The Armadillo Files, Episode 12 — Featuring Beth

Saturday, November 6, 2021

To Have and Have Not Argentinean Poster 1944
“To Have and Have Not” Argentinean Movie Poster 1944

You’ve reached The Armadillo Files.  Stand by for zaniness.

Three Random Reader Things

This episode features “things” from Beth at the I Didn’t Have My Glasses On blog.  Beth’s three things are Post Office, Bicycle, and Tomatoes.  I know I’ve used bicycle already, but it’s back with the rest of her “things.”  

Tidbits of Truth

There’s one hairstyle for women that I always associate with the World War II Era.  I didn’t know the name for it until I researched.  It’s “Victory rolls.” Learn more about it here.

I’m giving a nod via the names for some new, probably minor characters. Although only the things know for sure if they will remain minor.  I used a book and film of the era, “To Have and Have Not” for their names. The nod is to Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. I also took the name for “little Frankenstein’s” big sister from the list of characters.  At the end of the post, you’ll find a link to the radio play version of “To Have and Have Not.”

Previously in The Armadillo Files

Delilah Faraday and Tatu Pinkerton, aka Fang, got the spaceship transformed, although TROLLEY did most of the work. Dilly went out snooping around the outskirts of the Secret City.  Then they met some trick-or-treaters, and the big sister of one of them had gone missing.

All aboard!

12 — How did you know?

Dilly

Post Office Oak Ridge TN 1948 Wikimedia
Post Office, Oak Ridge TN 1948 Wikimedia

Fang and I looked all around, late Halloween night, in case the little boy’s sister was in the nearby woods.  Although TROLLEY didn’t detect any one.  Still, it was reasonable to assume she and the kids had found each other.  A touch of worry nagged at me just the same.

The next morning, Fang said something about going downtown.  I asked what he had in mind.  To my surprise, he said the Post Office.

“Prime uses some low-tech backup measures,” he started.  “There will be a post office box for me.  I need to check it at the beginning of a mission just incase there’s been a cosmic snafu and Prime or another operative had to communicate, but couldn’t use the normal ways.”

Meanwhile, I occupied myself by arranging items the artificial intelligence “replicated.”  I started making the transformed spaceship look the way I imagined a 1940s bar-and-grill.

I was sweeping the walkway when a man approached.  He appeared to be an ordinary working man, but the way he moved and spoke made me think of a movie tough-guy.

However, he took off his cap when he greeted me.  He was too polite for any sort of thug, despite his air.  He introduced himself as Harry Morgan.

Victory Rolls hairstyle at "Yank - the Army Weekly" 1944 Wikipedia
Victory Rolls hairstyle at “Yank – the Army Weekly” 1944 Wikipedia

With calloused but nimble fingers, Harry produced a photograph of a woman.  He wanted to know if she had been there.

My first thought was that the photo was going to be of the girl, the big sister from whom Little Frankenstein and his friends were separated.

However, the picture was not of any teenaged girl.  It was a woman, and a beautiful one at that.  Her hair was done into “Victory rolls” framing her face.

Unconsciously touching my unruly hair, I couldn’t imagine the work it would take to get her hair to do that.

“All the curling, back-combing, and pinning… it would take me hours if I tried to do that myself,” I murmured.

“Marie always has been fussy with her hair.  Wanted it to be just so.  Marie Browning, that’s her name.  She works as a dorm mother, chaperoning one group of the high school girls they hired to monitor and maintain the fancy secret machinery at the Y-12 Plant.  Clinton Engineer Works, they call it, but that’s all a front for some big war secret.  Everybody hereabouts knows that much,” Harry told me, and I nodded knowingly.

Maybe I picked up the man’s worry, but I had an uneasy feeling.  I didn’t think my unease had anything to do with him, despite the fact that he had the look of a tough-guy.

He scratched his stubbled chin.  As he tucked Marie’s photo into a rumpled overcoat, his broad shoulders slumped.  When he turned to leave, I noticed a slight limp.  It reminded me that Fang was supposed to affect a limp as a visible reason for not joining the military, like most men.

Melton Lake autumn Oak Ridge TN Wikipedia
Melton Lake autumn near Oak Ridge TN Wikipedia

Speak of the devil, or in this case think of him, I thought.

Just then Fang rode up on the bicycle, still wearing the zoot suit.  With a hopeful air, Harry showed Fang the picture.

How could I remind Fang to limp?

I gritted my teeth as the erstwhile armadillo agilely hopped off the bicycle and drew the man to the umbrella table that we had setup earlier that morning.

