Coming in Spring — Why are they screaming?

Saturday, March 23, 2019  

Because there’s A Ghost in the Kitchen!

Fearful man and woman circa 1926

Ghost Stories Magazine circa 1926

Coming in Spring

Another Roaring Twenties Pantser Tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

Hi there, shieks and shebas!  Thanks for all the good thoughts, vibes, prayers, and luck you’ve sent about my relocation.  It was a 2,000 mile trip, and Crystal refused to be the next Toonces the Driving Cat.  

After 1,200 miles I stopped at a hotel, for the cat’s sake. Unfortunately it was so noisy that she was too terrified to pee.  I called the vet and was told that she probably wouldn’t go at all while that stressed.  So, four hours of noise later, I gave up any hope of sleep (or cat using litter box) and got back on the road.

I’m on the way to regaining my energy and getting over some intense sleep deprivation.  Did I mention that the trip started in DC on Sunday at 11 AM Eastern Daylight Time… and I arrived, 2,000 miles later at my new home on Tuesday at 4:45 AM (pretending that would be the same time zone). 

Also I’m restarting my household practically from scratch.  Plus cleaning, painting, putting things together (something for which I’ve no talent at all).  So I’m not back to normal with blogging yet.  I hope to start visiting all of you soon.

Snippet from my next 1920s novel

 Here’s a snippet from A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients 2.  Some of you will have seen it before.

The fizzy purple vapor dissipated and I found that my eyes had not deceived me.  A strange, semi-solid man bowed before me.  I was too stunned to think.  It seemed like the purple mist befuddled my head.  I gradually became aware of one other thing, a shrill unpleasant sound that went on and on…

“Andy!” I cried, suddenly becoming aware again.

My dear old friend Andy Avis, was screaming like a school girl.  I grabbed his arm and shook him.  He stopped screaming.  For five seconds.  Then he screamed right into my face.

I felt like slapping him — only partly to bring him to his senses.  However, riotous giggling shocked both of us to silence.  The ghost stood in the kitchen bent double with laughter.  Apparently he found Andy’s reaction most amusing.Casper cooking

As seems to happen to me in times of stress, one detail stood out to me more than anything else.  I turned to Andy but pointed to the apparition. 

“You can see him?” I said, and I wasn’t sure if it was a question or an accusation.

I had been told that though I hadn’t known it, I had the gift for seeing spirits.  I was also told that Granny Phanny could too, but my grandmother had suppressed the
ability.  However, as you might expect, not everyone could see ghosts.  So I was surprised that Andy was able to see the spirit sitting sprawled at Granny’s kitchen table.

Before I took another breath I whirled on the ghost and demanded, “How can he see you?”

The apparition who had materialized from the gaudy bottle of spirits sobered.  He stuck out his lower lip in an exaggerated expression of consideration that I had a feeling was a habit with him.

“Well, I am one powerful poltergeist, Signorina!” he said between hiccupping giggles.  “It’s no effort for me to let anyone see me, and sometimes they do whether or not I’m intending it,” the ghost told me.

I thought poor Andy’s eyes were going to pop right out of his head.

The spirit looked longingly at the food on the table.  Andy and I hadn’t even started our meal.  He licked his lips and sighed. 

“Signorina, a nice Stilton cheese would be beautiful with that,” he said wistfully.Vintage girl broken dish card

“Err… Would you care for anything?” I asked, knowing that after all, Granny would expect me to be a good hostess.  Then I gave my head a shake.  Had I really said that?

“I rarely partake.  Sometimes that doesn’t turn out so well,” he said, but his eyes never strayed from the food.  “But if I could just take a whiff,” he said leaning toward the table — and closer to Andy.

With a blanched face and panicked eyes Andy staggered backward.  There was nowhere for him to go, so he bumped hard against the table.  The ornate wine bottle wobbled precariously at the edge for a moment, and then it crashed to the blue and white tile floor.  It shattered into dozens of pieces.

The ghost shrieked.

Andy shrieked when the ghost did.

