Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 36

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

purple Steampunk woman drawing_Pixabay
Pixabay (image altered by Teagan)

It’s Hidebound Hump Day again, my chuckaboos!  This is a rather noisy episode. I didn’t notice Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine coming into port.  However, I see the harbor master waving, and now I can hear his voice.  Let’s get straight to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

From last time, Chapter 35   They decided to try a combination of da Vinci’s aerial screw and the alchemy of Cornelis lead our trio to Copper’s still missing daddy.  You know as well as I do, how the Dutchman’s alchemy can go awry.  Let’s see how it’s going.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

36 — Purple, Diary, Kitchen

Purple folio Unsplash altered
Unsplash (image altered by Teagan)

My finger traced the edge of a purple leather portfolio I found.  Now the case held the priceless drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, which were previously hidden in the owl-shaped lamp.  I nearly dropped the folio at the sight before me.

In open-mouthed wonder I stared at the riot of possessions and the general confusion of what might have been the alchemist’s bedroom.  It was such a mess that I wasn’t completely sure it was a sleeping chamber.  I thought that was a bed under a stack of shoe-boxes and a pile of clothing, though I couldn’t imagine anyone managing to sleep on it.

I came to the conclusion that the meticulously way in which the laboratory was organized was not the doing of the alchemist — or I should say the version of Cornelis Drebbel that inhabited the amethyst world.  I shrugged.  After all, our Cornelis kept the most haphazard scheme of things, whether on his submarine or anywhere else.  So I expected it was only natural that his doppelgänger would be a slob.  Alright… that wasn’t very generous of me to use such a word to describe my traveling companion.  Shall I say untidy?

Thank goodness his skull, which was safely in my hatbox, wasn’t capable of disarranging things too.  Then I had an uneasy thought.  What if the skull had capabilities of its own?  I firmly pushed that idea into a dark corner of my mind.  There was more than enough trouble at hand, without borrowing even more.  But I digress…

Skull Green SIlks
Image by Teagan Geneviene

No, I thought, the orderly one must be Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape of the strange purple world of doppelgängers where we’d run aground.  Cal was also the double of Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon.

I tapped my foot in a restless rhythm, annoyed with myself for wasting time, yet drawn to the room nonetheless.  My intuition had become a feather, tickling a sleeping notion in my mind.  That feather suddenly woke the notion and in the full light of thought, it quickly morphed into a certainty.

“Ooooh…” I murmured aloud, stretching out the word.

Abruptly I was sure that the alchemist of the amethyst world was with Copper’s missing father!  However, the question remained — where?  How they got together in the first place was a secondary matter.  I hoped to find some sort of clue in the personal quarters of amethyst world’s version of Cornelis Drebbel.  Unfortunately I had no idea what I sought, and the disarray of the room didn’t help.

Victorian w purple feather hat

A soft snuffling sound alerted me to the presence of Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  He fluttered around the eyesore of a room before perching on a shoe-box.  Absinthe looked at me and gave a derisive snort, clearly an opinion about the state of the bedroom.  I laughed.  For once I understood the little fairy.

Then Aubrieta, his mate, flew into the room.  Her purple wings missed a beat when she beheld the mess.  Aubrieta gave a little scream before recovering herself.  I had to agree.

I felt a moment of comradery with the two fairies.  They seemed to understand everything I said, but I could not interpret their snorts, grunts, and snuffles at all.  However, emboldened by that friendly feeling, I told them my thoughts about the alchemist of the amethyst world and Calvin Hixon being together somewhere.  I opened the portfolio of Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical design drawings, and said that I felt one of the designs might also be involved.

When I added that I thought there might be a clue somewhere in the disarray of the bedroom, the fairies went quickly to work.  They busily looked through every pile and opened every box, cupboard, and drawer.

While they looked through the room, I turned to the closet.  When I opened the door I almost shrieked like Aubrieta.  Boxes and all manner of other things toppled out of the closet as soon as I opened the door.  Cases and trinkets continued to tumble for what seemed like an unnaturally long time.  A purple feather boa draped across my shoulders as it fell.  Aubrieta snuffled appreciatively.  Apparently the little skunk-looking fairy thought it looked good on me.

Aerial Screw drawing
da Vinci drawing of aerial screw, Wikimedia

“So you like this?” I asked Aubrieta of the boa and she chirped enthusiastically.  “Well, it is your color,” I conceded with a smile.

As I held out the purple feather boa, Aubrieta wriggled the single eyebrow that was between her one eye and her golden unicorn-like horn.  Static ran through the feathers, and with a spark the boa was transformed to a much smaller size — just the right length for the Purple Fairy.

