Jazz Age Wednesdays 16 ― Champagne Tidbit from Murder at the Bijou

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Update:  I have no idea how WordPress managed to post a duplicate of this… I regret any confusion this caused — particularly if you receive my posts via e-mail. The battle of the WP gremlins continues.  Now on with the good stuff.

Flapper Happy New Year champagne red

Welcome to Jazz Age Wednesdays here at Teagan’s Books.  Many of you celebrated Christmas this week.  Now, here we are at the end of 2017.  Making it through another year is a real sockdollager — no kidding, it’s a big deal.  So, I want to toast all of you sheiks and shebas for visiting me throughout this year.

Writing Process

This blog is my sanctuary, and I mean it to be a safe place for everyone else too.  That’s why I don’t blog about politics, religion, or emotionally charged current events — that includes the recent headlines about sexual harassment.   (I am definitely a blog-tater.)  …Although once in a while I come close.  However, I in no way invite discussion of these things. 

So I’m just sayin’…  You see, someone criticized me because, in one of these 1920s stories, I wrote that Pip’s father told her the board room was no place for a girl.  While some of Pips tales are laced with fantasy, they are in a real world setting.  A fundamental thread is Pip coping with being a young woman in a changing era.  So I make no apologies for writing about the world my heroine had to claw her way through.  Denying that the wrongs of the past existed is an insult to the forerunners who had even more obstacles than the still huge ones women have today.  Okay. I’m stepping down off my Julia Sugarbaker soap box now.  As I said, I do not want comments about these things.  Thanks for letting me vent that.  Now, back to the point.

1920s Cosmo_writing_Find the Woman_Arthur Roche

At New Year’s I always think of champagne.  So this time I’m sharing a chapter from Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I.  Okay… so it’s not exactly about champagne, but it does mention it. 

As most of you know, I used “things” or ingredients sent by the readers of this blog to guide every chapter of the novels about Pip and company.  The ingredients for this bit were Salmon, Beef Drippings, and Dandelion & Burdock. 

Even though this episode comes from late in the story, I don’t think there is anything that qualifies as a spoiler here. (If you haven’t read the novel, and you are sensitive to spoilers, maybe you should skip it anyway…)

Now, I’ll just get a wiggle on and ankle back to the 1920s!

Wish you all you wish-moon-New Year

Champagne Tidbit — Murder at the Bijou

Rather than the bun she often wore, Granny Phanny had rolled and tucked her long hair into a style that at first glance looked a lot like a bob.  The wide legged black crepe trousers and white tuxedo jacket fit her perfectly.  She looked every inch the modern woman; and… younger too.  Eunice’s Uniformshad done a great job.  I straightened my own waiters’ uniform and Granny smiled.

The telephone rang and Granny hurried to answer it.  I knew she was still more than a little bit worried about Moses Myrick.  There was a tightness around her eyes that had not been there before the marshal was shot.

“Yes, Doc. Is that you?” I could hear the concern in her voice as she spoke into the receiver.  The ear piece was pressed tightly against her head.  Then she exhaled and her shoulders relaxed.  “You don’t really think so?  Considering the way she’s been acting I’m surprised,” she said but paused to listen.  “Yes Doc.  We’ll keep an eye out,” Granny said and hung up the telephone.

“Doctor Veronica says that parrot flew the coop.  Darnedest thing I’ve ever heard.  That nasty bird nearly took my finger off when I tried to pry her away from Moses.  But Veronica said she let herself out the window a few minutes ago.  The last time she saw Cracker, the parrot was headed in this direction,” Granny said shaking her head in wonder at the bird’s unpredictable behavior.  “I find it hard to believe that she’d suddenly give up her equally sudden devotion to Moses.  Be a dear and keep an eye out for Cracker just the same.”

Baby New Year clock-hands

I murmured my promise.  I found the parrot’s antics unexpected, but when I thought about it, we should probably expect the unexpected from Cracker.  However I didn’t give it that much thought because the aroma of the huge beef roast Granny had been cooking all day wafted to my nostrils.  My stomach gave a loud growl.  Granny chuckled and told me to go get a snack – but to take off the white jacket first.  Just then Hank Hertz walked in eating a yeast roll that was sopping with beef drippings.  It was a good thing he had removed his jacket, else Granny might have skinned him when a big drop of au jus went down his chest. 

I barely recognized Hank, and it wasn’t because of the partial amnesia I’d experienced since my unknown attacker had left me in a root cellar at the Queen of Clubs Herb Farm out at Wetson’s Mill.  No, Granny had told Hank that if he was going to participate in the night’s “catering event” he’d have to let her treat his hair with henna.  Now his hair was bright red, and he had a little red mustache too.

Granny said she was concerned about Hank’s safety, since too many people knew he was quickly on the scene after the villains had ambushed Marshal Moses Myrick and his men.  I’m sure that was true; Granny wouldn’t put anybody in harm’s way.  But I suspected that she planned to carryout Myrick’s original “sting” plan, with or without the injured marshal’s help.  So that was another reason for disguising Savannah’s youngest police officer.

