Jazz Age Wednesday — Pip & Artie, Aghast at a Ghost

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

Author Neil Gaiman for Get Caught Reading

Author Neil Gaiman for Get Caught Reading

May is #GetCaughtReading Month!  Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape himself, and I are together again to support this initiative that promotes the fun of reading for all ages.

Chris and I have collaborated on several short stories that include his character, a genius ape named Artie and my first flapper, Pip.  It all started with Time Travel Esc-Ape.  Then there was Pip in the Corn Maze, followed by the three-part Pip and Artie Meet Again.

I hope you Get Caught Reading our new story!  It is set during the time-line of my upcoming novel A Ghost in the Kitchen.  All right then, let’s get a wiggle on and head to the Jazz Age!

Pip and Artie — Aghast at a Ghost

Fearful man and woman circa 1926

Ghost Stories Magazine circa 1926

“Hello,” I answered the telephone.  “Andy, tha―”

“Paisley Idelle Peabody, where are your manners.  That’s no proper way to answer the telephone.  Give me that,” Granny Phanny demanded as she took the receiver away from me.

“TREmont 3332, Peabody residence,” my grandmother spoke into the receiver as I turned my head so she wouldn’t see me roll my eyes.  “Why yes Andy, you may.  One moment please.  Paisley, Andy is calling for you.”

Granny gave me a stern look and handed me the card she kept beside the telephone.  It was titled The Telephone Pledge

“I believe in the Golden Rule and will try to be as Courteous and Considerate over the Telephone as if Face to Face.”

It continued with such advise as telephone manners are as important for voice-to-voice courtesy, as face-to-face politeness.  Instructions to speak directly into the mouthpiece with lips a half inch away, and keep mustache out of opening were included.

I got caught reading it aloud to my pal Andy.  It wasn’t the reading that annoyed Granny, but my laughter.

Blue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

“You’d best take that seriously or they might discontinue our service,” she warned.

“Oh Granny!  They wouldn’t really do that,” I defended as she walked away with her best bluenose attitude.

My grandmother had distracted me to the extent that I forgot to put the finishing touches on my glad rags before Andy came to pick me up in his old jalopy.  I had a special pendant with a beautiful labradorite crystal that I meant to show him.  I had recently told him the story behind that gem and he was keen to see it in person.

Andy and I weren’t gone long before we went back for the pendant.  However, during that short time a lot happened.  I only wish I could have seen it firsthand.

You see, my friend Aristotle, also known as Artie, dropped in at Granny’s cottage.  That wouldn’t have mattered if Artie was an ordinary guy.  Unfortunately for my grandmother’s state of mind, Artie was a time traveler.  Not only that, he was an ape!  He was very polite, and a genius to boot, but an ape nonetheless.  He was also the one who gave me the labradorite pendant. 

This is how Artie described what transpired.

***

Artie sketch thinking color steampunk

Artie, courtesy of Chris Graham

When she went into town with Andy, Pip carelessly left the labradorite crystal pendant laying out on her dressing table, instead of in her jewelry box.  That wouldn’t have mattered with an ordinary necklace, but the pendant acted as a transponder which allowed Artie to find Pip when he went back in time.

As fate would have it, Granny found the labradorite crystal while tidying up.

She was strangely drawn to the pendant.  Phanny Irene Peabody picked up the crystal and held it, soaking in its gentle glowing warmth.

A loud “pots and pans” type of crash startled her.  The commotion was followed by a shouted string of words that sounded oddly foreign, but were obviously from someone who needed their mouth washed out with soap.

Granny, still gripping the pendant, hurried angrily towards her kitchen.

Meanwhile, as Granny ran toward the ruckus in her kitchen, Aristotle, the genius ape was summoned to his time machine by the labradorite crystal that Granny Phanny had unknowingly activated.

The pendant had sent a distress call.  So, he dropped what he was doing, hastily donned his time travelling gear and activated his portable time machine motorcycle.

Artie Portable Time Machine cycle

Artie’s portable time machine, image courtesy Chris Graham

Artie arrived in Savannah, Georgia of the Roaring Twenties.

Artie took off his helmet and gave a huge pointy fanged grin of satisfaction.  He was excited at the prospect of seeing his friend Pip again, but of course he was also worried because of the distress signal.

The labradorite crystal pendant locator had worked a treat, bringing him just outside the cottage where Pip lived with her grandmother.

The link between pendant and locator had brought him within 30 seconds of the time when the pendant had sent the alarm.

As Artie hurried over to the cottage, the kitchen door burst open and what at first glance appeared to be a rotund man in Renaissance garb rushed out, ducking and weaving in an attempt to avoid the pots and pans flying behind him.

Artie bounded over and brought down what he presumed was an intruder in Pip’s home.

Granny appeared at the kitchen door and clapped her hands, applauding Artie’s heroics.

“Why thank you so very much!  That strange looking man was in my kitchen.  Bring him over here, so I can give him a piece of my mind.”

Dangling the figure by the scruff of his neck, Artie obliged.

Granny was so engrossed in seeing who had spilled her kitchenware, she didn’t notice that Artie wasn’t a man, until she looked up to thank him again.

Artie was careful not to grin, it showed his fangs too much for many humans and frightened them, so he gave a broad, but closed-lip smile instead.

Granny sank down to the ground in a fit of the vapors.

As she recovered, responding to the cool compress on her forehead and the muttered entreaties from two male voices, Granny slowly opened her eyes – and wished she hadn’t.

The man in the clothes of a Renaissance Era chef winked at her flirtatiously.  Then with the sound of a fizzing pop, he disappeared into thin air! 

The huge leather clad ape was still there. 

Granny swooned again.

The end.

Heartfelt thanks to Chris Graham for being such a willing participant in these shenanigans.  Our Story Reading Ape is a marvelous storyteller.  If you want to get caught reading another treat, check out his mom’s book.

Chris Graham (for Agnes Mae Graham)

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

Don’t forget my mysterious new serial, Brother Love.  Chapter 4 will go live on Saturday. 

I’ll see you at the crossroads! 

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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 ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene and Christopher Graham

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.

 

It’s almost here — an all new serial!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Crossroads with 3 blue guitar statues on a pole is a marker for Highways 61 and 49 in Mississippi

Electric guitars on a highway sign marks the crossroads where legend claims musician Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil for the ability to play the blues. (Wikimedia)

It’s almost here!  Brother Love — an all new “interactive,” three things, pantser serial.  The story is driven by random things left by readers.

The idea for this story started nearly a year ago.   It is partly inspired by a Neil Diamond song that has always caught my imagination.  I didn’t have time to write a new serial back then, but it now it’s coming up! I enjoy Diamond’s description of how the song came to be in this video, preceding the song.

Many of you are familiar with my “three things” way of writing serials.  don’t know what the story is going to do until I look at the “things” supplied by readers — that’s how it’s “interactive.”

