Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu the End Begins

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 

Bot n Tesla Starts His Car 1

Angel-bot with Tesla in his electric car.  Art by Rob Goldstein

Hi there, Shieks and Shebas!  You’ve come to the train station for Jazz Age Wednesdays.  This is where I share stories set in the Roaring Twenties.

The fabulous images for this #DieselPunk story are created by artist, Rob Goldstein.  He also makes pos-i-lutely swell videos that are parallel to the story. Plus, Rob sent random “things” that I used as prompts as I envisioned and authored Hullaba Lulu.

If you need reminders of past chapters, I did a Real World Tech Review post that has links through episode 11.1. 

Tesla Coil, Public Domain Image at Wiki Media Commons

That said, I’m nearing the end of this adventure for Lulu and the crew.  So I’m posting a longer chapter today.  I’m still pantsering, writing in an unplanned spontaneous way, so I’m not sure whether the end will arrive next week or the next, but we’re almost there.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Iset with her multicolored wings flew away with Valentino! The angel-bots stood on one another’s shoulders making a automaton tower to try and take Valentino away from Iset, but with disastrous results.  They all fell and… Oh the bot-manity! 

I think I hear the trumpet’s call.  Let’s get a wiggle on

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Beginning the End

Vaselino, Ellis Island

Bot above charging car Tesla-1

Moon using his own body to charge the electric car.  Art by Rob Goldstein

Nikola Tesla bent over the unmoving angel-bot, Moon.  I couldn’t see what the inventor did, but he seemed to examine the automaton in much the same way a medical doctor would check a human.  Moon, desperate to aid Valentino had tried to charge Tesla’s electric automobile by using his own body to power the vehicle.

I thought about Moon’s kindness to me when I had bumped into the Tesla coil in the control room of the train.  Although, the real problem was that sabotage had previously been done to the control room, my clumsiness was the cause of the train careening toward the Cotton Club and then into a pittura metafisica.  The train had emerged from the painting to land in the sand dunes of Egypt.

Sphinx Tesla Tower

Image by Teagan Geneviene

The saboteur’s actions also caused the gradual degradation of Valentino’s connection to the train, resulting in his mysterious illness.  I didn’t understand how it all worked, but Valentino had to be “attuned” to all the control components of the train.  If the train wasn’t working perfectly, then neither was he.

Anyhow, Moon was a real gent.  He didn’t let anyone know I had touched a thing. 

I heard Tesla sniffle as he worked on Moon.  Gramps seemed to feel sorry for the inventor.  I think my grandfather was trying to take the man’s mind off Moon and the other angel-bots who were damaged or possibly destroyed.  Gramps cleared his throat awkwardly.

“I had wondered if it was a problem to get fuel out here.  It’s not as though there’s a filling station on every corner,” Gramps began.  “So, the automobile is electric, you say.”

“Did you know the woman?” Pearl abruptly asked Gramps.  “You spoke a name when you saw her.”

Iset hair down Goddess 1

Iset. Art by Rob Goldstein

In contrast to the kind intent of my grandfather, Pearl simply didn’t understand Tesla’s concern for the automatons.  The look on Tesla’s face when Woo hit the ground and came apart… the poor man was mortified.  With Moon’s collapse, he had another clockwork creature to try and save before he could even reach the one with the worst need.

“Satchmo?” I asked Pearl, hoping she would just go back inside.  “That wasn’t the woman’s name.  It’s the nickname of Louis Armstrong.  He’s performed at Gramps’ speakeasy several times.  But you weren’t there the times he played.  I guess you were worried about being seen with the wrong people,” I added pointedly, unable to forget Pearl’s snooty comment about my family and me.

Suddenly, something clicked into place in my mind.

“Oh, that’s it!” I exclaimed in epiphany.  “That spiteful thing the woman said to Valentino!”

“I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you.  Oh, I’ll be tickled to death when you leave this earth, it’s true,” Gramps sang in a gravely voice.  “Yes, Lulu, she was singing a Louis Armstrong song,” he told us.

Tesla-charging bot

Nikola Tesla repairs angel-bot Moon.  Art by Rob Goldstein

Nickola Tesla let out a guffaw, surprising all of us.  He straightened from working on Moon, and wiped a tear from his eye. 

The inventor stepped back from the damaged automaton.  He stopped beside me.  His hair had a mildly citrus scent from the pomade that oiled his hair into place.  Tesla was almost a vaselino, the men’s hairstyle popularized by silent film stars.  I supposed a man with a phobia about human hair liked to keep his own mane well controlled.