By the way, I never mentioned that the Purple Fairy is a title for Aubrieta, just as Absinthe is the Green Fairy.  Though I had yet to meet them, there were other purple and green fairies, but our tiny companions held some particular distinction among their kind.

I bent down to pick up a full sized feather that was dislodged from the boa.  That’s when I saw the corner of a book.  Its cover was made of tooled lavender leather.  In the center, elaborate script spelled the word diary.  It should be the journal of the Cornelis Drebbel doppelgänger.  Shouldn’t it?  Although, the Dutchman was a wily fellow.  It might belong to someone else.

Though it didn’t really help, I took a deep breath to steady my nerves.  Cautiously, I opened the lavender tome.  The handwriting inside was a match for that of the alchemist of my world.  I surreptitiously looked over my shoulder.  I bit my lower lip, as with a bit of apprehension I began to read the diary.

However, the journal didn’t seem to be terribly personal.  (I admit I was a little disappointed.)  There were a lot of what I supposed were alchemy related notes, and symbols I didn’t understand.  Then I found a section of spells.  At least I could understand the language with those.

Lady writing lettersTurning the pages faster, I focused my search.  I hoped to find some mention of Cal Hicks, or even better, Calvin Hixon.  Unfortunately I hadn’t found either name.  However, I was skimming the pages awfully quickly.  I could easily have missed something.  I began to notice repeated references to “Cu” but that made no more sense than the rest of the text.  It seemed to be more of a name than initials.  I shrugged.  The inhabitants of the amethyst world did seem to be fond of very short names, like Cal and Von.

As I turned pages I also saw drawings and diagrams.  Some of the sketches reminded me of the da Vinci drawings.  I slowed down, paying closer attention.

My focus was broken by a commotion elsewhere in the laboratory.  It sounded like an argument.  Yes, there was some sort of disagreement.  Aubrieta made an impatient snuffling sound and winged away in a blur.  I figured the situation was safe in the Purple Fairy’s capable hands — or should I say wings?  Paws?  Whatever, I had no doubt that the one-eyed, erstwhile dragon could use that pointy horn to good effect.

I could hear the raised voice of Cornelis Drebbel, though I couldn’t make out his words.  I stood, placing my finger in the diary to hold my place.  I knew I’d best go see what the trouble might be before things got out of hand.  Then I heard Absinthe shriek an irritated noise.

As I walked quickly down the hallway I tried to determine where the commotion had come from.  Beyond the long workroom, the laboratory was a warren of hallways and alcoves.  I hesitated when I came to an intersection of corridors.

Jamie Murray as Felicity

A teeth jarring screech of unused metal was followed by a crash.  The noise came from the kitchen.  The shouting was louder, but not coherent until I heard clearly the voice of Cal Hicks. 

“Lord of Alchemy!” the amethyst ape cried.  “No!  Please wait!”

I broke into a run.

The “kitchen” of the laboratory was a combination food preparation area, dining room, and relaxation area, with several chaise lounges.  Above the wide open room was a clear crystal dome which let in the sunlight.  The dome was divided into sections, much like one would cut an orange.  The sections were held in place by brass strips.

Earlier, after a meal, I had stretched out on a chaise and gazed up at the pastel clouds drifting in the sky beyond the dome.  It was tranquil.  However, the sounds coming from the kitchen were anything but calming.

When I reached the kitchen I found Copper and Aubrieta perched on an open wooden packing crate.  Another metallic screech caused me to look upward.  The sections of the crystal dome slowly spread, opening to the sky.  It was a fanciful idea, but it made me imagine a clear flower bud with petals opening to the sun.

Directly beneath the dome I saw Cornelis and Absinthe.  They argued.  Cal Hicks stood between the two, urging them to be reasonable.  I got the feeling that the tableau might go on for a while.  There was nothing I could do to improve the situation, and no need for me to be agitated.  I leaned against the crate and turned to Copper who dangled her feet from the top of the wooden box.


“What was inside?” I asked her as I stuck my head into the empty container.

“That top thing Cornelis has.  I think Absinthe wants to play with it,” Copper said knowingly.  “Cornelis is too big for it.  He really ought to give it to Absinthe.”

Aubrieta snorted in a derisive tone and shook her purple head.  She didn’t seem to think Absinthe should have anything to do with it either.  I noticed the purple feather boa had returned to full size and was draped across Copper’s shoulders.  The little fairy must have wanted the boa so she could give it to the girl.  I was fascinated by the way both of the fae took to Copper.

