Three Ingredients – 25: Finale

Parrots_Finale

What’s a writer to do when more than one set of “ingredients” arrive at the same time?  Be grateful, that’s what!  Which leads me to a big reveal…

The following episode brings us to the finale of this storyline.  Oh, don’t fret!  The Three Ingredients hasn’t “given up the ghost!”  I didn’t have the heart to completely end things today.  Plus your ingredients led to several details that I wanted to carry-over.  I’m sure there will be some different characters, but if you root for your favorites in the comments area, I’ll try to keep them around.

So next time, “Cookbook 2” will begin with ingredients from writer/blogger Evelyne Holingue.  Pip will continue as the narrator of the culinary mystery, but the “spirit” of the story might be a bit different. (Are you beginning to get a hint about the future story here?) Phuong book-3

Now, for the finale!  I’m pleased to have the opportunity to share about cookbooks from a LinkedIn associate and fellow blogger, Dr. Phuong Le Callaway.  Phuong’s blog deals with leadership and motivation.  In addition to all her other work, Phuong wrote three cookbooks! Proceeds from any of her wonderful cookbooks go to charity. Now, let’s find out what happens when that cloud of red pepper settles.  Bon appétit!

25.  Ginger Roots, Chicken Breast, Cabbage

From the corner of my eyes I saw Arabella Wong, Alastair’s mother, walking up the path.  Her teal satin dress was heavily embroidered with designs of chrysanthemums and birds.  The satin shimmered in the Vogue-Apr 1919fairy lights that lined the walkway.  Granny Fanny stepped out the kitchen door, carrying a tray of beautiful meringue pies, but she stepped over to meet Arabella anyway.

I knew Arabella wanted to get a look at the big shindig, but I was also aware that Alastair told his mother to send someone else to do the errand.  He knew enough to realize that the evening could become dangerous.  All of us were sure Queenie Wetson and her gang of bootleggers were behind the ambush that left Marshal Moses Myrick gravely wounded, and his federal agents dead.

The young restaurateur cast a worried and frustrated look at his mother as she approached.  He had set up a table and equipment for making spring rolls.  A small group of hungry partygoers watched him prepare the ingredients. Who could blame them? It was fascinating to watch Alastair cook.  His movements were quick, deft, and graceful.  It was almost a dance.  He tossed a carrot into the air with a flourish before rapidly chopping it.  Then he arranged the carrot pieces into a swirl design on a gleaming white square shaped plate.

Arabella spotted her son and called out to him.  “Alastair I thought you might need more ginger roots too…”

However, Mrs. Wong’s voice trailed away from me, because I was focused on the chaos erupting before Joan Crawford Queen of Clubsme.  Our hostess wanted to hold a “parade of pets.” It was charming, but it went awry when several of the animals got loose.  Pandemonium ensued.

The cavorting furry kids knocked down Queenie Weston, bootlegger kingpin (or maybe I should say queen-pin), and her three white tuxedo clad henchmen.  That bunch surely deserved the tangle of arms and legs in which they landed.

The pets also ruined one of Granny’s hors d’oeuvre tables, sending all manner of food flying into the air.  The lovely and unique square shaped plates and saucers fared no better, all the dishes and containers were overturned and scattered.  This included a silver bowl filled with powdered red pepper.  In mute fascination, I watched the bowl somersault high overhead.  Time slowed to a crawl as I stared at the silver container.

A slow-motion cloud of red pepper sifted down toward the henchmen and Queenie.  Maybe it was because everything seemed to be moving so slowly, but in that moment I noticed Detective Dabney Daniels, in disguise, frantically patting his sheik’s robes.

As I watched, he exchanged a wide-eyed look with that bossy butler.  Farceur’s mouth gaped in apparent comprehension.  Earlier I watched those two sneaking around (right after I caught that copper kissing Granny!), and I saw the butler pass a small book to Dabney.  I wasn’t sure if they were up to good or no-good.  However, I did know that the incriminating journal had just gone missing.  Dabney had lost it somehow.

vintage queen of the mayBeside me, a girl in tomboy clothes darted under the descending pepper cloud.  She was moving normally, while everything else crept along slower than a tortoise.  A blue pop of electricity lit Queenie’s beaded evening bag. The Queen of Clubs cried out in surprised pain as she fell, tossing aside the offending purse.  The sound of her cry stretched out to a long slow moan.  The evening bag popped open as it skidded across the pavement, exposing the small journal inside.

Suddenly the girl in tomboy clothes was at my elbow.  “Daisy!” I exclaimed recognizing the young woman who repaired my uniform jacket earlier that day.

“Quick, Pip!” Daisy said pointing at the evening bag.  “Get it!”

Ever so slowly Dabney turned to look at Queenie and her men.  As one of them seemed to float toward the ground, positioned to land directly on top of the Queen of Clubs, I noticed the henchman’s smug grin as he looked at the distraught detective.  I thought he must have gotten the journal from Dabney without the detective knowing.

Bit by bit, the man’s smile faded as he realized he was falling.  I knew that whether or not they saw through Dabney’s disguise, the gangsters were onto the fact that he’d had the convicting book.  Had the butler, Mr. Farceur, tipped them off?lantern-press-joker-playing-card

Joker’s wild, Cracker the Parrot had repeated many times.  As best I could figure out, farceur was a French word for joker.  I didn’t know much about poker, but couldn’t a wild card be used for whatever you wanted it to be?  What if the gangster code named Joker was Farceur?  What if he was working both sides?  Could he pretend to work for both the police and the gangsters?

“Hurry, Pip!” Daisy urged, snapping me out of the ideas that had unexpectedly filled my mind.

Thinking fast, I grabbed a square saucer that stayed on the table, despite the shenanigans of the animals.  I rushed over to the evening bag.  I replaced the journal with the saucer, snapped the purse closed, and left the fancy evening bag where it lay.  I tucked the journal inside the waistband of my wide-legged trousers and covered it with the white waiter’s tuxedo jacket.  No one saw what I did.

Everything was still moving abnormally slow.  I couldn’t begin to understand why or how it could be so.  Just the same, Daisy and I seemed to be the only ones who were at normal speed.

“Your cute redheaded friend hid a radio in the delivery truck.  Tell him to have the coppers move in,” Daisy said.  “I can’t keep things slowed down much longer.”

1920s Cosmo Feb“What?  Do you mean you’re…” I began, but everything seemed so strange that I couldn’t finish forming the question in my mind, let alone spit it out.

Hank was right beside us, all but frozen in astonishment as he mutely watched the cloud of red pepper poof upward and then slowly descend.  Daisy touched a finger to his earlobe and Hank shivered.

“Tell him now,” she urged, and I leaned close to Hank and spoke the words into his ear, telling him he had to get to the radio and bring the coppers.

Savannah’s youngest policeman only twitched, but the expression in his eyes made me feel like he might actually have heard and understood.  Ever so slowly he began to turn on his heel.

“Thank you Pip,” Daisy said.  She no longer wore the tomboy outfit.  She was dressed elegantly in a diaphanous chiffon gown.  “So few people are aware of me — even when I try very hard to contact them.  You have a gift.”

I started to shiver with the cold I felt at her presence.  The clang of the silver dish against the pavement came to my ears, but I didn’t look as I stared in awe at Daisy.  Much lighter, the pepper continued its sluggish descent, seemingly long after the bowl hit the ground.

“I have helped you,” she continued.  “And I was happy to do it.  However, I now ask you to use your rare talent to help me.”

“Of course, Daisy. I would have helped you however I could anyway,” I said, though I continued a mental1920s Vogue poster struggle to comprehend the impossible happenings around me.  Was I really talking to a ghost?  Had she honestly managed to slow time?

“If I knew who took my life, I would just show you,” Daisy said.  “But after death, sometimes a spirit might know more about some things and less about others, especially when it comes to the life we lived.  I just want you to understand that I’m not just being vindictive or self-serving.  Yes, I’d like my killer brought to justice, but I also want to make sure he, she, or they don’t harm anyone else,” she said with an exasperated shrug.

I nodded my understanding.  The nausea came back full force.  Alastair was right about the cold and upset stomach accompanying a spirit’s presence.

“As I said, I know parts, but not the whole.  There are several people here tonight who either took part in my death or have information about it.  The presence of so many of them in one place is what drew me here — what gave me the strength to do the things I’ve done just now,” Daisy said.

“I’ll do all I can, Daisy,” I said with a big dry gulp.

“Oh, by the way, you’re right.  The Joker’s wild,” she added.  “He was secretly working for Moses Myrick.  Try not to give him away.  He’s not such a bad guy.”

Barrie Craig adventures“How could you know…” I began but stopped myself.

Daisy smiled.  “I met Moses.  He died for a moment.  Actually he died a couple of times.  First while that one was driving him to the doctors,” she said pointing to Dabney in his disguise. “And again when your grandmother and her friends were trying to save him.  That was how I knew to find you.”

