The Armadillo Files, Episode 10 — Featuring Resa McConaghy

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Dracula portrait sketch Resa McConaghy
Dracula portrait sketch Resa McConaghy

You’ve reached The Armadillo Files.  Stand by for nuttiness.  This started as a promotion last time for Teri Polen’s yearly October festival of horror and suspense, Bad Moon Rising.  However, along the way I decided to have my own three part Halloween celebration.  This would be part two.

 Three Random Reader Things

I remembered several magnificent sketches and mural photos from delightful Canadian blogger, Resa McConaghy.  She left sent a set of “3 things” that helped me along with this chapter. So today I’m using those.  Additionally, for the next couple of weeks I will feature her images, to continue my Halloween celebration. Resa’s random reader things for today are Jitterbug, Zoot Suit, and Armed Forces Radio Service.

Tidbits of Truth

It’s a zany sounding name for any sort of menswear, but “zoot suits” were a real thing. Learn more about them here.  Contrary to the whimsy of the fashion, the suits, which did not use fabric in an economical way, became an excuse for people wrongly calling themselves patriots to engage in horrible behavior in 1943.  It sounds sadly similar to some things today. You can learn about the Zoot Suit Riots here.  (That said, I don’t permit political comments at this blog. I’m simply relating a historical context. Since this story includes time travel, it seemed appropriate to mention. End of story. I freely admit that I’m a “blog-tater.”  Political and/or religious comments will be deleted. This is my sanctuary — a safe place for everyone to escape from the pressures of the day. )

Previously in The Armadillo Files

Last time we got better acquainted with the artificial intelligence, TROLLEY.  We learned a little about the transformations that have taken place in the spaceship, so that it can look like some kind of “entertainment establishment.”

This time Dilly will fill us in on some details of the World War II Era setting where our heroes have been sent, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  You can find all the past chapters by going to the categories on the right side of the screen.  Click on Armadillo Files.

All aboard!

10 — Where have you been?

Teri's Bad Moon Rising banner with Teagan tomfoolery
Teri’s Bad Moon Rising banner with a lot of Teagan tomfoolery


Replication resources need to recharge.  Reassessing production priorities.  Assigning primary importance to food and beverage items in support of mission cover.

The operative will have to manage with clothing options created thus far.  He will be unhappy.  Although the appropriateness of his choices in garments conflict with the time and place of this mission.

Error was made in prior assumption that he was learning to dance.  However, I am evaluating the possibility that dance lessons would be a good distraction, to prevent his excessive use of replication devices.  The Jitterbug should be sufficiently complex.

“TROLLEY, I’m really not in the mood for In the Mood.  Would you mind playing something else?  Do you have anything Halloweenie?” Tatu Pinkerton requested.

“Accessing year 1940, Glen Gray’s Boogie Woogie Man,” TROLLEY replied and began playing the song.

Just when it seemed the music was an adequate distraction, the operative spoke again.

Dracula sketch 1 Resa McConaghy
Dracula sketch by Resa McConaghy

“TROLLEY, when will the steaks I ordered be ready.  We need them by Halloween,” he asked.

“Beef steaks are currently rationed.  Though I can replicate them, it would cause suspicion and jeopardize the mission,” the artificial intelligence cautioned.

“I never understood how meat could be a weapon anyway.  Maybe bloodsuckers are allergic to cholesterol.  What else can I use if vampires attack?” he wanted to know.

“Perhaps you mean a S T A K E stake, made of sharpened wood, rather than a S T E A K steak made of meat.  It should be a nonissue.  Vampires appear to be purely mythological on earth at this point in time,” TROLLEY clarified.

“If it’s all the same to you, I’d like to be prepared,” he insisted.

“Replication resources have been reallocated to essentials.  Recommend you go outside and find a pointy stick,” TROLLEY suggested.  “Outdoor recon would be wise at this juncture.”

 ♦ ♦ ♦


Eleanor Powell circa 1940
Eleanor Powell circa 1940

It had been a long time since I had ridden a bicycle.  My leg muscles were screaming by the time I got back to the trolley car-looking spaceship.

To be honest, I was hoping for something like that cool foldable motorcycle.  However, the artificial intelligence that “replicated” food and needful things seemed to have so much to do that I felt guilty.  When it…  She?  It had a feminine voice…  Anyhow she suggested that the motorcycle would attract more attention than a bicycle.  I didn’t have the heart to ask for more.

Maybe most people would have spent the day investigating the wonders of a time traveling spaceship, but I was overwhelmed.  Especially when I couldn’t get away from the fact that my pet armadillo was actually a human— or rather a person of some undefined sort.

