Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 7

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Valentino, Lulu and Tom tilt a whirl
Tom, Lulu, and Valentino at the tilt-a-whirl, by Rob Goldstein.

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Today’s episode of Hullaba Lulu brings us to Chapter 7 of the series.  I hope you are enjoying my diesel-punk change of pace from the “Pip-verse.”  

Once again I have more of the pos-i-lutely fabulous artwork from Rob Goldstein.  We’re also having inspiring discussions and he’s sending me “three things” to spontaneously drive each chapter of this pantser story. 

Update: Rob just finished another video. 

I’m offering a little challenge.  Where would you take this story with pocket watch, Ferris wheel, and bubblegum?  Read on to see where those three things took my imagination.

If you need to catch up with past chapters, look to the right of the screen.  Scroll down to Categories, and click Hullaba Lulu*.  That will take you to all the past episodes.  Or click over to this post from Rob, which has links to chapters 1 through 5.2 and a video.

Tilt-a-Whirl Lulu, Valentino and man_the Spin a Twirl-2.
Art by Rob Goldstein

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Bright lights flashed.  Metal gears shrieked.  Green smoke poured from the machinery and the cars.  The tilt-a-whirl slowed to a stop.  Lauren had vanished.

My eyes were drawn back to the clown sign.  His grin was vulpine, downright scary.  The gears of the ride groaned to a stop. listening.

Do you hear the Valentino’s trumpet call?

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 7

Pocket Watch, Ferris Wheel, Bubblegum

Gramps inside train
Gramps inside the train with Lulu in background, by Rob Goldstein

It seemed like the force of a bull elephant ran past me.  He barely brushed my shoulder, but it was so strong I stumbled to one knee.  My grandfather practically flew to the tilt-a-whirl car where Lauren had been. 

Of course, it was empty.  Gramps bolted to the ride’s controls.  He hesitated briefly.  He wouldn’t know what my mother had done to make the tilt-a-whirl behave so violently strange.  However, there were only a few levers ― a lucky guess was easily possible.

What if Gramps got on that ride and vanished the way Lauren did?  I always knew my mother had abandoned me when I was small.  Gramps never tried to sugarcoat the facts.  It was just as well with me if Lauren disappeared.  But not Gramps.  I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him.  The idea of him leaving me like that way… it was even worse.

His eyes held wild determination.  It frightened me to see his face transformed to an expression of such desperation.  I wanted to throw him to the ground to keep him away from the tilt-a-whirl, but few men would be capable of that.  I certainly wasn’t big enough.  Gramps wasn’t just the owner of a speakeasy, he was also the bouncer.  He was a physically powerful man.

Valentino Arcade _The Fly Cop-Dark
Valentino in the Arcade, by Rob Goldstein

I couldn’t let that stop me.  With a gulp of air, I moved toward my grandfather.  I heard the clip of the heel taps on those pointy toed patent leather shoes just before Valentino barreled past me.  I spun around, but at least I remained standing.

Valentino grabbed Gramps from behind in a bearhug.  To me, it seemed like a foolish thing to try.  I didn’t know anybody stronger than Gramps.  The two men struggled furiously.  At one point, Valentino leaned back, lifting Gramps’ feet off the floor.  My grandfather wasn’t able to break his hold.  I couldn’t believe anyone would be able to restrain Gramps like that.

His gold chain came loose in the struggle and an engraved pocket watch fell from my grandfather’s jacket.  The watch slid to a stop near my feet.  Gramps opened the watch every day, but he wasn’t checking the time.  He opened it to read the inscription.  “I’ll love you throughout time.  Priscilla.”  The watch was a present from my grandmother on their wedding day.

Once I had thought Gramps would make a match with the seamstress on the next block.  He chuckled and told me that Priscilla was his one true love and he would never try to replace her with anyone.  He lost Lauren too.  That was as bad because she wanted to leave, and her indifference to Gramps and me, made it even harder for him.

The men were yelling at each other.  Gramps refused to hear what Valentino was saying, so the enigmatic man kept saying it louder.

La Garçonne Rose n Valentino
Lauren and Valentino on the train, by Rob Goldstein

“You can’t reach her!  The tilt-a-whirl never goes to the same destination twice!” Valentino repeated.  “What if that wasn’t even Lauren?”

