Jazz Age Wednesdays 19 ― Pip & Artie Meet Again – Part 3

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The New Year’s celebration is finally wrapping up, here at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape! collaborated on a story with me that started here.  I couldn’t resist keeping the tale going for a few episodes.  However, today I present my conclusion.

Part-1 (here) began with Chris’ character, Artie — a genius time traveler chimpanzee determined to meet up with Pip again.  In Part-2 (here) we left Artie and Mona being pursued by the police.  Now, the conclusion.

Pip and Artie Meet Again

Part 3 — Conclusion

1920s Dance Party

The Christmas tree still stood in the parlor corner.  Granny and I had made the decorations for it.  I frowned at the strings of popcorn, remembering how many times I stuck my finger with the needle when I made them.

Light reflected on the German-made glass ornaments of which my grandmother was so proud.  They were shaped like things from a Nativity scene, although there was one I just couldn’t identify.  To me, it looked a lot like a motorcycle, but that couldn’t be right…

The shiny ornaments reminded me of that labradorite pendant I found at the corn maze site.  I thought it would look darb with my costume.  So, I hurried to my room and took the gem out of my little jewelry box and hung it around my neck.1925 Theatre Magazine jade necklace jewelry

A loud peal of thunder shook the cottage.  I figured Miss Olive’s prediction of a severe storm was about to come true.  Then I heard the coppers’ sirens, so I hurried to the parlor window. 

Sure, enough it was a police vehicle.  A Ford was right behind it.  Oddly, I couldn’t see anybody they might have been chasing.  Both automobiles slowed and stopped.  A tall man got out of the Ford and talked to the officers for a moment.  He made broad, frustrated seeming gestures as he spoke.

The man was Detective Dabney Daniels.  He headed up the walkway as the police vehicle turned around and drove away.

At the same moment I heard a loud commotion from outside, in the backyard.  I felt the need to see what that was, but I knew Granny would have my hide if I didn’t politely answer the door.

I met Daniels at the door and asked what was happening.

“Some hood on a motorcycle got balled up and went the wrong way on a one-way street near Union Station.  Speeding too.  There was a flapper on the back of the bike.  When he headed this way, for a minute I thought the girl might be you.  Then I saw she had dark hair,” Daniels said as he took off his fedora hat.  “Anyhow, I don’t know how he managed it, but he gave us the slip.”

Durrusehvar, daughter of the last Caliph of the Ottoman dynasty, circa 1920

Princess Durrusehvar, circa 1920

He finally noticed my attire and looked at me like I must have escaped from the looney bin.  People were wild for anything to do with Egypt or the Orient.  So, I wanted my costume for the party to be from either one or the other.  I finally put together a costume that looked like Dürrüşehvar, an Imperial Princess of the Ottoman Empire.

It bugged me to death that nobody knew who I was.

“I’m on duty,” Daniels began, but looked hopefully toward the hallway.  “I can only stay a moment.”

“Everyone is either in the dining room or the kitchen getting food,” I told him.  “Go on back and make yourself at home.”

Movement at the corner of my eye caused me to glance out the window again.  Cinnamon Bun! 

Granny’s Flemish Giant rabbit shouldn’t be out of his hutch, but there he was in the front yard.  I guessed that was what the noises I heard out back were.  Then I saw two people chasing him ― a man in a suit that made me imagine a formal military uniform from some strange country and a flapper.

(See more about Cinnamon Bun here.)

“Mona!” I cried and ran outside.

“Pip!” my friend exclaimed and hugged me.  “I remembered you describing Cinnamon Bun in your letters.  I knew your grandmother wouldn’t want him running around, so we were trying to catch him.  We ran into his hutch when we… err… when we stopped,” Mona told me in a rush.

Cinnamon sat up tall on his haunches when the man offered him a treat.  I could tell the big bunny liked the guy.  Then he turned toward me and took off his cap.  He grinned when recognition spread across my face.

“Artie?”

“I had to do a mini-jump with my portable time machine to evade the police,” Artie said sheepishly.  “When we popped back, we bumped the rabbit hutch.  I sincerely apologize.  Nothing was harmed, but the door was knocked open, and this magnificent rabbit got lose.”vintage bunny

“Pip, it’s amazing!  Who’d of thought I’d meet a talking chimpanzee!” Mona enthused.  “And travel in a time machine!”