That said, I elected to take the bicycle and a pair of binoculars out to have a look around.  Besides, the peace and quiet seemed like a good idea, after a day of Fang’s company.

The spaceship shared the name of the artificial intelligence, TROLLEY, which was a long acronym, the words of which I had yet to memorize.  I was a botanist.  All the Latin names for plants didn’t phase me.  Technology jargon was another matter—

Anyhow the spaceship had settled outside the installation known as the Secret City.  Admittedly, there would have been a hullabaloo if the ship landed inside the place.  So, I couldn’t complain about the location of our “campsite.”

Secret City view including K-25 area 1945 Wikipedia
Secret City view including K-25 area 1945 Wikipedia

I had no idea what we were expected to do regarding the Manhattan Project.  I didn’t even know how we could get inside the “Secret City” — not for the entire 60,000 acres of it.  I supposed we could sneak over or cut through a fence, but what if we got caught?  I was a scientist, not a spy.  I got stressed just thinking about covert operations.

It was nerve-wracking just to hide in the bushes on a hillside that overlooked the Elza Gate.  I didn’t need my binoculars to get a distant look at the K-25 plant, which housed the production facilities for the Manhattan Project.  For a time, it was the largest building in the world, covering 44 acres.

I also spotted rows and rows of “hutments,” temporary housing that filled the formerly empty valleys. The sudden growth of the military’s facilities caused the local population to grow from around 3,000 in 1942 to about 75,000 in 1945.  At the height of production, the government employed almost 100,000 workers in the Secret City.

Wow, the place really is a city.  There’s even a recreation hall and a kiddy club for the children, I thought.  I wonder if they have Halloween parties for them. Monsters at a place working on the atomic bomb… that sounds like a B movie. 

With all that activity, surely we could find a way to get past the gates…  I thought sadly of my NASA identification.  They weren’t likely to accept a security clearance from a military organization that didn’t exist yet.

So, I watched things from my hiding spot for a long time.  Then I cautiously moved to another, and then another spot.  Eventually, I peddled back to the ship.

“Dilly, you were gone all day.  Where have you been?” Fang demanded when he saw me ride up to the entrance of the transformed spaceship.  “Did you bring a pumpkin?  I asked TROLLEY for one, but she gave me puree.  You can’t carve a jack-o-lantern from puree.”

Men in Zoot Suits 1946 Wikipedia
Men in Zoot Suits 1946 Wikipedia

“Fang, are you wearing a zoot suit?” I asked, ignoring his question.  “Don’t get me wrong.  It’s an improvement over the pink fishnets and leather short-shorts.”

He sashayed a few paces away, waving around a long, pointed stick.  Then he did a pirouette and strutted back on his pretend catwalk.

“Note our model’s long coat with wide lapels.  Also, the trousers are high-waisted, but wide-legged and tightly cuffed, lending contrast to the wide padded shoulders of the coat,” he replied in a fashion commentator voice.

“Hurry up and get inside, Dilly.  It’ll be dark soon and the vampires will be out!” he added abruptly as he rushed back to TROLLEY’s entrance.

“Vamp—” I began but was so startled by his remark that I started coughing.  “Vampires?  How did you come up with that?  You certainly didn’t hear it on the Armed Forces Radio Service.”

Teenage Vampire She Sees You 2014, photo by Resa McConaghy
Teenage Vampire She Sees You 2014, photo by Resa McConaghy

“Don’t you remember that wolf howling last night?  I’m not about to take a chance with bloodsuckers.  I’d be a gourmet treat for them!” he responded indignantly.

“Wouldn’t a wolf’s howl be for a werewolf?” I said before I thought about his reaction.

He shrieked.  I grabbed his arm to stop him from flailing around in a circle again.

“But yes, let’s go inside.  Just calm down,” I added.  “I’m exhausted and sweaty.  Can you show me how to use that sonic shower contraption?  But this time, don’t try to get in it with me — and for God’s sake keep your clothes on.”

 ♦ ♦ ♦

I hope I was able to keep you entertained, despite all the history that was necessary for the story.  Hugs on the wing!

In other news, the October issue of Dead of Winter is now available.  Here are some of the characters.

Dead of Winter 10 Characters promo by Teagan R. Geneviene
Teagan R. Geneviene


Dead of Winter — All the Journeys

Universal Purchase Links

Journey 10, Pergesca



Journey 9, Doors of Attunement



Journey 8, The Lost Library



Journey 7, Revenant Pass



Journey 6, The Fluting Fell



Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls



Journey 4, The Old Road



Journey 3, the Fever Field



Kobo:  Dead of Winter: Journey 3, the Fever Field eBook by Teagan Riordain Geneviene – 1230004609599 | Rakuten Kobo United States

Journey 2, Penllyn




Journey 1, Forlorn Peak



Kobo:  Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak eBook by Teagan Geneviene – 1230004446033 | Rakuten Kobo United States


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 © 2021 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.