She chuckled at my confused expression.  “Naturally Moses will not remember meeting me.  He said how much like your grandmother you are.  I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be mysterious,” she said as I tried unsuccessfully to form words.  “Your grandmother can see me, or rather she could if she didn’t have so many of her talents blocked.  Your gift comes from her line,” Daisy explained as she drifted away from me.

The motions in the scene around me gradually began to increase toward normal speed.  Daisy moved to stand beside Henry Kingston III, and she gave me a very significant look.  Then she disappeared.

Walking at a snail’s pace, Hortense Houston “hurried” toward the falling guests.  As the housekeeper, it was a matter of pride to her that the even went well.  She a look of horror painted her face as she saw the alphonse mucha 1calamity in progress.  She didn’t see the chicken breast she was about to step on, and I hoped it didn’t cause her to slip.  She had been nice to me.

As time started to pass at a rate that was very close to normal, I saw Daisy step through the broad French doors.  She went to a large framed photograph and placed her hand on it.  She nodded to me.  I knew there was information in that photograph. I’d have to make sure I got a good look at it.  Then Daisy vanished.

In a surge that I felt in the bottom of my stomach, everything rushed back to normal speed.  The sensation caused me to stagger.  Without a word, Hank made a beeline toward the delivery truck and the radio he had secretly hidden there.

The red pepper cloud finally reached Queenie Wetson and her henchmen.  Screaming, crying, and floundering erupted from the quartet.

I headed straight over to Dabney Daniels. Mr. Farceur reached him a fraction of a second sooner.  They were hissing something at each other when they saw me. Since I’d seen Dabney searching his robes for it Black Butler 2and make eye contact with the Joker, I knew they were talking about the incriminating journal.  Both men started jabbering at me, saying that I should go do this or that.

“Look, I know about that book,” I said loudly enough to cut across their combined chatter.  Then realizing the volume at which I spoke, I took a quick look over my shoulder.  Queenie and her men were still in the midst of a pepper induced fit.  Everything around them was in chaos, with the pets still on the loose.

“What I don’t know,” I said with an arch look at the butler.  “Is whether you can be trusted. Either of you!” I added, including Dabney in my gaze before turning back to Farceur. “But especially you.  Are you some kind of double agent, working both sides against the middle? Or were you working with the police all along?” I demanded.

Farceur drew an annoyed sounding breath.  Then to my surprise, he fessed up.  “I became acquainted with Marshal Moses Myrick when he began investigating my new employers, the Kingstons,” Farceur said in a clipped way.  “He discovered that I had done some… shall we say discrete work for my government before I came here.  He enlisted my help.  However, I did not expect to find anyone other than the marshal in the sheik’s robes tonight.”JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar ad

“Did you give him the real book then?” I asked jerking my head toward Dabney.

The butler looked like he was disgusted with himself.  “Yes, against my better judgment, I gave it to him.  He threatened to expose everything if I did not,” Farceur said, glaring at the detective.

“Pip, how do you know about any of this?” Dabney insisted.

“There’s no time for that,” I said in a rush, knowing he’d never believe me if I told him.  “Hank’s gone to radio the police.  I hope they’re nearby,” I said in a suggestive tone.

Dabney looked relieved but confused.  He nodded.  He wasn’t moving and I wanted to push him into action.  However, I glanced at the three men and the Queen of Clubs.  They were beginning to get to their collective feet.  There were four of them and only three of us.  Then I saw the flash of metal.  Apparently the men were distraught and felt threatened enough that they drew their guns.  I didn’t realize they had been carrying firearms.

Perils_of_Pauline_-_1947_PosterI gasped when I saw so many weapons on display.  Even Queenie drew a pearl handled pistol from a holster at her garter.  We were definitely outnumbered.

“Didn’t you notice the bulges in their jackets, Pip?” Detective Daniels asked with a smirk.  “Now you run along and stay out of the way.  This is no place for a girl.  And Fanny would never forgive me if something happened to you.”

Well… you can guess what effect those words had on me.  How dare he tell me to run along as if I were a child or a simpleton!  Having seen those guns, I might actually have run for cover if he hadn’t said that.  But there was no backing down then!

A pistol appeared in Dabney’s hand as if by magic.  It was probably hidden in the voluminous robes.  Farceur picked up a double handful of forks and knives from the nearest table.  In an instant he had one between each of the fingers of both of his hands.  The two men snaked between party guests toward the villains.

However, Queenie and her men were already regaining their wits.  The sound of police sirens cut through the noise of laughing and talking.  It brought the gangsters to their senses.Joan Crawford as Queenie Wetson

Hortense Houston had come back to full speed along with everything else.  The housekeeper hurried toward the guests to make sure they were unharmed from their fall.  Just as she reached them, Hortense slipped on the chicken breast that I noticed a moment before.  As she slid into one of the henchmen he grabbed her and put his gun to her head.

There was so much noise.  I could barely sort all the sounds.  The dogs howled, probably at the sirens — which continued to wail.  Someone screamed.  Everyone seemed to be shouting.

Queenie, her glittering tiara askew, stepped back onto the tail of Marie Antoinette, Mrs. Kingston’s Maine Coon cat.  The tall cat hissed and stood up on her hind legs, claws extended, and grabbed the posterior of the Queen of Clubs.  Queenie shrieked, waiving her pearl handled pistol.  Antoinette darted inside the mansion.

To my horror, I saw how close they were to Arabella Wong and Granny Fanny.  Alastair was only a few feet away at his table too.  What if the crooks started shooting?

One of the henchmen tripped over his own feet when he turned to see what was wrong with Queenie.  1916 Vogue springHis stumble put him in range of Arabella Wong and he made a grab for Alastair’s mother.  My stomach lurched.  Arabella wouldn’t hurt a fly; she was so ladylike and demure.  My brief acquaintance with her flashed before my eyes.  I heard the horrible man say, “Two hostages are better than one!”

In a heartbeat the man was socked in the noggin by a head of cabbage.  Since the man was so close to his mother, Alastair picked up the safest “weapon” at hand and threw the vegetable.  However, he threw it with such force and speed that it made the villain stagger.

The next thing I knew, Arabella was all over the guy.  Hands and feet flying in a blur, Arabella was like nothing I’d ever seen before as she attacked her would be assailant.  Then Granny Fanny started throwing those beautiful meringue pies!  It looked like something the Marx Brothers would have done, and I would have laughed if the situation had not been deadly dangerous!

A woman screamed when the henchmen aimed their guns.  Then I realized the screaming woman was me!  I was so afraid of what might happen to Granny and Arabella while I watched helplessly.

Parrot in flight

As if I had summoned her, Cracker soared into the fray, raking her sharp talons across the heads of the criminal quartet.  She caught Queenie’s tiara in her beak and tossed it violently.  As the parrot attacked one of the henchmen, he fired his gun wildly into the air.

Girls didn’t usually get much in the way of science classes in school back then, but I was luckier than most.  I knew enough to realize that a bullet going up would eventually come down.  I just hoped that it didn’t come down and kill an innocent.

With unexpected attack from feet, pies, and talons the villains were so surprised that Hortense managed to get away from the henchman who was holding her at gunpoint.  There were still so many people in the way that it wasn’t safe for Dabney to fire his gun.  At least I hoped he would realize that.  When I spotted1920s Flapper n Phoenix him, he was pointing the revolver but he couldn’t seem to get a clear shot.  I swallowed hard, fearing the wrong person would get shot.

The henchmen managed to get guns their aimed at Arabella and Granny, and the two women backed away.  The assault had pushed the criminals against the wall of the mansion.  Queenie and her men sidled toward the broad French doors.  However, they stopped when the police started pounding at the mansion’s front door.

Cracker glided to the table where Alastair stood, as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.  She picked up a carrot and flew to a corner of the terrace.  I hadn’t noticed Cinnamon Bun there.  Cracker gave the giant rabbit the carrot.  He nibbled it and then seemed to decide to carry it elsewhere.  I saw the bunny’s long ears as he quietly moved amid partygoers.  To my dismay, he ended up behind one of Queenie’s men.

The carrot was sticking out of Cinnamon Bun’s mouth as he curiously sat up on his haunches to investigate the man in front of him.  A Flemish Giant rabbit standing on his haunches is pretty tall.  The carrot poked the man’s side.  He must have thought someone had sneaked up on him with a gun, because he eased his hands into the air.

Queenie turned in consternation.  “What are you doing?” she shouted at him.  “It’s a rabbit for heaven’s sake!”Vintage rabbit driving

However, that was enough of a diversion for Mr. Farceur to get into place.  He was only armed with cutlery from the table, but his aim was dead-on.  The knives and forks whistled through the air in a rapid blur, and painfully struck the quartet of gangsters.

By then some of the policemen made their way to the back of the mansion, and the ones at the front door got inside.  Soon Queenie Wetson and her henchmen were arrested and locked up in the paddy wagon.

