The Delta Pearl 49 — Disassemble

Saturday, September 26, 2020 

Dan's River Confluence Steampunk Balloon Teagan Geneviene
Dan Antion’s River Confluence photo was the basis of this steampunk tomfoolery by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome back, my chuckaboos!  I’m so glad you could come to the riverboat for an all new episode of The Delta Pearl.  Thank you for being here.  Special thanks to everyone who was threatened by the awful fires, but took time to let me know you were okay.

Something Personal

I’ve been gradually working on several things.  Rebecca Budd and I (along with superb audio-editing work from her husband, Don) have been cooking up a podcast.  She’ll be posting that soon.

A “meanwhile” effort has been in progress over the past ten months.  At night I’ve been editing a novella that was a serial here on my blog in 2018.  Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure is finally at the dieselpunk train station.  Since some weekend readers aren’t available for my Wednesday posts, I’m making a pre-announcement statement.  I’ll do an All Aboard! post on Wednesday with full details.  The eBook versions have an introductory price of 99¢.  There’s a schedule after the Delta Pearl chapter.

Update! Dan Antion is making preparations for his launch party at No Facilities.

Pearl, Lulu, Rose, & Bot in "Sideways" Atlantic City, by Teagan R Geneviene
“Sideways” Atlantic City, by Teagan R Geneviene

Back to the riverboat

Random Reader Things.  For this chapter I used Lorgnette, given to us by Olga Núñez Miret.

This chapter finds us with Émeraude and Eliza Needleman.  Mr. Needleman rescued Émeraude when she was snared in that big net, operated by some nefarious force intent on flying away with our bricky heroine. As the net was pulled higher, it was engulfed by toxic gas — the same noxious substance that injured the Captain many weeks ago.  We’ll look in on Randall while we’re at it.

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 49 — Disassemble

Twindia at Pixabay
Twindia at Pixabay

Eliza continued to look at the tiny holes in the papyrus.  She tilted her tawny head and delicately scratched a spot under the Gibson Girl bun.  I believed that was a habit that meant she was deep in thought.

“A music box cylinder, you say…” she murmured.

Abruptly she grabbed my hand and pulled me into the hallway.  We all but collided with the Chief Porter, Garnet Redford.

“Oh, serendipity!” Eliza exclaimed after a hasty pardon me.  “Chief Porter are you, by any chance, adept at disassembling small things?”

“Ma’am?” Garnet asked in a neutral tone.

The question was clearly unexpected.  However, Garnet was rarely ruffled.  His red-blond mustache twitched and his green eyes twinkled.

“I dare say I could take something apart.  Although putting it back together could be another matter,” he told her.

I never wondered why female passengers were known to swoon in his presence.  His charms were obvious.  That refined British accent alone was enough to leave most women weak at the knees.

“That’s bang up to the elephant!  Very good.  Perhaps Victor can reassemble it when he’s back to himself,” Eliza said, placing a hand on Garnet’s arm.  “Could you please spare some time to help Émeraude and me with something?”

Allison Scagliotti as Émeraude. Composite of Pixabay & public domain images by Teagan
Allison Scagliotti as Émeraude. Composite of Pixabay & public domain images by Teagan

A moment later, Garnet and I stood in Eliza’s sitting room.  A raspy voice called from the next room.  Mr. Needleman was awake.  I hoped that was a good sign for his recovery.  Although I would not have recognized that voice as being the previously robust man.

“Yes, darling.  I’m here,” Eliza lifted her voice to reply.  “I believe what I want is in the bedroom.  Excuse me for a moment,” she told us.

Eliza ran to the bedroom.  Bits of muffled conversation reached my ears.  Coral emerged from the room, carrying a tray.  I knew Eliza wouldn’t have left him on his own in such a diminished state.  Eliza followed the maid.

“Yes, Mrs. Needleman.  The Cook says to give him two spoonsful again at bedtime,” Coral was telling Eliza.

Coral placed the tray, and the bottle it held, on an end table.  She nodded to Garnet and me as she left.

Eliza was holding what looked like a small decorative cage.  She held it out and looked at the Chief Porter expectantly.

