The Armadillo Files, Episode 34, Why do you have that? — Featuring Resa McConaghy

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Welcome.  You’ve reached Teagan’s Books.  The Time Manatees have intercepted your transmission. There is nothing wrong with your electronic device. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. The Forty Ferrets are controlling this transmission. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… The Armadillo Files.  Stay tuned for zaniness.  

Random Reader Things

Fountain at Lake Ontario Beach, Resa McConaghy
Fountain at Lake Ontario Beach, Resa McConaghy

This serial is almost finished.  To give myself a change, my next project involves images, rather than “things.” Recently I asked photographers and artists to send me (via email or through links where the images are posted) three images that are “generally related” one another (unlike the randomness of the reader things I need for serials).  I’ll use them to inspire short stories.  Resa McConaghy responded with several, including the one above.  I can imagine this fountain near the bazar where we left Dilly, Fang, Ali Baba, and Sesame.  However, we’ll see what new story her photos inspire.

I’m still accepting images to inspire the upcoming series of short stories.

Resa is a multi-talented designer, artist, and finder of fabulous murals.  She shares some of her lovely things at Graffiti Lux Art & More.  Resa’s three random reader things to drive this episode are: Purple Heart, aerosol hairspray, and 45 RPM record.

Previously in The Armadillo Files

Previously, Ali Baba and Dilly found Fang on stage, at the auction block, in deep trouble.  Sesame came to his rescue, and believe me — nobody was going to mess with her.  Meanwhile Dilly hasn’t exactly jumped out of her skin, to transform… but she seems to be getting a lot closer.  And what about the kidnapped Calutron Girls? 

Are you still with me?  If you need to refresh your memory, you can always find all the past chapters by going to the categories on the right side of the screen.  Click on Armadillo Files.

All aboard!

34 — Why do you have that?

Dilly

Image collage by Teagan
Image collage by Teagan

Glaring and snarling, Sesame faced down the villains.  Even the tallest of men could have stood under her armpits.  Although I doubted that any of them would have willingly confronted anything so fierce and angry, no matter her height.

Fang hung limply in the arms of the giantess.  He appeared to have fainted when Sesame bounded onto the stage and swept him away from the slave auction block.  I couldn’t help wondering if he was well.  It could be hard to tell when he got overly dramatic.

If he was injured, then he deserved a Purple Heart for going into harm’s way alone, trying to help the kidnapped girls — no matter how foolish it had been.

“Quickly, while all is in confusion,” Ali told me, motioning for me to follow her.

We made our way through the crowd.  Ali slowed for me to catch up when the cloth sack of balloons I carried was too big to easily go through a tight spot.  We hurried to the back of the building.

I gave a sigh of relief when I saw that Sesame stood there, arguing with Fang.  He told her that we had to get the captive girls away from the place.  She looked extremely put out, but the giantess relented.

“Did you do something to your hair, Dilly?  I like the lighter color, but the way you styled it makes your ears look too big,” Fang remarked, but Ali Baba didn’t give him time for chitchat.

animal ears question mark

Muttering a curse, Ali pointed at an unsavory looking man.  She identified him as one of Cassim’s henchmen.  She urged us to get on with it.  However, the bag holding the balloons got caught on a nail.  At least it didn’t pop any of them.  That would have drawn attention to us.

“Leave it,” Ali stated.  “That part of your disguise is no longer needed.”

When I let go of the cloth bag, all the balloons fell out.  They bounced and scattered across the floor.  Sesame’s previous remark about a sack being handy came back to me.  I turned back, grabbed the cloth and gave it a hard yank.  The bag tore free of the nail.  I jumped.  At that point, any little thing startled me.  I hurried to the others.

I heard the sounds of footsteps.  Cassim’s men were undoubtedly coming to investigate.  Then the balloons started to pop as the men blundered into them.  It provided a good distraction.  We ran.

“Come with me.  If the girls are as drugged as their dorm mistress, then it will take all of us to get them to safety,” Ali directed as she nudged me and motioned to Fang and Sesame.

