Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Welcome to Jazz Age Wednesdays. This is where I share stories set in the Roaring Twenties, be they cozy mysteries (like Pip’s stories) or dieselpunk, like Hullaba Lulu.
Previously with Hullaba Lulu
Nikola Tesla tried again, to use his violet ray machine to heal Valentino. However the enigmatic man remained semi-conscious and delirious. In his ravings Valentino cried out “Sarcophagus!”
Abruptly the mysterious raven-haired woman appeared. Valentino called her “Iset,” finally showing us what he had been trying to say in his delirium with “Is.. Is.”
Frighteningly, Iset leaned over Valentino and told him “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.” Just as scary, she winked at Gramps when he recognized the song from which those hateful-sounding words came.
Then, Iset with her multicolored wings flew away with Valentino!
I think I hear the trumpet’s call. Let’s get a wiggle on with Chapter 12.1.
The blue sky seemed to shimmer around them. I watched helplessly as the beautiful woman Valentino had called Iset soared away on multicolored wings. Valentino dangled in her grasp.
Valentino’s angel-bots poured out of the train, following on the ground. They ran faster than I would have imagined possible. It looked like they were trying to get a head of the flying woman. Having achieved a small lead, they abruptly began to climb onto one another’s shoulders.
They formed a triangular shape of clockwork bodies that towered skyward. A trio of angel bots ran for momentum and began vaulting up toward the top of the formation. One was noticeably smaller than the other two. It had to be Wicky, Wacky, and the more diminutive Woo.
“Heroes, each one of them!” Tesla cried as he stared at the automatons in admiration. “I always knew it was in them.”
He lifted his hand to shield his eyes from the intense sunlight, dislodging Pearl’s hold on his arm.
“But they are machines,” Pearl complained.
Tesla looked at her as if she had said something incomprehensible.
Woo climbed and jumped along with Wicky and Wacky, all three received helping hands from the automatons in the formation. Finally, they were at the top of the triangle. I gasped in astonishment when Wicky and Wacky each took one of Woo’s arms and threw her high into the sky!
As Woo was propelled heavenward, Iset passed over with Valentino. Woo grabbed for the enigmatic man’s ankle. However, she lost her hold and fell back.
Iset lost her grasp on Valentino. Still unconscious he fell through the air along with Woo. Woo tried again to catch hold of him as they fell, but Valentino was just out of her reach.
Wicky and Wacky leaned out dangerously far in attempt to catch the falling Woo. At first, she reached toward them. Then the entire formation of angle-bots became unstable and started to wobble.
The tower of automatons swayed far to the left and then dangerously to the right. It made me think of a terrifying tango as they leaned forward as if in a dip and then swayed some more.
Woo drew back her hand, apparently realizing that if the others caught her the entire group would fall disastrously. Wicky and Wacky straightened. The towering triangle of automatons gradually settled as each clockwork creature regained balance.
Meanwhile, Valentino’s unconscious form plummeted earthward. Iset swooped down and caught him, barely a second before he would have hit the ground. A few flaps of her majestic multicolored wings took them back high into the sky again.
With so much happening, I repeatedly looked from one impending tragedy to the other.
I saw Woo’s metal form hit the desert sands. Her body bounced more than once. I saw pieces of her come loose.
Cringing and unable to bear that terrible scene, I looked back to Iset and Valentino. They had already flown beyond my sight.
Nickola Tesla screamed in horror when he witnessed Woo’s fall.
“Quickly, quickly! There will be much to be repaired,” Tesla cried and ran toward his automobile.
The wind whipped up fiercely.
“A tail wind,” Gramps commented, looking at the sky where we last saw Iset and Valentino. “We’ll never catch up with her now.”
Gramps and I hurried after the inventor. Of course, Pearl was right on Tesla’s heels. Her turban almost came off as she ran. Pearl paused to make sure her hair was hidden.
I saw the bluish gold angel-bot near Tesla’s electric automobile. Moon always looked after the most advanced of the amazing whatchamacallits on the train. He seldom left the train so it was not unexpected that he stayed behind when the other attendants left. However, I was surprised to see a thick cable that ran from the automobile to Moon’s stomach.
“Moon!” Nikola Tesla called to the angel-bot. “What have you done?” he asked in dismay.
Sparks came from Moon’s eyes. The usual clicks and whirrs were broken by electric pops. The automaton turned to Tesla in an unsteady motion.
“Papá,” Moon began in a barely audible voice. “There were difficulties charging your vehicle. You must have the automobile if you are to reach Valentino in time. I had to make sure it was charged inmediatamente,” the angle-bot said. “So, I had to use my own lifeforce to power it.”
Abruptly Moon collapsed in a heap of blue-gold metal.
Things are even worse! How is that possible? How many angel-bots were hurt when their towering triangle formation collapsed. Woo was in pieces when she hit the ground. Can she be saved? Plus, with the wind assisting her flight, how can they catch up with Iset? And what does she have in mine anyway? Be at the station again next week. Maybe we’ll get some answers then.
Real World Notes
Nikola Tesla’s Electric Car. There are a number of conflicting stories as to whether Tesla truly invented a working, rechargeable electric car. However, there are also numerous accounts of his inventions and discoveries being suppressed by corporations and other entities who did so to advance their own financial interests. I’ll leave it to you to decide. In Hullaba Lulu, Nikola Tesla has his own fictional electric automobile.
The Tango. Above, not your everyday tango! In the 1920s, the tango moved out of the lower-class brothels and became a more respectable form of music and dance.
I hope you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.
Thanks for visiting. You’re the caterpillar’s kimono!
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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