Hank scratched at the mustache.  I quipped that I’d always wondered if those things itched.  He nodded and spoke quietly.  “I feel ridiculous with this red hair,” he confided.  “But Miss Phanny says it will fade away with washing.”

I thought Granny might have exaggerated about the “fading away” part of the henna, but I didn’t want to make Hank feel any more uncomfortable than he already was.  I gently poked his ribs with my elbow.  “I think it looks rather dashing,” I reassured him and he stood a little straighter.

New Year Man in moon baby

My grandmother took Hank’s elbow and led us both to the kitchen.  She fixed snack plates for the three of us with roast beef, rolls, and candied carrots.  I gave a wistful glance at the za’atar she’d so carefully prepared, but I knew she was worried about having enough, so I didn’t say anything.

She glanced at the clock and took out a fourth plate and sat it on the green and white gingham tablecloth.  Then she turned to one of several tubs of ice that contained cobalt blue bottles with attached cork flip tops, and pulled out a few bottles.

“What is this anyway?” I asked and sniffed the liquid that reminded me of sarsaparilla. 

I had been wondering what was inside the bottles, because I had heard Granny tell her client that he’d have to supply any alcohol, being as it was illegal.  I had not met the rich man who was hosting the reception Granny had agreed to cater.  But I overheard part of their telephone conversation — whether I wanted to or not.  He was one of those people who felt they had to shout into the telephone since he was talking to someone across town.  He sounded nice enough, but there was just something about him that rubbed me the wrong way, despite the fact I had never even seen him.

Hank Hertz took a swig from the blue bottle.  “Umm.  It’s dandelion and burdock,” he said to my unspoken question.  “Dr. Veronica gave me some before.  She said it was kind of medicinal.”

“It’s also mildly alcoholic,” Granny interjected.  “Not enough to cause trouble for me, but that seemed to mollify tonight’s host.  He was… well… irritated that I wouldn’t bring any champagne because of the prohibition.  He was being pretty hard headed about that,” she said with a slightly annoyed twist to her mouth.  Granny didn’t like anybody trying to boss her around.

1920s Illustration of Party

The putter of an engine sent me to the kitchen window.  I pushed back the eyelet curtain and saw Alastair Wong pull his delivery truck up beside the cottage.  Alastair had offered to help. He said he expected a slow night at his restaurant, and besides there was plenty of family to help there.  I saw that he had even temporarily covered his pride and joy slogan, “You’re always right with Wong’s” with a sign proclaiming Granny’s Goodies.  My grandmother quickly fixed the fourth plate with a snack for Alastair.

Moments later Hank and Alastair loaded the heavy galvanized steel tubs, filled with ice and cobalt blue bottles of dandelion and burdockonto the delivery truck.  Then they covered them with a tarp to help keep the ice from melting as fast.

I was surprised to see Cinnamon Bun, the Flemish Giant rabbit, thump up the back porch stairs.  He had been hiding from all the activity.  As usual, Granny went gaga over the oversized bunny and praised him for coming out to be sociable.  Cinnamon liked getting his ears stroked, but he sat up on his haunches as if looking for something in the distance.

A blur of brilliant color streaked down from the sky and Cracker the parrot alighted next to the rabbit.  She nibbled at his fur and cooed, “Good bird… good bird.”

My amazement at the bond between bird and bunny had no end.  My grandmother and I watched the two in fascination.  Then she got back to business.

“Sweet-pea,” she spoke to me.  “Would you get that poached salmon?  Just wrap it up tight.  I won’t plate it until after we get there.”

“Exactly where is this shindig anyway,” I asked.  I knew it was at one of the fanciest homes in Savannah, but I didn’t know much more than that.  I wondered if I had known more before I was attacked and drugged.

1920s Illustration New Years Eve party

“Umm… what was that address?” Granny Phanny said half to herself.  “Oh.  It’s at 420 Kingston Lane.”

Immediately Cracker flew into the air, making circles around Granny and me.  The parrot squawked excitedly, “Fourandtwenty, Fourandtwenty! Dainty dish to set before the king!  Dainty dish!” she repeated as she alighted on my shoulder and pulled my hair with her beak.  “Dainty dish. Fourandtwenty!

Cinnamon Bun sat up on his haunches inquiringly at the bird’s outburst.  He made a snorting sound that drew my eyes to him.  Then I noticed a small rectangle on the porch next to the rabbit.  I stooped to retrieve it.

Another playing card, I thought.  I knew I needed to turn it over, but I was afraid to look.  Cracker must have brought it with her, and dropped it when she started grooming the bunny.  But where had the parrot gotten the card?  Did she pick it up at the Vale residence?  Or did she find it somewhere along the way?  What if she didn’t bring the card at all?  What if an anonymous person had left it there on the porch as another warning?

