Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 32

Word of the Day

Orient Express Dining Table
Orient Express

Often I think I should have a word of the day.  Once I bought a desk calendar of them, but it turned out to be words that none of us would sensibly use under any circumstance, professional, playfully, or otherwise.

I haven’t come up with a viable way to give myself a word of the day, but now and then one pops up, just like Cornelis Drebbel pops up next to Felicity. It happened this morning when I read a re-blog posted by Sarah at First Night Design with the term shilly shally! While I meant for my word of the day to be for my personal use, forgive me if I can’t resist using shilly shally at least once in this episode.

Sometimes the three things to fuel our steam locomotive to the Victorian Era come along in a similar way. During the two years in which I’ve been writing these “interactive” serial stories, there were several times when someone left a comment in which three things stood out to me. (And you thought you couldn’t think of three random things…)

A comment on Episode-31 from Dan Antion at No Facilities gave me the things for this chapter. Dan’s blog will take you on different types of adventures from looking at interesting doors, to random streams of consciousness, to marvelous hikes and other outings with his daughter. He’ll make sure you feel you’re along for the trip with lots of great photos.

Now that the locomotive is well fueled, I see it at the platform.

All aboard!

From last time…

Absinthe flew in circles around the aerial screw.  The Green Fairy jerked his head around, as if he heard something.  He screamed again and pointed.  The sound came again, loud enough for me to hear.  The linen “threads” of the screw ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched.  Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.

32.  Tumble, Revealing, Description

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN
Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Cornelis Drebbel dangled from the dangerously darting aerial screw.  It looked like he would take a tumble at any moment.

Cal Hicks stood talking to the chimpanzees who stayed at the laboratory after their comrades ran in fright from Aubrieta when she was in her erstwhile form of the one-eyed-one-horned-purple-people-eater.  I thought this group was surely the brightest and bravest of the returned chapel apes.  (See Episode 24 and Episode 28.)

The coverall clad chimps jumped up and down in frightened agitation as they watched the Dutchman’s predicament above.  In their frantic state they overturned the large basket of bread Cal Hicks brought out earlier, just after Aubrieta’s magic brought the chimpanzees home.  The remains of a loaf of purple bread fell out of the basket, but the lavender alpine goat made short work of the bread.

Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape, looked from the excited chimpanzees to the sky and gave a horrified gasp.  Copper screamed and a tear ran down her face.  The lavender goat made a behh sound as she gazed upward with a funny puzzled expression on her face.Flying man w umbrella

All tuned to me in astonishment when I put my fists on my hips and yelled up to the alchemist.  “Cornelis Drebbel!  Don’t shilly shally!  We have too much work to do!”

“What?” I asked in impatient response to the gallery of aghast faces.

Apparently everyone thought I was being callous.  However, they had not seen the little measuring device that looked like a toothpick holder.  It was made in the shape of a gazebo, enclosing a crystal bird.  If we stayed too long in the strange world where everything was one shade or another of purple, we might be trapped there forever.  The device measured how close we were to that state.

When first I saw the device, the toothpicks, or rather the tiny measuring rods, were colorless.  If they started to turn purple, it was a warning.  The last time I checked the device, all the toothpicks had become pale lavender — not a comforting sign.  Now many of them had darkened to violet.  That meant the amount of time we had was quickly growing shorter.  Should the crystal bird turn purple, it would be too late.

“Oh for heaven’s sake…  He’s an alchemist!” I turned to the group that had gathered outside the laboratory and defended myself.  “All he has to do is pop to safety,” I said with a snap of my fingers.

Vintage Girl GoatA yellowish green aura surrounded the aerial screw.  I watched in fascination as the rip in the linen “threads” of the screw magically wove back together.  The flying screw straightened its course and then gently lowered to the ground.

“See!  He was never in danger,” I exclaimed to the gathered simians, and Copper.

Everyone looked at me in a disdainful way.  The lavender goat made a long drawn out beeehhhh!  I sighed and threw up my hands.

Cornelis was abruptly in the middle of a concerned crowd of simian devotees.  The alchemist loved attention, so there was no point in me chastising him.  I stalked away.

The two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, chirped to one another quietly as they sat atop the model based on Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the aerial screw.  I looked skeptically at the device that caused all the commotion.  However, when I looked up at the two fairies, their chirps and grunts had a serious tone.

“I wish I understood you two,” I murmured.

