Brother Love 4 — A Domino

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Note:  Last week I mentioned Dan was working on his own post about his part of the inspiration for the Doug Armstrong character.  That is Dan’s Saturday post this week at his blog, No Facilities.

Various names on different colored cards in fancy text
Chuttersnap at Unsplash

Welcome to my sanctuary at the crossroads.  Relax and sit for awhile.  It makes no difference what your name may be.  Although there is oh so much in a name. 

I tend to obsess about character names.  In stories with a real world setting (even if they are also fantasy) I try to add authenticity through the names of some characters.  With Atonement, Tennessee and Atonement in Bloom, I consulted a (public) government database that will show the most popular names, for a state, in a given year. 

Last time in A Hymn, we met two new characters, a woman and a little girl.  I had to give the girl a first name.  To my those ever so handy databases I went.  I chose four names from the 100 most popular names in Mississippi in 1960.  (Since I haven’t established an exact year for the story, that’s smack in the middle of my range of when the story might take place.)

Then I sent my top choices to Dan Antion and asked if he’d mind choosing the name.  He chose from Dorothy, Shirley, Sandra (Sandy), and Tammy.  As you know, he picked Tammy. 

One of Dan’s “things” for Chapter 4 is the number nine.  This song came into the story.  It also inspired a couple of street names.

For Chapter 4, the “things” from Dan are Round Domino and Nine (the number).  The third thing is from V. M. Sang, Faberge egg.  She had not left a comment before my “call for things,” but that’s perfectly fine.

This time I apologize and request your patience.  I was barely able to get this chapter posted in time.  It’s raw.  You’ll undoubtedly see a lot of mistakes, but at least I managed to get it here.

It’s time to go to the crossroads.

Chapter 2.  Doug Armstrong stopped at Birdie Devovo’s house at the crossroads moments after the lights went out.  He said he saw someone moving around on the porch.  Birdie certainly thought someone was inside.   Yet, was it odd that Doug should be there at that specific moment?  Was it random chance?  Or did it happen by design?  If so, then whose design?

Chapter 3.  An unknown woman and a rather odd little girl stopped at the house at the crossroads asking for directions.  They were looking for Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.  The woman said she believed Tammy could be healed of her hemophilia there. 

Brother Love

4 — A Domino

Round Domino, Nine, and Faberge Egg

Round Dominoes, by Dan Antion
Round Dominoes, by Dan Antion

Even after I could no longer see or hear the Ford, I stood there, pondering the strangeness of the child.

Jinx fluttered down near my feet.  He started pecking at something amid the gravels of the drive.  I noticed a small black disk.  With his beak, he tossed it into the air.

Sometimes when the magpie found bottle caps, he liked me to throw them for him to find.  However, that was no metal cap.

I bent down for a closer look.  A black disk with white dots.  It was right beside where the woman had stopped her car.

While she had called the child by her name, Tammy, the woman had not given her own name.  She was awfully nervous.  I guessed that getting lost made her too flustered to think of social niceties.  Although I didn’t feel she had been rude.

Jinx pecked at the disk again.  I picked it up to investigate before he could fly off with it.

Magpie on ground listening_PicturesofScotland Pixaby
Magpie, Pixabay

“Oh,” I felt so foolish that I said it aloud.

I had never seen a round domino.  The game behind the regular kind mystified me.  For the longest, I didn’t even know there was a game.  Dominoes were just something you stood up to watch each one knock down the next.  I wondered what you were supposed to do with round ones.

Jinx acted like he wanted it back.

“I know you found it, Jinx,” I told the bird.  “It must belong to that strange little girl.  If I see them again, I’ll give it to her.”

The magpie made a series of noises then started singing one of his favorites.  He usually just repeated the simple chorus over and over again, but that time he sang most of a verse.

“When I kissed a cop on Thirty-fourth and Vine.  Broke little bottle number nine,” he sang, getting most of the words.

“That’s a much better song than what you sang yesterday.  Come on back to the house and I’ll give you another strawberry.”

That got his attention.  For the next half hour, the magpie serenaded me with Love Potion Number Nine.


Church reflected in river Dan Antion
Church reflected in the river, by Dan Antion

The song wouldn’t leave my head.  I was still humming it the next morning when I got dressed to do errands.

