Book Launch: The Three Things Serial Story

Book Launch?  Sort of…

The Three Things Serial Story

A Little 1920s Story

Should I call this a book launch?  That just doesn’t feel right, because I already did this story (and others) here at Teagan’s Books.     

When I started this blog at the end of 2012 I did a few posts.  By 2013 I wanted a theme — something more than just talking about my novel (Atonement, Tennessee) each week. That’s how the first of my serials began — The Three Things.

While any of the serials were being created here at this blog, people would ask for a book version.  So I’ve finally made time to do the first book version!  Of course I’ve started with the first serial.  It’s only a novella in length.  Here’s the Kindle version and the paperback.

So allow me to present to you, The Three Things Serial Story, a Little 1920s Story.  (Amazon UK link.)

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What’s in It for You?

Three Things — Three Free Books!

One free paperback book:

Wherever you are, leave a comment and you will be entered in a random drawing (like the random things!) for an autographed paperback of The Three Things Serial Story.  The names will go into a box and my objective judge will draw the winner’s name.  That’s her in the box now, waiting for comments.

Everyone is eligible for the paperback

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Two more free Kindle books

I’m using an “Amazon giveaway” to  provide two copies of the Kindle version of the book. (I’m sorry, but this is only available to folks in the USA.)  Enter to win at this link: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/c826e4f1836eb006 

All of these giveaways expire Monday, December 6, 2016 at 11:59 PM (PST). 

The Story Behind the Story 

It was 1995 when I developed my “Three Things” writing exercise.  Admittedly I’m easily entertained, but it seems to amuse others as well.  I get three random things and write until I’ve mentioned all of them.  So in 2013 I had the thought that it might be fun to do that here, and let everyone participate.  That day I put the pen in your hands… and so it began.  The serial took shape and this blog grew with it.

About the Story

young Lucy blue

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

Everything about this story was determined by the random “things” readers sent.  Absolutely nothing was pre-planned.  First came the narrator, Pip, aka Paisley Idelle Peabody.  I imagined the voice of Lucille Ball as Pip, telling a story of her youth.  Then came the 1920s setting, inspired by oscillating fan. Next the “things” brought characters, particularly Andy who came back for another serial. Eventually a thing gave me the Florida setting.  I think you get the idea of how this worked.

Pip, a modern woman — a flapper, begins the first of several adventures.  In this story a mysterious white-haired woman is kidnapped.  Pip finds a bent key, a scrap from a special quilt, strange tattoos and other “things.”  Later, Pip and her friends find themselves on a luxurious yacht where they encounter figures from history and celebrities of the era. The mystery comes to the forefront when they reach the destination, the gilded mansion, Cà d’Zan

I hope you’ll enjoy this little 1920s story.  Mega hugs!

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Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

 

 

Three Ingredients – 11: Garlic, Crepes, Soufflé

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

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

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

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

11.  Garlic, Crepes, Soufflé

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

Video:  Knife Skills – How to Make Garlic Paste

Classic Shrimp Scampi

Recipe credit: EveryDay with Rachael Ray

Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients

6  tablespoons  butter

3   cloves garlic, mashed

1 1/2   pounds  medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

salt

1 1/2  tablespoons  minced parsley

Directions

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

***

The Three Ingredients Serial: Copyright © 2013

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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

Three Ingredients Serial – 1: Geoduck, Cilantro, Red Wine

It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to episode-1 of our new “interactive” story, The Three Ingredients Serial.  Remember that you, the reader, are driving the story by sending three ingredients that I will include in the episodes.

When we did the Three Things Serial, the things you sent inspired the characters and the setting.  I decided to keep one Cat-menu Episode-1character from that story — Pip, the narrator.  With this new sort of culinary mystery, who knows what Pip will get into?  Only the “ingredients” can say.

Our first three ingredients were sent by Mary J. McCoy-Dressel, romance writer extraordinaire.  The very first ingredient had me doing research — but that’s part of the fun.  Would you know what to do with a geoduck?  Here’s what I did with it.

Enjoy the ride, and bon appétit!

The Three Ingredients

A culinary mystery with “ingredients” sent from readers everywhere.

1:  Geoduck, Cilantro, Red Wine

Biju theatreSeveral cars were already parked in front of Binghamton’s Bijou Theatre for the big local premiere.  I spotted an empty parking space and hit the gas to pull my grandmother’s Model-T up to the curb.  The car was old as could be, but Granny babied it like a child.  It looked brand new, all the way to the brightly painted yellow spokes at the wheels.  As I got out I made sure the sign she tied to the car door was straight.  It read Granny Fanny’s Goodies.