“What top thing?” I wondered aloud and stretched in attempt to see around Cornelis and Cal Hicks.

The ape and the alchemist finally moved and I saw a working model of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It stood about waist high.  The “threads” of the screw were made of linen, and it rotated slowly.

“It’s only a model,” Cornelis told Absinthe.  “I need firsthand experience of it before we make a full-sized machine,” he said as the Green Fairy snorted and chirped.

Abruptly, Cornelis snapped his fingers.  A yellowish green glow surrounded the aerial screw and it gently rose from the floor.  With a last whine of metal, the dome finished opening.  The aerial screw continued to rise.  The alchemist schooled his face to a bland expression and he looked from Cal to Absinthe as the rotating machine rose above their heads.

“If the tiny fae thinks the device is unsafe,” Cal Hicks began, apparently understanding the sounds Absinthe made — was I the only one who didn’t understand fairy-speak?  “Don’t you think it would be wise to listen?  It needn’t be a long delay,” the ape offered in a reasonable tone.

With a mischievous glint in his eyes, Corenlis grinned.  He leaped up and grabbed onto the bottom of the aerial screw.  A green glow surrounded the contraption and the alchemist.  The device quickly moved up into the opening of the crystal dome.  Absinthe gave an angry scream.  He fluttered up to Cornelis and pointed his bantam backside at the alchemist’s face in a very threatening posture.  A poot of super-concentrated absinthe vapors would surely cause Cornelis to fall, and he was many feet above the floor.

Green fairy skunk
Absinthe the Green Fairy, by Teagan R. Geneviene

“Well, climb on, old boy!” Cornelis told the Green Fairy.  “There’s room for one more,” Cornelis invited as he dangled high in the air.

However, Absinthe flew in circles around the aerial screw.  The Green Fairy jerked his head around, as if he heard something.  He screamed again and pointed.  The sound came again, loud enough for me to hear. 

The linen “threads” of the screw ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched. 

Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.


Real World Notes


Now what has Cornelis Drebbel gotten himself into?  Be here next week to catch the… well dash my wig — who knows what mode of transportation we’ll use to get to the Victorian Era next time, but I hope you’ll be there!

I’m finally in my little cottage in the southwest, and have Internet again.  However, I have my hands full with setting up my household, cleaning, and eventually painting.  So please bear with me if I’m slow to answer comments.  Meanwhile, I hope you’ll talk among yourselves in the comments.

See you next time, my chuckaboos!


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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.

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81 thoughts on “Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 36

  1. I’m playing catchup with Cornelis and the rest of the gang. The misadventures never end 🙂

    I’ve also been reading through the comments and catching up on what’s new with you. I’m glad to hear you are well (give or take a grouchy back) and settling in to your new home. It sounds like there have been the inevitable ups and downs that come with a move but you seem to have control over it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s lovely to see you, Joanne. Yes there have been several “home owner” issues, but I keep reminding myself that none of them are big or important in the scheme of things. Maybe that’s a reflection of how badly I wanted (and needed) to be here.
      I begin to feel like I’ll be painting for the rest of the year and then some! (I’m not a good painter, and I’m not quick either — or tall enough for the high spots. Thank goodness I don’t have tall ceilings! Even so, every wall, ceiling, and every inch of wood trim badly needs paint.) But it will be very nice when I’m finally done.

      Thanks for visiting. I’m delighted that you still enjoy this story, my chuckaboo! Mega hugs.