Dabney Daniels removed his sheik headdress and yellow tinted glasses.  He spoke individually to each person who had been directly in harm’s way, making sure they were unhurt and he put Hank Hertz to work taking statements from them.

Sheik of ArabyI lost sight of Granny Fanny after she and Arabella did their part.  However, she had looked unscathed at that moment.  When she walked up to Dabney he looked so relieved that I thought he was going to kiss her again.

Maybe he really was about to, because Granny took half a step back from him.  After my initial shock, I didn’t see anything wrong with Granny and Dabney being a couple. She was a good bit older than him, but that happened once in a while.  And it happened all the time if the man was the older one.  As a flapper, I had to be all for a modern relationship!  However, Granny was obviously not convinced.

I walked over to the pair and removed the journal from my waistband.  I made sure Granny saw it.  I wanted a witness of my own.  I couldn’t suddenly shift from suspicion of Daniels to complete trust.  I handed the journal to the detective.  It was the evidence the police needed to convict the rumrunners.

An important seeming man walked up just then and Dabney showed him the book.  The man turned out to be the police commissioner, the top copper.  He thumbed carefully through the journal, nodding 1920s Peoples home journal girl parrotapproval as he read random pages.

Dabney motioned for Hank and Alastair to join them and he introduced the younger men to the commissioner.  The commissioner had heard of Hank, Savannah’s youngest police officer, but he did not know him or Alastair personally.

I didn’t feel too comfortable being around anybody who was so… official so I stepped away before I was pulled into the introductions.  Daniels caught my eye, but he seemed to understand.  He nodded and I kept moving away.

Then a minor commotion came to my attention.  “What about him?” I demanded, pointing at Henry Kingston III.  “Isn’t he the King of Clubs?”

Mr. Farceur was beside me, but he was trying to be inconspicuous.  I wasn’t sure why he didn’t want any credit for the role he played in catching the bootleggers, but I was respectful of his wish for privacy.  He spoke quietly in answer to my question.

“Yes and no,” he said, and I couldn’t help rolling my eyes. Trust that butler to be cryptic.  “He was the King of Clubs, but Kingston’s participation was negligible.  Queenie Wetson manipulated him into most of his actions, so she was as much the King of Clubs as he was.  She was both king and queen.  Kingston’s a funny old bird, and not too bright.  I have a suspicion that his influential position, not to mention his expensive barrister — I mean attorney, will keep him out of jail.”

As Farceur spoke one of the party guests stepped in between Kingston and the police.  The man waved his arms, shouting about rights and evidence.  Oh, that would be the lawyer all right.

1917 Vogue“He is not blameless in all this.  It’s not fair if he gets off scot-free!” I complained, and Farceur agreed with a sardonic twist of his lips.

“One never knows,” Farceur said as he gazed beyond me and into the branches of the crepe myrtle trees that bordered that part of the terrace.  “He’s doubtless committed other crimes.  Something will trip him up eventually,” he said and gave a barely perceptible nod to someone behind me.

The butler had obviously been looking at someone, so I turned to see who was there.  All I saw was Cracker perched on a thick branch of the biggest crepe myrtle tree I had ever seen.  The thought went through my mind that it must be very old indeed, because those trees didn’t tend toward such size.

Abruptly I realized that Cracker was not alone.  Chiffon billowed on the night breeze.  Daisy sat on the branch next to the parrot.

“Applesauce!” I cried in astonishment and turned back to the butler.  “Do you mean to tell me that you can see her too?” I asked the empty space beside me.  Farceur was gone.

***

Here ends Cookbook-1 of The Three Ingredients

1920s face

Stay tuned for Cookbook-2!

Until next time — Great-big-hugs to you all.

Video:  Thai Cooking – Chicken Ginger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kMtGxTNkWs

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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.

 

Three Ingredients – 19: Sugar, Salt, Strawberries

Thanks for coming back everyone! I’m sorry I couldn’t provide an episode last weekend.  So before I introduce the new episode, here’s a little treat to get you back into a 1920’s mood.

caseys gunslinger coverThe ingredients for today’s episode are from Catherine Wolffe, a writer who (like me) enjoys experimenting with the various genresBut whatever the style of story, Catherine’s characters follow their dreams.

Thank you Catherine, for today’s ingredients.  Remember everyone, you can do catch-up reading on any of the episodes at the serial’s homepage. Just click the button at the top of the page.  Now for Episode-19.

Bon appétit!

19. Sugar, Salt, StrawberriesEpisode19_Shopping-list

“Here darling, have a soda cracker,” Veronica Vale insisted as she handed me a saucer of crisp crackers. Despite being born in a southern state, her voice held a continental tone from many years studying and working abroad. “They have lovely sea salt on the tops. They’ll help calm your stomach,” she said encouragingly.

It was such an odd feeling. I can barely describe how I felt. It hadn’t been long since I woke up with a headache, an upset stomach, a foggy brain, and giant holes in my memory. For several hours I encountered people and had to stop and think about who they were, though they clearly expected me to know them… most people anyway.

1929 Radio News SeptI recognized Granny Fanny right away, despite the unexpected circumstance of watching her get off the back of Vincent Vale’s motorcycle. When Alastair Wong found me I heard his voice before I saw him. I had to first place the voice, so it didn’t seem like it took as long for me to remember who he was when I saw him. Hank Hertz was mostly a question mark in my mind. I had a vague memory of him and radio equipment. I knew he was Savannah’s youngest police officer, but that was about all.

This is what it would be like to live a silent movie, I thought. Talkies had not been around terribly long. Binghamton’s Bijou theatre in Savannah still showed more silent films than talkies. My hearing was fine, but the fogginess of my memory made me feel like I was in an old silent movie without a narrator or even intertitles. Walking a ledge with uncertain footing, not sure who might pull me to safety or who might push me over the edge, I met everyone I was supposed to already know with caution and distrust.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) used stylised intertitles.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) used stylised intertitles.

Then there were the ones I couldn’t remember at all… The scowling police detective, Dabney Daniels — I still had no memory of him period. Neither could I remember the man in the makeshift hospital room, a Federal marshal, Moses Myrick. I remembered being worried about him, but I couldn’t remember him.

Hank walked out of that room and looked at me with a relieved expression on his face. He hurried Hank Hertz or Hugo Johnstone-Burtacross the long room, but stopped short of hugging me when he saw the blank look on my face.

“Pip… are you okay? You don’t look so good,” he said awkwardly.

I was saved from the need to make polite conversation by a commotion from the marshal’s room. “Badbird, badbird!” Cracker the parrot squawked, clearly agitated.

Veronica ran to the little room with Hank right on her heels, apologizing for leaving the patient unattended. “He’s a grown man and should know better,” the surgeon muttered.

From where I stood I could see the two of them catch an older man just before he fell to the floor. However, I couldn’t hear what they said to one another above the cacophonous ranting from Cracker.

the-chinese-parrot adBadbird, badbird!” the parrot chided the marshal.

“Stubborn old man…” Granny muttered from behind me.

I turned to look at my grandmother. She hadn’t had much to say, but she watched me like a hawk. It made me feel like she was waiting to see if I was going to sprout a tail or grow an extra nose. After an intent look she nodded, as if confirming something to herself.

“Feeling a little better now, Sweet-pea?” she asked and I nodded silently. “I’m sure your memory will come back. Are you certain there’s nothing else wrong? Not keeping anything from us are you?”

“No, Granny,” I said reassuringly. “My head still hurts, and I’m a little queasy. It seems like things are beginning to come to me quicker now. Most things anyway. I don’t remember anything about the marshal in there, except being afraid he might die,” I said waiving toward the little recovery room. “And I don’t remember anything at all about that sourpuss detective. And the younger one, Hank… I sort of remember him, but I feel like I’ve forgotten most of the things about him.”

Granny patted my hand and then gave it a little squeeze. “Don’t fret, Sweet-pea. You haven’t known Hank Hertz very long and the place where you met him was pretty traumatizing. Come to think of it, you might connect a lot of what you know of Dabney and Moses to things that are Strawberry girlupsetting or frightening — or both. Maybe that’s why you don’t remember them. I’ll discuss it with Veronica and see what she has to say.”

I nodded again and watched as Granny rinsed a bowl of rich red strawberries and dusted them with powdered sugar. She put them on a tray and headed toward the recovery room, motioning for me to go with her.

“We’d best let that stubborn old man see for himself that you’re unharmed. Else he’ll break his fool neck trying to get out of bed,” she told me with a small smile.

***

The red sunset gave way to a clear night. The moon was bright as we rolled Marshal Moses Myrick in a wheelchair from the laboratory/animal hospital building to the main house. The Vales would have several overnight guests, as both doctors insisted we all stay until morning. They wanted all their patients under one roof.Vales House

They still wanted to keep an eye on Hank, and he certainly wasn’t trusted to drive alone with his recent head wound. Veronica made him use the radio to let his parents know he was okay but would be staying there for the night. The marshal wouldn’t be up and about for quite some time to come. And everybody kept looking at me. It was getting annoying. “I’m fine,” I said repeatedly, but the evaluative looks continued.

