Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hidebound Hump-Day

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

“Hidebound Hump Day” and “Straightlaced Saturday” —

Re-Beginning “Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers”

Two episodes weekly as prelude to an new serial.

Last week we reached the end of the line, with the final episode for the Jazz Age Wednesdays serial Hullaba Lulu.  It was a dieselpunk series, set in the Roaring Twenties authored by yours truly, and illustrated by Rob Goldstein.  It was a wildly fun ride and everyone who was on the train has my heartfelt thanks for being part of the journey.  

Rob told me that he already missed the characters. We both loved it, even though it was a huge, time intensive effort for both of us.  I thank Rob yet again for the delight of working with him.  Here’s a video Rob made as a finale.

Although Rob may well be back to collaborate on occasional short stories, he said his brain was tired.  Mine is too—

With Hullaba Lulu taking all my writing time, I haven’t been able to finish the editing and proofing of Atonement in Bloom.  That’s another reason I need to make a change to Jazz Age Wednesdays. 

Complicating my conundrum — my Saturday posts.  Several months ago, when I ended Thistledown Midsummer BedlamI took a poll. I gave readers several options and asked their help in choosing what I should do next.  The “winner” was for me to serialize the third of my Atonement novels the “three things” way, to help me write that story.  I meant to go with that reader decision but… I can’t “pantser” that story online without giving spoilers about the other two novels.  So, I’m using my prerogative to change my mind.  Atonement-3 will not be my next serial.

That said, rather than going forward, I’m going back, before the Roaring Twenties.  For several weeks to come, my midweek posts and my Saturday posts will be tied to the Victorian Era.  Announcing… 

Hidebound Hump-Day and Straightlaced Saturday

Don’t fret, I’m finally bringing all this blah-de-blah together.  I’ve decided on what to use for the straight-laced, hidebound Victorian theme — and I’ve decided what my next serial will be!

Some of you will remember my serial about my fictionalized version of Cornelis Drebbel, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  To let my brain rest while I work on the books that are nearly ready, I’m going to re-run that serial. It will post on both Wednesdays and Saturdays.  If you’re new, you’ll meet Cornelis and company. 

Small Cornelis steampunk man dreamstime_xxl_87472463

If you already know this steampunk story, you can get reacquainted for when I’m ready to launch… The Skull of the Alchemist!  I’m going to go the three things way with finishing the second story for Cornelis and Copper.  

Simmer down, that isn’t ready yet.  First I get a lighter work load for a while by rerunning the first serial.  In that story, Cornelis has several different fun steampunk vehicles.  Best of all, that means I can still say — All aboard!

Burrell Road Locomotive

Allow me to re-present…

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

1.  Stilton Cheese, Mare’s Milk, Calamari

I was having second thoughts.  The fishing town was too small for my unconventional presence to go unremarked, plain and simple.  That was apparent as I watched a single carriage pass by on the dirt road and the driver turned to stare.  It was downright obvious from the shopkeeper’s scandalized expression when I stepped inside Best’s General Store.

Yes, I knew I should limit my wanderings to large cities.  However, I was weary of the crowds and odors.  And the noise!  I was desperately tired of the clamor and clang of cities.

Jaime Murray as the woman who wears trousers

Jaime Murray as the woman in trousers

It was a pleasing little town with a salt tang in the breeze and cozy houses.  I liked it the moment I set foot there.  I took a tidy suite in the Belle Inn. 

There was even a store where I unexpectedly found the most marvelous Stilton cheese.  Cornelis would be delighted with that find.  For once, he might not be so grumpy when I wake him, I thought.

However, as I stood in the general store and watched Mrs. Billie Best and her customer from the corner of my eye, I foresaw that my stay in the charming township would be brief.  I blocked any distractions from my mind so I could hear their conversation.  I already knew they were talking about me.  How could they fail to comment on my mannish waistcoat and trousers?

It always raised eyebrows when I dressed that way, but I wanted freedom of movement that I’d never have whilst restricted by the yards and yards of fabric that made a proper skirt and bustle.  Besides, my first thought that morning was “I’ll be damned if I’m going to squeeze myself into a corset today.”

I pushed back my top hat, pretending to read a label while I listened to the two women speculate about me and my strange apparel.  They had the most outlandish conjectures about my foreign accent and from whence I’d come.  A smile quirked my lips and I tried not to laugh out loud.

The proprietor of the Belle Inn stood across the room shaking his head at the foolish conversation.  Ignatius Belle made a good first impression when I checked in at his inn.  He stepped over to me.  I hoped his housekeeping staff had as much respect for guest privacy as he seemed to have.  I’d hate for a curious maid to wake Cronelis.  That would be most unfortunate.  Actually it could get quite ugly.Victorian men hats

“Ma’am, you were right about the mare’s milk,” he said loud enough for the women to hear.  “Doc said there was a fungus in the grass she was eating before she foaled,” the innkeeper said in a respectful voice.  “He said that’s likely what caused the problem.  The Johnsons have a pregnant mare, and they’re going to foster the foal.”

My relief that the little horse would be well was genuine.  I was glad my off-handed comment had been helpful.  Cornelis always complained that I spoke before I thought, and that I drew unnecessary attention to myself.  Yet it ended well that time, and there was the added benefit that now at least the innkeeper accepted me.  Although I still doubted I would remain there for long.

“Your dinner is on the house tonight.  Whatever you want, and as much of it as you care to eat.  Your comment likely saved the foal’s life,” he said then looked suddenly shy.  “Just a humble way of saying thank you.”

The burst of bashfulness was rather endearing on a man of his stature.  Ignatius Belle did not fit my image of a proper innkeeper.  They should be rotund, pink-cheeked men with aprons.  My host however, was tall and well-made and he wore a suit and a Bowler hat.  He barely gave my trousers a glance.  Interesting.Victorian child cape

The bell affixed to the shop door chimed and a wide eyed moppet came cautiously inside.  She might have been seven years old or she may have been nine.  Disgraceful as it may sound, I knew nothing about children.

An unfortunately familiar odor reached my noise when she walked past me.  The bouquet was dreadful, but it gave the girl my full attention.  She hesitated in her walk, just one step, and then she moved toward the counter.  The shopkeeper frowned and her patron became even more disdainful — if that was possible.  However, their scorn was not due to the odor I detected.  They hadn’t noticed it, but I was sensitive to such things.

She had hair the color of a new penny.  There was a smudge of dirt on her little nose.  Her stylish cape was made of peacock blue wool, embroidered in cream silk thread, with a cream colored tassel on the hood.  Her eyes twinkled with intelligence.

And she reeked of death.

I smiled.

At that very moment I knew that little russet haired child was the reason why I’d come to the out of the way little town.  I didn’t know how it would come about, but I was certain — she would be the heart and soul of the next adventure!

What would Cornelis make of the girl?  He despised anyone who was weak, and children by definition were weak.  So the Dutchman detested children.

I smiled again — broadly.

“Your daddy spoils you too much Copper Hixon, letting you wear your Sunday best when you go out to play,” said the storekeeper from behind her counter.  “Flaunting his wealth on clothes for a child, when there’s others as have to put their noses to the grindstone to get along.”

A barely audible remark came from her customer.  “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” the other woman mumbled.  “She’d best be glad her pa recovered from that influenza last spring, else she’d be in the orphanage, and no fine clothes there,” the customer added in a resentful whine.

child labor“Old Hixon should’ve taken another wife,” Billie Best declared.  “There are plenty of women here abouts who’d make him a good wife,” she replied with a mystified shake of her head.  “But he’d have none of them after that dance hall floozy died birthing this one,” the storekeeper said with an unconcerned wave toward Copper.

“I’d not have that evil child in my house,” said the other woman.  “Any child that kills the mother birthing it is the devil’s own, you mark my words.”

The girl’s eyes widened at the mention of the orphanage and she was clearly afraid.  Copper swallowed hard.  “I need… I mean Daddy sent me to buy food to make dinner,” she stammered.

I noticed that she didn’t specify what food nor did she have a shopping list.  But why would she?  The odor that clung to her was faint.  However, I had no doubt about its origin.  No one told the child what to buy for dinner, but she was hungry enough to think of shopping for it.

The woman behind the counter looked at the girl and her mouth turned down in contempt.  “Did your daddy send you with money to pay his bill?” Mrs. Best asked, emphasizing the payment.  “He’s months behind.  No?” she said when Copper shook her head and looked confused.  “Well, you go back and tell him that hard working folk have to be paid.  Not everybody was born with a silver spoon in their mouth.  He’ll have to pay off the bill he’s run up before he gets another crumb from Best’s General Store!”

“Now was there really any need to speak so harshly to the child?” the innkeeper asked.

The child turned and fled the store.  The tassel on her cape caught on the door and was left behind as she ran.  I excused myself to my new landlord.  Quickly picking up the cream colored tassel, I followed to see which direction little Copper went.  Then I turned and ran back to the Belle Inn.Belle Inn

When I opened the inn’s door, the aroma of fried calamari slowed my stride.  It wafted to me from the kitchen.  It made my mouth water.  I reigned in my haste.  There was no need to run.  The child wasn’t going anywhere.  Not yet.

I popped into the kitchen, profusely complimented the cook, and asked if dinner could be sent up to my room.  Cornelis hated it when I ate in my room, but he didn’t have much choice in the matter.  I couldn’t resist the calamari!

My hatbox was on a high shelf.  I carefully took it down and opened it.  An object that appeared to be a ball covered by a satin scarf was inside.  My top hat would fit around it, as a form to keep the hat’s shape.  But in truth it was no such thing.  I removed the scarf and held up a human skull.

