Jazz Age Wednesdays 29 ― Hullaba Lulu 4

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hey, Sheiks and Shebas.  Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays

My “partner in crime” (Rob Goldstein) did the video above.  I’m using as a review of last week’s episode.  I’m happy to be able to feature more of the artwork of Rob Goldstein

Update:  Here’s a fun related post that Rob did over at his blog, “10 Everyday Items Invented in the 1920s* — click over and enjoy.

Today we have Chapter 4 of the Roaring Twenties fantasy series, Hullaba Lulu.  The “dieselpunk*” aspect of the story is beginning to show in this episode.  The “three things” Rob sent for this chapter were downright educational.  Some of the “things” take a bit more writing for me to work into the story than others.  So please bear with me for this somewhat longer episode.

 If you need to review Chapter 2, click here.  

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Today’s chapter picks up where Chapter 3 left off, with Lulu in her “secret place,” the abandoned subway station.  The Ouija board spelled out nonsense letters.  She thought she was alone until…

Suddenly, I felt cool fingers touch my shoulder.  I jumped backward and screamed.

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 4

Ectoplasm, Jung, Orthophonic Victrola

Magic table Lulu Valentino Gramps good portraits

Lulu, Gramps, & Valentino in the Abandoned Subway Station, by Rob Goldstein

My elbow hit one of the dead soldiers lined up on the counter.  As my scream echoed through the abandoned subway station the empty beer bottle toppled with a domino effect.  The entire row went down, rolling and clattering.  Several fell to the floor, but astonishingly none of them broke.  I wondered if the coat of dust on the floor was that thick.

Maybe it was, because a little cloud went up and I sneezed loudly.  As I wiped my nose on my sleeve I looked up at the owner of the cool fingers that had startled me.

Valentino.

For a moment I wondered how the mysterious man had gotten into my secret subway station.  Then I realized that I had not locked the door behind me.

“Your rouge needs blending,” he commented.

Once again, he looked at me as if he had stumbled upon a new species.  It made me wonder if I had a booger in my nostril.  I touched a knuckle to my nose uncomfortably and glanced around for a mirror.

Val hat Lulu trumpet expressions

Lulu and Valentino, by Rob Goldstein

I noticed Valentino held a red leather-bound volume.  It looked like some kind of logbook.  He casually set it on the counter near the Ouija board.  He put his hand to my cheek.  Using his thumb, he rubbed the raspberry colored cosmetic a few times.

“So, what’s that?” I inquired about the book.

Lifting the red cover, I saw hand written notes and illustrations.  Valentino laid his hand on the book cover, closing it.

“The pictures in it are unusual.  Did you draw them too?”

“Yes, Lulu.  I got the idea from Carl Jung.  It’s sort of a travelogue.  It wouldn’t make sense to anyone other than myself,” he replied.

(More about Jung’s own red notebook here)

I looked up at his face, evaluating his expression.  Brooksy, a classy dresser in that tuxedo, Valentino was suavely calm.  Maybe too cool.  It made me want to poke at the façade, get a rise out of him.  I wondered what would annoy him.

Val and Tom green

Valentino and Tom Driberg, by Rob Goldstein

Valentino had a charisma that was hard to describe.  I didn’t want to be attracted to him for the simple reason that my friends acted foolishly giddy over him.  I figured he had that effect on most women.  Maybe on men too, based on the way that journalist, Tom Driberg had gazed at him.

So focused was I on Valentino that I had not noticed my grandfather enter the room.  I was almost as startled to see Gramps as I had been when Valentino came up behind me.  I thought of the brief stare-down they had outside the speakeasy the night before.

The atmosphere around the two men seemed heavy.  It reminded me of ectoplasm.  I felt I would’ve needed a knife to cut through the gauzy membrane of it.

Then again, maybe it actually is ectoplasm, I thought.

Gradually a faint aura enveloped the two men.  It trailed away from them, becoming thicker, more visible as it stretched back to the Ouija board.  The planchette raced back and forth across the wooden board.  Apparently, I was the only one who noticed.