I hated going into town.  It didn’t matter whether people were uptown or down, or which side of the tracks, rich or poor, they…  Well, let’s just say they didn’t approve of me.  It’s hard to say which was worse, the spiteful remarks, or the cold, aloof behavior.

Granted, my mother had given them enough fuel for gossip to last several generations.  They speculated about my parentage and then about whether I was legitimate.  They cast doubt on my race, and even my sanity ― all knowing I could hear them.

Other comments spoken in hushed, sometimes fearful tones made me wonder if people really did think I was some sort of devil, just because I lived at the crossroads on the outside of town.

People could be so foolish.  As if there weren’t crossroads all over town.  As if there wasn’t a crossroad anywhere two roads met, I thought.

Regardless, I had things to do that wouldn’t do themselves.  So, I got up and pulled my brown ringlet curls into a ponytail and got dressed.

1948 Nash Rambler-a1-Rex Gray-2-
Birdie’s old 1948 Nash Rambler, by Rex Gray

Women in cities might have started wearing slim cigarette or capri pants out in public, but that hadn’t become acceptable in Parliament, Mississippi.  I already attracted enough frowns and gossip, just from my mother’s reputation, so I didn’t wear those out in public.

I tried to banish the thoughts as I put on a yellow gingham, shirt-dress.  It had a little bow at the neck from the same check fabric.  Then I tied on my blue denim Keds.  New white laces kept the wear and tear from being as noticeable.  Nobody would know the soles were worn slick.

When I drove the old Nash Rambler wagon into Parliament, I turned onto Fourth Street.  That took me past the First Methodist Church.

I noticed several cars in the parking lot.  Among them was a late model Ford.  When I saw a bleached blond head, I knew it was the car from the evening before.

Then I gave myself a mental kick for the uncharitable sound of the word.  Describing a woman’s hair as bleached was insulting, even if that was obviously the case.  I never wanted to treat others the way I was treated.

I saw Tammy getting into the car.  The woman stood near the vehicle, talking to the preacher and some other people.  One of them handed her an envelope.

1950s Hat Purse Gloves ad
Pattern ad circa 1950

For a moment I considered stopping.  I was sure the domino must belong to Tammy so I had put it in my pocketbook just in case I saw them again.  What good was a game with a missing piece?

As the woman put the packet into her white handbag, I realized it contained cash.  She had mentioned Tammy’s medical bills taking all their money.  It was not unusual for families with a sickly child to go to churches in their area for donations.

But they aren’t from around here, I thought.  She must be in terrible need to ask for help outside their own community.  It would embarrass them if they knew I saw.

So, I continued on my way.  I stayed on Fourth Street to stop at the bakery.  A loaf of freshly baked bread was my reward for going into town.  Then I headed to the Post Office on Vine Street.

At the corner I noticed they had put up a street sign for the intersection of Fourth and Vine.  The visual of the sign made me think of Love Potion Number Nine again.  Parliament, Mississippi was nowhere near big enough to have a 34th Street, as in the song.  However, Fourth and Vine was close enough to make me chuckle.

The Post Office was one of the prettiest buildings in Parliament.  It was also one of the oldest.  I liked the cooling marble floors and arched doorways.

"The Hub" at Iowa State University was a post office until 1963. Dan Antion
“The Hub” at Iowa State University was a post office until 1963. Dan Antion

Inside, a policeman removed a picture from the “most wanted” wall.  When he looked up I saw it was Lamar Poole.  He wasn’t originally from Mississippi, but he had been with our police force for many years.

The lawmen weren’t as bad as most of the rest of the people.  Maybe it was because they had seen some truly bad people.  Anyhow I felt comfortable enough to say hello.

“Caught one!” I said in a go-team sort of way.

“Unfortunately, there’s always at least one more to replace the ones that get caught,” Sargent Poole replied in a friendly voice.

He held out a newspaper with an article about “grand larceny” and a valuable Faberge egg.

“Are those things really worth that much?” I exclaimed.

Lamar’s expression showed skepticism, but he nodded.  Fancy baubles were apparently not to his taste.