“Cornelis,” I exclaimed.  “Adventure is afoot!  This is no time to be lazy, Cornelis Drebbel.  Wake up!” I said and placed the skull back in the hatbox.

Skull Victorian setting pink

My eyes closed against the bitter chill that blew through the room.  A moment later I looked into the eyes of the Dutchman.  Though he stood no taller than me, his presence was forceful.  

Cornelis was a handsome man.  He had light hair, bushy eyebrows, and a mustache and pointed beard, much like a Musketeer.  However, the disgruntled expression on his face belied his gentle manners.  He gave a polite bow, yet managed to make the movement seem sarcastic.

“Why such haste?” he asked drolly, and smoothed back hair that perpetually looked mussed from a nap.

“Don’t be such a grump,” I said, and holding up the parcel of Stilton cheese I watched his nose twitch in anticipation.

To the Dutchman’s consternation, I held back the cheese.  I wouldn’t share that until I got what I wanted.  When I handed him the cream colored tassel from the girl’s cape he was hardly mollified.

“This bauble does not seem so portentous,” he complained.

As one eyebrow climbed toward his hairline, I knew he’d been won over, despite his sullen look and tone.

“Stop sulking and tell me about the girl,” I said, trying to be firm.  One had to be firm with Cornelis. If he saw the slightest weakness…

“Ah, so that’s it is it?  You think it’s her?  Bringing on a child would complicate things enormously,” he asked, finally showing interest.  “It seems awfully — how to describe it?  So unassuming,” he said with a little twist to one side of his mouth as he looked at the tassel.  “Do you really think she is the one?” he asked, his tone softening.

“You tell me,” I prodded.

Cornelis shimmered and blurred before my eyes, as his mind traveled.  Then with a sharp pop he disappeared.

 ***

To be continued…

***

Diary Notes

The original post featured a (then) first-time participant to begin this “interactive” serial — John W. Howell and his novel from back then, My GRL.  I hope you’ll visit his wonderful blog and take a look at his book too.  You’re sure to enjoy your stay there.My GRL coverI hope all of you are aboard for this rerun.  Hugs!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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.

Copyright © 2015 and 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.

 

Matchmaking Pigs in Atonement, Tennessee

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Pigs Road Moon unsplash composite

Deme & Honeybell, looking for adventure again

Deme and Honeybell, the otherworldly glowing pigs of Atonement, Tennessee had so much fun visiting with you recently that they talked me into letting them have the spotlight again today.  Yes, it’s another snort story.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, please forgive me for another rerun.  The past couple of work-months have been so “over the top” that I’m surprised I’ve managed to post at all.  I ran this as a Valentines story last year, but it doesn’t have to be about that.

Last week you met a much younger Marge Tipton.  She is a minor character in the “Atonement” books.  I enjoyed giving her extra life here on the blog.  She owns the local diner and she’s suitably quirky for the town.

It’s fewer than 2,500 words.  I hope this snort story leaves you with a happy glow

Deme and Honeybell — Matchmakers

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Silver light washed down from the moon to illumine the sidewalk.  Earth’s lone satellite was just past full.  The clock in the town square struck midnight on February 14th.

The moon wasn’t the only thing that glowed that night.  Two friends also emanated an ethereal radiance of their own, as they walked the deserted street.

Honeybell gave a surreptitious glance over her shoulder toward the second of two traffic lights on the main street of Atonement, Tennessee.  She grunted softly, fascinated by the slowly changing colors, red to green to yellow to red. 

It seemed an odd decoration.  It made her nervous.  This was all Deme’s idea.  Honeybell hoped her friend wouldn’t land them in trouble.  Deme could be something of a prankster, and Honeybell was getting the same reputation.  Still looking over her shoulder at the lights, Honeybell gave a loud snort as she bumped into Deme.

2-pigs-traffic-light

Deme & Honeybell, composite image by Teagan

Pay attention and stop acting like an unsophisticated pig,” Honeybell silently scolded herself.

Deme had stopped.  Her eyes were closed in concentration.  When she opened them, her sapphire orbs were bright with excitement.  She reared up to point at the sign, Annie’s Antiques and Consignment Shop, and her front hooves came back to the sidewalk with a sharp clip.

“It’s still here!” Deme quietly exclaimed.

Honeybell wagged her curly tail happily.

“What about the woman?  Is she close enough?” she asked Deme, concerned about all the details coming together properly.

“The woman lives near the first red-green-yellow light.  It is an easy run from here,” Deme replied in a satisfied tone.

The glow from the two otherworldly pigs brightened a as they stared at the door of the antique shop.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  Grunt, snuffle, snort,” they vocalized in unison.

Annies antiques

Annie’s Antiques

The door swung open, shop-bell chiming in welcome.  Deme and Honeybell walked inside.

“I feel it!” Honeybell cried.  “I feel the rose quartz.”

Honeybell made a beeline to the back of the shop and a glass case.  As the pigs drew near, a necklace inside the case illuminated.  The filigree setting was polished brightly and held a large heart-shaped gem.  The pastel pink rose quartz stone pulsed softly in ruddy radiance.

“It’s as if the heart is beating,” Honeybell said in awe.  “What a lovely gem.”

Deme agreed, her sapphire blue eyes wide.  “Rose quartz helps us accept and love ourselves,” she replied agreeably.

Honeybell nosed at the necklace until it fell from the glass shelf to hang around her neck.  Deme made a sardonic grunt at her friend.

“The most practical way to carry the necklace is to hang it around my neck,” Honeybell explained in a very indignant tone.  “Oh look!  That light over there is not earthly,” she quickly changed the subject, and was happy when Deme followed her gaze. (More about Annie’s Inventory Notes here.)

The otherworldly pigs went to investigate the luminescence near the cash register at the front of the store.  The light shone through several layers of paper in the special inventory notes kept by Annie, the shop owner.  If the writing glowed, that meant an item had awakened.  Deme and Honeybell looked at the rosy sparkle of the necklace and nodded to each other in approval.

***

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After a briskly refreshing run, the two otherworldly pigs entered the home of bacehlorette and local diner owner, Marge Tipton.

Deme looked around the spotless kitchen.  She saw a local newspaper and an advertisement on the table.  There was also a deposit receipt from the local First Bank & Trust.

Honeybell snuffled as she scented the air and listened to the vibrations of the house.  “I feel a lot of hidden sadness,” Honeybell murmured, eyes brimming with tears.

“So do I, but get ahold of yourself.  We can’t afford to let our own emotions get mixed in with what we’re about to do,” Deme told her firmly.  “Things could go quite badly if we did.”

The small pigs moved toward the bedroom where they could hear the regular breathing of Marge Tipton.

“She is soundly asleep,” Deme whispered.  “Honeybell, you seem better attuned to this woman than I am.  Do you detect anything in this house that can be used to work with the rose quartz necklace?” Deme questioned, delegating some of the authority she had bestowed upon herself.

A collection of old vintage photos, postcards, and envelopes from Europe.

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Honeybell snuffled and grunted quietly.  She went to a box in the closet.  A broad satin ribbon was tied around the box.  Honeybell pulled the ribbon, untying the bow.  Inside was a stack of old postcards, with postmarks in the 1980s. 

One postcard had been torn in half and then taped back together.  Honeybell noticed the scribbled writing said “I can’t wait to get back to Phoenix to see you.  Love, Chad.” 

Some of the cards were marred by tear-stains, particularly one that was addressed to “Marla” with the name crossed out and “Marge” written next to it.  Most of the words were rendered illegible by the long dry tears.

With an excited snort, Honeybell scampered back to the kitchen.  Deme followed curiously.  The checkered cloth muffled the clatter of Honeybell’s hooves when she bounded onto the kitchen table.  Her twisty little tail wagged at a quick pace as she inspected a colorful sheet of paper.

The two pigs went over every inch of the flyer and the newspaper article that lay next to it, and the bank slip too.  The ad was from the Rowdy Rooster, a large redneck bar outside the town of Atonement.

“Hit recording artist and 80s TV star of The Medical Files, Chad Allen to perform!” Deme read the flyer.

Medical Center, Wikimedia

“The postcards were to Marge from Chad Allen,” Honeybell whispered then looked at the newspaper.  “They were lovers when she was a young woman.  Marge had a happy life then in Adrian, Texas.  But he left her to travel with the rodeo and got famous.  Then he recorded a hit song and did that television series and became a big star — for a while anyway.”

“He lied to Marge for years before she could admit the truth to herself.  She felt so betrayed and so ashamed that she never forgave herself for being foolish.  Then she came here when her brother begged her, saying he needed her,” Honeybell commented knowingly.

“So she is not in Atonement, Tennessee to atone,” Deme commented in a speculative tone.  “Her brother is.”

“Perhaps she actually is atoning too,” suggested Honeybell.  “Because she would not love herself enough to say no to those who did not deserve her love.”

The glowing pigs looked at each other for a moment.  They seemed to come to a silent agreement.

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“Help me put everything back the way we found it,” Deme said and they put the newspaper, flyer, and even the bank receipt in place.  “Let’s leave the rose quartz laying on these papers.  That should be enough to get things started,” Deme said.

Honeybell dropped the necklace onto the papers.  There was a tiny spark when the gem touched them.  Then the rosy radiance filled the entire room before dying down.

*** 

“Come on Marge!  So what if you don’t care about seeing a washed up TV star.  It’ll be a night out with the girls.  We’re both scheduled to be off,” Jenny, the lead waitress at L-O-L-A Lola’s Bar and Grille, pleaded into the phone.  “When you turn loose, you’re the life of the party!”

