Jazz Age Wednesdays 5 — Pip in the Corn Maze

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 

red tam Pictoral Review Jan 1927

1927

Welcome to October at Jazz Age Wednesday.  I’ve been so busy, I forgot today was Wednesday!  However, I’m here now, with something new for the Pip-verse and I’ve gotten all Halloween-ish!

Writing Process

I was honored when Chris Graham*, the Story Reading Ape himself, agreed to do a short story for one of my Get Caught Reading Month posts awhile back.  (Check it out here*Chris is a fabulous storyteller, and it could be a prequel for the story below.) When I started writing this adventure for Pip, I just wasn’t “feeling it” until I remembered that story from Chris.  With his permission, I decided take a cue from his story and bring in one of his “naughty chimp” characters.

About This Story

This is another pantser tale.  Online I found a Pictionary word list for Halloween.  I decided to let that be my guide for random “things” to spontaneously write Halloween-ish stories of the Pip-verse.  I cut the list into slips for individual terms, put them in a bag, and then drew three slips or “things.”  They are:  corn maze, autumn, and zombie.

Now back to the Jazz Age!

Between corn rows 2

Pip in the Corn Maze

Trees in their glad rags of orange and yellow leaves lined the dirt road.  Granny Phanny maneuvered her cherished Model-T to avoid a hole.

“It’s the Autumn Festival, Pip.  Come on.  You’ll have a good time,” my grandmother insisted, but I had my doubts.  “There will be all sorts of things for young folks to do.  Now hang on to that basket,” she cautioned as we rounded a sharp curve.  “Those apple pies are for the bake sale.  Nobody will want to buy a pie that’s had the juice sloshed out of it.”

I had a hunch that the “young folks” part was a bunch of phonus balonus.  Although, I knew better than to voice that thought to Granny.  My grandmother slowed the automobile and pointed.

“Oh look!  They even made a billboard,” she said as she stopped to admire the sign.  “See all the fun things it lists?  Apple bobbing, the Sundown Séance, why there’s even a corn maze.”

Corn Field People n Background bonnie-kittle-143218

Bonnie Kittle, Unsplash

“That’s nice Granny, but this is a weekday and it’s the middle of the day too.  Everybody is either at work or at school, unless they’re—” I shut my mouth just in time before I said the word old.

Wet blanket wasn’t a name I could be called, but nobody was there but a bunch of bluenose old ladies.  Granny introduced me to some of them.  It was a combination of fawning over the visiting grandchild and tut-tutting from the ones who knew I was in Savannah with Granny as punishment for an adventure that included a yacht, a circus baron, and a gilded mansion in Sarasota, Florida.  I excused myself and wandered aimlessly.

My bored noodle was at war with my sore feet when I came upon the corn maze.  It was getting hot in the afternoon sun too.  The day before had been downright chilly.  Not so a day later, but that was typical October weather for Savannah.

I took a limping step.  There was definitely a pebble in my shoe.  Propping against the entrance sign for the maze, I untied my burgundy and cream oxfords to shake out the offending stone.  I took off the tam I had made to match my oxfords and used it to fan myself.

When I looked inside the maze I saw inviting greens and yellows, and sun-dappled shade.  A light breeze brushed my face as it moved into the maze, as if to invite me to the cooling shadows.  I really should have known better.  I pos-i-lutely have no sense of direction.  In no time, I was frustratingly, hopelessly lost in the labyrinth.

Hands in Corn Maze felix-russell-saw-136018

Felix Russell, Unsplash

Everything was unnaturally quiet.  It got creepy.  I jumped at a shifting shadow ahead, then scolded myself.

It’s not as if you’re going to walk into a zombie or something!  Get ahold of yourself, flapper!

Sounds of movement reached my ears so I turned left at the next opening.  I heard someone yawn.  Sheik or Sheba?  Who could guess gender from a yawn, but it sounded like a man to me.  I was just relieved that there was another person nearby.

Hopefully a living, breathing person, not the walking dead, my inner cynic muttered.

When I rounded the next turn, I stopped in my tracks.  That was no man!  It was a hairy animal.  I tried not to make a sound.  I didn’t want to startle a wild animal.  I squinted into the shadows.  What was it anyway?  A baby bear?

It made a harsh, shrill sound.  My eyes widened when I realized what kind of critter it was — a chimpanzee!

The chimp stretched and scratched his armpit.  He looked at me and grinned!  Then to my astonishment he bowed politely and called me by name.  That’s right.  The chimp talked!