Artie looked embarrassed.  I could tell that he was humble for a genius.

“The time machine still has some bugs in it.  It had trouble locking onto the transponder, but I see you found it,” he said with a grin as he motioned toward my labradorite pendant.  “So, Mona and I accidentally took a detour to Germany, a decade or two ago.”

Artie gave me a bright-eyed look and in a devil-may-care tone asked me when I’d like to visit.  With all of the world and all of history to choose from I was dumbfounded.

“Cat got your tongue?” Mona asked.

“Your costume gives me an idea.  Would you care to see the Ottoman Empire and meet the real Begum Sahiba Hatice Hayriye Ayşe Dürrüşehvar Sultan?” Artie offered.

He knew!  This talking, time traveling, genius chimp knew who my costume was supposed to be!

“No phonus balonus?  We could really go there?” I asked.

He nodded and Mona grinned.

“Granny Phanny will never even know you were gone,” Mona winked and told me.

“You realize of course, that you can’t tell anyone about this escapade,” Artie told me with a regretful expression in his big brown eyes.

“I guess they’d think I was spifflicated if I did,” I muttered.  “Okay.  Let’s get a wriggle on!

The End

Horsefeathers!   It’s too bad Pip can’t tell anyone about her time travel adventure.  I guess that’s why it is not mentioned in her novels!  I’ll leave all you sheiks and shebas to imagine the endless kinds of trouble Pip, Artie, and Mona got into for that little jaunt through time and space.  Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

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 © 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 18 ― Pip & Artie Meet Again – Part 2

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Clara Bow 1

Clara Bow as Mona the Movie Star

I’m still celebrating New Year’s here at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  You see, the pos-i-lutely darb, Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape! collaborated on a story with me.  Chris started the tale in which my character Pip, and his character Artie get together. 

Sharing ideas with “the Ape” was such fun that I couldn’t finish the story in just one episode.  In fact, it’s turned into a mini series.  Last week, Chris gave this story a great kickoff.  (Read it here.) As for my part of the story, I won’t reach the finale until next week.  Anyhow, let’s get a wriggle on and go back to Artie and Pip.  Or at least to Artie…

Pip and Artie Meet Again

Part 2

Train woman porters packages

They say the devil is in the detail and that was pos-i-lutely the case during a moment that transcended time and space.  During that bedeviled instant, Artie put the finishing touches on his portable time machine.  Tinkering with gears and gizmos, he finally located the labradorite crystal.  He had left it in the corn maze, hoping that Pip would find it.  The labradorite would act as a transponder so that he could get back to Pip and finish their visit.

When Artie first met Paisley Idelle Peabody, he had been so tired that he fell asleep before they could finish their delightful conversation.  So, this time he made sure to take a nap.  When Artie woke up the other chimps were milling around, inspecting the amazing time machine.  Some congratulated Artie and told him he was a genius.  A few though joked about his previous attempts at time travel, the tries that had not turned out so well.  Others made fun of him for having any interest at all in the flapper from days long gone.  Artie steadfastly ignored them.

Amid oohs and ahs from the other chimps, Artie checked the time machine settings and locked down the leavers.

In that same vexed moment, Paisley Idelle Peabody took off the labradorite pendant that she had found.  She placed it inside a small jewelry box made of etched lead crystal within a lead frame with a turtle carving of the same metal on the lid.

1925 Theatre Magazine jade necklace jewelry

Artie’s instruments were befuddled by the lead surrounding the transponder crystal.  Once again, his destination was slightly altered.  Fortunately, his portable time machine was also a motorcycle. 

He switched the machine to vehicular mode.  Just down the road, he could see Savannah’s Union Station.  Artie could get his bearings from there, and maybe even directions to Pip’s house.

A street car barreled toward him.  He was so captivated by the ancient mode of transportation that he barely got out of the way in time.  The conductor shouted and said he must be zozzled.  Artie wasn’t familiar with the term meaning intoxicated, so he smiled and waved.