“Good gravy, Jenny.  It’s too early in the morning to be planning a night at a bar,” Marge grumbled sleepily.

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However, Jenny saying Marge was the life of the party brought a reluctant smile to the woman’s lips.  She had never told a soul in Atonement, Tennessee about the Chad Allen episode, as she thought of it.  She told her brother Tracey once, but he was too drunk to remember, so that didn’t count.

Jenny was still talking, but Marge had slipped into the past.  Every time she thought of her home back in Adrian, Texas she became melancholy.

Marge shook her head thinking of that evening of inebriated confessions with her brother.  They both sure had tied one on.  She thought it was such a shame that her brother couldn’t get past his drinking.  Tracey had a good heart and was surprisingly generous.  Once he gave her a diamond tennis bracelet for no reason at all.  She knew he must have saved his money for years to buy it.

“It won’t be half as much fun without you.  All the girls still love Chad Allen,” Jenny went on, and for a second Marge thought she might change her mind.

Opening the refrigerator door, Marge took out a container of milk.  The coffee was done.  As she poured the steaming liquid into her mug, she wondered what it would be like to see Chad again, even from across the big room of the Rowdy Rooster. 

Cappuccino in a white cup on a saucer with foam art and a small spoon

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Then all the scenarios of what people would tell her she should do, what she should feel blasted into her head.  Maybe Chad had changed.  His star had risen and fallen.  What if he had actually become the person he made her think he was back then, before she learned what a lying, philandering jerk he really was.

Marge was sure anybody she knew would tell her she should — no she had to go and see him.  She gave her head a shake.  Would she feel vindicated or sad if the years had been unkind to him?  She told herself that he’d never recognize her.  If he did, he’d likely cringe at her appearance and pretend he didn’t remember.

She took a deep breath and brought her attention back to Jenny on the phone.  Making up an excuse, Marge turned Jenny down in a firm “boss” voice.  Jenny had worked for her long enough to know that tone brooked no argument.

Marge hung up the phone.  Coffee mug in hand, she went to the kitchen table to finish reading the newspaper.  That was when she noticed the beautiful antique necklace laying there.

“How?  Who?” Marge stammered.

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She picked up the rose quartz necklace with a sigh at its beauty.  “Tracy,” she murmured thinking her brother must have left it there to surprise her.  It couldn’t have been anyone else.

Marge plopped down into a chair.  She glanced at the newspaper article and Rowdy Rooster advertisement about her old love, Chad.  She read both for the twentieth time.  With each reading she promised herself she would never be betrayed again.

It didn’t occur to her that she held the rose quartz necklace tightly in her hand, or that she didn’t want to put it down.  Then she fastened it around her neck.  Not only was the necklace the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen, she felt pretty just for wearing it.

***

That evening Marge tidied up the kitchen.  She picked up the newspaper and the receipt from First Bank & Trust.  It was a morbid attraction, but she couldn’t help looking at the flyer.  Taking a beer from the fridge, she read the article one more time.

“Marge Tipton,” she told herself aloud.  “Don’t you ever let your guard down like that again!” 

She had no wish to see Chad again.  She had firmly stomped on the imagined voices of everyone saying she should do.  So Marge wasn’t sure why she changed into some party clothes that evening, still wearing the rose quartz necklace.  Neither could she have said why she got into her mint condition 1972 red Chevy C10 pickup truck and drove way out highway 41 to the Rowdy Rooster.

Almost an hour later Marge got out of her truck and walked across the parking lot.  The noise of the patrons lived up to the name of the Rowdy Rooster.

Her footsteps became slower as she moved toward the door.  The sound of the crowd inside grated against her nerves.  She couldn’t imagine why she had come there in the first place, after flatly turning down Jenny’s invitation.  Marge didn’t realize she had stopped in the middle of the parking lot.

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

“Marge?  I mean, Ms. Tipton?” a voice intruded on her confused thoughts.

She turned toward the voice feeling muddled.  “I only had one beer before I left home.  What’s the matter with me?” she wondered and gave herself a mental shake.

He was barely recognizable in cowboy boots and a sport coat.  Marge had only seen Russell Skeen, the manager of the First Bank & Trust, in a dark business suit.

“Are you okay, Ms. Tipton?” Russell repeated.

“Oh, don’t mind me, I just suddenly felt a little out of sorts, that’s all.  And please call me Marge,” she stammered, feeling her cheeks heat with a blush.  “I should have stayed at home,” she murmured.

“I know what you mean,” Russell admitted.  “I do like the cowboy boots my daughter gave me, but I can’t say I care for this place.  I let my daughter pester me into agreeing to join her and her friends tonight.  Then wouldn’t you know, she just now called to say she won’t be coming,” he added in a bemused tone.  “She means to get me out more,” he said with a shrug.

Russell Skeen drew back a bit and looked at Marge curiously.  His hand rose toward her, but he stopped himself.  He shook his head and chuckled.

 

Marge at LOLAs

Marge Tipton at LOLA Lola’s

“For a second there I thought your necklace was glowing.  It must have been all those facets reflecting the light,” Russell told her.  “I see that you like antiques.  That one’s a beauty.”

Marge unthinkingly put her hand to the rose quartz necklace.  It felt very warm to the touch.  She looked at the unassuming bank manager as if she had never truly seen him before.  Marge was pleased with what she saw.

“You know, there are a few antique shops between here and Atonement.  I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather browse through them than be inside that noisy bar.  Do you think you could join me?  Maybe we could get some coffee somewhere too?”

Marge looked toward the Rowdy Rooster.  She thought about the flyer advertising Chad Allen.  She thought of the stack of postcards she kept even though he had betrayed her.

She picked up the rose quartz and held it so that she could look at it.  “Why did it feel so warm?  It actually does seem to be glowing a little,” Marge thought.

“Mr. Skeen, I think that sounds like a fine idea,” she told him.

“Only if you call me Russell,” he replied as he walked her back to her pickup truck and politely took her hand as she climbed up into the cab.

“Did you hear that?” she asked Russell.  “I could have sworn I heard a snuffling, snorting sound, like pigs.”

“There’s lots of farmland around here.  It could be that one got loose.  But you’d think all the bacon they serve in these places would scare a pig away,” Russell joked.

At the word bacon, a shrill startled-sounding noise was easily heard, but they still didn’t see any pigs.

The End.

White Pig ditry nose dreamstime_xxl_83059557

(Startled pigs from Dreamstime)

 

***

Here’s the requisite shameless self-promotion…

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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.

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

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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu the End of the Line

Wednesday, August 22, 2018 

You’ve arrived at the end of the line, Shieks and Shebas!  This is the final episode for the Jazz Age Wednesdays serial Hullaba Lulu.  

Well it’s all right, that we’ve been riding around in the breeze. Maybe somewhere down the road aways, you’ll think of me, wonder where I am these days.  Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line.

This is the dieselpunk series, set in the Roaring Twenties authored by yours truly, and illustrated by Rob Goldstein… and we’re at the end of the line!

Lulu blowing bubble

Lulu. Art by Rob Goldstein

You can do catch-up reading for most of the past chapters at this post: Real World Tech Review which has links through episode 11.1. 

Warning — this is a long chapter, but I didn’t think it suitable to divide it into more than one episode.  Save your place and take a break if necessary.  However, I think it will be a quick read, despite the length.  Enough said.  Time to get a wriggle on!

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

The angel-bots stood on one another’s shoulders making a automaton tower to try and take Valentino away from Iset, but with disastrous results.  They all fell and… Oh the bot-manity! However, “Papa” Nikola Tesla was repairing them. 

Meanwhile, Valentino was near death. With her multicolored wings, Iset carried him away.  Lulu, Gramps, Dynamite, and Ginger took Tesla’s electric car and followed Iset to the Great Pyramid. Inside they found a secret chamber and a large alabaster disk. When they steped on the disk it sailed upward!  

I think I hear the trumpet’s final call.  The conductor shouts–

End of the Line!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 14

The Finale

LuLu in Egypt Green throne cat

Art by Rob Goldstein

The rapidly ascending alabaster disk came to a smooth stop.  Gramps, Ginger, Dynamite, and I stepped into a chamber that seemed empty except for a veritable forest of metal columns.  There were so many that it made the vast room seem like a labyrinth.  A tiny spark caught my eye.  I realized that each column was topped with intricately formed wires.  Tesla coils.  The room was full of Tesla coils!

I stopped in my tracks.  I would never get over the fireworks that resulted when I bumped into the one on Valentino’s train.

Outside my line of sight, I heard a woman throwing a tantrum.  Crashing sounds overlaid ranted words that I couldn’t understand.

“Why won’t it work?” she yelled.  “It’s not enough!”

Virtual reality photograph of Gramps playing the Theramin

Ginger, Lulu, and Gramps inside the Pyramid. Art by Rob Goldstein

Gramps hurried toward the voice.  I reached for his arm to hold him back, but I wasn’t fast enough.  I followed my grandfather in-between the columns and around a corner.

The voice belonged to Iset.

It was probably the least important thing in the world, but I noticed that Iset’s multicolored wings were gone.  I supposed that she only had them when she wanted to fly.  After all, huge wings would get in the way when you weren’t using them.

Her back was to us.  Iset bent over a large, open sarcophagus.  She started to chant fervently.  Her voice was raw, as if she had been speaking for a long time without a break.