Granny said that she left enough food for Cinnamon Bun, the Flemish Giant rabbit. So she Beatrix Potter-1accepted the invitation to stay. It had been a long and disturbing day, and no one wanted her to drive so late at night. Me? I didn’t seem to have any choice in the matter. I sat down with a cup of chicken broth and soon felt up to eating a little something. I succumbed to the temptation of the luscious strawberries.

When I heard an automobile outside I jumped half out of my skin. I supposed I was pretty upset by the whole ordeal. Vincent was almost at the door before the two sharp taps of the doorknocker banged against my still aching head. It was that detective. He carried a large parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine. He placed it on a table.

“Miss Fanny, I stopped by your house after I finished working, just to make sure you and Pip were okay. When nobody was home, I figured you ladies decided to spend the night here. Then I saw this package on your front porch. I had to check on the marshal and Hank anyway — for my report,” he said casually, but I got the impression he was hedging something, and I saw Veronica smirk. “So I decided to bring the package with me,” he explained.

Granny smiled and assured the detective that all the patients were on the mend. I saw Veronica 1920s Arrow couplesmirk again. I wondered what that was about, but I didn’t ask.

“Don’t worry Dabney,” Granny Fanny told the detective with a pat on his arm. “Veronica says Paisley’s memory will come back. But between the bump on the head, whatever she was drugged with, and all the recent frightful events, it might take some time. Pip will surely remember you before long,” she added and raised her eyebrows in an encouraging expression.

“What? You don’t know me, Pip?” the detective turned to me and said in an astonished tone. “I knew you were acting odd, but I thought that was just from… from what had happened. You really don’t remember me?”

I reflexively drew back from his intensity. I swallowed hard. My eyes widened as I tried to think of what to say. Veronica tilted her head and pursed her lips as if she wasn’t sure what to make of the detective’s reaction. Vincent and Hank both seemed mildly puzzled, but Hank also looked a little hopeful for some strange reason.

“You knew me though, didn’t you Pip?” Hank asked standing straighter.

“Well… sort of,” I said. He seemed to deflate a little, so I hastened to add, “I remember you being a wiz with the radio.”

1920s trioWhen I said that he put his shoulders back. His eyebrows went up for a second when he looked at the detective. Once again, I wondered about expressions and body language of the people around me. Hank’s reaction seemed almost competitive, and I couldn’t imagine why.

Granny leaned over the large brown package. “Oh, it’s from Eunice’s Uniforms!” she exclaimed. “This should be the outfits Moses told me to get to cater that fancy reception,” she paused and saw that everyone was looking at her. “You know, the one where he was going to have the st…” she paused and looked sheepishly at Daniels. “It is okay to mention that in front of the Vales, isn’t it? And after being on the scene of the ambush, Hank should probably know too.”

The detective sighed. “Miss Fanny…,” he began. Daniels shook his head and looked at his highly polished Florsheim shoes, but then he spread his hands as if admitting defeat. “It’s of no consequence now. With the marshal out of commission, we’ll be calling it off,” he said.

Then he gave a brief if vague explanation of the planned sting operation. He didn’t name names or places, but he said it was meant to catch a bootlegger kingpin. 1920s Style Book

As he spoke I remembered standing outside the parlor in Granny’s cottage, with Cinnamon Bun beside me, as I listened to a conversation between my grandmother and an unseen man. I remembered feeling surprised and somewhat distrustful to realize that man apparently had known Granny for a long time, but I had heard nothing of him. Although I couldn’t put a face to the memory, I was sure that man was Moses Myrick.

Meanwhile, Granny unwrapped the package. She removed two 1920s womens pant suitwaiter’s uniforms. They were fancy all right, black pants with a black satin stripe down the sides, and white tuxedo jackets. Then she grinned like a ‘possum when she saw the next two uniforms. Each had a white tuxedo jacket, but they were longer and cut for a woman. The jackets were paired with very avant-garde black wide-legged cuffed trousers with a satin stripe, similar to stripe on the men’s pants.

I always thought there might be a bit of a flapper in Granny’s heart. I couldn’t stop grinning. Veronica, the very definition of a modern woman, clapped her hands in childlike delight when she saw the women’s uniforms. The men just looked confused.

“If I’m going to cater a shindig like that one, then Granny’s Goodies is going to have a distinctive and modern look,” she said with an emphatic nod of her head. She picked up the second woman’s uniform. “Come over here Pip and try this tuxedo jacket on for size,” she told me.

Joan Crawford Queen of ClubsAs Granny held out the white coat something fluttered to the floor. I stooped to pick it up but my hand froze before I even touched it. A jolt went up my arm when I looked at the rectangle of paper. Another playing card. It landed face down. One word was written across the back of the card. Beware!

The detective took out his handkerchief and carefully picked up the card. He held it up for everyone to see. It was the queen of clubs.

***

How It’s Made – Saltine Cracker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR7Lv7sXk4o

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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.

 

 

 

Three Ingredients – 18: Fungus, Quiche, Quinoa

Cat_menu_Episode-18Dear readers, I’m finally back to following my own rules — working “three ingredients” into the serial episode, and treating you to recipes or videos, and some factual information along the way.

Ingredients for this episode are from my very talented friend Ishita.  To be fair — no, Ishita didn’t give us an unappetizing sounding ingredient like “fungus.”  She originally said Quorn, but I thought that was not invented during the timeline of our serial.  So after looking it up, I settled on fungus, which relates to Quorn.

With The Three Ingredients serial our story items are not always about recipe ingredients.  They may be utensils, preparation methods, or any food-related Quinua copything.  I’m going a step further in that direction with the gluten free “quinoa” (pronounced KEEN-wah) ingredient today and giving you an informative video.  However, I am not leaving you without a recipe this weekend, because Ishita recently blogged a delicious recipe, Quinoa, the Mexican Way! (Thank you, Ishita, for making this easier for me, by sharing your recipe.)

And now, I hope you’ll enjoy the Kooky ingredients of Episode-18.  Bon appétit!

18.  Fungus, Quiche, Quinoa

King of Clubs cardTime seemed to freeze.  I stood in a field of grass that swayed in a gentle breeze.  My head hurt and my stomach was upset.  I stared at the playing card Alastair Wong handed me.  How had it come to be in my pocket?  I felt like there was some significance to the King of Clubs card.  I delved my sluggish thoughts, but it was like swimming in mud.  I couldn’t remember what I should know about the card.  While I looked at it additional questions flooded my consciousness.  Why was I standing in the middle of a large herb garden?  Most of all, why had I been in a root cellar?

I wrapped my arms around myself, suddenly cold.  I noticed a tear in the sleeve of my dress and a scrape on my elbow.  Taking my fingers away from the spot I saw blood, dirt, and some kind of fungus.  Who knew what might grow in the darkness of a cellar.  The wound was dirty; it needed to be washed, I thought distractedly.

Then my exploring hands felt a gritty coating on my back and shoulders.  Alastair must have thought I was trying to dust myself off, but I was really just trying to figure out what had happened to me. Why couldn’t I remember?

He gently started to dust off my shoulders.  “Pip, you’re a mess,” he pretended to chide me.  I was sure he could tell I was distraught and wanted to lighten my mood.  “You have dirt on your face, and… what’s this all over your back?” the young owner of the local Chinese restaurant added.1920s Shanghai night

Alastair removed his hand from my shoulder and looked at his fingers.  His eyebrows knitted in a perplexed way.  I looked at the substance I felt on my own hands.  I sort of remembered landing on bags of something that broke my fall, like a cushion.  “Is it wheat or maybe some kind of seeds?” I muttered, still groggy.

“Fat hen!” he exclaimed.

“What did you call me?” I demanded, thinking my ears surely deceived me.

“No,” Alastair said. “Goosefoot.”

“That isn’t any better!” I cried.  How dare he?

“No, Pip.  I mean the grain.  Jeepers, what’s the real name—?  They call it fat hen, sometimes goosefoot…  Quinoa, that’s it! I haven’t seen much of this around here.  I think it’s quinoa.  That’s a high protein grain crop,” he said, showing off his knowledge of foodstuffs.  I was sure he was just as educated as any big restaurateur.

A sudden blast of sound startled me.  Alastair loudly blew a whistle.  Then he blew it two more times.  I covered my ears against the eardrum splitting noise.  Applesauce!  As if I didn’t already have a headache. You’d think he 1925 Judge Magcould have warned me.  Why did he blow a whistle in the first place?

I felt really woozy, and it must have showed.  Alastair stepped closer to me and took my elbow.  I didn’t realize until then that I stood dangerously close to the trapdoor type opening of that cellar. He guided me a few steps away from it, but his eyes narrowed suspiciously as he looked down.  Alastair bent to inspect the hatch.  It was covered with sod.  My mind was still muddled, but I realized the covering of dirt and grass explained why the door was so heavy and difficult when I shouldered it open.

