Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 5

Thistledown Girl

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the fae world of Thistledown.  I have a special guest today.  Many of you will know her because we’ve done several collaborative posts in the past.  If not, then allow me to present Suzanne DeBrango of A Pug in the Kitchen

Suzanne is a multi-talented woman — chef (and great photographer of her foods) and blogger.  And if you’re ever in need of property in New York, this “Brooklyn pug gal” is also an award winning real estate agent. 

She was inspired by the fae magic Pick (the cousin of the character she named) when he coaxed cherries off the trees and they rolled to him, rather than being picked.  Then, lucky for us, she found beautiful sour cherries at her farmers’ market.  Here’s Suzanne to tell us about the recipe she’s sharing here today.

I was thrilled to find sour cherries at the farmers market and snagged a few containers to make my favorite jam. Refrigerator jams and pickles are one of my favorite things to make. It’s so easy, you can make one jar at a time.  There’s no need to go through the canning process.  Just, make sure you sterilize your jars, or at least run them through the dishwasher before using them. 

I want that sucker fish to help pit those cherries — oops, you’ll meet them in this episode!  If you have ever tried to pit sour cherries you know it’s a lot of work.  They are soft, small, and getting that little pit is difficult.  It is a labor of love though, and the resulting jam is worth the effort.  

I definitely identify with the faery character, Peaches Dragonfly and her name.  Teagan, thank you for Peaches Dragonfly, and fantastic story.  You are amazing. I hope you all enjoy this recipe.

Sour cherry jam tart Suzanne DeBrango

As you see, I made both sour cherry vanilla and gooseberry jam.  I have to say they are wonderful with scones and creme fraiche. 
2 cups pitted sour cherries
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
Use a non-reactive, medium saucepan, adding the cherries, sugar and salt.  Cook on medium high heat until thickened.  It took about 45 minutes total cooking time.
To test to see if it is going to be thick enough place a spoon in the freezer.  Spoon some of the jam on the freezing cold spoon.  If it gets nice and thick, then it’s done.
Pour the hot jam into very clean preferably sterilized jars, seal and let cool on the counter. The jam will seal, but because it is not processed in a water bath, it must be stored in the refrigerator.  It will last for a long time refrigerated. 

How could I be anything but inspired after Suzanne’s words?  Thank you, Suzanne.

Writing Process

Suckerfish attached to diver

At this time I think I should remind everyone that  characters, names, places, and incidents are used in a strictly fictitious way. The actions of a character do not imply anything about the person who named the character.

I allow myself some artistic license, especially since this serial is a fantasy.  I’ve added to the flora and fauna of Thistledown.  This time you’ll meet some fun fish, living in a pond. 

I’m pantsering this story so I don’t know if these faery fish will live in both fresh and salt water, or just the one pond.  However, I imagine them as looking partly like a remora (salt water) and partly like a suckermouth catfish (fresh water).

Without further ado, here’s the next installment of the serial.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam

Sprig Yellow ben-moore-8884

Ben Moore, Unsplash

Pucker Up

A pale yellow patch of sky was framed by green branches.  Doves cooed peacefully.  I saw two perched on a limb outside my bedroom window.  One appeared to try and give the other a tiny flower.  Or perhaps one tried to take the blossom from the other.  Who could say?

I glanced downward from my dizzyingly high vantage point.  My grand-uncle built his spacious home nestled in the branches of a massive redwood.  Uncle taught us to nurture the primeval tree just as it enriched us.  However, I had never been fond of heights.

He probably thought to encourage me to practice my flying skills by installing me in the attic bedroom, the loftiest room of all.  Many faeries would have been envious of the room, for the fun of gliding down hundreds of feet to the ground.  I however, often took the stairs.

Beyond the huge evergreen, I glimpsed Willow Stargazer flying past.  Her purple hair stood out against the morning sky.  She always wore an orchid tucked behind one ear.  Willow gave a quick wave.

1 Butterfly wing

I yawned and stretched, knowing I had slept late.  By the time I left the reflection pool, I had been exhausted.  In a short time, a lot of troubling ideas had wriggled into my mind.  First among them my horrible, frightening vision.

What troubled me most about that vision was the fact that it felt prophetic.  That must be why it upset the fae of Thistledown so much when they heard of it.

I had seen a bleak, unhappy world.  There was sunlight sometimes, but often the sky was murky.  The place was dark in every other way as well.  Bad things happened there all the time.  Negativity saturated the place — disasters, disrespect, corruption, violence, and hatred.  Even the elders and leaders were continually exposed as corrupt and even insane.

In the vision, it seemed like the people saw and experienced those things continually.  Each day they thought it couldn’t get more absurd, insulting, or hurtful.  Yet it did.  They became used to bizarre and harmful events.  They accepted it as just another part of their day.  There were highly placed people who could have remedied the situation.  Yet they did nothing.

The attitudes and actions of the people reflected the darkness of their world.  Even the clothes they chose to wear were in dark, dull colors.  The girls I met in my second vision seemed like rebels of a sort, daring to wear a splash of bright colors in their clothes or hair. 

