Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 8

Do you want some cheese to go with that whine, Teagan?

Whine expertIf you saw yesterday’s post, you know I have even more stress than usual right now.  So thanks for letting me vent.  Usually I have to be in a really “good place” or I can’t write.  The spontaneous nature of the serials help with that, though I’m not sure why or how.  Even so, yesterday… I didn’t think I could even write a serial episode this weekend.

But I kept thinking about how long the amazing Elini has been waiting to see the episode for her “things”… and I did manage to write a short episode.  Elini is a Elinifascinating person and chef.  I relate to how she describes her life as a journey.  I hope you’ll take a look at her blog and get to know her – as well as Elini’s Empanadas.  She’s pretty amazing!  So be sure to read to the end of this episode where you’ll find a link to one of her recipes.  Then devour some more of her scrumptious posts.

By the way — we’re running low on things to keep this train running.  Everyone is welcome to send three random things, including food-related things.  Just leave your “things (ingredients)” in a comment.

Now, let’s get this steam locomotive rolling, even if the journey is brief today.  All aboard!

From before…

The woman thought one of the voices she heard back at the Hixon estate could have belonged to Sheriff Alvin Bullard.  Thanks to the magically juiced road locomotive, Copper, the alchemist, and the woman in trousers outdistanced the three presumably hostile groups that pursued them.  However, when the speeding engine took a turn too fast, the woman and the skull of the alchemist ended up in the frigid waters of the river.  The resultant head colds for those two temporarily stalled their adventure.  Not to mention the strange things that happened when the alchemist sneezed.

8.  Short Ribs, Eggplant, Red Pepper

Frog Handkerchief Soap adCornelis Drebble rolled his watery eyes up toward the frog that sat atop his head.  “Huh.  Huh—” Cornelis began and quickly put his finger under his nose in attempt to forestall yet another sneeze.  The frog wisely jumped down from his head.

“For pity’s sake!  There’s no telling what will rain down on us if you sneeze again!” I said, though I knew the alchemist couldn’t help himself.

Ah-choo!” was the answer to my plea.

Another wet splat soon came.  What smelled like a very savory reddish brown sauce splashed onto the legs of my trousers.  I drew back, annoyed.  I finally had been able to put on clean dry clothes, and they’d already been stained.  Cornelis bent down with a curious expression on his face.  Copper left off playing with the frogs to see what new wonder was produced by the sneeze of the alchemist.

He picked up the sauce covered thing that made the wet splat.  I asked what it was as I tried to clean the warm goo from my pant legs.

“It appears to be the short ribs of a swine,” he said as he pulled the meat into two pieces and licked the sauce from one.  “Umm.  Tasty,” he commented. Victorian girl making face

I made a disgusted face.  “Since that is the product of your sneeze, isn’t it rather like the equivalent of eating your own buggers?” I asked; just to see how he would react.

Copper burst out in a gale of laughter.  Cornelis looked at me.  One side of his mouth turned down in an expression of contempt.  Cornelis raised an eyebrow and cast his eyes downward at the ribs.  Then he shot a glare at me and took a big bite of the meat, licking his fingers for good measure.

Then the second wave came.  Short ribs fell all around us.  They landed on my shoulder and in my hair.  They pelted the alchemist, who suddenly had sauce smeared across his nose.  Even Copper wasn’t spared — nor were the frogs.  Riotous ribbits ensued as the amphibians leapt for cover from the rain of ribs.

After calm returned, Cornelis and I discussed the three groups who converged on the Hixon estate.  We both agreed that their only logical purpose would have been to abduct Copper.  I supposed that was good at least in as far as it should mean her father was still alive.  Of course that was no guarantee, as Cornelis quickly pointed out.  Fortunately the girl had gone back to playing with the frogs and didn’t hear that comment.

Suddenly I beheld the strangest sight, and mind you, I have seen some very bizarre things since the alchemist came into my life.  Hundreds of frogs made a procession toward the huge wrent in the building’s wall.  Several hopped huddled together as they balanced an eggplant on their backs and heads.


