Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 5.2

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hold the presses!  Update!

I had to include this masterpiece from Rob (above).  His best video yet.  It’s magical.  And it’s the cat’s meow!

Control room The Angel_0322-
The control room of Valentino’s train, by Rob Goldstein

Sheiks and Shebas, welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  This episode concludes Chapter 5 of the new series, Hullaba Lulu.  I seem to have a lot to say about Valentino’s train in this “diesel-punk” fantasy.  

Some of you will remember that early in my novella, The Three Things Serial Story, I imagined the voice of Lucille Ball narrating those tales.  I wanted Hullaba Lulu to have a much different “voice” or tone.  However, no narrator sprang to mind.  I imagine Lulu being genuine, slightly crass, and lovably snarky, sort of like a female version of Seth Meyers.  (See Late Night with Seth Meyers.)  I toyed with the idea of narrating a snippet but… I got shy.  Oh, what the hell.  Why not…

vAL Grams Station_0011x
Valentino in the abandoned subway, by Rob Goldstein

Happily we have more beautiful artwork from Rob Goldstein to punctuate this chapter.  I’m finally writing about the “three things” Rob sent for it.  The characters are now on that amazing train.  

A word of warning — this episode is a little longer than usual (1,790 words or so). Here’s the rest of what started last week. 

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Last time Lulu overheard a strange conversation between her grand father and Valentino. It sounded like they’d known each other since before she was born — but Valentino was too young for that.  Lulu kept the puzzling exchange to herself.

Mysterious gifts were sent to Rose, probably from that shady journalist, Tom Driberg.  It prompted Valentino to say Rose wasn’t safe. Valentino offered to take the girls away.  To Lulu’s astonishment, her Gramps demanded to go along.

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 5.2

Automat, Cheeseburger, Tilt-a-Whirl

The train's automat, Lulu, Valentino, Pearl
Lulu, Valentino, and Pearl in the train’s automat. Art by Rob Goldstein

Valentino strolled down the railroad tracks.  He started playing that trumpet of his as he walked.  There was something about the music…  I couldn’t explain it, but the notes were more than just a tune.  My skin prickled with goosebumps.  I gave an involuntary shudder.  My grandfather glanced down at me.

The tension between Gramps and Valentino was out of character for him.  Gramps was usually easy going.  He never put any restrictions on me about revealing frocks or bobbed hair.  He said discipline should be saved for more important things.  So, his comment surprised me.

“Lulu, are you sure that dress is what you want to wear to travel?” my grandfather asked, but he turned away to answer a remark from Rose before I could say anything.

Pearl had changed into a printed dress of soft cream and gold with a wide sash at the dropped waist.  With her light blond hair, it made a classy monotone combination.  Rose wore a Chanel suit that I expected was one of the gifts from Tom Driberg.  I still didn’t understand what was going on with that situation, but I figured I’d find out eventually.

Pearl at Station-04-23-18
Pearl by Rob Goldstein

Anyway, when I looked down at my own clothes, I realized Gramps had a point.  However, it was too late for me to change.

The last notes of the melody Valentino played on his trumpet echoed in the tunnels of the abandoned section of the subway.  I heard a sound like an engine, but it didn’t sound like an ordinary train.  Then came the chugging of the wheels turning.  That sounded more like a train.  In a moment the sleek machine stood at the old station.

The train looked like something from the cover of “Science and Invention,” all sleek and polished.  When we boarded, I saw that the inside was even more fantastical than the outside.  The engine’s controls were unlike anything I had ever seen, even in scientifiction* stories.

I saw my Ouija board on the console and my temper flared.

Bushwa!  It was still mine, no matter what anybody said.  It had been mine for as long as I could remember.  I was feeling possessive and put upon.  I didn’t appreciate Gramps telling me that it belonged to Valentino, any more than I liked the sheik taking over it.

Lulu at Train BW
Lulu by Rob Goldstein

Sputtering and pouting, I watched in silence as the enigmatic man hooked the wooden board to the control panel of his train.

“Stop growling, would you please, Lulu,” Valentino muttered.  “If we’re to go anywhere I need to use the Ouija board.”

Okay, so I wasn’t completely silent, but it was only a little growl.

Valentino picked up my Ouija board and carried it to what at first appeared to be an Art Deco angel sculpture, but then I saw that it was part of the controls for the train.  He attached the Ouija board to the statue.