I was shivering, though it was not cold.  I felt Granny step closer.  She was looking over my shoulder at the card.  Cautionary words were written across the back of the card in a familiar hand.

“Be ready!”

My hands were shaking so badly that I almost dropped the card.  Reluctantly I turned over the rectangle to reveal the sinister looking Joker on the face of the playing card.  Cracker fluttered off my shoulder and landed on the porch banister. 

Jokerswild!” the parrot shrieked and shook her foot.

I had a hazy memory of Cracker making that motion before.  I remembered thinking it seemed disdainful.  Whoever the Joker was, Cracker did not like him… or maybe her.  I reminded myself to think like a modern woman.  The villain might just as well be a woman as a man.

Turning the card face down once again I repeated the words “Be ready!” and felt the pit of my stomach freeze.

The End

***

 You are pos-i-lutely the cat’s pajamas for dropping by!  Here’s wishing everything is Jake in your 2018.

1920s New Year Card

Now, for that shameless self-promotion… Here are the links to the books about Pip and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

 

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, 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, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2014 and 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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 15 ― Pip’s Lemony Christmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hello, everyone!  It’s Jazz Age Wednesdays here at Teagan’s Books.  I know how busy you must be at this time of year, so I’m even happier to see you.

These midweek posts have been a mix of new and re-shared vignettes.  Since several of you sheiks and shebas are new here, I hope no one minds that I’m doing a repeat of my story from a year ago.  As for the “Pip-verse” time-line, this one happens after Pip’s adventures in The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story but before she went to Savanna to live with Granny Phanny.

Pip’s Lemony Christmas

 

Pip Christmas Frame Green

It had been a grand and glorious year.  However, it pos-i-lute-ly had ups and downs.  At that moment I was in one of the downs.  Even the long distance telephone call from my best friend Mona failed (miserably I might add) to cheer me.  She might not be sure where she wanted her future to go, but at least it was going somewhere.  All my friends were moving forward, going somewhere.  Me?  It didn’t look like I would ever get anywhere.

Not only was I going nowhere, I seemed to be going there all by myself.  Worse, it was Christmastime.  Even my Pops suddenly had to go up north on business.  I offered to go and keep him company…  Okay, so I begged.

“Young ladies have no place at business meetings,” he told me in the stern, no nonsense voice that meant I wouldn’t get anywhere with my plea.

Idly, I looked at the lace covered table, lemons artfully arranged as a centerpiece.  I took one of the tangy fruits, tossed it in the air and caught it.  I pondered as I tossed the lemon.

What would any self-respecting flapper do in such a situation?  Refuse to be a sourpuss, that’s what a flapper would do!

I decided as I tossed the lemon.  If all I had for Christmas was lemons, then I’d make lemonade — so to speak, especially after I found the bottle of hooch Pops had squirreled away.  I would have rather had the champagne I knew he hid some place, but that had been ages ago and I couldn’t remember where I saw it.

Gin will do just fine, I told myself.

Suddenly inspired, I gave the yellow fruit a final toss.  I went to the shoebox that held Granny’s recipes.  She had given me instructions for all sorts of citrus treats, and I was a sourpuss with a sweet tooth.

1920s-lemons-king-tut-brand

A little while later I was cleaning up the kitchen as it filled with citrusy baking aromas.  Just as I picked up the remains of my lemons, a loud knock pounded at the front door.  It startled me so badly that I ran to the door with barely a wipe to my juice drenched hands.

“Delivery!” the words came with another thunderous knock.

I threw open the door and the cool December air hit my face.  It was downright brisk, for Florida anyway.  There was a truck in the driveway and a young man with a name embroidered on his jacket — Ronny.  I took the package, barely looking at the guy who handed it to me.  My hands tore at the twine excitedly, even before I went inside.  Meanwhile Ronny the delivery man wrote something on the receipt clamped to his clipboard.

“If you’ll sign here, Miss?” he asked.

There was a card inside the package from my friend Mona.  The front of it said “I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas.”  Hurriedly I stuck the edge of the note between my teeth and tucked the package under my arm so I could take the clipboard and sign the form.

Only then did I notice what a cutie the guy was.  He tilted his head all the way to his shoulder and read aloud the note while I signed.  As soon as I heard him speak the words, I blushed scarlet.  To make matters worse, he made a sympathetic aww sound that made me feel like a six year-old.

In my flustered flurry of motions, taking the note from my teeth, trying to stick it back in the package, and pushing my hair back… wouldn’t you know I touched a lemon coated finger to my face.  I yelped as the citrus stung my eyes.  It made tears stream down my cheeks.man_ray_tears

The guy sounded guilty when he pleaded to know what the matter was, as if he had caused it.  The only word I could manage to utter was, “Lemons!”

He pulled my hand away from my face and lightly sniffed it.  He gave a little chuckle that made me want to bean him.

