Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 4 (2016 Rerun Conclusion)

Atonement bookshelf

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

     Welcome, one and all — to this re-run of last year’s Get Caught Reading mini-series.  Without further ado, here’s the conclusion!

***

It’s been fun participating in Get Caught Reading Month.  I hope my zany and bizarre story encouraged people of all ages to read.  Last week my real-world schedule caused me to put blogging on the shelf.  But look what grand company I had, thanks to Chris Graham!  

When we left our heroes…

As many of you know, a few elite bloggers (and their pets) banded together with one quest — catch the Story Reading Ape reading.  During the first chapter, I found a shimmering airship outside my window.  The pilot looked suspiciously like Cornelis Drebbel.  Before I knew it, I was in Time Square beginning a chase to “catch” the Story Reading Ape in the act of reading.

In Chapter 2  Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen and I met a number of author-bloggers (and their pets) who joined the quest to catch the illusive Ape. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel , Christoph Fischer, John W. Howell, and blogger Dan Antion.

Then last time a new duo was added to the intrepid band of bloggers –  Hugh Roberts and adorable Toby.  But to the astonishment of our intrepid band, everyone became anime characters when Cornelis Drebbel’s alchemy went wrong.  Now for the conclusion of The Sign of the Ape.

Sign of the Ape 4

Ape London Atonement

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

Toby barked frantically at the pavement and scratched at it with his little paws.  Doubtless, the dog could hear  John W. Howell, Dan Antion, and their pets in the tunnel beneath the street.  Finally, Hugh couldn’t take seeing the Corgi so upset. He jumped back onto the big construction loader and started digging a hole in the road — much to the dismay of the drivers in the area.

Annette Abens Cats

My phone buzzed at me.  When I answered, I was greeted with a loud chorus of meowing from  Annette Rochelle Aben’s cats.  I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.  And yes, that did remind me of the fuzzy ears and long tail that came with the anime version of me.  I shot Cornelis Drebbel a nasty look and muttered that I’d get him for it.  Then a second call got patched onto the meow-wow.  The four naughty chimps  translated for Annette’s kitties via text message.

“You’ve got to figure out how to get to London. The Story Reading Ape is there.  He left Tokyo before your airship even touched down!” came the message from the chimps.

London?  Well the chimps should know.  They were tight with the Ape.  But London?  I hadn’t figured out how to stop being an anime yet!  How could I possibly get to London?  I sure couldn’t go as an anime — and especially not in that horrid schoolgirl uniform!

Although I was rather shocked that  Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  and Suzanne DeBrango  seemed to take their cartoon situation in stride.  Their dogs, Kasha and Percy, didn’t seem to think it was worth barking about.  Maybe I would feel differently if I were a beautiful goddess or a cute giant-robot-driving future girl, I thought.  I steamed and stewed… I’d never forgive Cornelis for putting me in such an outfit.

Toby reading Hugh

Toby caught reading

Toby gave an excited yip and Hugh turned off the loader.  Once again I heard that crazy, funky guitar music of the original James Bond theme.  Then a sports car roared up through the big hole dug by the construction loader.

Atonement Hot Rod

Thanks again Chris!

John W. Howell  and Dan Antion, along with dogs Lucy and Maddie, and MiMi the tuxedo cat were in the sports car.  Oddly I could have sworn I saw the Boxer, Lucy driving the car.  But who am I to say that was strange. After all, I was an anime schoolgirl with cat ears and a tail…

Lucy close up_John

Lucy, who owns John W. Howell

I could see Dan wave from the back seat that everyone in the car was okay.  John leaned out of the passenger window.  He had a weird looking guitar.  I asked where he got it.

maddie_26502383972_o

Maddie who owns Dan Antion

 

MiMi reading_Dan

MiMi caught reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A strange taxi driver with bushy eyebrows gave this guitar to me,” John told me.  “But no matter what notes I strum, it will only play that James Bond theme,” he added and played the chorus to demonstrate.

However, the music abruptly changed to the Goldfinger theme.  Glittering clouds of golden dust formed in the sky.  John put down the guitar, but it continued to play.  The golden dust settled on everyone (and every pet) who had become anime.

I felt my stomach expand and contract like the beginning of a very unfortunate gastritis attack.  The most embarrassingly loud belch escaped my lips.  However, everyone else produced similar burps, so I was a little less mortified.  We were anime no longer, but the dratted costumes remained.  I muttered a new curse to Cornelis Drebbel about my uniform.

“Thank heavens you’re a redhead again,” John Howell commented.  “The raven locks were nice, but it just wasn’t right.”Animated Teagan book

Then with sharp popping sounds, one by one, my friends began to disappear. Frightened beyond reason, I screamed at the alchemist for an explanation.

“My dear, do calm down,” he said in that droll voice.  “Everyone is perfectly safe.  I sent each of them directly to their homes,” the alchemist explained as I stammered and tried to ask why.  “Darling, remember it is Get Caught Reading Month.  May is almost over!  How can they read anything if they are trotting around the globe with you?  And you still haven’t finished “The Sign of the Four” for that matter,” he told me, adding a tsk-tsk sound for good measure.

Cornelis took my hand and suddenly we were inside the giant robot.  “I’ve always wanted to pilot one of these,” he confessed with a giggle.  “Next stop, London!”

As Cornelis flew the alchemically powered robot, I wandered, exploring the many nooks and crannies.  It was more spacious than I expected.  The sound of deeply pitched chuckling caused me to stop in my tracks.  I strained to hear.  It seemed to be only one voice, like someone talking on the phone.  Ever so carefully I moved closer.Naughty Chimps

“You four truly are naughty,” the voice rumbled.  “Sending all those bloggers on such a wild goose chase.  Although I must admit, a free ride back to London in a magical giant robot is a memorable adventure.  I will see you naughty rascals when I get home, but for now I have reading to catch up on.  I think Gwydion may have just gone too far for Ralda to forgive him.  I really must see what happens next in Atonement, Tennessee

With a silent gasp I realized the Story Reading Ape was hiding right under my nose!  I removed my cell phone from my skirt pocket and switched on the camera.  I crept around the corner… Gotcha!

Ape Caught with phone

As I checked the image, the spoils of my victory, my long tail swished in a self-satisfied rhythm.  

…Tail?  I looked behind myself.  The tail was still there…

“Cornelis Drebbel!”  I yelled.

Here ends The Sign of the Ape.

***********************

Thanks to all of you for tuning-in for this zany chase.  I’m glad you were “caught reading” here at Teagan’s Books.  As you know, this is a workday, so I might be delayed in answering comments.

Special thanks to all the bloggers who participated in this madcap adventure — and to their pets as well!

 

GCR pets

The Sign of the Ape, furry family cast

Row 1:  Percy, Crystal, Lucy, Kasha

Row 2:  Claudius, Oh Kitty, and Sweeney, and Toby

Row 3:  Wilma, Greta, Maddie, MiMi

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Special mention to Christopher Graham for the marvelous “Atonement, Tennessee” images.

Get Caught Reading — The Sign of the Ape 3 (2016 Rerun)

 

Crystal Reading Atonement

Crystal pointing to a clue

Hello everyone.  Welcome back to my rerun of last year’s mini-series, in support of Get Caught Reading Month.  It’s about the escapades of our intrepid band of bloggers and their pets.  Who could resist those fur babies?  

If you were here last year, I’m delighted that you’ve stuck with me.  If this is new to you, then hang onto your hats, because it’s a wild ride!  I hope you’ll visit the bloggers included in this post.  Now for the rerun.  Enjoy!

***

Wow! May is nearly half over already.  However, it’s still  Get Caught Reading Month.  Welcome back to the zany and bizarre story I’ve been writing to encourage people of all ages to read.  As many of you know, a few elite bloggers (and their pets) banded together with one quest — catch the Story Reading Ape reading.

When we left our heroes…

During the first chapter, I found a shimmering airship outside my window.  The pilot looked suspiciously like Cornelis Drebbel.  Before I knew it, I was in Time Square beginning a chase to “catch” the Story Reading Ape reading.