Something he touched sparked and popped.  Valentino jumped back with a muffled exclamation, shaking his hand as if he’d been stung.  I admit it was gratifying, but I swear I didn’t smirk.  Well, maybe a little.  Okay, I looked like a cat with a bowl of cream, but I put a neutral expression on my face before he turned around.

Valentino Angel color Setting Course-3
Valentino at the controls of the train

When I looked at the angel statue again, for a moment I could have sworn it winked at me!  I shook my head and blinked my eyes.  I couldn’t be zozzled.  I hadn’t had a drop of giggle water all day.  I moved to the angel, inspecting it closely.  Nothing moved, and it was cold to the touch, and still as a statue should be, not warm, living, and able to wink.

I hopped up onto the console of his Orthophonic Victrola and crossed my legs.  I leaned my head against its horn.  He made a face and cleared his throat as a hint.  When I wouldn’t take the hint, he motioned for me to move my gams out of the way.

“Be careful of the pavilion,” he cautioned.  “You might move the settings.  You wouldn’t want us to head down the garden path, would you?”

“The pavilion?  Oh, the horn?  So grumpy.  Do those pointy toed dog kennels hurt your feet or something?” I said just to poke him.

Valentino held a glass tube capped with metal on each end.  He was already a hotsy-totsy and being so intense with the scientific stuff ― that was so sexy! 

Valentino Trumpet_The Mystic_Dark-2
Valentino uses the trumpet to bring all the train’s controls in tune

I reminded myself that I didn’t want to feel that way and focused on the strange tube.  It was filled with glowing green liquid.  Valentino ignored me as he bent to touch the console, where a smooth brass plate bore an engraving of music symbols.  He pressed the plate and it opened to reveal the shining trumpet he played earlier.

Then he leaned over me to reach the Victrola.  When he removed the record I saw another of the glowing liquid filled tubes.  Valentino placed the tube he carried next to the one in the Victrola.  Then he put the trumpet to his lips and played a series of notes.  Harmonic sounds emanated from the tubes.

“Everything is in tune now,” he commented in a pleased tone.

He fiddled with knobs and switches, contentedly humming a tune I didn’t recognize.  The man was completely absorbed in his work.  I grew bored and left Valentino to his inventions.

Pearl and Rose surprised me when they seemed to be happy that my grandfather was coming with us.  They made quite a fuss over him.  The three of them went to the dining car.  I probably should have gone with them, especially since I was feeling peckish.  Instead, I went off on my own to explore the strange train.  I was used to having plenty of alone time.  I wasn’t sure how much I would like being confined on a train with five other people, all the way to Atlantic City.

Automat Clara Bow and man mix
Clara Bo (inset) Paramount Automat 1931

My heels clicked on a mosaic tile floor when I entered the next car.  The room was wall-to-wall chrome and glass.

Holy Hannah!  An automat!” I exclaimed, but nobody was there to share my glee.

It had everything from a hot cup of noodle juice to porterhouse steaks to jiggly gelatin in ritzy molds.  My stomach rumbled and my mouth watered.  I opened a little glass door and removed a plate of exotic Hawaiian pineapple upside-down cake.  I’d never tasted pineapple.  (Recipe and history here*.)

I felt a soft bump as the train traveled.  It wasn’t even enough to make me stumble.  It could have been from anything.  Then one of the compartment doors of the automat opened.  A newspaper fell out.  I bent to pick it up.  On the front page was an article by Tom Driberg about the society swells called the Bright Young Things.  Interestingly, the next story was not by Driberg, but about him.  There was no byline, but the writer insinuated that Tom was a spy working for the Russian government.

Bushwa!  Does Rose really have a history with that guy? 

She hadn’t admitted it, but I had become sure that Rose recognized him that night outside the speakeasy when Driberg was looking for someone named Margosha.  Plus, I had feeling that they were more than ships that pass in the night.

Tom and Rose, by Rob Goldstein

A leaflet fell out of the cubby where the newspaper had been.  It was an advertisement for a fortune reader on the boardwalk.  There was an image of a heart pierced by three swords.  The image was powerful.  It made me think of betrayal.

