Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 23

To those of you in the USA…

4th of July Victorian

Happy Independence Day!

 In celebration, rather than taking you to the Victorian Era on our usual steam locomotive, this time we’ll bring all our picnic paraphernalia and get on board a red, white, and blue decorated dirigible and soar into our story.

Steering the airship is Kathryn, aka KR Bigfish from Another Foodie Blogger, who gave us the “three things” for this episode.  As sometimes happens, a comment also made its way into the episode.  Kathryn mentioned a particular purple critter, and I couldn’t resist. But I’ll leave that for a surprise.

Remember to check for fun and informative links in the text and images.

The dirigible is tugging at its ropes — ready to sail through the air, through time and realities.  So… All aboard!

From last time…

“It’s an amethyst world!” Copper exclaimed when she saw the strange place where the magically whirling submarine went aground.

A purple ape wearing a three piece suit with a starched collar and a bowler hat came into view.  It seems strange to say, but the hat and the suit made me think of Ignatius Belle.  However, I was also reminded in an odd way of the portrait of Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon, who turned out to be Belle’s father as well.

The amethyst colored ape moved his hands in sign language.

Copper, the alchemist, and I spoke in chorus.  “Daddy?”


23.  Broken Knife, Sea Urchin, Potable Water

Reading Ape purple“Oh! You can speak.  How wondrous!” was the delighted exclamation of the purple ape who wore a man’s suit, hat, and spectacles.  “And what remarkable coloring you have!”

“Of course we can talk.  But it’s amazing that you can!” Copper called out in reply as she clambered down from the submarine hatch, too quick for me to stop her.

The alchemist stood in gaping astonishment.  I pushed past him and hurried after the girl, although I didn’t know how I could protect her from something as strong as the ape.  I had no weapon on me, not so much as a little muff pistol.

Pen knifeAbruptly I remembered my pearl handled pen knife.  It wasn’t much use as a weapon, but I reached quickly into my pocket.  However, the pen knife seemed to have been damaged during the chaos of the spinning submarine.  When I tried to open it, the broken knife fell apart in my hands.

The creature seemed genial enough, but who could say?  I had no idea into what sort of place we had been cast by the accident of alchemy that sent Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine off course with rogue magic.

“Have a care, Felicity,” Cornelis hissed, as though he’d finally come back to himself.

“Of course I’ll be careful.  Why didn’t you stop her?” I said through my teeth, trying to hide my anger with the Dutchman from the strange primate on the shore.

Copper lavenderI turned back toward the quickly moving girl.  “Copper stop right there and wait until I catch up with you,” I demanded and for once she complied.

“But Felicity!  I like him.  He’s funny,” the girl pleaded.  “I’m sure it’s perfectly safe,” Copper added in a rather good imitation of an adult.

“How can you think a purple ape — in a suit no less, is perfectly safe?” I whispered as I caught up to the girl and took her hand.

Cornelis cleared his throat loudly.  “That’s not what I meant.  I wasn’t talking about the ape when I told you to be careful,” the alchemist said urgently.  “Doppelgängers!” he exclaimed, using his trick of casting his voice directly to my ear.

“What’s a doppelgänger?” Copper wanted to know as she looked from Cornelis to me and then back over her shoulder at the very large purple chimpanzee.

“It’s a sort of lookalike,” I told her.

sea urchin violetAs I gazed into the shallows of the sparkling amethyst water I noticed a violet colored sea urchinHere even fishes and such are one color of purple or another, I thought.  The water itself took on the hue of lavender from the sky it reflected.  That alone was enough to make it a stranger place than anything I had ever imagined.

Cornelis seemed to be permanently adhered to his surely uncomfortable position, halfway out of the submarine’s hatch.  I could hear Absinthe inside chirping excitedly, but I couldn’t tell if the Green Fairy was anxious, angry, or simply feeling chatty.  Then a bottle levitated up from within the submarine.  Cornelis snatched it out of the air and thanked the Green Fairy in a droll tone.

“Absinthe thinks you should take this potable water with you, as it might not be safe to drink anything here,” the Dutchman commented.  “I think it’s a bad idea for you to leave this vessel at all.”