At first, we tiptoed inside the building.  However, hardly anyone was about.  Those who were, bustled around with tasks for the auction outside on the stage.

Fang paused to get a pebble out of his crazy orange curly-toed shoes.  When he straightened, I noticed that his pink hair was perfectly in place.  With my unruly locks, I couldn’t help asking how he managed it.

He reached into a big pocket in his pantaloons and took out a can of aerosol hairspray.

“Why do you have that?” Sesame hissed.  “You know it is not allowed in this time.”

iStock image
iStock

Fang grinned mischievously.  He pointed the spray can right at my face.  I gave him an irate look, expecting an ill-timed prank that would leave me with blind, stinging eyes.  However, he told me to duck.  Realizing that his gaze went behind me, I did just that.

A guard lumbered up to us, loudly demanding to know what we were doing.  Before he could raise an alarm, Fang sprayed the Aqua Net in his eyes.  Sesame leaned down and caught the guard’s neck in the bend of her arm.  She held him tightly until he became unconscious.

“Nice sleeper hold, hon,” Fang told her, but his attitude altered when he bent for a closer look — and sniff at the man.

“Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if he ain’t that crazy-eyed, Bible-thumping teetotaler from Oak Ridge.  Dick Potts, that was his name.  Klaude Frucht must have recruited him,” Fang added in astonishment.

I remembered that moment when TROLLEY had just converted itself to look like either a bar-and-grille or a nightclub, which was to be Fang’s cover operation.  The man was a fanatic.  He brought a group to our door before we could even open as a business.  When I asked if they had any news about the missing women, he had spewed against women and all sorts of things as being of the devil.

“Godfearing women wouldn’t do a man’s work.  Women have to know their place.  And not in a place that has to hide behind fences and gates.  Their secrets must be the devil’s work!  They get no more than they deserve,” the wild-eyed man had sneered.

Another ruffian attacked Fang from behind.  I whirled and put the sack over his head.  Ali took a cudgel from the folds of her billowing clothes and clobbered him.

Sesame dragged the unconscious guards to a dark corner and tossed a few heavy bags of oats on top of them.

“They are here!” from the opposite direction Ali’s voice chimed.

We rushed down the hallway toward her.  She stood at the bottom of a flight of stairs.  Motioning for us to follow, Ali ran up the stairs.

It felt as though I was more nervous than I should be.  Shouldn’t I be getting used to this kind of thing?  My thoughts wouldn’t focus.  They were a jumble, and I didn’t feel right physically either.

When Ali called for me to hurry, I gave my head a sharp shake.  Unthinking, I didn’t run.  Rather, I sprang.  My feet alighted on a step halfway up the staircase and another jump took me to the top.  I hit the ground running, and immediately caught up to the others.

Calutron Girls leaving the Manhattan Project Y-12 plant at shift change, 1945 Wikipedia
Calutron Girls leaving the Manhattan Project Y-12 plant at shift change, 1945 Wikipedia

Did I just do what I think I did? I wondered with a backward glance over my shoulder.

Carefully opening a door, Ali went into a large room.  She smiled at the dozen girls inside.  I could tell that she was making an effort to act normally and not alarm them.  The young women were woozy, but mobile.

“Ears…” one of the girls mumbled in a drugged giggle as she looked up at me.  “They’re cute.”

At the other end of the room, curtains billowed in a breeze.  Fang pushed them aside, revealing a double door.  Though it was done in intricate lattice, it looked like sturdy iron.  Beyond the doors, broad stairs led down to the alley.  It would have been the perfect exit for us, but we’d never get that door open.

Or so I thought…

Sesame strode to the door.  It took her a few tries to get the right hand and finger holds between the filigree designs.  Then she made a face, braced her legs, and heaved.  With a wrenching groan, the door came open.

Footfalls could be heard heading our way.  Fang went to the door through which we entered.  He moved a stone vase from a heavy decorative plinth.  Then he and I dragged the column a few feet and propped it against the door.