“Yep, that’s lemons all right.  For a minute there I was afraid you got bad news,” he commented.  “But I guess being alone on Christmas Eve is bad enough.”

For some reason his comment made me lose my composure.  I burst out in real tears and sobs, no longer caused by the stinging citrus.  I plopped down on the porch and sat there with the package in my lap.  This upset poor Ronny.  He started blabbering apologies, clearly unsure of why he was asking for forgiveness.

“Look sweet cakes, you’re my last delivery.  Let me help you wash your face and get rid of that lemon juice before you put your fingers in your eyes again,” he offered in a contrite voice.

I insisted that it was okay, and with a sniffle, silenced my sobs.  Too embarrassed to look at him I turned my attention back to Mona’s gift.  Her card had fallen, but Ronny picked it up and handed it to me.  I took it from him and with a deep breath I spoke the words that humiliated me a moment before.

“I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas,” I read the elegant script on the outside, and then opened the card.  “So you’ll just have to make your own party.”

1920s Champagne ad Calixtus

What?  Digging through the packing paper I found two sparkling etched crystal goblets.  I held up one of the glasses to watch the light play on it.  I looked at Ronny, feeling utterly bemused.  He returned my gaze with a twinkle in eyes that I suddenly noticed were a heavenly shade of blue.

Ronny picked up the other empty glass and playfully tapped it against the one I held.  I suddenly remembered where Pops hid the bubbly.

The End

***

 I appreciate your visit.  You are pos-i-lutely the bee’s knees!

Now, for that shameless self-promotion… Here are the links to the books about Pip and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

 

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, 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, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 14 ― Pip at the Holidays

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s the Jazz Age here at Teagan’s Books.  This time I’m not telling a story.  I’m just imagining what the holidays might have looked like for Pip and her friends during the Roaring Twenties.

Christmas tree hat Modern Pricilla December 1920

I imagined Pip decorating a Christmas tree.  Granny Phanny would have had a few prized glass ornaments to hang from the tree.  The baubles would most likely have been German-made back then.  Granny would have gotten in a lather if one was broken.  However, for the most part, they wouldn’t have had the sophisticated ornaments we have today. 

Pip would doubtless prick her finger many times while stringing popcorn, and that’s no phonus balonus.  She would painstakingly cut little strips of paper to make chains that would decorate the tree as well.  Granny Phanny would have likely been pretty handy with a crochet needle, not to mention deliciously preserved food treats.  She would have passed along those darb handmade gifts. 

Pip,  on the other hand would have needed to shop.  She is a bearcat, but she’s not very handy with crafts, and she’s still learning to cook.   During a few seasons Granny and Pip would have gone up to Atlanta for a special shopping trip at Rich’s department store.

Richs Department Store vintage

Rich’s Department Store

The holiday dinner table would have had a centerpiece made of lemons and oranges.   Granny Phanny would probably have served a baked ham rather than turkey, but I imagine she changed up the main course from time to time.  While her guests were waiting for the meal, Granny would have had Pip pass around some hors d’oeuvres like deviled eggs, roasted nuts, or olives.

Desserts?  There would have been more than one, but some kind of spice cake would have been in the offering.  If you’re looking for a recipe, try this delectable dessert from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen.

Photo by Suzanne DeBrango

Now Granny Phanny is no Mrs. Grundy.  She might have had some giggle water on hand, and passed around a jorum of skee.  That is, as long as neither the G-man, Marshal Moses Myric, nor the copper, Detective Dabney Daniels, were around.

I’d love to stick around in the Roaring Twenties, but I have to get back to the present now.  

Hopefully it’s copacetic because I have to do the requisite shameless self-promotion.  Here are the links to the books about Pip and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

I appreciate your visit.  You are pos-i-lutely the bee’s knees!

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, 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, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 13 ― Pip and the River Monster

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hey Sheiks and Shebas,  I’m pos-i-lutely happy to see you at Jazz Age Wednesdays again! 

Early Lucille 3 copy

Young Lucille Ball

I started this short story back when I did a collaborative post with author John W. Howell*.  The three things driving that story were “Counterfeiting, Time, and Hollywood.” The ultimate result was In the Pip of Time, which you saw here

Like I was saying, that was when this story started, but not when I finished it.  I was having one of moments when the many characters I’ve written cross the boundaries of their stories.  Cornelis Drebbel (of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers) popped into the short story I was trying to write…  I couldn’t make the story go where the “things” needed to take it — at least not at that time.  (Applesauce! If that sounds like a lot of bushwa to ya’ll, then all I can say is that’s part of how my brain is just wired wrong.)

I’ll stop beating my gums and say that for this post, I went back to that derailed beginning to finish the story.