“Somebody wanted to keep that cellar hidden,” Alastair said as he looked curiously into the dark maw of the vault.  “You don’t remember how you got here, huh?” he asked.

I shook my head then wished I had not moved it.

“Somebody must have pushed you into that cellar.  I’ll bet you landed on a bag of this quinoa,” he pondered looking at his dusty fingers.  “Then whomever it was closed the door and left you there.  Did you see anything else down there?”

“I felt bags of potatoes and rutabagas,” I replied.  “There was only a crack of light coming from the hatch.  I 1916 Vogue springmade out the shape of a ladder and used it to climb out.  I couldn’t see what else might be in there.”

The pink light that heralded sunset deepened.  The clouds turned orange and red in prediction of a fair night.  Alastair looked up expectantly toward the horizon.  He must have heard something I had not noticed, but then my ears were still ringing a bit.  A moment later I caught a faint shrill sound.  He smiled.

“We’ve been looking for you nearly all day, Pip,” Alastair told me, seeming amused at my puzzled expression.  “What in the devil were you doing out here?”

I confessed that I had no idea how I got there.  I couldn’t remember.  “Tofu,” I muttered.  “I remember something about tofu and Granny.”

He smiled at that and looked a little relieved.  “You had me worried.  I expect everything will come back to you,” Alastair told me as he led me away from the cellar.  “You were supposed to come to the restaurant to pick up some tofu.  Miss Fanny seemed intent on forcing it down her patient.”

Patient?  “Wha—?” I began, but my brain wouldn’t finish digging for the information.

Barrie Craig adventures“It’s okay, Pip.  Marshal Myrick?  The doctors Vale did surgery on him at their place?  After he was ambushed?  Do you remember any of that?  It sounds awfully exciting!  It’s okay,” he said in answer to my pleading look.  “It will come back to you.  Anyhow, when you didn’t show up I thought Miss Fanny’s Model-T must have broken down, so I headed out to meet you.  I got all the way to the Vales’ animal hospital and still hadn’t seen the car or you,” Alastair explained.

Applesauce!  Had something happened to Granny’s Model-T?  She’d kill me!

Alastair’s voice intruded on my panicked thoughts.  “Everybody was trying to guess where else you might have gone.  When you called, I remembered you saying something about cilantro, but you didn’t explain.  I figured if you had made a detour to get cilantro, then the Queen of Clubs Herb Farm was the only place that was between the Vale’s place and Wong’s.

“We found the Model-T hours ago, but we couldn’t find you anywhere.  The Wetson house and the buildings around it were deserted.  But I understand they’re linked to the ambush and the bootleggers somehow?” he said.1914_Ford_Model_T_Speedster

Slowly I nodded.  I wasn’t sure why, but what Alastair said seemed right.  I had a half-formed memory of something like that… I remembered being in the Model-T with Granny driving that cherished car like a bat out of hell.  Then I remembered all the blood at the scene of the ambush.  There were dead bodies.  I remembered that very clearly, even the coppery smell of the blood.  I turned away from Alastair and wretched, but there was nothing left in my stomach.  Thank goodness.

“Come on,” he said gently.  “My truck is right over here.  You can rest there.  The others will be here in a minute.”

“Others?” I asked groggily.

“Yeah.  That’s why I blew the whistle — to let them know I’d found you,” he said and motioned toward his truck.1920s delivery truck

Then I saw the truck, not too far away.  I thought I could walk that far.  The truck was painted with the name, Wong’s Chinese.  I noticed Alastair had added his new slogan below the restaurant name, “You’re always right with Wong’s,” and I thought it was strange that I could remember him telling me that silly slogan, but I couldn’t remember what had happened to me that day.  When we reached the truck I saw a crate of eggs in the back.  Half the eggs were broken.  I gave Alastair what must have been an odd look.

“I didn’t exactly drive carefully once we figured out something was wrong, that you’d gone missing,” he said and he blushed a little.  “When I said I was going to meet up with you, in case you’d broken down, Momma had me take some eggs.  She said Doctor Veronica likes to make quiche…  Then I forgot to give them to her.  I hit a lot 1920s woman scientist-microscopeof bumps on the way out here.  Not so good for eggs…  Maybe Doctor Ronnie can salvage some of them.”

He was saved from further explanation by the sound of yapping.  High pitched barking grew closer.  Something white bounded through the tall grass.  For a second I didn’t know what it was, but my mind started filling in blanks.  It was a little poodle.  Cotton, the name came to me; Veronica Vale’s dog.  Just as those thoughts fell into place the poodle pounced into my arms.

As the sky grew increasingly red with sunset, the field became more populated.  Veronica Vale puttered up in their slow moving jalopy.  She jumped out of the car and hugged me while I held the dog.  Cotton then struggled to get down.  “Cotton, you naughty girl,” Veronica chided the dog.  “You know you’re supposed to come when I call you.”  The dog only wagged her tail in answer, totally unrepentant.

Then a familiar automobile drove up, but I couldn’t say why I felt I knew it.  I recognized the car, but that was as far as memory would take me.

JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adVeronica noticed my odd expression when a tall attractive man with deep blue eyes got out of the car.  He had a severe expression on his face, and an official bearing that made me feel like a kid in trouble.  He looked angry and I reflexively drew back.

Mrs. Vale seemed to think she was explaining the man’s presence when she spoke.  “We made Hank stay behind with Moses.  Mind you it was a task, because he was already out the door to go looking for you before Alastair even finished saying that he didn’t see you on the road anywhere.  However, Hank really should be resting from that head wound, and we couldn’t leave the marshal alone.  So I made him stay behind to mind the patient.  But the rest of us have been searching high and low for you,” she said then paused and looked expectantly at my blank expression.  “Hank radioed Dabney.  He left off investigating the bootleggers and joined our search for you.”

Who was Hank? I wondered silently.  A kind face hovered in my mind.  I associated him with a uniform and a radio.  That’s it!  Hank was the youngest policeman on Savannah’s force, and he was a wizard with radio equipment.  But who was this angry looking man?

“I whistled to the others, when I heard your signal,” Veronica added with a nod to Alastair.  “Vincent and your grandmother should be here shortly.”

“I’m sorry,” I began, “but who is that?  He looks like a copper.”  I said that quietly so as not to offend the man who was only a few feet away by then.  He looked like he was already annoyed enough.

When I spoke, Veronica looked at me intently.  She stepped closer and got all doctor-like.  She checked my eyes and felt around on my head, despite me trying to push her hands away.  “Pip…” she said warningly, and I was reminded that, well she was a doctor.  She asked what was wrong.1920 Radio News

“She can’t remember anything that happened today,” Alastair supplied while I struggled to form the right words.  “And apparently there are some other things she can’t remember too,” he added with his voice dipping in a worried tone.

Doctor Vale looked suspiciously at me and felt my head again.  By then the man had walked over to us.  “You do have a little bump on your head, but…” she began, but her words trailed away.  “You know Dabney Daniels, don’t you?  The police detective?” she asked.

I said nothing, but I spared a timid glance at the detective.  He looked from Doctor Vale to me and back to her again.  His posture became stiffer, if that was possible.  His face reddened.  Was he angry with me, I wondered.  Had I done something I couldn’t remember?  Broken some law?  Surely not.

Then Veronica leaned toward me and sniffed.  The awful sickly sweet smell still clung to my hair.  Right then, I would have given just about anything to wash that odor out of my hair.  It nauseated me every time I breathed.

Her eyes grew large.  “You’ve been drugged, Pip!” she said with surprise.  “Do you remember anything?  Anything about somebody frightening you, or doing something to you?” she asked, but I shook my head.

The detective’s hands clinched to fists.  Veronica put her fingers to a smear on my face, and then smelled of her hand and nodded knowingly.  “Someone probably grabbed you from behind.  Do you remember anything like that?”Life October 1929

Suddenly I remembered the air whooshing from my lungs as someone roughly caught me around my middle.  Yes, they had been behind me and I had not seen who it was.  Then I remembered everything going black.

“Show him the card, Pip,” Alastair said somewhat hesitantly and motioned to the detective.

I was sort of relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt awkward around the man.  I couldn’t blame Alastair.  This detective was a fierce looking customer.  I took out the King of Clubs card and extended it toward the man without speaking.  Was I really supposed to be acquainted with this man?

“That card fell out of her pocket after she climbed out of the cellar,” Alastair supplied for me.

Ordinarily it would have annoyed me to have someone try and do the talking for me.  After all, I was a flapper — a modern woman!  However, Alastair simply picked up on how fuzzy my brain was and helped fill in while I was tongue-tied, so I was actually grateful.