“It’s not enough!  Nothing I do is ever enough!” Iset sobbed and banged her fists against the sarcophagus.

I hissed at Gramps to be still, but he went to Iset.  To my astonishment, Iset fell against my grandfather’s shoulder, crying her eyes out.

Gramps Iset

I borrowed Gramps and Iset to show them together.

When I moved forward I gasped in horror.  Laying in the elaborate casket was Valentino!

“I should have been able to heal him with the sarcophagus,” she wailed.  “Just infusing him with my lifeforce should have revived him.  With the sarcophagus, healing should have been immediate.”

An intricately carved copper bangle was on Iset’s wrist.  I saw that a copper strap ran from the bracelet to a matching cuff on Valentino’s wrist.  Another copper bangle-set rested beside him.  All the bracelets were carved with hieroglyphics that were inlaid with gemstones.  It looked like the gems had been melted into the ancient symbols.

“Maybe it needs all three of you,” Gramps told her in a gentle voice.

Iset looked up at Gramps with surprised eyes.  She turned her head to glare contemptuously at me.

“There are enough of those copper cuffs for three siblings,” Gramps continued in a matter of fact tone.

My grandfather reached into the casket and put the second bracelet set on Valentino’s bare wrist.  Gramps held out the bangle at the other end of the copper strap toward me.

“Gramps, what are you talking about?” I demanded, utterly befuddled.

Lulu light dress Pyramids-test-2

Lulu confused. Art by Rob Goldstein

“Lulu,” he chided.  “Do you mean to tell me that you never noticed the family resemblance?”

I stepped backward.  It felt like the rug had been pulled right out from under me.  My knees gave way and my fanny bumped one of the metal columns.

Ginger caught me before I hit the marble floor.  Dynamite grabbed and righted the Tesla coil post an instant before it would have fallen against the next one.  I shuddered thinking of the catastrophic domino effect that almost happened.

“Get ahold of yourself,” Iset snapped.  “You’re only our half-sister.  Yes, Valentino is our half-brother.”

“But… but,” I tried to interject.

“We three share the same father,” Iset said in an impatient tone.

“How?  Gramps, how could you not tell me?  Valentino?  What if he and I had… I mean,” I stuttered to a stop.

“Impossible as it sounds, I was pretty sure,” Gramps began.  “Seeing all three of you close together just now, I was certain.  Lauren, your mother, always did play the field.  Your father probably wasn’t that mobster after all.”

“Then who?” I whispered.

“This is not the time for that,” Iset stated bluntly.

Iset hair down Goddess 1

Iset in flight, by Rob Goldstein

She took a step toward me, snatched the other bangle from Gramps, and slapped it onto my wrist.

“Take his hand to make the connection stronger,” Iset ordered as she grasped Valentino’s hand.

The bangle slid down my wrist as I took Valentino’s other hand.  His hand was very cold. 

Iset began chanting again.  Her voice was hypnotic, like a song that pulled me into a story.  I didn’t understand the language she spoke, yet I found I was able to say the words.  It was as if part of me knew the language even though my conscious mind didn’t recognize it.  I chanted along with Iset.

The gemstone hieroglyphics in the bracelets started to glow.  The copper against my wrist felt pleasantly warm.  Valentino’s hand was still cold.

Iset sobbed and shook her head.

Gramps_Red 001x

Gramps by Rob Goldstein

“I don’t think he’s fully here,” Gramps muttered as he looked closely at Valentino.  “Part of his spirit is elsewhere.”

“Back at the Cotton Club he said that he couldn’t be far from the train,” I reminded Gramps.  “Then he said the Rolls Royce and the trumpet were aspects of his train, which allowed him to leave it for short distances.”

“That’s right, Miss.  The automatons are also aspects of the train.  Although to a lesser degree.  However, all of us together represent a complete circuit,” Dynamite explained.

A rapid series of clicks and shifting gears came from the rose-gold automaton.  Abruptly Ginger blinked and then ran to a window.  The angle-bot started climbing out the window. 

I called for her to come back.  We were nearly 500 feet off the ground!

“Ginger, be careful,” Dynamite drawled even as he climbed out the window with her.

It wasn’t a long distance from the uppermost chamber of the pyramid to its tip, but it was utterly treacherous.  The rose-gold automaton found hand and footholds to climb up to the pyramidion.  Dynamite was right behind her.

I hung halfway out the window watching them.  Tiny bits of stone showered down as Dynamite’s foot slipped.  Ginger reached one hand down to steady her beau.  A pebble hit my cheek and I drew back with an exclamation.  However, I couldn’t stop myself form leaning back out again to watch the clockwork duo.

Bots on Pyramid Calling All Bots.5-2

Angel-bots climbing to the top of the pyramid, by Rob Goldstein

As the two reached the zenith, the sun reflected from their gold bodies like a beacon.  I put up a hand to shield my eyes.  It was blinding.

Ginger started to hum.  She didn’t hum the way a human would.  It was more like the humming sound that comes from a finely tuned motor.  The sound she made grew louder.  Dynamite started humming at a lower pitch, but it was in harmony with Ginger.

Gramps came to the window beside me.  He looked up at the angel-bots, puzzled.  Then his expression changed.  The expression on his face told me he had a hunch.

“Something’s missing,” Gramps said, meaning the sounds the angel-bots made.

Gramps brought the slide-trombone to his lips.  I could tell he was listening intently to the humming.  Onstage at his speakeasy, I had seen him figure out songs that he’d never heard before.  That’s what he seemed to be doing.

My grandfather started playing the trombone.  After a few notes he played an intricate flourish that escalated in volume, blending in harmony with the hums of the automatons.  All the sounds came to a crescendo.

He squinted as he checked his compass.  Gramps shielded his sunglasses and stared down at the desert, looking in the direction from which we came.  A moment later I heard his sharp intake of breath.

I leaned out further to see past him and gasped in astonishment.

In the distance I could make out Woo standing on the hood of Tesla’s electric automobile.  The diminutive angel-bot leaned forward with arms extended as if she was flying.  The car was flanked by dozens of automatons.  Their golden bodies glinted in the sun as they ran at full-speed across the desert sands.  Clouds of dust churned up by their feet billowed behind their rapidly moving formation.

Bots gather to welcome Papa

I borrowed a bunch of bots from Rob… The Sphinx is in the background for a reason…

The automatons gathered en masse at the foot of the pyramid.  They all began to hum.  The harmony was intricate.  The vibration of their combined intonations was so strong I could feel it hundreds of feet above.  The hair on the back of my neck stood on end.

I rushed back to Valentino and reattached the bracelet I wore.

The expression on my grandfather’s face told me he had gone to that place inside ― the place from which his music came.  Gramps put the slide-trombone to his lips again.

I held Valentino’s cold hand tightly.  Iset had never let go of his other hand.  She looked at me and took my free hand and nodded.

“As the automaton said, a complete circuit,” she said, meaning the three of us holding hands.

Gramps played a wildly free jazz melody that I had never heard before.  I knew that no one had ever played it, at least not on this earth.  The uninhibited notes swam and rushed in a torrent.  Then the music leveled off to a steady flow.

As the music took on a slow, even pulse, the gemstones in the bracelets glowed brighter.  I heard Iset gasp.

Valentino’s eyes fluttered open.

***

Pearl at Luxor

I borrowed Pearl from Rob so we could see her in the real Winter Palace Hotel

The sound of tiny chimes rang from a device that looked like a large brass compact.  It was about the size of a dinner plate.  It was Valentino’s video phone.

“It’s fine, Lulu.  Go ahead and answer it.  I gave one to Nikola Tesla.  It should be him calling,” Valentino assured me.

However, when I opened the big compact, I saw Pearl.  In the background I saw palm trees and the luxurious accommodations of the Winter Palace hotel in Luxor.  I wondered what Egyptians would think about New York winters. 

I could hear a man happily cooing beyond Pearl.  She looked over her shoulder with an exasperated glare.

“I thought Tesla was taking you home,” I told Pearl.

Tesla no hat Conducting-1-1

Tesla by Rob Goldstein

“That was the idea,” Pearl began.  “Now he’s in the middle of making some kind of business deal and he’s not ready to leave yet.  Lulu, I can’t take another minute of this!” Pearl wailed amid all the cooing.

“Pearl, what’s going on?  I know he’s and odd bird, but I thought he was basically okay.  He’s not trying to do something weird to you is he?” I wanted to know.

Even though Pearl had been saying hurtful things and showing herself to be a self-important brat, before that we had been friends for a long time.  I wouldn’t stand by and let someone mistreat her, even if I didn’t want to have anything else to do with her.

“Ha!  Odd bird!  Lulu, you got that right.  It’s the damned pigeons!  He’s constantly playing with the blasted birds, feeding them, making silly noises to them.  Nerts! He’s more interested in the pigeons than me!” Pearl said frantically.

I didn’t know what to say.  While I searched for words she continued.

“He said he’d send me home any time I wanted.  He said he’d pay your way too,” Pearl said in a different tone.

Tesla Iset Bots dance

Tesla, Angel-bots, & Iset celebrating Valentino’s healing. Art by Rob Goldstein

“I don’t want to go home,” I told her, puzzled that she would even suggest such a thing.

“Come on, Lulu.  You know it’s not respectable for a lady to travel alone,” Pearl pleaded, but I still declined.  “Fine then!  I can’t cope with this!  I’m going home.  Now!”

Pearl was in a lather.  She pulled off her turban exposing fluffy platinum blond hair.  Long dangle earrings tumbled down to graze her shoulders.

