Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays. I’m still celebrating the release of Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I .
For this weekly feature my intention was to make things easy for myself by re-sharing short stories I had already written. However, to day I’m posting an all new vignette. It’s another hump day so my “thing” to create this story was, of course, camel!
In the time-line of the Pip-verse, this story falls between the two books. Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, has just arrived in Savannah, Georgia. She is late meeting her grandmother, but you saw the reason for that last week. (Just a note — While this vignette happens immediately after “Pip Arrives in Savannah,” the other stories for Jazz Age Wednesdays are not in any particular order. It is not a serial, so one doesn’t necessarily follow the next…)
Those of you who have followed the old three things serials for some time will recognize a character from Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.
Pip Sees a Camel
The delivery truck from Wong’s Chinese puttered down Pearl Street in downtown Savannah, Georgia. I had already thanked Alastair Wong about a million times for giving me a lift to his family restaurant, where I was supposed to meet up with my grandmother.
I knew we were late, but it couldn’t be helped. I also knew Granny Phanny didn’t like to be kept waiting. She could get downright ugly about it.
Anyway, I was feeling too antsy to beat my gums in chitchat. Instead I looked out the window at the unfamiliar street and buildings as Alastair drove past. Based on the sales signs in business windows, this city was a lot more expensive than my little hometown outside Sarasota Sound, Florida.
Finally, I saw the storefront of the restaurant. A peep in the window told me the joint was elegant. I imagined all the patrons in their glad rags, and cringed when I looked down and saw a splash of orange juice on the front of my frock. Nervously I adjusted my pink cloche hat.
“Strange,” Alastair muttered as he parked the truck. “I don’t see Miss Phanny’s Model-T anywhere.”
Oh no! Granny’s already left in a huff. Is she planning to make me just fend for myself? I don’t know my way around this city. I didn’t want to be here in the first place! I silently ranted.
Alastair walked over to a desk. For a moment, I thought he spoke to a doll in an embroidered blue satin dress. However, it was a very tiny, very ancient woman. She had to be well under five feet tall, and Lord knew how old.
“Pip, this is my cousin Victoria Wong.”
I bobbed a little courtesy, as I looked at the unusual woman in fascination.
“Arabella and Phanny left in a hurry when that dewdropper who runs the dance studio came in here. Why two grown women would help a lollygagger like him is beyond me,” the diminutive woman told us, and then gave an indelicate snort to accompany the unexpected slang. “The lazy man let his latest gimmick get away. They all went to chase it.”
Alastair and I looked from tiny Victoria to each other in confusion.
“My mother and Miss Phanny with a dewdropper? Latest gimmick?” he prompted.
“His dance studio,” Victoria said, as if everything should be obvious. “The dewdropper is advertising classes for the Camel Walk dance. And that nasty, spitting beast got away.”
“The gimmick or the dance teacher?” Alastair asked. “What do you mean by gimmick anyhow? How can a gimmick get away?”
Victoria was very old. I decided she must be senile. Whatever the case, she had Alastair and me all balled up.
An odd noise caused me to turn to the broad window that looked out onto the street while Alastair continued to try and get some sense out of his cousin. The sight before my eyes shocked me so badly that I dropped my pocketbook.
The restaurant goers got up from their tables and went to the window exclaiming and pointing.
“Granny!” I gasped.
Arabella Wong, Alastair’s mother, opened the double doors to the restaurant. Granny Phanny perched high atop a camel! My grandmother leaned down and called to me.
“I’m glad you final decided to grace us with your presence Paisley Idelle Peabody,” she called out in a sarcastic voice. “Your chariot awaits!”
Victoria giggled and told me, “Sweetie, you look like you could use a jorum of skee!”
I gasped, feeling like I must already be zozzled. Granny couldn’t be serious! But it wouldn’t be the first time she’d gotten even with somebody for being late. She didn’t move to get down from the camel. Surely, she was joking…
If you want to know more about this series, here is a review by Vashti Quiroz-Vega of the first book.
Thanks so much for visiting. You’re the bee’s knees!
Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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