My grandmother had become insistent that I mend my flapper ways and at least learn to cook.  Pops wasn’t about to refuse her when she decided I should leave Florida and move up to Savannah, Georgia to live with her.  “Until you become a passable cook,” my father said, and it had sounded like a prison sentence.  However, Savannah was a bigger city than I realized, and “Jazz Age” business was flourishing.  I secretly liked the town, but it wouldn’t do to let Granny or Pops know that just yet.

As I carefully stacked containers of fortune cookies I heard someone with a faintly British accent call my name.  “Over here Pip!” Alastair Wong called and waved cheerfully.

The Wongs immigrated to the United States from England.  Neither he nor his parents had ever been to China, though they dreamed of visiting and faithfully passed down family recipes, like the one for the enormous clams, the geoducks.  Alastair had helped the filmmaker locate an ancient and huge one that had been used in the making of the movie.  Though I couldn’t imagine how they made it look so gigantic, the things were certainly ugly enough to star in a monster movie.yoengs-chinese-restaurant

Alastair’s family owned the local Chinese restaurant, simply called Wong’s.  His slogan proclaimed “You’re always right with Wong’s.”  I hoped he was right to invest in so much advertising for this movie.  The chefs at the restaurant were so busy making geoduck dishes that he’d asked Granny to handle the fortune cookies.  I chuckled to myself when I thought about the “fortunes” she wrote for them.

I helped Alastair and his mother arrange the fortune cookies and the geoduck items.  It actually looked inviting the way they’d prepared it.  But I still couldn’t make myself take a bite…  Mrs. Wong giggled at the expression on my face.  At least she wasn’t offended.  Soon we had the food ready for the guests of the premiere of “Night of the Killer Clam.”

People gathered around the food tables as soon as we were ready.  As they chose hors d’oeuvres they joked about eating the movie’s monster villain.  Then they started opening their fortune cookies and reading the carefully printed messages inside.

“Neither a whistling woman nor a crowing hen ever come to a very good end.”  (Be yourself.)

“Every dog should have a few fleas.”  (No one is perfect.)

“You’ll be happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.”  (Don’t worry about what’s happening.)

I blushed when Alastair Wong looked askance at me.  All I could do was shrug helplessly.  Granny Fanny insisted on writing what she thought of as proper fortunes, though they weren’t exactly … traditionally Chinese.

Mrs. Wong, Arabella, laughed out loud, startling me.  She usually had a sweet girlish giggle.  Alastair rolled his eyes heavenward.  At least they had a sense of humor about it.

Arabella poured goblets of red wine for us and we toasted the movie and good food.  We would miss most of the film’s premiere, but Mr. Binghamton gave all of us several free passes each, so knew I could come back.

crab monsters 2Posters of swooning a woman in the embrace of a shocked but dashing man decorated the Bijou’s entrance.  A little girl looked quietly at a poster of the monster clam.  Then she suddenly shrieked, pulled away from the woman who held her hand, and ran.  “Flannery!  Come back!  Wait,” the woman called and ran after the child.

The music began inside the theatre and everyone cheered.  I heard muffled dialogue, but I couldn’t make out the words.  I started helping the Mrs. Wong and her son cleanup and gathered Granny’s empty cookie containers.  Then I jumped when I heard loud screaming emanate from the Bijou.

“Wow!  That must be some scary movie!” Alastair commented.  Then a woman and a man ran from the theatre.  The Wongs and I looked at one another, puzzled.

Something was clearly wrong.  As I walked toward the entrance, I saw the door to the ticket booth was open.  I noticed a flashlight and picked it up, as I hurried toward the commotion.  Inside the theatre the screen showed what appeared to be a fifty feet tall clam, with a hundred feet long…  Applesauce, I didn’t know what to call it!  Something like an elephant’s trunk was slowly attacking a building.

I switched on the flashlight.  A small group of people were clustered below the stage.  When I drew near I noticed a trail of green bits on the floor.  Between the people, I saw a pair of wingtips with the soles facing me.  The green bits were all over the bottoms of those shoes — and the feet that wore them weren’t moving.  I pushed my way into the circle.  The man stretched out on the floor didn’t seem to be breathing.  I took a mirror from my purse and held it under his nose.  There was no fog from his breath.  One of the people started calling for a doctor, but I was sure the man was already dead.cilantro

Soon a man with a medical bag, along with the theatre owner — Mr. Binghamton, and a policeman pushed me out of the way.  I stooped down and touched my fingers to the little green bits the dead man had tracked on his shoes.  I shone the light on it and sniffed.  Cilantro.

——-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgNR-nAlWaw

The Three Ingredients Serial: Copyright © 2013

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

No part of this book/text/blog 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.

