Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Pip in the Field of Fear

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays!

WordPress has made blogging so difficult for me that I’m taking the week off — sort of anyhow.  I’m rerunning this short story from 2017.  Unfortunately, because of the WordPress problems, I won’t be able to visit many blogs during this “sort of break.” 

In celebration of Halloween two years ago, I wrote 1920s tale about Pip and some of her friends.  I let search engines guide me to three random things to drive this story ― first Google, then Yahoo, then Bing.  I typed in “Halloween,” hit enter, and used the first thing that caught my eye at each.  The three things are:  candy, fields of fear, and children holding hands

Whether you were around the first time, or it’s new to you, I hope you enjoy it.

Pip in the Fields of Fear

Peoples Home Journal Halloween 1924
People’s Home Journal, November 1924

An autumn breeze whistled through the trees as I left the candy store with a white bag of lemon drops.  A young man with a motorized bicycle caught my eye.  I couldn’t see his face, but I knew only one person who had a contraption like that ― Hank Hertz.  He had a passion for all things electronic, especially radios.  He was such a wiz at the stuff that it earned him a place as the youngest officer of the Savannah, Georgia police department.

Hank loaded all sorts of mystifying gadgets into the basket on the bicycle.  He jumped when I walked up behind him and asked what he was doing.  Of course, that made me grin.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody,” Hank grumbled, trying to sound authoratative.  “I might have known.”

“Are you making another radio, Hank?”

“Yes.  No.  Well, not exactly,” he stammered.  “I’m working on something for a charity thing the department is doing for Halloween.  You know how people like to scare themselves this time of year.  They’re going to have something like a haunted house, but it will be outside. I’m going to rig up some radio speakers and make noises to scare people when they get to spooky parts.  I hope it doesn’t rain,” he added with a suspicious look at the sky.

“That sounds like the cat’s meow,” I said encouragingly since Hank always seemed like somebody who could use a little extra praise.

“We’re going to call it Fields of Fear,” Hank enthused.  “The chief owns a farm on the outskirts of town and he said we could use it.”

“I thought he lived over on King street,” I commented.  “It must be nice to have enough mazuma to afford two places.”

Hank made a face and nodded.  Then he looked at all the electronic gadgets and grinned.

***

Ghost chase postcard

Hank and Detective Dabney Daniels built a platform hidden in the branches of a big oak tree.  From there they ran wires for speakers to four different spots that Hank could see from the hiding place.  One speaker was placed behind a skeleton.  When anybody stopped there, either Hank or Dabney would use a deep voice as the skeleton to speak to the people.

Applesauce!  You should have heard the shrieks!  They did the same with a jack o’ lantern sitting on a hay bail and a bed-sheet rigged up like a ghost.  Gaffers and bluenose old ladies were like children holding hands.  They screamed, and then they hollered with laughter.

Granny Phanny and some other women approached the ghost.  The whole thing was worth it to see the look on Phanny Irene Peabody’s face.  (Yes, my grandmother and I have the same initials.) Detective Daniels showed he was an old foggy in the making though, and made me stop laughing so hard.  But when he turned his head, I couldn’t help busting out with another laugh.

Unfortunately, the ghost stopped working not long after it got a scream out of Granny Phanny.  At least we still had the skeleton and the jack o’lantern.

Long about 11:30 that night the coppers decided to call it quits with the shindig.  While Daniels helped Hank lug the radio stuff down from the tree, I started spooling up the wires.

The “ghost” sat in a heap atop a hay bail.  It had been held up better than that.  Maybe the wind was to blame, but I didn’t remember any strong gusts.  Hank caught up with me when I reached it.  He wanted to figure out what went wrong with it before I took the speaker wire.

Bushwa!” Hank exclaimed, startling me since the expletive was so unlike the mild-mannered kid.  “The wire isn’t connected.”

“Wouldn’t that be why it stopped working?  If the wire came loose,” I offered.

“That’s not what I mean.  The wire’s completely disconnected.  The screw’s been loosened and the wire is all the way away from it,” he explained puzzled.

In the distance I heard the clock at the Independent Presbyterian Church strike midnight.

Independent Presbyterian Church Savannah Ga Circa 1920s
Independent Presbyterian Church Savannah, Ga Circa 1920s

“The sheet’s got a wire hooked to that tree,” Hank told me as he motioned to the ghost.  “I’ll climb up and get it.”

I gasped.  I could have sworn the crumpled ghost twitched.  Then I saw that the wire at its “head” wasn’t attached to anything else.  I grabbed Hank’s arm and pointed, because the cat had my tongue.

The white sheet moved again.  There wasn’t any doubt about it ― the sheet really did move.  The ghost slowly rose upright.  It reached out to grab Hank.  He shrieked like a banshee.

Hank caught ahold of my elbow and started to run.  However, the ghost had already grabbed me!  I screamed nearly as loudly as Hank.

I tried to run but the ghost had a tight hold.  Detective Dabney Daniels came along and we started yelling for him to help.

“Shoot it!”

“Yeah, just shoot the thing before it kills us!”

“Shoot it?  But ghosts are already dead,” the detective stated with infuriating calm.

The ghost started shaking. I was terrified to think what that could mean. I could feel it quaking because it held me that close to its…  Body?  Did ghosts have bodies?

I screamed again when the ghost cackled with laughter.

Detective Daniels bent double.  Had it attacked him too, through some kind of spectral magic?

Then I realized the copper was bent over with laughter.  The ghost let go of me.  Finally, I caught the cackle and recognized it.

“Granny!” I yelled.

My grandmother threw off the white sheet, still laughing uproariously.

“Pip… If you could just see the look on your face,” she said, gasping for breath between laughs.