I can tell you that the setting is rural Mississippi in the late 1950s to early 60s.  I’m collaborating with blogger Dan Antion.  He sends me photos to fuel my imagination.  Dan and you readers send my random “things” that drive the story.   

Along with the song “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” another inspiration is the blues legend of the devil at the crossroads and Robert Johnson. 

Dan was kind enough to invite me to his fictional bar for a drink at his SoCS post last Saturday.  

I hope I’ve made you curious.  Comments are closed for this little teaser.

I’ll see you at the crossroads tomorrow!

And don’t forget!

Coming soon, another Roaring Twenties pantser tale, continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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 ©  2018 and 2019 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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays — 1 Million Years B-Lulu

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

LULU Arrival 2.

Lulu’s clumsiness sends the train to 1 million years BC. Art by Rob Goldstein

It’s finally time!  I’ve been promising you a short story with illustrations by Rob Goldstein.  Lulu, Gramps, and Valentino are joined by a couple of unexpected characters in this one episode story.  I call it “One Million Years B-Lulu.”  It’s a little riff on “One Million Years BC,” which featured Raquel Welsh.  Don’t ask me why that particular scenario popped into my head.  I’ve told you that I’m just not wired right. The three random things Rob gave me to drive the story are velociraptor, stone axe, and capacitors.

Rob is featuring the story as a guest post today at Sue Vincent‘s blog, so I hope you’ll click over and visit them.  I’m posting it here as well.  Without further ado…

All aboard!

One Million Years B-Lulu

Lulu Gramps Valentino control room blue

Lulu, Gramps, and Valentino in the control room of the diesel-punk train. Art by Rob Goldstein

Soft clicking noises took on a familiar rhythm.  I looked over at the blue-gold angel-bot as he worked at a control station of Valentino’s amazing train.  The bot started humming to match the beat of his clicks and whirrs.  The sound reminded me of a music box.

Most of the train’s angel-bots were gold.  This clockwork creature was the only blue hued one.  Of all the bots, he was the savviest to the workings of the mysterious train.  I had named him Moon, after the song “Cuban Moon,” because of the subtle Spanish accent of his deep voice.  That’s the tune he hummed.

I loved to dance, so I did a few steps of the Brazilian Samba to his humming.  One turn caused me to bump into a table.  Exotic, futuristic looking instruments wobbled dangerously.  Fortunately, nothing fell ― that time.  I admit that I’m known for my clumsiness.  They didn’t sing “Don’t Bring Lulu” when they talked about me for nothin’.

Back on The Train

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

“Lulu, how many times have I told you ― don’t touch anything,” Valentino complained as he walked into the control room.

I stopped dancing.  Moon gave me a sheepish look, as if he felt partly responsible.  Valentino raised one eyebrow suspiciously at the angel-bot’s reaction.

“Don’t mind him, Moon.  He’s just grumpy because those pointy-toed dog kennels hurt his feet,” I told my clockwork friend.  “Go ahead and hum.”

The enigmatic Valentino looked from me to the bot in surprise.

“You’ve taught him to hum?  I wasn’t aware that they could,” Valentino commented.

An odd device I hadn’t noticed sat on one of the train’s control tables.  It resembled an hourglass, but rather than sand, it contained a gooey glowing substance.  Fascinated, I extended one finger toward the slowly moving molten goo.

“Lulu, don’t touch anything,” Gramps spoke by rote as he strode into the room.

“Especially not the time delineator!” Valentino added.

Valentino Bots Green Metropolis 6

Valentino and the angel-bots. Art by Rob Goldstein

Startled, I jerked my finger back so hard that the feather in my headband wobbled and the fringe of my short skirt swayed.  I wasn’t expecting my grandfather.

“Ah!  Sir.  Good.  I have finished the adjustments to your pocket watch,” Moon called to Gramps from across the room.

The angel-bot extended his mechanical arm to twice its usual length to hand me the pocket watch, since I was closest to my grandfather.  I was in a playful mood, so I decided to toss it to Gramps, rather than walk around the control tables and across the room to hand the timepiece to him.

I drew back my arm to make the toss.  The watch went into the air, rotating as it flew.  When my arm came back down, I knocked over the goo-filled hourglass thingy Valentino called the time delineator.

The glass cracked.  In midair, a drop of glowing goo splashed against the engraved pocket-watch my grandfather cherished.  It had been a gift from my late grandmother.

Abruptly I felt like a heavy weight sat on my head.  My feet tingled like they were asleep.  My stomach was up where my throat was supposed to be.  Plus, I felt like I had sneezed ― but in reverse.

The pocket-watch slowed until time really did stand still.  The glow of the goo grew until it became spherical, surrounding the pocket-watch.  Abruptly, both disappeared in a sphere of sparks.

When I opened my eyes after the inverse sneeze, everything around me looked like a Slavador Dali painting.  Then the world went black.

***

Lulu train pink-green 1 Million B-Lulu

Lulu’s clumsiness sent the diesel-punk train to 1 million years BC. Art by Rob Goldstein

I’m not sure how much time passed, but as consciousness returned to my aching head, I realized that I was face down on the ground.  And I do mean ground.  It wasn’t the floor of the control room against my face.

Warm breath snuffled against my face, sniffing.  My nose wrinkled.  The sniffer had bad breath.  I cracked open one peeper for a discrete look, and found a human eye locked on mine.  He grunted and sniffed some more.  When his nose headed where it had no business going, I scrambled backward.

“Hey!  Watch it!” I exclaimed.  “I’m not some easy biscuit.  Mind your manners.”

The train sat all catawampus nearby.  Amid the enormous leaves of strange plants, it looked as out of place as a wallflower at a speakeasy.

I sprawled on rocky terrain with scraggly bushes and gnarled trees.  Behind me was the mouth of a cave.  Leaning curiously over me was the smelly, fur clad man who woke me with his sniffing.

I remembered the goo-filled hourglass falling.  I gulped.  Hard.

Exploring-With Valentino Lulu dinosaurs

Art by Rob Goldstein

A rapid rhythm of clicks and whirrs emanated from Moon, the angel-bot.  Valentino’s head was down.  He murmured in low worried tones as the angel-bot clicked.

Gramps stooped to pick up his sunglasses.  He blew the dust off them and tucked the spectacles into the breast pocket inside his jacket.  Reflexively he reached to the watch pocket of his vest.  He patted the empty pocket.

His pocket-watch was gone.

Bushwa!” he muttered, though he looked heartbroken.

I gasped as fire singed my eyebrows.  The caveman waved a flaming stick, jabbing it toward my bobbed hair.

“Yes, her hair is the color of fire,” Valentino spoke in placating tones that one might use with a frightened animal.

The smelly sniffer appeared to take Valentino’s word for it that the fiery hue was normal for my hair, however unusual it must have been to him.

“Lulu!” Gramps hissed in a cautionary way, and I knew he thought the caveman was dangerous.

Laying my hand against my chest, I spoke slowly.

“I’m Lulu.  Who are you?” I pointed to him as I asked.