Worse, I suspected the fae there had no wings.  My grand-uncle once told a scary story of a group of faeries without wings.  Did the darkness that saturated that world cause them to eventually lose their wings?

One of the doves on my windowsill fluttered away, dispelling my reverie.  The one that remained still held the tiny flower.  I realized it was a peach blossom.  Then I knew it must be a message from Peaches Dragonfly.  I took the flower from the dove.  Oddly it was wet.  My body mirrored the posture of the dove when she tilted her head to one side curiously.

“A wet peach blossom?” I murmured to the dove who answered with a coo.  “Oh!” I exclaimed in sudden epiphany.  “Peaches must want me to meet her at the pond.”

The dove bobbed her head forward and back, and then flew away in the direction of the orchard.

I unfolded my injured wing to apply more of the ointment Calico Rainbowforest gave me.  Even my grand-uncle had to admit I wouldn’t be practicing my flying for a while.  Since Peaches sent a dove to bid me visit her, she must not be in a rush.  If there was any hurry, she would probably have sent a zippy hummingbird.  I considered borrowing Uncle’s unicycle, but I knew I would end up painfully unfurling my wings to catch my balance.  I’d have to settle for my own two feet.

I must be the clumsiest faery in Thistle down, I thought with a loud sigh.

***

Peaches Pond nitish-kadam-43351

Nitish Kadam, Unsplash

“Bedlam, thank goodness you’re here,” Peaches Dragonfly said once I arrived at the pond.  “I could really use a hand.”

Her pink hair was wet, but only around her face.  Beside Peaches were four pails of water.  I noticed an oddly shaped purple fish swimming in one.  When I asked about the fish, my friend said it was a suckerfish.

“They absolutely love the pits from sour cherries,” Peaches explained.  “I have buckets overflowing with sour cherries from the far side of the orchard.  I’m going to make jam from them, but the pits have to be removed.  Those cherries are tiny, and it’s a lot of work to remove the pits.  So I had the idea to use the suckerfish to take out the pits.  With a little fae coaxing, they don’t bother the flesh of the cherries at all, and happily suck out the pits!”

“What an amazing idea!” I complimented Peaches.  “But I don’t see any other fish like this in the pond.”

Peaches gave me a wry look as she knelt at the edge of the pond.  I had a bad feeling that there was a tangle in her brilliant idea, and that I was about to get caught in the middle of it.

“There are several suckerfish in the pond.  They usually stay at the bottom, but they’ll come to the surface if you call them,” she told me.

I thought we were about to get to the tangle.  A hopeful look from my friend suggested I was right.  I expected to regret it, but I asked how one went about calling the suckerfish.

“It’s easy,” she told me with a bright smile.  “You just put your face into the water and make kissing sounds.  The suckerfish will come right to you.”

“What happens when they get there?”

“Well, if you aren’t quick enough in grabbing them, they’ll suck your face.  They’re very affectionate.  Don’t worry,” she added upon seeing my expression.  “It doesn’t hurt.”

Face in water blue

Genessa Panainte, Unsplash

I cringed so hard that I went to my knees.  Peaches took that for agreement and pulled my shoulders down toward the water.  I watched as she made kissing sounds into the pond.  Two purple suckerfish quickly swam to her.  One of them appeared to give her a kiss on the cheek.  With lightning reflexes, Peaches caught one fish in each hand.

“See,” she stated as she put the fishes in a pail.  “It isn’t that hard.”

Taking a deep breath, I agreed to give it a try.  I made kissing sounds into the water.  A fish swam to me so fast that I didn’t even see it.  Peaches had quick reflexes and grabbed it for me before I possibly could have gotten it.  Emboldened by the fact that I hadn’t had to even touch the fish, I put my puckering mouth back into the pond.

After two or three “kisses” I saw two tiny purple fish approaching from the left.  They were much smaller than any I had seen at that point, so the prospect of them touching my face did not upset me.

What I could not see was a suckerfish as large as my arm rapidly swimming from the deepest part of the pond.  Suddenly something forcefully hit my mouth.  Thankfully it was soft, or it would have really hurt.  I fell backward to the banks of the pond.

Peaches gasped, but rapidly detached the big sucker from my face.  I fitfully spat, and spat.  And spat some more.  I’m not sure why.  It wasn’t as though I tasted anything.  It was just the idea of being smooched by that fish.

“I’ve never seen a suckerfish this big.  The pit removal should go extra fast with this guy helping!” Peaches exclaimed.  “Nice work, Bedlam.”

We both looked up as a shadow passed over.  A blue heron swooped low, gliding toward the eastern bank of the pond.  I was awed by its beauty, with its broad wings and smooth passage, and plumage the color of a thunder cloud.  It sailed to the eastern bank of the pond.

I realized something looked different than I remembered about that side of the pond.  Peaches explained that an underground stream had come to the surface.  She thought that under or above ground the water eventually made its way to a small lake near Catseye Glimmer’s home.