Three Things Epilogue

1920s FanCan you believe this serial began with Oscillating Fan?  That was our very first “thing.”

In case you felt like there was a bit too much unresolved, I’ve written an epilogue for our little 1920’s story.  I expected that the characters readers would be most curious about are Frankie the Fireman and Mona the Movie Star, even though Pip is nearest to my heart as the narrator.

So for those who like things nice and tidy, here’s a bit more.

Epilogue

“Are you sure you won’t stay here in Sarasota for a while?” Mona pleaded.  “You don’t have to breeze off. Ca d Zan-1 Bepa told me that Mr. Ringling asked you to stay as long as you want.  There aren’t many places where you could get free room and board.  And there aren’t any at all as beautiful as Ca’d’Zan!”

I looked down at my hands and shook my head mutely.  I promised to stay until after the party Mable Ringling was throwing for her friend, Countess Babikov.  However, everything I saw in and around the gilded mansion brought me unhappy thoughts.  I was so disappointed in Frankie and all his cousins.  How could they kidnap anybody, let alone a sweet old woman like Bepa?

Lucille Ball teenaged 1What I overheard didn’t sound like Frankie wanted to commit those crimes, but nonetheless that’s what he did.  Maybe when he saw that Flavio and the twins were going to prison, I hoped maybe he would straighten up.  Maybe.  But how could he reform himself when he was going to spend years running from the law?  Ringling’s G-man friend told me that it might not be as big a deal, since they didn’t take Bepa across the state line.

He hinted around that if Frankie turned himself in that Countess Babikov would be willing to let the charges against him “go away.”  Wealth and power had arms as long as those of the law.  But the coppers would demand that Frankie testify in court against his cousins, and I knew the fireman wouldn’t do that. Besides, whether the police detective believed me or not, I didn’t know where Frankie was, and I didn’t expect to hear from him.

“Come on Sweet Pea,” Mona cajoled.  “Cheer up.  Bepa and Mable want to take us shopping for glad rags to wear for their swanky soirée.  It’ll be the bee’s knees!”

I smiled and told myself to join in the fun and not bring everyone else down with me.

When we stepped 1925 Emanuel Haldeman-Juliusinto the hallway I could hear Andy pounding away at his typewriter.  The events that broke my heart had inspired Andy to write an original screenplay.  He wasn’t unfeeling, quite the contrary.  He was just too creative not to put it all on paper.

“There are going to be studio big wigs here all the way from Hollywood,” Mona said.  “Andy is determined to finish his story before the party so he can pitch it.  He hasn’t slept a wink since it happened.  I expect he’ll be moving to California.  I really think his ship is on its way in.”

“And you Mona?  Has Boris warmed up any?  It’s obvious that his babushka adores you,” I said.

Mona blushed prettily.  “Oh, I don’t know Pip.  Maybe.  I think Boris is a man who needs to take things slowly.  I liked the countess the minute I met her, and after getting acquainted with Bepa, I think she’s the cat’s pajamas.  So I’m willing to give this situation more time.  Maybe I need to slow down just a little bit too.  I’m going to stay here for the winter and maybe take trapeze lessons from some of the 1920s circus acrobatsperformers.  They were encouraging me to when Andy and Ringling told them about the short film,” Mona confided.

The butler walked up to us.  Yes, they had an honest-to-God butler.  Can you believe it?  I was surprised and apprehensive when he said there was a phone call for me.  He led us to a sitting room with a phone.  It was my father.  I had sent a telegram to him so he’d know that I was alright, figuring he’d get wind of the shootout in the newspaper.

“Pops, how are you?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

“Yes, Mona is fine too.”

“Granny?  Is something wrong with Granny?  … Oh thank goodness.”

“What?  Cooking?  Pops, you know I can’t even boil water.  What do you mean that’s the point?”

“Yes, I know how Granny is when she sets her mind on something.  But I’m a modern woman.”

“No, I don’t want to learn to cook!  Flappers don’t pin all their hopes on being a good cook and housekeeper.”

“But…  Oh come on Pops!  I love Granny, but I don’t want to live there…”

“Pops…  But…  Pops please!”

***

The Beginning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leB3Ewm7qtc

1920s Dance Party

***

Three Things Serial: 19 – Comfortable Home, Happy Disposition, Vex

Jane Austen's "power" in Hollywood c...While I was browsing around the New York Times, I stumbled upon “The Janeiac Quiz.”  Since I’ve always enjoyed Jane Austen‘s books, I took the quiz — and failed miserably.  I’m sharing it because many of you enjoy those classics.  Emma is probably my favorite of Austen’s works and it is also the source of today’s Three Things.  I’ll take them from the first sentence of the book.