Last time  Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen and I met a number of author-bloggers (and their pets) who joined the quest to catch the illusive Ape. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  (Cowboy Boss and His Destiny), Christoph Fischer (The Gamblers.), John W. Howell (John J. Cannon Trilogy,) and blogger Dan Antion.

This time a new duo gets added to the intrepid band of bloggers –  Hugh Roberts and Toby.  Now, let’s join our adventuring bloggers.

Sign of the Ape 3

Ape in Tokyo

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

I couldn’t see anything when I looked out the portholes of the dirigible.  No, I don’t mean that it was nighttime.  There was nothing to see, just flat blackness.  I supposed it was just as well.  The airship was traveling outside the laws of nature with the alchemist, Cornelis Drebbel, at the helm.

That gave me a very unsettling feeling.  However, the steady whir of the engines was comforting.  The sound was almost hypnotic.  I wondered aloud how long it would take us to get from New York to Tokyo, even with the magic Cornelis used.Kasha reading

“I don’t feel very well,” Mary J. McCoy-Dressel  murmured, and her fur baby, Kasha, put her head on Mary’s knee.

“Air sickness, Mary?” Suzanne DeBrango asked the author in a concerned voice, but Percy the Pug barked a decisive yip.

Tilting my head, I studied the little dog.  It seemed like he sensed something, but we humans were not picking up on it.

Suzanne made a face.  “Now that you mention it, I don’t feel quite right either.  Maybe it was the hors-d’oeuvres back at the Fictional Heroes exhibit,” the blogger-chef suggested.  “My stomach feels all wrong, but then so does my head.”

Abruptly we experienced a sharp bump, an air pocket, I thought.  However, the pressure inside my ears immediately did something strange, causing me to shake my head.  With a sinking feeling I knew that was no air pocket.  It was the blasted alchemy going awry.

“Cornelis Drebbel!” I shouted, much as Felicity, the woman in trousers, would have.  “What have you done?”

Before the words had left my mouth, I felt the sensation of horrible pressure.  It was like having a giant vice in front and in back, pressing hard against me from both sides.  I thought my head might explode, but my ears finally popped, giving me some relief.  It effected my eyesight as well.  Everything blurred and twisted.  Then my eyes bulged painfully, so I squeezed them shut.Anime eyes Kagome

After a moment I the dirigible bumped lightly.  I heard soft groans from my companions.  Snuffling sounds told me Kasha and Percy were sniffing everything excitedly.  My eyes were still closed against all the unpleasant sensations I had just experienced, but I felt a little paw on my knee.  I put my hand out and knew it was the Pug’s sturdy little body, so I petted him.  Then he ran back to Suzanne.

Finally I opened my eyes, but I had trouble focusing.

“Teagan, are you okay?” Mary asked.  “You know, I never realized how huge your eyes were before,” she commented in a puzzled tone.

Or at least it sounded like Mary.  Her hair was blond, but there was something different about it.  When she moved I realized that her hair flowed almost to the floor.  Something else wasn’t wright, but everything was still blurry.

“I think I’m okay,” I told Mary.  “I’m having trouble getting a deep breath though.”

She and Suzanne helped me stand.  Suzanne led us to the portholes.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

“Look at the lights,” Suzanne exclaimed.  “It’s Tokyo!  We’re there.”

Cornelis called out that we should sit down.  The airship was about to land.  The three of us staggered to our seats.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one experiencing my unfortunate symptoms.

“Teagan, could I ask you something?” Suzanne began hesitantly and my affirmative came out as a groan.  “Oh, here – these might help,” she added handing me my glasses.  “Are you feeling a little… deflated?  Because I sure am.”

Putting on my glasses I looked at Suzanne.  I was speechless.  Her hair was suddenly short and bluish-green.  She was dressed in a turquoise metallic futuristic outfit with matching tall boots.  There was one other thing.  Suzanne was flat.  So was Mary.  So were the dogs!  They all looked like anime characters.  I started to hold my hand up in front of my face to see if I had been effected, but I was afraid to look.

I turned to Mary, who was shifting uncomfortably in her seat.  Mary made a complaint to that effect.  She wore a flowing airy gown.  Indeed there was something that prevented her getting comfortable.

“Erm… that might be because of your wings,” I told her.  “I think maybe you’re some sort of goddess character.”

Mary reached frantically behind her and gasped when her fingers came into contact with her wings.

For a moment I studied Suzanne in that futuristic outfit.  I asked her if she thought perhaps somewhere nearby there was a giant robot that belonged to her.  The oddest expression came to her face.Eureka

“I know it sounds crazy,” Suzanne admitted.  “But I think maybe there is!”

“Don’t you all look delicious?” Cornelis exclaimed as he strolled into the area. 

He was dressed as a Victorian gentleman, but that would not be unusual for him.  However, it was certainly odd that he looked like an anime Cornelis Drebbel.  He reminded me of one of the male characters I might see on the Black Butler series.

“Am I supposed to be some kind of goddess?” Mary asked the alchemist.  “These wings!” she added, still uncomfortable in the seat.

“Darling Mary, all women are goddesses,” Cornelis replied slyly with bobbing eyebrows.

“But what about you, Teagan?” Suzanne asked worriedly.

Inuyasha vol-1 1997

Inuyasha (& Kagome) manga, v. 1, 1997

Looking down, I saw that I wore loafers and knee socks.  I was dressed in a pleated skirt, and white blouse with a sailor collar.  It was like an anime schoolgirl uniform.  I groaned even louder than I had when the air was squeezed out of me.  I was barely aware of hearing a rhythmic thumping sound.

“Cornelis Drebbel,” I growled pushing my skirt into place.  “You’d better be glad this skirt was not a mini!  Else you’d be a dead man.”

“I don’t mean the outfit,” Suzanne told me as she gestured to her head, just above her ear. 

Moving a strand of my hair, I realized it was long and black.  I gasped, but apparently that wasn’t the full extent of my transformation.

Finally Suzanne added, “Ears?  Tail!

I put my hands to the top of my head and felt two soft furry ears.  The thumping sound grew faster and louder.  I put a hand to my backside.  The noise was coming from my anxiously swishing, thumping tail!

“Your character may have gotten a little… crossed,” Cornelis said in a droll voice.  “You were actually supposed to be a Neko character.”

Percevil Ulysses Holmes

Percevil Ulysses Holmes

“Come along.  There’s a city square we must get to.  It has a number of billboards bearing images of our quarry.  We can take the giant robot as transportation, if Suzanne will kindly drive him,” Cornelis told us all, with a bow to the blogger-chef.

The turquoise anime version of Suzanne scrambled to the porthole and gasped in excitement.  I followed and my tail swished, knocking over a small table.  Mary glanced at her wings, murmured something about what damage she might do with her wings, and stayed in her uncomfortable seat.  When I reached the window, I saw a huge flatbed being pulled by a heavy duty construction loader.  Stretched out on the flatbed was a giant flying robot.

Cornelis moved to help Suzanne and Percy as they disembarked the dirigible, though they both scampered down the gangway without need of assistance.  Mary’s wings presented more of a problem.  A gust of wind caught her and she was lifted into the air.

“Mary!” I screamed and Kasha barked.

A thread of magical glowing green shot from the alchemist’s hand and wrapped around Mary’s ankle.  Cornelis and Kasha walked down the ramp, with the anime version of Mary in tow via the magical lead.  Once safely on the ground, Cornelis helped her touch down.

My tail swayed as I descended.  It was amazingly useful for balance.  Then my cat ears picked up a familiar voice and barking.  Kasha and Percy also heard it and barked their replies.  A man and a Corgi hopped out of the construction loader.  It was Hugh Roberts and Toby.