The cooing noises stopped.  Tesla stepped into view behind Pearl.  She whirled around to face him and her long earrings swung out nearly touching him.  Tesla screamed and ran from the room.

***

Night fell.  Stars glittered the deep cobalt sky.  A full moon illuminated the Great Pyramid.  The train was repaired and it waited beside the ancient structure.  I had stopped wondering how they managed to get it there without railroad tracks.  Some things were beyond my grasp.

Lulu Gramps Valentino control room blue

Lulu, Gramps, and Valentino

The angel-bots had transformed the uppermost chamber of the pyramid to a beautifully appointed dining room.  Crystal glasses and champagne bubbles shimmered in candlelight as we celebrated Valentino’s return to health.

With her half-brother healed, Iset had become… not exactly nice, but less frightening anyway.  I kind of admired her fierceness.  I looked from her to Valentino and shook my head wonderingly.

I had lost my best friends.  Rose left us to stay with a better version of Tom Driberg in that alternative “upside down” Egypt.  It felt like I lost Pearl too, but it was because she was never the person she pretended to be.  I had been alone most of my life, and I was alone again.

Yet while I lost my friends, I had found family — a brother and a sister.  So what if we were only half-siblings.  I wanted to know about our mutual father, but they weren’t ready to discuss that yet.

“And you’re sure we aren’t related,” I heard Gramps say.

Gramps inside train

Gramps and the watch he looks at daily to read the inscription from his late wife.

He took out the pocket watch my late grandmother had given him.  I knew he read the inscription several times a day.  However, that time he stroked his thumb across the case without opening it.  He tucked the watch back inside his vest and patted the pocket.

I choked on my champagne.  Dynamite’s metal hand gently patted my back.  I told him that I was okay, and asked for a stronger drink.

Gramps and Iset were looking into one another’s eyes like a couple of teenagers.  They whispered and giggled.  Gramps giggled!  I had never seen my grandfather act that way.  And with a woman so young?  I was shocked.

“Dynamite, make that a double!” I pleaded.

Abruptly I wondered how young Iset actually was ― or was not.  Tesla said she was a goddess.  For all I knew, she was twice the age of my grandfather. 

Neither Iset nor Valentino were ordinary humans.  What did that make me if I was their half-sister?

“Let me show you Luxor from high above,” Iset told Gramps and motioned toward the window.

To my astonishment an airship floated beside the window.

Air ship bots pyramid Calling All Bots.3

Art by Rob Goldstein

“Iset!” Valentino exclaimed.  “Isn’t that Ra’s sun ship?  Have you lost your mind?”

“He won’t care as long as I have it back by sunrise,” Iset dismissed her brother’s worry with a wave of her hand.

Gramps and Iset moved to the window.  The angel-bots helped them onto the airship.  I stood gaping.

“Don’t wait up,” Gramps told us as he stepped aboard the ship.

 I got the hiccups.

***

Lulu Valentino in the control room

Valentino is healed. He and Lulu consider where to go next. Art by Rob Goldstein

It was well after midnight.  Valentino and I were in the control room of the train.  He sat in a chair that had wheels.  He spun it around, turning his back to do something with the Ouija board that was part of the train’s navigation system.

“I have a brother,” I murmured in awe.

The tall gold control angel statue tilted her head down and winked at me.

“Where do you want to go next, Lulu?” Valentino asked.  “I can plot the course.  We’ll be ready to leave first thing in the morning.  Gramps and Iset will be back by then,” he added.  “Anywhere you want to go.  It’s up to you, Lulu.”

Suddenly confronted with endless choices, I couldn’t pick a destination. 

I had wanted so badly to visit exotic places and we ended up first in a sideways Atlantic City, and then back to New York for a sideways Cotton Club.  It would have been swell when we got to Egypt — that was about as faraway and mysterious a place as I could imagine.  But when we got there so many bad things happened.

I was pos-i-lutely blotto, but I was happy.  I started doing the Charleston and pulled my newfound brother up from his “wheeley” chair and into the dance.

As I flung out my arm doing the Charleston, I knocked something over.  Then my heel broke and I fell against the Ouija board, tilting it.  The angel-bot, Moon, rushed into the control room, leaving the door open. 

Moon had been working on something outside. I could see the night beyond the open exit hatch.  I tripped over the automaton’s foot and landed in the wheeley chair.

Valentino Lulu Dance Hop Bot on horse RED Cotton Club-5-22-

Valentino & Lulu dancing.  Art by Rob Goldstein

Valentino reached for me and fell into the control angel.  The statue’s eyes popped open wide.  The trumpet levitated off its table and blared out a note.  The train lurched forward.

The sudden motion caused my chair to roll out of the room.  I screamed as it continued to roll out the exit hatch.  With a thud the chair toppled into the sand.  It, and I, rolled end over end several times.

My head spun as I staggered to my feet, still fighting with the chair.

The train was gone.

***

Pyramid Outside portal

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Horsefeathers!  It’s so hot!  I’ve really gotten myself into trouble this time.

I plopped down and leaned against the huge statue, zozzled.  I watched the sun peep over the horizon.

As I blinked at the sun, looking up I realized the statue had a man’s face.  That was confusing, especially in my splificated state, because I was leaning against a gigantic paw.  Well, if it had a face, I’d drink with it — paws or not.

I took out my garter flask.  It barely had a jorum of skee left. 

Pearl managed to get Tesla to take her back to New York.  Gramps left for a well-deserved romantic tryst with Iset.  My latest bout of clumsiness caused me to fall out the door and sent Valentino and his train careening off to who knew where.  Worse, I was down to my last drop of hooch!

I held up the flask and squinted up at the stone face.  Was it wearing a Star of David for an earring?  I knew I was tipsy, but I hadn’t noticed that earring a moment earlier.

“Now what do I do?  I’m stranded in the desert with no giggle water,” I complained to the statue, not caring that it couldn’t answer.  “How am I going to get out of this mess?”

Lulu at the Sphinx

Still splificated, Lulu wakes up at a statue with huge paws and a man’s face. (Lulu by Rob, finangling by Teagan)

“What is the meaning of life?” a deep voice mumbled.

“Huh?” I muttered.

I burped and looked around.  I didn’t see anybody.  Maybe I was more than a little tipsy.

“The meaning of life,” I muttered and looked at the flask.

The bottle contained some of the 42-proof whiskey that Gramps got for his speakeasy.  A rumrunner from Canada brought it.  It wasn’t as strong as the usual hooch, but it sure was smooth.

I raised the flask toward the statue in a toast.

“42-proof!  Here’s to you, bub,” I said and then took a swig.

The bottle had a few drops left.  On impulse, I sprinkled them on the gigantic stone paw.

“There ya go,” I told it with a hiccup.

A sound like a rock-slide preceded a heavy thud.  I didn’t remember the big mound of sand on the other side of the statue’s paw.  Neither did I remember seeing its tail.  Then the big stone tail swept back to the other side, making another mound of sand.

“Huh?” I raised my eyebrows and murmured worriedly.

There was no way I was drunk enough to hallucinate.  Or at least I didn’t remember drinking that much…

The earth shook, causing me to stumble away from the statue.

Spinx Pyramids wide

I backed away and watched in awe as the stone head moved down to lick the paw where I sprinkled the whiskey.

“Smooth,” the deep voice rumbled, louder than before.

My eyes bulged.

“Yes, Lulu.  You answered my riddle,” the Sphinx told me.

“Erm, what riddle?  Oh, was it you who asked what the meaning of life was?  I knew I could hold my liquor better than that!” I said and tried to stop my voice from slurring.  “You mean that was a riddle?  I never was any good at riddles.  You aren’t going to ask me a riddle are you?  Because I’m no…” I started, but paused to burp.  “Scuse me.”

Hot air blew the fringe on my dress as the statue snorted.

“I already asked you the riddle — the meaning of life,” it told me with another blast of hot air and a rumbling sound.  “You answered correctly.  42.”

Was it laughing?

“Oh, but I was talking about…” I decided it was better if I didn’t finish that sentence if the Sphinx thought I had gotten something right.”

The earth shook again, harder.  I fell down.  A broad hand reached out to me.  I took the strong hand, but eyed its owner skeptically.  I was still unsteady from the tremor and grabbed his arm to keep from falling again.  His enormous bicep was rock-hard.  I gazed up and up, because he had to be nearly seven feet tall.

I patted his huge bicep.  Hard as sto— I only got half the thought finished. 

Sphinx character

I looked up at a very tall, powerfully built man who effortlessly lifted me to my feet.  He was wearing one of those cloth bandana-like hats I had seen in the Egyptian paintings.  He also wore a caftan, sunglasses, and one Star of David earring.

“Hello, Lulu — Giver of Names,” he greeted me.

He took off the sunglasses and grinned at me.  He had big green, slit-pupiled eyes.  A tufted tail twitched out from under his caftan.

Holy Hannah!” I exclaimed despite myself and stepped backward.  “I um, I have to find the train,” I apologized, turning to leave.

“Valentino’s train is long gone.  You know that.  You sent it away yourself,” he said amid deep chuckles.

I started to speak but then I noticed the Sphinx statue was gone.  My mouth moved but nothing came out.

“Don’t worry,” he said and led me around a mound of sand.  “You aren’t stranded.  Your chariot awaits.”

He pointed to the longest, reddest, shiniest automobile I had ever seen.  It looked like something from the Amazing Stories magazine.

“Oh, that’s right.  You don’t exactly know how to drive, and this vehicle is as far removed from an automobile as Valentino’s is from an ordinary train,” he told me.