“I apologize,” the inventor began.  “It’s the idea of the goddess Iset having a fondness for American jazz,” he finished, chuckled, and took his handkerchief from his pocket.

“A gorgeous, exotic woman who likes Jazz…” Gramps began in a wistful tone.  “She’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen since I was a young man delivering bottles my father and I made.  I had a delivery at Ellis Island, where I met your grandmother, Lulu.  Priscilla had just arrived in this country.  I loved her the minute I saw her,” he added and opened his pocket-watch to look at the inscription from his late wife.

Pearl Turban 3

Pearl in her “Tesla trap” turban.  Art by Rob Goldstein

“Goddess?  I admit she was no cancelled stamp, but ‘goddess’ is excessive, don’t you think?” Pearl interjected, taken aback.

Then everyone began to speak at once, wanting an explanation for the inventor’s comment.  Tesla reminded us that Valentino said the name “Iset” when the woman bent over him.  I wanted to know how Tesla could know who the woman was.

“Didn’t you notice her crown?” he asked.

“That ridiculous chair-hat?” Pearl burst out in an unladylike way.

I thought the fair-haired flapper, whom I had thought of as a friend for so long was close to losing her temper.

Tesla paused and looked at her oddly.  Pearl had been practically glued to his elbow since she put that turban on her head to cover her hair.  Pearl sank back demurely, most unlike her usually exuberant self.  She glanced at Tesla covertly.

Tesla portrait-c

Nikola Tesla by Rob Goldstein

“She had all that long hair.  It was just… loose, able to get on anything,” Pearl added in a soft voice.

Pearl made a little face as though she found the long hair distasteful.  I watched Tesla’s expression.  His face remained calm, but his shoulder twitched.  I realized he failed to completely suppress a shudder at the idea of all that human hair.  Pearl smirked when she saw him twitch.  She put her hand to the turban to make sure her blond hair was securely underneath it and moved a little closer.

My pal was more devious than I had ever guessed.

“Iset is thought to be a healer,” Tesla continued.  “Yet, telling a man she will be glad when he is dead, even if quoting a song…  Well, that does not bode well.”

Pearl gave a knowing nod.

With a series of clicks and whirrs, Moon sat up.  The angel-bot’s eyes blinked a few times as he looked around at all of us.  He bounded to his feet.

“Papá,” Moon began.  “We must hurry.  Many of the automatons are injured.  You are the only one with the skill to have even a small chance at repairing Woo.”

It looked like Tesla had fixed Moon.  However, the angel-bot abruptly stopped in the middle of what he was saying.  All sorts of sounds came from his insides, clicking, whining, even a screech of metal.

Valentino n Bots in dark room

Moon thinks about Valentino, Woo, and the other angel-bots. Art by Rob Goldstein

“Moon,” Tesla said.  “You are conflicted aren’t you.  You do not have to make the decision.  You are committed to helping both Valentino and your sisters and brothers, are you not?”

Eyes open wide, Moon managed to nod once.

“I relieve you of that responsibility,” Tesla continued.  “We will take the automobile to the injured automatons.  That is also the direction Valentino was taken.  If necessary, Lulu and her grandfather will part company with us there, taking the vehicle to pursue Iset and Valentino.”

That statement seemed to help Moon.  After a moment I heard gears whine again, but it sounded like they reset themselves somehow.

***

Tesla-car 3

Art by Rob Goldstein

The electric automobile was fully charged, thanks to the selfless efforts of Moon.  We got into it and hurried to the scene of clockwork carnage.  The sands of Egypt were littered with shining gold pieces and parts.  If the victims had been human, it would have looked as bad as any of the horrific battle scenes of World War I.

Apparently, it really did seem that terrible to Nikola Tesla.  The inventor fell to his knees, covering his mouth with both hands.  Moon gently placed a blue-gold hand on his shoulder.

Pragmatic as ever, Dynamite along with his blue surge, Hot Ginger already had the scene organized.  Angel-bots in pairs worked to carry their damaged fellows to various areas that appeared to be organized according to the type of damage incurred.

Pearl’s patience had clearly worn thin with Tesla’s devotion to the automatons.  A sneer marred her pretty face.  She looked around at the wreckage, and then back toward the train.  Pearl scanned the horizon, probably looking for a means of escape.  However, the only thing in view was the Great Pyramid.

She took a deep breath.  Pearl tucked-in platinum blond hair that had escaped her turban during the drive.  She straightened her back and smoothed the old-fashioned dress.  Then she walked over to Tesla.