“They think the flying machine can be fixed to work right,” Copper said, suddenly at my elbow.Aerial Screw Model

I jumped.  “Copper, you’re getting as bad as Cornelis Drebbel — appearing out of nowhere,” I said and laughed.  “Promise me you won’t take on any of his other habits,” I added, causing her to giggle.

The Green Fairy fluttered down to alight on Copper’s shoulder.  He really was fond of the girl.  Absinthe made a series of chirps, bobbing his head as if in encouragement.  Then he flew back to his mate and continued their incomprehensible conversation.

Copper turned puzzled blue eyes up to me.  “Absinthe says the flying thing can let us see something important,” she said.  “But I didn’t really understand what the meant.  He kept something to himself,” she added with a sulky glance at her tiny green friend.

“Show us?” I echoed her words.  “Do you mean from a great height we could see something important?”

The girl shook her head negatively.  “I don’t think so,” Copper replied.

I heard a sharp pop followed by sounds of awe from the apes.  An instant later Cornelis appeared beside Copper.  He tousled her new penny colored curls.

green skunk palm“Copper, I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but I see that the Green Fairy has been less than discrete,” Cornelis told her.  “In all probability the flying machine, the aerial screw, will be revealing something very important, once it’s working properly.”

Copper and I wore twin expressions as our mouths shaped the question “How?”

“No, no.  No questions just yet.  There is much work to be done, and quickly,” he said in a serious tone.  “I’ve seen the measuring device too,” Cornelis added, looking at me.

As we turned to go back inside the laboratory, I heard the voice of Cal Hicks clearly, as he spoke to the group of coverall clad chimps.  Hicks directed his astonishment toward one powerfully built chimpanzee.

Cornelis Drebbel
Cornelis Drebbel

“Dear boy!  That is an extraordinary tale!” Cal exclaimed as we reached the group.  “We should tell the Lord of Alchemy,” Hicks told him, but the strong looking chimp drew back, apparently intimidated by the prospect of talking to the Lord of Alchemy.

“I really wish they’d stop calling Cornelis Drebbel that,” I muttered.  “If his head gets any bigger, his skull won’t fit in my hatbox.”

Cornelis naturally wanted to know what had so intrigued Cal Hicks.  The broad-shouldered chimp whispered something to Cal Hicks and shook his head nervously.”

“Oh nonsense, son,” Cal told the chimp who was apparently young, though I could not guess their ages.  “Lord of Alchemy, Ced here has given the most astonishing description of a levitating boat!” Hicks told Cornelis.

“You don’t mean a hydrofoil?” Cornelis asked.

“Yes, tha— that’s what they called it,” Ced replied haltingly, clearly trying to overcome his awe of Cornelis.  “They held me prisoner, and forced me to track you and Lady Felicity and the young miss.  I didn’t mean to betray you Lord of Alchemy!” Ced cried sadly.

Recognition clicked in my head.  Although his coloring had reverted to the purple that was natural for his world, I recognized the chimp.  Ced was indeed the very large chimpanzee who had come so very close to the place where we hid at the river when the group of villains using the hydrofoil caught up with us.  (Episode 12.)  Thankfully Ignatius Belle led them away before we were discovered.Forlanini hydrofoil

Cornelis made a tut-tut sound and patted the chimp’s shoulder.  The Dutchman encouraged Ced to continue.

“On the river in that strange world, I heard your voices before the shield of alchemy was used,” Ced continued.  “So I knew where you must have been hiding.  But I pretended not to know,” he said but paused as anger suffused his face.  “I was determined to thwart the evil woman!  Can you forgive me for tracking you, Lord of Alchemy?”

Cornelis and Cal Hicks spoke to Ced for a while, assuring the big chimpanzee that everything was fine, and his actions were understandable, and were in no wise held against him.  Finally Ced sniffled and nodded.  Cal set him some task, probably to get his mind off things, and Ced hurried off to take care of the work.

Ced turned back with a new expression of worry on his face.  “You should know…  When your submarine disappeared from our sight, for a moment we saw the purple haze of this world.  That woman and her partners plan to take you the moment you return to your own world.  They are certain you either possess something they want, or you will lead them to it,” Ced told us.

