Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 33

Indies Agree…

Glenda Ozz
Billie Berk 1939

I love that “Indie” has endlessly different subjects, genres, and formats.  I’m happy that every indie author and blogger is unique.  Despite all that diversity, it seems that all indie authors agree on the importance of reviews – whether posted in a blog, magazine, or on a bookseller’s site.

Oh, I admit to my jaw-dropping awe when an author cheers that they’ve reached the milestone of 100 reviews… I have less than a dozen, so I’m quite impressed, as well as proud of their achievement.  So when one of my earliest author-blogger-supporters wished he had more reviews for his books, I wanted to do something… but I’m not a reviewer. I wished I could wave a magic wand for both of us… but neither am I Glenda the Good Witch.

Jump back a step, because the steam locomotive is roaring back toward the platform at top speed!

Since there was no new episode last weekend, here’s a link to the previous chapter. If you need extra catching-up, look to the top of your screen for this serial’s homepage button.

Yikes! The locomotive is moving so fast, I’m not sure it can stop — but the breaks are screeching and the the whistle blows as it stops on a dime, right at the platform.

The conductor gives you a mischievous wink.   All aboard!!!

33.  Toddlers, Queen, Superior

Billie Berk circa 1900
Billie Berk circa 1900

Cornelis Drebbel levitated above a much bigger version of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It was attached to a large gondola that contained all manner of fantastical contraptions.  Brightly polished brass and crystals glittered in the sunlight that streamed through tall windows from the cloudless lavender sky.

One device looked just like the multi-armed thingamajig from the submarine.  I mean that term literally.  The device was the original thingamajig and such was its proper name.  This one looked newer.  The thingamajig on the submarine went through some rough treatment.  The one in the gondola didn’t show any wear and tear.  (Episode 22)  A malfunction in the contrivance was at least partly responsible for landing us in this purple place.

Cornelis waved down to a pair of mauveine complected chimpanzee twin toddlers who observed him in amazement.  A young female ape watched them from the corner of her eye as she delivered a basket of food to Cal Hicks.  She seemed remarkably unaffected by the floating alchemist.

“Why thank you Itsy,” Hicks told the woman as he took the heavy basket.  “This is enough for everyone.  Thank you so much, my dear.”

She quickly took each toddler by a hand and moved to meet one of the coverall clad chimps.  He seemed smitten by her.  She glanced surreptitiously over her shoulder as the chimpanzee handed her something that disappeared into the folds of her skirts.  Some token of his affections, I supposed.  It was hard to tell with the purple coloring but I thought both might be blushing.Victorian Magazine 1891

“Tsk, tsk,” Cal said with a shake of his head.  “That boy will never win Itsy’s heart.”

“Itsy?” I had to ask.

“Why yes,” Cal began. “She’s taken on the extra work of looking after the twins during the day. Both parents were injured in a carriage accident, and aren’t able to chase toddlers terrible well. Itsy was maid to my son Nate’s grandparents. When they passed on, she came to work for me,” Cal said and then cast an astute glance at me. “I take it Itsy has a counterpart in your colorful world.”

“I believe so,” I said, nodding.  “Bitsy is a maid in the inn that belongs to Ignatius Belle.  Their voices are rather similar.  And Itsy is just as unimpressed as Bitsy,” I added with a chuckle.  (Episode 2)

My own words bothered me in some indefinable way.  I suddenly felt uneasy.  It seemed like there was something I should remember.  However, I was distracted by Cal Hicks.  He was looking at me in a most curious way.  It made me think something was amiss.

“What is it?” I asked worriedly.

His eyes quickly scanned the worktable.  The amethyst ape picked up a mirror and handed it to me.  There was a smudge of soot on my cheek, and for a moment I thought that was what the straight-laced ape meant.  However, with one of his thick fingers he pointed to my hair.  A broad ultraviolet streak ran from the crown of my head down the length of my otherwise dark brown locks.  The irises of my eyes had taken on a violet hue.

Police NewsBefore I could stop my surprised reaction, I inhaled sharply.  I glanced at Copper.  I didn’t want the girl to notice my concern.  Fortunately she ran over to Cornelis, and tossed some tool up toward him.  The alchemist caught it with a glowing yellow-green thread of magic.

I was afraid to look at the measuring device that looked like a toothpick holder.  It already showed warning shades of violet.  But I forced myself.  I removed the device from the flowered carpet bag.  The thin rods were various shades of violet and purple.  Only one was still lavender.  None at all were colorless.  At least the crystal bird at the center was still clear.  Cornelis said it might be too late for us to leave the amethyst world if the bird turned purple.