Amethyst Walking Stick by Fabergé
Amethyst Walking Stick by Fabergé

At the shore, the chimpanzee shifted his bowler hat and placed his walking stick in front of himself with both hands propped on its crystal top.  Naturally the crystal was an amethyst cabochon.  He looked curious, but quite patient and relaxed.

“Whatever are you talking about, Dutchman?” I looked up at Cornelis and asked while Copper stood staring at the chimp in a suit.

“If you meet your doppelgänger it could be dangerous,” the alchemist said.

“Why on earth would I meet my double?” I asked feeling piqued, with Copper pulling me forward and the alchemist holding me back.

“I think it’s the nature of this world, this place,” Cornelis explained with exaggerated patience.  “It probably has its own versions of all of us.  Purple versions, but still…” he added with a shrug.

“Why is it purple?” Copper interrupted.  “Is there a purple fairy, like Absinthe is the Green Fairy?” she asked, eyes widening in anticipation.

The Green Fairy stuck his tiny nose out of the hatch and bit onto the alchemist’s sleeve, pulling it as if he wanted Cornelis to get back inside.

Cornelis Drebbel
Cornelis Drebbel

“Alright, alright,” he told Absinthe.  “Copper, I suspect there is a good reason for the purple coloring, but the important thing you need to understand is that everything around us could become — well you could say the place may get unstable, just because of our presence.  If any of us met our doubles it could be,” he paused, probably looking for words a young girl would understand.  “Bad.  It could be very bad,” he finished, but looked dissatisfied with his choice of words.

“Cornelis, aren’t you coming with us?” I asked with an uneasy eye on the large, strong chimpanzee, who had moved forward to the very edge of the water.

“No, Felicity.  Were I to meet my doppelgänger it wouldn’t be dangerous,” he replied, and closing his eyes he took a deep breath.  “It would be catastrophic.”

Seldom had I seen the Dutchman so serious.  I don’t pretend that I fully understood his vague explanation, but I knew it had something to do with alchemy.  So I didn’t press.

“Do I have a doppelgänger?” a giggling Copper wanted to know, and I realized she’d found a new favorite word.  “The monkey might be Daddy’s doppelgänger,” she added, giggling even harder.Lady with pigeon

When I looked at Cornelis he curled his lips inward in a rueful grimace and raised his bushy blonde eyebrows.  Then he pursed his lips and inclined his head pointedly toward the purple primate.  The ape shifted his stance.  Suddenly he reminded me very much of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.

The purple primate saw us looking at him and raised his voice to make sure it carried to us.  “I’m sure it’s most unsettling, having your vessel run aground.  And clearly you aren’t from here,” the ape began.  “Or from any place of which I’ve ever heard…” his voice trailed off as he shook his head wonderingly.  “But I assure you it really is perfectly safe, just as the young err… the young lady said.”

Had the ape hesitated to call Copper a young lady?  Could it be that he perceived us as we saw him — as strange animals?  Profound thoughts crowded my mind.

The ape looked remarkably like the portrait of Copper’s father.  With of course the exception him of being an ape.

The suit-wearing creature bumped his palm to his forehead as if something obvious had just occurred to him.  “Oh!  If you are concerned that you don’t see people like yourselves, please don’t fear.  We thought your species was extinct.  I can’t tell you how delighted I am to know that is not the case!  And that extraordinary coloring you have.  This is so exciting!  But pardon me.  I digress,” he said in a gracious apologetic voice.

Green fairy skunk“As I was saying, there’s no need to fear.  The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater is surely dead.  None have been seen for a hundred years!” the ape said, adjusting his spectacles.

At the primate’s comment Absinthe fluttered up and out of the submarine.  He chirped and grunted excitedly.  The Green Fairy hovered around Copper’s head briefly.  Then he darted toward the purple ape.  Absinthe made several passes around the primate to inspect him, grunting the while.

“How delightful!” the very large chimpanzee exclaimed, taking off his spectacles since Absinthe was mere inches from his face.  “What a colorful little chap.  Why you’re like a very tiny, very green version of the purple people eater,” he said and Absinthe gave a disagreeable chirp.  “Well no, I suppose that’s not true at all.  But you seem to be the same sort of fae being.”

I couldn’t sense any animosity from the ape… and judging by the crash landing of the submarine we were going to need some kind of help.  So I allowed Copper to lead me to the shore where he stood.  The suited primate bowed politely to us, doffing his bowler hat.