85 thoughts on “The Armadillo Files, Episode 10 — Featuring Resa McConaghy

  1. Your stories always entertain, Teagan. I love the line, “You can’t carve a jack-o-lantern from puree.” And it’s great to see Resa here, too. Her artwork is exceptional, and the talent of you two together is overflowing. Great post and sorry to arrive late. Also, my new random things are cigarette holder, chandelier, and Apple Brown Betty.
    Happy Halloween! 🧡🍂🍁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly. Now I’m struggling to get caught up with 11… But I had fun today, writing some all new material for it (the rest is 10 years old).
      LOL, I’m glad you mentioned that line. I remember moms shouting “Go outside and play!” Big hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I could give you a chuckle, Jan. LOL. It just seemed like something that might happen with an artificial intelligence. After I wrote that, I ran across a Smithsonian article where long ago some people carved faces on turnips rather than pumpkins. I think I posted it on Facebook. Thanks for being on the TROLLEY. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad Michael at OIKOS reblogged you, this post did not appear in my Reader page yesterday!!
    You did a great job – I would have really been upset if I missed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great sketched by Resa! Thanks for sharing all the intriguing information, packaged into a wonderful and nice episode. For wearing a zoot suit i should grow a little bit more. Lol Indeed, i love this style. Thanks, Teagan! I hope you can enjoy a nice Sunday! Big hugs, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for another delightful story. I enjoyed your words, I do not know what more that I can say than those that are contained in the many comments. Vampires and halloween and spooks are good subjects for this time of year. I enjoyed that you are riding a bicycle! Waiting for next exciting post! ! !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Make no mistake, if the steak was raw, dripping with blood and you threw it at the vampire he/she would probably lick it clean. That would give you enough time to run away and find a stake.
    Then you would only have to lie in wait ( a stakeout if you will) for the moment of impalement.
    Ahh, ’tis the season(ing)!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Teagan!
    I feel like a Blog Star today!
    The 3 things worked in nicely, and I’m thrilled you are using my drawings!
    Feel free to use whatever you want, whenever!
    It was a great episode, and perfect for the season.

    Wow! I am totally honoured! {{{HUGS}}}

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fang and Halloween seem like a good pair. Zoot Suits. Now there’s a blast from the past! I think Dilly is getting a run for her money on this trip. Trying to keep Fang “contained” will be a major job for Dilly. Hope she’s up to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Deborah. You should see her drawings of gowns at her Art Gowns blog.
      Over the years several male coworkers complained to me that men don’t have as many fashion options as women. I usually suggested starting a trend of wearing kilts. That wasn’t usually appreciated, LOL. But they weren’t complaining to the right woman — when they make at least 30% more for the same work, that buys a lot of fashion.
      Hugs on the wing.


  8. Whack a vampire with a steak and kill him with cholesterol! Hahahahaha! You are too much sometimes. I love Resa’s sketches. Fang should take care in that zoot suit. He might start a riot.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Episode 10 – Journey 10 and I’d give you ten out of ten for this episode, Teagan. Well done and just the thing to get my mind spinning into gear today. : I love “Recommend you go outside and find a pointy stick,” I wish I could have written “help” comments like that into the systems I wrote. Dilly is getting the lay of the land, Fang is working out the details (and trying to keep the vampires at bay). I think it’s going to be a fun autumn in Tennessee.

    I hope you have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love Reza’s sketches and look forward to seeing more of them in coming books (and I’ll check her blog as well). I enjoy the historical tidbits, and I would be as fascinated as Dilly by the place, I am sure. I can only imagine what Fang must look like now! I agree with Trolley, though. Trying to keep him from making a show of himself will be difficult! Fabulous episode, Teagan!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I have a memory of my father talking about a zoot that he wore to a firework party (we have this thing called Bonfire night every 5th Nov to celebrate the exposure of the gunpowder plot in 1600 something to blow up Parliament which is an excuse to burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes and set off fireworks). In the story he is chatting to/up my mother when some flap of material is hit with a rogue spinning wheel setting it on fire. Ah let’s hope Fang fares better…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Horsefeathers! I’m sure that was very funny in the telling. Although having it happen must have been terrifying. Most fabrics weren’t exactly flame-retardant back then. Geoff, you might have just gotten Fang into even more trouble. Hmmm. 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing.


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