“Loana.  Fair one,” his gravelly voice pronounced and reached toward my bubs.

Tumac be Lulu’s daddy-4

Lulu meets Tumac. Art by Rob Goldstein

“Hey!  Watch yourself.  I’m a nice girl,” I cautioned him as I jumped backward.

Valentino snorted and I shot him a glare.

“No,” I continued from three feet away.  “Lulu.  I’m Lu-lu.”

He nodded and clapped his hand against his chest.

“Tumac.  Tumac strong!  Tumac be Lulu’s daddy,” he added with a leer.

“Where did you learn that language,” Valentino raised an eyebrow and asked suspiciously.

“Nupondi,” Tumac replied.  “Nupondi look like you,” he added with a sweeping motion that indicated Valentino head to toe.

“Someone dressed like me?” Valentino asked, though Tumac clearly didn’t understand the words.

Gramps had a worried expression on his face.

“Nupondi come back when he smells grub.”

Tumac motioned toward a fire-pit where a large carcass of something roasted on a spit.  I didn’t know what it was, but the aroma made my stomach growl.  The cave man chortled at the sound.  He gave me a companionable shove toward the fire and I stumbled.  Tumac really was strong, that was no boast.

What's cookin -2 Valentino Bot Lulu Tumac Gramps

What’s Cookin’? by Rob Goldstein

Soon I held the biggest crispy drumstick I had ever seen.  Juice ran down my arm as I hungrily sunk my teeth into it.

“Where does she get her appetite?” Valentino asked my grandfather in a tone that combined revulsion and stunned admiration.

My grand father shrugged.  He had been more interested in poking around in the bushes, looking for his pocket-watch than eating.  However, when Tumac acted offended that he wouldn’t eat, Gramps finally sat down at the fire.

“It really isn’t bad,” Gramps commented and pointedly made a yummy sound to gratify Tumac.  “I wonder what it is.”

“V’locy.  Mama v’locy,” Tumac mumbled around a mouthful.  “Find eggs too.  Big breakfast at sunup.”

Near the entrance of a cave I spotted the clutch of eggs.  Each one was about the size of a pigskin football.  I couldn’t imagine what kind of chicken could lay eggs so big.

“V’locy?” Valentino repeated and his face blanched.  “Velociraptor?” he exclaimed.  “Lulu, leave those eggs alone.  Even a hatchling could be deadly.”

“Oh, don’t give me that phonus balonus!” I told him and inspected the eggs.

The bushes rustled.  Tumac sniffed the air.  Gramps quickly grabbed the burning stick the caveman had waved around earlier.  He held it defensively.

Gramps Gets the Watch-3

Gramps by Rob Goldstein

The caveman didn’t seem concerned.  He grunted and muttered “Nupondi.”

Gramps jabbed the flaming stick toward the bushes.

Horsefeathers!  Have a care or you’ll set the whole place on fire!” an unexpectedly familiar voice protested.

“Tom?” I exclaimed as he nonchalantly tucked something into his pocket.  “Tom Driberg!  You were on the lamb from those hooligans.  So, this is where you wound up?”

Tom had betrayed us all, particularly my pal Rose.  We weren’t the only ones he quatched.  It turned out he had been a spy for both the Americans and the Russians.

That small motion of his hand to his pocket didn’t escape my notice.  Gramps squinted.  He had seen it too.  Tom was being a little too smooth, even for Tom.  He gave a guilty glance at Gramps.  Tom looked like a man who knew he had been caught.

“Well, Lulu.  Aren’t you just the cat’s particulars,” Tom said, stepping toward me.

Suddenly, Tom grabbed me and a surprisingly sharp stone axe was pressed against my throat.

“Give me that pocket-watch, Driberg,” Gramps demanded.  “It’s meaningless to you.”

“Quite the contrary old man,” Tom replied with a smirk.  “There aren’t any capacitors here.  Your beloved watch isn’t special just because it came from your wife, you know.  It can be modified to work as a time delineator, and I can finally go home!”

Tom’s sentence ended with an oof!  Tumac snuck up behind him and grabbed both of us, lifting us off the ground.  I heard Tom make a strangled noise and he dropped the axe.  With a hefty toss, Tumac sent Tom and me tumbling.

I saw the pocket-watch fall.  In the same instant I heard a shrill cry from above.

“Your sheba has found you,” Tumac chortled at Tom.

Your Sheba Has Found You

Pterodactyl swoops & gets Tom as Gramps retrieves his pocket watch. Art by Rob Goldstein

Huge wings darkened the sky.  Dust and ashes from the fire-pit clouded the air as gusts buffeted us.  Gramps put on his sunglasses as if they were goggles.

Blinking, I gaped speechlessly.  A pterodactyl settled to the ground.

Sunlight glinted off the pocket-watch.  The dinosaur’s eyes darted to the watch.

“Sheba like shiny,” Tumac muttered to Tom.  “Maybe she take it, not you.”

“What?” I couldn’t help asking, even it that circumstance.

“The damn dyno.  I was there when she hatched.  She imprinted on me.  Thinks I’m her chick or something,” Tom said as he cowered behind Valentino.

“You realize it’s not a bird, don’t you?” Valentino told him, as if that mattered at such a time.

Abruptly, Gramps darted and grabbed his watch.  The pterodactyl screeched.  Her sharp beak jutted dangerously toward him.

The sun flashed off his spectacles.  The dinosaur tilted her head as Gramps spoke.

“There, there now.  You don’t want this.  It’s not good to eat,” my grandfather cajoled.

The pterodactyl took another huge step toward him.  Surprised, I realized she saw her reflection in his sunglasses.  I whispered the fact to Gramps.  He slowly removed the shades and held them toward her.

“Careful,” Valentino cautioned.  “She could take your entire arm if she grabs the spectacles.”

Then a fierce look glinted in Valentino’s eyes.  I had always thought he had a ruthless streak, hidden under all that smoldering brooding.

Valentino_close Hat

Valentino by Rob Goldstein

Valentino reached behind himself, where Tom cowered.  He grabbed the spy’s arm and shoved him into the open.

“This is what you really want, isn’t it,” Valentino called to the pterodactyl.

The dinosaur made a pained noise, followed by a series of croaks that sounded like a mother chastising her offspring.  Tom ran as fast as he could.

With a blast of air that knocked me to the ground, the pterodactyl flapped her wings and took flight.  In a moment she had Tom in her clutches.  She flew with him toward a rocky outcropping.

Tumac laughed so hard that he rolled on the ground.

I stood gobsmacked.

“She take Nupondi to nest.  She love Nupondi,” Tumac explained between chortles.  Nupondi not go hungry.  His sheba vomit breakfast for him.  Haha!  All over his head.”

***

Lulu Header 1-

Art by Rob Goldstein

In no time Moon had modified the pocket-watch to work as a time delineator for Valentino’s train.  Through a hand-held telescope, I saw Tom gingerly climbing down from the pterodactyl’s nest.  He was drenched in something, presumably regurgitated dinner, but seemed unharmed.  We bade a fond farewell to Tumac, our host.