Toby reading Hugh

Toby caught reading

Moments after I introduced everyone, my new cat ears picked up muffled sounds.  It was the same music I’d heard back at the wax museum.  I heard the funky guitar music of the original James Bond theme, and I remembered the tunnel back at Time Square into which John W. Howell, Dan Antion, and their pets had gone.  It seemed impossible that it could be them.  Then I heard two dogs barking and a cat’s meow.  It had to be Lucy, Maddie, and MiMi.

Finally the sounds grew loud enough for the other humans to hear. 

“Isn’t that ruckus coming from below ground?” Hugh commented in surprise.

“Yes.  It sure is,” I replied, feeling very worried.

End Chapter 3, The Sign of the Ape

I begin to think the Ape won’t be caught until he simply allows us to do so.  Now that I’ve seen his image all over billboards in Tokyo I think maybe he’s in charge!  Stick around to see what happens to our intrepid bloggers next week!

By the way, it is a work day, so forgive me if I’m slow to answer comments.

GCR pets

 

The Sign of the Ape, furry family cast

Row 1:  Percy, Crystal, Lucy, Kasha

Row 2:  Claudius, Oh Kitty, and Sweeney, and Toby

Row 3:  Wilma, Greta, Maddie, MiMi

 

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Special mention to Christopher Graham for the marvelous “Atonement, Tennessee” images.

The Art of Taking a Break: Twilight Zone

Help! I’ve slipped into the Twilight Zone! 

I don’t talk work, religion, or politics here. So even though I’ve brought it up, let’s not comment about it. I’m just giving you my state of mind.  But I don’t think I have to talk about it for you to understand why I have a surreal feeling that I can’t shake off… one that is overwhelming each time I’ve looked at the television or read the news since the morning of November 9th.

Where do we go, now that we’ve gone too far?

My word count is still pathetic, but the only place I could go was farther into my NaNoWriMo novel, The Delta Pearl.delta-pearl-cover-1

It occurred to me that a riverboat needed passengers.  So I now have crew and passengers — along with a couple of other things that live on the boat.  That part was fun.  My character matrix has grown and gotten quite complex with all sorts of tabs for different things I’m prepared to track or use for my own reference.  Do you see that across the bottom of the picture? Each of those is a separate “worksheet” with all sorts of information. 

character-matrix-tabs

I’m falling down a spiral, destination unknown

However, this story is still full-on pantser.  I have no idea where I’m going.  Yet the voyage is becoming more interesting.  The other night I even dreamed I was aboard The Delta Pearl.  I don’t remember the dream, except that the water was rough, just like the scene I wrote that evening.  It may have had something to do with a bad food allergy reaction that had my stomach roiling right along with the fictional river… But when I awoke, I was laying across the bed, rather than vertically! That was strange. I’ve never done that before…  But then we are living in the Twilight Zone after all.

My beacon’s been moved under moon and stars

Sometimes it’s easier to see where a story should go, if you can put actual faces on the characters. I haven’t actively tried to do that with “Pearl” yet.  Even so, a couple have come to me.  Suddenly I saw one of the Doctor Who companions, Jenna Coleman as Émeraude.jenna-coleman_victoria-reflection

A taller version of Louis Jourdan as he was in Gigi could be The Dealer, Jaspe (ZASH-pah). That came to me… though I’m not sure.  Maybe.

louis-jourdan-as-the-dealer

So I’ve gotten that far with the story.  Me, here in the Twilight Zone, imagining different worlds, and pantsering a novel.  Trying not to worry about where we’ll all go now that we’ve gone too far.

Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far

“No Time Like the Past” Twilight Zone 1963

Soon you’ll come to know, when the WriMo hits the bone

Okay… so I couldn’t pull the ending together for this post… But maybe all the endings are catawampus here… in the Twilight Zone.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode- 30

Unexpected Connections

I don’t delude myself that my blog serials are “properly” written stories.  They are pure unplanned, pantser fun.  Since I never know what the next episode will bring, I can’t do advance planning so that everything is properly connected from the beginning. Events and characters show up later than is “acceptable.”  I’m aware that flaw exists as this story-line works its way to an eventual close.  Hopefully you can still enjoy this as unanticipated fun.

Phuong ShrimpThere have been other unexpected connections for me because of the serials.  I’m very pleased that many of you who comment here are also my connections on my “career network” at LinkedIn.  It was exciting to see that network reach a milestone number, and I was honored to have Dr. Phuong Le Callaway as my 100th connection there.  That was also around the time I started the first culinary serial.

Phoung Rolls-shrimp

Phuong is successful and admirable in her career.  A couple of years ago, I encountered some completely unexpected obstacles and had little idea of how to navigate them.  Phuong started mentoring me in those unknown seas.  I found her to be wealth of information, and a tireless fountain of support.

Phuong Cooking with MeHowever, she isn’t just a business woman.  Phuong has authored several cookbooks!  She was generous with photos from them, so I’ve added a few here.  I’m featuring her book Cooking with Me.  Check out all of Phuong’s books! You’ll also get one of her recipes at the end of this episode.

Episode 30 ties back to early chapters particularly Episode 5. That installment also has an unexpected connection to a famous person in history.

Are you ready to return to the Victorian Era, and the amethyst world? The steam locomotive is at the platform.  All aboard!

Train subway abandoned NYC

From Episode 4

When I upended the owl-shaped lamp, I found an opening.  Some very old documents were tightly rolled and inserted into the lamp…

From Episode 5

“Oh!  What have we here?” Cornelis Drebbel exclaimed excitedly over the ancient papers.  “Don’t tell me this is what was hidden in the lamp!” he cried and Copper and I both nodded, taken aback by his enthusiasm.  “Really?  The audacity!  To hide such treasures that way.  Don’t you know what these are?”…

… “My dear, these are the work of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci!  They are valuable beyond belief,” Cornelis exclaimed.

“The Leonardo da Vinci?” I couldn’t help asking.  “Then they must be at the core of whatever is going on here,” I said with certainty. 

From last time…

The chimpanzee looked contrite, as if there was something he did not want to disclose.  “Viola’s son Von had that family ring he stole from your son.  There was a man who seemed to recognize the ring.  He tricked Von into giving it to him and then ran off.  Von slipped off to track him.  We found them at a fine home that looked a lot like yours.  But when we got there they were both dead,” the chimp explained.

“We took both bodies and hid them,” the chimpanzee added.  “We were afraid of what might happen if the residents of that world noticed the two were doubles.”

***

Steam Locomotive Wheels

30.  Herbs, Kitchen, Texan

Through an accident of alchemy, the submarine in which we traveled crashed on the shores of the amethyst world.  The Green Fairy and Cornelis Drebbel had an animated conversation about the submarine Cornelis invented, and whether it could be repaired quickly enough.  If we didn’t leave the strange purple place soon, we might be trapped forever.  After a moment they rejected using the submarine as a means of departure.

When the missing “chapel chimps” were returned to the amethyst world, a few of them hung back to talk to us.  Cal Hicks sent those chimpanzees back to submarine to retrieve our belongings.  The two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, fluttered ahead of the apes, leading the way.  Copper watched from the laboratory window as they disappeared from view.

Copper with FlowersThe girl stood at a table in the far corner of the long building, tying string around a small bundle of herbs.  I noticed a number of varieties hanging to dry.  Unexpectedly, Copper seemed to know what she was doing.  When I commented on the fact, she told me that she used to help her governess dry herbs.

“Is Viola coming back?” she asked Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape.

“I’m sure you’ll see her again,” Hicks answered.  “You two became friends very quickly,” he prompted.

Copper nodded as she tied the string into a bow.  “She reminds me of Violet, my governess.  I didn’t want her to go away, but Daddy said she was going back to live with her son Vaughner,” Copper told him with a sad look in her eyes.  “Daddy shouldn’t have let Violet go.  I heard him say her son was a criminal.”

“He did?” I was surprised into saying.  I felt like my brain was pulling threads together that I couldn’t quite grasp.

“Yes.  I heard him tell your boyfriend,” Copper answered with a distasteful twist of her mouth and the glimmer of a dare in her eyes.

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

“My what?” I exclaimed with a strangled chuckle, but then I remembered her distrust of Ignatius Belle.