Gramps Valentino sepia Station

Gramps and Valentino in the abandoned station, by Rob Goldstein

Gramps swallowed hard and his eyes were tight as he fixed Valentino with a cold stare.  That was the second time I had seen Gramps encounter the enigmatic man.  Both times my grandfather’s intensity, his expressions and manner befuddled me.

“So that’s what brought you back?  That old Ouija board?  I guess coming back to get something is not as cold hearted as returning on a whim.  But it would have been better if you hadn’t come back at all,” Gramps told him in a level tone.

Horsefeathers!  My Gramps already knew Valentino?  But…

The red leather book flew open and the planchette jumped from the Ouija board to the book.  I hurried to look at the pages before Valentino could get a chance to close it again.

The left-side page was filled with words written in elaborate script.  The hand was neat but difficult to read through the gauzy nimbus.  I wanted to pick up the book, but I was afraid to put my hand into the ectoplasm.  The right-side page bore a hand drawn map.  I gazed at it in sudden inspiration.  I grabbed the notepad where I penciled the letters of the Ouija board to which the planchette pointed moments before, Y, T, I, C, C, I, T, N, A, L, T, A.  My eyes went back to the map.  I spat out the piece of saltwater taffy that as still in my mouth.

English_ouija_board

English Ouija board, Wiki Media Commons

“Atlantic City?” I read the title of the map.  “Bushwa!  Couldn’t it point to Paris, or Cairo, or even Shanghai?  But no― Atlantic City.  And why the devil did it spell the words backward?” I commented incredulously.

Valentino reached the desk in a single step.  He didn’t even flinch at putting his hand into the aura.  He picked up his travelogue.  He snapped it shut and the nimbus burst.  The noise of tiny pops repeatedly assailed my ears, like a string of lady finger firecrackers.  Bits of ectoplasm showered down in sparks.

I tried to take the book from him, but he held it tightly to his chest.  He gave me a derisive look that was probably meant to make me stop.  I desperately wanted to get another look at that page.  The only thing I had been able to make out in the handwriting was a name.  Lauren.

“Lauren was my mother’s name,” I hissed into his ear, not wanting Gramps to hear.

“I know, but save it for later,” he whispered back as he twisted away from my hands.

Lauren La Garçonne -1x

Lauren by Rob Goldstein

Pearl burst into my erstwhile secret place.  I stopped trying to get my hands on the book.  My fair-haired pal was clearly distraught.

“Lulu, you have to help me stop her!” Pearl cried.  “It’s Rose, she’s going to blouse.”

“She wouldn’t do that,” I assured Pearl.  “I don’t think Rose has anywhere else to go, no family or anything,” I commented, but paused for a second as a suspicious feeling tickled at my mind.  “At least she never talks about them.  Why would Rose be leaving?”

“I don’t know,” Pearl said near tears.  “Especially after all those gifts came.  But she is.  She’s packing her suitcase and everything!”

When I wanted to know what Pearl meant by gifts, she described several expensive items that were left at our friend’s door.

“And there was a beautiful Chanel suit, and even a big Orthophonic Victrola,” Pearl explained.  “A note came with it that was addressed to Margosha.  So, it wasn’t even meant for her.  I told her that if she didn’t want the stuff she could just send it back, but she was all upset about it.”

Valentino surprised me by telling Pearl, “I thought you were Margosha.  The name means pearl.”

Pearl Lulu Waves

Pearl, by Rob Goldstein

“Did you leave the goods then,” I asked him, and I was surprised to hear the accusing tone in my voice.

“No, but I’ve a good idea who did,” he told me.  “Pearl, go get your friend and bring her here.  It’s not safe for her to travel alone.”

Pearl daubed a lace edged handkerchief at her eyes.  She brightened considerably.

“It’d be a shame to send back the Victrola.  It’s the bee’s knees,” she sniffled and said, trying to joke.

“Not to worry.  I have one on my train.  We can let it play on the way,” he told her.

I saw Gramps shift his stance.  His hand twitched as though he was about to reach toward something.  Or maybe someone.

Valentino turned and picked up the Ouija board.