Right away the men in the hallway began pounding at the door.

The four of us started guiding the disoriented girls down the back stairs and to the wagon that Sesame had waiting for us.

Meanwhile it sounded like the men were throwing themselves against the door.  We were almost finished when I heard a man yell.

“That’s Cassim!” Ali Baba hissed her brother’s name.  “They’re getting a battering ram.”

At that news, Sesame bounded back up the stairs and across the long room.  Effortlessly, she pushed the heavy plinth aside.  She used her strength drag a huge cabinet to block the door and keep it closed against the force of the attack.

Unreasonably frantic, I abruptly realized that I was perched atop the plinth with the heavy vase in my hands.  I was waiting to bean the first goon who came through the door.

Sesame grinned approval at me.  A rope-like something was swishing behind me.  I glanced over my shoulder, trying to see what it was.  It looked like a fur-covered rope with a dark tuft at the end.  I didn’t have time to think about it though, as long as it wasn’t something bent on attacking us.

“Stop wasting time here.  Go to the back of the building.  They’ll try to leave that way,” a different voice shouted from beyond the barricaded door.

I scratched behind my ear as I thought.  The voice had a German accent.  It was Klaude Frucht, the traitor who joined with Tumult to kidnap the girls!

Belatedly it occurred to me that my ears felt all soft and… wrong.  Just as I was about to put my hand back to my ear, Fang burst in calling for Sesame and me.  He recognized the voice too.  The can of aerosol hair spray was in his hand, ready to spray a villain.

“Come on.  We have to hurry.  All the girls are in the wagon now,” Fang told us.

“Tatu, my habibi, do you have any of those thin black chakrams hidden in your pockets?” Sesame purred.

“Not my 45RMP records!” he cried.

“They are after all, contraband,” Sesame chided.

With a sniffle, Fang reached into the voluminous pockets and produced a stack of 1950s records.

“I know it’s only rock n roll, but I like it!” he whimpered.

♦ ♦ ♦

Poor Fang… he’s so starved for his music.  Great that his priorities are in order… (eye roll) But why does Sesame want his records?  What is a chakram?  Not the same as a chakra I think.  We’ll figure that out next time. 

Episode 35 — “Where do we go from here?” will conclude this spontaneously written serial.  It features three things from GP Cox, at Pacific Paratrooper.  Those final things are: grenade, mousetrap, and teddy bear.  Tune in next weekend to see where those things take the story.  Will the things lead to a rescue?  Hugs on the wing!

♦ ♦ ♦

Dead of Winter has now concluded with Journey 14, The Veil.  It is now available!  

Dead of Winter — All the Journeys

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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

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.

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46 thoughts on “The Armadillo Files, Episode 34, Why do you have that? — Featuring Resa McConaghy

  1. A very interesting chapter, and from the developing story, the next will be as exciting and, of course, waiting for the exciting end to this interesting story. Thank you for all the work you have put into this! ! !

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A gripping episode, Teagan! I fear that poor Dilly is turning into a giant rabbit or a small Kangaroo. 🙂 So glad the girls are rescued and none the worse for wear. I look forward to the rest of this story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate all your support, Pat. Thanks for reading and commenting. Dan’s series of short story challenges seemed to help me be put aside my “issues” and write in general. So I’m hoping to do that for myself with this upcoming series. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Just Olga and commented:
    Only one more episode of the Armadillo Files left now. Don’t miss the rescue/escape operation and the many surprises contained in Teagan Geneviene​’s serial this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fabulous, Teagan! I am trying hard to imagine what Dilly looks like now, but she must surely be a sight! Oh, and well done them! They make a great team, hairspray and all! Yes, what is going to happen with the 45 rpm records (what memories!), and it seems impossible to imagine that there is only one more episode left. I look forward to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, Dick was a real… I meant to let him be a more involved problem, but the “things” just didn’t take me there.
      I think Fang would have been a Rolling Stones groupie if he had the chance. 😀 Hugs on the wing!

