Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays, Sheiks and Shebas! I’m happy to see you here at the station for this diesel-punk, pantser story. Artist, Rob Goldstein created a new video that serves as a visual recap for the series up to this point. Rob’s post, Hullaba Lulu: The Music Goes Round talks about what he did. If you want a more comprehensive review, he generously made a post with links to all the past chapters.
(Click here for Rob’s entire collection of videos.)
This time I didn’t even make it to the first of the three things Rob sent for our tenth chapter… but I’m still calling this episode Chapter 10.1. It wasn’t an official “thing” but as I was writing, I realized that I needed an electromagnet. So that’s my title for this segment. The action picks up where Chapter 9.3 stopped.
Previously with Hullaba Lulu
Valentino told Gramps and Lulu that he is connected to the train and can’t be separated from it. Worse, he said he doesn’t have long to live.
“I have kept the knowledge to myself, because you did not share it,” Moon began. “But I know that your connection to the train has deteriorated. I think the damage to the Tesla coil slowly eroded as your condition became worse.”
Valentino’s train was out of control and headed straight for the Cotton Club. However, instead of crashing into the nightclub, the train traveled into a Pittura Metafisica mural on the outside wall of the club. That created a strange vortex, pulling the Rolls-Royce and all the angel-bots into the painting along with the train.
Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet?
As the train went into the Pittura Metafisica of the bizarre Egyptian scene, I was mortified. Valentino couldn’t be physically far away from the train. Worse he said he didn’t have long to live. So, I had to think that any separation at all would be more than he could take.
Yet I didn’t have time to focus on that thought because as the train charged into the painting it pulled the Rolls-Royce, the clockwork angel-bots, and a few nearby objects into the painting with it.
Colors whirled outside the vehicle’s windows. Valentino grew pale and his hands shook. He was telling Gramps something about “vortex” but I could barely hear them over the noise Rose and Pearl made.
Giving a girlish scream wasn’t something I was likely to do, not after what Valentino said about dying back at the Cotton Club. That weighed too heavily on my mind for me to have half a thought about being pulled inside a painting.
Besides, it all happened so fast, there wasn’t time to divide one thought from the other. My pals had not been at the table. They didn’t know about Valentino. There hadn’t been time to tell them, but I figured that wasn’t mine to tell anyway. I didn’t know whether or not Valentino meant it to be a secret.
Our immediate peril became clear. Outside, two angel-bots seemed to lose their hold on the vehicle. When Ginger cried out I knew one of those bots was Dynamite. By his blueish coloring the other bot had to be Moon.
I gasped in consternation as they tumbled away from the Rolls. Then I realized that they let go of the Rolls deliberately in a rash attempt to reach the train. As Dynamite hurtled forward he grabbed hold of the railing on the train. He caught Moon’s arm and the two of them gradually climbed onto the train and hurried inside.
Soon all the angel-bots had made a chain, in much the same way that people would make a human chain to rescue a skater who fell through the ice. Although I had only seen that done in pictures. Clumsy as I was, that was one calamity that had never befallen me. But then, I had never been ice skating.
Dynamite and Moon emerged from the train and wheeled out a machine about the size of a Victrola cabinet. It was topped with a cylinder and a lot of wires, and the cabinet had a bunch of knobs and even more wires. Valentino muttered the word electromagnet.
Moon twisted the knobs. I heard a loud hum. The automobile surged forward, connecting itself to the train. The angel-bots gathered to make sure it was firmly attached. Then they helped Pearl, Rose, Gramps, and me get on the train.
Briefly I wondered why the angel-bots weren’t stuck to the electromagnet. I supposed they really were made from gold, rather than from some fake metal. Before I could be astonished by that fact, a question from Pearl caused me to whirl away from the machine and the bots.
“Where is Valentino? Is he still in the Rolls?” Pearl asked.
There was commotion around the automobile. Valentino had collapsed. So many of the angel-bots surrounded him that I couldn’t tell whether he was even conscious.
I tried to follow the clockwork figures who carried Valentino, but there were so many that they blocked the corridor. I could see my grandfather’s hat. He was taller than the others. I was relieved that Gramps was with him.
Suddenly Dynamite and Ginger were beside me.
“Moon is quite skilled. He can’t cure Valentino, but I know he will help,” Dynamite said in a comforting southern drawl.
“You should get some rest,” Ginger added.
I hadn’t noticed we were right outside my sleeper car. Ginger opened my door and motioned me inside. She plumped the pillows on my bed. Next thing I knew, Dynamite handed me a snifter of brandy.
I stood motionless, gazing in fascination at the chaos that fled by my window. Wildly shifting scenes rushed past.
Then, strangest of all I saw a vast multicolored wing. Whatever it was must have been flying directly above the train.
Holly Hannah! I’m glad everyone is back on the train. But applesauce! Lulu has no idea whether Valentino is okay, but I’m glad it looks like Gramps is with him. I wonder what the Sam Hill has “vast multicolored” wings? Tune in again next week to see if the “things” answer any of those questions!
Real World Notes
Ectromagnet. A device in which a magnetic field is produced by an electric current. William Sturgeon invented the electromagnet in 1825. Sturgeon’s device came a mere five years after a Danish scientist discovered that electricity emitted magnetic waves. Sturgeon harnessed this idea and conclusively demonstrated that the stronger the electric current, the stronger the magnetic force.
His first electromagnet was a horseshoe-shaped piece of iron wrapped with a loosely wound coil. When a current was passed through the coil the electromagnet became magnetized, and when the current was stopped, the coil was demagnetized. It could lift nine pounds with a seven-ounce piece of iron wrapped with wires through which the current of a single cell battery was sent.
I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog. You’ll find more fabulous images there, and terrific blog posts too.
Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun. The things Rob sent to drive Chapter 10 are The Theremin, Wave Frequency Machine and Hidden Door. Your guess is as good as mine for what I’ll do with those things.
I hope to see you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.
Thanks for visiting. You’re the berries!
Now some shameless self-promotion for 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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