Copper skipped along beside the strange spectacle.  I told her not to go outside.  She stopped and nodded regretfully as the frogs carried their eggplant away.  I asked Cornelis what that could possibly be about.

“One sneeze doesn’t always produce a singular effect.  The eggplant could have come from the same accident of alchemy that created the frogs,” he said.

The Dutchman shrugged it off.  Even so, something nagged at me.

The frogs continued to stream out of the building.  I followed in the opposite direction, tracing the line of amphibians to their source.  Cornelis followed my lead.  Ever curious, Copper came along too.  With a ribbit, a last frog hopped out of a crate.  The large wooden box was almost intact.  Only one corner of it was broken.

I started to try and pry the crate further open to get a better look.  Then, eyes bulging, Cornelis tapped his finger on the label he’d found on the container.

It was marked κόκκινο πιπέρι, and I thought the address was Macedonia, but I wasn’t sure.  “What’s wrong?  I don’t recognize the language,” I said.

Cornelis shook his head and pursed his lips.  “Your education was sorely lacking,” he complained.

“It was not,” I countered.vintage red pepper

“This, κόκκινο πιπέρι or kókkino pipéri if you will, is Greek,” he informed me.  “It means red pepper.  So show a bit of mercy and do not open that crate.  I don’t think I can bear another sneeze!”

“Then move away,” I told him with a motion of my arm.  “I have a hunch.”

I had removed the priceless Leonardo da Vinci papers from the owl-shaped lamp.  It was best that I carried them in the thin leather script that was tucked into my long coat.

“Copper, did there happen to be a magnifying glass among that carpet bag full of things you packed?” I asked the girl.

Apparently there had been.  Copper hurried away to the place where our things lay.  She was back in a moment with a lovely ornate magnifying glass.  I imagined it was another of the treasures her father had brought her from his travels.  Although perhaps it was not of the magical variety, as was the “bell” carved with the three wise monkeys which was in fact a harmonic tuner.

I opened the leather script and took out the embossed letter.  Moving this way and that, I tried to get into the best light.  As I held the magnifying glass to the faded seal embossed onto the letter I found the word Macedonia.

Was there finally a clue to the mysterious goings on?  It didn’t feel like a coincidence to me.

The Flying Scotsman
The Flying Scotsman


 Where will our trio go from here?  Jump on-board next time when the “things” are from the incredibly creative Suzanne Debrango at “A Pug in the Kitchen

 Now for our recipe!  In addition to things/ingredients, lovely Elini was kind enough to also provide a truly creative recipe to go with this episode.  Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Chocolate Chili Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Chocolate Chili Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Photo and recipe credit:  Eleni Herrera


Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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53 thoughts on “Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 8

    1. Hi Shelley — thanks for taking time from your fabulous travels to comment! I’ve always wanted to rent an RV to move across the country. I’ve made that move twice (and want like everything to make it again), but the logistics and timing never work out. Especially the amount of time… Keep on doing retirement right! Hugs.


  1. Ah, Teagan, I don’t know how you do it — you turn out these wonderful posts, work, live your life. If you want to whine, then go right ahead girlfriend! But never whine about your writing and posting because it’s terrific!


    1. You are too kind, Deb. I’m so sorry about Millie. A dear friend also lost her cat (and her daughter’s too) the same week. I worry all the time about my aging pets because they’re not exactly at their best…
      But thank you so much for brightening my dreary Tuesday with your comment. Huge hugs. ❤ 🙂


      1. Thank you about Millie, Teagan. Don’t worry about your pets. Many older cats and dogs live out very good, long lives. We feel that way about Millie. Hope your day brightens up! The sun has actually come out here, which always helps to lift my mood! 🙂


    1. Dear RC, thank you. Your week was heartbreaking with both Domino & Oliver. You must be reeling… I’m so very, very sorry. Yet you still took time to comment — amazing friend that you are. Love & hugs.


  2. Another cup of tea and enjoyable read Teagan. I would offer up three things, but I have already done three. Ah, what the heck. Pistachios, Penne pasta, and Porcini. The mini was trial. I had a leak in my windshield that would produce a whine at 100 miles per hour. (I was told not to go that fast) The truth was if I was going 80 and the wind was blowing 20 I would still get it. After a year of torture and no answers, I finally recorded (video) the noise and sent it to the company. they figured it out.


