Cover Reveal! Murder at the Bijou – Three Ingredients-I

 

Bijou front only 2

Ta-dah!  I’ve finally finished the technical aspects of book-izing the second of my blog serials.

About the Novel

Murder at the Bijou – Three Ingredients-I is the second of my “three things” style of blog serials.  As with the first serial, The Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story, it was a spontaneously written (“pantser”) serial.  Everything in it — characters, setting, plot, was driven by things left by readers of the blog, episode by episode.  However, this time the things were “ingredients” since it is a culinary mystery!  

Pip returns as narrator.  She has new friends for this adventure, as she has been “sentenced” to live with her grandmother until she learns to become a passable cook.  As you can imagine, that does not sit well with our flapper. (Yes, I still need to write a blurb…)

Book Launch?

My “real job” doesn’t allow me time for marketing or promotions.  I limit that to this blog.  So you don’t see much fanfare with my books.  However, I want to ask… 

Is anyone interested in hosting me for a book launch post?

If so, please leave a comment to let me know.  I’ll write something to be posted at your blog.  Any takers?  

See you Friday, or whenever you can visit this weekend, for the next episode of the current serial, Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam. Until then, hugs on the wing!

 

Copyright © 2017 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

In the Pip of Time & 10 Things Not To Do

Hello, everyone!  We have a guest today.  My thanks to John W. Howell, for agreeing to do a joint post with me, using one of his fabulous lists of what not to do!  Actually, this post is already live at his blog, Fiction Favorites.  Some of you have already visited there, so I thank you and I apologize for giving you a rerun.

John recently re-launched the first book in his “John J. Cannon” trilogy, My GRL.  Click here for details.  He also has the marvelous blog I mentioned above, Fiction Favorites.  John uses a different theme for each day of the week.  Mondays are a fun take on lists with Top Ten Things Not to Do.  So now I present John’s part of this collaboration.  

John W. Howell — take it away, my friend!

Top Ten Things Not to Do If You are Transported Back to the Roaring Twenties

This week’s list is inspired by Teagan R. Geneviene who is working to release her next 1920’s novel. In a discussion, she wondered aloud what it would be like to be transported back to the roaring twenties. My mind went immediately to the Top Ten things one shouldn’t do if transported. You see, I have the belief that Teagan can do anything she puts her mind to doing. I feel it is my job to warn her in case she is successful. So here is the list.

Top Ten Things Not to Do If You are Transported Back to the Roaring Twenties

10. If you have been transported to the roaring twenties, do not try to pay for anything with the money in your pocket. If you do, at best you’ll be a laughing-stock. At worst, you may be charged with counterfeiting. (Nothing like a little time on bread and water to help that waistline huh, Bunky?)

9. If you have been transported to the roaring twenties, do not let anyone see your iPhone or Apple watch. If you do, at best they will think you are from Hollywood. At worst, you might find yourself tied to a stake on top of a very big pile of wood. (That guy with the kerosene and matches heading this way is not the fire chief, Buford.)

1923 Quasimodo claims sanctuary for Esmeralda

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) Quasimodo claims sanctuary for Esmeralda.

8. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties do not think you can tell someone how a computer works in hopes of usurping Bill Gates. If you do, at best you’ll have very confused people trying to understand your directions. At worst, that jacket you are being fitted for is not for show. (Does the name Bellevue ring a bell, Buster?)

7. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not try out your Charleston until you see how others do it. If you do, at best those old movies were wrong. At worst, most everyone will assume you have been over-served. (The nice part there are no cell phone videos to go viral huh, Tex?)

6. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not laugh when you are served a martini in a teacup. If you do, at best the bartender will think you are drunk. At worst, the gang may assume you are a Fed and invite you to take a swim while wearing cement overshoes. (Boy, those guys play rough don’t they, Slick.)

bartender-vintage

5. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties do not wave second-hand cigarette smoke away and claim you are allergic. If you do, at best you might be asked to leave. At worst, Tiny the Bronx wrestling champ and the club bouncer might ask you to leave his way. (You were sure that door was going to stop you from hitting the ally weren’t you, Champ. Oh yes. Tiny says you owe him for a new door.)

4. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not grab a megaphone and start singing Winchester Cathedral. If you do, at best you’ll get strange looks. At worst, people will think you have a crush on Rudy Vallee. (You see Ferd, it would be like singing a Bono song. It’s just not done.)

3. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties do not try to pump your own gas. If you do, at best you won’t be able to crank the pump. At worst, the local service station attendant may think you are after his job. (How did that large monkey wrench feel before you passed out huh, Babe?)

1920s Vaudeville Cats postcard

1920s Vaudeville Cats Postcard

2. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not ask for a doggie bag at the restaurant. If you do, at best you’ll get a raw bone. At worst, the chef might assume you felt his food was only fit for dogs. (I would not argue with a guy who has such a big knife, Pard. In fact, I would take off running.)

1. If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not use slang until sure of the proper context. If you do, at best you might insult a few people. At worst, you may have triggered a full-blown riot. (Who knew Twenty-Three Skidoo was a code word for a steelworker rebellion. Not you huh, Putz?)

***

Ha-ha!  I love John’s lists.  Another favorite day at his blog is Wednesday Story Day.  (First episode here.) What a whiplash inducing serial that is!

Okay, now for my part of this joint post.  This vignette is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip.  (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story, click here.)

Most of you know that I’m fond of doing “pantser” stories, written spontaneously, according to random things, provided by readers.  This time I took my three things from numbers nine and ten of John’s list:  Counterfeiting, Time, and Hollywood.  I hope you enjoy this impromptu vignette.  Here goes!

In the Pip of Time

Aelita_1924_still_04

“Aelita, Queen of Mars” was playing at the Bijou Theatre.  I was brand new in town and my pal Alastair Wong invited me to go to the show with a group of his friends.  However, the friends cancelled.  To my surprise, Granny Phanny and Dr. Veronica Vale took the tickets.  At first I couldn’t understand why they would want to see a science fiction film about a soldier, an inventor, and a police informant taking the first flight to Mars.

Veronica reminded Alastair and me that she and Granny had been, and basically would always be suffragettes.  They encouraged films with strong female characters.  Of course, in this story, Aelita is not what she at first seemed and things end badly for her.  Nonetheless she was a strong character and the two older women wanted to see the show.

Afterward, Granny and Veronica were still animatedly discussing the story as we walked out of the Bijou.  Alastair and I were fascinated by the Hollywood “movie magic” that created the Martian city and the spaceship.  As you might expect our discussion was more whimsical than that of the older generation.

“What if somebody from Mars came here?” Alastair pondered.

250px-Princess_of_Mars_large

I always got a kick out of Alastair’s mildly British accent.  So I was already smiling when I told him Martians would have a tough time fitting in with humans.  It was doubtful that anybody would think they were the bee’s knees! 

A man wearing a bizarre metal hat and strange clothes burst out of the theater.  He tried to close a fancy briefcase as he ran.  Several bills flew out of it.  He grabbed most of them, but I noticed the breeze took one over to a planter.  The man just kept running until he rounded the corner of the Bijou.

Out of curiosity, Alastair and I followed him to the dead end alley behind the theater.  We backed against the wall, when a moment later a woman ran after him.  She had pointy cone shaped things over her ears.  Though no one was with her, she spoke as if in conversation with someone.  She held something that must have been a large gun, although it didn’t look quite like any shooter I’d ever seen.  She pointed it at the man and yelled for him to stop.