Curious about the change to the landscape I wandered to that side of the pond.  I could see a thicket.  In the shadows I could barely make out the water of the stream.

“What’s that sound?” Peaches asked.

At first I didn’t hear anything.  After a moment, soft whimpering came to my ears.  To my astonishment, Peaches jumped into the pond.

“It sounds like a dog!” she cried as she swam.

I jumped in after her.  We soon realized that end of the pond was shallow enough that we could walk to the thicket.  That was a relief, since my swimming wasn’t any better than my flying.

The whining grew louder.  Peaches moved to the edge of the thicket.  When I looked at the place, an inexplicable shudder traveled through me.  The shadows were dark.  They were gray and unnaturally, densely drab.

“Peaches, wait!” I called and fearfully extended a hand, but she was out of my reach.

It was a relief when my friend emerged from the shadows with a small dog in her arms.  To my surprise she chuckled.

“There’s a suckerfish stuck to his mouth.  Help me get it off him,” she told me.

We walked through the water to the near edge of the pond and climbed out.  I helped Peaches up to the grass because her arms were full with the little dog.  I expected her to stop right there, but she hurried over to where we had been catching purple suckerfish.

She detached the suckerfish from the little dog’s mouth.  Rather than purple as it should have been, the fish was a dull brown.  Peaches gently placed the oddly colored fish in a pail separate from the other fish.

With the fish removed, I could see the dog’s face.  He was easily the oddest looking pup I had ever seen.  He had a tightly curled tail.  His coat was dull gray, but his little face was black.  It was also squished flat.  He looked at me and licked his nose with a little gray-blue tongue.

When he looked up at Peaches, his screw-tail wagged enthusiastically.  She set about drying the dog with a towel.

“I wonder who he belongs to?” Peaches pondered.  “His coloring is so unique,” she added with an uneasy glance at the strange brown suckerfish.

We both gazed nervously toward the shadows of the thicket.  Then Peaches leaned down to look closely at all the fish in the pails.

“I’ve never seen any fish that color,” she commented in an uneasy voice.  “It makes me think of how you described the place in your vision as colorless.”

“I doubt he belongs to anybody in Thistledown,” I whispered.  “What should we do with him?” I asked as I cleared my throat, trying to bring my voice to a normal volume.

Peaches took another look at the thicket and shivered.  The dog’s dull coloring indeed reminded me of the dark place where I met Rotten Soulfire and her friends.  How could they bear to live in such a place?  I swallowed hard.

“I’ll look after him,” Peaches stated in a determined voice.  “I think I’ll call him Pucker.”

The dog barked a yip at his new name.  Pucker’s tail wagged so hard I was surprised it didn’t cause him to fall over from the force of it.  He put a paw on Peaches’ shin and she bent to get him in her arms.

Vintage Pug painting

***

The End

The new “mystery faery” for this episode was Cecily of Cecily’s Writings.  I hope you’ll say hello to her.  

Stay tuned for the next episode of Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam.  We will see the counterpart of Catseye Glimmer in the other faery-verse and more photos from T & L Photography.  

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 © 2017 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.

 

 

 

At the Wall Gallery and on The Radio — Meet Kirt and Hank

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to two pos-i-lutely fantastic guys — Kirt Tisdale and Hank Hertz!  It was my great pleasure to be a guest at the Wall Gallery, Kirt’s blog, The Wall Gallery There you will find his inspiring collection of art and photography.  

Thanks to Kirt for working with me on this joint post!  It’s already live at his blog, so forgive me for another rerun if you’ve already been there.  Many of you have already visited there.  Thank you so much!  If you haven’t already seen this post, thank you as well — for being here.

I never managed to move to Arizona in real life, but I had a great virtual visit with Kirt. Let me hand things over to him now.  Kirt, the stage is yours.

Writer Inspires Artist – Artist Inspires Writer or On The Radio – Meet Hank

I could call this week’s post – “The Art of Visualization: The Key Element to Writing, Art and Photography”, but the result of that ability is “On The Radio – Meet Hank”.  I’m doing a joint collaboration with one of my favorite authors, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. One of my most consistent comments to her after reading her writing is: “I love it…I am instantly pulled in because I can visualize everything you are writing about.”  

When she asked me to do this joint post, her request was simple: “Go through your art and photography portfolio and send me a picture that you would like to have me weave into one of my novels.”  

I narrowed it down to Cedar Rapids Barn because this capture of an old dilapidated barn created a visualization of a rural setting and the mystery surrounding the structure (side note: I was driving on the outskirts of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the heavily wooded hills along the river when I spotted this structure nestled in the trees. Of course I had to stop…hike into the woods and take some shots with my camera). So with that, I would like to turn it over to the star of this visualization, Teagan. 

What a fantastic introduction!  I’m not sure I can live up to it… So I’ll call on Donna Summer to build some excitement first! 

3-things-cover_3-2016

From his wonderful collection, Kirt chose the image above, Cedar Rapids Barn.  I let it spontaneously lead me to the story below.

As you probably expected, this tale is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip.  (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story click here.)