    1. Thanks for commiserating, John. Glad to know i’m not alone, but sorry you had a problem with them. My gast is flabbered that they are self-defining 15-20 minute warm up for a little heat as “that’s how the heater is supposed to work.” And a similar ridiculous answer for the air conditioner… So they refuse to fix it, claiming that everything is as it should be — even though it all worked fine before they fixed a solenoid… I know i have to do something — but i’m beyond my stress limit right now with that added to my endless situation at work…

      Soooo… I’m more than happy to have a second set of 3 from you! They will appear about a month or so from now. (If someone offers 3 who hadn’t previously sent any for this serial, I will push these out a little.)
      All those “Ps” remind me of Maestro Martino from the “Three Ingredients, Cookbook-2.”
      Great-big-hug! 🙂 ⭐

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Melissa. Luckily my head cold did not last as long as the alchemist’s did. 😀
      I was just worn out from the evil doings of the MINI Cooper people. Thanks so much for dropping by to comment.
      Even if i don’t always use them, your writing prompts are delightful, just to read your posts. Huge hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Teagan, what a nice surprise to see your episode here! I hadn’t thought there would be one this weekend due to the car issues, so it’s a ‘woohoo’ moment!! 🙂 The falling short ribs makes me giggle – I mean, I can just imagine them standing there and then the comment about the boogers!! LOL! Great laughs for my day, thanks!


    1. I’m so glad I could make you laugh, Christy. I didn’t think I would be able to write an episode this weekend at all, but I managed this little one. Now everyone has lifted me up, and I’m working on the next one too.
      LOL, I’m glad to know someone liked the booger comment. That was fun. Huge hugs my friend. ⭐ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry to hear about your car problems. Used to be customers received good service. Nowadays it seems everyone tries to avoid service.

    This episode is delightful as ever. I wonder about the eggplant as well, and all those frogs. Hmm. I can’t imagine what you’ll come up with next. You’ve done well despite your current headaches. Hope kitty feels better soon too. ❤ ❤ ❤


    1. Thanks Tess. They are both such good furry kids. I know so many people who’ve lost pets lately that I’m tempted to do a memorial post for all of them. But I’d cry the whole time and for a week after. So I guess I should drop that idea. 🙂

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this little episode. LOL, and I’m still shaking my head over all the reactions to eggplant. 😀 Mega hugs! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My daughters poodle keeps having seizures. Was good for a while and then had one about an hour ago. I started bawling, but my granddaughter (11) held it together. She and the poodle are tight.

        The eggplant is a winner! Unusual. A star performer I’m sure. :-p


    1. Teagan! Thank you so much paying homage to my parents’ homeland in this episode. I’m curious about the eggplants and where they will be going next. It’s funny that the Alchemist sneezed out the short ribs. I like your style.


      1. I’m so glad you enjoyed your episode, Elini. I do try to work subtle things like that into the story. As for the way i used your “eggplant”… that was purely a whim and i’m amazed that everyone has taken it to heart. Now i have my work cut out for me with the eggplant! Tee-hee! Huge hugs, and thanks for ‘coming out to play.’ ❤ 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. HA!!! Christoph, be careful using the term “throw up” — My Friday began with sitting down in a big (COLD) puddle of cat barf that went straight through my night gown. LOL. (You have to either laugh or cry, so i’m laughing.) As quickly as “Naughty Chimps” had to sneak into the story, i’ll have to work hard to keep “throw up” out of it. 😈
      However, I’m thrilled that i could entertain you with something new and different. Mega-hugs! 😀


  5. Hi Olga. Thanks for sitting up late to read the episode.
    Ha! Cornelis and Maestro Martino… Yes that would be an odd couple worthy of Felix and Oscar. Maestro was affable and flirtatious, while Cornelis is droll, maybe a little egotistical, and harder to get to know — except where Copper is concerned.
    Thank you for leaving 3 things! Yay! I was down to the last 2 sets. I like to know i have a few waiting in the wings.
    Glad you enjoyed the eggplant. How i used the eggplant was pure pantser… definitely spontaenous… Since the frogs are mystical in origin… maybe they worship the eggplant. 😀 Have a lovely night and a superb Sunday. Huge hugs.