“Who are you?” I asked, trying hard to make my mind focus.  “Are you real?  Or am I drunker than I’ve ever been before?”

“Just call me Sphinx,” he told me and winked one of those slit-pupiled green eyes.  “Maybe later I’ll tell you my name.  But try not to ask questions.  That compels me to ask you riddles, and that could end badly,” he warned but laughed deeply and loudly.

Sphinx opened the passenger door of the vehicle. 

“Don’t touch anything,” he cautioned as he helped me into the automobile.

When he walked around to the driver’s door, the floorboard shifted to accommodate the length of his legs.

I looked at the automobile’s dashboard.  It had as many blinking lights and strange levers as Valentino’s train.  Just under the dash I spotted a small Ouija board.  The planchette started to vibrate.  I reached out and placed a single finger on the teardrop shaped device.

The engine roared to life.

Wildly moving shapes like the sine-waves Moon showed me when he opened a door to the “upside down Egypt” surrounded the vehicle.  It shot forward and upward, faster than anything could possibly move.  The brightly colored waves surrounded the vehicle like a tunnel.  It looked like it could go on forever.

“I told you not to touch anything!” Sphinx cried in shock.

His voice echoed into the distance behind us.

Sphinx car Egypt

Don’t touch anything Lulu!  Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

***

The End

***

Real World Notes

42 — Douglas Adams.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a comic science fiction series created by Douglas Adams that has become popular among fans of the genre(s) and members of the scientific community.  The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is requested from the supercomputer, Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42.  

Old Winter Palace Hotel Luxor.  A historic British colonial-era 5-star luxury resort hotel located in Luxor, Egypt, just south of Luxor Temple, with 86 rooms and 6 suites.  Founded in 1905 it is perched on the Nile River amid luxuriant tropical gardens.

Thanks again to Rob Goldstein for generously sharing the beautiful illustrations, that brought my words to life for everyone.  If you missed it, Rob talks about how making these images was important for him on a personal level in a podcast you can reach via his blog.

Thank you — each and every one of you — from the bottom of my heart for being on this train!  It’s been a fun, wild ride, and it would never have happened without you.  Many of you have been with this train from the introduction all the way through the end of the line.  I appreciate you more than you could know.  You’re pos-i-lutely the cat’s pajamas.

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for 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.

 

Podcast: Rob Goldstein on BeyondYourPast.com

You know Rob Goldstein is my “partner in crime,” illustrating Hullaba Lulu. His talents go far beyond art. Click over to his place. He’ll direct you to his fascinating podcast about dissociative identity disorder, hosted by Mental Health Advocate, Matthew Pappas.
You will learn what a wonderful accomplishment his art really is. Be sure to leave a comment at Rob’s place.

See you at the station on Wednesday when the “Hullaba Lulu” #DieselPunk train reaches the end of the line. You’re the bee’s knees!

Iset-2 flying green

Iset in Flight by Rob Goldstein

Art by Rob Goldstein

I’m honored to be a guest speaker on BeyondYourPast.com.

The Beyond Your Past Podcast is hosted by Certified Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, and Mental Health Advocate, Matthew Pappas. He is also the founder of SurvivingMyPast.net, a blog in support of all who have survived the Trauma of Abuse.

Matthew Pappas writes: ‘My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast is Photographer, Digital Artist, Blogger, and Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist, Rob Goldstein. He is also a former guest blogger on Surviving My Past, where he shared some of his story in a post titled, “Life with DID: When Everything is a Trigger“. That post has been incredibly helpful and validating for so many who live with dissociative identity disorder, or those who have a loved one who lives with DID.

In the Podcast Rob Goldstein shares more of the story of how things finally…

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Marge Tipton — Characters from Atonement, TN (& a Cover Reveal)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Marge at LOLAs

Marge Tipton at L.O.L.A. Lola’s

Welcome everyone.  You’ve entered my sanctuary.  Today we’re visiting Atonement, Tennessee.  I know it can be hard to find your way around in a fictional town.  So, let’s have lunch at the local diner, L.O.L.A. Lola’s.  I want you to meet the owner, Marge Tipton. 

Marge’s part in Atonement, Tennessee is quite small, but she comes back for book-2 with a somewhat bigger role.  I thought it would be fun for you to meet some of the residents of the quirky town.

Actually, I wrote this vignette a few years ago.  So while I try to finish the edits to Atonement in Bloom (I know you must be as tired of hearing me say that as I am of saying it but…) I’m giving you a rerun.  I hope you don’t mind.  This little slice of life was done in my “three things” style of pantser writing and I took the things from names of three blogs. Thanks to those folks for following me then and now!

Writer Christoph Fischer

No Facilities (Dan Antion)

Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel ~ ~ Contemporary Western Romance

Writer, Facilities, Western

Cowgirl to the Rescue

Young Marge painting

Young Marge Tipton.  Dreamstime

The voice on the radio crackled as she drove through another area with poor reception.  The DJ counted down the top hits of 1974.  Marge pushed her big glasses back on the bridge of her nose and hoped she wouldn’t lose this channel before hearing a favorite song. The glasses were very similar to a pair she’d seen in a picture of Elton John.  She loved his flamboyance. 

You see, Marge Tipton wanted more than anything to be a wild child, an anti-establishment rebel. However, the truth was she just didn’t know how.  So she left her southeastern home and as her family put it, ran off out west.  She stopped running just after she crossed the Texas state line. Marge lived there for ten years. Then the post cards started coming.

The writer of the cards was her brother, Tracey. She didn’t know why her brother moved to the strange sounding Tennessee town a year before. It sounded like he didn’t have much choice in the matter. With each post card Tracey’s state of mind seemed to get worse. He was not pleased with his life there, yet he refused to leave. In his last missive Tracey begged his sister to come to Atonement, Tennessee.

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

Chevrolet 1972, C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

Marge was not happy about the situation.  She rebelled against anything she felt she was “supposed” to do.  She knew that everyone would judge her and say she should help her brother, regardless of whether he deserved it, or whether it ruined her own life. 

She adopted the cowgirl style that she would continue throughout her life.  Marge was perfectly satisfied in her western home.  However, she had a sense of duty that was every bit as strong as her wish to defy the establishment.   So cowgirl Marge got into her pickup truck, left Texas in her rear-view mirror, and headed to Tennessee.

The gas gauge in the truck steadily crept toward empty.  Just as Marge was getting worried she spotted a sign for a gas station.  At first she was relieved in more ways than one, but when she got closer, she saw the smaller sign below the oil company’s logo. “No facilities.”  Marge grumbled to herself. 

Maybe, if she was real polite, they’d let her use the employee restroom.

***

The End

***

Lolas inside diner

L.O.L.A. Lola’s

It wasn’t really a story, just a vignette, but now we have a backstory for a younger version of Marge Tipton.  She stayed in Atonement, TN with her brother and eventually opened “L.O.L.A. Lola’s Bar and Restaurant,” the diner frequented by my characters. 

Marge wasn’t there to “atone” after all, but her brother was.  However, as you’ll see next week, Deme and Honeybell might argue that point.  Meanwhile, Marge has her hands full with Atonement in Bloom.  There’s something about a bear, but I won’t say more. 

Do you have a story about a fuel gauge and the big “E” for empty?  Leave it in a comment if you do.  Thanks for visiting.  Great big hug!

 ***

Now a Reveal!

You know I’ve been trying to finish the editing and publishing work for book-2, Atonement in Bloom.  (My real job makes that difficult.)  Well, the thing is… There is a short story (many of you have seen it) that is a prequel to everything else in the “Atonement universe.”  Always one to make more work for myself… I’ve decided to do a double release.  Along with the sequel to Atonement, Tenneessee I will publish a collection of snort stories, which includes that prequel.  Here’s the cover.

Pigs collection cover banner

Snuffling your way soon.

Here’s the rest of the requisite shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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.

Copyright © 2015 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from the public domain unless stated otherwise.

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu the End Begins

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 

Bot n Tesla Starts His Car 1

Angel-bot with Tesla in his electric car.  Art by Rob Goldstein

Hi there, Shieks and Shebas!  You’ve come to the train station for Jazz Age Wednesdays.  This is where I share stories set in the Roaring Twenties.

The fabulous images for this #DieselPunk story are created by artist, Rob Goldstein.  He also makes pos-i-lutely swell videos that are parallel to the story. Plus, Rob sent random “things” that I used as prompts as I envisioned and authored Hullaba Lulu.

If you need reminders of past chapters, I did a Real World Tech Review post that has links through episode 11.1. 

Tesla Coil, Public Domain Image at Wiki Media Commons

That said, I’m nearing the end of this adventure for Lulu and the crew.  So I’m posting a longer chapter today.  I’m still pantsering, writing in an unplanned spontaneous way, so I’m not sure whether the end will arrive next week or the next, but we’re almost there.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Iset with her multicolored wings flew away with Valentino! The angel-bots stood on one another’s shoulders making a automaton tower to try and take Valentino away from Iset, but with disastrous results.  They all fell and… Oh the bot-manity! 

I think I hear the trumpet’s call.  Let’s get a wiggle on

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Beginning the End

Vaselino, Ellis Island

Bot above charging car Tesla-1

Moon using his own body to charge the electric car.  Art by Rob Goldstein

Nikola Tesla bent over the unmoving angel-bot, Moon.  I couldn’t see what the inventor did, but he seemed to examine the automaton in much the same way a medical doctor would check a human.  Moon, desperate to aid Valentino had tried to charge Tesla’s electric automobile by using his own body to power the vehicle.