There had not been more between Ignatius and me than some light flirting.  In fact, when I saw how focused he had become on Copper, and apparently wanted to lure her away, I felt he had tried to use me.  I had developed my own mistrust of the tall handsome innkeeper, and learning that he was really Copper’s half-brother did nothing to allay my concern.  However, considering that father and son were somewhat estranged, I was surprised to learn Calvin Hixon had confided that information in Ignatius Belle.

“Daddy shouldn’t have made her go live with Vaughner.  I don’t think she wanted to,” the girl said of her governess.  “Anyway, I think Viola looks like her,” Copper added with a sudden grin.  “Or she would if she had been a chimpanzee.”

Another idea clicked into place when Copper spoke.  I looked around for Cornelis Drebbel, but he had popped off somewhere.  Where was the alchemist?  He’d finish my sentences for me and this would go a lot faster.

“He asked me if the laboratory had a kitchen,” Cal answered my question.  “I think the Lord of Alchemy was feeling a bit peckish.”

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

“Trust Cornelis Drebbel to go looking for a snack at a time like this,” I complained.

Without the alchemist to be my sounding board I spoke my thoughts aloud as I sorted them.  “So… Copper’s father dismissed the governess she loved because he could no longer pay her wages,” I remembered Cornelis figuring out that in the past.  “That woman’s son was a reputed criminal, as Copper told us…” my words trailed away as I continued to assemble jumbled bits and pieces.

“Meanwhile, here in this amethyst world, Voila is the double of that governess.  Viola’s son was a ‘scoundrel’ as you commented,” I added turning to Cal Hicks.  “And the son of the governess a criminal,” I repeated and Copper nodded.

I paced as I untangled the mess.  “So Viola’s son Von met his doppelgänger in our world… and that doppelgänger was the dead man in Calvin Hixon’s study — and he was Vaughner, the son of the governess!”Reading Ape purple

What a moment of crystal clarity!  If I’d worn suspenders on my trousers I would have given them a snap of satisfaction.  Copper had a wide-eyed expression on her face, but she seemed to have kept up with my summation.  Cal Hicks nodded every step of the way, an intelligent man for certain — or rather ape.

“Vaughner was surely up to some duplicity, since Copper heard her father calling him a criminal.  He stole the signet ring from Von so he could pass himself off as a member of the Hixon family.  He was in the house, sitting at Calvin Hixon’s desk when he died.  So he must have been looking for something.  But did he find whatever it was he wanted?” I questioned.

“I don’t think so.  You’ll see when the chimps get back,” Cornelis Drebbel said as he materialized at my side with a sharp pop.

I jumped, startled.  The Dutchman grinned, as it was his intention to disconcert me.

“Cornelis Drebbel!  Will you please cease doing that,” I insisted for the thousandth time.  “Where have you been?”

Purple Cowboy bootThe alchemist, originally from the 1600’s, was attired in knee britches with his favorite doublet, which had broad velvet sleeves, slashed with satin.  The broad brimmed hat that matched his ensemble was exchanged for a Stetson, and he wore tooled leather cowboy boots on his feet — both hat and boots were purple, of course.  Seeing me stare at his apparel Cornelis twisted his pointed blonde beard and wriggled his bushy eyebrows, clearly pleased with himself.

“I found my doppelgänger’s closet,” the Dutchman said with a twirl to show off his borrowed accessories.  “He has the most marvelously eccentric taste, don’t you think?”

I tried not to laugh, but I failed.  “Cornelis, you look like a Texan who fell into a Shakespearean fair,” I said and he pursed his lips, deciding how to react.

“I think they’re rather smart,” Cornelis replied, sticking out his lower lip.  “Copper, don’t you agree?”

Copper answered by giggling and hugging the alchemist.  I decided that was probably the safest response.  Besides, I was rather envious of those cowboy boots, just not with that outfit.Owl Lamp Victorian

There was a commotion at the front door of the laboratory.  The coverall clad chimpanzees brought in our belongings.

“Ah, good!” Cornelis said.  “You’ll see what I mean.”

He went directly to the large carpet bag Copper had packed with all manner of things.  Cornelis retrieved the owl-shaped lamp.  I gasped.  Inside that lamp, were hidden valuable drawings made by Leonardo da Vinci.

Cornelis upended the owl lamp and removed the priceless da Vinci papers.  He smoothed out one in particular.

“Is that some sort of children’s toy?  A top of some sort?” I speculated as I looked at the drawing.Aerial Screw drawing

“Oh no,” Cornelis corrected me.  “It’s an aerial screw.  I think it is the key to finding Copper’s daddy.  And it might be how we get back to our world.”

***

Will the combination of da Vinci’s aerial screw and the alchemy of Cornelis lead our trio to Copper’s daddy? Or will it lead to a disastrous accident of alchemy?  To find out, be at the train station again next time.

But first, here’s the recipe for this episode. Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Fish and Herbs in Soy Sauce

Recipe and photo credit, Phuong Le Callaway

Fish n Herbs in Soy Sauce

Copyright © 2015 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.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 29

The Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotsman

Chugging Along Slowly

The steam locomotive to the Victorian Era is almost at the platform to take you to Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  Although, it’s chugging along rather slowly. One of the landslide of things that derailed the locomotive last weekend was the cold I had Saturday. Happily I managed to fight it off in a single day.  Not so happily, the wretched thing sneaked up on me and grabbed me by the throat (not so figuratively either) Wednesday night as I prepared my “Thriving Thursday” post for LinkedIn.  Dratted sneaky cold…

Like Uncle Joe the steam locomotive is moving kinda slow.

The three things for this chapter are from a talented writer you have seen featured here in the past.  I can always count on Daniel (aka Randstein) at “Hyperion Sturm” to send marvelous things to drive the serial.  Be sure to check out this talented writer’s amazing blog.

This chapter ties all the way back to Episode 3.  Several elements of this new episode are rooted in the third installment of this serial.  We’ll finally learn more about the dead man in the study!  There was also the little matter of a signet ring that suggested the corpse was someone in Copper’s family. (You might want to skim Episode-3 for all the details.)

The locomotive has finally reached the platform.  All aboard!

From Episode 3

First things first, I told myself as I turned my attention back to the dead body slumped over Calvin Hixon’s desk.  I had expected to see a pool of blood, but the top of the desk was clean.  The dead man’s left hand rested on the desktop.  Something seemed wrong about the position of the hand.  It had been moved.

Hadn’t Cornelis said he wore a signet ring?  Without looking I could feel the cool metal of the ring the alchemist placed on my finger.  “You’ll need this,” he’d said.  My eyes went back to the naked hand of the dead man.

“You moved a ring from the finger of a cadaver and put it on my hand?” I exclaimed, but Cornelis was nowhere to be seen.

“Cornelis Drebble!”

*

From last time

 We had a measuring device.  It looked like a silver toothpick holder.  It was shaped like a little gazebo with a domed roof supported by columns.  Within was a crystal bird with wings outstretched.  Tiny holes in the rounded roof held toothpicks.  If the toothpicks started to turn lavender, it was a warning that we had been in the amethyst world too long.  If all the toothpicks turned purple we were in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple, it would be too late.

I quickly took the detector out of the Dutchman’s bag so I could examine it.  The toothpicks were lavender.

Portuguese Silver Toothpick Holder

29.  Cornbread, Champagne Glasses, Astrolabe

The amethyst ape looked to the direction in which his violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper had ridden away on an aubergine coated horse.  Viola went back to his grand house to make sure the doppelgängers of Copper and myself did not come any closer.  Their proximity had made us quite ill, but Cornelis alchemically altered some green Chartreuse, which set us back to rights.  I wondered if the ape versions had also felt ill.

Cal Hicks shook his head regretfully.  “Poor Viola,” the ape murmured, causing me to ask what he meant.