I asked how he came to be in the corn maze.  I expected he had gotten lost from a circus somewhere, or maybe a zoo.

Cautiously, I inched closer.  It had to be some kind of gag.  If I ran out screaming about a talking chimp, there would be twenty people standing there laughing at me, I just knew it.  He picked up on my skepticism.

Reading Ape purple

“Pip, I promise you I’m the real McCoy, as you would say.  I’m Aristotle, but I hope you’ll call me Artie.  I’ve traveled a long way through time and space to meet you,” the chimp explained.

All thoughts of finding my way out of the maze left my mind.  Since he could talk I figured I might as well beat my gums with the little hairy guy.  But wait a minute… did he say through time?

“You traveled through t-time?”

To my increasing astonishment, Artie explained how he got there all the way from England.  He had invented a time machine — a for real time machine!  However, at first it would only go forward, not back to another era.  It also tended to land about 19 miles to the west of where he meant it to be.  Finally Artie fixed the machine so it would go backward in time.  Although he still hadn’t worked out the location problem.  That was why his time machine landed in the corn maze, not at Granny Phanny’s cottage.

“You honestly mean to tell me that you came here specifically to meet me?  Me?” I asked.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody,” he began and surprised me even more by knowing my full name.  “Your adventures are known far and wide — at least in my time.  The world hasn’t always known your story, but once it was unearthed, you became rather famous,” he assured me.

The corn maze was so cool and quiet that Artie sat down for a “ponderating moment” — in other words, he took a nap.  I figured the little guy was pretty tired if he traveled both across the ocean and through time.  I eased away quietly because I didn’t want to disturb him, but I pos-i-lutely had to tell somebody about him.

I managed to find my way to the entrance.  Only then did it occur to me that I hadn’t seen Artie’s time travel vehicle.  I turned to go back.  Suddenly it seemed important that I get a look at the contraption.Blue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer

A loud metallic screech made me cringe.  It was followed by a loud whirring sound.

“Artie?” I exclaimed worriedly as I rushed to retrace my steps.

“Oh no!  Not yet.  We’ve only just started getting acquainted!” Artie cried.

It only took a moment for me to reach the spot where I’d left the chimp, but he was gone.  I looked all around.  When I went around the next corner I found a big area where the corn was flattened and the ground felt hot to the touch.  My shoulders sagged.

The Halloween story of the century and I can’t tell a soul.  They’d cart me off to the looney bin if I did.

The End.

***

Would you like to continue the 1920s mood?  Did you notice the magazine image at the beginning? It mentions Edith Wharton having a “new” novel.  She was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer.  Wharton was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930.  While I didn’t find a free version of “Twilight Sleep” for you, some of her books are free at Project Gutenberg*!

Have you visited author Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising event?  Leading up to Halloween, author Teri Polen hosts Bad Moon Rising.  It’s her yearly celebration of suspense and horror.  Each year more than 30 horror/thriller indie authors are featured throughout the month of October on her blog, Books & Such.  I was there earlier this week! (Click here if you missed it.)

At Teri Polen’s Books & Such

Atonement TennesseeIn honor of Bad Moon Rising, through October, I’ve priced the Kindle version of my debut novel Atonement, Tennessee at just $1.00. 

 

Now I engage in more shameless self-promotion…  Here are links to the books about 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 

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

 

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.  

 

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Jazz Age Wednesdays 4 — In the Pip of Time

Camel Walk cutoutWednesday, October 4, 2017

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesday.  I’m celebrating a wonderful review of Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I   by Molly Flanders!

on September 28, 2017
This is a very enjoyable murder story set in the 1920s. Pip, Granny Phanny and a whole bunch of alliterated characters populate the story of surprisingly strong suspense with equally surprising turns of events.
This is hugely enjoyable and definitely recommended to anyone with a sense of fun and humour.

I loved this book when it was published in parts on the blog and loved it even more re-reading it as a whole in one sitting. Yes, one sitting.

I only now realised just how much work had gone into the individual parts. I often forgot from one week to the next what certain references mean or what they allude to. The novel is hugely enjoyable and a fun read thanks to many quirky expressions, usage of words off the beaten track, fabulous character names and many more delicious ingredients.

The writing is very original and the story line is fun and always manages to surprise you. 

That’s in part because of the randomness of the supplies ingredients, but also due to the author’s creative powers.