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

As always, you can do catch-up reading where the complete serial lives on the Three Things Serial page.  And now, three Emma things.

Comfortable Home, Happy Disposition, Vex

Ringling-Zalophus-Ca-d-ZanI told myself not to feel vexed with Mona for acting silly with Flavio.  Then I told myself again.  When I told myself the same thing for the third time Frankie chuckled.  There was no telling what kind of expressions had gone across my face.  He raised his eyebrows and made a mock-hopeful puckered face.  I grinned at him and said, “Sorry fella, the bank’s closed.”

“Dr. Banting said to make ourselves at home.  Why don’t we look around?  I don’t know about you, but I doubt I’ll ever be inside a yacht like this again,” he said with a smile.

He was right.  And I needed to get back to business.  Where was that microscope?  We left, Mona and Flavio still giggling.  The next cabin we came to was open, but Frankie knocked on the doorframe just in case and called out cheerily.  The fireman really did have a happy disposition.  I squeezed past, under his arm.  Frankie actually was a very nice height.

Then I spotted it sitting on a table in the corner, all brass and shiny – the microscope.  It was hard not to look at the beautiful estate in the painting that hung above the device.  The place looked like a Venetian palace, and the yacht moored there looked like the one we were on!

Frankie gave a low whistle.  “That looks like a… comfortable home.”

“You’ve really got a gift for understatement,” I agreed.  The house in the picture was huge and in a beautiful setting.  “That place is the berries all right.”

I took the ornate but bent key out of my purse and carefully placed it under the microscope.  However, I couldn’t make out any words – and I was afraid to move any of the settings.  I could only guess how expensive the thing was; scientific things were always pricy.  The engraving looked like it might be just a pretty design, but with the damage it was hard to tell.  I held my breath and barely moved one knob on the microscope.  A word came into focus, but it was hard to make it out amid all the swirls of the engraved pattern.  “Ring… Ringing?  No.  Ring-ling.  Does Ringling make any sense?”

“Ringling?” Frankie repeated in an incredulous tone.  “As in circus?  That Ringling?”

“Applesauce!” I exclaimed in an awed whisper.  “Do you think this key is for the Ca’d’Zan mansion in Sarasota?”

Our speculation was interrupted by the sound of a scuffle.  A man’s voice boomed.  “You’ve got what you wanted, now be off with you!  If you ever think to pull a stunt like that again, it will be your last!”

We hesitantly peeped out the door in time to see two men leaving right after those ominous

John Ringling

John Ringling

words were shouted.  There was a man in the doorway of a cabin, shaking his fist at the departing backs of the men.  Then someone shrouded in an old quilt pushed past the man.  I heard a muffled sob.

The man lowered his head and said, “Don’t worry.  They aren’t going to hurt anyone else.  We’ll see to that.”The quilt covered shape turned toward him.  The tattered covering fell back to reveal an older woman, who was still elegant despite her somewhat disheveled appearance.It was the white-haired woman.

Three Things Serial: 18 – Punctilious, Train, Diary

Provincial Lady sent three words that were very picturesque to me.  So I’ve gotten on many a tangent looking at images to go with this episode.  But that’s part of the fun.

As always you can do catch-up reading on the Three Things Serial page.  I hope to get lots of fun “things” from you in the comments, to keep the story going.

Punctilious, Train, Diary

Hornby Clockwork Train AdA beautiful phonograph stood in the corner.  It was surrounded by a little track with a clockwork train.  Frankie stooped down to investigate the train.  It was painted red with yellow trim, and the coal car had a Hornby logo.  In a second Frankie had it chugging around the little tracks.  His eyes lit up like a child’s.  He blushed in a cute way when he realized I was watching him, murmuring something about the workmanship.

I wanted to rib him about it so bad that I had to bite my lip to stop myself.  Frankie was really the cat’s meow, but I hadn’t known him that long, and I wasn’t sure how much teasing he could take.  So I played it as seriously as I could manage.  “Yes,” I agreed.  “The attention to detail is quite punctilious, isn’t it?”

Frankie tore himself away from the model and stepped over the tracks to get to the phonograph.  The fireman gave the handle a few cranks and the sound of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” filled the air.

Flavio was sitting next to Mona on the chaise lounge, whispering things that brought gales of giggles from her.  Frankie looked over at me and I made a derisive face at the other two.  This shindig was going to give Mona plenty to write about in her diary.

Three Things Serial: 13 – Miracle, Hedgehog, Gloaming

Can you believe we are already up to the thirteenth set of Three Things?  As promised in the previous post, these things come from the DC area.  The complete story (so far) is on the Three Things Serial page, if you need to catch up.

Also be sure to post a comment giving me three things to keep the serial going!  Maybe some viewers 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.

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.