“She showed you the locket containing a bit of her dead son’s hair,” he said as a reminder, so I nodded.  “He was lost in the battle with the one-eyed-one-horned flying-purple-people-eater; the dragon.  Though I cannot reconcile that in my mind with the tiny Purple Fairy, Aubrieta.  Whatever changed her form to the dragon must have also held uncontrollable sway over her personality as well.  We should feel pity for her, not resentment,” Cal added as if to himself, then cleared his throat.Hair brooch

“Forgive me, I digress.  Viola’s son was not in the chapel with the apes that disappeared that day,” Cal said, going back to his point.  “Nor was he among those returned by Aubrieta’s magic.  Viola said she felt his death a short time after the chapel apes disappeared.  I hoped she was wrong, but she must have been correct,” Cal told me.

“More’s the pity,” the amethyst ape commented, again shaking his head.  “Viola’s son was a scoundrel, though I liked to believe he had a good heart.  He never got the chance to correct the path on which he’d put himself.  He never reached his potential,” Cal spoke sadly.

Cornelis Drebbel got that look on his face.  Though his skull was safely ensconced my hatbox, I knew the expression on his face meant the gears in his mind were turning.  Abruptly he held an ancient looking leather portfolio.  That was where he kept his drawings.  He opened the folio and handed two sketches to Cal Hicks.  One drawing was of a chimpanzee and the other of a man.

Signet ringFirst I recognized the man in the drawing as the person we found in the study at the Hixon estate.  The man had been dead when we arrived.  The rogue chimpanzees carried away his corpse.  The second thing I noticed was a strong resemblance in the drawings of the dead man and the chimp.

“Is this, by any chance, Viola’s son?” the alchemist asked Cal Hicks of the sketch of the chimpanzee.

Cal gasped.  “Why yes!  As always, Lord of Alchemy, your talents astound me,” Cal replied.  “Do you have news of him?”

“We found his doppelgänger dead, but that’s as much as I can say,” Cornelis told him.

Carson mansion Queen Annd

The Carson Mansion, Eureka, California

A few of the returned apes moved uneasily, but they were reluctant to leave.  They stayed nearby, hiding their nakedness as best they could.  Their coloring had fully reverted to various shades of purple, as was natural for them.  Cal Hicks stepped into the laboratory and quickly returned with several pairs of coveralls for them.

Hicks invited them to go to his house for a hot meal.  However they refused, saying they couldn’t take advantage of his hospitality.  They watched Cornelis Drebbel closely, almost as if mesmerized.

“At least have some bread and wine then,” Cal Hicks told them.

The amethyst ape uncovered a basket containing all manner of loaves, muffins, and cornbread.  Hicks insisted that the returned simians at least eat some bread.  He told them that being translocated had surely depleted their reserves.  Since Hicks wouldn’t take no for an answer, they drank and ate a little, but they looked much more interested in Cornelis and the two fairies.Absinthe tail up

Aubrieta and Absinthe cuddled near the laboratory building.  The Purple Fairy and the Green Fairy were both tiny now.  The alchemy that imploded the dome of fire also allowed Aubrieta to remain in her natural winged skunk-looking form.

Absinthe stretched and touched his green nose to the golden unicorn-like horn that was above Aubrieta’s single amber eye.  They both made muttering noises that sounded remarkably like giggles.  The erstwhile purple-people-eater she-dragon and Absinthe entwined their fluffy tails as they muttered and snorted softly to one another.

Cal Hicks looked at them wonderingly.  “It’s a pity Viola isn’t here to witness that,” he murmured.

Cornelis gave a wicked grin.  He reached into nothingness and produced a tray with etched champagne glasses.  His arm disappeared up to his elbow as he reached into that magic space again and came back with a bottle of champagne.

“I wouldn’t pop the cork on that just yet,” I told him.

Antique champagne GlassesTo remind them, I held out the measuring device Absinthe had insisted we take with us when we left the submarine.  It looked like a silver toothpick holder fashioned to have a gazebo with a crystal bird inside.  Tiny rods that resembled toothpicks protruded from the roof of the gazebo.  It measured how much we were being influenced by the amethyst world.  If we stayed too long, we might not be able to return home.

The words of the alchemist echoed in my mind.

“Many of the effects can be mitigated,” Cornelis had said, dismissing my concern.  “For instance, a little lavender hue is of no real concern.  But if all the toothpicks turn purple we are in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple,” he added pointing to the crystal ornament in the center of the gazebo.  “Well, then it is too late,” he’d finished with a wry twist of his mouth, which suggested that was a real possibility.

The metering toothpicks had turned to a saturated lavender, and not a pastel lavender like they were the last time I looked.  Cal Hicks gasped, his face painted with concern.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered over to me and inspected the device closely, muttering the while.  Cornelis puckered his lips in an expression that made me think he was about to sidestep something.

“As I’ve said, the lavender hue is of no real concern.  It could be from your doppelgängers being too near, or even from what we consumed at tea,” the alchemist said in an unconcerned tone, but he cast a sidelong glance at the device.Mauve teacup Wileman Co 1893

Several feet away, the small group of coverall clad apes conversed quietly but animatedly among themselves.  I got the feeling that the group had come to a decision.  A very large dark purple chimpanzee came forward.  I thought there was something reluctant in the way he moved.

“Begging your pardon, Mr. Hicks.  We heard the Lord of Alchemy mention doppelgängers.  When we—,” the chimpanzee began haltingly.  “Well, it’s Von, sir — Viola’s son.  When we were in that strange world Von met his double.  They both ended up dead, although none of us saw exactly how it happened,” the chimp said and hung his head.

“You saw nothing at all?” Hicks questioned, pushing for information.

The chimpanzee looked contrite, as if there was something he did not want to disclose.  “Von had that family ring he stole from your son.  There was a man who seemed to recognize the ring.  He tricked Von into giving it to him and then ran off.  Von slipped off to track him.  We found them at a fine home that looked a lot like yours.  But when we got there they were both dead,” the chimp explained.

Naughty Chimps

Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape’s Naughty Chimps

“We took both bodies and hid them,” the chimpanzee added.  “We were afraid of what might happen if the residents of that world noticed the two were doubles.”

Cal Hicks made a tut-tut sound and slowly shook his head.  “Von was a scoundrel and a petty thief,” Hicks commented.  “But he was Viola’s son.  Even after he stole the signet ring from my son Nate, I wouldn’t have wished him dead.”

I still wore the signet ring Cornelis removed from the hand of the cadaver we found in Calvin Hixon’s study.  Cornelis gave it to me so I could pass myself off as Copper’s aunt, and prevent the people from the orphanage taking her away.

Jaime Murray as the woman who wears trousers

Jaime Murray as the Woman in Trousers

The ring was much too big for my finger, but I had taken to wearing it on a ribbon hung around my neck.  I pulled it out from inside my shirt.  Removing the ribbon I handed the ring to Cal Hicks.  “Is this the ring?” I asked.

“Lady Felicity!  Why yes.  That’s the ring I had made for Nate.  How did you come to have it?” Hicks asked.

He tried to give the ring back to me.  I took the amethyst ape’s large hand in both of mine and closed his thick fingers around the ring.

“It clearly belongs to you, or your son.  I only borrowed it as a way of helping Copper.  We don’t need it anymore,” I said.

Excited chirping and snorting came from the two fairies.  Suddenly Aubrieta popped out of sight.  I heard an agitated screech from inside the laboratory.  Absinthe snorted and then disappeared.  An instant later both tiny fairies reappeared.  Between them they supported an intricately designed astrolabe.  Aubrieta chirped excitedly.  They flew over to Cornelis, and the alchemist gingerly took the apparatus from them.

“What is that thing?” Copper wanted to know.

“It’s an astrolabe,” Cornelis told her.  “They’re used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers.  Its many uses include locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, determining local time given local latitude and vice versa, surveying, and triangulation,” he explained.

