Rewind – Three Things Episodes 22 – 24

Three Faces of EveI started to say, “Just call me Sybil.” Because I have too much going on — a few different works in progress, and the next serial for this blog simmering on the back burner. However, I don’t think it quite adds up to Sybil’s 16 personalities.  Although with two distinctly different stories actively evolving in my mind, and my real job, you might go ahead and call me Eve

Suffice to say there are a lot of ideas competing for attention in my head.

Book-2 of Atonement, Tennessee continues to Atonement Video Cover copygerminate.  That’s appropriate since the title is Atonement in Bloom.  Little seeds to develop the story sprout into ideas.

Though I met the requirements with a draft novel to achieve a “win” with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), The Guitar Mancer needs a lot of fleshing out.  (By the way, the introduction to the “rewind” for Episode -23 below is a flashback for me to a previous NaNoWriMo. I must be a glutton for punishment…)

Don’t give up! I will finish both of these novels or it will finish me. Then I can go back to re-working Tatterdemallian: The Electric Zucchini.  And maybe even figure out how to divide The Dead of Winter into two (or three) books.

Applesauce!  Suddenly my brain is tired… So here’s another rewind of the original interactive blog serial, Three Things.  

Don’t loose heart my foodie friends! Episode-24 gave us an “ingredient” so look for a recipe at the end of the rewind.  Now, let’s get a wiggle on!

Please join me for episode 22 of our little 1920’s serial.

22. Blue John, Clarice Cliff Pottery, Art Deco, Silk

Before I could stop him, Frankie told Countess Babikov about the burglary at Boris’ apartment — I mean office.  I was worried about that episode upsetting her.  The white-haired woman had clearly been abducted and roughed up, so she seemed fragile.  There was that cut and bruise at her temple, plus her expensive sheer silk stockings were badly torn.

However, the look of frailty was momentary.  Countess Babikov got a steely, protective look in her eyes.  I was almost worried about her kidnappers.  She took another sip of the brandy I had gotten for her, but I could tell she was thinking.  You could practically see the wheels turning in her mind.  She blinked as if something had interrupted her thoughts.

“Frankie my dear, would you bring my coat?” she asked pointing to a chair where the coat with the fox collar was draped.

English: Ballets Russes, scene from Apollon mu...When the fireman handed her the coat she thanked him, then quickly searched through it.  “Ah!  It is still there.  Thank goodness,” she said in a pleased tone as she withdrew a small silver jewelry casket.  She opened it to display a beautiful dress clip, shaped like a butterfly.

She smiled warmly and held it out to the circus magnate.  “I saw this when the Ballets Russes last performed in England.  I could imagine the butterfly in Mable’s rose garden, and I knew she must have it… my dearest friend, Mable.”

The butterfly was made from a lovely blue banded gemstone.  I asked if it was fluorite, but it didn’t really look like any I had ever seen.  In answer Countess Babikov described her visit to Castleton and the shop where she found the dress clip made from a rare stone she called Blue John.

“Jeepers, I almost forgot!” I exclaimed and started fishing in my pocketbook.  When I looked up, I was uncomfortable to find all eyes on me.  I felt a little foolish, but I produced the bent key and grinned.  However, I wasn’t sure to which of them I should give it.  I tried to look at John Ringling and the Countess both when I explained.

Ringling-Zalophus-Ca-d-Zan

Ringling’s yacht, Zalophus docked at Ca’d’Zan

“This fell from the getaway car back at the Nickelodeon Theatre when they nabbed you, Countess Babikov.  I think the engraving says Ca’d’Zan,” I told them.

“It’s seen better days, hasn’t it?” commented John Ringling as he took the key and inspected it closely.  “It’s for Ca’d’Zan alright.”

Then he dropped the damaged key into a lovely pottery jug.  The sound made everyone look at the piece.  Leaning closer to look at the pottery Frankie asked, “Is that what they call Art Deco?  The style, I mean?”

Mr. Ringling wore a rather distracted expression, but he answered, “I believe so.  I haven’t heard the termEarly 'Original Bizarre' pattern on an Athens ... until just recently.  Mable, my wife, took a shine to this stuff during one of our travels.  The young lady who painted it is called Clarice Cliff.  I think she called that pattern Bizarre.