When I walked past Tumac, he laughed, because he saw that I was hiding something behind my back.  I winked and hoped he knew to keep quiet.

The big Orthophonic Victrola in the train’s control room blared out “Toot, Toot, Tootsie! Good-bye,” and I knew we would be leaving in a moment.

“Are you alright, Lulu?” Gramps asked me.  “You look like something isn’t sitting well on your stomach.”

“Maybe some under-cooked dinosaur,” I replied weakly and mustered up a belch.

Delicately I put one hand to my lips, while the other was firmly behind my back.

“If not for that decidedly unladylike burp, I would go back and count all those velociraptor eggs,” Valentino told me with narrowed eyes as he climbed aboard the train.

“Well, I never…” I protested even though he hit the nail on the head.

Then I felt the egg move.  I twitched at the surprise, and nearly dropped it.  Valentino turned back at my abrupt movement.  I put my free hand to my stomach and groaned dramatically.  Clara Bow couldn’t have given a better performance.

A shining gold angel-bot leaned from the train.  It was Dynamite.

“All aboard!” Dynamite called.

I made sure Gramps and Valentino were both all the way inside the train before I let Dynamite help me aboard.  By then, the egg was practically dancing the Charleston.

The train’s Orthophonic Victrola always seemed to know more than it should be able to understand.  Not to mention that it had a mean disposition.  As the dinosaur egg lurched, the device started playing “Don’t Bring Lulu.”

Portrait of Lulu

Lulu back on the train, by Rob Goldstein

***

The end.

Update:  Rob has just finished a fabulous video of this story.  Do check it out and pay him a visit as well.  http://robertmgoldstein.com/

You’re the cat’s pajamas!

 

 

And don’t forget!

Coming in Spring

Another Roaring Twenties Pantser Tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

Stay tuned, shieks and shebas!  

You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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 © 2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Images Copyright © 2019 by Rob Goldstein

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.

 

Coming Soon!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Back on The Train

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

Happy weekend, everyone!  I’m still settling in at my new digs in the Land of Enchantment, painting the walls, putting furniture together, and generally keeping every muscle in my body sore. 

Crystal the cat seems to have made the adjustment. A few nights I’ve heard her making a midnight romp, and this morning, she wanted to play with her collection of bouncy and fuzzy balls!  She also insists on approving any decorating.

Crystal n Robs Sunset

Crystal with one of Rob Goldstein’s images.

Coming Right Up

I’ve mentioned that San Francisco artist, poet, and activist, Rob Goldstein and I got back together with a short story for Lulu, Gramps, and the enigmatic Valentino.  I call it “One Million Years B-Lulu.”  It’s a little riff on the old movie “One Million Years BC.”

Rob has made terrific illustrations for it. He really got into the spirit of the story.  Rob will feature this short story at Sue Vincent‘s blog, but I’ll run it here as well. 

That’s Not All

Brother Love

Brother Love promo image

Brother Love collage by Teagan Geneviene

Hang on — that’s not all!  I’ve started work on a mini series with blogger Dan Antion.   The core of the story was inspired by a Neil Diamond song “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” along with the blues legend of the devil at the crossroads and Robert Johnson. 

If you will watch the video trailer, you will have some idea of the core components of the story.  It’s a pantser tale (spontaneously written), so I don’t know too much more about it yet.

Dan was kind enough to invite me to his fictional bar for a drink at his SoCS post this weekend.  I hope you’ll click over and share some conversation with us. 

Dan’s photos will help guide my pantser pen.  He’ll also give me some random “things” to drive the story.  (Most of you are familiar with my “three things” way of writing serials.) I can tell you that the setting is rural Mississippi in the late 1950s to early 60s.  My narrator is named Birdie Devovo.  Which brings me to your invitation… 

Come out to play!

It seems like a long time since I’ve been able to involve you, the reader, in my stories.  That actually makes a lot more work for me.  However, I love including you.  Dan will be giving me photos and two random things.  So I invite you to leave one random thing in the comments. That will make the total of three things. 

The first episode will post a week from today.  All three things will be from Dan on that chapter, but after that I will start including reader “things.” 

A rather old blues song has been running around in my head.  It helped me write the mystical prologue for the story, so I’ll go ahead and share it. Be sure to leave a random “thing” in the comments.  Happy weekend!

 

And don’t forget!

Coming up, another Roaring Twenties pantser tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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 ©  2018 and 2019 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.

 

Happy Weekend!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

I’ve had my hands full trying to put my cottage in order, now that I’m feeling better from the ordeal of moving, not sleeping, and being as freaked out as anybody can be.  There was one other thing I worked on this week.  Here’s a hint.

Lulu in front of train's caboose with dinosaurs

An image for One Million Years B-Lulu. Art by Rob Goldstein

That said, I didn’t have a post for this weekend.  However, I did want to stop and wish you a happy weekend, from me, Lulu and all the crew of the #dieselpunk train!  You’re the bee’s knees!

Update! I forgot to link to Rob’s blog — it’s here.

And don’t forget!

Coming in Spring

Another Roaring Twenties Pantser Tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

Stay tuned, shieks and shebas!  

You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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 ©  2018 and 2019 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.

 

Coming in Spring — All Sorts of Things!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Lulu looking tub bot Metropolis 9

With helpful angel-bots, Lulu gets ready for a bath. (Art by Rob Goldstein)

I’ve been painting accent walls.  Places that I don’t even have are sore!  I sure wish I had a couple of angel-bots to run a nice hot bath for me…  Hullaba Lulu may have been brash and uncouth, but she was one lucky flapper! 

My plate is full with putting my new home in order.  I’ve been gathering the day-to-day needs that I couldn’t bring with me.  Did you ever stop to think just how many different needful things you use in the course of a single day?  From the handy holder for the toothbrush (still on my “to get” list) in the morning, to the bedside water glass at night. (I know that glass is here somewhere…) 

Anyhow, I’m not back to full-steam-ahead blogging quite yet, but I’m getting there!  Even though I’ve been scarce in the blogosphere for a couple of months, I’ve actually been working on a few things.

Lulu blowing bubble

Lulu blowing a bubble (Art by Rob Goldstein)

On the Horizon

San Francisco artist, poet, and activist, Rob Goldstein and I are getting back together with another adventure for Lulu, Gramps, and the enigmatic Valentino.  This one is only a short story, not a serial.  I call it “One Million Years B-Lulu.”  It’s a little riff on “One Million Years BC,” which featured Raquel Welsh. 

Rob asked me to do a story with his illustrations. Don’t ask me why that particular scenario popped into my head.  I’ve told you that I’m just not wired right.  Rob will feature it at Sue Vincent‘s blog, but I’ll run it here as well. 

It’s a big horizon!

Snowy Railroad tracks Crossing Road Dan Antion

A Crossroad (Photo by Dan Antion)

Hang on — that’s not all!  Before Rob asked about a new Lulu story, I was already working on a mini series with blogger Dan Antion.   