Copper looked blankly at Cornelis and blinked.  Absinthe gave an exasperated snort at the Dutchman, clearly dissatisfied with the appropriateness of his definition.  Absinthe fluttered onto Copper’s shoulder and nuzzled into her hair.Astrolabe 2

With a longsuffering sigh, the Dutchman revised his explanation.  “They’re used for solving problems relating to time and the position of the Sun and stars in the sky,” the alchemist clarified and Absinthe seemed satisfied that that explanation was suitable for Copper.

The girl looked at the Green Fairy in hopeful astonishment.  “We can use this to find my Daddy?  Is that what you mean, Absinthe?” she asked the little fairy.

Aubrieta flew to them and hovered near her newly reconciled mate.  Both of the fairies chirped happily to Copper in what seemed to be affirming noises.

“Hopefully the astrolabe can help us get home as well,” I said wryly.

Then I held out the measuring device.  A third of the toothpicks had darkened from a saturated lavender to royal purple.

***

So… the dead man in the study had an ape doppelgänger — and both seem to be a tad dishonest. The fairies may have found a device to find Copper’s daddy, but in which world is Calvin Hickson?  The amethyst world or our own — and how much time do they have to find him if he’s in the purple world?  Meanwhile the metering “toothpicks” deepen in purple hues.

What about those awful people from the orphanage?  What about the woman with a chimp — she lead one of the groups chasing our trio? And the ape who gestured “Daddy” in sign language?

There are many questions yet to be answered. So be at the train station next time.

***

When I saw a cornbread recipe was needed for this episode, I thought of one of the newer supporters of this blog and serial – Cheryl “Cheffie Cooks” Wiser.  I was pleased to find more than one tasty cornbread recipe in her repertoire!

https://clwiser.wordpress.com/

Recipe:  Zucchini Corn Bread Muffins

http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/breads/zucchini-corn-bread-muffins/

Sorry – no photo this time.  Just browse around Cheryl’s blogs – you’ll find plenty to drool over!

 

Copyright © 2015 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.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 24

Choices

Couple boat pug

One of my favorite bloggers, Donna Parker, wrote about choices. Her post got me thinking — as it often does. Eventually my pondering turned to choices about writing. Despite the fact that writers are advised to choose one genre and stick to it, I think most of us like to dabble in various types of storytelling. I continue to dally with different styles, but my stick-to-it choice is fantasy.

I’ve been encouraged to write romances, but I leave that to the experts — like Mary. This time, the three things that fueled the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era were sent by Mary J. McCoy-Dressel.

Mary’s latest book, Of the Cowboy’s Own Accord, took off like a rocket. It reached #1 in Amazon’s ranking of best sellers in Contemporary Western Fiction.  She describes herself as an author of sensual Contemporary Western Romance with strong family ties. I’m fond of calling it her dynasty of cowboys, but it would be more correct to say (as Mary puts it) she specializes in “gentlemen cowboys (with a touch of bad) & their feisty heroines.”

Mary_Double Dutch Ranch Series

Our steam locomotive is rolling ’round the bend. Again, I’ve included some fun informative links in text and images. This time I’m also giving you a menu for a Victorian afternoon tea.  All aboard!

 

As you’ll recall…

Our trio was on the run from three different groups of bad guys, including huge and dangerous trained chimpanzees, one of which gestured in sign language the word daddy.  Felicity recognized the leader of one group by her voice — she was a woman from Copper’s town, but the woman in trousers couldn’t recall which townswoman possessed that voice.

Our heroes hid out at the pavilion of Alastair Wong, where alchemy gone awry gave them a map with a clue to where they might find Copper’s missing father. Still on the run, they boarded Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine where they met Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  Subsequently the submarine ran aground in an amethyst world.

24.  Straitlaced, Queen Anne Style Architecture, Harper’s Bazaar

The suited, bespectacled purple primate was a willing listener for Cornelis Drebbel.  I wouldn’t have expected an ape to speak our language, even if he could talk.  Nor would I have thought we would understand him.  When I was about to ask, a significant look from Cornelis caused me to realize it had to be one of the Dutchman’s tricks at work, allowing us to communicate with one another.

Tea Gown by Charles Frederick Worth as seen in Harper's Bazaar, December 1891

Tea Gown by Charles Frederick Worth as seen in Harper’s Bazaar, December 1891

The alchemist gave the primate a full tour of the submarine.  The amethyst ape soaked up every detail as Cornelis explained how the many inventions onboard were used in the navigation and other workings of the submarine.  The ape seemed to have an astonishing scientific comprehension of what the Dutchman said in describing his inventions.

Cornelis had gone on about doppelgängers and was genuinely concerned about the consequences if one of us met our double in this perplexing purple place.  I remembered Copper’s giggling exclamation comparing the straitlaced ape to her father.  I thought it simply childish fantasy, but then I recalled how the Dutchman reacted to her words.  He curled his lips inward in a rueful grimace and raised his bushy blonde eyebrows.  Then he pursed his lips and inclined his head pointedly toward the purple primate.  At that moment the ape reminded me very much of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.

I studied the primate’s face and tried to imagine a human version.  My eyes grew wide.  The amethyst ape was Calvin Hixon’s doppelgänger!

Cornelis was quite adept at reading facial expressions, no matter how fleeting.  When he glanced my way he raised one eyebrow and gave half a nod to indicate he knew I had caught on to what he had figured out the first moment he saw the ape.  It was no wonder he’d frozen in amazement when Copper and I had gotten out of the submarine.  I finally understood why. I tried not to stare at the ape version of Copper’s daddy.

After Cornelis had shown off his favorite inventions, the ape invited us to tea.  Cornelis wasn’t quick enough to hide his reluctance to disembark the submarine.  The ape tried to encourage him by describing the setting and the Queen Anne style architecture of his charming home.  I couldn’t help wondering if this amethyst world had held a purple primate version of Queen Anne, and suspected that it actually had.  However, Copper was beside herself with excitement.

Carson mansion Queen Annd

The Carson Mansion located in Eureka, California is considered one of the finest examples of American Queen Anne style architecture.

In a very discrete way, the alchemist worked the conversation around to inquire about the ape’s family life and whether he lived alone.  Abruptly the purple primate puckered his face, looking very contrite.  He bumped his palm to his brow and apologized profusely.

“I was so amazed and excited that I forgot to introduce myself.  Can you ever forgive my lacking manners?  Cal Hicks — at your service,” he said with a bow.  “Penny will be devastated not to have met you.  That’s my daughter.  She’s away for the week, visiting her brother Nate and his wife.”

When the ape — or I should say Cal Hicks, mentioned his daughter-in-law he gave me the strangest, quizzical look.  “Something in your manner puts me very much in mind of my delightful daughter-in-law,” he told me with a twinkle in his eye.Jaime Murray-2

I was speechless.  Could there be a purple ape version of me?  And was she married to an ape version of Ignatius Belle?  Surely not, it was incomprehensible!  The ideas were a bit too much and I suddenly had a headache.

The ape didn’t know the reason behind the alchemist’s concern, but what he disclosed about his family reassured Cornelis that it was unlikely for any of us to run into our doppelgängers.  With a little more please-pretty-please urging from Copper, Cronelis finally agreed.  So we set out with Cal Hicks, the primate equivalent of Copper’s daddy, to have tea at his home.

A violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper graciously served tea with all the trimmings.  She seemed delighted to have a chance to show off her skills, and served the perfect pot of tea to complement each course.

(How to Host a Victorian Tea Party)

 

1920s Catering Menu-1Tea Menu

Sandwiches and Savories
Smoked Salmon with Dill Butter on Dark Bread, garnished with Dill (open face half-moon sandwich)

Ham and Chopped Watercress with Basil Butter on Rye Bread (finger sandwich)

Thinly Sliced Cucumber & Chopped Mint with Mint Butter on White Bread (open face round sandwich)
Chopped Egg and Diced Black Olives on Whole Wheat Bread (pinwheel sandwich)

***

Scones and Breads

*********

Enhancers

Devonshire Cream

Flavored Butters (Fruit, Herb & Spice)

Raspberry Preserves and Rose Petal Jam
***

Sweets

Served in a champagne or martini glass:

English Trifle with Heart-Shaped Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

***

Mauve teacup Wileman Co 1893

My cup rattled against its saucer.  I was embarrassed to I spill my tea.  Charming and hospitable as Cal Hicks was, the entire situation was unnerving.  I almost wished I had stayed behind at the submarine with Absinthe.  Cornelis was downright twitchy — probably still worried about doppelgängers.  Copper was the only one who took everything in stride.

