even realize I was bleeding,” he said. “I just got dizzy all of a sudden.”
“That was as near a miss as there could possibly be,” Granny commented. Her calm voice seemed to sooth the young policeman. I was so shook-up myself that I hadn’t paid attention to his state, but Granny had. “What’s your name son?” she asked as she cleaned the wound.
He winced and tried to draw back, but she put a firm hand at his chin to hold him still. “Henry Hertz, ma’am. But everyone calls me Hank,” he said between cringes. I winced for him. Granny would make sure that wound was clean whether or not the disinfecting was pleasant.
“I’m going to Doc Vale’s now,” she said as she closed the first aid kit. “They might need an extra pair of hands. Besides, I have to know how Moses is. There’s too much blood here,” Granny Fanny murmured as she turned away. “Way too much…”
Looking back over her shoulder she added, “Pip, why don’t you help Hank with what he’s got to do here. Then drive his car to Veronica and Vincent’s. Hank doesn’t need to be driving right now. And if he starts acting sleepy, keep him awake. He might have a concussion. That bullet grazed him pretty good. Doc Vale needs to check him out… one Doc Vale or the other; doesn’t matter which,” she said in a lighter tone, reminding me that Granny enjoyed the fact that Mrs. Vale was such an accomplished physician in an age when few women were doctors.
Hank Hertz and I quickly did what the policeman at the other end of the radio said needed to be done for the crime scene. I was fascinated with the police radio. Hank seemed to know more about it than the older coppers back at the station in Savannah, easily telling them how to fix a problem when they started having trouble hearing each other.
“Aren’t you young to be a policeman?” I couldn’t help asking. Hank blushed and looked slightly put out. He said you could be a year younger than him and still be a policeman. “Well, at least to have this kind of responsibility?” I added, indicating the radio. “You seem to know a lot about it.”
His cheeks pinked again, but that time in a better way at the compliment. “My grandfather was a scientist. He was one of the first people to figure out things like radio waves and microwaves. His name was Heinrich Hertz, and he proved the existence of radio waves back in the late 1880s,” Hank explained.
“And that’s what lets the radio work right? Waves you can’t see,” I said, feeling a little pleased that he was surprised I had any idea or interest. “I paid attention in school,” I told him with a grin. “And I had teachers that didn’t have anything against girls learning scientific things. I guess I was lucky. I know that isn’t always the case.”
The young policeman was really in his element talking about the radio and its technology. I think it helped Hank get over the shock of the gruesome scene at which he arrived. He had seen more of the gory details than I had. What I saw was bad enough. More than bad enough.
His enthusiasm bubbled up when he talked about how radios worked, despite the headache I could tell he was getting. He rubbed his head and started to fidget with the bandage. I pushed his hand away from the gauze dressing. “Granny will cook your goose if you mess with her bandage,” I told him with a wink. “So what about the other waves you mentioned? What was it – mini waves?” I asked meaning to distract him from the headache with a subject he clearly enjoyed.
Hank seemed to have a little trouble focusing. I thought the headache must be pretty fierce. “Oh, you mean microwaves? I tried to tell my ma that microwaves might be used in the kitchen one day, for cooking. But she laughed and said I was too much like my grandpa. But I think — with the right equipment, they could be used to cook food. They would stimulate water molecules to vibrate and give off energy. You see, the frequency at which microwaves oscillate corresponds to a frequency that heats up water molecules, so they can absorb a lot of the energy. It would cook the food! Like that pigeon over there,” he said pointing. “You could cook a Cornish hen in probably three minutes.”
The pigeon chose that moment to fly away rather noisily. Maybe it was offended. However, Hank was keen on the microwave idea. I could tell he thought it was the bee’s knees… and I actually did understand… Well okay, half of it anyway.
I helped Hank get to his car, though he seemed to think he was the one helping me. He insisted on driving, but all I had to do was remind him that Granny said he’d better not drive. Granny Fanny had made an impression on the young policeman, and he gave in quickly.
Before we could get on the road, my stomach growled loudly. Hank was determined to do whatever he could to look after me. I started wondering just how badly I had reacted to the scene to cause him to be so concerned. Maybe he just needed something else to focus on, someone living. He reached under the seat and came up with a tin filled with prunes.
“Uh, I don’t need those,” I said awkwardly when he offered the dried plumbs. I wondered if that bullet had done more than graze his head.
He laughed and looked a little embarrassed. “Oh, no. I mean, prunes are real good for you. I want to be a better shot. With a gun, you know, since I’m a police officer now. My ma said prunes will give you healthy eyes and all sorts of good things. You just have to make sure you don’t eat too many!”
Fortunately that uncomfortable conversation was interrupted when something drew my eyes to the sky. A brightly colored bird flew low, in front of us. “Cracker!” I exclaimed.
Whether or not the parrot heard me, I couldn’t say. But she kept flying. At least she was heading in the same direction that we were. Despite the critical circumstances, I couldn’t help thinking about Cracker’s behavior. First she had gone in the direction of Wetson’s Mill, where the marshal thought a gang of bootleggers was based. Cracker’s late, unlamented owner, Cracker Jack Daddy, probably spent a lot of time there, and might well have taken her with him. What if she had gone there looking for him?
Next she flew in the direction that Dabney had taken Moses Myrick. I wondered if she actually would go to the doctors Vale. Was the bird that smart? She was awfully fond of Marshal Myrick. Could she smell him and follow the scent?
With the detective and the marshal once again at the forefront of my thoughts, I was sick with worry. It was overwhelming. For a moment it seemed like I couldn’t even function. I stared blankly over the steering wheel of Hank’s car without moving. There were so many bullet holes in the marshal’s car. Empty shell casings littered the ground everywhere I looked. And the blood — there was so much blood… Dabney Daniels might have been wounded too for all I knew. Hank had been hurt and bleeding without even realizing it. It would be just like the detective to hide the fact that he was injured, so he could be sure the marshal got immediate care.
Then I remembered the marshal chuckling about me and telling my grandmother, “That apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”
By golly, I thought with pride, he was right. I told Hank to hold on tight. He looked at me wide-eyed. Then I punched the gas, just like Granny Fanny would have.
Recipe credit: Michael Moore (Ninemsn.com)
|30 dried prunes (stones removed)
|150g caster sugar
||150g dark chocolate
|1 cinnamon quill (stick)
||50g caster sugar
|1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
Place all brandied prune ingredients into a pot and bring to the boil. Add prunes and cook for 4 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool in the liquid.
They are best left to steep for 24 hours.
For chocolate ganache, bring cream to the boil, then pour over chocolate. Mix together until dissolved. Allow to cool in the fridge.
For mascarpone cream, whisk cream together with mascarpone. Add sugar and vanilla and place into a piping bag.
Fill prunes with some of the ganache and place into your serving dish, pipe mascarpone on top and drizzle a little sauce over them. You may even like to add a little extra brandy.
The Three Ingredients Serial: Copyright © 2014
by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
No part of this writing, blog, or book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.