  6. I’m pleased to see the post. I love eggplants so I’m particularly intrigued by it…I agree that Cornelis and Maestro would make an interesting couple and have a few things in common…If you need three items: an old family Bible, a carved whale’s tooth, and vine leaves. Thanks Teagan!


  7. I thought it was a really creative recipe too.
    A man who cooks — you raised him right! 😀
    Thanks so much Mary — and thanks for taking a moment away from your dashing cowboys to comment. Mega hugs! ❤


  8. Raining frogs, eggplants, and riblets! Oh, dear… I’m glad you felt good enough to do your serial. Congratulations on another one.

    My son smokes pork and beef so this pulled pork recipe sounds delicious. I bet the chocolate adds a secret taste. Thanks to Elini for sharing it with you and us.


  9. Oh I am so glad you were able to write a post despite all your troubles! I have been down and out all week with the flu, but luckily felt good enough this morning to post. The eggplant mystery is another puzzle! (and p.s. my daughter REALLY wants a mini cooper. I read excerpts of your article to my husband. He agrees, she will not get a mini!) HUGE HUGS!


    1. Kathryn, i’m so sorry you’ve had the flu! Oh, that’s miserable. Those Huevos Rancheros you made were so beautiful, no one would know. I’m sure you still need some recovery time. So take it easy, and feel fabulous fast.
      > I hate to bad-mouth anything… but i was really ticked off. However, as i mentioned to someone else, my issue is more with their repair people than with the car. But that warranty/repair is a big part of the purchase too. And now i’ve heard from a few other bloggers who had extremely problematic Minis… and their troubles were with the cars. (I had never heard a single bad thing when I leased mine… but admittedly there was not a lot of information out there.) However, i will say that i leased Toyota Camrys for 15 years and never had to take one in for repair a single time… I thought i wanted a change… Oh well.
      LOL, the eggplant. That will be resolved next time. I really do sometimes shake my head at the things i come up with… Great-big hug! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. And I thought I’d had a bad week (well, I did, but completely different)…
    Oh Teagan, I’m sorry to hear about your car troubles, that blows (unlike your heater/AC). 😉
    I wish I had something to say to make your feel better.
    Loved both posts and am sharing…a lot.
    Hope this week is a better one. 🙂
    Take care. Big hugs, Donna. xo


    1. Ha! (re ‘that blows’) Thank you Donna. I know you’ve had a rough time lately. But you always make me feel better — all i have to do is read your blog! You have given me so very many smiles, giggles and guffaws. Thank you so much for the sharing — wow! Mega-hugs my friend! ❤ 🙂


  11. Dear Christine — thanks so much for dropping by! You’re such a gem. I think computer hell is at least as bad as any other kind… I hope that’s about sorted out for you.
    My head cold is gone now, though i should probably take some more supplements… i keep forgetting (thinking about car repairs and sick cats, and work).
    >LOL… Many times i’ve been asked what kind of psychedelic drugs I’ve done in my life, to come up with such things… But i promise i’m clean! 😀 (Actually was always afraid of that stuff.) So it’s even more frightening that my brain is naturally that way. Tee-hee! 😈
    I’m delighted you are enjoying the story. Your “things” are coming up right after Suzanne’s. And they sound like a world of fun.
    Sunshine super hugs my friend. ❤


    1. Teaga, never question your creative mind! You manage to stay right in-between the right and left brain on the creative thinking path! It’s not a tight-rope to balance, it’s a secure gift. Glad your head cold is gone. Yes, take supplements, gel sanitize your hands and stay away from sneezes in public (not C’s in episodes). Yay, glad to hear my three things are coming up soon. If you choose one of the food items, do you want me to find a recipe? I saw some in Vintage Recipes online. Just let me know. Happy weekend, Teagan, and yes, add sunshine to the supplements. BTW…I’m fully set up on a new Apple iMac all-in-one, and happy to be back on track! Christine