Gods_of_Mars-1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs

Then she fired the gun — I think.  At least she pointed it and seemed to shoot it, but I didn’t see it do anything.  However, the trash can six feet ahead of the guy exploded.  He looked at her fearfully, but he kept running.  So she threw a whirling thingamajig at his feet, causing him to fall.

The woman jumped on him, with her knee in his back, pinning him to the ground.  She muttered something about “low-life securities thief.”  He grunted at the pressure from her knee.

Then she spotted Alastair and me.  We shrank further against the wall.  The odd gun looked even bigger when she pointed it at us.  That bearcat had a fierce glare, I can tell you.  To my astonishment she abruptly started laughing.

Sci Fi Costume 1920s woman.png

“I could warn you not to tell anyone what you just saw,” she stopped chortling long enough to say.  “But if you did, they’d think you were insane.”

Still chuckling, she touched one of the pointy cones that covered her ears.  She and the man disappeared into thin air!  It was as if they had never been there at all — except for the exploded remains of the trash can.

Alastair and I exchanged wide eyed looks, speechless.  He made an obviously uncomfortable attempt at laughing.

“Those Hollywood types.  They’ll do anything to promote a film.”

“But there was nobody to see that but us,” I managed to say, though it was more of a squeak.  “It wouldn’t be much of a promo.”

I headed back around the corner, remembering the paper that fell out of the odd man’s briefcase.  The man had missed one and I saw it land in a planter.  I plucked it out of the greenery.

“That looks like mazuma,” Alastair whispered.  “Cash money!  But it’s not any currency I’ve ever seen.  Maybe it’s counterfeit.”

Inspecting it closely I nodded and turned the paper over to read both sides.  “It says ‘Federal Reserve Note’ but you’re right.  It must be counterfeit.  It’s odd looking, but even if it was from some other country, they’ve got the date wrong.  It says 2419.  As if maybe somebody transposed the date.”

Alastair and I continued to stare at one another.  Now and then one or the other of us would take a breath, start to say something, and then shrug mutely.

Finally I summoned the only words I could.  “I wouldn’t mind getting spifflicated about now.”

Alastair agreed.

The end.

***

1920s Man on Moon Drinking

If you want to know more about the upcoming 1920s culinary mystery, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, click here.

Thanks so very much for visiting.  Mega hugs!

 

Copyright © 2017 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.

Book Launch Giveaway Winners — Three Things Serial Story

The Three Things Serial Story Giveaway Winners

studebaker1920_2

Welcome back everyone.  I want to thank all of you for your support in the “launch” of the novella version of The Three Things Serial Story

I realize I should have preceded the launch of this novella with a cover reveal.  Then I should have done several posts to build anticipation about the upcoming release.  And then a pre launch announcement, and then a launch party.   And then a post announcing the launch of the paperback.  And another announcing the e-book.  And then… Well, I simply don’t have time for that kind of marketing.  This blog is as much marketing as I’m able to do.  So thanks all that much more for visiting!

This novella is always 99 cents (USA) for the e-book.

Without further ado, here are the winners of last week’s giveaway.

3-things-cover_3-2016

Amazon Giveaway for 2 ebooks:

Robert Young and Betty Allen

(I would like to elaborate, but Amazon didn’t provide details.)

Random Drawing for 1 Paperback

So that everyone could have a chance, no matter your location, I also did a random drawing from comments.  I numbered the comments and then used an online random number generator to objectively pick the winner.  The paperback goes to Olga Núñez Miret.  Be sure to visit her blog and take a look at all her fantastic books.

Three Things Serial Characters

The “things” left by readers of the blog led me to each of the characters for this whimsical vision of the Jazz Age.  I thought it might be fun to show you how I imagine them.  So in no particular order, please meet the cast of The Three Things Serial.

Paisley Idelle Peabody (Better known to you as Pip)

Young Lucille Ball

Young Lucille Ball

The moment I saw a picture of a teen-aged Lucille Ball she became my Pip. In my imagination the voice of a grown-up Lucy narrates The Three Things Serial, looking back on the adventures of her youth.

Pip might be a tad conservative, naive, or innocent as flappers go, but that allows her to take people as they are, without judgement. Time and “things” will tell if that open-hearted naïveté gets her into a pickle — or maybe a whole barrel-full of them!

The heart of a true flapper beats in Pip, and she is determined to be what she thinks of as a modern woman.

*

Pops (Pip’s Unseen Dad)

John Forsythe 1958

John Forsythe 1958

*

Mona the Movie Star

Pip enjoyed giving everyone nicknames, usually based on their occupations or their aspirations. Her friend and neighbor, Mona, had big dreams of being an actress, but little chance of seeing them come to fruition. Mona is something of a flirt, but you won’t see her “lead anyone on.” It’s just that people (particularly men) jump to do things for her.

In my imagination, the original “It Girl” — Clara Bow plays Mona.

Clara Bow

Clara Bow

*

Andy the Astronaute-man

Willie Garson as Andy

Willie Garson

Andy Avis

The “things” for Episode-2 required me to write about a ballerina, a fireman, a movie star, and an astronaut. Have I mentioned that I’m a research geek? I had to make sure the word “astronaut” was actually used in the 1920’s. I got conflicting information, but the greater consensus said “no.” However, I learned the term Astronaute was used in France at the time. So Andy Avis is also of French descent.

Andy is also a science fiction writer, hence Pip’s nickname for him Andy the Astronaute-man. Despite the heroic stories he writes, Andy is not the bravest bean in the bowl. Discretion is pos-i-lute-ly the better part of valor with him. To his credit, sometimes Andy overcomes his big fears and takes action. Doesn’t it take a lot more courage to do something when you’re afraid than if you are just naturally brave or fool hearty?

Right away I saw a younger Willie Garson as my Andy. (You might know him from “White Collar” or Sex and the City.) I could see the friendship between him and Mona. Although unlike Stanford, Andy hopes the friendship will become a romance.

*

Ca’ d’Zan

Ca d Zan-1

Ca’d’Zan Mansion

The Ringling Mansion.  Although it is not truly a character the Ca’d’Zan mansion is an important part of this story. Learning about this amazing place was so much fun that I had to include it here. I hope you’ll do some research of your own about the home of John and Mabel Ringling.

*

The Fabros

1920s 4 Look-alike GuysFrankie Fabro and His Cousins

Next meet Frankie the Fireman and his cousins Flavio, Fedel, and Frediano. First came Frankie. He’s taller and a little bigger than his cousins, but all four of the young men look a lot alike. Elder brother Flavio looks out for twins, Fred and Fedel. Pip has a crush on Frankie. Flavio, like most men, seems to think Mona is the berries.

*

Countess Bepa Babikov

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

The mysterious white-haired woman… turns out to be a real life countess. It was after Bepa Babikov came along that I saw a photo of Countess Von Hartenau that was simply the vision of Bepa’s elegance, as well as her fierce determination. She instantly replaced any other image I had of Bepa.

*

Boris the Ballerina

Astaire sitting

Fred Astaire

Retired from the Ballets Russes after a career-ending injury, Boris gives the occasional dance lesson to earn a living. Mona is infatuated with Boris, but also conflicted. She has some ways of thinking to outgrow. Boris is the strong silent type. His friends have to work at it to get to know him. When I saw a photo of Fred Astaire, in a rather sulky pose, it made me think of Boris.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little introduction to the characters.