I cast a covert look at Copper, hoping that she wouldn’t put that together.  So, at least some of the villains who chased us thought we would lead them to Calvin Hixon.

train tracks spooky place


Perhaps our friends would be better off simply staying in the amethyst world.  If they get home, remember that three groups of foes chased them, presumably intent on taking Copper.  Yet if they stay in the safety of the purple place, Copper will never be reunited with her father.  Although, we never understood why Calvin Hixon would abandon his daughter in the first place.  Oh, so much remains to be told…  So be at the train station next time!

Don’t go away yet.  You haven’t seen this chapter’s recipe.  None of the three things were food related this time.  So I chose to use the purple bread mentioned at the beginning of the episode.  Can you believe that I actually found a purple bread recipe?  I’m happy because that meant I also found another delightful cooking blog — This Girl’s Gotta Eat!  So now I bid you, bon appétit!

Recipe:  Purple Wheat Raisin Bread French Toast


Photo and recipe credit:  Victoria Orban at This Girl’s Gotta Eat!




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.

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70 thoughts on “Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 32

  1. Teagan, How striking & scary, Felicity’s violet streaked hair and irises taken on a violet hue! And there she stands up against 10 heavily armed men & Bitsy. Cornelis to the rescue? There you go with mystery in the making! I love it! More mystery to uncover mid-week! What? About your blog, about Atonement In Bloom? Wonderful that you featured Lord David, one of my favorite writers too! He is an incredible supporter of fellow bloggers & writers! Not to forget the important CONGRATULATIONS on passing the ITIL exam! Sounds as if it was a grueling test! Hugs for a great week! Chryssa


    1. Hi Chryssa. (I always have to look at how to properly spell your new name. Please forgive me if i ever get it wrong.) Glad you enjoyed this episode.
      Thanks re the ITIL cert exam. I’m just relieved! Thanks for reading and commenting. Huge hugs!


  2. Hi Andrea! Thanks so much for dropping by. I’m delighted that you are still enjoying the story. LOL, wow — you already had purple bread! 😀 I’m glad to know you are still enjoying this serial. 🙂 Great big hug!


  3. Great episode Teagan, so many strands of the story to think about, great characters and interaction between Felicity and Cornelis and what will they do, how will they escape the purple world and if they do what danger will they be in!!! I’ve had purple bread – beetroot bread, very nice 🙂


  4. I always seem to end up mid week catching up with the weekend….here’s a confession that is a huge compliment….I am an avid reader…always have been…usually two books going at once…for a variety of reasons, I haven’t had any going for the last six months…I don’t get to it on weekends, but I make a point of stopping everything to catch up on your weekly serial additions…thank you for them!! Love…love your writing style!! Truly!!


    1. Thank you Kirt! I’m absolutely humbled — and encouraged too. This really does mean a lot to me, especially since you are a marvelous storyteller through your photo-art.
      Please don’t feel the need to apologize. Mid-week comments are good reminders and boosts to get my thoughts oriented back to the serial from the real-world workweek. Wishing you a thriving Thursday!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Debby — shilly shally AND purple bread both in one episode! Shilly shally seems to have become my word of the week (not day). 😀 I guess I need to look for another word. Thanks so much for dropping by. Have a thriving Thursday!


  5. Hi there dear Tegan! ⭐
    So … Shilly-shally… let´s hurry up Shelley! 😉 English could be neat at times uh!..
    This episode is beautifully structured … I love the way you bring back mystical and magical moments from previous installments, such as the wonderful toothpick holder, which not only measures time but encloses… a crystal bird inside it!… Well I can know understand why time literally flies in those amethyst domains…
    I only hope that the bird does not turn purple unless not until the characters are safe and … away from there!…
    Ced´s words by the end of the episode are eloquent and revealing…
    You always bowl me over with each delivery dear Teagan!. Thanks so much for sharing your work!. Love, hugs and best wishes for your week! Aquileana 😀


  6. Teagen, you are keeping the suspense alive. Shilly-shally is a term I haven’t heard since a child. It was my grandmother’s favorite term. Have a wonderful week. Hugs.


  7. I find very fascinating the fact that purple bread exists. Who knows, may be the Purple World is real too, we just need a properly working aerial screw to see it! 😉
    Thank you for this installment that I read with a slight sadness of impending farewell. It is crazy how we create that companionship with the fictional characters!