My mouth dropped open when he showed me the wanted-picture of the criminal.

I knew that face.

End Chapter 4.


Thank you kindly for reading Brother Love!  If you want to participate by leaving a “thing” to be included in a future episode, please make a comment.  Remember this is a mysterious story, set in rural Mississippi of the late 1950s to early 1960s. 

I’ll meet you at the crossroads again next Saturday!  Hugs on the wing.


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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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83 thoughts on “Brother Love 4 — A Domino

  1. What a proud photo of Jinx! We used to have a cat called Tammy. She wasn’t really our cat though, she was a stray that we took under our wing for a while. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tee-hee! I thought it represented him well. There aren’t magpies in my part of the country or Dan’s. Sometimes I use Dan’s crow photos, but other times I want to show a real magpie. I found some beauties like that one at Pixabay. Hugs on magpie wings!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Suzanne. No kidding. The egg went to the bottom of my list, because it just didn’t fit the setting. (Not to mention that the contributor never leaves a comment.) However, when I unexpectedly (rolls eyes — everything is unexpected to me with these stories!) needed a way for the wanted person to basically accidentally be wanted for a bigger crime, the egg fit the bill.
      I’m so happy you enjoyed this episode. Your purple lamp is not forgotten. Dan has made several photos for me to choose from. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi GP. You are so kind. Thanks for thinking that.
      I appreciate the link. Pete is a terrific storyteller. I see that they are looking for stories using metaphor… So the magazine and I are likely not eachother’s cup of tea-gan. Wishing them success though. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on No Facilities and commented:
    A round domino? A Faberge Egg? The Searchers? Teagan weaves another great chapter out of random things, setting the stage for another amazing story. Join her for her latest serial in Parliment, Mississippi.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love Dan’s pics sprinkled throughout….onto the installment….can we say….i almost walked over the cliff on this one….I was so not ready to come to the close of this installment…talk about the perfect cliff hanger…another well done installment! Love it!! (hope New Mexico is treating you well)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s great to see you Kirt. Thanks for giving me a big smile.
      Well… I’m having some utterly over the top allergy problems. Hopefully it’s just part of my body continuing to acclimate. (A bad allergic reaction got into my system and now any little thing creates more itching and hives. They say up to 6 weeks to run its course… it’s been 3.) Regardless I still love my new location and my cottage. Love, love, love it. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh my!! What a riveting ending. She knew that face! Now my mind is speculating. Who could it be? This may have been rushed, Teagan, but I saw no errors and it is a GREAT segment! I can’t wait to see where this story goes. And now, I’m humming, “Love Potion #9!” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jan, it’s good to see you. LOL, that is such an ear worm, isn’t it? But it’s a fun song. I need to get Chapter 5 written and maybe a new song!
      This part is becoming more fun than I expected. Huge thanks for your comment. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooooh…a suspenseful cliffhanger! Another excellent chapter, Teagan. You’ve made me love a singing bird, have great sympathy for the ostracized, and left me wondering what will come next.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really appreciate you saying that, Denise. By Friday morning I was planing a place-holder post stating a delay. At the very end of my day, I finally saw how to round out that scene. No time for polishing. I’m happy you liked it. Chin rubs to the kitties. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Not rough in my opinion. Just right! I can’t get enough of this serial. The dominoes made me remember playing shoot the moon and 42 with my grandma. I wish I could ask her if she’d ever seen round dominoes.
    “I know that face” … aaaahhhh I can’t wait until we know that face too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jill, you just gave me a big smile. I’m delighted you are enjoying this.
      I’ve never played dominoes. Since I didn’t have research time last week, that meant that Birdie didn’t know anything about them either! LOL.
      More about the face next time. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind, Adele. That is wonderful feedback. Gently is a good word. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you are right about my caution. I want this story to be about the magic (whatever that turns out to be — I honestly don’t know yet). Not the racial issues of the time. I want Birdie’s background and her lack of relationship with the community to tie to the magic. Living in such a polarized country, I am indeed handling much of this story gently. I’m holding back hugely! LOL
      Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A cliffhanger, and I don’t know if I can hold on for a week!! There’s a lot of “meat” in this chapter. I don’t work well under pressure, but you certainly do! Round dominos are new to me, and seemingly everyone else, so they must have some special meaning.