I thought about Moon’s kindness to me when I had bumped into the Tesla coil in the control room of the train.  Although, the real problem was that sabotage had previously been done to the control room, my clumsiness was the cause of the train careening toward the Cotton Club and then into a pittura metafisica.  The train had emerged from the painting to land in the sand dunes of Egypt.

Sphinx Tesla Tower

Image by Teagan Geneviene

The saboteur’s actions also caused the gradual degradation of Valentino’s connection to the train, resulting in his mysterious illness.  I didn’t understand how it all worked, but Valentino had to be “attuned” to all the control components of the train.  If the train wasn’t working perfectly, then neither was he.

Anyhow, Moon was a real gent.  He didn’t let anyone know I had touched a thing. 

I heard Tesla sniffle as he worked on Moon.  Gramps seemed to feel sorry for the inventor.  I think my grandfather was trying to take the man’s mind off Moon and the other angel-bots who were damaged or possibly destroyed.  Gramps cleared his throat awkwardly.

“I had wondered if it was a problem to get fuel out here.  It’s not as though there’s a filling station on every corner,” Gramps began.  “So, the automobile is electric, you say.”

“Did you know the woman?” Pearl abruptly asked Gramps.  “You spoke a name when you saw her.”

Iset hair down Goddess 1

Iset. Art by Rob Goldstein

In contrast to the kind intent of my grandfather, Pearl simply didn’t understand Tesla’s concern for the automatons.  The look on Tesla’s face when Woo hit the ground and came apart… the poor man was mortified.  With Moon’s collapse, he had another clockwork creature to try and save before he could even reach the one with the worst need.

“Satchmo?” I asked Pearl, hoping she would just go back inside.  “That wasn’t the woman’s name.  It’s the nickname of Louis Armstrong.  He’s performed at Gramps’ speakeasy several times.  But you weren’t there the times he played.  I guess you were worried about being seen with the wrong people,” I added pointedly, unable to forget Pearl’s snooty comment about my family and me.

Suddenly, something clicked into place in my mind.

“Oh, that’s it!” I exclaimed in epiphany.  “That spiteful thing the woman said to Valentino!”

“I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you.  Oh, I’ll be tickled to death when you leave this earth, it’s true,” Gramps sang in a gravely voice.  “Yes, Lulu, she was singing a Louis Armstrong song,” he told us.

Tesla-charging bot

Nikola Tesla repairs angel-bot Moon.  Art by Rob Goldstein

Nickola Tesla let out a guffaw, surprising all of us.  He straightened from working on Moon, and wiped a tear from his eye. 

The inventor stepped back from the damaged automaton.  He stopped beside me.  His hair had a mildly citrus scent from the pomade that oiled his hair into place.  Tesla was almost a vaselino, the men’s hairstyle popularized by silent film stars.  I supposed a man with a phobia about human hair liked to keep his own mane well controlled.

“I apologize,” the inventor began.  “It’s the idea of the goddess Iset having a fondness for American jazz,” he finished, chuckled, and took his handkerchief from his pocket.

“A gorgeous, exotic woman who likes Jazz…” Gramps began in a wistful tone.  “She’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen since I was a young man delivering bottles my father and I made.  I had a delivery at Ellis Island, where I met your grandmother, Lulu.  Priscilla had just arrived in this country.  I loved her the minute I saw her,” he added and opened his pocket-watch to look at the inscription from his late wife.

Pearl Turban 3

Pearl in her “Tesla trap” turban.  Art by Rob Goldstein

“Goddess?  I admit she was no cancelled stamp, but ‘goddess’ is excessive, don’t you think?” Pearl interjected, taken aback.

Then everyone began to speak at once, wanting an explanation for the inventor’s comment.  Tesla reminded us that Valentino said the name “Iset” when the woman bent over him.  I wanted to know how Tesla could know who the woman was.

“Didn’t you notice her crown?” he asked.

“That ridiculous chair-hat?” Pearl burst out in an unladylike way.

I thought the fair-haired flapper, whom I had thought of as a friend for so long was close to losing her temper.

Tesla paused and looked at her oddly.  Pearl had been practically glued to his elbow since she put that turban on her head to cover her hair.  Pearl sank back demurely, most unlike her usually exuberant self.  She glanced at Tesla covertly.

Tesla portrait-c

Nikola Tesla by Rob Goldstein

“She had all that long hair.  It was just… loose, able to get on anything,” Pearl added in a soft voice.

Pearl made a little face as though she found the long hair distasteful.  I watched Tesla’s expression.  His face remained calm, but his shoulder twitched.  I realized he failed to completely suppress a shudder at the idea of all that human hair.  Pearl smirked when she saw him twitch.  She put her hand to the turban to make sure her blond hair was securely underneath it and moved a little closer.

My pal was more devious than I had ever guessed.

“Iset is thought to be a healer,” Tesla continued.  “Yet, telling a man she will be glad when he is dead, even if quoting a song…  Well, that does not bode well.”

Pearl gave a knowing nod.

With a series of clicks and whirrs, Moon sat up.  The angel-bot’s eyes blinked a few times as he looked around at all of us.  He bounded to his feet.

“Papá,” Moon began.  “We must hurry.  Many of the automatons are injured.  You are the only one with the skill to have even a small chance at repairing Woo.”

It looked like Tesla had fixed Moon.  However, the angel-bot abruptly stopped in the middle of what he was saying.  All sorts of sounds came from his insides, clicking, whining, even a screech of metal.

Valentino n Bots in dark room

Moon thinks about Valentino, Woo, and the other angel-bots. Art by Rob Goldstein

“Moon,” Tesla said.  “You are conflicted aren’t you.  You do not have to make the decision.  You are committed to helping both Valentino and your sisters and brothers, are you not?”

Eyes open wide, Moon managed to nod once.

“I relieve you of that responsibility,” Tesla continued.  “We will take the automobile to the injured automatons.  That is also the direction Valentino was taken.  If necessary, Lulu and her grandfather will part company with us there, taking the vehicle to pursue Iset and Valentino.”

That statement seemed to help Moon.  After a moment I heard gears whine again, but it sounded like they reset themselves somehow.

***

Tesla-car 3

Art by Rob Goldstein

The electric automobile was fully charged, thanks to the selfless efforts of Moon.  We got into it and hurried to the scene of clockwork carnage.  The sands of Egypt were littered with shining gold pieces and parts.  If the victims had been human, it would have looked as bad as any of the horrific battle scenes of the Great War.

Apparently, it really did seem that terrible to Nikola Tesla.  The inventor fell to his knees, covering his mouth with both hands.  Moon gently placed a blue-gold hand on his shoulder.

Pragmatic as ever, Dynamite along with his blue surge, Hot Ginger already had the scene organized.  Angel-bots in pairs worked to carry their damaged fellows to various areas that appeared to be organized according to the type of damage incurred.

Pearl’s patience had clearly worn thin with Tesla’s devotion to the automatons.  A sneer marred her pretty face.  She looked around at the wreckage, and then back toward the train.  Pearl scanned the horizon, probably looking for a means of escape.  However, the only thing in view was the Great Pyramid.

She took a deep breath.  Pearl tucked-in platinum blond hair that had escaped her turban during the drive.  She straightened her back and smoothed the old-fashioned dress.  Then she walked over to Tesla.

Single angel-bot

An Angel-bot by Rob Goldstein

“It’s not proper work for a lady,” she began and that phrase alone told me that she was calculating again.  “But perhaps I can help somehow,” Pearl suggested to Tesla.

A small smile told me the way Pearl worded her offer had the desired effect.  Tesla patted her hand and told her not to fret, that he would take care of everything.  Then as a brilliant finishing touch, Pearl staggered, as if swooning.  She placed a pale hand to her brow.

For a moment, Tesla’s attention transferred to Pearl.  He asked Ginger to look after Pearl.  The delicate flower was clearly having a fit of the vapors.

Ginger solicitously helped Pearl to a canopy that was erected nearby for shade.  It was obvious to me that Ginger could tell nothing was wrong with Pearl.  When Dynamite joined them, I could hear a series of clicks and whirrs as the two angel-bots watched Tesla converse with my grandfather.  The two automatons hurried off toward the train.

Gramps and Tesla spoke softly.  A moment later my grandfather got behind the wheel of the electric automobile.  I hopped in beside him.  Before we could leave, Ginger and Dynamite came toward us at a run.  Dynamite held a wooden box.  Ginger carried a case that looked sort of like it was for a trumpet, but it was longer.  The angel-bots jumped in behind us. 

Lulu, Gramps, the Bots and the Car-two

Lulu with Gramps, Ginger, and Dynamite in Tesla’s electric car. Art by Rob Goldstein

I always knew the rose-gold automaton, Ginger had a soft spot for Gramps.  I chuckled to myself.  Dynamite might have had some competition if my grandfather was more like Tesla.

Bushwa!” Gramps muttered.  “Where’s the starter in this thing?”

I had a moment of déjà vu when Ginger leaned forward and pressed a button under the dash.

The electric automobile lurched forward.  The vehicle moved faster than any jalopy I had ever seen.  My hat flew off, but Dynamite reached up and caught it.  Clouds of dust and sand billowed in our wake.  The Great Pyramid of Gisa loomed ahead.

Chapter 13

The Jazz Man

Gramps Jazz Man shades close 1

Gramps, by Rob Goldstein

“Sarcophagus!” Valentino had cried, moments before Iset carried him away on multicolored wings.  Every time I thought about that moment it gave me the heebie-jeebies.  (Chapter 11.3)

A thick layer of dust softened the sound of our footfalls.  The atmosphere felt close inside the Great Pyramid.  I had to keep reminding myself to breathe, because I was so worried and afraid that I could barely draw air into my lungs.