***

Where to get The Three Things Serial Story

Amazon.com (USA)  Click here

Amazon UK  Click here

Amazon CA  Click here

Amazon AUS  Click here

Thanks for visiting.  You’re pos-i-lute-ly the cat’s pajamas! Mega hugs.

Copyright © 2013 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 otherwi

Rewind – Three Things Episodes 10 – 14

Welcome back to the 1920’s everyone.  I really appreciate you dropping by for this “rewind” of the first interactive serial.

But first, I want to update you on my My National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) progress, since that is what has taken me away from writing the serials. This is what my homepage showed me Friday.

WriMo Stats

1969 Jean Shrimpton as Luci

1969 Jean Shrimpton as Luci

I’m on track, but next week I’ll be at the office more, and similar progress is not too likely.

However, I’m happy to say my planning has helped. My characters have become very solid in my mind. Apparently so has the setting… because yesterday I kept thinking it was New Years Eve! (The Guitar Mancer opens on December 31, 1969.)

Meet my heroine, Luci. She’s smart and shy, but she’s got spunk.  She also has a flare for those 1969/70 fashions! She has a soon to emerge magical, musical talent. Luci doesn’t know it yet, but she is a mancer.

Unlike my novels, which I loosely plan, the blog’s serials are off the cuff pantser fun.  I’m hoping you can see into my processes and have a better idea of how I let the random “things” drive the plot and settings, and develop the characters. It’s completely unplanned. I do, however, research each thing or ingredient to make sure I’ve used them consistently with the era. (Sometimes you gave me something unfamiliar that I got to learn about — but that added to the fun.)

On with this rewind, beginning with the introduction to Episode-10.  Enjoy!

Enchantment… Doesn’t the word make you think of that harp-like sound effect? Of bright sunshiny magic, and unbridled potential?  No?  Maybe I’m feeling homesick then.  Today’s “three things” come to you from the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, courtesy of RC.

Remember, you can do catch-up reading at the Three Things Serial page.  Now, the next episode.

10.  Grandma, Big Feet, Woodpile

1920s Woman in DoorwayI was stunned by what had just happened.  For a moment I couldn’t think what to do.  Boris the Ballerina ran pell-mell into the night after a burglar, (or maybe something worse).  I knew one person had already been badly hurt, or possibly killed, that night back at the theatre.  Had that glint of metal been a gun?  A knife maybe?  Should I try to catch up with Boris, and what would I do if I did?  The other man had seemed pretty big.

In the instant it took for those questions to run through my head, Andy and Mona came running up to see what had happened.  They both looked frightened.  As I described the scene their eyes got wider.  And wider.  Andy the Astronaut, ever the reluctant hero, at least when Mona was around, bravely plunged past his fear.

“I’m going after them,” he proclaimed.  Then there was a heartbeat’s hesitation on his part.  However, he took a breath and started running in the direction I had pointed.

As Andy rounded the corner, I heard a bump-tumble-crash from the woodpile in back of our building.  A muffled “I’m okay!” followed the commotion, and the sound of Andy’s running feet began.

It took a moment for me to decide, because I didn’t want to intrude on Boris’ privacy, but I went upstairs to look at his apartment — I mean office.  The door was standing wide open.  I hesitated, and then went inside, Mona at my heels.  She seemed more than curious.  She was positively eager for a look inside the Russian’s home.  When I stepped over the threshold I gasped.  Everything that had a drawer had been ransacked.  Papers, clothing, photos, and books were strewn around the room.1920s Russian Nesting Dolls

A collection of Russian nesting dolls was overturned and disassembled.  Then I spotted a beautiful ceramic vase that looked like it had been deliberately broken against the corner of the table.  When I picked up the top half I realized that the vase had been made with a false bottom.  The bottom part had a stopper that secured a small opening.  I could see how it might be easier to put something inside it than to get it back out again.  It would have to be something quite narrow though.

Had Boris hidden something the strange vase?  And maybe the man who ransacked the place had gotten in a hurry and shattered the vase to get whatever out quickly?  But what and why?  I mean, what kind of valuable would fit?  Jewelry?  Or maybe… Jeepers!

I clutched my pocketbook.  I felt the bent key still inside.  But the guy couldn’t have been looking for the key, because it dropped from the getaway car.  But if it had been dropped by the old woman… maybe Boris also had a key to the same thing.  Whatever it might be.

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of male voices outside.  Mona and I exchanged a “were busted” glance.  We both felt guilty for going into Boris’ place without invitation, so we hurried quietly to the building’s entry foyer.  I recognized Andy first because the streetlight caught his glasses.  Boris was supported by Andy and another man — a large man with only one shoe.  Then I realized that man was Frankie.

Clara Bow as Mona the Movie Star

Clara Bow as Mona the Movie Star

Mona rushed to Boris to make sure he was unharmed, and backed away awkwardly when everyone noticed how much attention she was showering on the retired dancer.  He had not been attacked, but the chase was too much for his injured knee.  Andy said that he thought Boris also twisted his back when he tripped, chasing the burglar.

“Frankie, I thought you went home,” I said.  “And what happened to your shoe?”

“Oh I went back and got it,” Frankie said holding up the shoe.  “I just didn’t stop long enough to put it back on.”  When he saw my puzzled face he explained, “When I got home I saw a note from my cousin Flavio, asking me to go over to my grandma’s and help with something.  So I was headed that way when some jerk half ran into me.  Then Boris here charged up behind him.  I figured the first guy was up to no good.  But I’m not so fast.  Coach used to say my muscles slow me down.  Anyhow I knew I couldn’t catch the guy so I threw my shoe at him.”

I stood in mute amazement.  He threw his shoe at a thief?  Andy chimed in, “Yeah, beaned him good too!”  I tied him up and we left him there for the police.  Frankie went back inside to call the coppers to come and get him.”

Frankie held his shoe closer to me and I saw that there was blood on the heel where it must have hit the guy.

“Good thing I’ve got big feet!   I get them from my grandma,” Frankie said proudly.

***

Special thanks to Lynn for dropping by and giving me “three things” that took me to the setting.  She was very specific with “sound,” indicating that she meant a body of water.  That took my mind to Florida.   … And now episode eleven.

11.  Ice Cream, Sound, Thimble

It had been a crazy night, what with the shooting at the theatre, and then the weird burglary at Boris’ place.  It took hours before I could settle down enough to go to sleep.  Not that I didn’t try.  I knew I had a big day ahead — a lot bigger than going out for ice cream with my pals.  Mona had invited me to go with her to a party thrown by a movie studio bigwig.

 

The shindig was going to be out at Santa Rosa Sound, and it was going to be real ritzy.  I admit I was a little nervous about it too.  I didn’t think I’d fit in with those actors and studio types, but I’d put on my glad rags and go for Mona’s sake.  I could tell that she felt nervous about the whole thing.  She was probably worried about some of those producer jobbies coming on too strong.