Today meet Hank Hertz.  This vignette is part of Hank’s backstory.  He’s a young man Pip will meet when she is sent to live in Savannah, Georgia with her grandmother.  However, this vignette takes place at some point not too long before Pip arrives there, so she is not in this story.

On the Radio — Meet Hank

No harm in trying one more time, Hank Hertz thought as he stacked all manner of electronic components on the counter.

“Hi, Mr. Hardscrabble,” Hank mumbled, trying to avoid eye contact with the hardware store’s proprietor.

“Hank, I already told you.  Your ma told me not to sell you any of this gadgetry tomfoolery.  You might as well put all that stuff back on the shelves, son.”

Hardscrabble put a hand to his balding head in a frustrated gesture.  He found his spectacles there and smiled because he’d forgotten where he put them.  However, he brightened when the door opened.  One of “Savannah’s finest,” Detective Dabney Daniels strolled into Hardscrabble Hardware.  His finely chiseled features remained neutral, but he raised an eyebrow at the tableau at the counter.

“Now get on with you, boy.  Put everything back.  I can’t take your money,” the store owner repeated before turning to a real customer.  “That boy gets more like his granddaddy every day.  Detective, what can I do for you?”

1928 Detroit police radio Blue

“No need to rest on formality, Homer.  I can’t find my flashlight, so I’m here for another one,” the detective replied then looked sheepish.  “Go ahead and laugh about things going missing at a police station.  I can tell you’re holding it back.”

Hank watched the exchange between the tall detective and the portly shopkeeper as he reluctantly made trips from the sales counter back to the shelves.  He could have carried more things at one time, but he delayed the inevitable, hoping Mr. Hardscrabble would change his mind.  As he picked up a few more items to return to the shelf, the detective stopped him.

“What is all that stuff, son?  If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were building a ham radio.  Or at least intended to before Homer shut you down.”

For a moment Hank’s face lit up at the mention of his passion — all things electronic, especially radios.  He looked dejectedly at his feet.

“Momma wants me to study law.  She says electronics and inventions are a distraction.  She even said they were toys!”

“So all the old fogies are conspiring against you, huh?  Well, you’d better ankle all that stuff back where it came from, like Homer told you.”

***

1920 Radio News

After supper Hank got an armload of books and headed out the kitchen door.  His mother looked at the heavy tomes and gave a satisfied nod.  Hank knew she was watching from the window above the sink as he walked to the little red barn.  Vines of Cherokee roses ran riot over the building.  The Hertz family used the barn for storage, but Hank made it his personal spot to study or just hang out.  He also had a workbench tucked in one corner where he discretely kept his radio equipment.

The horizon blazed red with sunset when Hank slipped out of the barn.  He pedaled the motorized bicycle he had made until he was far enough away that his parents wouldn’t hear the noise of the motor.  Dusk descended as he rode into town.

Hank didn’t pay any attention to the dark Ford parked on the corner, or to the fact that someone sat inside it.  He rode down the alley and came up behind Hardscrabble Hardware.  The back door was locked, but he found a window he could open.  He took his flashlight and climbed into the store.

He knew exactly where to find everything he wanted.  So it didn’t take Hank long to gather all the electronics he tried to buy that afternoon.  He stood at the sales counter and added up all the prices.  He figured the tax.  Then he left the full amount of the purchase, plus two cents, because he didn’t have enough pennies to leave the exact change.

Putting everything into his bag, Hank turned toward the back of the shop.  It felt like an electric charge shot from his neck down his arm when he heard a cough behind him.  Hank jerked around to face the sound.

1920 Victoria motorcycle ad

The boy thought he’d lose everything he ate for supper when he saw the police detective standing there, arms folded.

“So you actually broke into the store and paid for the things Homer wouldn’t sell you?  Son, I don’t know what to make of that.”

Hank stumbled back a step.  He wanted to run, but the copper knew who he was and where he lived.  Besides, Hank had a pretty good idea that those long legs could catch up with him before he got to his bicycle.  His breath caught in his throat.  Hank couldn’t have spoken even if he’d known what to say.

The detective closed the distance to the counter in a single step.  He pointed his new flashlight to the paper where Hank had added up his purchase.  Then he pursed his lips as he thought.  He stared at Hank as if he could see every fib the boy had ever told.  Hank gulped.

“Where’d you get the money for this stuff, son?  Allowance?  Money for odd jobs?”

Hank only nodded, still unable to talk.  Finally he found his voice and croaked out a reply.  “It’s my money sir.  Fair and square.  I wouldn’t steal anything.”

“I guess I’m going to have to have a talk with your parents,” Dabney Daniels said, slowly shaking his head.

Poor Hank felt like he might sink through the floor, right then and there.  His knees felt weak.

“But this,” the copper motioned at Hank’s bag full of stuff.  “I don’t see as any law has really been broken.  After all, I walked in through the front door, which was unlocked.  I know Homer leaves through the back door and forgets to lock the front.  But being as you’re here, I assume he left it open for you.”

Hank gazed at Daniels in wide eyed confusion.