“Hey!  That’s mine,” I protested.

Gramps shocked me by saying, “It belongs to him.”

I turned to my grandfather in sputtering confusion.

Gramps_Red 001x

Gramps by Rob Goldstein

“I didn’t realize it had a defect when I left it.  That explains why I never got a message…” Valentino told Gramps in an apologetic tone that left me more muddled than ever.  “That’s why it gave you the letters in reverse order,” he added turning back to me.

My hands were still extended toward my Ouija board.  Too many strange words and thoughts were flooding into my mind.  They caught in a bottleneck, leaving me immobile.

“I’ll get you another one,” Valentino told me.

His mouth held an impatient twist as he looked at my outstretched hands.  He sounded like he was talking to a petulant child.  The whole situation was getting me in a later.

“This Ouija board is part of my train,” he added in an annoyed tone that was tinged with guilt.  “It’s part of the navigation system.  This one was a backup.  The primary board was corrupted and a default setting sent the train here, where the backup board was left.  I didn’t know it was bringing me here.  I didn’t mean to cause you pain,” he added, looking at my grandfather.

***

The End

***

Now I’ve exposed another of the challenges of writing “three things” and/or serials — achieving the right combination of stopping point and length. Applesauce, I do try…  

Will Rose arrive safely at the abandoned subway station?  Why is she in danger anyway? Lulu has a mysterious mom that apparently no one talks about?  How the heck are a Ouija board and a Victrola part of the workings of a train?  Must be dieselpunk…  At least some of these questions will be answered next time with Hullaba Lulu Chapter 5 — Automat, Tilt-a-Whirl, Cheeseburger. 

1927 Orthophonic Victrola Ad

In 1925 Orthophonic Victrola* was a big innovation in sound reproduction.  The new electrically recorded phonograph records sounded harsh on the old Victrolas.  The had to consider all sorts of frequencies and even how long the horn had to be to produce a good sound — not to mention how to fold the resulting nine-foot long horn into a cabinet. 

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there. He’s not just a brilliant artist, he’s also an advocate for several important causes. 

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

 

 

PS:  I can’t forget 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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 28 ― Hullaba Lulu 3

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ghost train station with color

Image by Rob Goldstein

Hi there, Sheiks and Shebas.  You’re at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Today’s episode brings us to Chapter 3 of the new series, Hullaba Lulu.  It is not in the “Pip-verse” but it still takes place during the Roaring Twenties. 

Update:  Here’s a link to a stunning video Rob made for the story. Please click over and check it out — it’s pos-i-lutely the berries!

Don’t Bring Lulu

I’m having a pos-i-lutely fabulous time working with artist Rob Goldstein.  He’s creating gorgeous artwork, starting inspiring discussions, and sending me “three things” to spontaneously drive each chapter of this pantser story.   If you need to review Chapter 2, click here.  Today we catch up with our bearcat Lulu the day after all the wild happenings in the abandoned subway tunnel.  Read on to see where Rob’s next three things took me for this chapter.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Valentino went up the ladder first to push aside the heavy manhole cover.  However, it was already open.  We climbed up to the street.  I looked around for my friends.  In the distance I saw the two gals climbing the stairs to Pearl’s front door.

A sulfuric smell accompanied the strike of a match.  I turned to see Tom Driberg leaning nonchalantly against a Rolls-Royce.  Cigarette smoke curled above his head as he jotted something on a small notepad.  He looked at Valentino the same way he had looked at Rose and Pearl.

Without a word, Tom walked into the night.

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 3

Saltwater Taffy, Raspberry-Red Rouge, Ouija Board

 

Lulu 5

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

The heels of my T-strap shoes clicked rhythmically against the cracked pavement, keeping me company.  I did a step-slide-step-brush of the Camel Walk dance as I walked down the deserted tunnel.  I was supposed to meet Rose and Pearl for a late breakfast.  However, neither of them showed.  So, I headed down to my secret place to console myself. 

Besides, maybe I’ll run into that man again.  I guess anybody who looks like the Sheik of Araby has a right to call himself Valentino.  But still… why didn’t Pearl or Rose show up? I’m the one who’s always late.