“Tell me everything about Boris,” the Countess said imploringly, and changed the subject.  “When he left the Ballets Russes, he had begun acting strangely.  At first I thought it was because of his injury — you know?  That he was depressed because he could dance no longer.  Yet strange men began to come to see him.  I thought I saw one of them, when I started making inquiries here about my grandson.  Then the other men abducted me, making a ransom demand of my most kind friend here, John,” she said with a look of gratitude and a motion to the circus magnate.

“What can be going on to cause these strange events?” she said as if to herself.  The same question nagged me as well.

***

Introduction for Episode-23

LifeFlapper1922I’m finally here with another episode of our little 1920’s story.  The characters have been nagging at my thoughts.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with them during November, while I’m trying to write an entire (new) novel in a few short weeks, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! Maybe I’ll skip the fun part of decorating the post and looking up historic links, because I spend a good deal of time with that.

There’s bound to be some “thing” that pulls me back to the story.  Sometimes a single word conveys so much feeling or imagery.  Flapper is that kind of word.  Wasn’t your mind filled with images the moment you read the word?  Provincial Lady has a talent for thinking of those words.  She supplied three evocative things for today’s post.  As always you can find all the episodes in one place at the Three Things Serial page.

Episode 23 causes Pip to contemplate the unusual events that she and her friends have recently experienced.  Can she put the pieces together?

23.  Dissolute, Rocky, Bonehead

An expression of warmth and kindness came to the white-haired woman’s face when she looked at Frankie and me.  “I worried that my Boris squandered his talents in some dissolute existence,” she began, her accent becoming heavier.  I had to focus to understand some of her words.  “But if he has friends such as you, then I know that fear is unfounded.”

Countess Babikov seemed to be wilting from her burst of energy.  I poured another splash of brandy into her glass.  Mr. Ringling helped her sit back on the sofa and put her feet up.  I spotted a decanter of water

Clara Bow as Mona the Movie Star

Clara Bow as Mona the Movie Star

and used some to wet my handkerchief and then gently cleaned the cut at her temple.

A plaintive call reached my ears.  “Pip?”

I opened the door to find Mona looking for me.  She held the tin lunch pail that she’d used for a home-away-from-home for Pear.  However, other than the little hedgehog Mona was alone.  “Where’s Flavio?” I asked.

“He was feeling a little rocky, and went back ashore,” she said with an expression that suggested she was pleased with herself for using the term.  “I don’t think he’s a very good sailor, but he’s a sweet guy.”

Frankie gave me a lopsided grin and commented, “Nah, Flavio’s a bonehead.”  I shot the fireman a skeptical look and his grin was unrepentant.  “Okay.  He’s a good bonehead, but he’s still a bonehead.”

“Oh, Pip!” Mona exclaimed, still in the corridor, but walking toward the door.  “You’ll never believe who I heard this yacht belongs to.”

“Pip, dear,” the Countess said with a twinkle in her eyes.  “Do invite your friend inside.”1920s Dime Mystery

I heard the circus millionaire inside, cautioning Bepa or Faith — she asked us to call her one or the other, but I wasn’t quite comfortable with that.  Holy Hannah!  The woman was royalty for goodness sakes!  Anyhow, he was worried about her exerting herself after the ordeal of her kidnapping.

A thought struck me.  No one had ever said what the kidnappers wanted with her…  Of course there was the ransom, but I had a strong feeling that money wasn’t everything they were after.  I was also sure it had an awful lot to do with Boris.   I felt like I was working a jigsaw puzzle and some pieces were missing.  I didn’t like that feeling.

***

Introduction for Episode-24

Tommy-n-Tuppence

Illustration by Arthur Ferrier of Agatha Christie’s detective pair Tommy and Tuppence, from the December 1923 issue of The Grand Magazine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’d think I would have thought of Agatha Christie the minute the Three Things Serial became a 1920’s story.  She created so many memorable characters.  Two of my favorites are not as well known, but they showcase the spirit of the 1920’s for me — Tommy and Tuppence.  The first novel in which they appeared was The Secret Adversary.

At any rate, I didn’t think of Tommy and Tuppence until recently, although they could easily have inspired our little story.  With a nod to Agatha Christie, today’s Three Things come from the opening of that novel:

“TOMMY, old thing!”