Pip and the River Monster

Savannah GA Isle of Hope circa 1930

Isle of Hope, Savannah GA circa 1930

Sunlight glittered on the calm Savannah River.  My friend Alastair helped me down from his truck.  The vehicle had a sign proclaiming “You’re always right with Wongs!  Wong’s Chinese Restaurant.” I had been joking when I gave him that as a slogan for his family business.  I shook my head.

Arabella Wong’s birthday was coming up and Alastair planned a party for her.  I remembered the riverside park from childhood when Pops brought me to visit Granny Phanny.  I wanted to see if Alastair liked it as a venue for his mom’s party.

A gust of wind nearly took my pink cloche hat.  I shoved it firmly onto my head.  Maybe it was a blustery day, but it was still beautiful.  We both jumped at a bright flash of light and a crack of thunder.  A fisherman still carrying his rod and reel pushed past us.

Alastair caught the man’s arm, asking him what was wrong.

“River monster!” the fisherman gasped.  “No time to explain.  You kids will beat it, if you know what’s good for you!” the man cried as he pulled free of Alastair’s grip.

Sea Monster man woman Jean-Marc Côté 1900

Jean-Marc Côté circa 1900

My buddy Alastair was more excited than afraid.  His eyes twinkled as he looked expectantly at the Savannah River.  I however, took a step backward.  Alastair gave me an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

“Don’t worry, flapper.  It’s probably a dolphin.  You know this end of the river is close to the ocean.  Hey!  This has been a warm year, and Florida is not that far away.  It might even be a manatee!” Alastair exclaimed.

Alastair looked at the back of the departing fisherman and chuckled.  I looked at him and hoped he wasn’t a whole heap smarter than us!

We turned back to the river.  A faint purplish glow bathed the area at the shore.  I saw something rise from the water that looked like the head of a huge snake.  I slapped my hand over my mouth to hold back a scream.

Something huge slowly rose from the river.  Alastair stopped smiling.

“Horsefeathers!  That’s no manatee,” he muttered.  “What the Sam Hill is it?”

I tilted my head to one side, suddenly more curious than fearful.

“Alastair…  I’ve seen pictures,” I began hesitantly because I was stunned.  “That looks like an old submarine,” I finished as the thing rose higher out of the water.

It moved right up to the pier.  Water poured down as a hatch opened.  A man with unkempt blonde hair and bushy eyebrows stuck his head out from the hatch.  He waved to Alastair and me.  That’s when things really got strange.

Drebbel stamp

Cornelis Drebble, “Pioneers of Sea Transport” stamp, 2008

 

“Ah-ha!  Mr. Wong!  I wondered why I was drawn to this place.  It’s good to see you, old boy!” the strange man called.

Then he levitated up from the submarine’s hatch and over to the pier.  Honest!  That’s really what happened.

I heard a squeak and a gasp.  I wasn’t sure which sound came from Alastair and which came from me.  I grabbed his arm, although I wasn’t sure whether it was to keep him from running, or to anchor myself.

“Wong,” the stranger began as he walked up to us.

He stopped abruptly.  He looked at the shores of the river.  He sniffed the air.

“This is not Hong Kong,” he stated and then looked closely at Alastair.  “And you sir, are not the right Wong.”

With a perplexed expression he turned his gaze to me.  He took in my bobbed hair.  Then he looked at my fashionably short, but still perfectly proper skirt.  In fact, his peepers paused a little too long at my gams.

“And based on your attire, this is far from the correct era,” he added.

However, another look at Alastair seemed to settle his mind.

“I apologize for my lack of manners,” the odd man went on.  “Allow me to introduce myself.  I’m Cornelis Drebbel, alchemist.  Young man, your grandfather’s grandfather once was the holder of my skull.”

There was another louder squeak, and that time I’m pretty sure it came from me.

“Sk-k-k skull?” Alastair queried.

The man, Cornelis Drebbel looked at each of us, and then smirked.

“Well now, you didn’t think I was ordinary, did you?  If my arrival in a submarine was not enough, after I levitated out of the vessel, you must have realized something.  Maybe you didn’t,” he finished drolly.

I can’t begin to describe how the conversation progressed from that point.  However, we found ourselves sitting on a blanket and drinking coffee from the thermos I had brought.  Cornelis tried to explain the alchemy that connected him to Alastair’s ancestor, and how it brought him to Savannah, Georgia.  I admit most of that went right over my head, but apparently that family tree drew him to Alastair.

After a while he wanted to know more about us.  I told him how we happened to be at the pier, to see if it would be a good place for a birthday party for Alastair’s mom.

The alchemist’s eyes lit up.  He clapped his hands together and grinned.

“I have the perfect place!” he exclaimed.  “How about a river cruise?”

“A riverboat party would be the cat’s meow, but it would cost more mazuma than I see in a year,” Alastair said regretfully.

“Oh, dear boy, tsk-tsk.  I don’t mean a riverboat.  I meant my submarine!” he chortled.  “I’d love to meet your immediate family and give you a tour.  It’s not often I get to meet the descendants of one of the keepers of my skull.”