I remembered how oddly my friends had acted when that journalist, Tom Driberg, turned up the night before.  Then I thought about that car-full of government-looking types.  I suppressed a pang of genuine worry.  I did another a step-slide-step-brush to lighten my thoughts.

vAL Grams Station_012x

Gramps in the abandoned subway tunnel — Art by Rob Goldstein

Ever since I was a kid, Gramps had told me I wasn’t allowed in that part of the abandoned subway.  He always said it wasn’t safe, although I couldn’t tell that it was any different from the rest of the tunnels.  So of course, the forbidden area was my childhood playground.  The old station was the best place in the world for telling ghost stories.

The key to the station door hung from a ribbon around my neck.  When I found the key, years before, I started locking the door.  It became my special secret place and I didn’t want just anybody hanging out there.

My stash of saltwater taffy was behind the counter that had been the ticket desk when the station was in use.  I pulled off a sticky piece of the candy.  In a mood to reminisce, I took out my box of girlhood treasures. 

When I was little, one of the highlights of my week was when Gramps would let me take unclaimed things from the speakeasy’s lost-and-found.  One of those items was a dainty gilt embossed tin from Dorin of Paris*.  I removed the top of the raspberry-red rouge container.  Inside the lid was a tiny mirror.  I winked at my reflection and daubed a bit of the cosmetic on my cheeks.

Clumsy as ever, my elbow brushed against one of the dusty dead soldiers I had lined up over the years.  I caught the empty beer bottle just before it went over the edge of the counter. 

 

Lulu at table in station

Lulu in her secret place.  Image by Rob Goldstein

My knee bumped against something on the shelf under the desk.  I grinned when I saw what it was. 

“Well, hello there.  I haven’t seen you for a long time,” I muttered to my old plaything.

It had been a long time since I’d thought about the Ouija board.  I wasn’t sure if it had belonged to my mother.  It looked so old that it might have belonged to Gramps.  Anyhow, nobody seemed to use it, so I had quietly taken it to my secret place.

I bent to take the Ouija board from the shelf.  I placed it on the counter.  Taking out my handkerchief I wiped a coating of dust from the wooden board.  The letters of the alphabet formed an arch across the polished wood-grain, and the numbers one through nine, and then zero, were in a line below.

English_ouija_board

Ouija Board, Wiki Media Commons

Most people would have said the station could use a good cleaning.  However, I liked the spooky feeling of the cobwebs in corners and the dust on the floor.  My footprints made a chaotic pattern in the dust, back and forth from the door to the desk and throughout the station.  Any prints other than my own had long since blended into the dust.

Or so I had thought.  I walked around the desk, intent on investigating.  My hand still rested on the scratched surface.  My eyes widened when I realized there were new foot prints.  They were considerably larger than mine and came from pointy toed shoes.  That’s when, from the corner of my eye, I saw a movement near my hand.

I jerked back around to the Ouija board.  The planchette moved.  The small, heart-shaped piece of wood was meant to glide across the board’s surface, with the light, unguided pressure from the fingertips of the participants.  It was supposed to reveal subconscious thoughts or clairvoyant messages from beyond.

As I watched in stunned silence, the planchette moved from letter to letter, with no one touching it.

Quickly I grabbed a pad and pencil from the desk.  I wrote the letters to which it pointed.  Y, T, I, C, C, I, T, N, A, L, T, A.

Suddenly, I felt cool fingers touch my shoulder.  I jumped backward and screamed.

Ghost Station_017x

The abandoned subway station, by Rob Goldstein

***

The End

***

The Camel Walk* dance originated in the early 20th century.  Variations of it have been popular over the decades.  If you want to pick up Lulu’s dance steps there several are how-to videos.  Here’s one for a modern country version:

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there. He’s not just a brilliant artist, he’s also an advocate for several important causes. 

Rob sent more “things” for Chapter 4 — Ectoplasm, Jung, and Orthophonic Victrola.  Be sure to come back next week to see where those take Lulu.

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

 

PS:  I can’t forget 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.