Garnet and I exchanged a puzzled look.  We bent for a closer look at the object.  Inside the cage was a yellow enameled bird figure.  It adorned a rectangular wooden box that had curling silver shapes at the corners.  There was a tiny handle on the side.

“This is a music box?  Surely you don’t mean for me to take it apart?”  Garnet asked.

“Oh, yes, Mr. Redford.  Indeed, I do.  We need to know if its cylinders match the holes in this,” she explained, holding up the little scroll.  “Émeraude, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to run off with this,” she said and handed the papyrus back to me.

Taking the music box, the Chief Porter turned it this way and that.  He squinted, looking for a way of opening it.

Lorgnette opera glasses spectacles Nikodem Nijaki Wikimedia Teagan altered
Nikodem Nijaki at Wikimedia. Altered image.

Eliza eyed him curiously.  Then her brows went up in comprehension.  She turned to a table that sat beneath a porthole and picked up something that looked like the kind of opera glasses a person would hold in front of their eyes by a long handle at one side, a lorgnette.  Holding it by the long filigree stem she passed it to Garnet.

“Yes, I insist,” Eliza told him.  “If you’re a bit shortsighted, these might help.  I’ve been using them to keep an eye on, um… the weather.”

“You’ve noticed the strange cloud,” Garnet said softly and nodded.

His moustache twitched as she handed him the little spectacles.  I realized it was a point of vanity with many people, not wanting to admit to nearsightedness.  However, he thanked Eliza gracefully.

I gave Garnet a nudge of encouragement.  He took a breath and then removed a slim leather envelope from his vest pocket.  It held a few delicate looking metal instruments.  I had seen him use the tools to open locks when passengers lost the keys to their luggage.  A time or two he even helped them open their cabin doors if he didn’t want to wait for someone to fetch a skeleton key.

We had left the stateroom door open.  I was startled to see the Mate step inside.  Strange was the only word I could think of to describe his manner, which was already off kilter.

Blue John had been agitated, irritable, and nervous for weeks.  However, I had not seen the Mate quite so frazzled since the Delta Pearl reacted strongly to crossing the boundary of a state line.  In the past he was levelheaded, but at that moment his tension was tight as a drum.

Kirk Douglas as Blue John. Composite public domain and free images, tomfoolery by Teagan
Kirk Douglas as Blue John. Composite public domain and free images, tomfoolery by Teagan

“All hands, Chief Porter!” Blue John barked, then noticing Eliza, he cleared his throat.  “Um, begging yourn pardon Mrs. Needleman.”

I knew that in some situations, the crew would try and gather one another without an alarm, not wanting to worry the passengers.  I wondered what the trouble was.

On a fine silver thread, Amethyst lowered herself from the light fixture in the ceiling and onto my shoulder.  Outside the door, Onyx flew past with a flash of brass wings.  It must be truly urgent for the clockwork owl to brazenly fly inside the riverboat, where anyone might see him.

The Mate was sensitive to the inner workings of the Delta Pearl.  I had always thought he had a peculiar intuition when it came to the riverboat.  However, it had become clear, even to me, that the Delta Pearl was reacting more strongly to things that previously had merely caused a “rough spot” as one might say.

“You know how the Delta Pearl can get finicky about boundaries and such things.  I think we tarried too long at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers back at Cairo, Illinois,” Blue John commented almost as if to himself.

“I’ve seen that when strange things happen aboard ship, they’re often connected to her moving into a new time zone or crossing some line of demarcation, like the borders between states.  Just like that rough patch we had when we went from the borders of one state to the next,” Garnet replied.

“Now we’re coming up on a time zone boundary.  The Pearl is so distraught that I can barely think straight.  I don’t know how or why she seems to think our different time zones have anything to do with actual temporal shifts, but this time she insists that it does!” he said and rubbed the back of his neck.

brass alarm clocks distorted pixabay time-2801595_1280
Pixabay

Temporal shifts?  I didn’t know the term, but I had a vague idea of what it probably meant ― and it didn’t sound like it would be all beer and skittles!

***

End Chapter 49

***

As I was saying, Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure will be making the rounds.  Several people were kind enough to offer to have me visit their blogs.  Thanks in advance to them.

Friday, October 2, I’ll be in South Africa with Robbie Cheadle chatting about Ouija boards.  