The detective took the King of Clubs card from my hand.  His face turned from red to white, and then even redder than it was before.  A vein in his temple started to throb.  Reflexively I took a step backward.  That was one angry copper.  My stomach churned violently, and the unpleasant smell in my hair was inescapable.  The pain in my skull had grown from an ordinary headache to a horrible vice-grip that made me feel like it would explode.1920s-photoplay-new faces

“Pip,” the copper spoke my name as if he had used it many times.  “Do you understand what this means?  The most notorious gangster this side of the Mississippi River grabbed you, drugged you, and threw you down into a cellar!  Then he left his calling card in your pocket!  Was it a warning?  Or was it a bizarre clue? Or what?” he said in a demanding voice.

Flinching away from him I took another step backward.  How could I know the answers to those questions?  I felt my knees giving way.  The ground beneath my feet seemed to heave and spin, fit for the trapeze act my friend Mona was learning down in Sarasota, Florida.  Mona?  Yes, I suddenly remembered Mona and Andy, and Frankie.  Frankie who betrayed us all.

Then large black spots filled my vision.  I saw the tall detective take a big step toward me, just before the black spots crowded out all the orange light of sunset.  I felt him catch me with one arm and lift me up from the approaching ground.  Consciousness was escaping quickly, but I knew he sat me in Alastair’s truck.

***

Mavis adI awoke to something warm and wet against my face.  “Cotton, leave her alone.  Come here girl,” I heard Veronica tell the poodle.  Alastair Wong held me tightly.  I was still in the truck, but we were not in that field any more.  I recognized the lovely white house with a green roof.  We were at Veronica’s home.

“Don’t try to move yet, Pip,” Veronica instructed as she hurried from her old car.

I didn’t move, but that was mostly because I was so overwhelmed by all the different noises.  The put-put of Veronica’s engine, the louder sound of the truck, the yapping of Cotton.  A horse whinnied from the stable, and from inside the house I could hear a bird screech.  A parrot.  Cracker, I thought with a smile as another memory was retrieved.  Then I almost faded out of consciousness again.  I took a deep breath and focused on my breathing.

Alastair shut off the truck’s engine and that helped.  It seemed to remind Veronica that her car was still running and she rushed back to turn it off.  I felt safe and warm, tucked under Alastair’s shoulder with his arm around me.  He didn’t flinch and I had no wish to move.  However, as Veronica ran back to the truck I knew I couldn’t stay there.  I clawed my way toward a more alert state.Parrot in flight

A shutter banged against the wall and the parrot flew out of the building that housed the animal hospital.  That was also where we sat up a recovery room for the marshal after his surgery.  I was pleased that more bits of memory fell into place.

The clever bird could open anything when she set her mind to it.  She alighted on the back of the truck seat.  The parrot started preening strands of my hair as if it was feathers.  “Dainty dish,” the bird chirped as if she meant to comfort me. “Dainty dish, fourandtwenty.”

The roar of a mud-spattered motorcycle startled everyone and caused the parrot to flutter skyward.  I turned to see the man who rode it take off a goggled helmet.  To my surprise it was Vincent Vale.  I must have looked every bit as astonished as I felt because Veronica chuckled softly.

“Didn’t you know Vincent had a motorcycle?” she asked as the parrot settled back onto the truck’s open door.

1920s BSA Motorcycle ad“We were ready to search the four corners of the earth for you,” Alastair told me as he loosened his arm.  “And there weren’t enough cars to go everywhere Detective Daniels said we should look.”

“So Vincent rolled out his pride and joy,” Veronica said.  “It hasn’t touched a street in ages — let alone all that mud,” she added with a combination of a wince and a laugh.

Vincent got off the vehicle.  That’s when I saw that there was someone sitting behind the veterinarian on the motorcycle.  Boots, heavy trousers, and a leather helmet with goggles made for a smaller version of Vincent.  Gloved hands removed the helmet.  A cascade of hip-length gray hair tumbled from the helmet.

“Granny!” I cried incredulously.

***

Video:  Quinoa 101

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7uvygMiwfo

Photos are either from Pinterest or they have been purchased, unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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.

Three Ingredients – 14: Pinto Beans, Brown Rice, Tofu

I’m relatively new to the blogosphere (December 2012)  so I count myself very lucky to have all of you providing encouragement.  Several of you have been here from the beginning — even before I started doing the serialized stories.  Your comments and “likes” truly give me joy.  And I’m absolutely delighted when anyone comments with “ingredients” for the story.

Mike Fedison of “The Eye-Dancers” has been constant in the encouragement he provides through “likes” on this blog.  Mike is a truly talented writer. I’m very happy to say that he has given us the three ingredients for Episode-14. I think you’ll enjoy his blog and his young adult novel — I know I do!

Links for The Eye-Dancers

  • Amazon, please click here.
  • Barnes and Noble, please click here.

Without further ado, here is Episode-14.  Bon appétit!

Pinto Beans, Brown Rice, Tofu

Young Lucille Ball

Young Lucille Ball

Hank Hertz was acting very protective of me.  This annoyed me because I was sure he must be at least a year younger than me.  To make things even worse, I slipped on some damp grass as we crossed the lawn.  I was half way to the ground but he caught my elbow.  However, the sudden bend and twist movement, combined with his head wound made him dizzy.  I ended up catching the young policeman too, which mollified me somewhat.  Somehow we both managed to stand and continue across the grass to the foot path.

There were several buildings of varied shapes and sizes, all painted in crisp white.  Stepping stones made paths between them.  The white structures shone brightly in the sun against the green of the thick grass.  The residence of the doctors had neat green shutters on either side of a bay window and its roof was the same shade of green.  A number of trees dotted the property.  Spanish moss hung from branches here and there.

Movement above caught my eye.  I was hoping that it would be Cracker the parrot, but I realized that was silly of me.  Instead a gray heron glided effortlessly on broad wings to land at the pond behind the house.  I watched in silent awe of its grace.  A horse whinnied in the small “recovery” stable, bringing me out if the brief reverie.  I pointed Hank to a side door in the animal hospital building.  I knew the surgery room was on that end of the building from the time Veronica Vale had showed me her work areas and let me use a microscope.

The path led alongside the house, right by the kitchen window.  It was open just a crack, and an aroma tickled my nose.  I noticed a pot on the stove at a very low simmer.  Then I recognized the scent for pinto beans.  I had the quick thought that maybe I should check them for Veronica, but the beans would be all right at that low temperature for quite some time.  Veronica had probably put the beans on to cook just before Detective Daniels showed up on her doorstep with the badly wounded Marshal Myrick.  So I kept walking to the long one-story building.Vales House

Vincent’s old jalopy was parked beside the house.  The door was left open and a box of dry goods was on the seat.  I noticed a bag of brown rice on the top of the stack.  I guessed they were planning to have beans and rice for supper.  Vincent must have just gotten back from a grocery run and was unloading the car when Dabney arrived.

1920s Cosmo FebLooking at the evidence of daily life that had been interrupted and virtually abandoned gave me a surreal feeling.  It was as if everything had been frozen in time.  I hesitated briefly with my hand on the doorknob.  My thoughts were in a jumble.  How close was Granny Fanny to the injured marshal?  There was clearly more of a history between them than I had ever known.  If Moses Myrick… if he didn’t make it, how badly would Granny be hurt?  I didn’t know how to deal with the prospect of my grandmother grieving.

Hank asked if I was okay.  I glanced up at him.  A dot of blood had seeped through the bandage Granny put on the place where the bullet grazed the side of his head.  It amazed me that he hadn’t realized he was hurt.  But I had heard that kind of thing could happen in an emergency or during disasters like hurricanes.  What if Dabney Daniels had been injured too and nobody knew it until it was too late?  I felt a little guilty about it, but I was as worried about the fact that the detective might be hurt as I was about the obviously critically wounded marshal.

I didn’t realize I had dropped my hand from the brass doorknob.  Hank took off his hat as he opened the door for me.  doorknobThen he courteously took my elbow as we walked over the threshold.  I was immediately met by the clean astringent odor; the hospital smell.  Then I saw Dabney at the other end of the room, pacing.  I breathed a sigh of relief that he was standing, but he was awfully pale.

The detective motioned to a table when he saw us.  His suit jacket was draped over the back of a ladder-back chair.  There was a tear at the shoulder.  With a gasp I realized it was made by a bullet.  “Are you hurt?” I exclaimed.

As he walked to the table he shook his head negatively, buy didn’t speak.  His silence was in no way reassuring, but at least he didn’t seem injured.  I started to hug him, but caught myself.  I had been so worried about him, but at that moment he barely seemed to know I was there.  I had become fond of the detective.  He wasn’t all that much older than me, and he was interesting in his own taciturn way.  Or at least I found him so.  I also JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adthought he was rather dashing.  I know it was silly of me, but it stung when he didn’t react to me at all.  Maybe the emotional attachment had been completely one-sided.  I swallowed and looked away, feeling foolish.

