Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Rob and I are together again!
Last year I was kicking around a serial idea with Rob Goldstein, Who did the beautiful illustrations for Hullaba Lulu. I envisioned a steampunk satire of The Scarlet Pimpernel. My heroine is Fiona Finch, the Pink Pimpernel. Her story is one of foppish frivolity, sarcasm, and a load of alliteration. She’s a cutie with curls and dresses all and only in pink. Secretly she’s still all pink, but she’s also so much more, just as was the Scarlet Pimpernel, but with steampunk gadgets galore — and still more pink. Now you know Fiona. That’s part of the background for this bit of nonsense.
Recently, Staci Troilo was saying how life could be too bizarre for fiction. I hope her trip to Bizarro World wasn’t as bad as mine — but she’s right. Staci had the common sense to keep her personal strangeness out of her stories. Me on the other hand, I have about as much common sense as Lulu.
I swear I’m getting to the point. Bear with me.
I’ve had my own Bizarro World with an unbelievable comic book villain, Creepy Crying Guy, across the street. When I said “No,” he stood on my porch bawling. I’ll save you descriptions of his admission of trying to manipulate me and the disgusting leer that accompanied those words before he went back to bawling half a second later. Oh, sorry… I guess I told you after all. Yes, yes, I’m getting to the point.
Well thank heavens for good friends who could make me laugh about it. This vignette was inspired by whimsical remarks from Renita and Rob. Renita remarked that in her experience old ladies with machetes are enough to scare anybody. Then Rob took her joke a step farther… So I made characters from the Fiona-verse into alter egos for Rob and me. Now, to the “point.”
Fiona Fights Back
The Pink Pimpernel Sees Red
A hansom cab clattered down a lane in Victorian Era San Francisco. Fiona Finch sat in the light of her window. The noise distracted her. The pink ruffled sleeve of her gown fell against the machete as she fingered the hilt. She went back to her task, intently turning the pages of Darwin’s The Origin of the Species.
“He’s not in here,” Fiona grumbled.
Straight black hair fell to cover his face as a man in black tailed tuxedo placed the tea tray on the table beside the single pink lace glove. He silently raised an eyebrow, as any attentive butler might.
The “butler” was Fiona’s adopted brother, Steele. However, he was no servant. He simply enjoyed wearing the costume and the excuse it gave him to make snide remarks. He also seemed to think buttling allowed him to boss her around. A fact of which he openly reminded Fiona whenever she complained that he shouldn’t act like a butler.
“Really, Steele, don’t be such a prude. Wearing gloves inside, in the summer, with no guests in the house? Why no matter how darling they are, it’s absurd. Besides, I couldn’t turn the pages,” Fiona defended.
Fiona picked up the teacup with her delicately gloved hand and used the silver spoon to stir it with the brazenly bare hand.
“I told you that I would thrash him the next time he comes to the door,” Steele reminded his sister.
“I don’t want you to batty-fang anyone, Steele. Imagine the trouble that thrashing could cause. Besides, he only comes when you are away. Plus, he stands there blubbering like a baby when I reject him. He’s sure to use that trick if the police inspectors come, and he’d make you the villain,” Fiona added, returning to Darwin’s controversial tome.
“I suppose your souvenir from our voyage to Madrid would cause less of a collie shangle? I believe his species is human. I doubt you’ll find anything useful in that book,” Steele told her. “Although I do have an idea.”
She glanced at the ghoul who watched her from his own window on the other side of the street.
“What good does leering from his window do him? Is he hoping for a glimpse of my cupid’s kettledrums?” Fiona complained.
“Damfino,” Steele replied.
Steele picked up the crystal pot of red currant jam and moved toward the parlor door.
“What, pray tell, are you doing brother dear?” Fiona queried. “Where are you going with the jam? I wasn’t finished!”
A moment later Steele returned, carrying a long white nightgown. It was covered with the crimson contents of the jam jar.
“At least you didn’t ruin my pink nightdress,” Fiona muttered. “What are you on about now?”
“I know you favor pink, but white is so much more dramatic,” Steele began. “Maybe our neighbor’s diligence in watching you should be rewarded with a good look at you in your nightie.”
“What? Don’t be absurd!” Fiona replied aghast.
“Red currant jam, red as blood and running down the front of this prim white gown. Imagine the ghoul’s face if you answered wearing this, and holding the machete!” Steele explained with a purely wicked grin.
“I’ve been waiting for you…”
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USA: Atonement, Tennessee
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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 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
Images Copyright © 2019 and 2018 by Rob Goldstein
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