      Like

    1. Thanks so much, GP. These are great. The Nine 0 Nine was the first to catch my eye. I felt something Twilight Zone-ish coming on… Then I noticed the Witchcraft plane, and was sure I was onto something. (I now know that was the name of the whole line of planes). But then again, it might get as wacky as Fang. LOL.

      I have 4 questions if you don’t mind. (Some of these are probably from me being blind as a bat.) Don’t go to any trouble if you don’t already know the answers.
      I’ve already been doing research, but maybe you already know the answers to things I’m not finding.
      1) Any idea why they called that line of planes the Witchcraft? I’m wondering if the naming was a nod to (or even mocking of) Operation Cone of Power, held in the town of Highcliffe-on-Sea, August 1, 1940…
      2) Terminology: Re the cartoon characters and other things painted on the planes — am I right to call them “Mascots” or is there a proper word I should use?
      3) Is there any story on the Nine 0 Nine’s mascot?
      4) In the slide show: The photo of a man coming out of the top of the plane — there’s a younger man with his back to us in the foreground. Can you tell me anything about that plane, what kind, and maybe how that hatch in the top was used? Feel free to email me at my Yahoo email if you want.
      Big hugs!

      Like

      1. 1 – As of today, there are only two airworthy Liberators, one of which is Witchcraft in the video you’re about to see! She flew over 130 missions during World War II, and is the only fully authentic Liberator that still flies. Not only does she fly, she flies a lot too! To educate the public about how rich aviation history is, Witchcraft flies to about 120 airports per year alongside a B-17 Flying Fortress and a P-51 Mustang.
        Witchcraft connection to Cone of Power wasn’t made until Gerald Gardner’s book ‘Witchcraft Today’ in 1954 (as far as I know)
        2 – Characters on the side of planes were simply called ‘noseart’. The Disney characters did require Disney approval, which was given every chance they could.
        3 – Unfortunately, even though I rode on her, I do not know the story of the character thumbing his nose at (I imagine Hitler or Tojo) someone.
        4- I believe that was another bomber and the hatch should be over the cockpit.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I was worried that I should know what a chakram is – like I wasn’t paying attention at some key point. I’m glad Fang found the girls and that together they have them on the run. Good job with the Auga Net – that has to hurt. I’m not sure what’s going on with Dilly. Action and so many questions – you have us right where you want us, Teagan. I can hardly wait.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember when I was much younger, self-defense teachers used to always mention hairspray. I used to keep a can of it in the pocket on the car door when I traveled.
      It’s not you — I didn’t know what a chakram was either. Whenever I mention something that I find obscure I always explain it within a couple of sentences of the mention. I do the same with slang. It’s such a turn off to get involved in a story and then stumble over a word.
      Thanks for all your support here, Dan. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So the girls are on their way to freedom! And God bless hair spray. It could blind your eyes or keep your hair in place for days on end! Dilly is having quite the transformation isn’t she? Looks like the bad guys are about to get their due. Hallelujah!
    Ginger

    Liked by 2 people

    1. PS: I just remembered that last week you told me Dilly wasn’t changing into a Kangaroo, which was my guess. So now my guess is a Wallaby!
      Ginger

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Resa is the best. I liked the old Aqua Net in the eyes trick. That’s a crazy fun video. They were so young. Do you have any 45 rpm records these days? Trivia: Do you know what song was on the flip side of “It’s only Rock ‘N’ Role (but I like it)”? Tristan has my vinyl collection and turntable. I was happy that she wanted it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You stumped me with the music trivia, Tim. There’s no telling what my mother did with my old 45s when I was a kid. I kept a few vinyl albums for decades, out of sentiment, even though I didn’t have anything to play them on. Cool that Tristan has yours. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The flip side is “Through The Lonely Nights.” The old vinyl days. Some times the flip side of a 45 had a real gem of a song on it. The flip side of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” single is “Young Man’s Blues”. I had bought the single for GBYBR but then I liked “Young Man’s Blues” better than GBYBR.

        Liked by 1 person

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