“Tuppence, old bean!”

The two young people greeted each other affectionately, and momentarily blocked the Dover Street Tube exit in doing so.

Now I give you Three Tommy and Tuppence Things.

24.  Old Thing, Bean, Dover Street Tube Exit

Frankie had already caught on to the mischievous twinkle in Countess Bepa’s eyes.  Mona would probably faint when she walked in and saw a big cheese like John Ringling — not to mention a for-real countess!  He blocked the door for a second so he would get a good look at her face when she saw the occupants of the cabin.

Clara Bow 1927

Clara Bow 1927

“Frankie, old thing,” she said.  “I wondered where you’d gotten to.”

The fireman stepped aside and Mona saw the countess.  Even in her disheveled state, right after having been ransomed by dastardly kidnappers, the older woman exuded easy elegance and confidence.  Mona’s face registered recognition, and I knew she was thinking of the night at the Nickelodeon Theatre when we all saw the white-haired woman pulled into a car that careened away.

“Aren’t you the…” Mona began, but then she noticed the owner of the yacht, and she simply stopped, open mouthed.

“Hey, Movie Star, did somebody just bean you?” Frankie asked with a lopsided grin.

The countess chuckled, and even the circus magnate, still worried about his recently kidnapped guest, smiled.  Introductions were made to the astonishment of Mona the movie star.

“I heard you refer to this charming young man as ‘old thing.’  That’s a term I’ve rarely heard since I arrived in this country,” Countess Babikov told the aspiring actress.  “Are you perhaps from England?”1920s subway crowded

“Oh no,” Mona said with an attractive blush.  “But I did go to school in London for a couple of years.  It was near Dover Street.”

The countess looked shocked.  She turned to Mr. Ringling.  “John… I just remembered.  That is where I first saw those men.  I had just parted company with my Boris at the Dover Street Tube exit.  That is where I saw them!”

 

***

Recipe – Video

Now for the promised recipe! Have you guessed the ingredient?  Of course it is “Bean” from Episode-24.

Slow-Cooked Green Beans – Amazing Southern-Style Green Beans

***

 Tune in again next weekend to see what happens because of the next set of Three Things. Same flapper time, same flapper channel.

 

 

1925 Dec American MagazineWe are drawing closer to the close of our little 1920’s story.  I’m still looking for your feedback on what you’d like to do next.  I definitely want to do something that lets all of you “drive” the story.  There are a couple of “votes” in the comments section of the previous episode.

You can do catch up reading for the other 30 episodes of this serial at the Three Things Serial page.  Without further ado, here is part two of our conclusion.

Three Concluding Things Episode 30, Part 2

Clasped Hands, Harpsichord, Pyx

The sky looked as gloomy as I felt.  What were Frankie and his cousins up to?  And why had he become so quiet and distant?  Maybe if I caught up with them I could find out.  However, before we had gone two feet down the path Andy the Astronaute turned up.  He was babbling something about the trapeze setup and the amazing performers.  He was excited and talking so fast that I could hardly understand him.  Then I heard Countess Bepa’s voice calling to us, asking if we would please come inside for a moment.  Mona clasped my hand and Andy’s hand to pull us inside the gilded mansion, Ca’d’Zan.

I looked back over my shoulder.  The Fabro boys had disappeared, and the wall of rosy vines concealed the entrance to wherever they had gone.  I thought I saw another man moving awkwardly among the bushes, headed that way.  However, I barely got a glimpse of the guy.  The next thing I knew, my friends had pulled me past the pink patina of the stucco and terra cotta exterior, inside beneath a crystal chandelier from the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, across white marble floors, and finally into one of the many opulent rooms in the “House of John.”

Mrs. Ringling, or Mable as she insisted we call her, asked us to please sit down for a while and have tea.  A servant brought in a silver tea service as if on cue.  “There’s a chill in the air, and young people looked like you were cold out there,” our hostess told us.Ringling hapsichord

Meanwhile Countess Babikov went on enthusiastically about the ornately decorated French harpsichord that dated back to 1652.  It had somehow escaped destruction during the French Revolution.  I wouldn’t have known what the overelaborate thing was, despite its familiar shape.  So I was surprised to learn it had produced the charming music we had heard moments before.  The instrument was covered in carvings and gold leaf, and painted landscapes.  Everyone has different taste, but I had to admire the craftsmanship and artistry.