Saturday, October 3, I’m in Connecticut where Dan Antion is hosting a launch party at the No Facilities Bar. 

Monday, October 5, I’ll visit Miriam Hurdle – watch out for the bubbles.

Tuesday, October 6, I’m off to Spain for a visit with Olga Núñez Miret for chat about Carl Jung.  

Wednesday, October 7, I’m in Oregon where D. Wallace Peach is hosting me. Watch out for that Tesla coil!  

Sunday October 11, I’ll be in California chatting about 1920s styles with Valentina Cirasola.  

Monday, October 19, I’m in Kentucky for Teri Polen’s festival, Bad Moon Rising.  I didn’t bring Lulu, but she came by herself. 

Be well, be happy, my chuckaboos 

 

This serial is made possible in spite of (not because of) the deplorable lack of Internet service from TDS Telecom.  They are even worse than the government about claiming no problem exists in the face of  failure.  TDS Telecom meets every complaint and service call by saying they find no problem. Their technicians come to my home and refuse to do any work or replace equipment, even when their offsite managers have instructed them to do so. They brought equipment that they openly state does not work properly. They refuse to let me talk to a manager. They refuse to promise to send someone other than the previous do-nothing tech.  They refuse to make sure the technicians have working hardware with them. My letters, emails, and tweets go unanswered.  Dear readers, please do not comment here in response to this paragraph. Just be aware of my awful experience with this so called provider.

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 © 2016 and 2020 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.

 


86 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 49 — Disassemble

    1. Ha. Sorry if that left you feeling a little “fishy about the gills”, Geoff. There’s more strangeness ahead. You might want to keep a sponge or a mop handy. For the absorption, that is. Maybe a bucket for the head spinning. 😉 Have a wonderful new week, my chuckaboo!

      Like

  1. Lots of mystery in the episode and suspense and excitement–riveting in other words. That schedule of places to be visited in days to some–is that your schedule? Stay well and busy and avoid mood traps people like you and I are too familiar with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning, David. I hope you and your wife are both doing well. I’m happy you enjoyed this. I’ve promoted the new books of several other people lately — but yes, that schedule is mine. A few more people volunteered this weekend, but I’ve asked them to simply reblog the launch post I’ll do the 30th. (I’ve been making customized posts for my hosts, and I’ve run out of energy.) It’s not a very big launch, but it’s all I can manage.
      Ah — mood traps — that’s a great term! I fell into one this weekend, and I’m trying to disentangle myself right now. Thank you for saying this. Thinking of it as a trap or snare, lets me believe I can free myself. I’m glad you’re on this riverboat, my chuckaboo.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind wish for my wife and me, I wish you all possible success in all your ventures, You are so talented there is no limit to things you find to do to express them. But don’t exhaust yourself and get miserable. Thanks again as always for sharing your work Teagan.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your cliffhangers, Teagan, especially how you introduce the disruptions. Just when we are about to discover a clue – another challenge is before us. Our attention reels to another development. Amethyst and Onyx were especially innovative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so very much, Rebecca. Your comment helped energize me during an afternoon of fatigue. The clockwork critters have to drop in now and then to keep up the steampunk atmosphere. I especially enjoy working with Amethyst. She’ll be back next weekend. Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What? You did it again! You left us hanging with a distraught First Mate and the Delta Pearl in a state of panic, with us no closer to understanding why.

    On one hand, I don’t want this story to end and yet the suspense is killing me 😏

    You have an extraordinary travel schedule this week! Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, we got the musicbox. I hope no one of the clockworks will destroy the papyrus, before we can listen what song is on it. 🙂 Great episode, Teagan! I am awaiting your blog tour with a great pleasure. Be well, stay save, feed Crystal ;), and enjoy your weekend. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, Michael — Crystal is snoring — loudly. LOL. It must be quite a dream.
      Oh, I promise I will not destroy the papyrus without letting everyone know what the song is. Although I’m beginning to fear that it might be something of a “let down”… It won’t be a huge revelation, but it will be another clue.
      Thank you for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo! A wonderful weekend to you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What’s up with the Pearl?
    The cloud, Garnet & Blue John’s unease are mystifying.
    Will Émeraude & Eliza find a message on the papyrus cylinder?
    Guess I’ll just have to come back next week!
    Lots of fun Teagan! {{{hugs}}}

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Teagan, this is another great episode! Blue John acting so strange. A mysterious music box that may hold the key to the papyrus scroll. Amethyst and Onyx are out-of-sorts. And the passengers don’t seem to be aware how much is happening on the Delta, all at no extra charge!! Lol.