But I’m getting ahead of myself!  The idea for this story started nearly a year ago.   I penned an intro episode, planning to make it into a serial.  The story was inspired by a Neil Diamond song that has always caught my imagination.  Being born in a small town in the deep south, the sultry words, “Hot August night, and the leaves hanging down, and the grass on the ground smelling sweet,” took root in my soul and stayed.  (I enjoy Diamond’s description of how the song came to be in this video, preceding the song.)

Yet I didn’t have time for a new serial.  However, like the words of the song, the story idea held on.  Now that I should have a little more writing time, the idea loomed large.  I wanted someone to bounce ideas around with, and create images.  Immediately I thought of Dan Antion. 

I wasn’t sure what Dan would say when I sent him the idea.  Partly because I told him that I’m also inspired for it by the old blues legend of the devil at the crossroads.  Also, I had no idea if he even liked Neil Diamond or the song. 

The Reader’s Digest version is that Dan was onboard.  He even went out right away, to a particular (railroad) crossroad that inspired him, to take photos. I should also mention that he went out into the harsh winter weather to take those pictures. 

The working title is “Brother Love.”

Although I’m not quite sure how I will work the opening I wrote last year into the new serial, I’m sharing it here as a teaser.  Originally, my thought was to use “things” from the Neil Diamond song to drive the new story.  I’m not sure if that will work for this collaborative incarnation of it, but here’s the original beginning.  The new serial will likely be different from this.  …Or maybe not.  I don’t know yet.

The Traveling Salvation Show

In the summer, leaves hung down so far, they almost reached the sweet-smelling grass on the ground.  Moths clung to the screen, attracted to the kitchen light.

I fanned myself futilely with a mimeographed flyer.  It did nothing to alleviate the heat of the night, and the cloying odor of the ink turned my stomach.  I stared at the wet circles on the formica tabletop as the ice melted in my glass of sweet tea.

At last a breeze!  It rustled the pages of the Pan Am calendar hanging on the wall.  August exclaimed “Back to Hawaii!” and boasted a man and woman disembarking a plane while greeted by hula dancers and musicians.  That scene was too farfetched for my imagination. 

I liked July better.  It showed a couple, suitcases in hand, laughing and walking fast.  Yes, I liked that one best.  They could be anyone, going anywhere… maybe the girl could even me.

The mimeographed flyer floated on the breeze from the table down to the cracked and faded linoleum floor.  Someone had left the ad on the front door ― Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show, it read.  It was odd for anyone to come around, witnessing or leaving things like that.  They rarely came all the way to the outside of town.  I was glad I missed them.

Thunder rumbled faintly, very far away.  Maybe there would be rain. 

Or maybe not, I thought as I put the damp glass to my forehead.

I crawled half-under the table to pick up the flyer.  The kitchen light flickered and popped, causing me to bump my head.  Then all the lights went out. 

The screen door creaked open.  Normally it would bang shut, but it closed softly.  At the sound of footsteps, I scrunched the rest of the way under the table.

***

Remember, this may or may not be part of my collaboration with Dan.  However, I wanted to share the origin with you.

So there you have it — the things that have been simmering away on my twisting brain’s back burner while I’ve been so scarce around the blogosphere!

And don’t forget!

Coming in Spring

Another Roaring Twenties Pantser Tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

Stay tuned, shieks and shebas!  

You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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 ©  2018 and 2019 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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu the End of the Line

Wednesday, August 22, 2018 

You’ve arrived at the end of the line, Shieks and Shebas!  This is the final episode for the Jazz Age Wednesdays serial Hullaba Lulu.  

Well it’s all right, that we’ve been riding around in the breeze. Maybe somewhere down the road aways, you’ll think of me, wonder where I am these days.  Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line.

This is the dieselpunk series, set in the Roaring Twenties authored by yours truly, and illustrated by Rob Goldstein… and we’re at the end of the line!

Lulu blowing bubble

Lulu. Art by Rob Goldstein

You can do catch-up reading for most of the past chapters at this post: Real World Tech Review which has links through episode 11.1. 

Warning — this is a long chapter, but I didn’t think it suitable to divide it into more than one episode.  Save your place and take a break if necessary.  However, I think it will be a quick read, despite the length.  Enough said.  Time to get a wriggle on!

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

The angel-bots stood on one another’s shoulders making a automaton tower to try and take Valentino away from Iset, but with disastrous results.  They all fell and… Oh the bot-manity! However, “Papa” Nikola Tesla was repairing them. 

Meanwhile, Valentino was near death. With her multicolored wings, Iset carried him away.  Lulu, Gramps, Dynamite, and Ginger took Tesla’s electric car and followed Iset to the Great Pyramid. Inside they found a secret chamber and a large alabaster disk. When they steped on the disk it sailed upward!  

I think I hear the trumpet’s final call.  The conductor shouts–

End of the Line!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 14

The Finale

LuLu in Egypt Green throne cat

Art by Rob Goldstein

The rapidly ascending alabaster disk came to a smooth stop.  Gramps, Ginger, Dynamite, and I stepped into a chamber that seemed empty except for a veritable forest of metal columns.  There were so many that it made the vast room seem like a labyrinth.  A tiny spark caught my eye.  I realized that each column was topped with intricately formed wires.  Tesla coils.  The room was full of Tesla coils!

I stopped in my tracks.  I would never get over the fireworks that resulted when I bumped into the one on Valentino’s train.

Outside my line of sight, I heard a woman throwing a tantrum.  Crashing sounds overlaid ranted words that I couldn’t understand.

“Why won’t it work?” she yelled.  “It’s not enough!”

Virtual reality photograph of Gramps playing the Theramin

Ginger, Lulu, and Gramps inside the Pyramid. Art by Rob Goldstein

Gramps hurried toward the voice.  I reached for his arm to hold him back, but I wasn’t fast enough.  I followed my grandfather in-between the columns and around a corner.

The voice belonged to Iset.

It was probably the least important thing in the world, but I noticed that Iset’s multicolored wings were gone.  I supposed that she only had them when she wanted to fly.  After all, huge wings would get in the way when you weren’t using them.

Her back was to us.  Iset bent over a large, open sarcophagus.  She started to chant fervently.  Her voice was raw, as if she had been speaking for a long time without a break.

“It’s not enough!  Nothing I do is ever enough!” Iset sobbed and banged her fists against the sarcophagus.

I hissed at Gramps to be still, but he went to Iset.  To my astonishment, Iset fell against my grandfather’s shoulder, crying her eyes out.

Gramps Iset

I borrowed Gramps and Iset to show them together.

When I moved forward I gasped in horror.  Laying in the elaborate casket was Valentino!

“I should have been able to heal him with the sarcophagus,” she wailed.  “Just infusing him with my lifeforce should have revived him.  With the sarcophagus, healing should have been immediate.”