He wasn’t speaking to me, but the question left me cold.  What if it wasn’t Lauren?  I wasn’t sure I would recognize my mother if she walked up to me.  I just remembered she liked the tomboy styles and the more polished Garconne look.  It didn’t occur to me that the woman I glimpsed could be someone else.  Yet, why would someone else run away?  I guess I also wondered why Laruen would run, then or when she left us for that matter.  I pushed the thought away.

“It looked like her.  And that man’s suit.  She wore those clothes just to thumb her nose at everybody.  It must have been her,” Gramps growled between grunts as he tried to break Valentino’s hold. 

“This is no ordinary place.  If you get in that machine, you could be lost forever!  And the one thing that is certain is that you would not land in the place where she went!” Valentino shouted.

Valentino Trumpet_The Mystic_Dark-2
Valentino with trumpet, by Rob Goldstein

Finally, Gramps stopped struggling.  He looked into Valentino’s eyes and must have seen honesty.  His eyes turned to me and the tension left his body.  I heard him murmur my name.

“Lulu, I’m sorry,” Gramps began with a tear at the corner of one eye.  “I thought I could bring her back to you.”

His words surprised me.  I came to terms with my situation a long time before that day.  Apparently, Gramps had not.  He hung his head.

“Gramps, after everything I’ve heard about my mother…  After the things I read in the ‘return to sender’ letters you mailed to her―  Of course I read them!” I blurted out when he tried to interrupt me.  “I never wanted Lauren back in our lives!  You’re all I need, Gramps.”

He lifted his head.  Gramps looked at me like he’d never seen me before.  I took his big rough hand in mine.  Valentino cleared his throat.

“Not to intrude, but have you seen your friends, Lulu?  That journalist who was nosing around the speakeasy seems overly interested in Rose.  I saw him a moment ago.  I don’t like the cut of his jib,” Valentino said, bringing me back to the present.  “We should look for them.  Have you any idea where they would go?”

Pearl Hat Fortuneteller_Visits Zoltar
Pearl at Fortuneteller, by Rob Goldstein

I shook my head.  My mind was still working with what had just happened.  It didn’t have enough thoughts left over to work my mouth.

“There’s a big map of the park right over there.  Maybe you’ll see something that would interest Pearl and Rose.  Somewhere they may have gone,” he offered.

Valentino took my elbow to point me in the right direction.  I must have looked pretty distracted.  He kept his other hand firmly around my grandfather’s bicep as if he thought Gramps might bolt back to the tilt-a-whirl.

“That’s one huge map,” I stated.  “Okay, lemme see.  Pearl and Rose both like the water, so they might look for the bathhouse.  But they didn’t bring a figleaf,” I commented, but noted the two confused looking faces.  “You know, a one-piece bathing suit.”

“There might be a boutique for that kind of thing.  Perhaps they went looking for a shop,” Valentino suggested and he and Gramps turned back to the map.

Men always seemed to want to take over when it came to map reading.  My stomach rumbled.  I wished I hadn’t exchanged that bag of cheeseburgers for tokens when I entered the park.  I saw a vending machine a few feet away and went to investigate, hoping it would have an apple, or even a cup of soda.  Unfortunately, it only dispensed stockings, stamps, and bubblegum.  With a sigh, I put a token in the machine and got some Wrigley’s Near Miss gum.

Lulu blowing bubble
Lulu, by Rob Goldstein

With a mouthful of bubblegum, I tried to chew away my appetite.  I thought I could probably make a pretty swell bubble.  Carefully, steadily expelling air into the chewy pink, I blew the biggest bubble of my life.  It was nearly as big as my head!  

My eyes darted around, but I didn’t see anyone to share my achievement.  Suddenly the bubble popped.  Sticky pink bits of various sizes plastered my face.  Instantly I switched from wanting someone to see me to hoping no one would get a look at me.  I jumped and tried to hide my face when I heard a voice behind me.

“May I help you, Miss?” came a familiar drawl.

“Dynamite!” I exclaimed.  “Oh, yes.  Can you help me get this gum off my face?”

The angel-bot delicately touched my face with cool metal fingers, picking away the gum.  I hadn’t noticed that he wasn’t alone.  The other angel-bot waited quietly, eyes downcast.

“There you are, Miss.  May I assist you with anything else?”

“I don’t suppose you know where my pals Rose and Pearl are?” I asked but received the expected negative reply.  “Who’s your friend?”

“This one works behind the automat,” Dynamite introduced his companion.  “Wicky, Wacky, and Woo told him that you had given us names.  He begs your indulgence.”