Then, coming out of the arched doorway of the station, he beheld the most dazzling human woman he had ever seen.  Not that she could interfere with his crush on Pip, but anyone had to admit the strange woman’s charisma. 

She tried to hail a cab, but it already had an occupant.  She pushed back her dark brown bob in an annoyed gesture.  The beaded fringe of her flapper gown swayed as she stepped back up onto the curb.  The driver stuck his head out the window and whistled at her saying, “Hey, hotsy-totsy!  I’ll be back!”

The woman looked frustrated.  She muttered something that sounded like, “Bushwa!

Artie Portable Time Machine cycle

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

Artie stopped his machine and stared at her, amazed.  His eyes widened and his jaw dropped when she hurried over to him.  He was so bewitched that he forgot that the people of the Roaring Twenties did not know about genius, talking chimps.

The brunette flapper barely reacted to his appearance, hesitating only briefly before smiling.  Artie finally remembered himself and pulled the visor of his cap down to cover his face as much as possible.

“Oh!  You must be heading to a New Year’s Eve costume party.  You look swell.  Why, your costume is even better than the ones they make in Hollywood!” she told him in a rush.  “I wonder, could you give me a lift?  The cabs are pretty busy on New Year’s Eve.  It’s not far ― the Peabody place.”

Artie gave her a toothy grin. 

“Of course, you must be Mona, ‘the movie star’ ― Pip’s best friend!” Artie exclaimed.

(There’s a little more about Mona in this chapter from The Three Things Serial Story, click here for the chapter.)

He remembered Pip’s words that men would do anything for Mona.  It was easy to see why that would be the case.  However, Pip had also said that Mona never “lead anyone on.”  Artie believed that too.  He could see the kindness in the dark-haired flapper’s eyes.

“Oh, you know Pip!  Then everything is Jake.  Come on, let’s blouse!” Mona cried and climbed onto the back of what she thought was a motorcycle.

Unfamiliar with traffic laws in the USA, or the 1920s for that matter, Artie drove on the wrong side of the road.  Luckily there weren’t many automobiles on the road.  There was, unfortunately, a police vehicle.  It turned and gave chase. 

Sirens blared.

1920s Police car

***

End Part 2

Applesauce!  Will the coppers catch Artie and Mona?  What would they do with a motorcycle riding talking chimp?  Will Mona replace Pip in Artie’s affections?  You’ll have to ankle back to the Jazz Age again next week to learn more. 

Thanks for visiting.  You’re 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 © 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 17 ― Pip & Artie Meet Again – Part 1

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

1925 Theatre Magazine jade necklace jewelry

Happy New Year to you from Teagan’s Books and Jazz Age Wednesdays!  Yesterday I was crowing when I saw Teri Polen’s review of Murder at the Bijou – Three Ingredients 1 (see it here. What a keen way to start the year!

With these Roaring Twenties posts, we’ll be putting on the Ritz as we ring in 2018.  I have an extra special treat for you this week.  An email exchange spontaneously turned into a short story — and guess who my coauthor is!  The pos-i-lutely fabulous, Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape! 

In case you didn’t know, the Story Reading Ape is also a great storyteller.  This short story furthers a encounter between Pip, and a character Chris created, Artie — one of the chimps from Chris’ imagination.  Chris begins the tale from Artie’s point of view, and then I take over with Pip telling it.  Now, let’s get a wriggle on and go back to the Jazz Age.

Pip and Artie Meet Again At New Year’s

Part 1

Artie was devastated, he’d worked sooo hard to get his time machine to finally go back beyond the time he’d invented it.  (See the backstory here.)

Artie Formal Dress

Image courtesy of Chris Graham

He’d even met his heroine, Paisley Idelle Peabody, otherwise known as Pip.  (See: Pip in the Corn Maze).

Unfortunately, because he’d been working on his machine for three days and nights without a break and only ended up in the corn maze where Pip was, by accidentally leaning against the start lever, his tiredness had overcome him and he’d fallen asleep in mid conversation!

Luckily however, he’d been woken by the preset Emergency Visit Duration Countdown alarm and had jumped back into the machine before it returned to his own time without him.