“Besides, I hate doing paperwork.  If you had actually broken into this store, I’d have to haul you to the station and spend the rest of the night writing up the report.  I do have to talk to your parents though,” he added causing Hank to sink further.

The young man managed a groan.

“You know, I really need an intern down at the station.  I think your mother will see that working for me would be a good learning experience for a future lawyer.  In a way, that’s where law starts isn’t it?  With the police?  Meanwhile you can put your talent with radio gadgetry to use.  How does that sound?”

The end

***

And so Savannah’s youngest policeman began his career.  If you want to know more about the other characters in Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, click here.  Thanks for reading.  Mega hugs!

 

Copyright © 2017 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

 

Pip & Pancakes with Dan

Great news everyone — we have another guest!  Dan Antion at No Facilities agreed to be my next co-conspirator collaborator.  This post is already live at his blog for his One-Liner Wednesday feature.  So I’m handing things over to Dan to explain.  (I also think he should consider a career change to TV announcer.  He gave me such a nice introduction, I’m still blushing.)

A One and Three Twofer

It’s One-Liner Wednesday, the series brought to us by Linda G. Hill, and many of you will be surprised by how close to one line I am going to come. That’s because I am joined today by Teagan R. Geneviene who will soon release her 1920’s novel. If you’re not familiar with Teagan and her three-things stories, you’re in for a treat. If you are familiar with Teagan’s work, you know exactly what kind of treat you’re in for.

My one-liner is all about a treat too. A few weeks ago, when I woke up in Florida with the task making, changing and cancelling flights on a day the airlines were struggling with a blizzard in the Northeast, I wasn’t eager to get out of bed. I talked myself into action with the following thought:

When you know you’re going to have a bad day, make it better by starting with pancakes.”

Teagan told me that Pip could have some fun with pancakes, so let me get out of the way (after a few pictures for the foodies).

Now, while I finish my breakfast, please enjoy Teagan’s story. Try to imagine my best Ed McMahon voice, as I say:

Heeeeeer’s Teagan!

Thank you again, Dan, for agreeing to collaborate on a post with me.  I hope everyone will visit his blog.  Dan uses several post themes and they’re all terrific.  I had a great time at No Facilities.  His picture of the crow was pos-i-lutely inspired.  You’ll see why in a second.

Now for my part… This vignette is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip.  (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story click here.)  Pip’s father and grandmother decided to “settle her down” by having her live with Granny for awhile.  That’s where this tidbit picks up.  Also, as you guessed, the prompt Dan gave me for this tale was pancakes.  I hope you enjoy it.

Pip and Pancakes

1925 La Vie Parisienne woman pancake cooking

La Vie Parisienne, February 1925

Horsefeathers!  I think I sprained my wrist,” I complained as the iron skillet plopped back onto the stove with a loud clang.

Outside a crow made a cawing sound that might as well have been the bird’s laughter.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody, you will mind your language while you’re in my kitchen,” Granny Phanny warned me.

My grandmother hefted the heavy skillet with a quick motion.  A perfectly round pancake sailed high into the air.  It landed majestically, golden side up, in the pan.  I heard the crow again.  If it had a human voice, I was sure it would be saying “Ha!  Let’s see you do that.”

Granny must have biceps made of steel under her shirtsleeves.  She handled that heavy skillet like it weighed nothing.

The clear blue sky beyond the kitchen window distracted me.  I imagined being back in Florida with my friends, watching the boats on Santa Rosa Sound.  However, I was in Granny’s kitchen in Savannah, Georgia.  Pops had not appreciated the fact that I was a modern woman, a flapper.  It was an appalling sentence to be given, and it pos-i-lutely did not fit my transgression.  Why it was just a little yachting adventure.  Nonetheless, Pops and Granny contrived for me to stay with her and learn to cook!

Pillsbury Home Journal Pancake flour ad September 1920

Pillsbury ad, Home Journal, September 1920

Of course the crow chose that moment to caw some more.  It really did seem to be laughing at my predicament.  Or at least at the idea of me cooking.  I was ready to stick my tongue out at the bird.

Honestly, I only looked away for a moment.  Maybe it was my sigh that told Granny my attention had wandered.  Her lips curled in, which meant she was impatient.  I grimaced, knowing I wouldn’t get any sympathy there.  However, Granny gave a sigh of her own, and moved the skillet away from the burner.

“Pip, do you already miss your friends?  You’ve just gotten here.  This was supposed to be something fun for us to do together,” my grandmother told me.

I blinked in surprise.  Granny wanted to do something fun?  Applesauce!  If I had known it was meant to be fun, I might have put some effort into enjoying it.  I cringed when I realized I had said as much out loud.

Granny Phanny gave a snort.  “Maybe I’m not as old as I thought, because that actually made sense to me.”

“In that case, let me try again,” I told her with a grin.

I tried to imitate Granny’s motion and give the pancake a flip.  It only came halfway out of the pan and landed in a folded messy lump.  My grandmother gingerly picked up the half-cooked goo and set it to rights.  She told me to try again and give it some body English.

