Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Happy New Year to you from Teagan’s Books and Jazz Age Wednesdays! Yesterday I was crowing when I saw Teri Polen’s review of Murder at the Bijou – Three Ingredients 1 (see it here.) What a keen way to start the year!
With these Roaring Twenties posts, we’ll be putting on the Ritz as we ring in 2018. I have an extra special treat for you this week. An email exchange spontaneously turned into a short story — and guess who my coauthor is! The pos-i-lutely fabulous, Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape!
In case you didn’t know, the Story Reading Ape is also a great storyteller. This short story furthers a encounter between Pip, and a character Chris created, Artie — one of the chimps from Chris’ imagination. Chris begins the tale from Artie’s point of view, and then I take over with Pip telling it. Now, let’s get a wriggle on and go back to the Jazz Age.
Pip and Artie Meet Again At New Year’s
Artie was devastated, he’d worked sooo hard to get his time machine to finally go back beyond the time he’d invented it. (See the backstory here.)
He’d even met his heroine, Paisley Idelle Peabody, otherwise known as Pip. (See: Pip in the Corn Maze).
Unfortunately, because he’d been working on his machine for three days and nights without a break and only ended up in the corn maze where Pip was, by accidentally leaning against the start lever, his tiredness had overcome him and he’d fallen asleep in mid conversation!
Luckily however, he’d been woken by the preset Emergency Visit Duration Countdown alarm and had jumped back into the machine before it returned to his own time without him.
His only hope now, was that Pip had spotted, and picked up, the labradorite crystal pendant. Artie had intended to give it to her, but he must have dropped it while he was ponderating. In addition to the stone’s natural protective properties, it would act as a transponder, so he could find her again, otherwise, he’d end up back in the corn maze.
First things first though, he needed to sleep, then start on a lighter, more portable, version of his time machine, in case he had to travel overland from the maze to Granny Phanny‘s place.
Next time, he would be better prepared…
The Savannah folks who organized the corn maze at Halloween planned a New Year’s bonfire party at the same location. As usual, Granny Phanny found extra chores for me.
“Pip, there’s no use in sulking around just because you don’t have a young man to escort you to the New Year’s Eve party. I thought you were a modern woman,” Granny baited me. “You can still get all dolled up and have a good time.”
I sputtered an indignant protest, but words failed me. As if I was some cancelled stamp, a wallflower!
It wasn’t as if I had been in Savannah long enough to know many people. Alastair Wong would be working at his family’s restaurant. Detective Dabney Daniels barely knew I was alive. I guess there was Hank… but I had been avoiding Hank Hertz for two weeks, because I was pretty sure he was going to ask me. I couldn’t go with Hank, he was just a kid! Why, he was nearly two whole years younger than me.
“If it makes you feel any better there might not be a party at all,” Granny grumbled at me.
My grandmother sounded like she was fixing to get in a lather. I had not considered that she might be looking forward to the bonfire party. However, I got the impression that she was disappointed. I looked a question at her.
“Everybody who has rheumatism says bad weather is coming. And the arm I broke when I was a girl has been achy,” she complained. “And Miss Olive says there’s a big storm headed our way right on New Year’s Eve,” She continued despite my skeptical expression.
“Granny, isn’t that just a bunch of superstition?” I dared ask.
Granny Phanny’s eyebrows climbed toward her hairline. I knew I was on dangerous ground so I dried up then and there.
“Miss Olive is never wrong about the weather,” Granny told me in a dire tone. “So, we need to go over to where we had the corn maze and see about setting up some tents.”
(Meet Miss Olive here.)
A moment later we were in Granny’s Model-T, puttering down the dirt road. The live oak trees seemed more like evergreens than regular oak trees, but their leaves were kind of sparse. Granny Phanny murmured a word of thanks that somebody had filled in the big pothole we had to avoid last time.
Granny walked around muttering under her breath as she sought suitable spots for party tents. I thought keeping some distance from her would be a good idea, so I wandered around in the other direction. I recognized the spot where the corn maze used to be and went poking around.
Nervously I looked over my shoulder, remembering the strange thing that happened there. I never told a soul about it, but I wrote it all in a journal. Maybe one day I could tell my pal Andy about it. He went to Hollywood, California. His talent for writing imaginative stories finally paid off. Andy probably wouldn’t believe me either, but he’d like the story. (Here’s a little more about Andy from the Three Things Serial Story.)
You see, that night I met a talking chimp. I would never forget his words…
“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 had explained.
Lost in that strange memory, I idly stuck the toe of my burgundy and cream oxfords into a clump of leaves and debris. Something sparkled, pulling me out of my reverie. I bent to uncover it and picked up a crystal.
It was greenish gray with flashes of color. I didn’t know a lot about semiprecious gems, but I thought it was labradorite. The stone depended from from a long chain. I hung it around my neck and put it inside my dress.
End Part 1
Oh yes… to be continued. Here’s a sort of hint. It turns out Chris and I share an interest in gemstone lore. Labradorite is said to be a stone of magic, a crystal of shamans, diviners, healers, and all who travel and embrace the universe seeking knowledge and guidance.
Sorry! That’s as much of a hint as I’m giving. Tune in again next week for the conclusion.
It’s so darb that you visited today. Once again — Happy New Year!
Now, for that shameless self-promotion… Here are the links to the books about Pip and her friends.
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 and Christopher Graham
All rights reserved.
No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.