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.   🙂

Three Things: 28 – Sublime, Dragon, Funds

BBCA Doctor Who 50th AnniversaryToday is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.   As a long time “whovian” I had to give a nod to the television show, because it is sublime.  If any of you are not familiar with this phenomenon, it is a BBC science fiction television series about a “time lord,” known as The Doctor.  He travels in what looks like a blue police box called the TARDIS.  The sound this time machine makes reminds me of a dragon coughing.  Apparently in the early days the series didn’t have a lot of funds for special effects.  However, I loved the old campy episodes with their low budget special effects.

“Doctor Who?” you might ask.  My favorite Doctor has always been the fourth incarnation, Tom Baker.   The late Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor, is dear to me as well.  If you like vintage fashions from the early 1970’s you should take a look at some of those episodes.

If you need a refresher of where our 1920’s serial left off, go to the Three Things Serial page.  So today I give you three things supplied by Provincial Lady that I have just taken the liberty of turning into…

Three Doctor Who Things

28. Sublime, Dragon, Funds

Boris leaned on Andy heavily as they boarded the yacht.  As they got closer I noticed cuts and bruises on the faces of both men.  Poor Mona looked like she didn’t know which way to turn.  She was as conflicted as ever over the two men.  She fluttered between them, trying to help both.  Mr. Ringling sent for a doctor.

Countess Babikov sat back down looking like she was still a bit dizzy.  I picked up the blanket Ringling had brought earlier and tucked it around her lap.  Everything on the yacht was luxurious, even the blanket.  It was soft to the touch and embroidered with a Chinese dragon.  A thought suddenly popped into my mind — the bent key.  It had some kind of design engraved on it, but it was distorted by the damage to the key.  Could it have been a dragon?

The expression in Countess Bepa’s eyes was sublime as she looked at her grandson.  Something seemed to have been settled between them just with that eye contact.  She was gracious, despite her own injuries and calmly asked for introductions.  By then all the Fabro boys were onboard as well.

“Pip dear, who are these fine young men?” she asked and I supplied all the “F” names of the Fabro brood.

They were all polite, even Andy.  Our poor little Astronaute man, who was so sweet on Mona watched sadly as Mona tended a cut over the Russian’s eye.  However, when I introduced him to John Ringling, his face lit up.  I gave a glowing description of the science fiction stories Andy liked to write.  The next thing I knew, Andy boldly pitched an idea to the circus magnate.  I was stunned, because I had never heard of anything like what he described.

“It’s a kind of advertisement, Mr. Ringling.  A very short film clip… of course staring Mona,” Andy said with a glance at the brunette and a blush.  “It could be shown just before a film.  Imagine this if you will…  A young woman sits on a swing, day dreaming of performing on the trapeze at the circus.  Then the film segues through a fog, and then shows a brief clip of one of your trapeze acts.”

I was fascinated by the idea.  Everyone had gotten quiet. Ca d Zan-1

Andy offered a bit of encouragement.  “The funds required to produce it would be minimal.”

The circus millionaire gave Andy a blank look and I was half afraid he might throw Andy off the yacht.  But then he tilted his head to one side, looked from Andy to Mona and pursed his lips as he studied the two.

“Oh, why not,” said Ringling.  “Now that I have Bepa and Boris both safely onboard I’m ready to go back to Ca’ d’Zan.  You could come with me and we’ll film this advertisement there,” he said.  Then he spread his arms wide and added, “All of you could come.  There’s plenty of room.”

You should have seen the look on Andy’s face!

Three Things Serial: 15 – Tattered Quilt, Memory Squares, Quilting Bee

St. Joseph Sanitarium, Albuquerque, NM; 1920's

St. Joseph Sanitarium, Albuquerque, NM; 1920’s

Finally I’m posting another episode of our 1920’s serial.  These three things come from the most “crafty” lady I know — Joye in Albuquerque.

Since I didn’t do a mid-week post, you might need to refresh your memory of the serial.  You can read all the episodes at the Three Things Serial page.

Pip finds interesting things before the group even gets to the gate of the big shindig.  Read on as the mystery deepens…

Tattered Quilt, Memory Squares, Quilting Bee

Flavio bent closer to inspect the bullet hole, which was in the crease where the fender met the body of the car.  “I’m amazed that you spotted it,” he told me.

Frankie looked around uneasily.  One of the chauffeurs stopped his idle polishing of the limousine he drove and looked our way.  “We should get going,” the fireman said, with a significant nod in the guy’s direction.

He took my arm, but I pulled back.  What was that inside the car?  I sighed.  That chauffer was still looking at us.  “Mona, be a doll and distract that mug for a minute, will ya?  Ask him for something for Pear to eat.”

The movie star wriggled over to the first driver, and within seconds the other two were clustered around Mona and the tin lunch pail that housed the little hedgehog.  Flavio looked on with a hint of a green monster lighting his eyes.  I barely controlled the urge to tease him about being jealous.  The chauffeurs seemed to have completely forgotten about the rest of us.

I stealthily opened the car door and pulled out a piece of fabric.  I had to give it a good yank, as it was caught on some metal under the seat.  Then I eased the door closed again.  “What is it?” the Fabro cousins asked in unison.Vintage Quilt ad

“A tattered quilt,” I began.  “Or rather a torn off piece of one.  I think this is part of a memory square.”

Cotton batting clung to the bit of fabric.  I turned it over and saw part of an embroidered word was cut off at the tear.  It must have been a name.  I looked past the swirly print design and at the white muslin below it.  Frankie touched the print.  “Hey!  It’s Paisley, like you,” he kidded me about my given name.

I turned the bit of quilt this way and that to make out the stitched word.  “B-o-r… could that be part of the letter ‘I’ maybe?” I wondered aloud.  “Holy Hannah!  Boris!”

A reddish brown stain marred the white muslin, covered more embroidery.  The spot was caked and stiff.  Holding it close to my nose I detected a coppery odor.  Blood.

Frankie bent closer to have a look.  “That ain’t from the average quilting bee.”