A tight-lipped grimace settled on my face as I picked up the iron skillet.  I heaved it just so.  The sloppy remains of the pancake lifted into the air.  It sailed up and flipped, and then flew even higher.  It made a wet thwack when it hit the ceiling… and there it stayed.

With a gulp, I looked at Granny, wondering how mad she would be.  Her expression was blank as she stared upward.  She cast an evaluative gaze on me, making me wonder if she thought I’d done it on purpose.

“Pip…  Well, that was right impressive,” she said, with the riotous squawking of the crow in the background.

Bye Bye Black Bird sheet music 1920s

Hurriedly I stirred the batter and poured a puddle of it into the skillet.  I didn’t want to give her time to consider in what way a pancake on the previously spotless kitchen ceiling was impressive.

In my haste I had the heat too high, and the hotcake began to smoke.  Granny moved toward the window.  She told me to just get the spatula and turn it before it burned.  I was more than simply nervous by then.  I don’t know what possessed me, but I tried to do a combination, turn and toss, with the spatula in one hand and the skillet in the other.

Just then Granny shrieked.  The crow cawed even louder.  I whirled around.  The bird was right outside the window. 

My one-handed grip on the iron skillet was too loose.  When I moved so suddenly, the skillet flew from my fingers.  The shining black pan could have been the cousin to the cawing crow, the way it soared across the room.

I gazed in amazement at the flying frying pan.  It spun as it sailed cleanly through the open window.  The skillet crashed into the lilac bush just outside.

The crow’s clamorous cawing abruptly choked.  I might have chuckled to have gotten the last word on the bird, even if by accident.  However, the sound of Granny’s scream was still in my ears, so I didn’t savor that victory.

I spun back toward Granny Phanny to see what was wrong.  She stood stock still.  Her hands were in fists at her side.  My magnificently tossed pancake no longer littered the ceiling.  It draped and dripped over Granny’s forehead.

What’s that they say about the better part of valor?  On pretext of retrieving the skillet, I ran from the kitchen.  The crow alighted on the lilac bush and looked at me accusingly.  It fluttered to the windowsill.

“You won’t go in there if you know what’s good for you,” I told the bird.

Granny appeared on the porch, picking batter from her hair.  She gave me a look that I couldn’t define.  The crow made a brazen cackle.  After a moment Granny burst out laughing.

“Pip, go inside and let’s get cleaned up.  You haven’t been to the Georgian Tea Room.  I’ll treat us to brunch there.  If we stay here we might be eating crow — literally,” she said with a meaningful glare at the bird.

With a last disgruntled caw, the crow flapped away.

Georgian Tea Room in The Olde Pink House 1929

The Georgian Tea Room in the Olde Pink House;  Savannah, GA circa 1929

***

The end.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s meow.  Mega hugs!

Copyright © 2017 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

In the Pip of Time & 10 Things Not To Do

Hello, everyone!  We have a guest today.  My thanks to John W. Howell, for agreeing to do a joint post with me, using one of his fabulous lists of what not to do!  Actually, this post is already live at his blog, Fiction Favorites.  Some of you have already visited there, so I thank you and I apologize for giving you a rerun.

John recently re-launched the first book in his “John J. Cannon” trilogy, My GRL.  Click here for details.  He also has the marvelous blog I mentioned above, Fiction Favorites.  John uses a different theme for each day of the week.  Mondays are a fun take on lists with Top Ten Things Not to Do.  So now I present John’s part of this collaboration.  

John W. Howell — take it away, my friend!

Top Ten Things Not to Do If You are Transported Back to the Roaring Twenties

This week’s list is inspired by Teagan R. Geneviene who is working to release her next 1920’s novel. In a discussion, she wondered aloud what it would be like to be transported back to the roaring twenties. My mind went immediately to the Top Ten things one shouldn’t do if transported. You see, I have the belief that Teagan can do anything she puts her mind to doing. I feel it is my job to warn her in case she is successful. So here is the list.

Top Ten Things Not to Do If You are Transported Back to the Roaring Twenties

10. If you have been transported to the roaring twenties, do not try to pay for anything with the money in your pocket. If you do, at best you’ll be a laughing-stock. At worst, you may be charged with counterfeiting. (Nothing like a little time on bread and water to help that waistline huh, Bunky?)

9. If you have been transported to the roaring twenties, do not let anyone see your iPhone or Apple watch. If you do, at best they will think you are from Hollywood. At worst, you might find yourself tied to a stake on top of a very big pile of wood. (That guy with the kerosene and matches heading this way is not the fire chief, Buford.)

1923 Quasimodo claims sanctuary for Esmeralda

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) Quasimodo claims sanctuary for Esmeralda.

8. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties do not think you can tell someone how a computer works in hopes of usurping Bill Gates. If you do, at best you’ll have very confused people trying to understand your directions. At worst, that jacket you are being fitted for is not for show. (Does the name Bellevue ring a bell, Buster?)

7. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not try out your Charleston until you see how others do it. If you do, at best those old movies were wrong. At worst, most everyone will assume you have been over-served. (The nice part there are no cell phone videos to go viral huh, Tex?)

6. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not laugh when you are served a martini in a teacup. If you do, at best the bartender will think you are drunk. At worst, the gang may assume you are a Fed and invite you to take a swim while wearing cement overshoes. (Boy, those guys play rough don’t they, Slick.)

bartender-vintage

5. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties do not wave second-hand cigarette smoke away and claim you are allergic. If you do, at best you might be asked to leave. At worst, Tiny the Bronx wrestling champ and the club bouncer might ask you to leave his way. (You were sure that door was going to stop you from hitting the ally weren’t you, Champ. Oh yes. Tiny says you owe him for a new door.)

4. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not grab a megaphone and start singing Winchester Cathedral. If you do, at best you’ll get strange looks. At worst, people will think you have a crush on Rudy Vallee. (You see Ferd, it would be like singing a Bono song. It’s just not done.)

3. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties do not try to pump your own gas. If you do, at best you won’t be able to crank the pump. At worst, the local service station attendant may think you are after his job. (How did that large monkey wrench feel before you passed out huh, Babe?)

1920s Vaudeville Cats postcard

1920s Vaudeville Cats Postcard

2. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not ask for a doggie bag at the restaurant. If you do, at best you’ll get a raw bone. At worst, the chef might assume you felt his food was only fit for dogs. (I would not argue with a guy who has such a big knife, Pard. In fact, I would take off running.)

1. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not use slang until sure of the proper context. If you do, at best you might insult a few people. At worst, you may have triggered a full-blown riot. (Who knew Twenty-Three Skidoo was a code word for a steelworker rebellion. Not you huh, Putz?)

***

Ha-ha!  I love John’s lists.  Another favorite day at his blog is Wednesday Story Day.  (First episode here.) What a whiplash inducing serial that is!

Okay, now for my part of this joint post.  This vignette is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip.  (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story, click here.)

Most of you know that I’m fond of doing “pantser” stories, written spontaneously, according to random things, provided by readers.  This time I took my three things from numbers nine and ten of John’s list:  Counterfeiting, Time, and Hollywood.  I hope you enjoy this impromptu vignette.  Here goes!

In the Pip of Time

Aelita_1924_still_04

“Aelita, Queen of Mars” was playing at the Bijou Theatre.  I was brand new in town and my pal Alastair Wong invited me to go to the show with a group of his friends.  However, the friends cancelled.  To my surprise, Granny Phanny and Dr. Veronica Vale took the tickets.  At first I couldn’t understand why they would want to see a science fiction film about a soldier, an inventor, and a police informant taking the first flight to Mars.

Veronica reminded Alastair and me that she and Granny had been, and basically would always be suffragettes.  They encouraged films with strong female characters.  Of course, in this story, Aelita is not what she at first seemed and things end badly for her.  Nonetheless she was a strong character and the two older women wanted to see the show.

Afterward, Granny and Veronica were still animatedly discussing the story as we walked out of the Bijou.  Alastair and I were fascinated by the Hollywood “movie magic” that created the Martian city and the spaceship.  As you might expect our discussion was more whimsical than that of the older generation.

“What if somebody from Mars came here?” Alastair pondered.

250px-Princess_of_Mars_large

I always got a kick out of Alastair’s mildly British accent.  So I was already smiling when I told him Martians would have a tough time fitting in with humans.  It was doubtful that anybody would think they were the bee’s knees! 

A man wearing a bizarre metal hat and strange clothes burst out of the theater.  He tried to close a fancy briefcase as he ran.  Several bills flew out of it.  He grabbed most of them, but I noticed the breeze took one over to a planter.  The man just kept running until he rounded the corner of the Bijou.

Out of curiosity, Alastair and I followed him to the dead end alley behind the theater.  We backed against the wall, when a moment later a woman ran after him.  She had pointy cone shaped things over her ears.  Though no one was with her, she spoke as if in conversation with someone.  She held something that must have been a large gun, although it didn’t look quite like any shooter I’d ever seen.  She pointed it at the man and yelled for him to stop.

Gods_of_Mars-1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs

Then she fired the gun — I think.  At least she pointed it and seemed to shoot it, but I didn’t see it do anything.  However, the trash can six feet ahead of the guy exploded.  He looked at her fearfully, but he kept running.  So she threw a whirling thingamajig at his feet, causing him to fall.

The woman jumped on him, with her knee in his back, pinning him to the ground.  She muttered something about “low-life securities thief.”  He grunted at the pressure from her knee.

Then she spotted Alastair and me.  We shrank further against the wall.  The odd gun looked even bigger when she pointed it at us.  That bearcat had a fierce glare, I can tell you.  To my astonishment she abruptly started laughing.

Sci Fi Costume 1920s woman.png

“I could warn you not to tell anyone what you just saw,” she stopped chortling long enough to say.  “But if you did, they’d think you were insane.”

Still chuckling, she touched one of the pointy cones that covered her ears.  She and the man disappeared into thin air!  It was as if they had never been there at all — except for the exploded remains of the trash can.