Bot inside Metropolis 08
Angel-bots, by Rob Goldstein

“Yes, Giver of Names, would you be so kind?” he asked in a British accent.

I heard clicks and whirrs as the angel-bot bowed.  Standing upright he glanced at my eyes but seemed too contrite to hold my gaze.

“Giver of Names?” I asked in astonishment.

A duet of “Yes, Miss” was the reply.  I was taken aback.  I wouldn’t just dish out a name willy nilly.  They took my pause the wrong way.

“We’ve been too forward, Miss.  Please accept our apologies,” Dynamite said and both angel-bots took a step backward.

“No, no.  I’d be tickled to give your friend a name,” I assured them.  “I just want it to be a good one.”

My eyes fell on the bright golden surface of the angel-bot.  It reflected like a mirror.  I could see Gramps and Valentino coming toward us.  The bots noticed them and shifted as if the presence of the men made them nervous.  I thought they might leave, but they settled and turned their attention back to me.

“If you’re pals with Dynamite,” I began as inspiration struck.  “Then you must be Boom-boom!”

With a soft click the angel-bot blinked his eyes.  The two clockwork creatures turned to one another.  I was afraid he didn’t like the name.  Then he lifted up onto his tiptoes a couple of times, almost like bouncing.  Both the angel-bots nodded.

“Boom-boom, yes.  Thank you, Miss.  I am grateful,” he said.

By then Gramps and Valentino were there.  My grandfather didn’t seem to think anything about the odd little scene.  The sheik was another matter.  He looked astonished.

“I’ve never seen an angel-bot leave the train before.  Yet these two disembarked to seek you.  And for a name?  It’s the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen,” Valentino commented wonderingly.

Rose and Pearl, by Rob Goldstein

I jumped and screamed at a sudden cold shock.

As ice slid down my back I whirled around to find Rose and Pearl, each holding a snow cone.  I demanded to know where they’d been.

“I ducked into a house of mirrors and I couldn’t find my way out,” Rose began.

“She was hiding from that nosey Tom.  He’s trying too hard to get her back if you ask me.  He gives me the creeps.  Anyhow, I saw Rose in one of the mirrors and went in to help,” Pearl finished.

“But I heard you scream,” I complained.

“That first distorted reflection scared the bejesus out of me,” Rose defended.

An annoying feeling, which I pushed aside, made me wonder if that was all there was to it.

Pearl Rose Lulu 2
Pearl, Rose, and Lulu

“Oh look!” Pearl cried.  “There’s the gypsy fortuneteller.  Rose, you have to get Sipsing to read your cards.”

We were near the brightly painted Ask Sipsing booth again.  The automaton inside wasn’t as “human” as the angel-bots.  Its voice had no infliction as it mechanically called out to us. 

“Sipsing the gypsy king knows all, sees all.  What would you divine?” it asked as it spread tarot cards on the small table inside its booth.

“What’s in my friend’s future?  Sipsing, will Rose find true love?” Pearl asked the machine when Rose wouldn’t ask it a question. 

I rolled my eyes.  All Pearl could think about was romance.

The gypsy automaton turned over the Wheel of Fortune card.  Behind me Valentino drew a sharp breath. 

The two angel-bots turned back toward the rides, watching intently.  Valentino went pale.  He whirled around seeming to look everywhere at once.  The ground trembled.  I heard a loud bang!  Behind us the giant Ferris wheel lurched.  The A-frame structures holding the wheel collapsed. 

The great wheel rolled inexorably toward us.

Wheel of Fortune Gilded Tarot
The Wheel of Fortune, the Gilded Tarot


The End


Real World Notes

Doublemint gum ad 1930 flapper
Double Mint Gum ad 1930

Bubblegum:  In 1928, an accountant invented bubblegum. Walter Diemer, was experimenting with new gum recipes. One recipe was less sticky than regular chewing gum, and stretched more easily. The original bubble gum was pink in color because that was the dye that Diemer had most on hand at the time. 

Ferris Wheel The original, sometimes also referred to as the Chicago Wheel, was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.. With a height of 80.4 metres (264 ft) it was the tallest attraction at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, where it opened to the public on June 21, 1893.

Sipsing:  I named the gypsy fortuneteller automaton for a real life gypsy king in England.  Spising is reputed to have ruled 11 years before being hanged for a murder in Wombourn, Staffordshire, having escaped the same fate earlier by seeking sanctuary in Westminster Abbey. (Wikipedia)

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images and videos there.  He also has a Youtube channel (click here.) 