    Have a great weekend. Looking forward to seeing you at Dan’s next Saturday.
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This story has me completely captivated, Teagan! The characters, the clockwork characters, the Delta Pearl herself – all of it together is just fantastic. I can’t wait to see what the trouble is that has Blue John so distraught! Well-done! By the way, if you’d like me to feature your new book release on my blog, just let me know. It is always open to guests and I think my followers would love to hear about “Hullaba LuLu!” Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan that would be lovely — thank you. My Internet problems have kept me from doing much of anything. It’s actually depressing, because that’s my lifeline. Do you work with HTML, I don’t remember?
      I’m happy you enjoy this riverboat ride, my chuckaboo.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my dear, so many news! First, it is nice to bo on board again, I am actually waiting for your new book. and whenever you like, you know where my blog is 😉Have a great weekend and good trip, send my regards to Rebecca🥰😘

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Temporal time issues are the stuff of Star Trek episodes, so I’m wondering if Captain Kirk or a klingon will show up on the riverboat. :-p

    Another great chapter, Teagan. I’m completely curious about what comes next in the life of Emeraude, the crew and passengers. And very excited for you on the book release.

    Hugs and purrs on the fur!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Mary J, I’m having enough trouble keeping Kirk and the Klingons out of my novel in progress. I’ve given them nods using some names from the original series (even though it has nothing to do with the show), and that seems to have gone to their heads. They keep knocking on the mental door. LOL.
      Heartfelt thanks for this lovely comment, my chuckaboo. Happy Caturday to Ziva and Gibbs. Hugs on the wing!

      Like

  10. Changing time zones can wreak havoc on some people, I don’t see why it couldn’t have an affect on a riverboat. Then again, I’ve gotten used to the Delta Pearl and her special nature.

    This is another fine chapter, Teagan. You’ve left us wondering about the ship, the crew, the clockwork beings and the music box. Now that I think about it, I wonder what Amethyst thought as the porter was getting ready to disassemble the music box.

    I guess we have to wait until next week.

    We are getting ready for your visit to the bar. In typical Teagan fashion, you’ve caused a bit of a mystery there as well.

    Take care. I hope you have a nice weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan, you are being so generous in spotlighting authors at the No Facilities bar. Thanks for the advance promo today. Haha, I’m beginning to wonder if your Skippy might be Lulu’s soulmate. Too bad they’re a century apart.
      Thanks so much for your feedback on this chapter. It is music to my ears when a reader speculates about what my characters might be thinking or do, without any prompting. Happy weekend to you too, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Another terrific job, Teagan. I’m getting even more anxious than usual for the next episode!!
    I’ll certainly be around Blogsville to help celebrate the launch of ‘Lulu’ and I wish you all the best with her success!!
    Tootles my dear. Take care and stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Fabulous, Teagan! Something is afoot, for sure. Thrilling! Can hardly wait until next week! And you’ve managed to include one of my things as well. You’re keeping very busy, and I look forward to the launch of Hullaba Lulu (I have my copy already)! Good luck with everything!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Olga, I’m honored that you bought Hullaba Lulu! Thanks so very much. I’m looking forward to visiting your blog.
      I’m delighted you enjoyed this chapter. Still making the transition from the original ending to the new one that this rewrite inspired. Happy weekend to you, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tim. It’s been a lot of fun meeting up with Rebecca and her husband via Zoom.
      I knew I wouldn’t have the energy (or the Internet) for a big launch — so I didn’t put out a request for volunteers. However, I wasn’t about to turn down anyone who offered to host me.
      Happy Caturday to the felines at your place. Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. You have an exciting tour coming up, Teagan. I’m in California also. One question: Is the image with three girls Lulu and her friends? I just scheduled your post tonight and included that image and referred to it as Lulu and her friends.

    Liked by 2 people

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