Daniels returned to his nonchalant manner.

“The apple, or in this case the pip doesn’t fall very far from the tree,” he remarked.

The end

***

I hope you enjoyed this little ditty with Pip.

Bad Moon Rising 2019

Have you visited author Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising event?  Leading up to Halloween, author Teri Polen hosts Bad Moon RisingTo check out my visit with her, click here.  It’s her yearly celebration of suspense and horror.  Each year more than 30 horror/thriller indie authors are featured throughout the month of October on her blog, Books & Such.  Teri has let me participate several times.  To see an old interview, click here.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

All the Pip stories by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All the Pip books by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. Purchase links: The Three Things Serial Story, Murder at the Bijou, and A Ghost in the Kitchen

Brother Love – a CrossroadTeagan Ríordáin Geneviene

***

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 ©  2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

 


72 thoughts on “Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Pip in the Field of Fear

  1. In reply – (Edited)
    You definitely have sparked a bit of imagination on this end about your tale. I was wondering if she might have a voice, sort of like “Knight Rider’s” car KITT? That always brought a bit of a chuckle to the show.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL! That was a fun tale! I was trying to figure out which character was underneath the sheet being a ghost and my brain without its first cuppa tea didn’t think of Granny. She’s a hoot, and so are you!

    I’m sorry you’re having so many problems with WP. Sometimes I have issues with my Kindle and WP which drive me batty. I hope you can get it sorted out soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 Glad you liked it, John. Bushwa meant bullshit. The 1920s wasn’t as straightlaced as the Victorian Era, but profanity was still frowned upon. “Bushwa” would have been considered pretty salty language. Southern ladies in particular tended to complain that any slang word was vulgar. Once as a teen I said “darn” and you’d have thought I dropped an “F-bomb.” LOL. Although, admittedly my childhood was not normal by any stretch of the imagination.
      Thanks for visiting. You’re pos-i-lutely the bee’s knees.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Fraggle, so do I. Since I started blogging in 2012, WP went from great to just okay over the first several years. Then a few years ago it got into a downward spiral and just keeps getting worse… Anyhow, I’m happy you enjoyed this Pip tale. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a mean trick to play on Pip. Great story and perfect for the season, Teagan.
    Sorry to hear about your WP problems. I’m having an “e” problem. My “e” key needs to be replaced and is on order. I have to spellcheck everything in order to get the “e” and then copy and paste one into the spots where spellcheck is confused. UGH. I wish us both a quick “e”nd to our computer problems! 🙂 Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh. Long, long ago I had a laptop with a broken E. It’s very frustrating. One of the scores of problems I’ve been having is Spell Check disappeared. I can’t blame that one strictly on WP though, becasue Yahoo has lost it too.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this story, Diana. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The story seemed new to me. Maybe I wasn’t following earlier. Maybe my memory is failing. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to publish the same four stories a month, Teagan!

    Anyway, I really liked this. The story itself was great, but I loved, “…left the candy store with a white bag of lemon drops.” I can remember going into a candy store and picking individual pieces of candy. Oh my goodness, it could take me forever to spend a dime!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, Dan that is actually a relief that I’m not boring readers with reruns. I certainly don’t expect everyone to remember every snippet I post. Thanks for pointing out that detail. There’s something magical to me about little candies in a white bag. Kudos on the latest stairs you built. They’re such a cool shape! You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Like

  5. I wasn’t following you the first time you posted this, but I’m so glad to be here this time. What a fun story.

    Apparently WP is NOT a fun story for you and so many others. I don’t know how you keep calm, cool and collected through all this nonsense. I truly hope WP cleans up their mess soon. How many complaints do they have to get before it dawns on them that the problem is in-house?

    So while you’re “sorta” taking a week off, perhaps you’ll get to some of the chores in your new home that have remained on the back burner. Could be a win/win!!!
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. Break was a poor choice of words. I’m putting in the same amount of blogging hours, but only reaching a few blogs… LOL, calm and cool? o_O I have Marty Feldman eyes spinning. WP is a “beast” of Biblical proportions (video).
      I’m delighted you had fun with this story. You are the bee’s knees!

      Like

    1. Oh Cindy, the scope and variety of what WP is doing… It’s mind boggling. The short answer is that in the same amount of time I would have spent comment and liking at 20 blogs — now I can do 3. I feel like a heel for being absent from so many of my friends. And the “anger engineers” have the nerve to tell me there’s nothing wrong. I’ve thought for a long time that WP has some sort of agenda to drive themselves out of business. (I’ve worked for companies who did that, sometimes for tax purposes…) Anyhow, heartfelt thanks for your encouragement. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Like

  6. Sorry to hear about the problems. It seems to be a generalised thing although it takes different forms. I hope it gets sorted soon. Thanks for the story and good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s funny. Granny got you. Never underestimate a granny.

    Sunday night I was having all kinds of problems with WordPress. It took hours to post the video because it kept giving upload errors and then it got to the point that WordPress would not work in either Firefox or Safari. I had downloaded the WordPress desktop app last week, so I tried using it to upload the video and finish the post. The desktop app worked, but WP did not work in the browsers for the rest of Sunday night. If you don’t have the desktop app you might download it a try using it to create posts if you are having problems with WordPress in your browser.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sorry you had trouble too, Tim. Every time I find a “solution” a new variant of the problem starts. Different issues at different browsers. Different problems at different blogs… It’s hugely frustrating, particularly since I try to support so many bloggers.
      Any break costs me followers, commenters, and views — but I’ve had to scale back what I do, Still spending the same number of hours, but reaching a tiny fraction of what I did before. Thanks for your support. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 1 person

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