I’m so glad this was released as novel so I can enjoy the continuity and appreciate just how well composed this ‘fragmented’ story actually is.

Molly, I am overjoyed that you enjoyed the novel version, and delighted that you were “in the Model-T” for the serial.

Even though this video is not from the 1920s, let’s get up and dance for a minute! 

Awhile back, I did a joint post with author John W. Howell.  He has just launched a wonderful new novel, Circumstances of Childhood.  But it was one of John’s hilarious lists of what not to do gave me the “things” for this story.  My random “things” for this pantser story were Counterfeiting, Time, and Hollywood.

It’s another “hump day” and another short adventure with our flapper, Pip.  At the Bijou Theatre, things get a little weird…

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 characters in the 1920s culinary mystery, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, click here

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 

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

 

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. 

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 2

Camel Walk dance poster 1920sWednesday, September 20, 2017

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  I’m still celebrating the release of Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I .

For this weekly feature my intention was to make things easy for myself by re-sharing short stories I had already written.  However, to day I’m posting an all new vignette. It’s another hump day so my “thing” to create this story was, of course, camel

In the time-line of the Pip-verse, this story falls between the two books.  Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, has just arrived in Savannah, Georgia.  She is late meeting her grandmother, but you saw the reason for that last week.   (Just a note — While this vignette happens immediately after “Pip Arrives in Savannah,” the other stories for Jazz Age Wednesdays are not in any particular order.  It is not a serial, so one doesn’t necessarily follow the next…)

Those of you who have followed the old three things serials for some time will recognize a character from Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.

Pip Sees a Camel

Lucille Ball teen blue

A teen-aged Lucille Ball 

The delivery truck from Wong’s Chinese puttered down Pearl Street in downtown Savannah, Georgia.  I had already thanked Alastair Wong about a million times for giving me a lift to his family restaurant, where I was supposed to meet up with my grandmother.

I knew we were late, but it couldn’t be helped.  I also knew Granny Phanny didn’t like to be kept waiting.  She could get downright ugly about it.

Anyway, I was feeling too antsy to beat my gums in chitchat.  Instead I looked out the window at the unfamiliar street and buildings as Alastair drove past.  Based on the sales signs in business windows, this city was a lot more expensive than my little hometown outside Sarasota Sound, Florida.

Finally, I saw the storefront of the restaurant.  A peep in the window told me the joint was elegant.  I imagined all the patrons in their glad rags, and cringed when I looked down and saw a splash of orange juice on the front of my frock.  Nervously I adjusted my pink cloche hat.

1920 Henricis Chicago IL

Henrici’s, Chicago, IL, circa 1920

“Strange,” Alastair muttered as he parked the truck.  “I don’t see Miss Phanny’s Model-T anywhere.”

Oh no!  Granny’s already left in a huff.  Is she planning to make me just fend for myself?  I don’t know my way around this city.  I didn’t want to be here in the first place! I silently ranted.

Alastair walked over to a desk.  For a moment, I thought he spoke to a doll in an embroidered blue satin dress.  However, it was a very tiny, very ancient woman.  She had to be well under five feet tall, and Lord knew how old.

“Pip, this is my cousin Victoria Wong.”

I bobbed a little courtesy, as I looked at the unusual woman in fascination.

“Arabella and Phanny left in a hurry when that dewdropper who runs the dance studio came in here.  Why two grown women would help a lollygagger like him is beyond me,” the diminutive woman told us, and then gave an indelicate snort to accompany the unexpected slang.  “The lazy man let his latest gimmick get away.  They all went to chase it.”

Alastair and I looked from tiny Victoria to each other in confusion.

“My mother and Miss Phanny with a dewdropper?  Latest gimmick?” he prompted.

“His dance studio,” Victoria said, as if everything should be obvious.  “The dewdropper is advertising classes for the Camel Walk dance.  And that nasty, spitting beast got away.”

“The gimmick or the dance teacher?” Alastair asked.  “What do you mean by gimmick anyhow?  How can a gimmick get away?”

Victoria was very old.  I decided she must be senile.  Whatever the case, she had Alastair and me all balled up.

An odd noise caused me to turn to the broad window that looked out onto the street while Alastair continued to try and get some sense out of his cousin.  The sight before my eyes shocked me so badly that I dropped my pocketbook.

The restaurant goers got up from their tables and went to the window exclaiming and pointing.

“Granny!” I gasped.