Several portraits hung in the hallway.  It seemed that Cal Hicks enjoyed a much happier, devoted family life than had Calvin Hixon.  The son was presumable born out of wedlock, since this place seemed to reflect our own world.  But unlike Ignatius Belle, Nate Hicks agreed to become a true part of the family.  And since Penny was visiting Nate and his wife for a week, I assumed that she did not share Copper’s dislike and mistrust of her half brother.

Victorian Ape CoupleA purple primate version of Harper’s Bazaar magazine lay on a beautifully crafted mahogany table.  The deep color of the wood had dark purple highlights.  On the magazine cover was a woman-ape wearing a fashionable ensemble.  A painting hung above the table.  It was a portrait of Cal Hicks’ son and daughter-in-law.  I had to admit the young ape in the portrait bore a vague resemblance to Ignatius Belle.  However the female looked nothing like me whatsoever.

“Look Felicity!  She looks like you,” Copper enthused.

Looking away, I tried not to let the ape see how aghast I was at the girl’s comment.  With narrowed eyes I watched Corenlis.  His mouth twisted in any number of ways as he tried to stifle his laughter.  I knew it was our host he didn’t want to offend.  He certainly wouldn’t be concerned about my pricked ego.

To hide his mirth, the Dutchman tapped his fist to his breastbone, pretending to stifle a burp.  Then he asked our host if we might stroll around the grounds to help the fine repast he’d provided settle.  The amethyst ape was happy to oblige.

As we toured the property we came upon a church.  “That doesn’t look like it’s been used in quite some time,” I commented about the chapel.

“Ah yes.  That was indeed a tragedy,” Cal Hicks replied sadly, and Copper was quick to push for details on a topic we adults may have deemed too delicate.

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

“It happened during the last confrontation with the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater,” the ape said then turned to Cornelis as if concerned.  “Do you not remember it?”

“Err…” Cornelis hesitated, but a spark in his eyes told me he was about to dissemble.  “I must confess,” he said looking so sad and sincere that I almost rolled my eyes.  “An accident of alchemy brought my submarine back to these shores.  Sadly I have no memory of the events that happened here,” he explained.  “Oh now, there’s no need for concern, I’m sure the memories will return in due time.  Such is the way of alchemy,” he assured our worried looking host.

“Well, perhaps a refresher will help it along then,” Cal Hicks said with a hopeful nod.  “I mentioned that we had thought all of your species,” he said turning to me, but hesitating when he looked at Copper’s wide eyes.  “Well, um, that the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater had, um gotten them,” Cal said and seeing that Copper didn’t look frightened, he continued.  “However, there was one more confrontation with that huge purple fae creature.  You, Cornelis Drebbel, cornered the magical beast, and with your alchemy intended to transfigure it to something harmless.”

“Let me guess,” I said with a wry grin.  “The alchemy went awry.”

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis glared at me, but the ape remained perfectly serious, continuing his narrative.  “The Lord of Alchemy insisted that everyone take refuge in the chapel while he confronted the monster alone.  Meanwhile, I ran to retrieve his harmonic tuner.  It’s a magical device decorated with a carving of a trio in the classic mystic people pose — hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

The ape suddenly looked overwhelmed with regret.  He moved his spectacles to wipe a tear.  “In my haste, I tripped.  The harmonic tuner flew from my grasp.  It rang as it flew through the air.  However, you, Cornelis Drebbel, caught it before it fell.  So I thought all would be well, and that my mishap had done no harm,” Cal Hicks told us in an apologetic voice.

The ape dabbed his nose with a silk handkerchief and took a deep breath before continuing.  “The purple people eater vanished, presumably vanquished.  You, Lord of Alchemy popped off, as was your habit, to make sure the beast was gone for good.  But you never returned,” he said, looking like a repentant child caught in mischief.  His expression gladdened as he looked up and added, “Until today that is.”

“And the church?” I prompted.1860s Woman Handkerchief tintipe

Cal Hicks turned somber eyes to the chapel.  He shook his head slowly.  “When the loud harmonic noise of the misused tuner dissipated, I realized there were no sounds whatsoever coming from the church.  To my horror, I found it empty.  Everyone inside had vanished along with the purple people eater,” he said.

I gasped despite myself.  The ape seemed to think I found his telling of the story that shocking, and he seemed gratified to have at least told it well.  Although it was obvious that he blamed himself to a degree for what happened.  So I tried not to let on that the story wasn’t the reason for my gasp.

“Cornelis!” I whispered to the alchemist.  “That army of chimpanzees back at the Hixon estate.  What if they weren’t trained,” I said but paused, looking for the right word.  “What if instead, they were actually translocated?”

***

Felicity has figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them.  Can the ape version of Calvin Hixon somehow help our trio reach Copper’s real daddy?  Will seeing the portrait of primate doubles of herself and Ignatius Belle influence Felicity’s capricious feelings about him?  I hope to see you at the platform for the train to the Victorian Era again next time. 

Hot and humid… day after day, night after night – it’s just that time of year here.  So when I saw a beautiful post from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen for “Nicoise Salad,” it seemed like the perfect recipe to share with this episode.

Recipe:  Nicoise Salad

Nicoise Salad suzanne

Photo and recipe credit:  Suzanne Debrango

 

Copyright © 2015 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.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 23

To those of you in the USA…

4th of July Victorian

Happy Independence Day!

 In celebration, rather than taking you to the Victorian Era on our usual steam locomotive, this time we’ll bring all our picnic paraphernalia and get on board a red, white, and blue decorated dirigible and soar into our story.

Steering the airship is Kathryn, aka KR Bigfish from Another Foodie Blogger, who gave us the “three things” for this episode.  As sometimes happens, a comment also made its way into the episode.  Kathryn mentioned a particular purple critter, and I couldn’t resist. But I’ll leave that for a surprise.

Remember to check for fun and informative links in the text and images.

The dirigible is tugging at its ropes — ready to sail through the air, through time and realities.  So… All aboard!

From last time…

“It’s an amethyst world!” Copper exclaimed when she saw the strange place where the magically whirling submarine went aground.

A purple ape wearing a three piece suit with a starched collar and a bowler hat came into view.  It seems strange to say, but the hat and the suit made me think of Ignatius Belle.  However, I was also reminded in an odd way of the portrait of Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon, who turned out to be Belle’s father as well.

The amethyst colored ape moved his hands in sign language.

Copper, the alchemist, and I spoke in chorus.  “Daddy?”

***

23.  Broken Knife, Sea Urchin, Potable Water

Reading Ape purple“Oh! You can speak.  How wondrous!” was the delighted exclamation of the purple ape who wore a man’s suit, hat, and spectacles.  “And what remarkable coloring you have!”

“Of course we can talk.  But it’s amazing that you can!” Copper called out in reply as she clambered down from the submarine hatch, too quick for me to stop her.

The alchemist stood in gaping astonishment.  I pushed past him and hurried after the girl, although I didn’t know how I could protect her from something as strong as the ape.  I had no weapon on me, not so much as a little muff pistol.

Pen knifeAbruptly I remembered my pearl handled pen knife.  It wasn’t much use as a weapon, but I reached quickly into my pocket.  However, the pen knife seemed to have been damaged during the chaos of the spinning submarine.  When I tried to open it, the broken knife fell apart in my hands.

The creature seemed genial enough, but who could say?  I had no idea into what sort of place we had been cast by the accident of alchemy that sent Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine off course with rogue magic.

“Have a care, Felicity,” Cornelis hissed, as though he’d finally come back to himself.