      1. Woot! Congrats on getting the new computer set up. (I need to do similar, and keep putting it off… just too busy.)
        It’s really kind of you to offer to find a recipe. I abbreviated your things to “Bicycle, Mauveine, Shepherd’s Pie.” So if you have a personal recipe for shepherd’s pie feel free to email it to me. Otherwise, don’t worry. It won’t be hard to find one on WordPress and pasting a link is easier than formatting a recipe. Happy weekend to you too. Hugs. 😀


        1. Teagan, I remember my Mom making her own version of Shepherd’s Pie, with leftover meat back in the 40s when I was a kid. I’ll send you an email with an easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe (1912) that I found online. But use it or not, there are many more online. Look forward to reading how you weave in the 3 ingredients. Love all the episodes! Sunday almost over, so have a lovely Monday. Christine


  12. Teagan, back reading your episode is pure joy! My computer “hell” pales compared to your automotive “hell,” your bad head cold, and cat puke clean-up! You’ve had your 3 bad things happening, so that’s done. Now, putting your head cold into sneezes is pure genius. And the raining short ribs? made me laugh. Amazing where your brain goes writing these episodes. It’s a facinating trip! Here comes the sun was good to hear. Hope your weekend is full of sunshine and good things! Christine


  13. Well done you for moving through yesterday’s difficulties and then producing today’s fabulous story…..

    Sometimes, the negative energy experienced when going through a really bad day, can give us a lot of positive energy!
    For instance, if I am really upset, cleaning is very therapeutic…bearing in mind that I don’t enjoy cleaning….but somehow the combination of anger and the physical exertion of cleaning blend together to produce a creative burst of energy:)

    I love your work….and hope that the rest of this weekend is a verity good one for you. Janet.xx


    1. Hi Janet. I agree about cleaning being good to work through anger. LOL, unfortunately for my home, i was too exhausted from everything to be that angry. 😀
      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. I’m tickled that you enjoyed this little episode. Hummingbird hugs! ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Good story after all your troubles. Nice transition from Cooper to Copper! Laurie’s reading “El Alquimista” by Pualo Coehlo. I love to eat cheese and whine! Aren’t there some old sayings like “you got ’em by the short ribs!” and “quit pulling my pork!”? It’s kind of chili today! It must be the weather!


    1. LOL I imagine there are “pork sayings” at that. All i can think of is “pig in a poke.”
      Thanks so much for the support, Tim. Yeah… it was a rough week. I’m very happy to have a weekend. Oh, and the sun just came out. Maybe it will stay for a while.
      Hugs! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh Teagan, I had a horrible day yesterday and just got around to reading yesterdays post, I am afraid I’m so far behind. I share your disdain, anger and frustration in the automotive dept having been the recipient of a real lemon (mini cooper) which i recently sold and now use my feet and a bicycle.
    I am very happy that through your less than happy experience you still maintain your sense of humor, ability to create a fantastic story and the fact that you can voice it means you are fluid, you don’t keep things bottled up. Loved this episode, Cornelis cracks me up, just like the Maestro did. Mmmmmm short ribs. Love them. A clue to the mystery oh yes please!!


    1. Hahaha! (laughs hysterically… now i have to figure out what to do with that clue! Yikes!)
      Oh no Suzanne… I’m sorry to hear you also has a Maxi problem with a Mini Cooper… Although my problem is more with the repair people than with the car. Why can’t any of these people take accountability…?

      I’m also sorry that you had a bad day yesterday. My yesterday started with finding a small spot where Aspen vomited (white carpet in basement, then tiny room (also in basement) with dark carpet — that’s where the litter boxes are). I cleaned up the spot, relieved that he had not been sicker… Then i sat in the floor to scoop the boxes. Thinking i had gotten all the puke, and not noticing on the dark carpet, i sat down right in the middle of a puddle of puke. But since the crap with the car happened before yesterday, i guess that was an improvement.
      Thank you so very much for taking time to comment. I’m glad you liked the little episode. Huge hugs! ❤ 🙂 I hope every day is better and better for you.


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