Absinthe settled in his protective position atop Copper’s head.  However, the ape’s attention wandered to the submarine.  He was so intrigued that he waded out into the shallows for a better look.  “You know,” he said in a self-deprecating tone.  “I’m something of an inventor myself.  What sort of vessel is that?  It looks almost as though it’s meant to sail under the water,” the ape marveled.Drebbel stamp

Cornelis never could resist showing off one of his inventions and the ape was clearly a willing and eager audience.  Abruptly the alchemist appeared at his elbow.  The purple primate jumped with a start.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” the Dutchman said.  “I’m Cornelis Drebbel and I’d be delighted to show you the submarine.”

The ape gasped.  His eyes grew large and his mouth opened silently.  The primate’s eyes narrowed and he looked intently at Cronelis.  “With this outlandish coloring, how could I suspect,” he murmured.  Then he bowed extravagantly to Cornelis.

“Cornelis Drebbel, Lord of Alchemy, I welcome you to these shores.  Please accept my humble apology for not recognizing you.  No one has seen you for over a hundred years.  It was feared that the purple people eater had… well…  But how foolish of us to think you would have been bested by any beast, no matter how fearsome.”


Will this newfound status go to the alchemist’s head?  Will a doppelgänger of one of the characters show up and wreak havoc?  How will they get back home so they can find Copper’s daddy?  And what about that one eyed one horned flying purple people eater?  Be at the train station next time to find out what happens to Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!

Don’t forget this episode’s recipe!  Since the food related thing, or ingredient, was “potable water” I chose one of Kathryn’s seafood recipes.  I really appreciate that she often shares simple recipes made from things I might have on hand.  I know you’ll enjoy this one.

Recipe:  Spicy Canned Tuna Ceviche

Spicy Tuna ceviche

Photo and recipe credit: Another Foodie Blogger





Copyright © 2015 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.

68 thoughts on “Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 23

  1. OMG!!! The One Eyed One Horned Purple People Eater was one of my mother’s favorite songs in the late 50’s. It played on the radio frequently and it always tickled my mother to hear it. We drove along in our old car, my parents singing at the top of their lungs, and my siblings and I bouncing in the back seat in anticipation of my father hitting a bump and sailing us around inside the car like astronauts. There were no such things as seatbelts and any child that survived to another day was not neglected or abused, but enlightened to the realities of life. One of my realities was hoping the purple people eater wasn’t dropping by my house for a visit. Loved this chapter. You never fail to bring a smile.


  2. All is possible as soon as a whirling submarine goes aground leading you to you enter the amethyst world!
    Surrounded by violet colored sea urchin and with the assistance of a Green Fairy
    you can even come across a purple ape who might wear a suit and spectacles.
    By the way I much enjoyed the way the purple ape warmly welcomed Cornelis Drebbel in the submarine. Those solemn words deserve an applause. [Clapping hands 👏😬]
    A wonderful and colorful episode dear Teagan… This one would be a good one to read all throughout it as we sing Purple Rain, by Prince!… Hugs and happy week! Aquileana 👧🌷


    1. Aquileana, it is lovely to see you! I’m happy to see that I was able to communicate the purple ape’s personality — you clearly saw what I had in mind. Your comment turned my morning around in the best way.
      Your current post is wonderful. Mega hugs. 😀


    1. Haha — neither was I (expecting it)! 😀 That’s what’s fun about “pantser” stories. I think the amethyst world will turn out to be very useful. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Andrea. Huge hugs! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. TEAGAN! (Yes, I am yelling, lol!) What a wonderful episode and I am delighted that you used the one-eyed one-horned flying purple people-eater in it. 😀 Thank you so much for using my three “ingredients” and sharing my tuna ceviche recipe. It is nice to see that others enjoyed it too. Of course, I have been gone 9 days camping, hence my severely late reply. I’m looking forward to where we go next on whatever craft you decide! Major Hugs! ❤


  4. So, the ape speaks. Interesting. I wonder if this is the same ape who signed at the near the beginning when three groups were looking for this three-some. Hmm. Curious-er and curious-er, but spine tingling and gotta-know-what-happens-next. 😀 😀 First the green fairy and now the purple ape and purple everything. My curiosity meter is ready to explode! I’ll be back next time. BTW, the recipe sounds fantastic. 😛 😛


