The Armadillo Files, Episode 27 — What side-effects?

Saturday, March 26, 2022

You’ve reached The Armadillo Files. We now resume your regularly scheduled program.

Random Reader Things

This episode features three random reader things from a non-blogging reader in Maryland who wishes to remain anonymous.  They worked nicely for the latest setting, and helped me get to writing this episode.  Those things are:  knight, robe, and necklace.

Previously in The Armadillo Files

Dilly and Fang “landed” in a cave that appears to be in tenth century Bagdad. They ran afoul of Ali Baba’s wicked brother, Cassim.  He’s a greedy guy who might have sold them into slavery, given the chance.  Fortunately, Fang remembered reading Cassim’s dossier.  Hmmm… that may or may not have anything to do with the fate of the missing Calutron Girls in the 1940s. Only the “things” know for sure.  Frankly, I have no idea. By the way, it turned out Ali Baba is a woman.

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!

27 — What side-effects?

Promo image by Teagan Riordain Geneviene
Promo image by Teagan


Nervously, I watched in the direction the wild-eyed man had gone.  My eyes returned to the black-haired woman when she spoke.

“Try not to be concerned about my shameful excuse for a brother,” she started.  “He is greedy and wicked, but not too difficult to control.”

“Maybe for you,” Fang interjected.  “But his dossier is a mile long.  He might not be as skilled as a Sarasin knight, but I wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley.”

Fang was the farthest thing from a tough guy.  Plus, he rarely took things seriously.  If Cassim gave him even a little concern, then I was frightened.  Suddenly unsteady, I eased back down to the cave floor.

“What thieves was he talking about?  Maybe we should go somewhere else.  Wait a minute…  Ali Baba… you don’t mean that you’re the Ali Baba,” I asked the woman, dumbfounded.

“You are correct,” she replied with a mischievous glint in her dark eyes.  “Sadly, even in your time it will be a long while before people do not automatically assume that one with fame or power — or even humble Prime operatives are men.”

A distant shriek came from outside.  It was followed by a crash and a volley of curses.  I jumped.  However, Ali Baba only heaved an annoyed sigh.

“If you will pardon me.  The thieves require too much supervision.  I shall return directly,” she remarked and flowed out of the cave in billowing silks.

Fang was somewhere in the shadows.  I heard him shifting wooden crates and muttering about not being suitably dressed.

I stood carefully, making sure I was steady.  Then I straightened my blue striped gown and adjusted the big bow, which happily came into fashion replacing the bustle.  I thought about the woman’s pantaloons and silk robe.  That triggered a worrisome thought.

“Please tell me that we are not in tenth century Bagdad,” I called out to Fang and his affirmative reply made me groan.  “Did whoever is messing with time and the Manhattan Project really come this far back in history to change the outcome of WWII?  That must have taken a great deal of complex, detailed planning.”

“I thought so at first, but now I’m not so sure.  He, or maybe she, might have come back here to hide,” Fang began.  “You know… running into Cassim makes me wonder if the timeline of the Calutron Girls wasn’t just altered.  It’s possible that the girls might have been pulled out of the timeline — kidnapped.  Going this far back would be a good place for the enemy to hold them without screwing up any of his other plans.”

“Do really you think the brother of a Prime operative could be involved in all this?” I asked, following the sound of his voice farther into the cave.

“Cassim has a history of that kind of thing.  But don’t necessarily mean him.  It’s just that seeing him caused me to think of the scenario,” he explained.  “Come here and help me look, Dilly.  I need to find that metronome.”


I found him sitting beside an open crate, trying on a pair of curly-toed shoes.  They were bright orange velvet.  He held up one foot and used it to make a circle in the air.

Mention of the metronome gave me pause.  I vaguely remembered Fang saying something about one while I struggled back to consciousness.  I asked what he meant.

“Prime facilities keep metronomes for…  Umm, in case of side-effects,” he paused and looked at me uneasily, then lifted my hair to look at my ears.  “They’re still okay.”

“What are you doing?” I said, batting his hand away.  “And what do you mean by side-effects.  Of what?”

His mouth tightened.  It was obvious that he didn’t want to talk about it.  I had to push the issue.