Anyhow Mona said that studio bigwig had planned the whole to-do around a big race around the island, Santa Rosa Island, that is.  It was going to be a hundred mile race for sailboats that ran half its course through the sound.  The movie people were going to film it, and she was hoping to get a part.  Mona said one day it would be a big annual event, but I didn’t see how they’d ever manage to pull anything that pricey together again.  After the land boom went bust, most folks could put their entertainment money in a thimble.  Either way, I figured it’d be swell to check it out.

stpetersburg-1920s

***

This time the story is driven by three things from Michigan.  Then next time the “things” will be from the greater DC area.  I’m delighted to have gotten two sets of three during the past week.  So I’ll use the new words in the order received.  And now, episode twelve of our little 1920’s story.

12.  Italy, Family, Thunderstorm

1920s flapper thinkingI thought Mona and I looked real spiffy as we headed down the stairs.  Though I had to admit, Mona always looked prettier.  Since she was an aspiring actress, she had to have nice clothes.  She wore a light green dress with a dropped waist.  It had wide ivory lace gathered at the waist and at the hem, with strip of similar lace at the fluttery sleeves.  Mona finished the ensemble with a scarf-hat of the same fabric and lace.  I pushed my pink cloche hat further onto my head to make sure it didn’t come off.  It looked kind of breezy outside, and I hoped we didn’t end up with a thunderstorm ruining the party.

The “movie star” had kept up a nonstop stream of chatter, so I hadn’t found out many details about the shindig.  But one thing was really bothering me, so I interrupted her.  “Hold on a sec, Mona.  How are we going to get out there?  Santa Rosa Sound is not exactly around the corner.”

By then we were in the building’s foyer.  I heard the sound of a big motor right outside.  Mona grabbed my hand and we went out the door.  I was stunned.  Mona waived her arm grandly, bowed and said, “Madame, your chariot awaits!”

Our ride was a fire truck? Granted, it was the old one that was mostly used in parades.  It wasn’t the main truck the department would use for a fire.  But a fire truck?  “How…?  Err, why?” I sputtered.

“If I want a big part in a film, then I need to make a big entrance!” Mona cried gleefully.1920s Fire truck

“But who…?” I began, the proverbial cat still having a firm hold on my tongue.

Then a familiar looking guy jumped down from the fire engine.  At first I thought it was Frankie, but then I spotted his broad shoulders as he backed away from a couple of other guys that were still on the truck.  He caught up with the first guy.  There was quite a resemblance between the two young men.  I knew they must be family.  A moment later Frankie introduced me to his cousin Flavio.  I squinted looking at the two guys remaining on the truck as they climbed down.  There was more than a resemblance between the last two — they were twins.

“Hey Flavio!” one called as they walked.  Then he elbowed his twin for the low whistle he made at Mona.  “Cut it out.  Be a gentleman.”  Then he urged Flavio, “Aren’t you going to introduce us to these dolls?  I mean ladies?”

Frankie made as if to swat the two younger guys with his hat.  “Grandma would have you by the ear,” he muttered and the two quickly straightened up.

1920s 4 Look-alike GuysFlavio seemed to be the eldest of the group.  “These two mugs are my brothers, Fedel and Frediano.  Don’t mind them.  They’re partin’ company with us here and going into town.”

I tilted my head, and looked a question at Frankie because my thoughts were flipping with all the “F” names.  He seemed to get what was on my mind.  Fedel and Frediano gave me matching crooked grins.  Then the fireman said, “A lot of Fabros came over from Italy.  Every different branch of the family seems to favor a particular letter of the alphabet for names.  It’s sort of a tradition with the Fabros.”

“Betcha can’t guess which letter our branch of the family tree uses,” Flavio added, and Mona and I laughed.

I learned that Mona had met Flavio when she went down to the fire station with her big plan to use the old truck.  When Frankie learned about the shindig he’d asked to come along.  It actually wasn’t hard to believe my friend had secured a fire engine as transportation.  Regular guys just couldn’t say no to Mona.

As the boys help us up into the cab of the fire engine, I commented about the large bag Mona carried.  I had thought it was a bathing suit but it sounded like there was paper inside.  Sure enough she pulled out a brightly colored end.  “Streamers!” she said.  “When we’re nearly at Santa Rosa Sound, we’ll stop and decorate the truck!”

All I could do was shake my head.  She thought of everything when it came to being noticed.

08-18-1920 Suffrage parade New York City

08-18-1920 Suffrage Parade, NYC

***

As promised in the previous post, these things come from the DC area.  Also remember your three things keep the serial going!  Maybe some readers from Canada will play?  Or someone in the UK will send three things?  Or from India? Or Turkey?  Everyone is welcome to send three words or phrases!  Just remember it’s a 1920’s story when you pick your three things, and that it’s a “G” rated blog.

13.  Miracle, Hedgehog, Gloaming

1920s Tin Lunch boxWhen I climbed up into the outdated fire engine I thought it would be a miracle if made it all the way to Santa Rosa Sound.  But the old thing must have still had some heart left, because we didn’t have any problems.  We were almost there when Mona asked Flavio to pull over so we could decorate the truck with the streamers and flags she’d brought.

Frankie bent over the seemingly bottomless bag of stuff, passing streamers and such to the rest of us.  I heard the tink sound of metal and turned toward Frankie.  As he pulled out an old tin lunchbox, the rest of us gathered round.

“Hey sweet cheeks,” Flavio said to Mona.  “I thought you said there’d be gourmet grub at this swank shindig.”

“Be careful!” Mona said in a worried voice when Flavio took the lunch pail from Frankie and started to open it.

I heard a scrabbling sound from inside the container and drew back.  Had a mouse gotten into Mona’s lunch?  And why had she brought lunch in the first place?  And, holy Hannah!  If there was a mouse in her lunchbox, there were probably mice in our building!

Mona quickly took the tin box from Flavio.  That’s when I noticed there were several little holes piercing both ends of the pail.  To my astonishment, she opened the container and scooped up a strange spinney rat.  Or maybe it was a baby opossum with matted hair.  Or, oh applesauce, who knew what!

“Oh Pear, you poor baby,” Mona cooed over the thing.  “Are you alright?”

Then she held it out at Flavio who jumped back with a shriek.  “Don’t be silly,” Mona chided.  “It’s just Pear.  I couldn’t leave him alone all day.  I just got him.  And it’ll be later than the gloaming when we get home tonight.”  She smiled coquettishly at hedgehog in handsthe expression her comment brought to Flavio’s face.  Yep, Mona sure knew how to get her way.  “Yes, you can be sure it’ll be much later than twilight before this party is over,” she told him with her eyelashes aflutter.

“But… Pear?” I asked.

“Why, for Prickly Pear, of course.  He’s a hedgehog.  Didn’t you know?” Mona told me as if it was all utterly obvious.

***

Today’s “things” are from an innovative thinker in Albuquerque.  I think they help bring life to the story and our characters — a glimpse of their day-to-day life.

14.  Finger Waves, Shoe Horn, Cummerbund

The old fire engine roared up to the party at Santa Rosa Sound, streamers flying and bells ringing.  Frankie was driving.  Mona kicked off her shoes do she could stand on the highest point, arms raised and holding a flag in each hand, Flavio held her steady to make sure she didn’t fall off.  I just enjoyed the ride, our grand entrance, and the utter wonder of extravagance that was spread before my eyes.

1920s Bebe DanielsThe partygoers were dressed in all manner of attire, from elegant daywear to party duds I wouldn’t have expected to see ‘til after five, but everyone wore the latest fashions.  Women in nice dresses stood talking to others in beaded flapper gear with expensive jewels in their sleek bobbed hair.  Some men wore bowties and straw hats while others wore tuxedoes complete with cummerbunds.

