Shorts for the Weekend — Lulu Returns Featuring the Story Reading Ape

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape, sent me the coolest steampunk image. I’m not sure why, but it immediately brought Hullaba Lulu to mind.  I re-created the image Chris sent adding Lulu. However, that’s at the end of the story, so it won’t spoil anything.  This little story takes place at an non-specific point after the timeline of the book.  Lulu is one of my favorite heroines.  She’s one of a kind. If you haven’t met Lulu, I’ll put the information about that diesel punk adventure at the end of this post. 

Once I had everything in my head, I dashed this off quickly… so I apologize for any mistakes.

Lulu and the New Bot

My kitten heels echoed in the empty speakeasy.  Even though I had been a sad sack lately, I made myself dance a few steps of the Camel Walk while I recounted the bottles of that smooth 42-proof whiskey the rumrunner from Canada brought.  It wasn’t as strong as the usual hooch, but it sure was smooth.

I wanted to reopen Gramp’s secret nightclub while he was off galivanting, but some strongarm types showed up as soon as I started trying to lay in a stock of hooch.  Not only did they demand I buy all the booze from them — they also thought they should have a big cut of the profits.

They tried the same thing on Gramps once.  Just once, mind you.  Nobody messed with Gramps.

“But Gramps isn’t here,” I muttered.  “I’m no scaredy cat, but those goons have me severely outnumbered.”

Hullaba Lulu promotional image by Teagan R. Geneviene

“Yes, Giver of Names?  Did ya say somethin?” asked Wacky, the angel-bot who had a Bronx accent.

“Will you please just call me Lulu?  I’m really happy that all of you like your names, but it feels weird you calling me ‘Giver of Names.’  My name is Lulu, and I like having a name too.”

Not for nothin’ but I don’t think you understand how much our names mean to us,” Wacky replied, and I gave up.

Wicky, Wacky, and Woo, the housekeeping bots from Valentino’s amazing train came with me.  They had bounced on their toes enthusiastically at the prospect of helping run the speakeasy.  The hard part was making them understand that they had to pretend to be wearing costumes.

“Oh, them thugs.  Wicky and me can handle ’em,” he added.

I liked the angel-bot’s confidence, but I wasn’t so sure.  Those goons had guns.  We didn’t.  The fingers of the bots didn’t fit a trigger, and I…  Oh, face it.  I’m way too klutzy to be trusted with a gun.

The Orthophonic Victrola blared out Vernon Dalhart singing “Birds of a Feather,” interrupting us.  The music came from what looked like a large brass compact.  It was about the size of a dinner plate.

Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay
Rudy & Peter Skitterians at Pixabay

Moon, the blue-gold engineering-bot had stayed just long enough to hookup the Orthophonic Victrola and video phone.  That way I could be in contact with the train and a few other people who had the connected video phones.

The train and all its parts seemed to have some kind of intelligence.  The victrola usually gave a clue about who was calling, or whatever announcement it was about to make in the song it played.

“Something about a bird…” I muttered as I placed my hand on the big compact-looking thing to open it.

Abruptly all three angel-bots rushed into the room.  They bounced excitedly.

“It’s Papá!” Wicky, Wacky, and Woo cried in chorus, having figured out the hint in the song.

“Oh, of course.  Why didn’t I think of that?  I guess I was thinking about ordinary birds,” I muttered.  “Tesla and his fixation on pigeons!”

Nikola Tesla thinking Pixabay
Nikola Tesla at Pixabay

Nickola Tesla had invented the angel-bots, and they called him Papá.  He also invented a lot of other things that were on Valentino’s train.  I let the bots open the video phone while I stepped out of view.  I needed to remove my dangle earrings.  Tesla had so many phobias that I couldn’t keep track of them, and a fear of long dangling earrings was one of the things that scared him.

After the bots chatted with their Papá for a few minutes, Tesla asked for me.

“Lulu, my dear,” he began.  “I’ve heard of your difficulties.  I’m sending help.  The train delivering it should arrive any minute now.  I have no time for conversation at the moment.  I must return to my invention.  Farewell, Lulu,” he said and abruptly disconnected.

“A man of few words,” I muttered sardonically.  “Is there any more of that pizza, Woo?”

“It is as you left it, giver of names.  We do not eat,” the smallest of the three angel-bots said in a voice with a Shanghai accent.

I poured myself an extra tall glass of giggle water.  Adding plenty of extra garlic, I picked up a slice of cold pizza.  Wacky asked if he should call for my friend Tony at the Brick Oven Pizza to send down another pie.  I shook my head… and burped loudly.

The sultry notes of a trumpet preceded the rumble of a train.  The part of the subway beside the underground speakeasy had caved-in ages ago.  Trains couldn’t reach that tunnel.  At least, not ordinary trains.

I turned toward the back of the club, looking at the emergency exit.  Red and blue lights blazed from around the edges of the door.  I heard the screech of the subway train stopping.  The emergency door burst open.

Loud metallic thuds moved rhythmically from the tunnel toward the exit door.  In another blaze of light, I heard the train depart.  The thuds moved steadily closer.  Something darkened the doorway.  Then the wooden frame creaked and split.  Splinters showered into the speakeasy.

It was as wide as it was tall.  A hulk of gleaming black metal squeezed through what was left of the door.