“Of course I’ll be careful.  Why didn’t you stop her?” I said through my teeth, trying to hide my anger with the Dutchman from the strange primate on the shore.

Copper lavenderI turned back toward the quickly moving girl.  “Copper stop right there and wait until I catch up with you,” I demanded and for once she complied.

“But Felicity!  I like him.  He’s funny,” the girl pleaded.  “I’m sure it’s perfectly safe,” Copper added in a rather good imitation of an adult.

“How can you think a purple ape — in a suit no less, is perfectly safe?” I whispered as I caught up to the girl and took her hand.

Cornelis cleared his throat loudly.  “That’s not what I meant.  I wasn’t talking about the ape when I told you to be careful,” the alchemist said urgently.  “Doppelgängers!” he exclaimed, using his trick of casting his voice directly to my ear.

“What’s a doppelgänger?” Copper wanted to know as she looked from Cornelis to me and then back over her shoulder at the very large purple chimpanzee.

“It’s a sort of lookalike,” I told her.

sea urchin violetAs I gazed into the shallows of the sparkling amethyst water I noticed a violet colored sea urchinHere even fishes and such are one color of purple or another, I thought.  The water itself took on the hue of lavender from the sky it reflected.  That alone was enough to make it a stranger place than anything I had ever imagined.

Cornelis seemed to be permanently adhered to his surely uncomfortable position, halfway out of the submarine’s hatch.  I could hear Absinthe inside chirping excitedly, but I couldn’t tell if the Green Fairy was anxious, angry, or simply feeling chatty.  Then a bottle levitated up from within the submarine.  Cornelis snatched it out of the air and thanked the Green Fairy in a droll tone.

“Absinthe thinks you should take this potable water with you, as it might not be safe to drink anything here,” the Dutchman commented.  “I think it’s a bad idea for you to leave this vessel at all.”

Amethyst Walking Stick by Fabergé

Amethyst Walking Stick by Fabergé

At the shore, the chimpanzee shifted his bowler hat and placed his walking stick in front of himself with both hands propped on its crystal top.  Naturally the crystal was an amethyst cabochon.  He looked curious, but quite patient and relaxed.

“Whatever are you talking about, Dutchman?” I looked up at Cornelis and asked while Copper stood staring at the chimp in a suit.

“If you meet your doppelgänger it could be dangerous,” the alchemist said.

“Why on earth would I meet my double?” I asked feeling piqued, with Copper pulling me forward and the alchemist holding me back.

“I think it’s the nature of this world, this place,” Cornelis explained with exaggerated patience.  “It probably has its own versions of all of us.  Purple versions, but still…” he added with a shrug.

“Why is it purple?” Copper interrupted.  “Is there a purple fairy, like Absinthe is the Green Fairy?” she asked, eyes widening in anticipation.

The Green Fairy stuck his tiny nose out of the hatch and bit onto the alchemist’s sleeve, pulling it as if he wanted Cornelis to get back inside.

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

“Alright, alright,” he told Absinthe.  “Copper, I suspect there is a good reason for the purple coloring, but the important thing you need to understand is that everything around us could become — well you could say the place may get unstable, just because of our presence.  If any of us met our doubles it could be,” he paused, probably looking for words a young girl would understand.  “Bad.  It could be very bad,” he finished, but looked dissatisfied with his choice of words.

“Cornelis, aren’t you coming with us?” I asked with an uneasy eye on the large, strong chimpanzee, who had moved forward to the very edge of the water.

“No, Felicity.  Were I to meet my doppelgänger it wouldn’t be dangerous,” he replied, and closing his eyes he took a deep breath.  “It would be catastrophic.”

Seldom had I seen the Dutchman so serious.  I don’t pretend that I fully understood his vague explanation, but I knew it had something to do with alchemy.  So I didn’t press.

“Do I have a doppelgänger?” a giggling Copper wanted to know, and I realized she’d found a new favorite word.  “The monkey might be Daddy’s doppelgänger,” she added, giggling even harder.Lady with pigeon

When I looked at Cornelis he curled his lips inward in a rueful grimace and raised his bushy blonde eyebrows.  Then he pursed his lips and inclined his head pointedly toward the purple primate.  The ape shifted his stance.  Suddenly he reminded me very much of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.

The purple primate saw us looking at him and raised his voice to make sure it carried to us.  “I’m sure it’s most unsettling, having your vessel run aground.  And clearly you aren’t from here,” the ape began.  “Or from any place of which I’ve ever heard…” his voice trailed off as he shook his head wonderingly.  “But I assure you it really is perfectly safe, just as the young err… the young lady said.”

Had the ape hesitated to call Copper a young lady?  Could it be that he perceived us as we saw him — as strange animals?  Profound thoughts crowded my mind.

The ape looked remarkably like the portrait of Copper’s father.  With of course the exception him of being an ape.

The suit-wearing creature bumped his palm to his forehead as if something obvious had just occurred to him.  “Oh!  If you are concerned that you don’t see people like yourselves, please don’t fear.  We thought your species was extinct.  I can’t tell you how delighted I am to know that is not the case!  And that extraordinary coloring you have.  This is so exciting!  But pardon me.  I digress,” he said in a gracious apologetic voice.

Green fairy skunk“As I was saying, there’s no need to fear.  The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater is surely dead.  None have been seen for a hundred years!” the ape said, adjusting his spectacles.

At the primate’s comment Absinthe fluttered up and out of the submarine.  He chirped and grunted excitedly.  The Green Fairy hovered around Copper’s head briefly.  Then he darted toward the purple ape.  Absinthe made several passes around the primate to inspect him, grunting the while.

“How delightful!” the very large chimpanzee exclaimed, taking off his spectacles since Absinthe was mere inches from his face.  “What a colorful little chap.  Why you’re like a very tiny, very green version of the purple people eater,” he said and Absinthe gave a disagreeable chirp.  “Well no, I suppose that’s not true at all.  But you seem to be the same sort of fae being.”

I couldn’t sense any animosity from the ape… and judging by the crash landing of the submarine we were going to need some kind of help.  So I allowed Copper to lead me to the shore where he stood.  The suited primate bowed politely to us, doffing his bowler hat.

Absinthe settled in his protective position atop Copper’s head.  However, the ape’s attention wandered to the submarine.  He was so intrigued that he waded out into the shallows for a better look.  “You know,” he said in a self-deprecating tone.  “I’m something of an inventor myself.  What sort of vessel is that?  It looks almost as though it’s meant to sail under the water,” the ape marveled.Drebbel stamp

Cornelis never could resist showing off one of his inventions and the ape was clearly a willing and eager audience.  Abruptly the alchemist appeared at his elbow.  The purple primate jumped with a start.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” the Dutchman said.  “I’m Cornelis Drebbel and I’d be delighted to show you the submarine.”

The ape gasped.  His eyes grew large and his mouth opened silently.  The primate’s eyes narrowed and he looked intently at Cronelis.  “With this outlandish coloring, how could I suspect,” he murmured.  Then he bowed extravagantly to Cornelis.

“Cornelis Drebbel, Lord of Alchemy, I welcome you to these shores.  Please accept my humble apology for not recognizing you.  No one has seen you for over a hundred years.  It was feared that the purple people eater had… well…  But how foolish of us to think you would have been bested by any beast, no matter how fearsome.”

***

Will this newfound status go to the alchemist’s head?  Will a doppelgänger of one of the characters show up and wreak havoc?  How will they get back home so they can find Copper’s daddy?  And what about that one eyed one horned flying purple people eater?  Be at the train station next time to find out what happens to Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!

Don’t forget this episode’s recipe!  Since the food related thing, or ingredient, was “potable water” I chose one of Kathryn’s seafood recipes.  I really appreciate that she often shares simple recipes made from things I might have on hand.  I know you’ll enjoy this one.

Recipe:  Spicy Canned Tuna Ceviche

Spicy Tuna ceviche

https://anotherfoodieblogger.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/spicy-canned-tuna-ceviche/

Photo and recipe credit: Another Foodie Blogger

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 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.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.