Single angel-bot

An Angel-bot by Rob Goldstein

“It’s not proper work for a lady,” she began and that phrase alone told me that she was calculating again.  “But perhaps I can help somehow,” Pearl suggested to Tesla.

A small smile told me the way Pearl worded her offer had the desired effect.  Tesla patted her hand and told her not to fret, that he would take care of everything.  Then as a brilliant finishing touch, Pearl staggered, as if swooning.  She placed a pale hand to her brow.

For a moment, Tesla’s attention transferred to Pearl.  He asked Ginger to look after Pearl.  The delicate flower was clearly having a fit of the vapors.

Ginger solicitously helped Pearl to a canopy that was erected nearby for shade.  It was obvious to me that Ginger could tell nothing was wrong with Pearl.  When Dynamite joined them, I could hear a series of clicks and whirrs as the two angel-bots watched Tesla converse with my grandfather.  The two automatons hurried off toward the train.

Gramps and Tesla spoke softly.  A moment later my grandfather got behind the wheel of the electric automobile.  I hopped in beside him.  Before we could leave, Ginger and Dynamite came toward us at a run.  Dynamite held a wooden box.  Ginger carried a case that looked sort of like it was for a trumpet, but it was longer.  The angel-bots jumped in behind us. 

Lulu, Gramps, the Bots and the Car-two

Lulu with Gramps, Ginger, and Dynamite in Tesla’s electric car. Art by Rob Goldstein

I always knew the rose-gold automaton, Ginger had a soft spot for Gramps.  I chuckled to myself.  Dynamite might have had some competition if my grandfather was more like Tesla.

Bushwa!” Gramps muttered.  “Where’s the starter in this thing?”

I had a moment of déjà vu when Ginger leaned forward and pressed a button under the dash.

The electric automobile lurched forward.  The vehicle moved faster than any jalopy I had ever seen.  My hat flew off, but Dynamite reached up and caught it.  Clouds of dust and sand billowed in our wake.  The Great Pyramid of Gisa loomed ahead.

Chapter 13

The Jazz Man

Gramps Jazz Man shades close 1

Gramps, by Rob Goldstein

“Sarcophagus!” Valentino had cried, moments before Iset carried him away on multicolored wings.  Every time I thought about that moment it gave me the heebie-jeebies.  (Chapter 11.3)

A thick layer of dust softened the sound of our footfalls.  The atmosphere felt close inside the Great Pyramid.  I had to keep reminding myself to breathe, because I was so worried and afraid that I could barely draw air into my lungs.

The angel-bots Dynamite and Ginger found the way inside the ancient, gigantic structure without difficulty.  Gramps and I followed their lead.  They had an unexpected amount of knowledge about the place.

“You’ve been here before, haven’t you?” I asked the clockwork creatures.

They both paused, turned to look at me, and blinked.  Dynamite shifted the wooden box he carried.  Ginger still held the odd leather case that looked like it was made for a musical instrument.  They looked at each other while an inordinate number of clicks and whirrs passed between them.  After a moment, I got the most unexpected answer.

Bot carries Valentino Sarcophagus Tesla1

Art by Rob Goldstein

“Giver of Names,” Ginger began.  “We were born here.  All of the angel-bots came into being here.”

“Our bodies at least,” Dynamite added.  “Our births were not complete until after Valentino made various changes to make each attendant unique.  Our varied voices came in response to the location of Valentino’s train when our individual births were finished.  For instance, it was near Memphis, Tennessee when I was being born.  Hence my southern drawl and the other accents you have noticed with the other angel-bots.”

“I know most people think we look alike.  Yet you, Miss, you saw our individuality and began giving us names.  You are most unique among your kind,” Ginger said.  “Yes, the process of our births began here.  However, neither Dynamite nor I have been inside this pyramid in a fully conscious state.  We have some innate knowledge of the place, but no clear true memories of it.”

We entered a broad chamber with columns and tall Egyptian statues.  The center of the area was sunken.  We walked down three broad steps.  In the focal point was an elevated stone bench or bed.  Gramps moved to inspect it.

Egyptian temple com Goddes statue

Statue of Iset inside the Great Pyramid. Image by Teagan Geneviene

“I don’t see any blood,” my grandfather commented.

Bushwa!  Is that an alter?” I asked about the stone bed.  “Do you think that woman meant to sacrifice him?”

Gramps shrugged.  Abruptly I noticed his foot prints in the dust.  I cast the light of my torch around the floor.  I didn’t see any prints but our own.