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The things driving Chapter 8 are Chanel No. 5, Pittura Metafisica, Videophone, and Route 66!  That’s right — four things.  I’ll have an extra challenge with a fourth thing.  Be sure to come back next week to see where those take our diesel-punk train.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the oyster’s earrings! 


PS:  I can’t forget 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.


107 thoughts on “Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 7

  1. Hi Teagan, another great installment! I’m embarrassingly behind but am determined to get up to date 🙂 I felt I learned more about Gramps in this episode, including how he loved his daughter Lauren, but she was indifferent toward him in return and he is a romantic at heart carrying around that pocket watch from his late wife, Priscilla. Rob’s video is awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved how heartfelt the interaction was between Lulu and her Grandfather. This chapter was very meaty, it revealed a lot about the characters. Very very nicely done Teagan and the artwork by Rob really is perfect. Loving this❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kirt. Where? LOL. Some questions might be better left unanswered. I always say I’m not wired right. 😀 That’s the great thing about writing fantasy stories — I can remove all the mental boundaries when I write. I’m so glad you’re on this train. You’re the caterpillar’s kimono!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome back, Diana. I hope you had a great break and enjoyed family.
      Ha! I’m beginning to think the angel-bots might be in danger of taking over the story. 😉 An email with Rob had me imagining them singing on a Cotton Club stage, Dynamite crooning to his blue surge, Hot Ginger, with Wicky, Wacky, and Woo singing background. Thanks for dropping by. You’re the caterpillar’s kimono!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Teagan, this chapter touched my soul. Lulu and I have something in common… a parent walking away. I was four. I came to terms with it when I was 5 when my Mom remarried a man who was a pretty terrific Dad. Like Lulu whose Gramps was all she needed my Stepdad, who I called Dad, and used his name until I was forced at 18 to use my real last name was all I needed. I hope Lulu finds that to be true at the end of the story. When my Real Father turned up when I was 30 I told him choices have consequences. He made his choice, and I made mine. He could keep on walking. I’ve not looked back.
    My Real Father made the right choice for me. I don’t think in the end he thought he did.

    Too heavy! I’m going to play with Diva Dog and the Guinea Pig I have suddenly adopted! His name is Box. We’re slowly getting to know each other, and hopefully we’ll get to him trusting me. 😊

    P.S. Rob’s artwork is Amazing and fits your characters to perfection! Where ever did you find him?! He’s a keeper! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rob is a great guy. We only know each other through the WordPress community, but I consider him a close friend.
      Deborah, l can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. Heartfelt thanks. I can understand. Thank you for feeling safe to say that. I’ve always said I wanted me blog to be a sanctuary for everyone. Not quite the same thing, but I had to cut all family ties because of abuse. Now, whenever (real world) people get me to open up about it, they always judge me. So I’m glad you didn’t look back with your choice. Only you know your truth.
      Love and hugs.
      And you’re the caterpillar’s kimono!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m delighted to hear that, Robbie. Rob came up with great “Metropolis” type images for them. Thanks for being on this train. You’re the caterpillar’s kimono! (Oh-oh… do I foresee a fondant kimono-wearing caterpillar? LOL. Hugs!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There is SO much going on in this segment, Teagan! You did a fabulous job of using the word prompts and as always, Rob’s graphics are amazing. But, what a way to end it. Really? How can they possibly escape a giant rolling Ferris wheel? Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jan, thank you so much. I really was afraid I had not done this one well enough. I appreciate that more than you can know.
      LOL… I guess whatever they do to get out of the wheel’s way, they better do it fast! o_O 🎡 🤡

      Thanks for being on the train. You’re the berries!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jacquie… I remember my uncle blowing a huge bubble — and I popped it. That’s where Lulu got the idea. 😉
      Yes, I’m curious about the angel-bots and Lulu too! LOL. I really wish I knew. That’s the fun of 3-things style pantsering.
      I’m so glad you’re on this train. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    It is Jazz Age Wednesday over at Teagan Geneviene and time to catch up with Hullaba Lulu, Gramps, Pearl, Rose and of course the mysterious Valentino. This is an action packed episode, with Gramps on a mission, Rose and Pearl off in the fairground up to mischief, Fortune Telling and Lulu blowing up something…. what that something is you will find up when you head over and read.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi John. Why thank you so much! The thought of Lulu blowing a bubble and it popping all over her face has been in my head for a while. The scene I had for Pittura Metafisica was too long to add to this chapter… so I swapped if for bubblegum. I try to be true to how the “things” are given to me, but I gave myself some leeway that time.