    1. Inese, it means so much to me for you to say that! That one (or more) of my characters would be missed is a huge compliment. So thank you. Once they grow from our imagination, they live forever. It’s not crazy to miss them — it’s wonderful that we can! One has to pity people who can’t imagine well enough to do so.
      When this serial began I had to leave the group of characters I had written about every weekend for over a year. It was surprising how much I missed them — especially Pip, who was the narrator of all the previous 3 serials. I was so used to putting my mind in her point of view, I actually had to work at thinking differently.
      Thanks very much for taking time to comment. Mega hugs my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is what I love about your writings – your characters are unique. Pip and Felicity, both your creations, are neither you, nor each other. They are themselves 🙂
        Hugs and best wishes! 🙂


  8. Intersting version of French Toast. Laurie made some the other day that comes out like a bread pudding. It was delicious with whipped cream. You got me on this one — “In all probability the flying machine, the aerial screw, will be revealing something very important, once it’s working properly.” What started out as a snicker, turned into a good laugh after I began to contemplate more or less exactly what a properly working aerial screw might reveal. Oh my! I think I need to slap my overactive imagination around a little. 😉


    1. LOL… No need for self-slapping. I was waiting for somebody to go there, Tim. I almost did, but used some self restraint — In case there are children “watching” I (sadly) avoid innuendo in this tale, even though it might still be “G” rated. In other stories I may or may not… But this one got so completely whimsical that I have to consider more than I would ordinarily. It’s not meant to be a children’s story, but I can see how (since the amethyst world came and stayed) it might be misinterpreted as such. Even so, I’m glad to give a giggle. 🙂 Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “G” is good as you never know who is reading your blog. Mr. Haagenson’s grandson found the tale of my youth post I did about his grandfather. He contacted my mom, and told her he really appreciated the post. I’m not sure how he found it, other than searching the web for his name, and the post came up, because we never knew each other, I have not had contact with his dad or grandmother in 30 years now, and he was very young when Mr Haagenson died. But the web is wide open and it’s often a surprise who finds the things I post.


        1. Oh, that’s wonderful, Tim. I’m so glad you let us know. The tale was wonderful, and I’m sure it was special to the grandson, no matter how he stumbled across it. Now you have a new fan.
          But yes, you are right about never knowing who. I’m particularly conscious of that with career issues. Have a wonder-filled new week. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Absorbing as ever, Teagan, maybe even more so but I’m captivated all the time by your writing, no matter what. Purple bread? I think I may have discovered a new important food group here to add to my regular diet. 🙂 Have a great week ahead!


      1. I am so full of angst over my inability to keep up with my favorite blogs and yours especially but the beauty of blogs is it remains in place like a library when I can stumble through. So count on my willy nilly appearances being very willy nilly. 🙂

        And every self respecting otter should love purple food groups. It might even displace Apple Snail pie as the all time favorite. 🙂


  10. Hi David, and thank you so much for visiting. I’m glad to know you are still interested in this tale. Yes, it’s high time Copper found her father. I wonder where he is???
    I just read your (always charming) diary post, and left a comment there. So be sure to get back to me with which book to feature. Mega hugs my friend! 🙂


  11. Purple bread…Perhaps we’ll all decide to move with your characters into their purple world, although I’m with David and a bit concerned about them…What next?


    1. Hi Olga. I’m happy to see you! Yes, can you believe I found a recipe for purple bread? What’s next indeed… Well, after reading David’s blog this morning, I’m taking the next 3 things from his book titles, and asked him which book he’d like promoted (though I don’t do reviews). So perhaps “Queen, Superior, and Toddlers” will lead to some exit from the amethyst world… Many thanks for commenting. Mega hugs


  12. I love the shilly shally connection…..and yes what a glorious expression:) the french bread is to die for……It is 10 a.m. London time, and I am still yet to eat anything…..and so why not French toast……??? Your stories are truly amazing, and represent creative thinking at its best….You are a star…and don’t forget it. Hope you are feeling much better, and know that the magical hummingbirds continue to surround you. …janet. xxx


    1. Janet you have lifted me up again! “Creative thinking at its best” — i’m flattered and humbled. That’s one of the nicest things anyone could say to me. Thank you, I’m doing a lot better with this persistent sinus whateveritis; not 100% yet, but I’ll get there. (How can one set of sinuses drain so much? My brain must be liquefied and running out my nose…) Thank you for the hummingbirds — and for taking time to comment.
      Oh… I just realized another “Scottsdale” connection (though not a real one) my favorite speaker, Bob Proctor, has his business based there.
      Have a sublime Sunday my friend. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Siobhan. It’s lovely to see you. Ha-ha! Yes, everybody needs to use “shilly shally” at least once. 😀 I’m not ready to give it up as my word of the day yet. Maybe it will be my word of the weekend. 😉 Huge hugs!