Cal Hicks cleared his throat nervously and broke eye contact with me.  He called everyone to the basket of food, but hardly ate anything himself.  He turned back to work fervently on the improved aerial screw.  Though he couldn’t levitate like the alchemist he seemed to work almost as quickly.

Coverall clad chimpanzees ran back and forth, fetching all manner of things that Cal requested.  Copper returned to stand at his elbow, handing him various small tools.  I suspected that sometimes Cal pretended to need something, just to let the girl think she was helping.Punch mag

Earlier Cornelis was utterly intense as he poured over an assortment of papers he’d gotten from Cal.  There were maps, magazines, playbills, and newspapers.  I couldn’t figure out what he could be looking for in such an assortment.

However, the alchemist saw links from one thing to another that I would never see without it being pointed out to me.  He seemed to make some alchemical sense of the stack of papers and abruptly levitated up above the flying machine.  Suffused by that yellowish green aura he began making enhancements to the aerial screw.

As I looked at magazines bearing images of well-dressed simians, all in assorted shades of purple, I was struck anew by how much like our own world this place populated by apes really was.  I couldn’t help smiling when I saw a magazine cover bearing the image of an elegant female ape wearing an intricate lace gown, jewelry including a tiara, and holding a scepter.

“Is this your queen?” I asked Cal Hicks in delighted surprise.

Queen Victoria 1859
Queen Victoria 1859

“Why of course,” Cal replied, as if I had questioned the obvious.  “That is Queen Triumphia,” he said, immediately recovering his perfect manners.  “Haven’t you a similar monarch in your world?”

I grinned at the name Triumphia.  “Yes, although it isn’t exactly my queen, the English queen is called Victoria,” I told the amethyst ape.

Cal grinned back at me as he compared the name Victoria to his queen’s name.

Cornelis gave a whoop of success.  “This is far superior to the first model!” he cried.

With a sharp pop he disappeared from his spot in the air above us.  An instant later he popped into the gondola of the aerial screw.

Itsy wandered closer.  She didn’t look excited or surprised like everyone else.  Rather, the maid looked worried.  “There’s no more time,” Itsy murmured.

She darted to the gondola and grabbed the multi-armed thingamajig.  Then I got a look at the secret-something that the chimp handed her earlier.  She had hidden it in the folds of her skirt, but it turned out to be the harmonic tuner.  Cal Hicks showed it to me previously.  Instead of the mystic monkeys tuner that belonged to Copper, this one had people in the poses of see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.  (Episode 24)  the Strand Magazine

Itsy’s actions were so sudden and so unexpected that everyone was too surprised to try and stop her.  She ran from the laboratory and out to the area that was scorched and depressed by the confrontation-reunion between Absinthe and Aubrieta.  (Episode 28)  Itsy held out the thingamajig and clanged the harmonic tuner against the contrivance.

The air in a large area before Itsy shimmered to a glowing hot pink aura.  The center of the aura took on a wavy mirror like appearance.  Then a wall of water rushed from the aura and poured into the burned out depression.  Itsy was swept away by the water but managed to grab hold of a fence post.

With a whoosh sound a hydrofoil sped through the opening created by the magical devices.  The moment I saw the craft I knew what had bothered me when I told Cal that Itsy and Bitsy had similar voices.

We had never gotten a good look at the woman leading the group on the hydrofoil.  I said her voice was familiar, but I just couldn’t place it, no matter how hard I tried.  The tone of the woman leader was commanding and harsh.  So it had been just different enough that I couldn’t connect it to the gentle tones I previously heard from that same voice.  At that moment I knew the voice belonged to Bitsy, the maid at the Belle Inn!

Harper's Bazaar 1899The hydrofoil rushed, out of control, down the length of the water that spilled from our world.  It crashed into a stand of tall bushes.  When the woman stood up, I was certain she was Bisy.  She bent over and vomited.  The nearness of her doppelgänger already affected her.

“Get her away from me!” Bitsy shouted to the men who accompanied her.

The men waded out to Itsy.  She seemed to think they were helping her and let them take her arms from the post to which she held.  However, when they helped her to dry ground one held a knife to her throat.  They spoke threateningly to her and she ran away as fast as she could, disappearing into the woods.

The hydrofoil held more passengers than I had realized.  There must have been ten heavily armed men, along with Bitsy.  They all moved toward us.

Cal Hicks had my arm.  “Quickly,” he hissed into my ear.  “Get into the gondola.”

When I turned I saw that Copper was already climbing into the aerial screw.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered around her, touching various apparatus with their tiny paws.  I looked back at the interlopers from my own world.  They were looking right at me.