I decided to take off my hat.  It wasn’t really fancy enough for this party or for my dress.  I cautiously touched my finger waves to make sure my hairdo was okay.  “Don’t worry,” Frankie assured me.  “You’re the cat’s meow.”

So was he.  I smiled at the fireman as he looked for a spot where he wouldn’t get blocked in, and parked the old fire truck.  I looked at all the nice cars.  There were a couple of chauffeurs idly polishing limousines.  I did a double take.  My eyes were pulled back to an ordinary car.  It was familiar, though I was sure it didn’t belong to anyone I knew.

Mona had definitely gotten the attention of the crowd, though it only lasted for a moment.  Wow.  That group was hard to impress.  I thought she’d be the first one down from the truck,1923 Evening Shoes but when I looked around, Mona was struggling with her shoe.  In a jiffy Flavio had a shoe horn and carefully helped her, like Prince Charming with Cinderella.  He kept his hand on her foot for rather longer than necessary.  Mona gave me a sideways look and then batted her eyes at her new beau.  I rolled my eyes at her and let Frankie help me down from the truck.

Something was nagging at me.  I turned back to that car, tilting my head as I looked at it.  “What’s up Pip?” Frankie asked.

For an answer I motioned for him to come with me as I headed toward the source of the nagging.  That car.  Frankie wanted to know why I was so interested in an ordinary car, nice though it was, when there were many more luxe vehicles.  I walked all the way around the car.  Twice.  Then I stooped and ran my hand across a fender.

“There!” I exclaimed quietly.

Mona and Flavio had just reached us.  Everyone came closer to see what I was doing.  “It’s a bullet hole.  Right there.  It’s almost hidden,” I said.

“That’s the car from the Nickelodeon, isn’t it,” Frankie said and took a quick look over his shoulder.  “The one that old woman got dragged into.”Hedgehog apple

Mona gasped.  “Are you sure Pip?  It was pretty dark,” She said.

I nodded in answer.  Pear scrabbled in his lunch pail eating his snack.

***

Three Ingredients II – 11: Red Currants, Baked Beans, Polish Sausage

Young Lucille Ball

Young Lucille Ball

Am I in an odd “place” or is it just the weather? The moon? Solar flares maybe? Could it be this week’s ghostly ingredient from the Jar of Spooky Things?

I can’t define it — this odd mood, so I may as well just roll with it.  However, be warned that it might make this episode of Cookbook-2 a little peculiar too!

Not everything writers do is influenced by the nature and contents of our mood, mind or memories. Some characters have nothing at all to do with our personalities or pain. And some do. However, I think most of what we write is influenced by our experiences. It would take a talented writer indeed to fully remove self from the words.

So for most of us, a piece of the heart, the soul goes into what we write. The same Episode 11is true for great cooks — a little of their spirit and a lot of their love is stirred into everything they prepare.  Take a tour of A Pug in the Kitchen, and you’ll see an example of how true that is.  Suzanne supplied the ingredients for this episode.  Her blog is packed with great food and clear instructions. But what makes it a truly special place are the touches of real life, the bits of her that you’ll find in each recipe and post.

And now, a brief reminder of where we left things last time…

Bon appétit!

***

Saltwater and rain drenched everyone.  Passengers screamed.  The captain shouted for calm.  Huge waves poured into the small craft.  Thunder roared.  Lightning blasted the darkness, eerily illuminating the terrified faces around me.

A double pronged bolt of lightning fractured the sky right above us.  The boat launched into the air again.  That time I lost my grip.  I felt myself lifted off my seat and into the air.

***

11.  Red Currants, Baked Beans, Polish Sausage

With Supernatural

Esther Williams

Esther Williams

It was a big soft cushion of black velvet.  I settled against it as I floated down.  Down.

The world was so quiet and peaceful.  I relaxed and drifted further into dark serenity.  A gentle downward motion cradled me.  Peace.  It was a wonderful calm feeling.  I never wanted to let go of it.

Then icy cold stabbed through me, jolting my arms, my legs with abrupt freezing pain.  Shocked, my eyes bulged open, but I couldn’t see.  The world around me was black and empty.  Suddenly I realized that I couldn’t breathe.

I finally understood that I was under water.  My arms and legs floundered as my mind told them to move, to swim.  However, in the shock of the cold depths, my body didn’t listen to what my brain said.  My muscles seemed confused, trying but not succeeding to comply with mental demands.

Something scaly brushed past my legs.  I twisted in the Atlantic, still descending.  Then I felt a soft caress, like a hand on my shin, gently pulling me even farther down.  I swung out my leg instinctively.  A bubbling chuckle answered my kick.

1920s La Vie Parisienne Mermaid by hérouardIn the darkness I saw a glimmer reflect from opalescent scales and a broad fishtail.  Bright green eyes were unexpectedly locked with mine.  I saw a beautiful face that could have been either male or female, surrounded by a nimbus of long floating green hair.  The face loomed closer and I was kissed passionately.

At first I struggled in fear.  Then I realized that my lungs were filling with air.  He backed away, and I saw his bare chest, marked with what appeared to be strange tattoos.  I stretched out my hand beseechingly.  I tried to plead for help, but only succeeded in taking in more of the ocean.  With another watery chuckle he glided closer, eyes softly glowing in the night.  He licked his lips and the light in his eyes intensified.  His expression scared me more than the prospect of drowning.

Abruptly he broke eye contact and looked around suspiciously.  Something about the way his green hair floated made me think he was using it in a sensory way.  His fierce expression turned fearful.  With a powerful thrust of the broad fin of his tail he plunged deeper into the Atlantic and disappeared.

Applesauce!  A mermaid.  No, a merman, I corrected myself as I struggled in vain to reach the surface.  I had always thought mer… people were supposed to be playful rescuers.  But that guy really scared me. Then I remembered something from school, about long ago sailors telling tales of men being dragged to their deaths by mermaids.  I 1903 Seahorse cigarette carddidn’t know what to think.  It had to be a hallucination anyway.  After all, I was drowning, and with that I realized the breath of air he gave me was already exhausted.

Despite the frigid ocean, my lungs burned, ready to explode.  I saw a narrow stream of small blood red bubbles, and I thought perhaps my lungs really had burst.  Although I knew that had not happened.  Yet.

I looked at the tiny bubbles in fascination as they floated toward me in single file.  They reminded me of ripe red currants.  The line of translucent red currant bubbles became a loop and it circled around me.  I heard a pop-fizz sound and the red bubbles drew snuggly around me, no longer a loop but a lariat.

A current surged against me, pushing me halfway around.  Charging toward me was a giant seahorse.  As it drew close, the seahorse reared back, snorting supernatural fire the ocean could not quench.  The glowing white form of a Stetson hat shone from behind the creature’s head.  Caleb Colman leaned forward, took off his hat, and gave me a dazzling grin.

“Hey little filly,” he said.  “It looks like you’re in a mite of trouble,” the erstwhile ghost-rider said as he gave the supernatural lasso a gentle tug.

Caleb put an arm around me and placed me in front of him where he sat astride the enormous seahorse.  He whipped the lasso, cracking it heavenward.  The seahorse snorted fire and bolted upward.