Alastair and I exchanged wide eyed looks, speechless.  He made an obviously uncomfortable attempt at laughing.

“Those Hollywood types.  They’ll do anything to promote a film.”

“But there was nobody to see that but us,” I managed to say, though it was more of a squeak.  “It wouldn’t be much of a promo.”

I headed back around the corner, remembering the paper that fell out of the odd man’s briefcase.  The man had missed one and I saw it land in a planter.  I plucked it out of the greenery.

“That looks like mazuma,” Alastair whispered.  “Cash money!  But it’s not any currency I’ve ever seen.  Maybe it’s counterfeit.”

Inspecting it closely I nodded and turned the paper over to read both sides.  “It says ‘Federal Reserve Note’ but you’re right.  It must be counterfeit.  It’s odd looking, but even if it was from some other country, they’ve got the date wrong.  It says 2419.  As if maybe somebody transposed the date.”

Alastair and I continued to stare at one another.  Now and then one or the other of us would take a breath, start to say something, and then shrug mutely.

Finally I summoned the only words I could.  “I wouldn’t mind getting spifflicated about now.”

Alastair agreed.

The end.

***

1920s Man on Moon Drinking

If you want to know more about the upcoming 1920s culinary mystery, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, click here.

Thanks so very much for visiting.  Mega hugs!

 

Copyright © 2017 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Book Talk Gets Magical with Kev and Teagan

This post is already live at KC Books & Music.  I’m also posting it here so that it will be in my library too.  I hope you’ll click over and visit Kev, my host.

Book Talk Gets Magical with Kev and Teagan

Today I’m here with another Book Talk with Kev at KC Books and Music.  I’ve done some joint posts (click here), such as vignettes featuring my characters combined with recipes from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen.  So when Kev and I discussed me doing some “Book Talks” I got the idea to do something similar — but with his music!

I know that lately I’ve focused on my 1920s serial stories , The Three Things Serial and (coming up this spring)  I’m getting ready for the take-off of the second one, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I.  However, my Atonement, Tennessee “universe” seemed the best fit for Kev’s music.  When I asked Kev to pick something, he suggested his compelling and lovely song, Magical

Kev, would you say a few words about your song here?

I would love to Teagan, thank you. Magical is a love song/ballad where the artist expresses how his world has changed as if by magic since his lover came into his life. It is a song about the essence of falling in love. The original song was written many years ago. Last year, I thought I should do something with my song, Magical since I’ve finally started to have some of the songs I’ve written over the years recorded and released. I changed some of the lyrics to bring them up-to-date, but the music remains the same. It’s a mellow arpeggio played upon a classical guitar to keep the ‘magical’ feeling or mood, if you will.

No wonder I liked the song!

Kev and I both agreed it would be fun if I used something from the point of view of Lilith the calico cat.  Kev’s Magical is how I imagine Gwydion’s magic working on Ralda Lawton if everything had been well… right.  However, in quirky Atonement, Tennessee magic is rarely gentle.  So (as with most things in my fictional town) the magic Lilith witnesses Gwydion perform does not go as planned.  My the snippet does not go in the lovely way of Kev’s song, but it’s definitely magical.  From my work in progress, Atonement in Bloom, take a look at some of the magic Lilith saw.  The scene is followed by a trailer I made for the book-to-be.

***

feline-calico_xs_3280429

Lilith watched in fascination.  She could feel the magic in the air, even though the men didn’t appear to be doing much of anything.  She could particularly feel Gwydion’s power.  It made her skin tingle and the fur at the back of her head ruffled.

Gwydion used a stick to scratch at the ground at the foot of a giant old oak tree.  He dropped seeds there and deftly covered them.

Fine powder glittered in the moonlight and settled on the fresh dirt where the seeds were buried.  Gwydion stepped aside allowing the moonlight to touch the seeded ground.  Sprouts appeared immediately.  Before Lilith’s watching gaze they quickly grew into mature plants — small but ethereal blossoms of white and pink meadow sweet along with branches of the broom shrub, heavily laden with yellow flowers.

The unnaturally strong scent of the blossoms was powered by Gwydion’s fae magic.  The flowers ran vine-like and entwined with the ancient oak as it started to surge and pulse.purple-shooting-star

The huge and ancient oak had a split in its center that looked like a gaping maw.  The tree shuddered and groaned.  Two limbs, each thick as an adult human’s thigh, writhed and twisted.  As the limbs twined together and merged, they took on an undeniable resemblance to the form of a woman.  The branches became crossed legs, an arched back, and arms outstretched.  The head was held back and the placement of the oak’s bark created an agonized expression on the face.

Lilith crouched down fearfully, but was mesmerized by the horrible scene.  She was unable to turn away.

***

So there you have it… Kev’s Magical, and how it might go as a musical component to my story. Thank you Kev, for hosting me for this Book Talk.  Even if I could resist a pun, I’d still have to say it was magical.    

Mega hugs everyone!

 

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene.  All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2017 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.