    I hope the face Birdie recognized on the Wanted Poster isn’t ‘Guitar Man’. Boy! The plot really thickens now!!

    Have a wonderful weekend. Hope you get some down time. Hope too your allergy problem is yesterday’s news.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ginger. I’m relieved you felt that way. I’m always concerned when I feel like there isn’t enough action in a chapter. Although sometimes it’s necessary.
      Actually I thought the same about round dominoes. I meant to work whatever the significance was into the story. But I can’t find anything about them. Dan might have found a rare treasure there.
      Hey Dan — If you read this, you’d better get those appraised. Or if you didn’t get them, then run, don’t walk, back to that store! 😀

      Thanks so much for visiting, Ginger. Hugs on magpie wings!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve never seen a round domino, but come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a magpie either.

    I’m terrible at these guessing games as to who might be on the poster so I’ll just have to wait and see. Damn these cliffhangers!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Joanne. I haven’t seen either one in person. But hey– it’s fantasy. 😀
      We’ll find out who is on the poster next time — although we might not find out who that is. Okay– I might give my own self a headache with that one.
      Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. That was something of a light-bulb moment, John. I was stuck on how to work the next thread into the story, and that scene was one end of that thread, but I couldn’t get it through the needle. Tied myself in a knot and suddenly saw, “Oh! I can just stop there.” 😉 Thank you so very much for visiting. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh no! I hope it’s not the face of Tammy’s mother on that ‘wanted’ poster. If she’s taking suspicious-looking envelopes stuffed with what could be bank notes, she could be a prime suspect.
    I loved this little journey into town, Teagan.
    Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Hugh! Thanks so much for visiting. It’s fun that you’ve hazarded a guess. While this is does not effect whether you are correct or not, let me point out a detail that *everyone has overlooked* — I never said “the woman” was Tammy’s mother. 😱 😈 😀 I’m so happy you enjoyed this chapter, my friend. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Isn’t it amazing how we can assume things and situations when reading, Teagan? That’s a detail I certainly did not take note of while reading the first three chapters. Thanks for pointing it out. Now you got me wondering who that woman is. 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I like this episode, a lot, Teagan. I think you did a very good job in a busy week. Your descriptions around Jinx finding the round domino is pretty cool. I remember when bottle caps were everywhere and kids, and apparently magpies played with them. Birdie’s mental gyrations when she saw the woman and Tammy, is very well done. The mixing of memory and emotions as she processed her decision – it is exactly how we work through these things and it seems so real. Thanks for the shout out to my story, and thanks, (um maybe sarcasm…) for the great cliff-hanger ending.

    I hope you have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a terrific weekend. I’m happy you enjoyed this “setting up” part, Dan. One of these days I’ll get ahead of the game enough to send you a copy before the last minute…
      I appreciate your feedback, especially about Birdie’s thought process. I always wonder if I get the story bogged down with that kind of thing.
      The wanted poster will pave the way for one of the “what ifs” we bounced around.
      I’ll email you what I’m thinking — Ha! in case I get overwhelmed and forget.
      Hugs on magpie wings!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha – I always love the things you do that make the story move from a story I can understand to a story I can feel I’m a part of.

        I have a new crop of pictures to get you this week, unless I get bogged down 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Great episode, Teagan! Love the song and the images and I’m intrigued. I must add we visited the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg.The eggs, and all the rest of the things they did, are gorgeous. My mother is a big domino fan but I’d never heard of round dominoes. I’m off to check Dan’s blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Olga. Your trip sounds amazing. I hope you enjoyed every moment. Will you treat us to some photos at your blog?
      I haven’t been able to find anything on the round dominoes either. Dan seems to have come across a rare find.
      Hugs on the wing!


    1. I’m glad (& relieved) you want to know more, Dyanna. I had a busy week (on several different fronts), so admittedly I was easily distracted. However, once the idea (behind the wanted poster) occurred to me, I had a hard time figuring out how to work it into the chapter. Finally I streamlined and chose a stopping point.
      Many thanks for reblogging from your magazine. Hugs on magpie wings

      Liked by 1 person

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