Fang pulled out a chair and motioned for him to sit.  Then my companion leaned down to sniff the guy!  I flushed.  Harry Morgan recoiled, but not overtly.  I got the impression that it wasn’t the first time he had encountered people who were at least a little strange.

“She sure is a looker,” Fang commented with a low whistle, and then handed the photograph back to the guy.  “Say, where’s that foldable motorcycle of yours?”

“The front tire blew.  How’d—” the man began, but Fang was already moving away.

“Hang on, buddy.  The Pink Armadillo isn’t open yet, but I’ll get us some coffee,” Fang added.

Then he took the stairs up to TROLLEY two at a time.  So much for the “limp.”

“He’s not all there, is he?” the man commented, but didn’t seem to expect an answer.

It occurred to me that he might have just suggested an alternative cover for Fang.  I’d have to worry less about the odd way he acted and dressed if it was assumed that he was… unstable.

“You’re farther off the road than I expected.  I left my old heap parked on the shoulder,” Harry continued, looking toward the unseen road before turning to me curiously.  “That won’t be good for business.”

“Umm, I know…  I hired somebody to cut and gravel a driveway for us, but they took the deposit and ran off,” I dissembled.

Wanting to change the subject, I stuck out my hand before I thought about whether we were supposed to have false names to go along with Fang’s fake limp.  After all, Fang was “the operative” not me.  I was a botanist, and utterly unaccustomed to any sort of intrigue.

“Sorry I didn’t introduce myself, Harry.  I’m Dilly Faraday, and that was Fa— Tatu Pinkerton.  He usually goes by Fang,” I said, my words stumbling at the end, when the pseudonym question popped into my head.

Harry Morgan shook my proffered hand.

“Have you been to the police?” I asked, indicating the woman’s photograph.

Man at Sign What you see here etc Oak Ridge TN 1940s
Man at “What you see here” sign, Oak Ridge, TN circa 1944

He gave a snort and rubbed the stubble on his chin again.  Then he shook his head and gave me another look.  That time his expression was closer to suspicion than curiosity.

“Nobody’s going to touch anything that has to do with the Secret City,” he grumbled.  “Haven’t you seen the billboards around town?  What you see here, What you do here, What you hear here, When you leave here, let it stay here,” he quoted.

Just then Fang came out of TROLLEY, carrying an enormous tray.  He stumbled.  I winced when I saw that long pink armadillo tail flash out behind him, and touch a stair to steady him.  Fortunately, Morgan had his back to the “entertainment establishment” and was preoccupied with returning the photo to the breast pocket of his overcoat.

“Tail!” I hissed into Fang’s ear as he bent toward the table with the tray.

“Pardon me,” he muttered with a tiny fart sound and the tail disappeared.

The tray was laden with all the parts of a hearty southern breakfast.  The sight of fluffy golden biscuits, sausage, white gravy, eggs, grits, sliced tomatoes, bacon, and peach preserves made my stomach rumble.  Harry Morgan looked at the spread like it was also more than he could resist.

“Dig in,” I encouraged.

I pulled Fang aside, pretending to ask if we had plenty of supplies.  However, as soon as we were a few steps away I whispered my real question.

“Why did you ask him about the foldable motorcycle?  How did you know?” I asked.

“I recognized his smell,” Fang stated in a tone that suggested that should have been obvious.

“And the woman in the photo?  That’s not the ‘big sister’ the kids were looking for last night, right?” I added.

“How would I know?  I can hear pretty darned good, and my sense of smell is good.  But I can’t see worth a damn.  You know that,” he replied.

Elza Gate Oak Ridge TN 1945 Wikipedia
Elza Gate, Oak Ridge, TN 1945 Wikipedia

“They were passing out flyers down near the E Gate,” Fang went on in a normal voice as we returned to the umbrella table.  “You know I can’t see without my lenses, err without my glasses.  What does it say?” he asked, handing me the flyer.

Morgan looked up from his food, startled.  He didn’t seem to know about it the missing teenager.

I read the flyer aloud.  It named the girl, Hellene de Bursac.  The description included her age, height, weight, hair color.  She had not been seen since she took the children out trick-or-treating.

“Another one!” Morgan snarled.  “Marie was right.  If the Calutron girls find out about the wrong things… then they just disappear.”

 ♦ ♦ ♦

As I was saying, Marie Browning and Steve Morgan were characters played by Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in the film version of Hemmingway’s To Have and Have Not.  I haven’t seen or read it, but I understand that the film has a happy ending, unlike the book. I found the film available to watch/stream via Amazon Prime. It’s probably at several other places too. Here’s the radio play at YouTube, but I don’t know whether it has the movie ending or the one from Hemmingway’s book.
 