  2. A great instalment and poor Cornelis has got himself into another great pickle I wonder how many of his 9 lives he has used. So pleased you got there and Crystal will settle in soon like she has lived there forever …Hugs 🙂 Lovin the purple colour scheme one of my favourite colours 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carol. I’m so glad you have not gotten tired of all this purple! LOL.
      I guess Crystal will always be a scardey cat — that’s just how she is. She hides pitifully when I talk to anyone at the door. Last time I found her behind the shower curtain, of all places… But I think she is getting adjusted.
      Thanks for visiting, my chuckaboo! Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Terrific episode Teagan and I have read all the comments and caught up. I am not on Facebook anymore as I had enough of their shenanigans, so probably missed some of your updates there. Great to hear that you arrived safely and I know it is tough getting a new home just as you want it but I know it will be perfect. Sorry Crystal had such a tough time but she will get there, especially without that barking dog all the time next door. Good to have you back… ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Sally, it’s lovely to see you. Yes, I noticed that Facebook was messing with you. I’m sorry that happened.
      Haha. There is a dog next door (actually on each side) but they are not on the other side of the wall. Thank heave for this detached house! Anyway they are not a problem and good security.
      One of them will surely be a character. A huge (and I believe, mischievous) hound dog. When I walk near the courtyard wall, she/he sneaks, then jumps high, head and shoulders above the wall with a deep, loud Woof! Startles the heck out of me every time! LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Time to rejoin Copper, The Alchemist and the Woman in Trousers along with Absinthe and their purple counterparts. As always there is something afoot and in this case it involves a device invented by the renowned Leonardo da Vinci. Teagan is now settled in her new home and is busy getting that decorated and furnished and an exciting time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have read the comments and now I know all the story 🙂 Delighted for you, and hope your kitty gets used to your new place very soon. Kitties are curious, and curiosity is stronger than fear 🙂 Wishing you all the best things. Sorry I am not visiting often. I barely have energy and willpower to keep the blog running. Look forward to reading your new novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Inese, I’m so sorry you aren’t feeling well. Lack of energy is unpleasant and worrisome. I miss visiting your blog (your posts are always wonderful!) and hope to be making the rounds again soon. Thanks for taking time to read the comments. Mega hugs, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You always surprise me with what Cornelis gets himself into, Teagan. Why? I don’t know, considering I’ve read this story from the very beginning. I just hope he doesn’t hurt himself or anyone else. Maybe he’ll ‘pop’ if he finds himself falling?
    Glad to hear you made it to your new home. I hope all goes well while you settle yourself and Crystal in.
    Hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heartfelt thanks, Hugh, for your kind encouragement — on everything.
      I’m wicked for not reminding everyone that Cornelis doesn’t have the same sort of life as mortals. Otherwise, how much fun would it be? 😈 (As long as his skull is safe, he has a *limited* amount of invulnerability… although I’ve never defined how safe that really is. I’ve tried to make things so that he is not indestructible. He’s certainly far from infallible!)
      Great big hug right back! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed this chapter, Jennie.
      With the help of my friends in the next town, I’m gradually getting exposure to my new little city. We went to pick up the paint I picked out today, and to a thrift shop where I scored a lamp.
      This afternoon (on my own) I put together one of the 2 love-seats I had ordered for the living room. My back is really complaining about that! The empty cottage is slowly beginning to look like a home. I really do like it.
      Great big hug.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Teri. She’s all I have, so seeing her upset and/or unwell is the hardest part for me. It didn’t matter the least bit that I was awake from Sunday through Tuesday, as long as I did the best I could for her. And I never feel it’s good enough…
      She’s hiding again, because she knows someone is on the way over here. (My friend’s husband coming out to fix the toilet which suddenly went bad — and a closet door that the past owner left unhung. Hugs!


  7. I’m glad you reached your destination safely. I was on a project in Albuquerque for quite a while and had a chance to do some sight seeing and venture up to Santa Fe. It’s a beautiful area of the country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Don. I lived in Albuquerque 5 years before moving to DC. I’ve always wished I never left. Santa Fe is amazing. Taos (next over from SF) is really cool too. I’m down in the southern third of the state. Still high desert (4000 ft) but not as high altitude as ABQ (5000 ft) or SF (around 7000).
      It’s a quirky little city, which was just what I had in mind. Near White Sands.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi John, it’s wonderful to see you. Thank you so much for asking about Crystal. She’s still fearful and hiding under her blanket most of the time. Heaven help if the doorbell rings… But I think she’s going to be okay.j
      She wouldn’t go to her litter box before we left DC (scared to death when she realized the last of our stuff was “gone” (in the car). Nor would she go when I stopped at a hotel 1200 miles later (it was hugely noisy she was terrified and I couldn’t sleep). So she held it from very early Sunday morning until we got here around 4:45 (Eastern) TUESDAY. John… once she finally agreed to use the litter box, that cat peed and peed… It went on and on… Poor little thing.
      She’ll have one more major ordeal, when the movers arrive with my piano and that slue of boxes. (Due April 2). Hopefully after that she will regain some confidence. Maybe…
      I hope all is going well in Austin. ❤ Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All is well here. If you ave a carrier I would put her in it and in a bedroom. If no carrier I would make sure she has a box and cannot get out. We have moved several times with our kitties and they exhibited the same behavior. We found keeping them where they feel safe is best. I hope the poor dear soon gets accustomed to her new home. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh definitely. I had to get an airline approved hard one after she sliced her way out of the soft sided one when I had my furniture taken away. Fortunately she was also locked in a room. I have to triple the precautions with Crystal…
          She did much better this afternoon. 😌 😺😽 😇

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I am very happy to hear your are settling into your cottage!

    Painting? The cottage or on canvas?