His only hope now, was that Pip had spotted, and picked up, the labradorite crystal pendant.  Artie had intended to give it to her, but he must have dropped it while he was ponderating.  In addition to the stone’s natural protective properties, it would act as a transponder, so he could find her again, otherwise, he’d end up back in the corn maze.

First things first though, he needed to sleep, then start on a lighter, more portable, version of his time machine, in case he had to travel overland from the maze to Granny Phanny‘s place.

Next time, he would be better prepared…

***

2018 Pip New Year

The Savannah folks who organized the corn maze at Halloween planned a New Year’s bonfire party at the same location.  As usual, Granny Phanny found extra chores for me.

“Pip, there’s no use in sulking around just because you don’t have a young man to escort you to the New Year’s Eve party.  I thought you were a modern woman,” Granny baited me.  “You can still get all dolled up and have a good time.”

I sputtered an indignant protest, but words failed me.  As if I was some cancelled stamp, a wallflower!

It wasn’t as if I had been in Savannah long enough to know many people.  Alastair Wong would be working at his family’s restaurant.  Detective Dabney Daniels barely knew I was alive.  I guess there was Hank… but I had been avoiding Hank Hertz for two weeks, because I was pretty sure he was going to ask me.  I couldn’t go with Hank, he was just a kid!  Why, he was nearly two whole years younger than me.

1920s Illustration of Party

“If it makes you feel any better there might not be a party at all,” Granny grumbled at me.

My grandmother sounded like she was fixing to get in a lather.  I had not considered that she might be looking forward to the bonfire party.  However, I got the impression that she was disappointed.  I looked a question at her.

“Everybody who has rheumatism says bad weather is coming.  And the arm I broke when I was a girl has been achy,” she complained.  “And Miss Olive says there’s a big storm headed our way right on New Year’s Eve,” She continued despite my skeptical expression.

“Granny, isn’t that just a bunch of superstition?” I dared ask.

Granny Phanny’s eyebrows climbed toward her hairline.  I knew I was on dangerous ground so I dried up then and there.

“Miss Olive is never wrong about the weather,” Granny told me in a dire tone.  “So, we need to go over to where we had the corn maze and see about setting up some tents.”

(Meet Miss Olive here.)

studebaker1920_2

A moment later we were in Granny’s Model-T, puttering down the dirt road.  The live oak trees seemed more like evergreens than regular oak trees, but their leaves were kind of sparse.  Granny Phanny murmured a word of thanks that somebody had filled in the big pothole we had to avoid last time.

Granny walked around muttering under her breath as she sought suitable spots for party tents.  I thought keeping some distance from her would be a good idea, so I wandered around in the other direction.  I recognized the spot where the corn maze used to be and went poking around.

Nervously I looked over my shoulder, remembering the strange thing that happened there.  I never told a soul about it, but I wrote it all in a journal.  Maybe one day I could tell my pal Andy about it.  He went to Hollywood, California.  His talent for writing imaginative stories finally paid off.  Andy probably wouldn’t believe me either, but he’d like the story.  (Here’s a little more about Andy from the Three Things Serial Story.)

You see, that night I met a talking chimp.  I would never forget his words…

“Pip, I promise you I’m the real McCoy, as you would say.  I’m Aristotle, but I hope you’ll call me Artie.  I’ve traveled a long way through time and space to meet you,” the chimp had explained.

Lost in that strange memory, I idly stuck the toe of my burgundy and cream oxfords into a clump of leaves and debris.  Something sparkled, pulling me out of my reverie.  I bent to uncover it and picked up a crystal.

It was greenish gray with flashes of color.  I didn’t know a lot about semiprecious gems, but I thought it was labradorite.  The stone depended from from a long chain.  I hung it around my neck and put it inside my dress.

End Part 1

***

Oh yes… to be continued.  Here’s a sort of hint.  It turns out Chris and I share an interest in gemstone lore.  Labradorite is said to be a stone of magic, a crystal of shamans, diviners, healers, and all who travel and embrace the universe seeking knowledge and guidance.

Sorry! That’s as much of a hint as I’m giving.  Tune in again next week for the conclusion.

It’s so darb that you visited today.  Once again — Happy New Year!

Flapper Happy New Year champagne red

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 © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene and Christopher Graham

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 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

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