“Prime operatives have to be prepared physically for time travel.  If regular humans time travel more than once in a blue moon, there can be… side-effects,” he admitted, and I gasped.  “Don’t freak out, Dilly.  The metronome can sort of re-regulate the human system.  Besides, the effects won’t kill you or anything.  It might cause minor changes to your appearance.  But it’s really no big deal.”

“No big deal?  I might know whether or not it’s a big deal if you were making a lick of sense!” I declared and took a calming breath.

“Maybe it’s in there,” I suggested pointing to a boulder that stood against the wall.  “I heard a big stone moving while I was waking up.  If there’s a hidden door, like at the Lost Sea cave, that should be the place for it.  How are you going to open it?”

Bounding to his oddly clad feet, Fang planted a kiss on my cheek and exclaimed that I was a genius.  He started waving his arms at the boulder.

“Now… what was it?” he muttered.  “Oatmeal!” he shouted flourishing his arms, but nothing happened.  “Fruit Loops!  Come on…  Ah…  Cheese grits!  No?  I know it’s something about breakfast.  Ah!  I remember.  Bagel!”

“Do you mean open sesame?  Isn’t that the magic word?” I asked wryly.

“Shhh!  Don’t call her!” he cried in dismay, prancing a circle in those orange curly shoes.  “That’s not a magic word.  It’s her name!”

Stone rumbled and the boulder slowly moved aside.  A woman bent to come through the opening.  She was over seven feet tall and strongly built.  When she looked at Fang, her eyes lit.

“Dilly Faraday, meet Sesame,” Fang introduced and promptly swooned.

♦ ♦ ♦

Fabrizio at Pixabay
Fabrizio at Pixabay

“Tatu Pinkerton!  My habibi, it has been so long!” the towering woman exclaimed in a voice that was unexpectedly demure.

Sesame scooped up Fang in one arm.  Ignoring his faint, she cooed all the while.  Or maybe she was used to that behavior from him.  He opened one eye to steal a look at her and quickly closed it again.

“Oh, so be it.  I know you dislike public displays of affection,” Sesame said and gently let Fang to the cave floor.

“Are you a genie?” I asked in awe, causing her and Fang both to giggle.  “Give me a break.  I just met manatees with dominion over time itself.  It’s not out of like for me to ask about genies.”

“I am no djinn,” she piped.  “I have no great magic, but I do have great strength.  I am the opener of the secret cave.”

“Sesame, Dilly needs a metronome,” Fang told her with a discrete look at me that seemed to suggest that the woman should not tell too much.

She tilted her head, flashy gold earrings swinging.  She looked behind me at the big bow of my gown.

“It is somewhat difficult to tell with that bow to hide things.  However, I do not think it has gone very far.  Not yet…” Sesame murmured.

“What are you two talking about?” I wanted to know.

The extremely tall woman disappeared into the expanse of the secret part of the cave.  I looked at Fang, ready to shake him to make him explain.  However, she quickly returned.  Smiling, she held a necklace.

“We do not have a metronome, but this should help.  It will delay any time travel side-effects,” she added as she bent to put the chain around my neck.

A small, but intricately cased watch hung from the gold chain.  I put it to my ear.  There was a rhythmic tick, but much slower than that of a clock.  It made a quiet hum.  It was also warm to the touch.  I gazed up at Sesame, bewildered.

“A necklace-watch?” I asked both curious and worried.  “Is it important that I keep track of time?”

“It is not an ordinary clock.  It works similarly to the metronome.  It should delay the effects of time travel.  You should wear it at all times,” she assured me.

“What side-effects?” I cried again, and louder that time.

♦ ♦ ♦

Now we know about the metronome…  but side-effects for Dilly?  Tune in next time.  Hugs on the wing!

♦ ♦ ♦

Breaking News:  Through the magic of the Time Manatees, today I’m in two places at once! I’m honored to visit Dan Antion’s virtual bar for a discussion about what’s behind the characters in Dead of Winter.  Click over and join us.

♦ ♦ ♦

DoW 13 Harbor

Journey 13, The Harbor is now available!  The 14th novelette will conclude the series.

