Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Hi there, Sheiks and Shebas. You’re at Jazz Age Wednesdays. Today’s episode brings us to Chapter 3 of the new series, Hullaba Lulu. It is not in the “Pip-verse” but it still takes place during the Roaring Twenties.
Update: Here’s a link to a stunning video Rob made for the story. Please click over and check it out — it’s pos-i-lutely the berries!
Don’t Bring Lulu
I’m having a pos-i-lutely fabulous time working with artist Rob Goldstein. He’s creating gorgeous artwork, starting inspiring discussions, and sending me “three things” to spontaneously drive each chapter of this pantser story. If you need to review Chapter 2, click here. Today we catch up with our bearcat Lulu the day after all the wild happenings in the abandoned subway tunnel. Read on to see where Rob’s next three things took me for this chapter.
Previously with Hullaba Lulu
Valentino went up the ladder first to push aside the heavy manhole cover. However, it was already open. We climbed up to the street. I looked around for my friends. In the distance I saw the two gals climbing the stairs to Pearl’s front door.
A sulfuric smell accompanied the strike of a match. I turned to see Tom Driberg leaning nonchalantly against a Rolls-Royce. Cigarette smoke curled above his head as he jotted something on a small notepad. He looked at Valentino the same way he had looked at Rose and Pearl.
Without a word, Tom walked into the night.
Saltwater Taffy, Raspberry-Red Rouge, Ouija Board
The heels of my T-strap shoes clicked rhythmically against the cracked pavement, keeping me company. I did a step-slide-step-brush of the Camel Walk dance as I walked down the deserted tunnel. I was supposed to meet Rose and Pearl for a late breakfast. However, neither of them showed. So, I headed down to my secret place to console myself.
Besides, maybe I’ll run into that man again. I guess anybody who looks like the Sheik of Araby has a right to call himself Valentino. But still… why didn’t Pearl or Rose show up? I’m the one who’s always late.
I remembered how oddly my friends had acted when that journalist, Tom Driberg, turned up the night before. Then I thought about that car-full of government-looking types. I suppressed a pang of genuine worry. I did another a step-slide-step-brush to lighten my thoughts.
Ever since I was a kid, Gramps had told me I wasn’t allowed in that part of the abandoned subway. He always said it wasn’t safe, although I couldn’t tell that it was any different from the rest of the tunnels. So of course, the forbidden area was my childhood playground. The old station was the best place in the world for telling ghost stories.
The key to the station door hung from a ribbon around my neck. When I found the key, years before, I started locking the door. It became my special secret place and I didn’t want just anybody hanging out there.
My stash of saltwater taffy was behind the counter that had been the ticket desk when the station was in use. I pulled off a sticky piece of the candy. In a mood to reminisce, I took out my box of girlhood treasures.
When I was little, one of the highlights of my week was when Gramps would let me take unclaimed things from the speakeasy’s lost-and-found. One of those items was a dainty gilt embossed tin from Dorin of Paris*. I removed the top of the raspberry-red rouge container. Inside the lid was a tiny mirror. I winked at my reflection and daubed a bit of the cosmetic on my cheeks.
Clumsy as ever, my elbow brushed against one of the dusty dead soldiers I had lined up over the years. I caught the empty beer bottle just before it went over the edge of the counter.
My knee bumped against something on the shelf under the desk. I grinned when I saw what it was.
“Well, hello there. I haven’t seen you for a long time,” I muttered to my old plaything.
It had been a long time since I’d thought about the Ouija board. I wasn’t sure if it had belonged to my mother. It looked so old that it might have belonged to Gramps. Anyhow, nobody seemed to use it, so I had quietly taken it to my secret place.
I bent to take the Ouija board from the shelf. I placed it on the counter. Taking out my handkerchief I wiped a coating of dust from the wooden board. The letters of the alphabet formed an arch across the polished wood-grain, and the numbers one through nine, and then zero, were in a line below.
Most people would have said the station could use a good cleaning. However, I liked the spooky feeling of the cobwebs in corners and the dust on the floor. My footprints made a chaotic pattern in the dust, back and forth from the door to the desk and throughout the station. Any prints other than my own had long since blended into the dust.
Or so I had thought. I walked around the desk, intent on investigating. My hand still rested on the scratched surface. My eyes widened when I realized there were new foot prints. They were considerably larger than mine and came from pointy toed shoes. That’s when, from the corner of my eye, I saw a movement near my hand.
I jerked back around to the Ouija board. The planchette moved. The small, heart-shaped piece of wood was meant to glide across the board’s surface, with the light, unguided pressure from the fingertips of the participants. It was supposed to reveal subconscious thoughts or clairvoyant messages from beyond.
As I watched in stunned silence, the planchette moved from letter to letter, with no one touching it.
Quickly I grabbed a pad and pencil from the desk. I wrote the letters to which it pointed. Y, T, I, C, C, I, T, N, A, L, T, A.
Suddenly, I felt cool fingers touch my shoulder. I jumped backward and screamed.
The Camel Walk* dance originated in the early 20th century. Variations of it have been popular over the decades. If you want to pick up Lulu’s dance steps there several are how-to videos. Here’s one for a modern country version:
I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog. You’ll find more fabulous images there. He’s not just a brilliant artist, he’s also an advocate for several important causes.
Rob sent more “things” for Chapter 4 — Ectoplasm, Jung, and Orthophonic Victrola. Be sure to come back next week to see where those take Lulu.
Thanks for visiting. You’re the cat’s pajamas!
PS: I can’t forget my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, and her friends.
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein
Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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