♦ ♦ ♦

The mystery is layering up. I love to hear from you, so be sure to stop and say hello.  Whether your comment is to me or another commenter, keep it friendly.  Hugs on the wing!

♦ ♦ ♦

Dead of Winter, All the Journeys

Universal Purchase Links

Journey 10, Pergesca

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09J6TH8TD

Paperback:  relinks.me/B09J7GFWYV

Journey 9, Doors of Attunement

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09F8Y5DML

Paperback:  relinks.me/B09F1BB9RW

Journey 8, The Lost Library

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09C6MPTYT

Paperback:  relinks.me/B09C34XR7P

 

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.

 


86 thoughts on “The Armadillo Files, Episode 12 — Featuring Beth

    1. Hi Christine. My hair was always too “fine” to hold back-combing (we called it ‘teasing’). I couldn’t even get a small lift on top of my head when that was so popular in the 90s. Victory rolls or bouffants were out of the question. LOL. I’m happy you enjoyed this. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know what you mean. I have fine hair too. Bouffant hairdos we’re popular in the 60s. I used a lot of hairspray. 😉 Still do a page boy style for years. Your imaginative episodes help me to think more freely in writing. My final editing (with the editor) reflects that. Hugs back, my friend. 📚🎶

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Love the idea of the cafe…The Pink Armadillo. LOL!!
    Yes, things are developing nicely.
    It’s great having new characters. What a hoot that Fang has a tail issue!

    It appears as though the email notifications aren’t arriving any more. Anyway, I put you in one of those square things on my opening page that goes right to your blog. Saturdays and Wednesdays, I can remember that!
    My Following is still there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Resa. I’m sorry about the notices. WordPress is always unfollowing people. I finally gave up, after spending hours re-doing everyone that I try to follow — several times.
      I’m happy you enjoyed this chapter. Yikes! It’s already time to write the next one. I need to see what the “things” bring. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. In a way, David. I like to feature old movies with this serial as a sort of bonus to readers. When I can provide a link to a free video or book, I do.
      Generally, you are correct. I don’t watch a lot of movies, but when I’m writing, I try to see each scene clearly, as if on my mental screen. I do it with pacing too — with the flow of longer works, I consider the types of places where TV shows would stop for a commercial. I’ve never tried my hand at screenplay writing, though several people have suggested it. I’m daunted by unfamiliarity with the required format.
      I hope you’re having a happy and sassy week, my friend. Hugs on the wing.

      Like

    1. Haha. Thanks, Jan.
      Ya know! Between the bobby pins in the hair, and the staves in girdles… the 40s was only minutely better than the Victorian corsets and bustles. Although, I can imagine they’d think we were “the pot calling the kettle black” if they saw all the waxing and plastic surgery that women do today. LOL, it’s a good thing that neither timeline of this story is in this century. I can already imagine Fang getting a Brazilian. o_O

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great episode, the mystery continues. Can’t wait for the next installment. Victory rolls made a come back. My daughter had her hair done that way for her college pictures. Lots of hairspray and bobby pins 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The intrigue intensifies! Another great episode, Teagan. I like the way your come up with names, and now I know that “Victory rolls” are. They make me think of Lucille Ball. Didn’t she wear those? Thanks for another fun episode and Happy Writing!

    Like

    1. Ummm probably. She was better known for her “poodle cut” in the 50s. It’s funny the number of things they managed to name “victory” one thing or another in the 40s. I suppose it’s a good lesson in positive thinking. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Victory rolls are beyond me. I can nicely manage a ponytail, though. The layers of Fang/Pinkerton are something to anticipate each week. You continue to outdo yourself each week. I look forward to Saturdays to see what the next episode will bring. Could you imagine what Fang could do on the Pearl?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Horsefeathers, I think the Captain and the Dealer would likely throw him into the river before long. Although he might get along famously with my Cornelis Drebbel character, but that was before your time. Thanks for being on this TROLLEY. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your reply about Fang being tossed into the river by the Captain and the Dealer brought a huge smile to my face. Thanks for indulging my small cross-serial ponderings. Have a terrific week and hugs by return electrons. Will the new Journey be ready soon? Anxiously awaiting further adventures there.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My self-challenge with the editing is getting the better of me. I always intended to re-write the ending part with the villain. As I get close to the end of the over all Journey I’m doing a lot of new writing and a lot of time-consuming reorganizing of scenes. So it’s taking me longer. Then PTSD inevitably rears it’s ugly head to slow me down even further. I have to ensure that the quality does not slip due to all that. Quality over speed. I had hoped for midweek, but now I’m uncertain again.
          However, the new scenes are giving me ideas for both prequels and sequels. Oh, so many ideas all the time…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. While this might be wonderful for your readers, if you are at all like me, a busy little brain does not bode well for a peaceful slumber. LIke any baby (chick or human) it will be hatched when it is ready. We can wait. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Another terrific episode, How do you do it! I enjoyed the comments about the hair styles. And, I found it interesting that you included the season of Halloween. Thank you and keep up the interesting stories! !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Michael — and for mentioning the research. Yes, I research for every post and story, as well as looking for (or making) the right images. I got a little carried away on Friday, collecting photos. LOL. However, I will probably use most of them, eventually. I enjoy adding a little history to the fantasy, and I’m glad that you like it too. Big hugs back to you from Crystal (who is enjoying her morning nap-1) and me.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Kamal. I let myself get carried away yesterday, finding all the old photos. It was a bit of a tangent, but I have several more for future use.
      Wishing you a sparkling Diwali and/or Deepavali. I hope you’re having a beautiful holiday. Hugs on the wing.