As I leaned in to see into the harpsichord, I also took a close look at the intricate landscape painted inside the lid.  Beside the pastoral scene was a rectangular frame with several medallion carvings.  Was that a dragon — like the one on the key?  I bent closer, wishing the sun would come out from behind the clouds and light the room better.

The bent key was still in my purse.  It was too bad I didn’t have it with me so I could compare the designs.  I felt a twinge of guilt.  I had taken the key from the pottery vase where Mr. Ringling casually dropped it.  Although I was the one who found it when it fell from the getaway car, it didn’t really belong to me.  But on the trip from Santa Rosa Sound I had been working at the thing, doing my best to straighten it out. It was just that I needed something to do with my hands; Mona was occupied with her three suitors; Frankie seemed to have forgotten I was alive.  Plus the poor key looked like it would be so pretty if it hadn’t been damaged..

Russian knights badgeYes, I was pretty sure the dragon carving inside the harpsichord was the exact same dragon.  In the carving the dragon rested above a shield design.  The shield had a helmet rising above a banner with a cross, which was flanked by three matching banners on either side.  I squinted, and leaned even closer trying to make out the word beneath the shield design.  Grand… something.  Well, it wasn’t a grand piano, it was a harpsichord.  I tilted my head.  Ah… Grand Priory.  Above the shield design I saw words written in a foreign alphabet.  Was it Russian?  “Humph,” I muttered. I wasn’t quite sure what I thought, but my brain felt like rusty clockworks beginning to turn.

Just then somebody goosed me.  I jerked up, banging my head into the harpsichord lid.  “Ouch!” I said, turning to find Frankie behind me.  He was grinning and pleased with himself for startling me.  I rubbed my head, then brushed at my bobbed hair with my fingers, not sure what to make of his change in attitude.  Suddenly he was like the Frankie I knew.  His smile was infectious and I found myself returning it even though I still felt miffed at him for ignoring me for so long.

Flavio was behind him, frowning at Mona.  The brunette was talking quietly with the countess.  Those two had their heads together a lot lately.  She became fast friends with Boris the Ballerina’s grandmother.  That didn’t bode well for Andy’s prospects with Mona.  Flavio didn’t seem to think it was going to help his chances either.

Frankie gave me that sad puppy dog look.  I rolled my eyes and took it for an apology.  “So what have you guys been doing?”

All of a sudden, Frankie stopped smiling.  Flavio stepped closer and gave me that smooth smile he usually saved for Mona the Movie Star.  I had never had anything against Frankie’s older cousin.  He was easily the most dashing of the Fabro brood.  But I didn’t take to him the way Mona did.  “We’ve been up the tower.  Wow! You can see for miles and miles up there,” Flavio said.

His enthusiasm rang flat to my ear.  Especially since I knew that was a lie.  I looked at Frankie.  flapper-n-hat“Yeah, doll face,” Frankie the Fireman said.  “It would be a great place to watch the sunset.  Maybe I can show it to you some evening,” Frankie suggested, wriggling his eyebrows in a humorous way.

I smiled at him.  I think I smiled.  I sure as shootin’ tried to smile at him.  How could he lie to me like that?  Okay, I told myself, maybe that was true and they had gone to explore the tower first — before they did whatever it was they were up to in the rose garden.  Even as I told myself that, myself knew it wasn’t so.  Oh, applesauce!

I promise – I will get to the “Pyx” next time.  Really.   🙂

veil_of_sky_open_1 copyWith National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in full swing, I’m indulging myself with today’s set of three things.  When I wrote my NaNoWriMo 2012 winning novel, Atonement, Tennessee, I was somewhat influenced by the style of Charlaine Harris  — particularly her “Southern Vampire” series, sometimes referred to as the Sookie Stackhouse books.  While Atonement is very different from the books Ms. Harris writes, (and there are no vampires) I believe that if you enjoyed those, you will also like Atonement, Tennessee.