    One trip to France I had the opportunity to visit Di Vinci’s last home and now museum. There were so many of his inventions outside on the lawn and scattered throughout the grounds. He was so ahead of his time. I am glad I got to stop and see and learn more about him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Deborah! I can’t imagine what it must have been like to visit di Vinci’s home. What an experience.
      Maybe I’ll get to do some “artistic” painting eventually, but I meant the walls inside the cottage. After the prior owner moved out his very large bulky furniture, it was obvious how badly the walls need paint. So much for my hope of doing “touch up” paint.
      I would like to have done the painting before the movers arrive with my piano and that slue of boxes (now I can’t imagine what I had to go into so many boxes…). However, that isn’t likely to happen. With my issue about going places… combined with my back, and getting all that paint into the house from the car…
      And the store wants $70 to deliver paint, even though it’s not far.
      Aside from that I’m loving the place.
      I hope your own moving efforts are coming along smoothly. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re continuing to pack, purge, and donate. We had a dumpster delivered Monday and we’re filling it up, and we’ve had one quote from a mover, and one from the PODS people in town. Our move out target is the week after Easter, but not on a Friday or week-end. It’s nut trying to get out of here then.

        About Di Vinci’s last home in Amboise, France it was really amazing to see so many of his inventions actually built, and to see all the blueprints of things he wanted to build.
        I have a photo of me under his helicopter or something like your airscrew I think you called it. I’d go back in a heartbeat to explore more.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Getting a dumpster was a great idea, Deborah. The purging was the hardest part for me. Especially when the move date got close. There were so many things I needed to use up to the last morning — yet I couldn’t take them with me. So it made a ton of work I had to do before I could get in the car to leave.
          Wishing you a peaceful relocation. Mega hugs.


          1. I am doing better than I thought I would about letting things go. I really don’t want a garage packed full of boxes of stuff we’re not really using, so out it’s going! reference books, old toys, my dollhouse and furniture, and very first sewing machine are things that I’m not ready to part with yet though even though there’s a small voice in my head saying I’ll live and get over it if I let them go. 😒

            Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my goodness, Teagan! You really left us dangling this time, along with Cornelis! Well, I’m not worried about him falling because of his supernatural ability to transform, but the device could wreak all kinds of havoc. Another fascinating segment!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so glad you’re in your new home and reconnected to us. I won’t spill the beans, but I was a chemistry major, so…

    I’ve been missing the comments being open. As you know, I love to point out the things that really make this story come alive for me. So, since you haven’t had the comments enabled (a couple of times) I’m going to leave you with two:

    “In open-mouthed wonder…” I love that expression!

    “Though it didn’t really help, I took a deep breath to steady my nerves.” – The kind of detail that some would think is meaningless but which draws me closer to the character/scene. There are several great lines in the encounter with the diary. That scene is particularly well done, but this started it, and I thought I’d point it out.

    I am looking forward to what they will be able to do with the aerial screw. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week, Teagan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Dan, it’s great to see you. I always appreciate your specific feedback. I’m delighted that you liked that scene. Sometimes the most mundane parts are the most difficult to write.
      Thanks for your good wishes. Everything’s coming up roses. Particularly since I was finally able to take out a week’s worth of trash! Stinky-pew! Thank heaven for Febreeze! The cottage came with a collection of unmarked keys. There are enough for every house on the street. Once I finally got the keys (they were left with my friend here, who has been out of town), I had to try quite a few to get the back gate open and the trash out.
      Now back to fun with shelf paper, and cleaning baseboards…
      Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Michael, the weather here is so beautiful and sunny! I’ve been working so hard, plus it took several days to get over the intense sleep deprivation — that I only realized yesterday that I have a view of the mountains. I’ve always wanted a view. This is not a grand view, but I can see the Sacramento Mountains a little, beyond the houses across the street. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento_Mountains_(New_Mexico)
      Thanks for visiting. Huge hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind to visit, Staci.
      Moving house really is a lot for one un-spring-chicken person. (A new dish for a Chinese restaurant? Nope that would be me. 😉 ) I have a borrowed chair, which is a big improvement over the complete lack of sitting material I had for a month.
      But I’ll be more comfortable soon. I ordered sofas which are on the way, hopefully today.
      I’m happy Aubrieta has a friend in you. Mega hugs, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, your stories will keep us entertained while you sort the house out. It looks wonderful already. Take it easy, though. A touch of purple, perhaps? Thanks and good luck, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You’ve got me curious what that machine woll do! So happy you are settling in. Painting isn’t my favorite thing to do but I love how it looks after.

    Liked by 1 person

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