What will happen to Felicity, the “Woman in Trousers” of the serial title?  Her hair is already streaked with purple, suggesting she has stayed too long in the amethyst world.  One group of foes has caught up with our trio.  Will they grab Felicity before she can reach the gondola?  And will the aerial screw fly off without her?

Don’t leave yet!  Here’s a recipe.  Many times I’ve seen bloggers mention “curry chips.”  Now, I’m just not familiar with that dish. So I scoured the WordPress countryside and found a lovely recipe at “Lea & Jay.”  

Recipe:  Curry Chips

Photo and recipe credit:  Lea & Jay 

Curry Chips

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.

88 thoughts on “Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 33

  1. Definitely reaching the fevered pitch here. Love how you move so many pieces of action like the conductor of an orchestra. I’m spellbound and must gather my wits for the finale.


      1. It was all my pleasure. Your stories are always a delightful escape from the wildly objective life I live during my days at the Arsenal. 😀


  2. Nice to see David highlighted here teagan, people certainly get around on your blog. Then there’s the curried chips, and your continuing story. It just keeps getting better.


      1. You’re welcome teagan, it’s always worth a visit over your way. 🙂 That’s a Galah on the banner, or an Australian Red Breasted Cockatoo. Hugs back at ya.


    1. Welcome Peter. Thanks so much for taking a moment to comment.
      Yes, I’ve featured David a number of times the “three things” he sends are always fun for me to write.
      Wishing you a wonder-filled week.


  3. Teagan, thank you for one more installment! Suspense is palpable… Is there any hope for a safe return? I need some comfort food to stop worrying. Curry chips are lovely, but my favorites are Taco chips 😉 Hugs!!!


    1. Ummm tortilla chips with salsa verde…. In New Mexico every restaurant asked “Red or green?” I had no idea what they were talking about and they thought it was impossible that i didn’t know! But I loved the green chili salsa even before I moved there. Thanks for another beautiful southwest post today, Inese!
      I appreciate your comments here very much. 🙂 I’ll be doing a mid-week post, telling a secret and asking for everyone to cast a vote. So I hope you will have time to stop by again then. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A secret? I will keep an eye on your blog 🙂
        You are so right, for the locals it is an obvious question. Same here – curry chips and taco chips. Everyone knows what it is about. We have a yummy dip – Taco Sauce. You cannot buy it in supermarkets. It is creamy and very unhealthy, like everything that is worth eating.


  4. Why thank you so much David. That means a lot to me, especially from you. When a serial starts to end, I’m always afraid I’ve missed something important.
    And thanks for another diary post at your place. I’m not sure who gets the better workout, your postman or my UPS man. Although I’ve cut back this year. No really i did. Honest. 😉
    Mega hugs my friend. ❤ 😀


  5. Hi there dear Teagan,
    I was mesmerized by the fact that the apes doppelgängers even had their own Queen even had their own queen in their parallel world… Queen Triumphia… ‘‘God save the Queen’’.
    I would have loved to take a peek into those magazines with well-dressed simians, all in assorted shades of purple, as you say… and.. ‘‘those elegant female ape wearing an intricate lace gown, jewelry including a tiara, and holding a scepter’’.
    I read online that the doppelgängers (German Doppel, double and Gänger, walker or goer) are considered at times a ‘double-goer’, and , furthermore an evil twin… Hence… I wonder if those apes are mean, somehow…
    either way, I liked the fact that you say above that the two worlds look much alike… I think that there many features and characteristics even in our own reality… like subrealities, so as to speak…
    Besides, I like how you have introduced many similes of means of transport such as the well known submarine, the gondola and the aerial Da Vinci ship…
    A very intriguing and well written installment, as ever… Thanks so much for sharing.
    Sending love and many hugs. Aquileana 🌠🎇🎆


    1. Aquileana, it’s such a joy to see you. 🙂 I’m delighted to know you enjoy the story.
      I appreciate the insight/feed back about the word “doppelgänger.” I enjoy comments that show me the different ways everyone’s imaginations are leaning. LOL, for me, I think it’s more likely that the humans would be the evil twins of the apes. 😀
      Mega hugs dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, Teagan! The story is getting so complicated… Thankfully is you and not me who’s writing it, because I have no idea where I’d go next…Oh, the suspense…


    1. Hi Olga. It’s lovely to see you. I hope you are refreshed from your travels.
      Well, it does get complicated for me, as I try to tie up the many loose ends that come from writing in the spontaneous “3 things”. I hope I didn’t over-load anyone, because the next one is going to be a dozy! 😀 Mega hugs my friend.