Arabella Wong, Alastair’s mother, opened the double doors to the restaurant.  Granny Phanny perched high atop a camel!  My grandmother leaned down and called to me.

1880 Blue_woman_on_a_camel Queensland Australia

Woman on a camel circa 1880, Queensland, Australia

“I’m glad you final decided to grace us with your presence Paisley Idelle Peabody,” she called out in a sarcastic voice.  “Your chariot awaits!”

Victoria giggled and told me, “Sweetie, you look like you could use a jorum of skee!

I gasped, feeling like I must already be zozzled.  Granny couldn’t be serious!  But it wouldn’t be the first time she’d gotten even with somebody for being late.  She didn’t move to get down from the camel.  Surely, she was joking…

The End

***

If you want to know more about this series, here is a review by Vashti Quiroz-Vega of the first book. 

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 

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

 Thanks so much for visiting.  You’re the bee’s knees!

 

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.

 

Mini-Series — The Senses — Taste

Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch

Welcome back to my mini-series on the five senses.  Last weekend I interrupted this series by posting a Valentine’s story.  The previous installment of this series was about the sense of smell, and I was glad everyone came out to sniff around! (Okay… I’ll try to control myself with the play on words.)  Now for the next-to-last installment of this series — Taste

Purple mouth

Think about the many different ways the sense of taste could be used to enhance your writing.  It doesn’t have to be the taste of food or drink. Consider other ways that taste could come into play. I had a friend with no sense of smell.  She said she could taste the air when it carried a strong odor.  Concentrating on that, I found she was right! My point is that taste need not be limited to foods.

For my example of taste I’m using one of the “interactive” serials I’ve provided here at this blog. Click the button at the top of the page if you want to know more about this serial.  This tidbit is from episode-6 of A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients, Cookbook-2.  All the episodes are together and in chronological order on the serial homepage.

This serial is a culinary mystery-fantasy set in the 1920s. It’s narrated by Paisley Idelle Peabody, better known as Pip.  In this tidbit Pip is working in her grandmother’s vegetable garden.  Describing Pip’s actions, or the smell of the air is fine. However, causing the reader to think about a taste adds fullness to the scene.

Early Lucille 2

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

A scent of mint was on the breeze and I inhaled with pleasure.  I sat on the ground in Granny Fanny’s garden wiping dirt from a turnip and an interesting idea popped into my head.  “I wonder how turnips would taste cooked with some mint,” I pondered aloud. 

Cinnamon Bun, Granny’s Flemish Giant rabbit, looked at me quizzically and twitched his dirty nose.  I could have offered the huge bunny a turnip, but he clearly enjoyed digging up his own.  Just as we both went back to the dirt, a loud noise cracked the air.  I jumped half out of my skin, and Cinnamon Bun dashed to the security of his hutch.

The loud sound was followed by the beep-beep of a horn.  I looked down toward the road and saw a Dodge Roadster.  A moment later Andy Avis jumped out and hurried to the back yard, where I sat in the vegetable garden.

***

As many of you know, the serial stories are spontaneous and unedited. Looking back I could have improved this scene by having the odor of the exhaust from the car’s backfire overlay the tastes that were in Pip’s mind.  Or I might have brought out something about  the garden soil for one of the other senses.  I’m sure you get the idea.

Since this installment is about taste, I’m adding a bonus.  Click on over to A Pug in the Kitchen for this delicious offering from Suzanne.  Also, congrats to Suzanne on her new furry family member.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup with Wilted Greens and Bacon

Creamy Turnip soup.jpg

Your Turn!

Hey! Come back!  Now it’s your turn.  A photo of an old truck and gas station might seem like an odd choice for an exercise about the sense of taste, but challenging your senses is the point.  Look closely at the image below — put yourself into the picture.   It’s a brisk day.  You were out on the road and stopped at the old gas station to fill-up.  You may or may not be the person driving the red truck.  Or perhaps you are not a patron — maybe you work there, or live across the street. I’m sure a scene is in your mind at this point.  Now add fullness to it by mentioning a taste.

Red Truck Gas Vintage

What did you taste?   Leave a comment with just a few words about a taste this photo brought to your mind.

Open Invitation:  If this inspired you to just write something or otherwise create anything according to the sense featured today, that’s even better!  If you want, you can use the comments to leave a link to your story or blog post.  Kindly link back to this post if you blog about what you wrote, cooked, painted, or photographed.

Thanks for visiting.

Mega hugs,

Teagan

 

Copyright © 2016 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.