An intricately carved copper bangle was on Iset’s wrist.  I saw that a copper strap ran from the bracelet to a matching cuff on Valentino’s wrist.  Another copper bangle-set rested beside him.  All the bracelets were carved with hieroglyphics that were inlaid with gemstones.  It looked like the gems had been melted into the ancient symbols.

“Maybe it needs all three of you,” Gramps told her in a gentle voice.

Iset looked up at Gramps with surprised eyes.  She turned her head to glare contemptuously at me.

“There are enough of those copper cuffs for three siblings,” Gramps continued in a matter of fact tone.

My grandfather reached into the casket and put the second bracelet set on Valentino’s bare wrist.  Gramps held out the bangle at the other end of the copper strap toward me.

“Gramps, what are you talking about?” I demanded, utterly befuddled.

Lulu light dress Pyramids-test-2

Lulu confused. Art by Rob Goldstein

“Lulu,” he chided.  “Do you mean to tell me that you never noticed the family resemblance?”

I stepped backward.  It felt like the rug had been pulled right out from under me.  My knees gave way and my fanny bumped one of the metal columns.

Ginger caught me before I hit the marble floor.  Dynamite grabbed and righted the Tesla coil post an instant before it would have fallen against the next one.  I shuddered thinking of the catastrophic domino effect that almost happened.

“Get ahold of yourself,” Iset snapped.  “You’re only our half-sister.  Yes, Valentino is our half-brother.”

“But… but,” I tried to interject.

“We three share the same father,” Iset said in an impatient tone.

“How?  Gramps, how could you not tell me?  Valentino?  What if he and I had… I mean,” I stuttered to a stop.

“Impossible as it sounds, I was pretty sure,” Gramps began.  “Seeing all three of you close together just now, I was certain.  Lauren, your mother, always did play the field.  Your father probably wasn’t that mobster after all.”

“Then who?” I whispered.

“This is not the time for that,” Iset stated bluntly.

Iset hair down Goddess 1

Iset in flight, by Rob Goldstein

She took a step toward me, snatched the other bangle from Gramps, and slapped it onto my wrist.

“Take his hand to make the connection stronger,” Iset ordered as she grasped Valentino’s hand.

The bangle slid down my wrist as I took Valentino’s other hand.  His hand was very cold. 

Iset began chanting again.  Her voice was hypnotic, like a song that pulled me into a story.  I didn’t understand the language she spoke, yet I found I was able to say the words.  It was as if part of me knew the language even though my conscious mind didn’t recognize it.  I chanted along with Iset.

The gemstone hieroglyphics in the bracelets started to glow.  The copper against my wrist felt pleasantly warm.  Valentino’s hand was still cold.

Iset sobbed and shook her head.

Gramps_Red 001x

Gramps by Rob Goldstein

“I don’t think he’s fully here,” Gramps muttered as he looked closely at Valentino.  “Part of his spirit is elsewhere.”

“Back at the Cotton Club he said that he couldn’t be far from the train,” I reminded Gramps.  “Then he said the Rolls Royce and the trumpet were aspects of his train, which allowed him to leave it for short distances.”

“That’s right, Miss.  The automatons are also aspects of the train.  Although to a lesser degree.  However, all of us together represent a complete circuit,” Dynamite explained.

A rapid series of clicks and shifting gears came from the rose-gold automaton.  Abruptly Ginger blinked and then ran to a window.  The angle-bot started climbing out the window. 

I called for her to come back.  We were nearly 500 feet off the ground!

“Ginger, be careful,” Dynamite drawled even as he climbed out the window with her.

It wasn’t a long distance from the uppermost chamber of the pyramid to its tip, but it was utterly treacherous.  The rose-gold automaton found hand and footholds to climb up to the pyramidion.  Dynamite was right behind her.

I hung halfway out the window watching them.  Tiny bits of stone showered down as Dynamite’s foot slipped.  Ginger reached one hand down to steady her beau.  A pebble hit my cheek and I drew back with an exclamation.  However, I couldn’t stop myself form leaning back out again to watch the clockwork duo.

Bots on Pyramid Calling All Bots.5-2

Angel-bots climbing to the top of the pyramid, by Rob Goldstein

As the two reached the zenith, the sun reflected from their gold bodies like a beacon.  I put up a hand to shield my eyes.  It was blinding.

Ginger started to hum.  She didn’t hum the way a human would.  It was more like the humming sound that comes from a finely tuned motor.  The sound she made grew louder.  Dynamite started humming at a lower pitch, but it was in harmony with Ginger.

Gramps came to the window beside me.  He looked up at the angel-bots, puzzled.  Then his expression changed.  The expression on his face told me he had a hunch.

“Something’s missing,” Gramps said, meaning the sounds the angel-bots made.

Gramps brought the slide-trombone to his lips.  I could tell he was listening intently to the humming.  Onstage at his speakeasy, I had seen him figure out songs that he’d never heard before.  That’s what he seemed to be doing.

My grandfather started playing the trombone.  After a few notes he played an intricate flourish that escalated in volume, blending in harmony with the hums of the automatons.  All the sounds came to a crescendo.

He squinted as he checked his compass.  Gramps shielded his sunglasses and stared down at the desert, looking in the direction from which we came.  A moment later I heard his sharp intake of breath.

I leaned out further to see past him and gasped in astonishment.

In the distance I could make out Woo standing on the hood of Tesla’s electric automobile.  The diminutive angel-bot leaned forward with arms extended as if she was flying.  The car was flanked by dozens of automatons.  Their golden bodies glinted in the sun as they ran at full-speed across the desert sands.  Clouds of dust churned up by their feet billowed behind their rapidly moving formation.

Bots gather to welcome Papa

I borrowed a bunch of bots from Rob… The Sphinx is in the background for a reason…

The automatons gathered en masse at the foot of the pyramid.  They all began to hum.  The harmony was intricate.  The vibration of their combined intonations was so strong I could feel it hundreds of feet above.  The hair on the back of my neck stood on end.

I rushed back to Valentino and reattached the bracelet I wore.

The expression on my grandfather’s face told me he had gone to that place inside ― the place from which his music came.  Gramps put the slide-trombone to his lips again.

I held Valentino’s cold hand tightly.  Iset had never let go of his other hand.  She looked at me and took my free hand and nodded.

“As the automaton said, a complete circuit,” she said, meaning the three of us holding hands.

Gramps played a wildly free jazz melody that I had never heard before.  I knew that no one had ever played it, at least not on this earth.  The uninhibited notes swam and rushed in a torrent.  Then the music leveled off to a steady flow.

As the music took on a slow, even pulse, the gemstones in the bracelets glowed brighter.  I heard Iset gasp.

Valentino’s eyes fluttered open.

***

Pearl at Luxor

I borrowed Pearl from Rob so we could see her in the real Winter Palace Hotel

The sound of tiny chimes rang from a device that looked like a large brass compact.  It was about the size of a dinner plate.  It was Valentino’s video phone.