Unfortunately, Alastair and I couldn’t talk much about it later.  We had to pass it off to Alastair’s family as Hollywood type special effects.  Yet it was pos-i-lutely the most memorable birthday party I ever attended.

The End

***

After the amazingly talented Adele Marie Park asked to know more about my Cornelis Drebbel character, I decided to share a link to the old serial where he was “born” so to speak.  Here is episode one of that “three things” style steampunk series: https://teagansbooks.com/2015/01/17/new-interactive-serial-episode-1/ 

Thanks for visiting.  You really are the cat’s pajamas!

PS:  Of course, I have to show you the links to the books about Pip and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

 

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, 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, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 12 ― Characters of the Three Things Serial Story

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hello everyone, it’s pos-i-lutely divine to see you here at Jazz Age Wednesdays!  This time I thought a change of pace might be in order.  I’m going back to the novella of the first serial, The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story.

For those of you who are new to Teagan’s Books, this post is an introduction to the characters in that novella.  Some of them come back for Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I.  If you’ve been following all along, then I hope this will be a fun visit with your old friends.

I hope the characters in this 1920’s serial have wiggled into your mind so comfortably that you have your own ideas of how they would look or sound.  However, 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

lucille-ball-1937-stage-door

Better known to you as Pip

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, as she looks 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 barrel 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

John Forsythe 1958

John Forsythe 1958

Pip’s Unseen Dad

Thus far I’ve done three incarnations of this “interactive” serial.  Pip’s father has been mentioned many times, and he’s made a phone call or two. However, he has never actually made an appearance. It started to remind me of the 1970’s television series, Charlie’s Angels, with John Forsythe phoning in as the never-seen Charlie.

*

Mona the Movie Star

Clara Bow
Clara Bow

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.

*

Andy the Astronaute-man

Willie Garson

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 lineage.

Andy is 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 bunch. 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?

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

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.

Ca'd'Zan Mansion

Ca’d’Zan Mansion

*

John and Mabel Ringling

Mabel and John Ringling

Mabel and John Ringling

The fictional characters I created of the Ringlings don’t play huge roles in the story, but they were important nonetheless.  Pip and company are invited onboard a yacht that they don’t at first realize belongs to John Ringling. Countess Bepa is old friends with Mabel Ringling.  The entire gang ends up at fabulous Ca’d’Zan where the mystery concludes.

*

The Fabros

1920s 4 Look-alike Guys

Frankie Fabro and His Cousins

Frankie the Fireman and his cousins Flavio, Fedel, and Frediano. First we meet 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.

Oddly enough I never had an image in my mind of Frankie the Fireman. So he is included here with his look alike cousins.

*

Countess Bepa Babikov

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

The mysterious white-haired woman… turns out to be not only the grand mother of Boris the Ballerina, but 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 Babikov

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

Boris the Ballerina

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 Babikov.

Would you like a tidbit from the novella?  This snippet is from pretty far into the story. Let’s get a wiggle on!

Kitten, Fake, Comfort

My eyes strayed to the Art Deco pottery jug into which Ringling had casually dropped the bent key. 1920s  Ben Key Had he been a little too offhanded when he did that?  What if his nonchalance was fake?  I shifted my gaze to the circus millionaire and found him looking at me.  I knew it might be foolish of me, but I couldn’t stop myself from blurting out my thoughts.

“That’s no ordinary key,” I said.  “It might be to Ca’d’Zan, but it’s no door key.”

Everyone became silent, except for Pear the hedgehog, scrabbling inside his lunch pail carrier.  I turned to Countess Babikov.  By the expression on her face, I knew the direction of my words didn’t give her any comfort.  It was obviously meant to be a distraction when she turned to Mona and indicated the tin lunch pail.

“Dear!  What have you in that box?  I hear a tiny creature moving around.  Is it a kitten?” she asked Mona.

It was a feeble attempt at diverting me and the white-haired woman must have realized that, because she blushed and glanced over at me.  However, I was not diverted.  My mind went to that very eventful night when the countess was abducted, and later the group of us returned home to find Boris’ place being burglarized.  I remembered the broken vase and speculating that a key might have been hidden inside.  At the time I wondered if Boris had a key to match the bent one that was dropped from the getaway car.  Once again I considered the same idea — and I voiced the thought.

Ringling and the countess looked at each other in a silent exchange.  She drew an unsteady breath and looked up at him from her spot on the beautifully upholstered sofa.  “John, I am more worried than ever for my grandson’s safety.  If these young people can tell us where to find him…  Can you bring him here?  Please?”

I couldn’t imagine anyone refusing the tortured look in the woman’s eyes.  The circus magnate was not immune to her gaze.  Frankie shifted his feet in a nervous way.  Mona sat in silence.  She licked her lips and looked from the fireman to me.  After all, these people were strangers to us.  Boris kept us at arm’s length, but he was our neighbor and a friend, if not a really close one.  We had already concluded that he was in some kind of trouble.  But did these people have his best interest at heart?  And why did my friends seem to want me to make that decision, I wondered in dismay.