He exchanged a few words with Hank Hertz about the crime scene.  Then he motioned for us to sit down.  A decanter of coffee steamed when he opened it.  Half a dozen cups and saucers were carefully stacked beside the carafe and neat containers of cream and sugar.  I suddenly felt a little awkward, so I made the first stupid comment that occurred to me.  “Expecting company?” I asked.

Dabney made a rueful face.  “I made coffee.  I tried to help the docs, but I was just getting in the way.”  Then his mouth twisted down at one side.  “And I was getting downright queasy.  Miss Fanny sent me out five minutes after she got here,” he said in a tone that suggested he was disgusted with himself.

“Pip,” he said shaking his head.  “I’ve always known your grandmother is a force of nature.  But she continues to amaze me.  Miss Fanny walked into that surgery room, with all that blood.  Then she went right to work helping the docs dig out bullets and handing them their surgical instruments.  She never even flinched, even though she looked right at what they were doing.  I managed to help some before she got here, but even I couldn’t look directly at what they were doing.”

Hours later Vincent Vale came out of the double doors that led to the operating room.  He looked positively 1920s Man Makes Coffeehaggard.  Dabney was quick to pour him a cup of coffee.  I knew the detective was trying to make up for feeling like he wasn’t useful enough.  “How is he, Doc?” Dabney asked.

The veterinarian let out a whoosh of breath, and took a grateful sip of coffee before answering.  He slumped into a chair and stretched his legs out in front of him as if he didn’t have the strength left to sit up straight.  “Only time can tell, Detective.  I’ve never seen a man shot up like that.  Not like that…  But Veronica has healed worse,” Vincent said of his wife who was an MD, not a veterinarian like him.

Abruptly Vincent noticed the bandage around Hank’s head.  The spot of blood had gotten larger.  He immediately got up and went to work, checking out the young officer.  “That’s quite a nice field dressing,” he commented as he removed the bandage.

Dabney grumbled something unintelligible.  Vincent turned to him with a steady gaze.  “You need to know that you made the difference, getting him here so fast.  If you had tried to get him into town he would never have made it.  If he survives, it will be every bit as much because of you as anything Veronica and I have done,” Vincent said in a tone that brooked no argument.

“Young man, this needs some stiches.  Come with me,” he said to Hank and rose purposefully from his chair.

1920s Halls Coffee“Veronica is finishing now,” Vincent told us.  “Maybe I’m biased as her husband, but I’ve never seen such beautifully done work.  Mrs. Peabody makes an extraordinary nurse too.  I wonder if she’s had formal experience,” he added, but his words trailed off in that preoccupied way that he had.  He took another drink of coffee and made an approving sound.  “It’s far too early to predict whether Mr. Myrick will recover, but I can’t help thinking that he will.”  Then the veterinarian looked sheepish.  “I apologize.  I shouldn’t say that in this circumstance.  It was unprofessional of me.  I suppose I’m just tired,” he said as he led Hank to an examination room.

I was still feeling awkward around Dabney after the epiphany that whatever I had been feeling for him probably wasn’t being returned.  I walked to the house to check on the beans that had been left simmering on the stove.  They seemed about done, so I turned off the burner.  Then I unloaded the box dry goods from Vincent’s car.  I tidied the kitchen even though it didn’t need it.  With a sigh I resigned myself.  There was nothing for it — I had to go back and sit with Dabney and Hank no matter how uncomfortable I felt.1920s Vogue red hat

A little while later the double doors pushed open again.  Doctor Veronica and Granny Fanny walked together.  They were in the middle of a conversation.  The doctor spoke to Granny.  “I spent a year in Hong Kong on an exchange program.  I studied Chinese medicine as much as time allowed, but there was so very much to learn.  I fear I only scratched the surface,” she told my grandmother.  “However, it should help reduce any inflammation.  It would be generally good for him, and actually an easy food for his recovery period,” she added.

Naturally I wondered what “it” was.  Granny nodded emphatically.  “I’ll call-up Arabella Wong.  They keep tofu for their restaurant.  I’ll ask her to fix plenty of it and have Pip fetch it.  That dang fool man…  He eats beef at least twice a day.  He doesn’t eat ‘meat and potatoes’ he eats meat and meat! I know it can’t be good for him.  He needs to have more than just meat,” Granny said and wiped the corner of her eye.

The next thing I knew she was crying.  I completely forgot about my confused feelings for the detective and the distress it had caused me a moment before.  I had never seen Granny cry, and I was beside myself.  I rushed to where she stood.  Dabney was there even faster; his long legs took him to her side in two steps.  A man_ray_tearsmoment later she tried to make as if nothing had happened, saying that she was just a silly woman.  Everyone knew that was far from the truth and said so in chorus.

“It’s just been a lot to bear,” she murmured, and I knew she meant watching and assisting during an operation performed on someone for whom she obviously cared deeply.

“Vincent,” Veronica Vale began, but paused with a sidelong look at the detective.  “Would you please get Fanny something… medicinal?  Something from the crystal decanter?  She needs a little something to strengthen her nerves,” she said and her husband nodded knowingly.

At Veronica’s instruction, the two policemen began rearranging an examining room so it could be a recovery room.  In no time they had dismantled and reassembled a bed, moved out a cabinet, and brought in several things the doctor said would be necessary.

1920s Royal bakingMeanwhile I took over supper preparations.  I didn’t have much confidence in my cooking yet, and I was in a strange kitchen.  I even felt odd about going through someone else’s pantry.  So I decided to work with what they apparently had in mind before their day was interrupted.  I gave the pinto beans another quick check, and then went about cooking the rice and an iron skillet of cornbread.  I spotted some okra so I saved some of the cornbread batter, dipped the okra in it and fried it.

While I cooked I thought about what Granny said to Veronica about tofu.  I wondered if she would make me learn to cook it.  I had no idea where to even begin.  I wasn’t sure if I had ever eaten tofu before.  It couldn’t be any harder than fried okra, I told myself.  I smiled when I looked at the golden brown pods.  They seemed to sparkle as I placed them on a towel to blot the oil.  For once I had gotten it right.

However, I could just imagine Pops complaining that there was no meat — it didn’t matter to Pops that beans and rice together were supposed to be a complete protein.  Pops always had to have meat or it wasn’t a meal.  So I wondered if Dabney and Hank might feel the same way.  Well, I told myself, I was doing the best I could with what I had.  Or at least with what I could find.  Then I found a Mason jar of chow-chow in the pantry.  The relish would go nicely with the beans.  That would have to do for a finishing touch.

Sure, I had cooked for Pops and me, and Granny had me make a number of meals in the time I had been staying with her.  However, this was the first time I had prepared a meal someone I didn’t know well, let alone for a group of people.  I checked every dish one last time.  Then I took a deep breath and went to let everyone know that supper was ready.

Vale windowI found Granny sitting on a chair beside Moses Myrick’s bed.  She looked so tired and small.  I thought I heard a little tap sound, but I had too many things on my mind to think about it.  Worry for Granny went to the top of that list.  I tried to convince her to go with the others and have something to eat.  No matter how faithfully I promised to sit with the marshal, she wasn’t going to budge.

There it was again.  That time the sound pushed through my troubled thoughts. It was like a tiny tap at the window, like the sound a pebble makes.

I walked to the window and pushed aside the white cotton curtain, but I didn’t see anything.  Then I noticed a smear on the otherwise clean windowpane.  I pushed the lever handle and the window swung into the room.  Before I could lean out to have a better look something grazed past my face.  I drew back and put my hand to my mouth to muffle a shriek of surprise.  Then I became aware of the bright color that went past me in a blur.1920s Peoples home journal girl parrot

Cracker alighted on the headboard of the marshal’s bed.  The parrot cooed softly and paced the length of the metal bedrail once.  Then to my utter astonishment the bird swooped to Granny’s shoulder and cuddled under her ear.

***

Clam and Tofu Soup

Clam-Tofu Soup

Recipe and photo credit: Judy Xu, “In Balance with Nature”

Ingredients:

Regular clams (Meretrix lusoria) 250g, Tofu 200g, Ginger 10g, Salt 3g, Pepper powder 2g

Method:

  • Wash the clams
  • Wash the tofu and slice the tofu into thick slices
  • Wash the ginger, cut into long thin strips
  • Add water into a pot and bring it to boil
  • Add clams, tofu, and ginger and boil them all together in the water for around 5 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper

The author of the recipe states certain Chinese medicine benefits.  Naturally I am not making any medical claim; rather I am just sharing what was included with the recipe.

Gentle reminder:  Don’t eat clams alongside river snails, orange and celery

Chinese Medicine Benefits:

The soup replenishes the Yin, improves vision, and softens and removes phlegm. Good for people of Dry Fire or Heavy & Humid Body Constitution.

***

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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.

Three Ingredients – 11: Garlic, Crepes, Soufflé

rumi-workToday I’m suspending my self-imposed rules.  What rules?  Well, I promised myself that this blog would always be limited to writing related things. Next I’ve made it a general practice to use the “ingredients” in the order they are received.