Lulu n Ape Bot 2022
Ape from Chris, the rest by Teagan

I gave my glass of jag juice a skeptical glance.  Was something wrong with it?  I figured maybe I should sample it again to make sure.  After another swig, I looked at the big metal monstrosity again.  I blinked.  Hard.  It was still there.

“You’re…” I started.

“Greetings, Miss Lulu,” it began in a deep but sonorous baritone.  “I understand a group of unsavory types have been attempting to take advantage of you.  Papá, and your family agreed, sent me to see to make sure those men will no longer be a problem.  Oh, and don’t worry.  I’ll repair… and enlarge the door.”

“You’re… an ape-bot!” I exclaimed.  “I thought there were only angle-bots.”

“I am unique,” he replied in a modest tone.

His mechanical eyes clicked as they blinked.  He seemed to hesitate.  There was a heavy thud as his feet shifted and he slouched to rest his knuckles on the floor.  That appeared to be his natural posture.

“I wondered…  That is, if it wouldn’t be a bother…” the ape-bot said.

“Give him a name, oh Giver of Names!” shouted Wicky, Wacky, and Woo.

I hiccupped in surprise.  Although the naming came easier when I was zozzled, so I figured that was swell enough.

“Hmmm,” I pondered as I looked all around the black metal creature.  Can you dance?”

I gave most of the angel-bots names that related to songs, but the overwhelming appearance of the ape-bot didn’t inspire anything musical.

“Not very well.  Furniture tends to get broken unless the room is quite large,” he replied.

The angel-bots bounced on their toes, clearly eager to hear my choice.  The black metal head tilted as it watched me.

“Well, you’re about as big and powerful as a train.  What if I call you Diesel?” I asked.

His head tilted this way and that.  Metallic clicks and whirrs came as he rested his chin on his fist.  All the clockwork creatures made clicking noises as they chattered excitedly.

The ape-bot straightened and then bowed.

“It suits quite will.  Thank you, Giver of Names,” he said.

There was a commotion outside the remains of the door to the subway tunnel.  As fate would have it, those “protection” goons chose that moment to come back.

Diesel turned toward them, his hulking form easily blocking the entrance.

“What do you want?” his voice boomed, echoing into the tunnel.

The thugs were dumbstruck.  Two of them pointed guns.  Diesel took each in a crushing grip.  A third tried to fire a Tommy gun, but he was so frightened that Diesel had time to grab the machine gun.  He broke the weapon into pieces and curled its barrel around the goon’s neck.

They never came back.

“Here’s to you, Diesel,” I raised my glass to the ape-bot.

♦ ♦ ♦

Hullaba Lulu cover by Teagan R. Geneviene

Universal Purchase links

Kindle:  relinks.me/B08JKP1RS4

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08JDYXPZM

Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure is a wild and wooly 1920s fantasy story.  Lulu, the heroine is inspired by the song, “Don’t Bring Lulu,” from 1925 ― so are her pals, Pearl and Rose.  Lulu loves to dance, and freely indulges in giggle water.  She snores and burps and says whatever she wants.  Lulu is a snarky but good-hearted flapper.  The song’s inspiration stops there, but the story is just beginning.

♦♦♦

Tune in for another short story and another photographer or artist next weekend.  Hugs on the wing!

 

 

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.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 


59 thoughts on “Shorts for the Weekend — Lulu Returns Featuring the Story Reading Ape

    1. Thanks, Jennie. I’m happy to hear that. I always wanted to write a second book for Lulu, that picks up where the first one left off in the Egyptian desert. But Rob Goldstein was such an inspiration for the first one (and wherever he is, I hope he’s happy and well), and I can’t seem to get very far with it. Anyhow that sequel would be a great place for Diesel. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Teagan. I think Lulu’s adventures are on a new roll. I’m sorry to hear you’ve lost touch with Rob, but things happen for a reason. Honestly, Chris and his ape-bot are ‘meant to be’ for Lulu.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. AHA! This is very interesting, the numerous comments attest to its popularity. A very
    intriguing beginning! Thank you for your creativity, so unique. I am wondering if we are going to hear more from Wicky, Wacky and Woo, I would like that. Thank you for your creativity and for sharing this continuing story with us. I will be waiting for more! ! This should be very GOOD!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Ms Frances, thank you. I’ve had such a difficult day, and a visit from you always makes things better. Thanks so very much for stopping to read and comment.
      Wicky, Wacky, and Woo were (at least their names) inspired by the 1920s song “Nagasaki”. So were two more characters you didn’t meet here, Hot Ginger and Dynamite. Here’s the song:

      They have a much bigger adventure in the book “Hullaba Lulu.” I added the links to the book in the post above. I had huge fun writing about them. I’m delighted you enjoyed this short story. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this story, Teagan. I didn’t realize I’d actually missed LuLu and her bot adventures. Kudos to Chris and to you for this creation! I think I could actually use an ape-bot from time to time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You out did yourself, Teagan, O Giver of Names. This was a ton of fun and not hard to follow at all. Too bad I’ll have to wait for a few hours before indulging in giggle water myself. I’d love to see this group again. Most fun since Apesley and Fang mixed it up. Happy hugs hopskipping your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am with Chris, a great name for the Apebot, Teagan. Diesel! And it was good to see Lulu again. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story, and thanks to Chris for his wondrous creation! Enjoy the weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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