I shrieked at both of them to stop their shrieking!

However, I had an unexpected concern for the spirit.  “Are you all right?  I mean, I’ll bet you were bound to that bottle somehow.  Weren’t you?  Are you going to be okay?”1920s Owl Clock

“Yes!  No!  Both!” he replied, rapid fire in his strange accent.  Then he gave a giddy giggle.  “Thank God that gaudy bottle is no more!  Can you imagine making your home in such an ugly vessel?” he commented.  “However I must have something, or there will be… consequences.  Ah! Symbol of the wisdom I should have had in life!” he exclaimed when he saw the carved wooden owl clock.  “This will do,” he said even as he held the clock to his chest and then disappeared.

The clock dropped the short distance to the counter, landing with a wobble and a clunk.  Andy and I looked at each other in stunned silence.  A moment later the spirit remerged from the owl clock.  He sprawled into one of the white ladder back chairs my grandfather had made.  That was when I noticed the Renaissance era garb beneath his apron.

Bene!  What a relief!” he said and lifted his brimless toque to mop his brow, or at least I thought the chef’s hat was called a toque.

I leaned closer, wondering if ghosts could sweat. 

“If you didn’t like the bottle…” I began, but wasn’t sure how to ask what I wanted to know.  “Well, how come you’re — ” my words failed me so I pointed to the shards of the purple bottle.

“Ah Signorina,” the ghost began.  “It is a poignant tale.  I was chef to the Patriarch of Aquileia at the Vatican.  I always preferred the pun as a form of humor, and the Pope, he shared this with me.  However, one evening we served dinner to a plethora of patrons, speaking Punjabi, Parsi, and Philippine.  I presented a perfect prawn pasta…  Perhaps something went awry with the translations…  But — you see, the short of it is that I pissed off the Pope!  And this predicament is my fate,” the ghost said with a mournful expression.

I marveled at the poltergeist’s capacity to use the letter “P” so many times in one sentence.  I gave a hard blink to clear my mind.  Then I looked from him to Andy, with no idea what to say or do next.  However, Andy found his voice.

“You’re not a genie then?  You really are a ghost?” Andy asked.  “Too bad.  Granting wishes would have been a great ice breaker,” he joked, abruptly loosening up to my surprised relief.  “We don’t have to rub the owl clock’s belly to get you to come out, do we?”

1920s Vaudeville Cats postcard

1920s Vaudeville Furries Postcard

The poltergeist gave Andy that pursed lip expression, but then laughed heartily slapping his knee.  “No, young patron.  I can come and go as I please, so long as I bind myself to an object.  And mind you, I can’t be without one for more than a moment.  However, I tend to lose track of the time.  When I went into that gaudy bottle, I was in a great hurry, but that’s another story.  Anyhow, I think I was intoxicated on the noxious potion, so I did not wake for some little while.  Then you uncorked the bottle, and the rest, as you say, is history,” he said with a hiccup.

My nose wrinkled at the thought of being inside a bottle that smelled like that one had.  I said it must have been awful.  The apparition burped, blushed, and excused himself, making me think he might have become intoxicated from being cooped up in the wine bottle.

“Ah, one gets accustomed to the aroma,” he said affably.  “But now you speak of such… do you have any rum?  I do have a preference for the spirit, tee-hee!” he said with a giggle, inordinately pleased with his joke that a spirit would like spirits.

When I explained prohibition, he looked very downcast.  He somehow hiccuped and burped at the same time.  Then he made a shocked comment about the state of things that would allow such a law.  Andy and I agreed enthusiastically.

I finally found my manners and thought to introduce myself and Andy.  The ghost bowed again, with a slight wobble. 

“My great pleasure, Signorina o Signore.  I present myself, Maestro Martino.  Please do me the honor of calling me Maestro,” he said with a flourish.

The end… or the beginning.  It depends on how you look at it.

***

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from A Ghost in the Kitchen.  I really think it’s swell to hear from you, but with everything that’s going on, I had to close comments.  

You’re the cat’s pajamas!

***

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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 ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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