Boy and SeahorseIt was still pitch black, but I sensed we neared the surface of the Atlantic.  Caleb leaned down and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.

“I know that I owe my chance at redemption to Maestro Martino, and I hope you’ll thank him for me.  But if it hadn’t been for you Miss Pip, it never would have happened.  I’m just trying to say that I’m grateful to you.  And I’m grateful to be able to help you in return,” Caleb said.

Unexpectedly when I broke the surface of the water, I sailed up several feet into the air, like a dolphin.  But what goes up must come down, and I hit the water again with a cold splash.  I heard Andy scream my name and immediately after, a life preserver plopped into the ocean next to me.

***

Sputtering, wheezing, coughing, and finally a belch of smoke preceded the reanimation of the ferry’s engine.  The captain’s soot streaked face broke into a smile.  Some of the passengers cheered, but half of them were too wet, cold, and shocked to express emotions.  The small craft limped to the dock at Tybee Island.1920s Fish Costumes

To my surprise a line of torches lit the shore.  A dozen people moved forward, eagerly greeting the passengers of the unlucky boat.  They had made fire pits, and had blankets ready, which was a great comfort to everyone.  The aroma of food came to my nose and I was suddenly hungry.  A woman came toward Andy and me with a bowl in each hand.

“It’s only baked beans,” she apologized.  “That’s all we could do on short notice.  I was already cooking them for the picnic tomorrow, but this is a more important use for them.  C’mon they’re warm and hearty.  Have some; it’ll do you good,” she said as she handed us the bowls which we gratefully accepted.

She called over her shoulder to someone.  “Vance Varley, will you please hurry up and give these kids some blankets?” she said, though I couldn’t tell to whom she spoke.

The woman was right.  Having some warm food in my belly did make me feel better.  At that moment, filet mignon couldn’t have been any better than those baked beans.

Heinz baked beans adA man put a blanket around my shoulders.  A bit of white at his collar shone in the firelight.  He turned and put another blanket around Andy.  The man quickly moved to someone behind us.  I heard the voice of Mattie Maddox talking enthusiastically to him as he tucked a blanket around her.  I was glad to see that the older woman had taken one of the few camp chairs.  He told her not to worry, that they would make sure everyone got home safely.

“Vicar Varley, how could you possibly have known, especially in time to get all this together?” she asked him.

“I tell you Mattie, it was the oddest thing,” the clergyman began.  “I was in the kitchen Vintage Mermaid Seahorsewhen I heard the radio start making all kinds of noise.  The dial was spinning crazily, not even on any normal channel.  The static and screeching were so fierce that I covered my ears.  Then I heard a foreign man.  He said the ferry was in trouble and that we had to be ready to care for the passengers when it got to shore.”

“A foreigner, you say?” Mattie Maddox said in a curious tone.

“I-talian, I think he was,” the cleric said.  “I believe he said his name was Mister Martino, but I’m not familiar with any Martinos in Savannah.”

Andy and I looked at each other, our jaws hanging open.  I moved my mouth to ask how, but the word didn’t come out.  Andy got that look on his face that he gets when he’s thinking up something for one of his stories.

“They say that spirits can control electrical things, like the telephones and radios,” Andy said in an amazed voice.  “Maestro must have pulled some kind of poltergeist switchboard shenanigan.  But I don’t understand how he could have known.”

Memory came clearly despite my frazzled and soggy state.  “Maestro knew I was upset when the ghost-riders accidentally took you,” I told Andy.  “He said the presence of the riders and the Devil’s Herd are such a strong phenomenon that he felt them, and somehow that let him tune into me as well,” I said but Andy didn’t seem to understand, so I tried to explain.  “Just before I went overboard, I saw the Devil’s Herd in the sky.  I 1920s Mermaidsalso saw a horizontal bolt of red lightning that seemed to point straight at the island,” I added and looked inland.

Andy followed my gaze.  The church steeple was alight.  A smaller, partially obscured building stood next to the church.  The lights were also on there.  I supposed it was the rectory.  I took a few steps in that direction so that I could see past a clump of needle palm trees.  The unobstructed view showed me an arched stained glass window that glowed golden and aqua in the night.

I shivered, and it wasn’t because I was soaked to the skin.  I was looking at the exact window that Daisy had made appear in the abandoned warehouse.

Mattie Maddox looked my way when I moved.  I gave her an encouraging smile.  She turned back to Vicar Vance Varley.  “That nice young couple over there,” she said in a quieter voice, but I was easily within earshot.  “They were planning to ask for beds in the hostel.  But are you going to have room? I expect some of these other passengers are going to need a place to stay the night.  It’s awfully late for anybody to be trying to get home,” Mattie said in a concerned voice.

Vicar Varley patted Mattie’s shoulder.  “Don’t you worry your sweet head about it Miss 1920s MermaidenMattie.  The hostel was already full, but we’ll manage in a time of need,” he said in a confident voice, but his face looked uncertain.

“No,” Mattie said flatly.  “I already offered to let them stay with me, but I could tell they just didn’t want to put me to any trouble when they said they’d go to the church hostel.  Vance,” she added with authority and switched from calling him Vicar to using his first name.

“You’ll have to insist to them for me.  It won’t be any trouble at all.  I even have a nice supper with Polish sausage already cooked and waiting in the icebox.  And it’s too much for just me.  Polish sausage, cabbage, pierogies — why that’s too good to let it go to waste.  Those two can stay the night at my house, and that’s that,” she said.

I had not expected Mattie Maddox to be such a forceful woman.  It seemed like she had known Vicar Varley for a long time, based on the way they acted with each other.  I had to laugh.  I’d hate to be on the wrong side of an argument with her.  Mattie had the heart of a flapper for sure.

The stained glass window in the rectory pulled my gaze back toward the churchyard.  That was definitely the window in Mattie’s painting.  I was certain that it was also the one Daisy, the ghost woman showed us as a clue to the mystery of who killed her. 1924 Peterpan Mermaids

I bit my lip in frustration, wishing poor Daisy hadn’t been too devastated to remember much of anything.  However, I shuddered to think what might be so horrible that even in death the memory was unbearable.  But then again, I guessed that anyone who was murdered would be traumatized.  Holy Hannah, what an awful thing!

I could imagine someone sweet and gentle like Daisy befriending Mattie Maddox.  Daisy was from a very poor family, and she wouldn’t have thought twice about her status being harmed by that kind of friendship.  Not Daisy.  If Mattie had been her friend before Henry Kingston fell in love and married her, then Daisy wouldn’t have ended the friendship just because Mattie was a maid rather than a socialite.Argosy Weekly Story Magazine The Sea Girl Ray Cummings

Another idea came to me before that thought even finished running through my waterlogged noodle.  A wealthy man like Kingston would have had a lot of servants, just like his son had a whole staff to take care of that swanky mansion.  Maybe I had it backwards. What if Mattie had worked for the Kingstons and then became friendly with Daisy?

No… I told myself that whole line of thought was crazy.  Savannah had plenty of rich bluenose aristocrat types who could afford maids.  Mattie knowing Daisy the Dainty Dish was too much of a longshot.

As I looked at Mattie, a pinkish aura appeared around the older woman.  I blinked.  Was I going to start seeing auras as well as ghosts?  I wondered what “pink” meant.