    1. Hi Tess. I’m delighted to see you! I didn’t know if your summer break was just for your own blog or everything. Thank you so very much for taking time to read and comment. 🙂
      I’ll give you this much of a clue — it is not the same ape. They blundered into some sort of other world. And remember “The ape shifted his stance. Suddenly he reminded me very much of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.”
      But since I only have a hint myself of what’s going to happen, that’s as much as i will (or can) say. 😉
      >Glad you like the recipe. I enjoy Kathryn’s posts, because I am not any kind of “chef” and most of her recipes seem like something I might be able to handle. Well, on a good day anyway! LOL.
      Mega hugs dear friend. Enjoy your summer break!


  5. I’m so glad to hear that the purple ape is a friendly chap and even more pleased that he can speak great English. He reminds me a little of one of those bowler hat wearing business men from the 1960’s. Polite and courteous, always lifting his hat when a lady walked passed saying “good morning.”

    Another great epsoide Teagan. You’ve got me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what is about to happen.


    1. Why thank you kindly, sir! (kurtsies) 😀 I see the ape as very proper and mannerly. But I’m surprised that no one has commented on his resemblance to Calvin Hixon, Copper’s daddy. Maybe everyone will be in for a surprise before long. 😉
      Mega hugs!


  6. I don’t think I’d ever heard that song but now I suspect it will never get out of my head. Oh, the possibilities are endless… Very intrigued by the ape and the doppelgangers… I hope your weekend is going well. 🙂


    1. Hi Olga. It’s good to see you. I’m glad I’ve kept you curious about the story. Thank you! Right after they landed in the “amethyst world” the doppelgangers and an idea of how to use them came to me. But the “things” were only *slowly* bringing me closer to being able to use the idea… Sometimes the “things” never get me to the ideas, and I let the ideas go.
      > Yes, I’m having a nice relaxing weekend — probably because it has rained the whole time, but that’s what helped it be relaxing! I’m so glad you read and commented. I hope you’ve had a splendid weekend. Mega hugs. 🙂


  7. I loved this episode. The purple ape is a brilliant fun character. Thank you!
    As I’m battling a Xanadu-cake induced sluggishness and a Finnish Vodka related slow morning this was just the right thing to make me smile. I hope this series never ends. Hicks ehm Hugs ❤


    1. LOL. That cake sounds like it deserves its own post!
      Christoph, you are so very kind — and this is just what I needed to hear this morning. I’ve been concerned that I had gotten a little too whimsical… Also that I needed to get the story to an ending, and was taking far too long. But i really do just work with what the “three things” each week bring me.
      I was even out of “Things” for the next episode and didn’t ask for more, thinking I’d bring it to a close as quick as i could without them.
      Wherever the story goes, thank you for lifting me up today. Mega hugs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hummm… I hadn’t thought about that with the colors, but you’re right! I think you just gave the steam locomotive a little extra fuel, Suzanne! 😀
    I’m sincerely delighted that I could entertain you with this chapter.
    I hope you’ve had a fun Fourth of July ⭐ (Although if your weather had been similar to mine, you likely spent it indoors. I’m not complaining — I prefer the air conditioning!)
    Thank you so much for taking time to read and comment. Mega hugs!


  9. The purple ape is a very interesting character, I am not quite sure what to make of him, seems very dapper but what will be interesting is the interaction with absinthe. Purple and green are opposites and when mixed together it makes black. Hmmm… well maybe thats a little out there but I loved this episode, love the dirigible and the recipe and of course as always I am thoroughly entertained.


  10. A wonderful episode to accompany Independence Day. Also fantastic to listen to the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater – haven’t heard it in years:) I hope you enjoy a fantastic celebration with Kitty Kats…xxx


    1. Janet, I’m delighted that Kathryn’s “things” (well actually a comment from her) resulted in a chapter that made you smile.
      Thanks so much! Crystal and I have had a rainy (but therefore quiet and that’s wonderful) Independence Day. ⭐ Mega hugs my friend.


  11. I must first apologize for my absence. Just too busy for a while with lots of writing projects I wanted to tackle before summer. Then I want to congratulate you on your dedication to this series.
    Finally I wish you a Happy Fourth!