I gazed out the window as I thought.  There was nothing to see, the train was inside a tunnel.  There were large metal plates in the walls in the part we had been running through the last few minutes.  I could see a distorted reflection of the train in the metal.

For a second I thought I saw men hunched over a handcar that was right behind the train.  

No, that would be impossible!  There’s way a hand car could keep up with the train. 

The reflection was blurred and wavy.  I blinked hard and looked again.  However, the train had quickly left that part of the tunnel.  The shiny metal plates were replaced by brick walls.

Licking my fingers for the last sticky cake crumb, I was even hungrier than before.  A rattling sound caused me to turn to the other side of the automat.  Against that wall stood a long table.  A hatch door in the wall lifted, showing a conveyor belt.  It started cranking out plates holding cheeseburgers.

Burgers Lulu Recline
Lulu in the train’s automat… with cheeseburgers, by Rob Goldstein

Warm cheddar oozed from the steaming buns.  As the aroma drifted to my nose, my belly growled anew.  I had eaten three of the burgers before I realized I had even finished one. 

Suddenly lights began to flash.  Electric loudspeakers that were installed in every car of the train began blaring part of the song Don’t Bring Lulu!  Rose and Pearl had harnessed me with my nickname, Hullaba Lulu, because of that blasted song.

The sound of running feet preceded the appearance of pointy toed patent leather shoes.  Valentino skidded into the automat.  He looked from me to the empty plates in astonishment.

The loudspeaker shouted, “Don’t bring cash honey.  You pay in cheeseburgers!”

“Lulu…” he began but seemed at a loss for words.  “We needed those cheeseburgers for Atlantic City.”

“There’s plenty to eat there,” I mumbled around the last bite of burger.

“Cheeseburgers are as good as money where we’re going.  It’s not the Atlantic City that you know,” he told me.

1928 Sunnyside Amusement Park
1928 Sunnyside Amusement Park

“Huh?” I replied as I swallowed.

I burped, but I had the decency to blush.

“Excuse me…”

Sunlight flooded the car.  The train had left the tunnel.  I moved to the window expecting to see pasture land.  We couldn’t be there yet. 

I was wrong.  In the distance ahead, I could make out bits of the boardwalk.  I saw the great Ferris wheel and the tallest hills of the old Loop the Loop*.

“Hold on a minute!” I exclaimed.  “Atlantic City took down the Loop the Loop in 1912.  I’ve only seen it in photographs.”

I twisted around to Valentino, but he was gone.  When I turned back to the window, the train was much closer to the boardwalk.  I could see the bathhouse, the Love’s Nest and the Shimmy Auto. 

(For more about the attractions of Atlantic City in the Roaring Twenties, click here*.)

Goosebumps rose on my arms.  A disturbing sensation went through me and I shuddered, just like I did a moment before the train arrived at the station.  Flashing lights drew my eyes farther into the amusement park.

In the midst of the strange lights, the tilt-a-whirl spun wildly.

Portal by Rob Goldstein


The end.

So, what’s the deal with that tilt-a-whirl?  And what did Valentino mean by It’s not the Atlantic City that you know?  Not to mention the reflection Lulu saw in the tunnel — had there really been a handcar behind the train?

Don’t forget to visit Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there, and insightful posts too.

Real World Notes

Science and Invention was the name during the 1920s and 1930s of a popular technology magazine founded by Hugo Gernsback and edited by him until 1929.  The magazine also ran science fiction stories.

Scientifiction:  In 1929 the term science fiction was used (first attested in advertisements for “Air Wonder Stories” magazine), though there is an isolated use from 1851; abbreviated form sci-fi is from 1955.  Earlier in same sense scientifiction (1916) was used.

Loop the Loop:  The rollercoaster opened in 1901 and operated until 1912.  It was one of the earliest looping roller coasters in the United States.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the kitten’s ankles!

Now for that obligatory shameless self-promotion, here are my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka 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 

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

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.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.