A moment later Daisy appeared behind Mattie.  The spirit frowned as she looked down at the woman.  I didn’t think her expression was one of anger.  Rather Daisy looked pensive or perhaps confused.  After a moment Daisy’s form disappeared.  Mattie turned around, as if she felt someone behind her.  The older woman looked at me and gave a cheery little wave.

The sound of the ocean drew me.  I pulled the rough blanket closer around myself and strolled out onto the beach.  Twinkling stars reflected in the water as it lapped against the shore.  The breeze hummed a hypnotic tune in my ears.  I saw two specks of sparkling green out on the gentle waves.

The emerald sparks started to move closer, and I realized they didn’t come from reflected starlight of any kind.  They were eyes.  A broad shimmering green tailfin surfaced and slapped the water with a loud splash before heading back to sea.VIntage Mermaid and baby

***

Recipe:  Baked Beans with Salt Pork

Recipe Credit: Mrs. Wilson’s Cook Book (1920).

Ingredients

1 pound of beans

1 can of tomatoes

1 cup of chopped onions

1/2 cup of syrup

1 pound of salt pork cut in pieces

2 tablespoons of salt

1 tablespoon of paprika

Instructions

Soak the beans over night or early in the morning. At noon place in a kettle and cover with water. Bring to a boil and drain off the water. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for fifteen minutes. Drain.

Now add tomatoes, onions, syrup, pork, salt, and paprika. Add sufficient water to cover beans one inch deep. Mix well and then cover the pot closely and bake in a slow oven for four hours.

 ***

Tune in next weekend for a new episode with “ingredients” from Willy Nilly To and Fro ~ The Philosophy of Inanity.

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.

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

Three Ingredients – Stay Tuned

Perils_of_Pauline_-_1947_Poster Hello everyone, I think this is the first weekend that I’ve failed to give you a serial episode since we started this, way back with the Three Things. So I hope you will tune in next weekend to find out what is happening with Pip, Granny Fanny, Cracker the Parrot, and the rest of the 1920’s crew.

The mean Queen of Clubs is on the loose somewhere in Savannah.

The mysterious King of Clubs left his calling card with (partial) amnesiac Pip.

And there’s still that unfinished sting operation at a ritzy reception Granny Fanny has to cater.

However, the real world intruded on me… and there is a lot of mundane work for me to do this weekend. Maybe this is a good time for you to do catch-up reading of past episodes.  Click on the Three Ingredients button at the top of the page.

So please come back next weekend… Same flapper time — same flapper channel!

Three Ingredients – 13: Pigeon, Microwave, Prune

Lucky 13 — that’s how I’ve always thought of the number.  There have been cliffhangers in our serial lately.  Will Episode 13 PigeonEpisode-13 be lucky for the characters?

Ishita at Kooky Cookyng supplied the “ingredients” today.  She playfully threw me a curve with “microwave.” It took a bit of storytelling for me to work that into a 1920’s story, so I hope this episode isn’t too long for anyone. However, it did give us a new character, and I rather like him.  Thank you, Ishita, for the ingredients and for the character they inspired.  Maybe he will turn up in other episodes too.

Coming Up:  Stay tuned for Episode-14, when the ingredients come from scenic Vermont and Michael Fedison, author of The Eye-Dancers

Remember, you can do catch-up reading of our past episodes by clicking the “Three Ingredients Serial Homepage” button at the top of the screen.  And now… Episode-13.

Pigeon, Microwave, Prunes

1920s Cat and Canary

I don’t remember getting out of the Model-T.  I don’t remember Granny Fanny shouting the words “No, Pip.  Don’t look!”  I don’t remember the young policeman taking my arm to hold me back.  And I don’t remember pulling free of his grasp to approach the tall bloody form stretched out on the ground with a hat covering his face.  All I remember is smelling the coppery odor of blood, and seeing the fedora that belonged to Detective Dabney Daniels covering the face.

The hat was still rumpled from where Dabney crushed it in his hands when he told Granny and me about Marshal Moses Myrick being ambushed.  The young copper caught my arm again, more firmly that time.  Granny had my other arm.  “I have to…” was all I could manage to say.

A Ford that vaguely resembled the one belonging to the marshal sat with steam coming from the radiator.  Its front tires were flat, the windshield shattered.  The metal was so riddled with bullet holes that it hardly looked like the same car.Bonnie-Clyde car 1934

Several pigeons sat on the roof of a small building, looking on curiously.  I noticed the birds in a dazed sort of way.  They fluttered off as two more police cars roared up to the place, sirens blaring.  But I barely saw or heard the commotion.

“Miss, please.  You don’t want to look.  It wouldn’t help you!” the young officer said, seeming almost frantic to find the right words.  I guessed that this kind of scene was as new to him as it was to me.  As I tried to pull away from his grasp the young man spoke in a horrified strangle of a voice, “His face is a mess!”

Granny took in a sharp breath.  She froze next to me.  She tilted her head the way she did when she was unraveling a puzzle of one kind or another.  Then her shoulders relaxed minutely.  She was saying something but I wasn’t listening.  Finally a sharp “Paisley Idelle!” pierced the fog of my overwhelmed mind.

flapper-n-hat“It’s not Dabney!” she said in a tone that suggested she had already said the same thing three times.  Three was sort of a magic number with Granny.  She’d repeat herself, but if she had to say something a third time… well, she didn’t appreciate it.

The young copper let go of my arm and spoke to the policemen in the two cars.  In an instant both cars sped off in the direction the gangsters had gone.

“You have a radio, don’t you young man?” Granny asked him.  He said that he did, but wondered how Granny knew.  “Because you wouldn’t have gotten here before the others if you didn’t.  You heard Dabney radio the station, from wherever you were, and headed straight here — isn’t that right?”

He looked at Granny like he thought she must have read his mind.  “How did…?”

“Oh for goodness sakes, how else would you have known?” she said.  “Now, use that radio and tell them that the crooks are probably headed to Wetson’s Mill.  But they better not go barging in until you get more people there!  Tell them that’s on the word of Moses Myrick,” she added.  “They probably wouldn’t take a woman’s word for it,”1928 Detroit police radio she muttered in a tone so low that I was the only one who heard.  Then she gave the young man a small but encouraging smile.  “Go on now.”

The officer jumped into action, radioing the police station, talking back and forth with first the chief and then other officials.  However, every time he mentioned Marshal Myrick’s name the people at the other end seemed to pay attention.

As he worked Granny shook her head sadly.  The handle of the tin box labeled “Johnson’s Autokit” was clenched in her hand, but she didn’t need the bandages from the first aid kit.  Both of the marshal’s men were dead.  The young policeman told us that Detective Daniels had taken a badly injured Marshal Myrick.  I asked how the revenuer was, and he shook his head and murmured, “Not good…”

Then he turned abruptly to answer a call on his radio and he stumbled to the ground.  I tried to help him up and noticed a trickle of blood running down his face.  When I pushed his hair up I could see that the wound was worse as it stretched back across his head.  Granny opened the first aid kit and went to work.

Hank Hertz or Hugo Johnstone-Burt“Bullet grazed your head, didn’t it son?  Why didn’t you say something?” she asked in a very kind voice.

“I didn’t even realize I was bleeding,” he said.  “I just got dizzy all of a sudden.”

“That was as near a miss as there could possibly be,” Granny commented.  Her calm voice seemed to sooth the young policeman.  I was so shook-up myself that I hadn’t paid attention to his state, but Granny had.  “What’s your name son?” she asked as she cleaned the wound.

