Ah, my foodie friends — I have not forgotten you! Since I just made a toast, of sorts… that’s all it took to have me thinking of champagne. So I’m giving a shout-out to lovely Suzanne at A Put in the Kitchen and pointing you to a tantalizing recipe she did this summer. It features champagne grapes! Click the title and check out this amazing dish!
Now let’s get a wiggle on with this rewind.
I’m privileged to have a dear friend whom I also think of as a mentor. For the majority of her life she has given huge effort to educating herself about complex medical issues that have touched the lives of her loved ones. That truly amazing woman sent today’s set of “things” and as usual, my mind went to unexpected turns with our 1920’s serial, Three Things.
26. Angiogram, Burglary, Cockroach
Countess Babikov was utterly fascinated with Pear the hedgehog. She had pulled both Mona and me into conversation. However, I still noticed when John Ringling covertly motioned to Frankie and they began a quiet little exchange on the other side of the room.
The fireman looked over at me. Oh, he was hiding something; that was for sure. Frankie was about as obvious as a cockroach going after a plate of leftovers. But he pretended nonchalance. His long legs took him across the cabin in two strides. Frankie excused himself and put his hand on the lovely wood of the door. Then he turned back and I saw the glint of an idea in his eyes.
He moved to the countess who was still on the sofa with the tattered quilt over her lap. “Here ma’am,” Frankie said bending down. “Let me take this dirty old thing and get you a nicer blanket. Something that smells nice and fresh.”
The circus magnate’s eyebrow shot up and his lips pursed. I could tell that Frankie had just done something unexpected. Ringling seemed to guess what the young man had in mind. But I couldn’t imagine what he was up to!
After a moment, the millionaire left briefly and returned with a soft wool blanket. He carefully placed it over the white-haired woman. I asked him where Frankie had gone. I felt a sudden pang of worry. First there’d been a shooting with the countess being abducted. Then the same night a burglary at Boris’ place. Now the older woman was safe and sound, but the kidnappers were still free. And I had a hunch they wouldn’t be satisfied with the payoff John Ringling gave them for very long. I felt worried thoughts taking a firm hold on my mind. My face must have showed it too.
“Don’t fret,” the millionaire told me with a tight smile. “He’s going with a few of my men to fetch Boris.”
That statement got a pleased response from Countess Bepa. She had taken Pear out of his lunch pail and held him in her lap, but her eyes were looking sleepy. I thought the brandy was finally kicking in, and silently blessed the millionaire for skirting prohibition and having that kind of hooch on hand.
I wasn’t very pleased with this turn of events. I should have gone with them to get Boris. He hardly knew Frankie. The retired dancer would feel less threatened if I was there. I started to protest, but I already knew that somebody would tell me that it might be dangerous and that it was no place for a woman. Now, I ask you — what self-respecting flapper could sit still for that? However, a glance at the countess silenced me. I didn’t want her to hear the word “danger” in the same sentence with “Boris.”
Ringling deftly changed the subject by complimenting Mona, and it quickly turned into a discussion of her acting career. “My dear, you move with a natural grace,” he told the brunette. “Have you ever worked on the trapeze?”
While Mona replied animatedly, I looked out the porthole at the strangest sight. Flavio and two men I hadn’t seen before got onto the old fire truck. Even at a distance I could see that Frankie’s cousin still didn’t feel well. One of the men helped him up onto the truck. The really strange thing was what appeared to be a very large old woman hunched over a cane and hobbling along with two burly men. They got into a sedan and sped away. I couldn’t see what the woman looked like because she was huddled in an old quilt.
Then I turned an accusing look on Ringling. That quilt was the same one the countess had been using. And it had to be Frankie under it. Was Frankie setting himself up to lure out the villains?
The circus magnate shot me a silencing glare and pointedly looked at the countess. I could tell he was concerned about her, so I held my piece. The white-haired woman was dozing quietly with the little hedgehog snuggled in the blanket. Mona looked at them fondly. She seemed to have had an instant rapport with the older woman.
“Why don’t you young ladies go enjoy the party for awhile,” Ringling suggested kindly.
Mona and I softly closed the cabin door behind ourselves. As we approached the room where I had found the microscope, I heard male voices escalate. One had a German accent. We paused at the open door because we were so startled. A bunch of brainy looking guys sat around the table. The one with the German accent waived his arms in frustration.
“Calm down Werner,” another man said to him. The guy on the other side of him said in a calm voice, “Dr. Forssmann, we know your ideas are scientifically sound. But you know everything has to be properly tested. Things involving the heart even more so.”
The German didn’t look as upset as he sounded, but he was still intense. He vowed to everyone at the table, “I will create a true angiogram even if I have to insert a catheter into my arm myself, and pass it into my own heart!”
Mona and I exchanged startled looks. A young man in waiter’s clothes came up behind us. “Don’t worry ladies,” he said as he adjusted his uniform. “The German doctor isn’t as frightening as he sounds right now. Werner Forssmann has ideas that sound like something Edgar Rice Burroughs would dream up. But the others say he’s a real pioneer of medicine.”
“I don’t know…” Mona said to the waiter’s back as he went into the cabin to check on the group of men. “He sounds like he really means to do… whatever he was talking about. Good golly, that’s a lot of science talk!”
I had to agree with Mona. It sounded like the German meant to do some very risky procedure on himself, just to prove it would work. Mona and I retreated to the yacht’s deck. Neither of us wanted to get into that conversation.