124 thoughts on “Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 5.2

    1. ^^’ I blush! That itty-bitty sound clip and I had to redo it so many times! I kept stumbling over my words… I’m not sure where this train is going yet, but it will be a while before it gets to the final station. Thanks so much for catching up. You’re the caterpillar’s kimono!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gerlinde. Tee-hee! I hesitated about including the sound bite… I’m happy you liked it. You wouldn’t believe how many times I had to re-do that little bit — I kept stumbling over my words!
      Rob and I are working hard, but we both enjoy it a lot. When wonderful people like you enjoy the results, it’s all worthwhile. Huge thanks for taking time to visit. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What with Rob’s video, your narrative snippet, and plenty of goings-on, this episode is the best yet, Teagan. I’m still guessing there may be a bit of time-travel involved (it’s not the Atlantic City that you know), but I could be totally wrong. As for that ’tilt-a-whirl’, I’ve no idea what it’s going to do, but something tells me that Lulu is heading straight for it.
    Have a great week.
    Hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. I think it’s a safe bet that where Lulu goes, trouble follows. Hi Hugh! Thanks for visiting with your kind comment and rescuing me from the encroaching darkness of Mordor. The orcs are out in force today.
      Wishing you a great week as well. You’re the monkey’s eyebrows! (I promise that’s a very cool thing to be.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joanne! I couldn’t agree more about Rob’s images. I’m grateful for all the time he puts into them.
      Thanks for the feedback on the length — I get overly concerned about a post being too long, being considerate of and appreciative of everyone’s time.
      I’m delighted you enjoyed this. Chapter 6 gets even wilder!
      You’re the oyster’s earrings!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved your narrative snippet. It is amazing to hear a voice of someone you’ve been corresponding with for the first time. Like everyone else, I loved Rob’s art and the idea of Cheeseburgers as currency. Well done, Teagan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Why thank you kindly, John. ^^’ If I can get (and learn to use) better, editable recording software, I want to narrate Atonement. So many wants and ifs, yet so little time…
      After all these years, I was rather surprised to hear so much “southern” in my voice. Vowels are a dead giveaway. o_O
      I’m delighted you enjoyed the burgers. Wait until you see what all the amusement park rides do!
      Rob will be happy you liked the video. Now I have a new brain-worm song in my head. 😉
      I’m so happy you’re on board this train. You’re the bee’s knees!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. As with last week, I want to start with Rob’s video. Wowzer! They just keep getting better and better. I love his depiction of Pearl. This segment of the story had me riveted. I suspected time travel, (the Ouija Board was my first clue) but didn’t know if they would go forward or backward. I am loving every aspect of this story, Teagan. You and Rob together are capturing the roaring twenties with such descriptive detail that I feel like I am right there with the characters. Well-done, the both of you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jan, your comment is music to my ears.
      The 3 things Rob sends me for each chapter drive everything about the story. So I don’t know where a chapter is going until I get there. (I give my will over to the things and let them fly.) So for time travel, a couple of people have mentioned that now — so this is great feedback that I need to pin that part down. Forward, backward?
      Between you, me, and the blogosphere, I’d say they went sideways! Thanks — I’ll add something about that.
      Anyway, huge thanks for making time to visit. I’m delighted that you’re on this train. You’re the oyster’s earrings!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Rob, I’m tickled pink if you’re having fun, because I sure am!
      LOL, I’m glad you liked my silly reading. I need to invest in some simple to use software. I had one kind, but before I had time to use it, that computer died, and the next version of the software was incomprehensible… Anyhow the little voice recorder on my computer leaves a lot to be desired, especially for editing capabilities. And I was stunned that that short file was 2MB!

      As always your images and video made the story. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m very happy that you liked the finished product, Rob. That means a lot to me.
          I really enjoyed a youtube video you narrated. It felt very personal, which added a lot. I sputter and stutter so much that even getting this short clip right was a challenge — especially since I didn’t have software that would let me edit. I hope to do a audio books of my Atonement novels one day. Sigh… for more time…
          Kudos on a terrific video and stellar images!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re going multimedia with your stories, Teagan. What a great combo, including the wonderful video from Robert. Atlantic City sounds like an adventure I’d like to go on with Lulu. But I’ll skip the Loop the Loop and stick with the burgers. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha! I don’t know about this particular Atlantic City, Diana. I think I’d wait until they get back on the train. 😉 Here’s to cheeseburgers!
      It’s a pleasure to have you on this train. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jacquie. 😀 Glad I could give you a smirk.
      I gave into my whimsical side with the burgers as currency. LOL. That it occurred to me at all is proof that I’m just not wired right! o_O
      I had to sit on my hands to keep myself from going somewhere political with Lulu lounging with the cheeseburgers… But I don’t indulge even myself with politics here.
      It’s a pleasure to have you on this train. You’re the oyster’s earrings!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Another lovely chapter Teagan.. I had to smile widely as I read these words
    “My heels clicked on a mosaic tile floor” the reason being when I was young I never had a pair of nice shoes.. But I do remember wearing my aunts high heals around the age of 4 or 5 and loving the sound of them clicking as I walked from her house to my grans which was a few doors away.. 😀