“It’s fine, Lulu.  Go ahead and answer it.  I gave one to Nikola Tesla.  It should be him calling,” Valentino assured me.

However, when I opened the big compact, I saw Pearl.  In the background I saw palm trees and the luxurious accommodations of the Winter Palace hotel in Luxor.  I wondered what Egyptians would think about New York winters. 

I could hear a man happily cooing beyond Pearl.  She looked over her shoulder with an exasperated glare.

“I thought Tesla was taking you home,” I told Pearl.

Tesla no hat Conducting-1-1

Tesla by Rob Goldstein

“That was the idea,” Pearl began.  “Now he’s in the middle of making some kind of business deal and he’s not ready to leave yet.  Lulu, I can’t take another minute of this!” Pearl wailed amid all the cooing.

“Pearl, what’s going on?  I know he’s and odd bird, but I thought he was basically okay.  He’s not trying to do something weird to you is he?” I wanted to know.

Even though Pearl had been saying hurtful things and showing herself to be a self-important brat, before that we had been friends for a long time.  I wouldn’t stand by and let someone mistreat her, even if I didn’t want to have anything else to do with her.

“Ha!  Odd bird!  Lulu, you got that right.  It’s the damned pigeons!  He’s constantly playing with the blasted birds, feeding them, making silly noises to them.  Nerts! He’s more interested in the pigeons than me!” Pearl said frantically.

I didn’t know what to say.  While I searched for words she continued.

“He said he’d send me home any time I wanted.  He said he’d pay your way too,” Pearl said in a different tone.

Tesla Iset Bots dance

Tesla, Angel-bots, & Iset celebrating Valentino’s healing. Art by Rob Goldstein

“I don’t want to go home,” I told her, puzzled that she would even suggest such a thing.

“Come on, Lulu.  You know it’s not respectable for a lady to travel alone,” Pearl pleaded, but I still declined.  “Fine then!  I can’t cope with this!  I’m going home.  Now!”

Pearl was in a lather.  She pulled off her turban exposing fluffy platinum blond hair.  Long dangle earrings tumbled down to graze her shoulders.

The cooing noises stopped.  Tesla stepped into view behind Pearl.  She whirled around to face him and her long earrings swung out nearly touching him.  Tesla screamed and ran from the room.

***

Night fell.  Stars glittered the deep cobalt sky.  A full moon illuminated the Great Pyramid.  The train was repaired and it waited beside the ancient structure.  I had stopped wondering how they managed to get it there without railroad tracks.  Some things were beyond my grasp.

Lulu Gramps Valentino control room blue

Lulu, Gramps, and Valentino

The angel-bots had transformed the uppermost chamber of the pyramid to a beautifully appointed dining room.  Crystal glasses and champagne bubbles shimmered in candlelight as we celebrated Valentino’s return to health.

With her half-brother healed, Iset had become… not exactly nice, but less frightening anyway.  I kind of admired her fierceness.  I looked from her to Valentino and shook my head wonderingly.

I had lost my best friends.  Rose left us to stay with a better version of Tom Driberg in that alternative “upside down” Egypt.  It felt like I lost Pearl too, but it was because she was never the person she pretended to be.  I had been alone most of my life, and I was alone again.

Yet while I lost my friends, I had found family — a brother and a sister.  So what if we were only half-siblings.  I wanted to know about our mutual father, but they weren’t ready to discuss that yet.

“And you’re sure we aren’t related,” I heard Gramps say.

Gramps inside train

Gramps and the watch he looks at daily to read the inscription from his late wife.

He took out the pocket watch my late grandmother had given him.  I knew he read the inscription several times a day.  However, that time he stroked his thumb across the case without opening it.  He tucked the watch back inside his vest and patted the pocket.

I choked on my champagne.  Dynamite’s metal hand gently patted my back.  I told him that I was okay, and asked for a stronger drink.

Gramps and Iset were looking into one another’s eyes like a couple of teenagers.  They whispered and giggled.  Gramps giggled!  I had never seen my grandfather act that way.  And with a woman so young?  I was shocked.

“Dynamite, make that a double!” I pleaded.

Abruptly I wondered how young Iset actually was ― or was not.  Tesla said she was a goddess.  For all I knew, she was twice the age of my grandfather. 

Neither Iset nor Valentino were ordinary humans.  What did that make me if I was their half-sister?

“Let me show you Luxor from high above,” Iset told Gramps and motioned toward the window.

To my astonishment an airship floated beside the window.

Air ship bots pyramid Calling All Bots.3

Art by Rob Goldstein

“Iset!” Valentino exclaimed.  “Isn’t that Ra’s sun ship?  Have you lost your mind?”

“He won’t care as long as I have it back by sunrise,” Iset dismissed her brother’s worry with a wave of her hand.

Gramps and Iset moved to the window.  The angel-bots helped them onto the airship.  I stood gaping.

“Don’t wait up,” Gramps told us as he stepped aboard the ship.

 I got the hiccups.

***

Lulu Valentino in the control room

Valentino is healed. He and Lulu consider where to go next. Art by Rob Goldstein

It was well after midnight.  Valentino and I were in the control room of the train.  He sat in a chair that had wheels.  He spun it around, turning his back to do something with the Ouija board that was part of the train’s navigation system.

“I have a brother,” I murmured in awe.

The tall gold control angel statue tilted her head down and winked at me.

“Where do you want to go next, Lulu?” Valentino asked.  “I can plot the course.  We’ll be ready to leave first thing in the morning.  Gramps and Iset will be back by then,” he added.  “Anywhere you want to go.  It’s up to you, Lulu.”

Suddenly confronted with endless choices, I couldn’t pick a destination. 

I had wanted so badly to visit exotic places and we ended up first in a sideways Atlantic City, and then back to New York for a sideways Cotton Club.  It would have been swell when we got to Egypt — that was about as faraway and mysterious a place as I could imagine.  But when we got there so many bad things happened.

I was pos-i-lutely blotto, but I was happy.  I started doing the Charleston and pulled my newfound brother up from his “wheeley” chair and into the dance.

As I flung out my arm doing the Charleston, I knocked something over.  Then my heel broke and I fell against the Ouija board, tilting it.  The angel-bot, Moon, rushed into the control room, leaving the door open. 

Moon had been working on something outside. I could see the night beyond the open exit hatch.  I tripped over the automaton’s foot and landed in the wheeley chair.

Valentino Lulu Dance Hop Bot on horse RED Cotton Club-5-22-

Valentino & Lulu dancing.  Art by Rob Goldstein

Valentino reached for me and fell into the control angel.  The statue’s eyes popped open wide.  The trumpet levitated off its table and blared out a note.  The train lurched forward.

The sudden motion caused my chair to roll out of the room.  I screamed as it continued to roll out the exit hatch.  With a thud the chair toppled into the sand.  It, and I, rolled end over end several times.

My head spun as I staggered to my feet, still fighting with the chair.

The train was gone.

***

Pyramid Outside portal

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Horsefeathers!  It’s so hot!  I’ve really gotten myself into trouble this time.