Even though it has nothing to do with the 1920’s, these three things are a nod to Charlaine Harris and the Southern Vampire series of books.  I took them from the first line of the first book in her series.  As always, you can do catch-up reading at the page where the entire Three Things Serial story lives.  And now…Cover of "Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampi...

Three Dead Until Dark Things

27.  Vampire, Years, Walked

“I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar…”

I couldn’t help being worried about Frankie.  Two of the men who worked for Mr. Ringling returned with a very uncertain looking Boris.  Or at least that’s how he looked until he saw his babushka.  It was a very touching reunion.  Mona and I both dabbed tears from our eyes.  But there was clearly more to the story of Boris being separated from his grandmother.  It had to be connected to her abduction… and not to forget that bent key.  The entire situation could be something that had been brewing for years.

However, the other two men and Frankie didn’t come back with the ones who brought the retired ballet dancer.  The last time I saw the fireman he was disguised as an old woman, wrapped in a tattered quilt.  He even walked with a cane to complete the ruse.

Finally I saw the sedan roll up.  Ringling’s two men were in the front seat, and a couple of other mugs were in back.  They weren’t moving.  Then to my astonishment, Andy — our little Astronaute man drove up in his Studebaker with Frankie and the Fabro cousins.  Flavio and the twins, Fedel and Frediano were squeezed into the back seat.  The twins jumped out and ran to help Ringling’s men pull two bound and gagged men from the sedan.  They looked like the same ones who had hurried away from the yacht after the circus magnate paid them a ransom for Countess Babikov.  They were a couple of blood suckers alright.  Regular vampires.G-men Poster

The young man in a waiter’s uniform that Mona and I had seen hours earlier was at Mr. Ringling’s elbow.  “Get to one of the radios, please.  Call the G-men.  Tell them I have a present for them.”

Three Things: 24 – Tommy and Tuppence

Illustration by Arthur Ferrier of Agatha Chris...

Illustration by Arthur Ferrier of Agatha Christie’s detective pair Tommy and Tuppence, from the December 1923 issue of The Grand Magazine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’d think I would have thought of Agatha Christie the minute the Three Things Serial became a 1920’s story.  She created so many memorable characters.  Two of my favorites are not as well known, but they showcase the spirit of the 1920’s for me — Tommy and Tuppence.  The first novel in which they appeared was The Secret Adversary.

At any rate, I didn’t think of Tommy and Tuppence until recently, although they could easily have inspired our little story.  With a nod to Agatha Christie, today’s Three Things come from the opening of that novel:

“TOMMY, old thing!”

“Tuppence, old bean!”

The two young people greeted each other affectionately, and momentarily blocked the Dover Street Tube exit in doing so.

Now I give you Three Tommy and Tuppence Things.

  Old Thing, Bean, Dover Street Tube Exit

Frankie had already caught on to the mischievous twinkle in Countess Bepa’s eyes.  Mona would probably faint when she walked in and saw a big cheese like John Ringling — not to mention a for-real countess!  He blocked the door for a second so he would get a good look at her face when she saw the occupants of the cabin.

“Frankie, old thing,” she said.  “I wondered where you’d gotten to.”

The fireman stepped aside and Mona saw the countess.  Even in her disheveled state, right after having been ransomed by dastardly kidnappers, the older woman exuded easy elegance and confidence.  Mona’s face registered recognition, and I knew she was thinking of the night at the Nickelodeon Theatre when we all saw the white-haired woman pulled into a car that careened away.

“Aren’t you the…” Mona began, but then she noticed the owner of the yacht, and she simply stopped, open mouthed.

“Hey, Movie Star, did somebody just bean you?” Frankie asked with a lopsided grin.

The countess chuckled, and even the circus magnate, still worried about his recently kidnapped guest, smiled.  Introductions were made to the astonishment of Mona the movie star.1920s subway crowded

“I heard you refer to this charming young man as ‘old thing.’  That’s a term I’ve rarely heard since I arrived in this country,” Countess Babikov told the aspiring actress.  “Are you perhaps from England?”

“Oh no,” Mona said with an attractive blush.  “But I did go to school in London for a couple of years.  It was near Dover Street.”

The countess looked shocked.  She turned to Mr. Ringling.  “John… I just remembered.  That is where I first saw those men.  I had just parted company with my Boris at the Dover Street Tube exit.  That is where I saw them!”