Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Welcome everyone. The diesel-punk train has arrived at Jazz Age Wednesdays. It’s great to see all you Sheiks and Shebas! Artist, Rob Goldstein created the pos-i-lutely swell images for this episode. If you need a comprehensive review of this serial, Rob has a post with links to many of the past chapters.
Previously with Hullaba Lulu
When we left Lulu and the crew, Valentino’s train had crashed into a sand dune in Egypt. Pearl apologized for suggesting Lulu and her family weren’t good enough, but Lulu could tell she didn’t really mean it.
Then they saw an automobile speeding across the sands toward the train. The angel-bots acted very excited when they spotted it.
“It’s Papá!” Moon cried.
This episode is low key compared to others. However, we can see that Pearl has something up her sleeve. The story picks up where Chapter 11.1 Papá ended. Now to Chapter 11.2. Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet?
“It’s Papá!” Moon cried.
Without further explanation, Moon jumped down to the sandy ground and rushed toward the other angel-bots. They bounced on their toes in excitement as the vehicle drew near.
When the automobile stopped a man wearing a top hat stepped out to join the angle-bots.
“Is that?” Gramps began.
“Nikola Tesla?” Pearl asked.
“Bushwa! Is it? Moon said it was ‘Papá.’ He was talking about Tesla?” I asked in surprise.
We couldn’t hear what the automatons said to him but he turned back to his automobile and in a moment, two of the angel-bots lifted out a wooden case. The group started toward the train.
Pearl’s eyes widened as she gazed at the man. She had a familiar look on her face that meant she had an idea. Pearl had a knack for coming up with schemes to get into big parties, or getting free giggle water, or other things to entertain her, Rose, and me.
While I wondered what she was thinking, Pearl put a hand to her fluffy blond hair. Then she touched the long fashionable earrings she wore. I thought she was nervous about meeting Nikola Tesla.
“He has phobias,” Pearl murmured.
Dynamite and Moon rushed to the train ahead of the rest of the group. Moon had the wooden case.
“What’s in the box?” I asked the angel-bots.
“It’s Papá’s violet ray machine,” Moon answered. “It will stimulate lymphatic and capillary circulation, resulting in toxins being carried away and the body’s organs being strengthened.”
“This might help Valentino,” Dynamite translated scientist into flapper. “Moon knows how to set up the right voltage for the transformer, the coil, and the glass applicators.”
“Yes, Señorita. That is how the violet ray works. As the voltage moves through the coil, it is increased, ionizing the gas in the bulb. This produces charged particles that emanate from the bulb’s surface. The high frequency and charged particles are beneficial,” said Moon as he hurried down the corridor with the box.
“Huh?” I asked Pearl.
However, Pearl was gone.
I put out a hand to slow down Dynamite when he moved to follow Moon.
“Will that thing heal Valentino?” I asked.
Dynamite shifted his feet before answering.
“It does nothing to bring Valentino into proper attunement with the train. So no, Miss. It won’t heal Valentino,” Dynamite said carefully. “However, like what you did with the theremin, it should help some. It could give us time to find a cure. After this treatment, you may be asked to use the theremin on him again,” he added. “If you don’t mind, of course.”
I nodded and told Dynamite I would do anything I could.
Some of the automatons helped the man wearing the top hat up onto the train. Gramps was accustomed to the role of host back at his speakeasy. He politely introduced us, which prompted the man to respond in kind. He was indeed Nikola Tesla. However, he wasted little time on pleasantries and asked the angel-bots to take him to Valentino.
I got the feeling I would be in the way, so I let suspicious curiosity lead the wayme. I went to Pearl’s sleeper car.
As I approached, the door opened and Woo stepped out of Pearl’s rooms. I could hear Pearl’s voice and she was in a lather.
“I’m sorry you made so much work for yourself, Woo. None of these will do. Maybe if you could speak without that accent, you would understand better. I’m afraid you’ll just have to bring more dresses until you can understand what I mean by old fashioned,” Pearl said in a matter of fact tone.