I plopped down and leaned against the huge statue, zozzled.  I watched the sun peep over the horizon.

As I blinked at the sun, looking up I realized the statue had a man’s face.  That was confusing, especially in my splificated state, because I was leaning against a gigantic paw.  Well, if it had a face, I’d drink with it — paws or not.

I took out my garter flask.  It barely had a jorum of skee left. 

Pearl managed to get Tesla to take her back to New York.  Gramps left for a well-deserved romantic tryst with Iset.  My latest bout of clumsiness caused me to fall out the door and sent Valentino and his train careening off to who knew where.  Worse, I was down to my last drop of hooch!

I held up the flask and squinted up at the stone face.  Was it wearing a Star of David for an earring?  I knew I was tipsy, but I hadn’t noticed that earring a moment earlier.

“Now what do I do?  I’m stranded in the desert with no giggle water,” I complained to the statue, not caring that it couldn’t answer.  “How am I going to get out of this mess?”

Lulu at the Sphinx

Still splificated, Lulu wakes up at a statue with huge paws and a man’s face. (Lulu by Rob, finangling by Teagan)

“What is the meaning of life?” a deep voice mumbled.

“Huh?” I muttered.

I burped and looked around.  I didn’t see anybody.  Maybe I was more than a little tipsy.

“The meaning of life,” I muttered and looked at the flask.

The bottle contained some of the 42-proof whiskey that Gramps got for his speakeasy.  A rumrunner from Canada brought it.  It wasn’t as strong as the usual hooch, but it sure was smooth.

I raised the flask toward the statue in a toast.

“42-proof!  Here’s to you, bub,” I said and then took a swig.

The bottle had a few drops left.  On impulse, I sprinkled them on the gigantic stone paw.

“There ya go,” I told it with a hiccup.

A sound like a rock-slide preceded a heavy thud.  I didn’t remember the big mound of sand on the other side of the statue’s paw.  Neither did I remember seeing its tail.  Then the big stone tail swept back to the other side, making another mound of sand.

“Huh?” I raised my eyebrows and murmured worriedly.

There was no way I was drunk enough to hallucinate.  Or at least I didn’t remember drinking that much…

The earth shook, causing me to stumble away from the statue.

Spinx Pyramids wide

I backed away and watched in awe as the stone head moved down to lick the paw where I sprinkled the whiskey.

“Smooth,” the deep voice rumbled, louder than before.

My eyes bulged.

“Yes, Lulu.  You answered my riddle,” the Sphinx told me.

“Erm, what riddle?  Oh, was it you who asked what the meaning of life was?  I knew I could hold my liquor better than that!” I said and tried to stop my voice from slurring.  “You mean that was a riddle?  I never was any good at riddles.  You aren’t going to ask me a riddle are you?  Because I’m no…” I started, but paused to burp.  “Scuse me.”

Hot air blew the fringe on my dress as the statue snorted.

“I already asked you the riddle — the meaning of life,” it told me with another blast of hot air and a rumbling sound.  “You answered correctly.  42.”

Was it laughing?

“Oh, but I was talking about…” I decided it was better if I didn’t finish that sentence if the Sphinx thought I had gotten something right.”

The earth shook again, harder.  I fell down.  A broad hand reached out to me.  I took the strong hand, but eyed its owner skeptically.  I was still unsteady from the tremor and grabbed his arm to keep from falling again.  His enormous bicep was rock-hard.  I gazed up and up, because he had to be nearly seven feet tall.

I patted his huge bicep.  Hard as sto— I only got half the thought finished. 

Sphinx character

I looked up at a very tall, powerfully built man who effortlessly lifted me to my feet.  He was wearing one of those cloth bandana-like hats I had seen in the Egyptian paintings.  He also wore a caftan, sunglasses, and one Star of David earring.

“Hello, Lulu — Giver of Names,” he greeted me.

He took off the sunglasses and grinned at me.  He had big green, slit-pupiled eyes.  A tufted tail twitched out from under his caftan.

Holy Hannah!” I exclaimed despite myself and stepped backward.  “I um, I have to find the train,” I apologized, turning to leave.

“Valentino’s train is long gone.  You know that.  You sent it away yourself,” he said amid deep chuckles.

I started to speak but then I noticed the Sphinx statue was gone.  My mouth moved but nothing came out.

“Don’t worry,” he said and led me around a mound of sand.  “You aren’t stranded.  Your chariot awaits.”

He pointed to the longest, reddest, shiniest automobile I had ever seen.  It looked like something from the Amazing Stories magazine.

“Oh, that’s right.  You don’t exactly know how to drive, and this vehicle is as far removed from an automobile as Valentino’s is from an ordinary train,” he told me.

“Who are you?” I asked, trying hard to make my mind focus.  “Are you real?  Or am I drunker than I’ve ever been before?”

“Just call me Sphinx,” he told me and winked one of those slit-pupiled green eyes.  “Maybe later I’ll tell you my name.  But try not to ask questions.  That compels me to ask you riddles, and that could end badly,” he warned but laughed deeply and loudly.

Sphinx opened the passenger door of the vehicle. 

“Don’t touch anything,” he cautioned as he helped me into the automobile.

When he walked around to the driver’s door, the floorboard shifted to accommodate the length of his legs.

I looked at the automobile’s dashboard.  It had as many blinking lights and strange levers as Valentino’s train.  Just under the dash I spotted a small Ouija board.  The planchette started to vibrate.  I reached out and placed a single finger on the teardrop shaped device.

The engine roared to life.

Wildly moving shapes like the sine-waves Moon showed me when he opened a door to the “upside down Egypt” surrounded the vehicle.  It shot forward and upward, faster than anything could possibly move.  The brightly colored waves surrounded the vehicle like a tunnel.  It looked like it could go on forever.

“I told you not to touch anything!” Sphinx cried in shock.

His voice echoed into the distance behind us.

Sphinx car Egypt

Don’t touch anything Lulu!  Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

***

The End

***

Real World Notes

42 — Douglas Adams.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a comic science fiction series created by Douglas Adams that has become popular among fans of the genre(s) and members of the scientific community.  The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is requested from the supercomputer, Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42.  

Old Winter Palace Hotel Luxor.  A historic British colonial-era 5-star luxury resort hotel located in Luxor, Egypt, just south of Luxor Temple, with 86 rooms and 6 suites.  Founded in 1905 it is perched on the Nile River amid luxuriant tropical gardens.

Thanks again to Rob Goldstein for generously sharing the beautiful illustrations, that brought my words to life for everyone.  If you missed it, Rob talks about how making these images was important for him on a personal level in a podcast you can reach via his blog.

Thank you — each and every one of you — from the bottom of my heart for being on this train!  It’s been a fun, wild ride, and it would never have happened without you.  Many of you have been with this train from the introduction all the way through the end of the line.  I appreciate you more than you could know.  You’re pos-i-lutely the cat’s pajamas.

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 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.