Introduction to Episode-27: A flash back to a past NaNoWriMo
With National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in full swing, I’m indulging myself with today’s set of three things. When I wrote my NaNoWriMo 2012 winning novel, Atonement, Tennessee, I was somewhat influenced by the style of Charlaine Harris — particularly her “Southern Vampire” series, sometimes referred to as the Sookie Stackhouse books. While Atonement is very different from the books Ms. Harris writes, (and there are no vampires) I believe that if you enjoyed those, you will also like Atonement, Tennessee.
Even though it has nothing to do with the 1920’s, these three things are a nod to Charlaine Harris and the Southern Vampire series of books. I took them from the first line of the first book in her series. As always, you can do catch-up reading at the page where the entire Three Things Serial story lives. And now… Three Dead Until Dark Things
27. Vampire, Years, Walked
“I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar…”
I couldn’t help being worried about Frankie. Two of the men who worked for Mr. Ringling returned with a very uncertain looking Boris. Or at least that’s how he looked until he saw his babushka. It was a very touching reunion. Mona and I both dabbed tears from our eyes.
But there was clearly more to the story of Boris being separated from his grandmother. It had to be connected to her abduction… and not to forget that bent key. The entire situation could be something that had been brewing for years.
However, the other two men and Frankie didn’t come back with the ones who brought the retired ballet dancer. The last time I saw the fireman he was disguised as an old woman, wrapped in a tattered quilt. He even walked with a cane to complete the ruse.
Finally I saw the sedan roll up. Ringling’s two men were in the front seat, and a couple of other mugs were in back. They weren’t moving. Then to my astonishment, Andy — our little Astronaute man drove up in his Studebaker with Frankie and the Fabro cousins. Flavio and the twins, Fedel and Frediano were squeezed into the back seat. The twins jumped out and ran to help Ringling’s men pull two bound and gagged men from the sedan. They looked like the same ones who had hurried away from the yacht after the circus magnate paid them a ransom for Countess Babikov. They were a couple of blood suckers alright. Regular vampires.
The young man in a waiter’s uniform that Mona and I had seen hours earlier was at Mr. Ringling’s elbow. “Get to one of the radios, please. Call the G-men. Tell them I have a present for them.”
Introduction to Episode-28
Today is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. As a long time “whovian” I had to give a nod to the television show, because it is sublime. If any of you are not familiar with this phenomenon, it is a BBC science fiction television series about a “time lord,” known as The Doctor. He travels in what looks like a blue police box called the TARDIS. The sound this time machine makes reminds me of a dragon coughing. Apparently in the early days the series didn’t have a lot of funds for special effects. However, I loved the old campy episodes with their low budget special effects.
“Doctor Who?” you might ask. My favorite Doctor has always been the fourth incarnation, Tom Baker. The late Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor, is dear to me as well. If you like vintage fashions from the early 1970’s you should take a look at some of those episodes.
So today I give you three things supplied by Provincial Lady that I have just taken the liberty of turning into…
Three Doctor Who Things
28. Sublime, Dragon, Funds
Willie Garson as Andy
Boris leaned on Andy heavily as they boarded the yacht. As they got closer I noticed cuts and bruises on the faces of both men. Poor Mona looked like she didn’t know which way to turn. She was as conflicted as ever over the two Russian. She fluttered around, trying to help. Mr. Ringling sent for a doctor.
Countess Babikov sat back down looking like she was still a bit dizzy. I picked up the blanket Ringling had brought earlier and tucked it around her lap. Everything on the yacht was luxurious, even the blanket. It was soft to the touch and embroidered with a Chinese dragon. A thought suddenly popped into my mind — the bent key. It had some kind of design engraved on it, but it was distorted by the damage to the key. Could it have been a dragon?
The expression in Countess Bepa’s eyes was sublime as she looked at her grandson. Something seemed to have been settled between grandmother and grandson just with that eye contact. She was gracious, despite her own injuries and calmly asked for introductions. By then all the Fabro boys were onboard as well.
“Pip dear, who are these fine young men?” she asked and I supplied all the “F” names of the Fabro brood.
They were all polite, even Andy. Our poor little Astronaute man, who was so sweet on Mona watched sadly as Mona tended a cut over the Russian’s eye. However, when I introduced him to John Ringling, his face lit up. I gave a glowing description of the science fiction stories Andy liked to write. The next thing I knew, Andy boldly pitched an idea to the circus magnate. I was stunned, because I had never heard of anything like what he described.
“It’s a kind of advertisement, Mr. Ringling. A very short film clip… of course staring Mona,” Andy said with a glance at the brunette and a blush. “It could be shown just before a film. Imagine this if you will… A young woman sits on a swing, day dreaming of performing on the trapeze at the circus. Then the film segues through a fog, and then shows a brief clip of one of your trapeze acts.”
I was fascinated by the idea. Everyone had gotten quiet.
Andy offered a bit of encouragement. “The funds required to produce it would be minimal.”
The circus millionaire gave Andy a blank look and I was half afraid he might throw Andy off the yacht. But then he tilted his head to one side, looked from Andy to Mona and pursed his lips as he studied the two.
“Oh, why not,” said Ringling. “Now that I have Bepa and Boris both safely onboard I’m ready to go back to Ca’ d’Zan. You could come with me and we’ll film this advertisement there,” he said. Then he spread his arms wide and added, “All of you could come. There’s plenty of room.”
You should have seen the look on Andy’s face!
Tune in again next week as this rewind continues. Same flapper time; same flapper channel.
Copyright © 2013 – 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.