He winced and tried to draw back, but she put a firm hand at his chin to hold him still.  “Henry Hertz, ma’am.  But everyone calls me Hank,” he said between cringes.  I winced for him.  Granny would make sure that wound was clean whether or not the disinfecting was pleasant.

“I’m going to Doc Vale’s now,” she said as she closed the first aid kit.  “They might need an extra pair of hands.  Besides, I have to know how Moses is.  There’s too much blood here,” Granny Fanny murmured as she turned away.  “Way too much…”

Looking back over her shoulder she added, “Pip, why don’t you help Hank with what he’s got to 1920s Operating roomdo here.  Then drive his car to Veronica and Vincent’s.  Hank doesn’t need to be driving right now.  And if he starts acting sleepy, keep him awake.  He might have a concussion.  That bullet grazed him pretty good.  Doc Vale needs to check him out… one Doc Vale or the other; doesn’t matter which,” she said in a lighter tone, reminding me that Granny enjoyed the fact that Mrs. Vale was such an accomplished physician in an age when few women were doctors.

Hank Hertz and I quickly did what the policeman at the other end of the radio said needed to be done for the crime scene.  I was fascinated with the police radio.  Hank seemed to know more about it than the older coppers back at the station in Savannah, easily telling them how to fix a problem when they started having trouble hearing each other.

“Aren’t you young to be a policeman?” I couldn’t help asking.  Hank blushed and looked slightly put out.  He said you could be a year younger than him and still be a policeman.  “Well, at least to have this kind of responsibility?” I added, indicating the radio.  “You seem to know a lot about it.”

His cheeks pinked again, but that time in a better way at the compliment.  “My grandfather was a scientist.  He was one of the first people to figure out things like radio waves and microwaves.  His name was Heinrich Hertz, and he proved the existence of radio waves back in the late 1880s,” Hank explained.

1929 Radio News Sept“And that’s what lets the radio work right? Waves you can’t see,” I said, feeling a little pleased that he was surprised I had any idea or interest.  “I paid attention in school,” I told him with a grin.  “And I had teachers that didn’t have anything against girls learning scientific things.  I guess I was lucky.  I know that isn’t always the case.”

The young policeman was really in his element talking about the radio and its technology.  I think it helped Hank get over the shock of the gruesome scene at which he arrived.  He had seen more of the gory details than I had.  What I saw was bad enough.  More than bad enough.

His enthusiasm bubbled up when he talked about how radios worked, despite the headache I could tell he was getting.  He rubbed his head and started to fidget with the bandage.  I pushed his hand away from the gauze dressing.  “Granny will cook your goose if you mess with her bandage,” I told him with a wink.  “So what about the other waves you mentioned?  What was it – mini waves?” I asked meaning to distract him from the headache with a subject he clearly enjoyed.

Hank seemed to have a little trouble focusing.  I thought the headache must be pretty fierce.  “Oh, you mean microwaves?  I tried to tell my ma that SunPigeon-PBmicrowaves might be used in the kitchen one day, for cooking.  But she laughed and said I was too much like my grandpa.  But I think — with the right equipment, they could be used to cook food.  They would stimulate water molecules to vibrate and give off energy.  You see, the frequency at which microwaves oscillate corresponds to a frequency that heats up water molecules, so they can absorb a lot of the energy.  It would cook the food!  Like that pigeon over there,” he said pointing.  “You could cook a Cornish hen in probably three minutes.”

The pigeon chose that moment to fly away rather noisily.  Maybe it was offended.  However, Hank was keen on the microwave idea.  I could tell he thought it was the bee’s knees… and I actually did understand… Well okay, half of it anyway.

I helped Hank get to his car, though he seemed to think he was the one helping me.  prune juiceHe insisted on driving, but all I had to do was remind him that Granny said he’d better not drive.  Granny Fanny had made an impression on the young policeman, and he gave in quickly.

Before we could get on the road, my stomach growled loudly.  Hank was determined to do whatever he could to look after me.  I started wondering just how badly I had reacted to the scene to cause him to be so concerned.  Maybe he just needed something else to focus on, someone living.  He reached under the seat and came up with a tin filled with prunes.

“Uh, I don’t need those,” I said awkwardly when he offered the dried plumbs.  I wondered if that bullet had done more than graze his head.

He laughed and looked a little embarrassed.  “Oh, no.  I mean, prunes are real good for you.  I want to be a better shot. With a gun, you know, since I’m a police officer now.  My ma said prunes will give you healthy eyes and all sorts of good things.  You just have to make sure you don’t eat too many!”

Fortunately that uncomfortable conversation was interrupted when something drew my eyes to the sky.  A brightly colored bird flew low, in front of us.  “Cracker!” I exclaimed.Parrot in flight

Whether or not the parrot heard me, I couldn’t say.  But she kept flying.  At least she was heading in the same direction that we were.  Despite the critical circumstances, I couldn’t help thinking about Cracker’s behavior.  First she had gone in the direction of Wetson’s Mill, where the marshal thought a gang of bootleggers was based.  Cracker’s late, unlamented owner, Cracker Jack Daddy, probably spent a lot of time there, and might well have taken her with him.  What if she had gone there looking for him?

Next she flew in the direction that Dabney had taken Moses Myrick.  I wondered if she actually would go to the doctors Vale.  Was the bird that smart?  She was awfully fond of Marshal Myrick.  Could she smell him and follow the scent?

With the detective and the marshal once again at the forefront of my thoughts, I was sick with worry.  It was overwhelming.  For a moment it seemed like I couldn’t even function.  I stared blankly over the steering wheel of Hank’s car without moving. There were so many bullet holes in the marshal’s car. Empty shell casings littered the ground everywhere I looked.  And the blood — there was so much blood… Dabney Daniels might have been wounded too for all I knew.  Hank had been hurt and bleeding without even realizing it.  It would be just like the detective to hide the fact that he was injured, so he could be sure the marshal got immediate care.

Then I remembered the marshal chuckling about me and telling my grandmother, “That apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”

1927 Life-JanBy golly, I thought with pride, he was right.  I told Hank to hold on tight.  He looked at me wide-eyed.  Then I punched the gas, just like Granny Fanny would have.

Recipe

Brandied Prunes

Brandiednprunes

Recipe credit: Michael Moore (Ninemsn.com)

Ingredients

Brandied Prunes
30 dried prunes (stones removed)
150g caster sugar Chocolate Ganache Mascarpone cream
200ml water 150ml cream 150ml cream
100ml brandy 150g dark chocolate 150g mascarpone
1 cinnamon quill (stick) 50g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways vanilla essence
2 cloves

(Conversion Calculator)

Method

Place all brandied prune ingredients into a pot and bring to the boil. Add prunes and cook for 4 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool in the liquid.

They are best left to steep for 24 hours.

For chocolate ganache, bring cream to the boil, then pour over chocolate. Mix together until dissolved. Allow to cool in the fridge.

For mascarpone cream, whisk cream together with mascarpone. Add sugar and vanilla and place into a piping bag.

Fill prunes with some of the ganache and place into your serving dish, pipe mascarpone on top and drizzle a little sauce over them. You may even like to add a little extra brandy.

***

The Three Ingredients Serial: Copyright © 2014

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.  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.