Jazz Age Wednesdays 9 ― Pip’s Friend Hank

young Lucy blue

Young Lucille Ball

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 

Wow, you’re the berries!  I’m glad to see you back at Jazz Age Wednesdays!  

When I posted a Halloween story, Pip in the Field of Fear, you got to meet Pip’s friend Hank Hertz.  Those of you who have read Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I also know Hank.  Awhile back, I collaborated on a post with Kirt Tisdale at The Wall Gallery.  Kirt also has a “sepia gallery” which is giving me a lot of inspiration for The Skull of the Alchemist (my National Novel Writing Month project). 

For that tale, Kirt’s photo (below) inspired me to write.  However, it didn’t make me think of Pip.  Rather it brought me a backstory for Hank Hertz.  Without further ado, meet Hank.

On the Radio — Meet Hank 

Photo by Kirt Tisdale

No harm in trying one more time, Hank Hertz thought as he stacked all manner of electronic components on the counter.

“Hi, Mr. Hardscrabble,” Hank mumbled, trying to avoid eye contact with the hardware store’s proprietor.

“Hank, I already told you.  Your ma told me not to sell you any of this gadgetry tomfoolery.  You might as well put all that stuff back on the shelves, son.”

Hardscrabble put a hand to his balding head in a frustrated gesture.  He found his spectacles there and smiled because he’d forgotten where he put them.  However, he brightened when the door opened.  One of “Savannah’s finest,” Detective Dabney Daniels strolled into Hardscrabble Hardware.  His finely chiseled features remained neutral, but he raised an eyebrow at the tableau at the counter.

“Now get on with you, boy.  Put everything back.  I can’t take your money,” the store owner repeated before turning to a real customer.  “That boy gets more like his granddaddy every day.  Detective, what can I do for you?”

1928 Detroit police radio Blue

“No need to rest on formality, Homer.  I can’t find my flashlight, so I’m here for another one,” the detective replied then looked sheepish.  “Go ahead and laugh about things going missing at a police station.  I can tell you’re holding it back.”

Hank watched the exchange between the tall detective and the portly shopkeeper as he reluctantly made trips from the sales counter back to the shelves.  He could have carried more things at one time, but he delayed the inevitable, hoping Mr. Hardscrabble would change his mind.  As he picked up a few more items to return to the shelf, the detective stopped him.

“What is all that stuff, son?  If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were building a ham radio.  Or at least intended to before Homer shut you down.”

For a moment Hank’s face lit up at the mention of his passion — all things electronic, especially radios.  He looked dejectedly at his feet.

“Momma wants me to study law.  She says electronics and inventions are a distraction.  She even said they were toys!”

“So all the old fogies are conspiring against you, huh?  Well, you’d better ankle all that stuff back where it came from, like Homer told you.”

***

1920 Radio News

After supper Hank got an armload of books and headed out the kitchen door.  His mother looked at the heavy tomes and gave a satisfied nod.  Hank knew she was watching from the window above the sink as he walked to the little red barn.  Vines of Cherokee roses ran riot over the building.  The Hertz family used the barn for storage, but Hank made it his personal spot to study or just hang out.  He also had a workbench tucked in one corner where he discretely kept his radio equipment.

The horizon blazed red with sunset when Hank slipped out of the barn.  He pedaled the motorized bicycle he had made until he was far enough away that his parents wouldn’t hear the noise of the motor.  Dusk descended as he rode into town.

Hank didn’t pay any attention to the dark Ford parked on the corner, or to the fact that someone sat inside it.  He rode down the alley and came up behind Hardscrabble Hardware.  The back door was locked, but he found a window he could open.  He took his flashlight and climbed into the store.

He knew exactly where to find everything he wanted.  So it didn’t take Hank long to gather all the electronics he tried to buy that afternoon.  He stood at the sales counter and added up all the prices.  He figured the tax.  Then he left the full amount of the purchase, plus two cents, because he didn’t have enough pennies to leave the exact change.

Putting everything into his bag, Hank turned toward the back of the shop.  It felt like an electric charge shot from his neck down his arm when he heard a cough behind him.  Hank jerked around to face the sound.

1920 Victoria motorcycle ad

The boy thought he’d lose everything he ate for supper when he saw the police detective standing there, arms folded.

“So you actually broke into the store and paid for the things Homer wouldn’t sell you?  Son, I don’t know what to make of that.”

Hank stumbled back a step.  He wanted to run, but the copper knew who he was and where he lived.  Besides, Hank had a pretty good idea that those long legs could catch up with him before he got to his bicycle.  His breath caught in his throat.  Hank couldn’t have spoken even if he’d known what to say.

The detective closed the distance to the counter in a single step.  He pointed his new flashlight to the paper where Hank had added up his purchase.  Then he pursed his lips as he thought.  He stared at Hank as if he could see every fib the boy had ever told.  Hank gulped.

“Where’d you get the money for this stuff, son?  Allowance?  Money for odd jobs?”

Hank only nodded, still unable to talk.  Finally he found his voice and croaked out a reply.  “It’s my money sir.  Fair and square.  I wouldn’t steal anything.”