Dead of Winter — All the Journeys

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Journey 4, The Old Road



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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 © 2022 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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69 thoughts on “The Armadillo Files, Episode 27 — What side-effects?

  1. Yes… what side effects? Of course Dilly is now protected, or is she. Maybe there will still be minor side effects…like her hair changes colour, or she grows an extra toe? Well, guess I’ll have to keep tuning in to find out!
    Thank you, Teagan! Your writing is a gift to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fang continues to entertain, Teagan. What a great character. And I love the addition of Open Sesame. Lol. Just the name cracks me up. Dilly gets to play the “straight woman,” which is quite fun. I hope she doesn’t suffer any side effects, but who knows…. Thanks for another entertaining episode!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, when Sesame popped into my head, I couldn’t resist. Thanks for sticking with this crazy ride.
      I’m honored to see your review today of Journey 12, Goddesses. It means a lot to me that you’ve stayed with Dead of Winter too. I hope your new week is more relaxing and a comfortable pace. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And so your interesting story continues! So Ala Baba is a woman! ! And, I am glad that Fang is still around. I enjoyed this chapter very much, you continue to amaze! Keep up the good work! !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Ms. Frances. Thanks so much for spending part of your day here. I enjoy your comments so much. Now Fang has new shoes to keep him entertained. Ah, but those side-effects for Dilly… We’ll have to see how that turns out. 😉 Stay safe and well. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Ms. Frances. I’ve decided that I have to take a “break” from other things, if I’m ever going to finish “Dead of Winter.” I will try to keep Fang’s story going, but there may be interruptions to it as well. Love & hugs.


  4. Ok, the bow on Dilly’s gown has me wondering what it’s hiding. Side effects are never good, so l hope the watch/necklace helps to prevent them. We are going to see the Time Manatees again, right? They are fabulous!

    I LOVE Sesame. She’s a hoot! And she loves Fang! My, my. And I think he has feelings for her too. Yep, opposites do attract. 🤗

    Very enjoyable episode Teagan.

    Wishing you a relaxing and fulfilling weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great to see you, Ginger. Thanks for this comment. You know… the Time Manatees sneaked into the story. All I ever meant for them to be was mythology. But now that they’ve taken over this mission (taken it from Prime), I guess they will have to come back. I’m in full-on pantser mode with this story now, so who knows! A beautiful weekend to you too, my friend. Hugs on the wing!


  5. I like where you went with this episode, Teagan. i hope the watch will prevent adverse side-effects from bothering Dilly. I’m beginning to wonder about the world around us. Who’s in charge…really? This story is curious, but I am enjoying the journey these two are on. To borrow a term from the 60s (since we’re messing with time) Fang is a trip.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Pat. I’m glad you’re part of this nutty ride. The Time Manatees seem to have become favorites. We’ll have to see them at least one more time before it’s done. 🙂 Happy spring, my friend. Hugs winging back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. I’m so glad you liked that, GP. It popped into my head, and I couldn’t resist. That immediately led to Sesame herself. Thanks for being part of this crazy trip.
      … Questions just came to me… Is Sesame actually an operative? The rest of Ali Baba’s crew are. If so, then to what kind of animal might she transform? 🧐 Hmmm…
      Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on Just Olga and commented:
    Teagan Geneviene​’s Story, The Armadillo Files, reaches episode 27, and things are getting mysterious and funny as well. New characters appear and there is talk of metronomes and side-effects, so, make sure to catch up!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The story is getting hilarious as well as mysterious, Teagan. You have me wondering at the bow… What might it be hiding? Yes, indeed, what side-effects? And Open Sesame! Love it and her! Funnily enough, although I didn’t know it when the whole Ali-Baba cave motif started, if everything goes well (fingers crossed!) I’ll be visiting Alexandria, in Egypt, in April, so I’m wondering about the curly-toed shoes. They are quite gorgeous! Thanks for the fun journey, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Olga. I was lucky to find that image of the shoes — especially in orange.
      Ooo, now that is quite a trip! Maybe you’ll see “things” that inspire another setting. Safe travels, my friend. Hugs on the wing!


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