Woo hesitated when she saw me. Her feet shuffled in a way that I had come to interpret as clockwork confusion or maybe anxiety.
“May I assist you, Giver of Names?” Woo asked in a voice that had a very slight Chinese accent.
“So where do you come from, anyway, Woo?” I asked with a glance toward Pearl’s rooms.
“Most angel-bots are actually from the same place, Miss. However, my voice is from Shanghai,” she replied.
Of course, I was curious about the first part of her statement. However, Woo was compelled to get on with her errand for Pearl, so I didn’t trouble her by asking.
Pearl’s door was open, so I followed the sound of her voice into her sleeper car. The first thing I noticed was that the lower level of the car was littered with glad rags of every color and shape, as well as gowns representative of half a dozen eras of history.
The second thing I noticed was that she wasn’t wearing any earrings. Pearl always wore earrings, even when she slept. Daytime or evening, she preferred the longest, flashiest ones she could find. Pearl had a newspaper in her hands when she glanced up at me.
“Pearl, what’s all this stuff?” I asked motioning around the room to all the dresses. “Are you dudding up for something?”
“Lulu, I’m glad you’re here. Maybe there’s something in your fluky clothes that’s out dated enough. Have you got something plain I could borrow?” she wanted to know.
“You’ve got an odd way of asking somebody to help you,” I told her.
“Oh, come on, Lulu. Don’t be that way. You know it’s true. You don’t have an eye for fashion. Look at this,” Pearl demanded as she held up the newspaper and gave it a shake.
“In place of the soft voiced, gentle woman of my reverent worship,” says Mr. Tesla, “has come the woman who thinks that her chief success in life lies in making herself as much as possible like man–in dress, voice and actions, in sports and achievements of every kind,” Pearl read from the newspaper.
“Plus, you know he has phobias. He’s scared to death of human hair and earrings! Nerts! Can you believe it? Who could be afraid of earrings?” Pearl exclaimed.
“Why are you so upset? Bushwa! Why do you even care?” I demanded.
“Mr. Tesla is a chaste man. I can leave with him and not damage my reputation. I’m sure I can get him to agree to take me home,” Pearl explained. “However, he’s also quite a catch, and he’s the cat’s particulars too. His ideal woman doesn’t exist in this century, but I can make him think I’m her.”
“I get it, Pearl. Nikola Tesla is an odd bird, but you want him to think you’re a Sheba. In that case there’s two things for you to do. One ― don’t wear any earrings,” I began and Pearl nodded. “And two, shave your head.”
At that comment Pearl started some very loud hysterics. I admit to having the uncharitable fantasy of holding her down and shaving her head.
Summoning all my self-restraint I went to the radio in her room. After being handed off a couple of times, I managed to reach Woo. I asked the angel-bot for a more specific dress and hat.
“Yes please, Woo. In Pearl’s size. A gown that’s Victorian, but rather simple. And in either white or a pastel. Yes, I know the kind of hat I asked for doesn’t go with a Victorian gown, but just humor me. That’s right. Not a regular hat, but a turban. And get it to match the gown if you can,” I requested.
Horsefeathers! It seems like Pearl really is ready to leave the train. She’s dead set on making a play for Tesla too. I think Valentino isn’t the only one who needs help!
Will Tesla’s violet ray buy Valentino enough time? If it’s not a cure, then what are they going to do to heal him? Tune in again next week!
Real World Notes
The Violet Ray. Invented by Nikola Tesla, the violet ray is a user-friendly, hand-held device that can be used with a variety of glass applicators, such as a bulb, a comb-rake, or a rod, each with a specific purpose. The glass is inserted into the tip of the hand-held section. After being plugged in and turned on, the appliance becomes a high-voltage, low amperage (current) source of static electricity. Its discharge creates a violet color (hence, its name), a pleasant ozone smell – and a sizzling noise.
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 remaining things Rob sent to drive Chapter 11 are Sarcophagus and Remote Control. Your guess is as good as mine for what I’ll do with those things.
I hope you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.
Thanks for visiting. You’re the oyster’s earrings!
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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