***

 

Of course I must engage in the requisite shameless self-promotion…  Here are links to the books about Pip and her friends.

 

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story

 

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the bee’s knees!

 

Copyright © 2014 and 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene 

All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, 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, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. 

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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 11 ― Turkey Time for Pip

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hey Sheiks and Shebas,  I’m pos-i-lutely thankful that you’re at Jazz Age Wednesdays!  Yes, November is National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo), even at Thanksgiving (USA). And yes, I’m still woefully behind on my word-count toward drafting a novel of 50,000 words in a month… but I’m so grateful for all of you that I’m stopping to write this little vignette.  In gratitude, I’ve included a list of books that were popular during the Roaring Twenties along with links where you can get the books free at Project Gutenberg! 

Turkey Time for Pip

1928 Thanksgiving New Yorker

The New Yorker magazine, November 1928

“Paisley Idelle Peabody, I’ll have no complaining,” Granny Phanny stated firmly.

“But Granny, that’s practically all day!  Why can’t I do those errands for you?” I offered in my most reasonable voice.

“Because I said so,” was my grandmother’s answer.  “Don’t make me tell you again,” she added when I opened my mouth to offer a pos-i-lutely valid alternative.  “Now that turkey has to cook between four and a half and five hours.  Here’s a schedule for basting it.  That’s all you have to do.”

My eyebrows might have gone up a tad, but I am sure there was not a calculating expression on my face or anything like that.  So, I don’t know why she had to be such a bearcat about it.  However, Granny pointed at the oven and then turned that boney finger back at me and shook it.

“The only other thing you have to do is stay put!” she warned and I slouched down in the white ladderback chair.

“But Granny, I’ll be so bored!” I pleaded.

“That’s why I sent you to the library yesterday.  You have plenty of books to choose from to read.  But mind you, keep to that basting schedule,” she instructed with a final wag of her finger.

The heels of Granny’s oxfords click on the wood floor as she went to the foyer.  With a pearl hatpin she secured her favorite roll-brim hat to her head, and pulled on a pair of white gloves.  Then she left.

Horsefeathers,” I muttered, but I brought all the books to the kitchen table.

Some of these actually look pretty good, I thought as I read the title and author of each volume.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles* by Agatha Christie

The Age of Innocence* by Edith Wharton 

This Side of Paradise* by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Main Street* by Sinclair Lewis 

Glinda of Oz* by L. Frank Baum

Queen Lucia* by E. F. Benson 

Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners* by Sigmund Freud 

Applesauce!  It was hard to decide.  I got up and basted the turkey and then sat down to choose a book.

The end

***

I wonder which book our flapper will read first.  What about you?  Have I interested you in a good read?  All of those listed above are available free, and in a variety of formats at Project Gutenberg.  You’ll find descriptions and reviews of these and other Jazz Age books at this Goodreads link.

Speaking of books, here are links to the books about Pip and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

I really appreciate you taking time to visit Jazz Age Wednesdays here at Teagan’s Books.  You’re the bee’s knees!  To all of you in the USA, and anyone else who wants to celebrate a day of gratitude — Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, 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, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 10 ― Pip Sees a Pug

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays!  You’re all the cat’s meow, but this 1920s story went to the dogs!  Whether it is one dog or four remains to be seen. 

I shared this short story a while back in collaboration with A Pug in the Kitchen* where blogger-chef Suzanne cooked up some dog treats that looked good enough for human consumption.  

On to the Jazz Age!

Early Lucille 3 copy

Young Lucille Ball

The dog of the title, Wriggles, was introduced in the third of my blog serials, A Ghost in the Kitchen, Three Ingredients-II.  In that story he was a new dog for the character, Arabella Wong.  However, this vignette takes place prior to that story.  So I made Wriggles a puppy and gave him a different owner.

Did you ever get the feeling you’d have to be “hit over the head” with something before you finally got the message?  Well, that was true of Pip.  Here’s our flapper to tell the tail… eer tale.

Pip Sees a Pug… or Four 

“Floyd?  Hey, Floyd!”

That was definitely him.  The last time I saw Floyd — which was also basically the first time I saw him, the police were putting him into the paddy wagon when they arrested some bootleggers.  Yet there he was on a side street in Savannah.

Maybe all that with the coppers was just a mistake, I thought hopefully. 

After all, Floyd was as sexy as the Sheik of Araby.  Then I remembered how rude he had been to me and Alastair Wong.  He didn’t seem sexy at all before that thought even got halfway across my noodle.  However, he heard me and looked over his shoulder.Sheik of Araby

“Well now, aren’t you a choice bit of calico,” Floyd said as he turned to walk toward me.  “Oh, it’s you!  You’re a real bearcat, but you’re bad luck,” he said.  “Go chase yourself,” he told me and spat on the sidewalk.