      However, the scene around the popping bubble didn’t come to me until that other angel bot wanted a name. Then I suddenly knew that having the angel-bots off the train — and adding that they’d never left it before, would add to the mythology… The big challenge will be in keeping all that from getting away from me! o_O
      Looking forward to lunch at your place for Story Day and your new serial! You’re the bee’s knees!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Teri. LOL, I know i’m just not wired right, but as soon as I read your comment that Three Dog Night song got in my head, “Mama Told Me Not to Come.” o_O Thanks for taking time to get on this diesel-punk train. You’re the kitten’s ankles!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh, wow, what an ending! I am really hooked on this story, Teagan. This was a particularly awesome episode. I love how mysterious everything is. The carnival setting really adds to it and the characters are excellent. Rob’s fabulous artwork really enhances the scenes for stunning visuals. Excellent job, you two!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Mae, thank you. I never doubted that Rob’s artwork would be perfect. But personally, I appreciate this feedback. When I typed “the end” i was not satisfied, but that seemed the best I could do for this chapter (time and energy considered). I was afraid that it just wasn’t any good. So you’ve really made my day. Thanks for being on this train. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Michael. Thanks so much for taking time to comment. I appreciate the feedback about Gramps. I wasn’t sure if that section was good or not. So thank you.
      Rob will be thrilled by your comment. He dreams of animating his “avatars”. The art he makes is very time consuming, and a special talent.
      You’re the “cat’s pajamas!”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a wonderful episode, Teagan. The video was the perfect way to set the mood for this episode. More than that, I truly love the image with Gramps (the pocket watch is perfect) and Lulu in the background. Having the images helps to better imagine his character struggling with Valentino. I also really like the image of Lulu blowing the bubble. Her whole body is involved in her expression.

    You’ve left us in a scary place (again) but I’m sure you’ll be able to get them all through it. I know four things will be an added challenge, but you have a thing with Route 66.

    Lulu picked good names. I liked that little exchange, very easy to imagine, and coming up with Boom Boom to go with Dynamite was an excellent choice.

    I’ll swing around to Rob’s place a little later (I should get some work done). Have a great rest of your week!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dan, you delight — thanks so much! Rob has done a ton of beautiful images for this series, but that one you mention of Gramps with the watch and Lulu is my favorite of all of them. It’s just gorgeous. Rob will be happy that you noticed the postures. He works hard to put the “avatars” in natural poses.

      You know… I do have a thing about Rt 66, though newer readers wouldn’t know that, and Rob doesn’t know about that. It’s almost freakish that Route 66 has turned up twice (from both of my “partners in crime” Chris and Rob). Maybe I’m getting a message from “The Mother (Road)”… Maybe I need to drop everything else and finish The Guitar Mancer. Horsefeathers, it’s enough to give me the heebie jeebies. 😉
      Thanks for being on this diesel-punk train, my friend. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m loving the autobots and Lulu is good at this name-giving thing. Boom-boom! … and I love that Rob has given one of the automatons what appears to be a dance back-kick in the video – whether intentional or not. It adds another layer of fun when combined with the upbeat music.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Joanne. Rob is amazing with the subtleties he adds to the images and videos. I like the ones where the angel-bot is strutting her stuff too.
      LOL, I thought the name-giving would be fun — I’m glad you enjoyed that. Thanks for being on this train. You’re the bee’s knees!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Wow! Love the video and the songs. Oh, the bots… Of course, they want a name! Scary ending to the episode and a big challenge ahead with four things, but you can do it, Teagan! Congratulations to Rob and you for another superb episode!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Olga! You just lit up my rainy Wednesday. Thanks so much. Rob will be delighted too.
      LOL, I had no idea the angel-bots would start wanting names. It just popped into my head and I thought it would be fun. I’m glad you’re aboard this train. You’re the kitten’s ankles!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Adele, thank you so much. You picked up on the details that I hoped would click with readers.
      Rob did a great job with the amusement park images. I know he had to search pretty hard to find the right stuff. He did a video too, that I updated the post for this morning. I’m so thankful that you’re on this train. You’re the kitten’s ankles!

      Liked by 1 person

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