    I love the picture graphic creation by Rob of Rose and Tom..
    I hope there were enough Cheeseburgers to go around 😀

    And no doubt there will be a twist in the tail… there usually is.. 😀 lovely to read today Teagan.. ❤ Love and Hugs my friend.. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sue! I’m happy that I could trigger a happy memory with that sound.
      I always had hand-me-down or cheap shoes that hurt my feet so badly I never had a spare thought for the sound they made. LOL. However, I saw that tile floor so clearly that I immediately thought of walking on it, wearing dressy shoes and a pretty outfit.
      Twists? Who me??? 😉 Wait until you see what I’m going to do with that tilt-a-whirl.
      Thanks so much for taking time to visit. I’m tickled pink that you’re on this train.
      You’re the oyster’s earrings!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sounds like we had a similar shoe experience.. Surprisingly I don’t have a shoe fetish.. I had a pair of shoes in secondary school from the age of 11 to 15 last me the whole time.. They were miles to big.. So cotton wool in the toes, then the sole wore out, my dad resoled them and then they pinched..
        Looking forward to the twists! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Like a tap Dancer!.. When my daughter was growing up she loved hearing her shoes tap too on wooden floors.. 🙂
            See what you sparked Teagan just with that one sentence..
            And I smile as the Song from Nancy Sinatra, just popped into my mind..
            ‘These Boots are made for Walking’ 🙂 Keep those Jazz steps coming Teagan and excellent artwork Rob.. You make a great team! 🙂 ❤

            Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re so kind, Robbie — thank you. LOL, I think Lulu is one of those amazing people who can eat everything and never gain an ounce. I’ll live that through her, because it certainly is not true of me! o_O.
      I’m delighted that you enjoyed it — and very happy that you are on this train. You’re the cat’s meow!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Adele. It’s great to see you. LOL, when Rob sent “Cheeseburger” as a thing, I wondered what I could possibly do with it. Suddenly I knew Lulu would eat not just “A” burger, but several — and burp. : D I’m so happy you are on this train. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Teri. Yeah… When I look at that scene, I alternate between being hungry and having indigestion! 😀
      I agree wholeheartedly about Rob’s video. It took my breath away. Thanks so much for being on this train. You’re the cat’s meow!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Rob’s art really is a feast, Mae — perfect description. I’m delighted that you are on this train and enjoying the ride! I’m blushing about the narration ^^’ just trying to share something different. Huge thanks for visiting. You’re the kitten’s ankles!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s so kind of you, Olga. I was just trying to have fun with the narration, do something different. Rob’s video really blew me away. I was halfway through my coffee and thought… Wait a minute — did that just move? 😀
      I’m happy that you’re on this train. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a wonderful chapter, Teagan. There is so much that I liked. The video by Rob is amazing, as are his drawings. It probably won’t be a surprise to know that I like the man on the tracks the best.

    You’ve got so many senses working here, and all are working well. I feel like I’m on the strange train an I understand how Lulu feels. I love your descriptions, especially the ‘jiggle gelatin’ – perfect.

    PS, I liked your narration 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good morning Dan. I really appreciate your feedback today. I felt like I had a lot going on with this post, and I’m relieved that it worked.

      Rob will be happy that you liked the video. He put even more work than usual into the images for it.
      I like that “Valentino” image a lot too. There’s something mystical-magical about summoning a supernatural train.
      I was just trying to add some whimsy with the narration. ^^’ (I blush) I’m glad you liked it. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL, have at it, Carol. The italicized Roaring Twenties slang in my posts are authentic (as far as I know — I’m not quite that old to have first hand knowledge 😉 ). One day I’ll publish my “dictionary.”
      I’m thrilled that you enjoyed this AND I just updated it to include a fantastic video that Rob finished last night.
      Heartfelt thanks. You’re the oyster’s earrings!

      Liked by 2 people

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