  7. Hey Melinda — so good to see you! LOL, I think I might have to make sure Felicity keeps that purple streak in her hair. 😀 Thanks so very much for taking time to read and comment. Especially if you read wearing your purple glasses. Mega hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. First off, sorry to be so late to the station, I was breaking up with my head cold, we just weren’t going anywhere, it was him, not me so goodbye.
    Also, I’ve been distracted by some absolutely amazing author’s book, ‘Atonement, Tennessee’ and having trouble putting it down long enough to do anything. Yes, you’re an awesome writer, Teagan (and you may have already guessed this, but your book is getting a I-only-have-two-thumbs-but-if-I-had-ten-thousand-they’d-all-be-up review), but tsk tsk, you really could have warned me it was this distracting.
    I’ve reached that point, as a reader, you know the one, it’s those last twenty pages, where I have to decide, do I race through to get to the end knowing I’m going to reread it anyway or go slowly, trying to make it last longer.
    Anyway, I’m so glad I’m here now. Of course, this was also distracting (then again, housework can wait), but engrossing and also nail biting – how could you?!?
    I also now want curried, well, anything. 😉
    As for Lord David Prosser, I am currently reading ‘The Queen’s Envoy’, the very book you mentioned and it’s so totally David, I’m mesmerized, can he get any more fantastic and fantastical, I seriously doubt it. Capital work. Capital.
    So I took this itsy bitsy break to hop on the superior ‘Copper, the Alchemist & the Woman in Trousers’ train then back to the ‘Atonement’ to find out…no spoilers, Teagan already knows and you’ll all have to read to find out, but oh my!
    Thank you Teagan, you’ve made my week and the review is partially written (at least in my head), I just hope I can do your work justice.
    Megahugs and all the best, dear one! 🙂


    1. Donna you are such a delight! Seriously. Honestly. I’m so happy to hear that your nasty cold is better. Thank you for everything in this comment. I think I’ll frame it and hang it on my office wall. Then i’ll tell people “See, this is what I really do.”
      You really did make my day. I’m happier than you’d know to hear you like Atonement, Tennessee so much! Your magical words — I’m sincerely honored for them to be spoken about my book.
      Wishing you a wonder-filled rest of this weekend. And take it easy — want to make sure that hateful cold really is gone. Mega hugs my friend. 🙂


      1. I only tell it like it is, you had me giggling at framing and and saying, “See, this is what I really do.” You’re awesome!
        Like ‘Atonement, Tennessee’, no, like is way, way too mild a word, I’m addicted.
        I’m taking it easy, the break-up with my head cold was tough, but you know when you need to move on. Today I’m going to burn the pictures of the time we spent together, get rid of the toothbrush I used (too many memories and germs), and try to remember life before he moved into my immune system. 😉
        Megahugs and hope you have a week as wonderful as you (not even slightly possible, but I can hope). 🙂


        1. 🙂 Thank you from the bottom of my heart Donna. I plan to make a big push with Atonement in Bloom (with finishing it that is). And I have an idea to make me stick with it. I hope you have time to visit again mid-week. I’ll be telling a secret and asking everyone to cast a vote. Take care.


  9. “Secret Somethings and Thingamajigs” is begging to be a title of some secretive something about thingamajigs me thinks! I got back a little bit ago from spending the morning photographing the Corrales Harvest Festival and pet parade. After walking nearly 7 miles and 14K steps, according to my Fitbit, I was able to read another fine episode of Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers while enjoying roasted vegetables and a baked potato for lunch.


    1. Sounds like a truly enchanting day in the Land of Enchantment, Tim. I can imagine it all as you speak. I hope for some pictures of the pet parade. Actually I had a “parade of pets” in the first “Three Ingredients” serial… it was a bit of a disaster for some of the characters, but a victory for others. 😀
      Speaking of secrets, mid week i’ll tell a little secret re this blog.
      Have a satisfying rest of this Saturday. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Love it…love it!! Spellbinding!! I understand about last weekend and again, glad you passed the exam!! But, I’m not going to lie…missed reading an episode and this one more than makes up for it!! Great job, Teagan!!


  11. Once again a real delight. You have introduced me to a blogger I didn’t now…Lord David…and so will definitely take a very good look….and I love the way that you have reviewed his work by using some of this ideas through this weeks episode….You see, you are always so very innovative and creative…. I do look forward every week to reading your next post…..and you never ever disappoint. Have a wonderful weekend my friend….janet. xxx


    1. Dear Janet — thank you! Your gorgeous paintings never disappoint either. Those magical hummingbirds are purely uplifting. I’m so happy they’ve come into my life. I’m delighted that I could introduce you to Lord David Prosser! He’s become a dear friend.
      I really appreciate you taking time to comment. Look for a rare mid-week post from me — I’ll be telling a secret. Mega hugs! ❤ 🙂


  12. Teagan, you had me on the edge of my seat the entire time with this one! And I want to give you a HUGE congratulations for passing your ITIL exam! I was out of town last weekend and didn’t have a chance to comment on your success. Keep that train a’rollin’!