“I guess I’m going to have to have a talk with your parents,” Dabney Daniels said, slowly shaking his head.

Poor Hank felt like he might sink through the floor, right then and there.  His knees felt weak.

“But this,” the copper motioned at Hank’s bag full of stuff.  “I don’t see as any law has really been broken.  After all, I walked in through the front door, which was unlocked.  I know Homer leaves through the back door and forgets to lock the front.  But being as you’re here, I assume he left it open for you.”

Hank gazed at Daniels in wide eyed confusion.

“Besides, I hate doing paperwork.  If you had actually broken into this store, I’d have to haul you to the station and spend the rest of the night writing up the report.  I do have to talk to your parents though,” he added causing Hank to sink further.

The young man managed a groan.

“You know, I really need an intern down at the station.  I think your mother will see that working for me would be a good learning experience for a future lawyer.  In a way, that’s where law starts isn’t it?  With the police?  Meanwhile you can put your talent with radio gadgetry to use.  How does that sound?”

The end

***

I hope you enjoyed this backstory for one of the Murder at the Bijou characters.

Now you know what I have to do next… I must do the shameless self-promotion…  Here are links to the books about Pip and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

 

Copyright © 2014 and 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work 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.  

 

91 thoughts on “Jazz Age Wednesdays 9 ― Pip’s Friend Hank

    • Applesauce! Lavinia, I’m honored that you’ve visited so many posts today. You are so kind. Hank won me over quickly when he came into Murder at the Bijou, so it was fun to write his back story. Dabney… heart-throb material of course. 😀
      Many thanks for taking time to comment. You’re the cat’s pajamas! 🐱

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Time for my usual reblogs on a Saturday one of which is the always entertaining and wonderfully written stories by Teagan Genevience. This week on Jazz Age Wednesdays we get to meet young ham radio enthusiast Hank Hertz. His passion for radios brings him into contact with the law in more ways than one..#recommended

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gerlinde, I have always described this blog as my *sanctuary* — a place I could go to escape the stress, anxieties, and all bad things. (That’s why I rarely make a political or religious comment here.)
      I’ve always tried to make it a sanctuary for my readers as well. So your comment makes me very happy. Have a thriving Thursday. You’re the cat’s meow!

      Like

    • Aw thank you Kathryn. No, I’ve never heard of that book, but I’m intrigued! The different light spectrums fascinate me. Thanks so very much for visiting today. I hope things are back to normal in your neck of the woods, that your air is cleaner now.
      Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Teagan, lovely positive warm story with a smashing old fashioned feel to the world…. the type of place you think it should be and that you really miss without actually having lived there!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Teagan I always feel so undeserving when you say nice things when I love your (very loveable, it must be said) stories, because you as the author deserves all the praises for what you have done. And who else but other writers can see not only the story on the page but everything that has gone on behind the story to make the situations,and characters ring true.
        For me what makes a good story great is internal consistency in the narrative.That is what takes you to a real place: paints the images in your mind’s eye (converting it, in my case, to a movie running through my head) and once that image is there the whole story just breezes along.
        People often throw description into a story to create this but that does not create the magic alone. Sometimes it kills the pace. You have je ne sais quoi. Before the end of your first paragraph I had everything in my head. Small American town, maybe somewhere a bit dusty in the mid-west. Could be from mid 30s to 50s- I have the impression time did not move that much (probably wrongly it must be said). The general hardware store on the main street with little traffic on the roads, avuncular Mr. Hardscrabble, sort of handsome but a bit worn at heel looking Hank. I could go on, but in short everything fitted seamlessly and flowed effortlessly.
        And finally it doesn’t matter if I am completely wrong about the town in my mind’s eye. Because, as an author you engaged my (the reader’s) imagination to create a solid world for your story to take place in.
        And that is not skill… that is a gift!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Aha – so that’s how the electronic whiz kid ended up working at the police department! I like Hank (I just realized his last name 😎) – and Dabney, although I think I like Dabney even more now. There aren’t enough of the good guys in this world!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had a hank-ering for more and you delivered, as always, dear Teagan. I was detect-ing more backstory and here it is. This was a delight, way to jazz up a moldering Wednesday! Thanks and off to share. 🙂
    Hope this week is treating you (and Crystal the courageous cat) kindly so far. 🙂
    Mega gadgetry tomfoolery hugs xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tee-hee! You know how I love a pun! Dear Donna, it is always a delight when you drop by. I hope the week is kind to you as well. It’s terrific, except for work, and neighbor noise… I have a (longshot) potential home in mind, in Austin, TX — the City Weird! So cross your fingers, remote as the chance may be. Mega hugs right back. You really are the cat’s pajamas!

      Like

    • LOL, thank you Brad. It’s always lovely when you visit. I’m delighted you enjoyed this. Hank’s part continues in the next novel, A Ghost in the Kitchen. I plan to book-ize that some time next year. Maybe I can write more fresh Jazz Age Wednesday shorts that include him in the meanwhile. You’re the cat’s meow!

      Like

  5. What a great story, Teagan. I love your writing style and I love Hank. He is honest but passionate and willing to go to any lengths to feed that passion. I also fell in love with the tall detective in this segment. Well-done!

    Liked by 1 person

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