    1. It’s good to see you Evelyne. I wish you huge success with your projects. It was a soggy but lovely Fourth. ⭐ I hope you are enjoying Independence Day in sunny CA! Thanks for dropping by. Hugs. 🙂


  12. Happy fourth. I unwound, kicked back and brewed a cup of black and pomegranate tea. Sadly no lemon curd for the scone but what can we do? Enjoyed the episode and will look forward to more from the ape. Question, does the flying purple people eater only eat flying people or is it just purple people? or both?


    1. Haha! Only the “things” know for sure, John about the Purple People Eater’s dietary preferences. 😀 .
      Yum, teatime at your house sounds better than my dinner.
      We’ve had a rainy Fourth, but that’s fine by me — kept things quiet. Happy Fourth of July to you too. ⭐ Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pocket pen knives and strangers
    Copper giggling about doppelgängers
    Horned flying purple people eaters and
    Very large chimpanzees
    These are some of my favorite things.

    Have a wonderful 4th, Teagan!


  14. Oh my! I haven’t heard that song in ages! Thank you so much for playing it. I got a good laugh out of it. And thank you for letting me know what dirigible is. I learned something! I will have to try hard to read all your installments. Sounds like a lovely tale. Have a great fourth of July. 🙂


    1. I am so happy that I could make you laugh and smile, Cheryl (? right — i try to get names right, but i’m often wrong. 😀 )
      If you’re ever in the mood to do catch up reading click the button at the top of the screen for this serial’s homepage. All episodes in chronological order, but without the introduction/promos. Mega hugs!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you have the right name. I’ll answer to most any name as long as it’s nice. 😀 Thank you. I will check out the serial’s homepage. I like a good story. Finding the time is sometimes the problem. 🙂


    1. Happy Fourth of July to you too Mary! Yes, isn’t that Fabergé walking stick fantastic! I’d love to see the real one. I’m delighted that you’re still on the locomotive (or dirigible a the case may be). Huge hugs. ⭐

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Now that you mention it, Inese… I suppose fairies in general aren’t exactly known for their trustworthiness. 😀 Even so, I don’t like to read anything where everything doesn’t turn out okay. So how could i write something that didn’t?
      I’m delighted to have brought you a smile! Mega hugs! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Dan, I consider that high praise indeed! If someone can picture the faces of my characters and their expressions, then I feel I’m doing something right! You just made my day. Mega hugs and happy Fourth of July. ⭐ 😀


  16. This was another great episode Teagan. I love the line: ““Bad. It could be very bad,” he finished, but looked dissatisfied with his choice of words.” I can absolutely picture that look 🙂


  17. It makes me happy to see you here, David. 🙂 Now that that that purple critter is here, who can guess what might happen when he — or SHE… (is that a hint i wonder?) meets up with our Green Fairy. :mrgreen: Hopefully she’ll be entertained too much to want to sue. 😀
    I’m delighted that you enjoyed this bit of fun. Mega hugs!


  18. Hi Donna — it’s great to see you! I’m happy you enjoyed your visit. LOL and sorry about the song in your head. 😀
    Yes, it was bothering me (the past few) episodes that I wasn’t “bringing the locomotive any closer to its destination.” Spontaneously working with the “3 things” from readers AND trying to manipulate the route of the story to a conclusion, well… Sometimes I have to let things appear to go nowhere while everything gets set up.
    > Wishing you a star spangled ⭐ spectacular weekend too. Mega hugs right back! 🙂


    1. Oh you moved it ahead and I don’t mind the song, I loved that song as a child, my Dad had it on an 8-track and we all used to dance to it and other wacky tunes. 🙂
      Thanks, we love to know our neighbours are having fun, just hope it doesn’t get too wild down there. 😉


  19. Guess what I’m humming right now and might for the rest of day? lol 😉
    Another amazing installment, Teagan, but again leaves us with some many unanswered questions – to be continued…I’ll be at the station bright and early (perhaps not that bright or early, but I’ll be there) next week to find out more!
    Thanks for making my day. 🙂
    Hope you have a lovely Fourth, a generally awesome weekend and a not too exciting week (accept in a good way).
    Megahugs!!! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.