      Like

      1. Welcome always dear Teagan and do keep more pictures with the continuation of your story. Diwali is celebrated in a very big way in India and we are all having a marvelous time. Happy Diwali to you and your family too. Lot’s of love and hugs 🤗❤️🤗❤️🤗❤️

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s lovely to see you, Willow. Applesauce! I had to look up Edgewood Arsenal. That is seriously chilling. I’ve wanted to write something about the Calutron Girls for years. Even though this is a hugely whimsical story — and the real story of the girls barely comes into play, I couldn’t resist including them when one of the “reader things” took me to the area and another “thing” took me to the era. I try to add a little real-world history to the fantasy fun. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, those “victory rolls” created a stunningly attractive hair style for women then. Fang continues to be a great source of fun. I think pretending to be a couple short of a six pack won’t be a stretch for him! Gotta love playing Fang.

    But these missing girls….now that’s ominous. One more twist in this unpredictable tale. That “What You See” sign would’ve scared the bejesus out of me back then…..which is what it was intended to do. It scares me even now reading such a warning/threat.

    Don’t forget to turn back your clocks ⏰. Wouldn’t want to miss that extra hour of sleep and the added hours of darkness!
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, those signs are a creepy “Big Brother is watching” type thing. I found photos of the same phrase on other signs, and other statements about keeping the secret. It seems they were all around the town.
      As I detailed in the previous episode, the local population was very small before the “project” started. Can you imagine living there and watching all that happen? It must have been surreal. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing!

      Like

  7. I feel like a fish on the line, Teagan. You are reeling me in, week by week. I like how Fang’s flighty mental state worked out for for him. I’m getting nervous about the young women, but I trust that you have this under control. I am going out for breakfast later this morning – I think that’s a good thing after reading the description of that tray – yum.

    Earlier this week=k, I watched “The Maltese Falcon” and “Casablanca” on TCM (I think). There’s nothing better than Bogart when you’re trying to escape into a movie.

    I hope you have a nice easy weekend. Make sure you put that extra hour to goos use, i.e. sleep 😴

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yeah… I made myself awfully hungry when I wrote that, Dan.
      Thanks for the movie recommendations. I have seen Casablanca, but not much else from Bogart. The “nods” to it just came along as a side-effect of the research I did yesterday. A tangent.
      The time change slipped up on me this time. Illusive sleep — an extra hour is always welcome. Have a wonderful time this weekend. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I also agree that Fang’s odd mental state would work better as an excuse. I didn’t know the name of the victory rolls, although I’d seen many pictures of them (and I have friends quite fond of vintage dresses and hairstyles). The story is getting so intriguing now! I am sure I’ve watched To Have and To Have Not at least a couple of times, but I can’t remember much about it. And it is not one of the Hemingway novels I have read. Bogart and Bacall always sparkled on screen, so I’ll have to check it again. Stay well, Teagan, and keep the adventures coming! (Love the What you See Sign!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The history of the book to film is interesting, Olga. Yesterday I was reading that Charles Scribner (publisher) told Hemingway that it was his worst book — but that it would make a great film. WWII was happening as the filming began, so they felt they had to change the book’s setting, and the ending is different.
      Hugs on the wing!

      Like

  9. Playing it bonkers is probably a better option for flighty Fang. And I haven’t read ‘snafu’ in an age! I shall have to purloin that one!! Nicey creepy too.where have all the woman go. One can hope it’s to see the local dance band and not to become reinforcements in some new foundations…

    Like

  10. I think his alleged mental state worked better than a limp 🙂 You now have me wondering what’s happening to the women, or teens in town. Good mystery mixed in. Xo

    Liked by 2 people

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