This time I’m moving up the ingredients from Judith in California, aka Firecook, which were due for Episode -12.  Why? Because I had a Thursday that was straight out of… Hades. I had one career-related disappointment after another. I got knocked down first thing Thursday morning.  Before I could stand upright, something else knocked me down again.  And again.  And again!  All in one stinkin’ day.Episode 11 Victorian menu

What has that to do with my fellow blogger? I’m getting ahold of my metaphorical bootstraps by highlighting Judith’s own career challenge. The culinary arts are in her heart and she needs tips, insights, and information that will help her land an intermediate-level chef position — in a small town.  No matter one’s skills, finding a good job that lets you do the work of your heart in a small town is a huge challenge.  So please, if you have any tips, go to Judith’s blog, Culinaryspirit and leave a comment there if you have any ideas or encouragement for the Firecook.

As episode-related treats, I’m giving you a video on making garlic paste, and a simple recipe for shrimp scampi!  Judith supplied the ingredients this time.  Without further ado, here is Episode-11.   Bon appétit!

11.  Garlic, Crepes, Soufflé

1928 green kitchen adWe finished peeling shrimp to make scampi for supper.  My grandmother left the table where we sat and had me move to the counter with her.  I watched in fascination as Granny quickly chopped a clove of garlic.  She told me you could make garlic paste using just a knife and a bit of salt.  If anyone else had told me that I would have thought they were off their nuts.  But she proceeded to use the knife to rub the garlic bits into a perfect paste.

She sent me to the parlor to find the notes she had made about her latest culinary experiment, which was in the oven.  Granny fretted over the new “foreign” dish as if worry was an essential ingredient.  I looked everywhere without finding the notepaper.  So I started looking through the stack of cooking and travel books, thinking she might have left her notes in a book.  The minute I picked up a volume about France, with a beautiful illustration of crepes, I became distracted.  I wasn’t paying attention to anything else because I was so involved in the pictures in the travel books.  But I was still looking for her notes.  Honest.

The first indication I had that something was wrong was the sounds of dogs howling.  In the distance to the east,1921 July Life Dog two of them started howling.  It was so far away that I barely noticed.  Then somewhere south of Granny’s cottage another one added his canine croon.  I still wasn’t really paying attention until Cracker the parrot chirped “Hush puppy.  Hush puppy!” and paced on her perch looking very agitated.

I looked out the parlor window when the neighbor’s blood hound added a loud bellow to that unpleasant wailing.  A moment later I saw the source of the dogs’ discomfort as first one, then three police cars rushed past, sirens blaring.  It gave me goose bumps.

My little town outside Santa Rosa Sound, Florida was a world away from the larger city of Savannah, Georgia.  I wasn’t used to sirens and police cars running pell-mell down the streets.  One car backfired right in front of the cottage.  An unexpectedly vivid oath wafted from the kitchen along with a glorious aroma.  “Granny is everything okay?” I called.

“All that racket’s going to ruin my soufflé!” my grandmother said in a strangled exclamation.

1929 Mentor-aprilI grinned at her remark despite the unease I felt because of the unaccustomed sound of sirens.  Granny was experimenting with a number of dishes she described as “fancy cooking.”  That was mostly because of a big reception she was going to cater.  And it had turned out she was doing that as a favor to Marshal Moses Myrick, a revenuer of some renown.  He planned to use Granny’s catering as a way to sneak his men into the party.  The whole thing was a sting to catch a mobster.  Cracker’s late owner, Cracker Jack Daddy, had also been involved with the mobster.  We still didn’t know all the details of his demise, but there were obviously dangerous characters on the loose in Savannah.

Then an unmarked but familiar car screeched to a stop right outside.  The car door slammed as Detective Dabney Daniels got out and ran to the house.  His long legs covered the distance in a few strides.  The door crashed open — he didn’t even knock!

Granny Fanny started cursing fit to make a sailor blush.  I put my hand to my mouth, but it did no good.  I started laughing because I’d never expected such language from any older woman, and especially not my grandmother.  The soufflé fell.

My grandmother strode angrily to the front of the house.  I thought about hiding behind the settee, but decided 1929 Detective Novel MagDabney might need protection from Granny.  She and I saw the detective at the same moment.  She stopped her rant, and I sobered from my chuckles.  I had never seen such an expression on anyone’s face.  I thought my heart had stopped.

“Both of you stay here,” he demanded, pointing downward with emphasis.  “Close the curtains and stay away from the windows.  Do not open the doors for anybody!  I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he said and turned back toward the front door before the last syllable had left his lips.

“Dabney, what’s wrong?” Granny insisted, but the look in her wide eyes suggested that she already knew.  A woman’s intuition for unfortunate happenings was reflected in her eyes.

Daniels turned back toward her.  “Moses Myrick and two of his men were ambushed,” he said flatly, and then he looked guilty when he saw the pain in Granny’s eyes.

She was suddenly pale.  I grabbed her arm, wondering if she was about to faint.  Granny locked her knees and stood stiffly as if the floor was moving under her feet, but she didn’t falter.

“Is he…” she began, but swallowed hard and didn’t finish the question.

JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adDabney belatedly removed his hat and crushed it in his large hand, not realizing what he did as he held the fedora.  “Miss Fanny… We don’t know.  He radioed for assistance, but his transmission cut off.  They were severely outnumbered.  The dispatcher lost count of the number of gunshots he heard in the background, there were so many,” the young detective said and looked down at the floor.

I knew he didn’t mean to be cruel with the words, because he and Granny were close before I ever came to stay with her.  Dabney often helped her with things around the house.  But she clearly had an old, long lasting relationship or friendship with the marshal that she had never discussed with me.

“We have to do something,” Granny stated with determination.

“Now see here!” Dabney exclaimed.  “That’s exactly what I was worried about.  You both need to stay here.  Miss Fanny, you at least must realize that you need to keep Pip out of harm’s way.”

“Excuse me!” I cried.  “Now you just wait a minute!” I meant to continue but their chaotic conversation ran right over me.

When Granny paused for breath, Dabney took her hand, making her look up at him.  “You told me once about a Barrie Craig adventurescut-through that you took out to the Vale place.  Myrick was headed that way, but not quite as far out.  Can you tell me about it?  I don’t think the others have any hope of getting there fast enough.”

“Dabney you don’t mean to try to… to cut ‘em off at the pass, so to speak — surely?” Granny said fearfully.  “Not alone!”

“No ma’am.  I don’t have any hope of that,” he told her in a regretful voice.  Then he gulped like he was about to say something he’d rather not tell her.  “Moses is probably injured.  I just hope to get there, and get him to a hospital before he bleeds to death.”

Granny gasped.  Holy Hannah, what a way with words!  I could have socked Dabney for his complete lack of tact.  However, Granny recovered herself right away.  She was one tough old bird — you’d think she and the parrot would get along better.

“Well if that’s the case, don’t try to get him to a hospital.  Take the cut-through and then go straight to Doc Vale’s,” Granny said firmly.

“But he’s an animal doctor!” the detective objected.

1920s woman scientist-microscope“Vincent isn’t the only doctor there.  Veronica Vale is a finer surgeon than any hospital doctor anywhere in this part of the country,” Granny reminded him, and then she made sure he knew the quickest combination of back roads and deer trails to use.

I started to run out the door on Dabney’s heels, figuring he wouldn’t have time to stop me.  I wasn’t about to let him run off alone, without anyone to help him, to face what he was up against.  But Granny Fanny was quicker and a lot stronger than I knew!  Her hand shot out like lightning and she grabbed my arm in a fierce grip.  Then for good measure she used her foot to trip me before I could get out the door.  By the time I got to my feet, Dabney’s car was out of sight.

After Detective Dabney Daniels left I couldn’t stop thinking of horrible possibilities… for Marshal Moses Myrick and his men.  And what if Dabney actually did run right into the men who ambushed the marshal?  He would be completely alone.

Granny and I sat in the parlor, listening to the clock tick.  Cinnamon Bun, the huge rabbit thumped quietly into the room and sat at Granny’s feet.  She stroked his soft fur absently.  Cracker paced, remarkably silent on her perch.  We all waited.1925 Model-T ad

We waited for all of five minutes.  Then Granny couldn’t take it anymore.  She calmly got up and motioned for me to come with her.  Then we got into her cherished Model-T, with the brightly painted yellow spokes at the wheels.  And she calmly drove us to her shortcut to the home and animal hospital operated by the doctors Vale.

***

Video:  Knife Skills – How to Make Garlic Paste

Classic Shrimp Scampi

Recipe credit: EveryDay with Rachael Ray

Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients

6  tablespoons  butter

3   cloves garlic, mashed

1 1/2   pounds  medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

salt

1 1/2  tablespoons  minced parsley

Directions

Heat 2 tbsp. butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes.  Add shrimp and 1/2 tsp. salt; cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining butter and parsley.

***

The Three Ingredients Serial: Copyright © 2013

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

No part of this writing, blog, or book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.