    1. Oh thank you Kathryn! I actually closed the comments on the character re-cap post to make sure I studied. 😀 The training was grueling (5 day class crammed into 3 days) and to me, the test was not easy at all. So I’m glad that’s over.
      Thanks so much for taking time to read and comment! You are so appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I wish I could start at the beginning and read it all. Curry chips sound wonderful! I am so glad that you featured David Prosser. You both are amazing! ❤


        1. Thank you Colleen! That does mean a lot to me. Actually I keep a homepage for each serial (button at the top of the screen). It would be more catch-up reading than I’d expect you to do, but the entire story is in one place there, if you’re ever so inclined. I have one for each of the past serials too. Have a lovely rest of the weekend. Hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Hello! First I have to say, what an intricate and fascinating group of characters in your last post (I couldn’t comment there––comments were closed). I enjoyed reading about them.
    It’s great that you spotlighted David Prosser. He is such a talented writer and so funny. I’m a big fan. 😀
    This is another intriguing and entertaining segment. Is there any limit to your creativeness? 😉


    1. Hi Vashti — it’s so lovely to see you. (Yes regrettably I closed the comments on the previous post. I needed to study for a certification exam.) I’m delighted that you enjoyed the character re-cap post.
      I agree with you completely about David and his books.
      Thanks so very much for taking a moment to comment. Huge hugs 🙂


  15. How delightful indeed to get our fix of your serial this week, and even more so as it pays homage to Lord David Prosser and his lovely books. I have read them and am a big fan.
    Queen Triumphia is a great name and your creative ideas are just wonderful allround. I laughed so hard at the Chimpanzee twin toddlers, too. Thanks for a heartfelt laugh and wonderful weekend amusement. Big hugs to you both – David, I will see you soon 🙂


    1. Hi Christoph! What’s the old show business saying? Don’t follow kids or animals? Something like that… Fortunately I have Copper and the two tiny skunk-looking fairies. So maybe that rule doesn’t hold. 😀
      But I’m truly blushing at your comment. It does mean a lot to me. Mega hugs my friend.


    1. Hi Cheryl. Wow — that’s so kind of you to think of my certification. I passed the ITIL exam — Woot!!! Sooo glad that’s over.
      You and those purple flipflops! 😀 I guess you’ll need a purple seat-belt to go with them. I don’t want you to drop off the edge of the cliff. I hope you’re enjoying your movie day. Maybe some purple popcorn??? Mega hugs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I am so please to see Lord David highlighted here as he is one of my favorite bloggers/people/writers, he is immensely talented. This is such an exciting episode Teagan, OH MY Felicity turning purple and the bad guys nipping at their heels. Can’t wait till next week, you have me on the edge of my seat.


      1. LOL, Suzanne, I always need the encouragement. So thank you so much! I glad you took a break, because I understand all too well how you needed it. But it’s good to see you back in the blogging world. I so enjoy your recipe posts. I’ll probably never cook that way, but sometimes I pretend I am while i read your posts. 😀 Mega hugs.


        1. I have a really bad cold which has somehow affected my ability to spell. Ugh. We all need encouragement and support. I don’t have t tell you how much I love your work but then here I am doing it again. I do, honestly and look forward to every single installment of this series


          1. Most importantly, feel fabulous fast!!!
            Well then, my continuing sinus/allergy issue must be effecting my reading because I didn’t notice anything. Naturally I had to go back and look for what you meant (I fixed it if that makes you feel better 😉 ) Or at least what little I found I fixed.
            You are greatly appreciated, Suzanne. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  17. I love this episode Teagan. I felt the suspense building as I read this and I was sad, albeit not surprised, when you left us at another cliff. Have pity on us girl. I often mention how much I admire your descriptions. Two popped out at me today: “mauveine complected chimpanzee twin toddlers” best description yet. And this one: “The thin rods were various shades of violet and purple. Only one was still lavender. None at all were colorless.” I can feel the suspense building in that series. Great job!


    1. Thank you so much Dan! That means a lot to me coming from you. I really need to get them out of that purple place though. Before I have to remove all the purple from my closets (for being tired of the color)! Looking forward to your next post. Hugs!


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