  13. I’ve had a fantastic time catching up with these episodes which I have missed while being on holiday. If you have a moment, go and google Milka Chocolate and you’ll find the purple alpine cows (not goats sadly) that made me a chubby teenager.
    For the record: I also love French toast, even though we call it eggie bread here.
    Have a wonderful Sunday. Hugs!


    1. Welcome back Christoph! I’m delighted that you wanted to catch up with the story. I hope your holiday was fantastic.
      Tee-hee! The purple cows were too cute, Christoph, “eggie bread” too. Congratulations on your 100th review on Conditions! Awesome.
      Mega hugs my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Great-big hug right back, John! Thanks so much for taking a moment to comment. Yes… I’ve really got to figure out how to get them out of that purple world. As much as I like the color, I’m growing tired of it. 😉 The next 3 things are “Queen, Superior, and Toddlers.” So perhaps some royal intervention can happen. I never know until i start typing the story.
      Have a sublime Sunday my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Danger and intrigue around the corner, love this Teagan. Oh I can’t wait to see what awaits them when they leave the purple world. Must say I love shilly shally and think that it was woven perfectly into the story, I think I will start using it, it’s a great word.


    1. Yes! I shall become the evangelist of Shilly Shally! LOL. Or maybe that is actually not a good thing. Let’s say the evangelist of fun words. Yes, that’s better. 😀
      Thank you so very much for reading and commenting, Suzanne. I appreciate it more than anyone could know. Wishing you a wonder-filled week, my friend. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. First, thanks for finding three things in my previous comment, finding a way to use them and mentioning my place. I’m impressed, as I have trouble with one word in the SoCS prompt 🙂 Second, as for a word of the day, I’m taking away “hatbox” because you hardly ever hear that these days but you’re staying close to the Victorian period (kudos for that). OK, now that that is all out of the way, I want to reach into the story and throttle the Lord of Alchemy before he gets these lovely women stuck in a world of purple. I am so impressed at the way you are tying up the loose ends from start to finish. I can’t wait until the next train is due at the station.


    1. Dan, you are so very kind. It’s no wonder I look forward to your comments.
      I had a good training ground for enhancing the “tie it together” skill-set — For nearly 2 years my (then) boss had me write weekly motivational messages (i’ve posted a few here). But there was a catch… He’d say “The CIO says X needs to be the topic. Oh and I want to include Y. And just one more thing, make it about a song (Z).”
      I’d often reply with “… I’ll have to sleep on that…”
      So that was my training ground, every single week.
      I’m delighted that you decided to “play the word of the day game” and *hatbox* jumped out at you. I’m fond of that myself.
      LOL, if a reader is ready to throttle a character, then I know I’ve done something right! Perverse as that may sound. 😈 😀
      Of course, definitely saving you a luxury seat on the steam locomotive next weekend. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That does sound like a challenging exercise. I’m glad you found a way to put that skill to good use. I appreciate authors who bring us so close to their characters that we start to have feelings toward them. That’s a skill you share with your buddy down on the Gulf 🙂


  16. I love French Toast, sorry, had to get that out of the way because the drool is pooling on my keyboard…ok, all cleaned up now. Where were we? Oh yes, another fabulous journey and utter relief, it’s not ended yet (wait, are you shilly shallying on the ending or just pooped from your tech course this week?). 😉 I like ‘shilly shally’ almost as much as flibbertigibbet, which I’m now being by wandering off…what I meant to say was, how do you do it, Teagan, produce such amazing episodes every week? And leave us with so many conundrums…
    At any rate, I’ll be at the station, as always, hope everything went well this week and even better this upcoming week. 🙂
    Now I’m off to see if I can scrounge up some French Toast for supper…would blueberries masquerade as purple do you think? 😉
    All the best, dear one and megahugs!!! 🙂


    1. Dear Donna, I do so enjoy your comments. Thank you my friend, for being aboard the locomotive! And for always taking time to read and comment. 🙂
      The blueberries sound delicious.
      For me, life is ever filled with questions. Maybe that puts all the questions in my stories. 🙂
      Yes, I survived the ITIL training, but yes — I’m totally pooped from it. The certification exam is in about a week; we’ll see if I survive that as well.
      Have a wonder-filled week my friend — overflowing with mega hugs! 😀


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