The angel-bots Dynamite and Ginger found the way inside the ancient, gigantic structure without difficulty.  Gramps and I followed their lead.  They had an unexpected amount of knowledge about the place.

“You’ve been here before, haven’t you?” I asked the clockwork creatures.

They both paused, turned to look at me, and blinked.  Dynamite shifted the wooden box he carried.  Ginger still held the odd leather case that looked like it was made for a musical instrument.  They looked at each other while an inordinate number of clicks and whirrs passed between them.  After a moment, I got the most unexpected answer.

Bot carries Valentino Sarcophagus Tesla1

Art by Rob Goldstein

“Giver of Names,” Ginger began.  “We were born here.  All of the angel-bots came into being here.”

“Our bodies at least,” Dynamite added.  “Our births were not complete until after Valentino made various changes to make each attendant unique.  Our varied voices came in response to the location of Valentino’s train when our individual births were finished.  For instance, it was near Memphis, Tennessee when I was being born.  Hence my southern drawl and the other accents you have noticed with the other angel-bots.”

“I know most people think we look alike.  Yet you, Miss, you saw our individuality and began giving us names.  You are most unique among your kind,” Ginger said.  “Yes, the process of our births began here.  However, neither Dynamite nor I have been inside this pyramid in a fully conscious state.  We have some innate knowledge of the place, but no clear true memories of it.”

We entered a broad chamber with columns and tall Egyptian statues.  The center of the area was sunken.  We walked down three broad steps.  In the focal point was an elevated stone bench or bed.  Gramps moved to inspect it.

Egyptian temple com Goddes statue

Statue of Iset inside the Great Pyramid. Image by Teagan Geneviene

“I don’t see any blood,” my grandfather commented.

Bushwa!  Is that an alter?” I asked about the stone bed.  “Do you think that woman meant to sacrifice him?”

Gramps shrugged.  Abruptly I noticed his foot prints in the dust.  I cast the light of my torch around the floor.  I didn’t see any prints but our own.

“We’re the only ones who have been here in a very long time,” I murmured.  “Are you sure they came here?” I asked Dynamite and both angel-bots nodded.

“Iset flew here.  She likely entered the pyramid at its pyramidion.  That is to say its top,” Dynamite answered, sounding rather pleased with himself.  “Before I learned to speak flapper, I learned to speak pyramid.”

Ginger walked to a broad pillar.  Only then did I notice the bronze statue of a woman with wings and the chair-like hat that I had learned was a crown.  I gasped.  It looked just like Iset!

Iset flying leap Wings -1

Iset by Rob Goldstein

I lifted my skirt and took out a flask.  Pearl wasn’t the only flapper with a garter flask.  I took a swig and then sat it down on one of the steps.

The rose-gold automaton shifted her position a few times.  Dynamite joined her and made the same movements.  Gramps removed something from his pocked.  At first, I thought it was his pocket-watch, but I saw that it was a compass.  He went to stand beside the angel-bots.

“You’re checking the direction, aren’t you?” Gramps asked.  “You are made with an internal compass?”

Ginger placed her free hand on my grandfather’s arm and they walked across the chamber.  When she stopped, Ginger opened the leather case.

“None of the attendants can play wind instruments,” Ginger told Gramps as she removed a slide trombone from the case.  “The correct notes must be played on the proper type of instrument to open the hidden door.  However, I don’t know what combination of notes will open it,” she added pointing to the wall.

Virtual reality photograph of Gramps playing the Theramin

Art by Rob Goldstein

“There could be endless combinations of notes,” I complained.  “Do you know any of the notes at all?”

Together Ginger and Dynamite made a sustained musical tone.  Gramps immediately nailed the note, humming with them for a moment.  One of his bushy eyebrows arched upward.  He stopped humming and made a harrumph sound.

“Could it have been a clue?” he muttered.  “Iset quoted the lyrics to one of Satchmo’s numbers.  That song begins on the same note.”

Gramps put the slide trombone to his lips and played the notes that went with the words, “I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you.  Oh, I’ll be tickled to death when you leave this earth, it’s true.”

The angel-bots swayed along with the music.  The sound of the horn echoed throughout the pyramid. 

My skin twitched.  Something wasn’t right.  I noticed my flask.  The hooch inside the glass container swished.  The chamber was trembling.  Sand peppered down from the ceiling.  I put the cap on the giggle water.

Gramps Jazz Man shades close 1

Gramps the Jazz Man.  Art by Rob Goldstein

The vibration became stronger.  It was accompanied by a low scraping sound.  Large stones of the wall shifted back and then to the side.  Gramps had played the right notes to open a secret door.

I hissed for him not to do it, but Gramps stepped into the dark room.  I ran to catch up with him, and the angel-bots followed.  My torch started to flicker.  In the center of the room was a dais of alabaster tile and surrounded by a stone railing.  Gramps stepped onto the dais.  The angel-bots and I followed.  Lights beneath the translucent tiles came on, providing soft illumination.

With a jolt the dais started to move upward.  I staggered and grabbed the stone rail.  As the alabaster disk rapidly ascended, I heard the scrape of stones as the secret door closed.

Gilded Tarot Judgement

The Gilded Tarot — Judgement

***

The End

***

I think Tesla and Moon can probably repair the injured angle-bots.  Although, Woo was in pieces when she hit the ground…  Now Lulu, Gramps, Dyanmite, and Ginger are in the Great Pyramid.  Where is that rapidly ascending alabaster disk taking them?  Will Valentino be there? What about Iset?  We still don’t know what to expect from her. Be at the station again next week as we climb toward a conclusion.

Real World Notes

Vaselino Many men in the Roaring Twenties copied silent film star Rudolph Valentino’s look.  A man with perfectly greased-back hair was called a “Vaselino.”

In “Mud and Sand,” Stan Laurel played matador Rhubarb Vaselino in a parody of “Blood and Sand,” which starred Rudolph Valentino.

I hope you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for 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.

 

Baby You Can Drive My (Novel’s) Car

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Robert Matthew Goldstein is my “partner in crime” illustrating the #DieselPunk serial that you’ll find on my Jazz Age Wednesdays posts — “Hullaba Lulu.”  Sometimes Rob also makes videos that parallel the Lulu-verse.  He just did a fabulous one featuring (fictionalized) Nikola Tesla and the electric car that I wrote into the serial.  That gave me the idea for today’s post. 

So, I scrapped the post I was set to run… It would have gotten me into sooo much trouble anyway — but I’ll probably use it eventually.  (Winks.)  Instead, I’m going to talk about using cars as vehicles (sorry, you know I can’t resist a play on words) to develop characters or stories.

My Writing Process — or Baby You Can Drive My Car

Chips 1971 Rally Nova

Chip’s 1971 Rally Nova in “Atonement, Tennessee”

They say that a person’s car reflects their personality.  Maybe it’s true.  Even though my imagination flies along the tracks until it goes completely off the rails, I’m generally a very practical person. I have to be.  That’s probably reflected in the fact that I’ve almost always driven a Toyota Camry.  When I wrote Atonement, Tennessee, I wanted the heroine to be an “every woman.”  To bring out that part of her character, I gave her a Camry.   

To quickly establish a very minor Atonement character (Chip the delivery boy), I decided to give him a yellow, 1971 Chevrolet Rally Nova, shown above.  Do you already have an image of Chip in your mind?

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Bethany Purple

Bethany’s purple VW Beetle in the Atonement stories

Another character in that series had a status conscious husband, so she got a big fully-loaded SUV.  My Bethany character is a Goth, an accountant — a bundle of contradictions.  I thought it would be a nice quirk to give her a purple VW Beetle.  Their vehicles helped firm-up their characters.

I guess I’m just a car girl…

Tail-fin-Red-Cadillac_dreamstime_m_30410578

Tam’s Cadillac in The Guitar Mancer (purchased at Dreamstime)

I went all out with the car-thing when I wrote the still unfinished Guitar Mancer.  Some of you will remember when I tried (and failed miserably) to finish that novel by serializing it.  The cars were almost characters.  It was set in the 1970s.  An extremely tall shaman drove a customized Vista Cruiser station-wagon, and a magical character had a vintage 1950s Cadillac.

Granny Phanny Model-T 1914 Speedster

Granny Phanny’s 1914 Model-T Speedster in The Three Things Serial Story

When I did my very first blog serial, I used to tell readers they were driving the story by sending “three things” and invite them to “get in the car!” That was my original Roaring Twenties stories, The Three Things Serial Story, and Murder at the Bijou (and coming later this year, A Ghost in the Kitchen).  I used automobiles to help set the era in your minds.

  Granny Phanny has the above cherished Model-T.  Andy, Pip’s friend and would-be screenplay writer, drives a backfiring Studebaker.  The copper, Dabney Daniels and G-Man, Moses Myrick both drive Fords.

Studebaker blue 1920s

Studebaker, circa 1920

Now, my question to you is — did it work?  When I mentioned nothing more than the vehicle the character drives, did you have some sense of that person?  Or for a little fun, is there a famous person (real life or fiction) whose car exemplifies their personality? Let me know in a comment. 

I’ll close with one of my favorites — Janice Joplin’s Porsche.

Janice Joplin Porche

Honk (or comment) if you love cars!

My apologies if this video doesn’t work… but I had to try.

 

***

Here’s my shameless self-promotion…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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.

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.