I know.  I should have ran the other way and not even called out to him.  However, in the small Florida town where I grew up, if you saw somebody you recognized, then you said hello to them.  I didn’t see why Savannah, Georgia should be any different.

I don’t remember what I meant to say to Floyd when he started to continue on his way, but I opened my mouth to speak, taking a step toward him.

Floyd shoved me and kept going.  Unfortunately I also kept going — backward.  I slipped, fell, and cracked my head.

pugs-4-smoking-vintage

I think I was actually unconscious for a minute or two.  Then I felt something wet wiped across my face.  When I opened my eyes, the world was a spinning blur.  I saw a little pug dog.  It licked my face.  It was wearing a top hat and bow-tie, and smoking a cigar.  As I gazed at it uncomprehendingly I realized there were four of them.  However, when I held my hand out toward the dog, I seemed to have an uncountable number of fingers.  So I figured there was only one dog.  I wasn’t sure what to think about the hat and cigar.

The sound of a police whistle prompted me to try and sit up.  There hadn’t been any “mistake” about the coppers hauling in Floyd.  He had probably escaped and they were after him again.  A voice intruded on my thoughts.  I realized it had been trying to get my attention for a while, but it was hard to hear it over the bells ringing inside my head.

“Huh?” I mumbled, looking for the source of the voice.

“Young lady are you hurt?” asked what must have been the world’s oldest woman.

Her face was so covered in creases and crow’s feet that it was impossible to imagine what she must have looked like in youth or even in middle age.  Even so, bright eyes shown sharply from between the wrinkles.pugs-2-vintage

Despite her fragile appearance she took my arm in a vice like grip.  She put her walking-stick in my hand.

“Wriggles, get off the poor thing!  That’s a good boy.  I’m sorry, he’s still a puppy.  Here dear.  Use my cane to help yourself up,” she said but proceeded to help me up with unexpected strength.

Once I was on my feet, if shakily so, I looked at the pug.  There was only one of him.  The hat and cigar were gone.  That much was a relief, but he still wore the bowtie.  It bothered me that I wasn’t sure whether or not the tie was really there.

Moments later I sat at the kitchen table in the woman’s tiny home.  It was a good thing she lived right around the corner.  I was dizzy and my head felt like it had gotten in the way of a sledgehammer.

A young boy “helped” us get inside her backdoor on the pretext of getting a cookie.  However, she gave him an errand.

“What’s your name, dear?” she asked me as she handed me a cup of tea. 1916-good-housekeeping-woman-tea-cup

I noticed the cup had been cracked and repaired.  The one she used for herself had a chip in the rim.

“Pi… Paisley Peabody,” I stammered, still shaken.

“Peabody?  Would you be kin to Phanny Peabody?”

“Yes ma’am.  That’s my granny.”

“Billy,” she addressed the little boy.  “Take another cookie and run down to Miss Phanny’s house.  Let her know her granddaughter is here.”

Billy’s eyes lit up at the prospect of helping.  Although the extra cookie didn’t hurt.  He took off like a rocket before I could protest.

“Yes ma’am, Miss Olive,” Billy exclaimed as he disappeared.

The pug, Wriggles barked as if he picked up and shared the boy’s excitement.  I reached down to pet him and the little dog wagged his tail so hard that his entire back half wagged along with it.  The woman handed him a treat which was gone before I got a good look at it.

studebaker1920_2

“Paisley, I know you’re from a small town,” Miss Olive began.  “You come from honest, trusting folk.  But in this day and age, a young lady alone has to be careful.  Now, you tell Miss Olive if that man did anything he shouldn’t, you hear?”

I shook my head and immediately wished I hadn’t.  “No.  I recognized him and just meant to say hello.  It would have been rude not to,” I replied and was rewarded with a smile.

The elderly woman patted my hand.  I put my nearly empty teacup on the table and thanked her.  Miss Olive took my cup and swirled the dregs looking at the contents curiously.

“You haven’t gotten off to the best start here in Savannah, have you Paisley?” she commented consolingly.  “But you will make good friends here,” she swirled the tea again and a smirk, a smile she seemed to try and suppress came to her lips.  “And you will have grand adventures.”

I heard the sound of Granny Phanny’s Model-T outside.  Wriggles lived up to his name, wagging his tail excitedly, as he yapped to make sure his lady knew she had company.  Miss Olive put the tea kettle back on the stove.  I felt comforted by the entire scene.  Safe.

The End

***

Pip’s life in Savannah, Georgia got off to a rough start.  However, she’s making quite an assortment of good friends.  I think our flapper tends to bring out the best in people… except Floyd. 

Once again I engage in the requisite shameless self-promotion…  Here are links to the books about Pip and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the bee’s knees! 

 

Copyright © 2014 and 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.