“We’re the only ones who have been here in a very long time,” I murmured.  “Are you sure they came here?” I asked Dynamite and both angel-bots nodded.

“Iset flew here.  She likely entered the pyramid at its pyramidion.  That is to say its top,” Dynamite answered, sounding rather pleased with himself.  “Before I learned to speak flapper, I learned to speak pyramid.”

Ginger walked to a broad pillar.  Only then did I notice the bronze statue of a woman with wings and the chair-like hat that I had learned was a crown.  I gasped.  It looked just like Iset!

Iset flying leap Wings -1

Iset by Rob Goldstein

I lifted my skirt and took out a flask.  Pearl wasn’t the only flapper with a garter flask.  I took a swig and then sat it down on one of the steps.

The rose-gold automaton shifted her position a few times.  Dynamite joined her and made the same movements.  Gramps removed something from his pocked.  At first, I thought it was his pocket-watch, but I saw that it was a compass.  He went to stand beside the angel-bots.

“You’re checking the direction, aren’t you?” Gramps asked.  “You are made with an internal compass?”

Ginger placed her free hand on my grandfather’s arm and they walked across the chamber.  When she stopped, Ginger opened the leather case.

“None of the attendants can play wind instruments,” Ginger told Gramps as she removed a slide trombone from the case.  “The correct notes must be played on the proper type of instrument to open the hidden door.  However, I don’t know what combination of notes will open it,” she added pointing to the wall.

Virtual reality photograph of Gramps playing the Theramin

Art by Rob Goldstein

“There could be endless combinations of notes,” I complained.  “Do you know any of the notes at all?”

Together Ginger and Dynamite made a sustained musical tone.  Gramps immediately nailed the note, humming with them for a moment.  One of his bushy eyebrows arched upward.  He stopped humming and made a harrumph sound.

“Could it have been a clue?” he muttered.  “Iset quoted the lyrics to one of Satchmo’s numbers.  That song begins on the same note.”

Gramps put the slide trombone to his lips and played the notes that went with the words, “I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you.  Oh, I’ll be tickled to death when you leave this earth, it’s true.”

The angel-bots swayed along with the music.  The sound of the horn echoed throughout the pyramid. 

My skin twitched.  Something wasn’t right.  I noticed my flask.  The hooch inside the glass container swished.  The chamber was trembling.  Sand peppered down from the ceiling.  I put the cap on the giggle water.

Gramps Jazz Man shades close 1

Gramps the Jazz Man.  Art by Rob Goldstein

The vibration became stronger.  It was accompanied by a low scraping sound.  Large stones of the wall shifted back and then to the side.  Gramps had played the right notes to open a secret door.

I hissed for him not to do it, but Gramps stepped into the dark room.  I ran to catch up with him, and the angel-bots followed.  My torch started to flicker.  In the center of the room was a dais of alabaster tile and surrounded by a stone railing.  Gramps stepped onto the dais.  The angel-bots and I followed.  Lights beneath the translucent tiles came on, providing soft illumination.

With a jolt the dais started to move upward.  I staggered and grabbed the stone rail.  As the alabaster disk rapidly ascended, I heard the scrape of stones as the secret door closed.

Gilded Tarot Judgement

The Gilded Tarot — Judgement

***

The End

***

I think Tesla and Moon can probably repair the injured angle-bots.  Although, Woo was in pieces when she hit the ground…  Now Lulu, Gramps, Dyanmite, and Ginger are in the Great Pyramid.  Where is that rapidly ascending alabaster disk taking them?  Will Valentino be there? What about Iset?  We still don’t know what to expect from her. Be at the station again next week as we climb toward a conclusion.

Real World Notes

Vaselino Many men in the Roaring Twenties copied silent film star Rudolph Valentino’s look.  A man with perfectly greased-back hair was called a “Vaselino.”

In “Mud and Sand,” Stan Laurel played matador Rhubarb Vaselino in a parody of “Blood and Sand,” which starred Rudolph Valentino.

I hope you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka 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.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 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 ― Hullaba Lulu 12.1

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Iset hair down Goddess 1

Iset. Art by Rob Goldstein.

Welcome to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  This is where I share stories set in the Roaring Twenties, be they cozy mysteries (like Pip’s stories) or dieselpunk, like Hullaba Lulu.

San Francisco artist, Rob Goldstein  created the pos-i-lutely swell images for this episode.  If you need a comprehensive review of this serial, I did that with a Real World Tech Review episode. 

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Nikola Tesla tried again, to use his violet ray machine to heal Valentino. However the enigmatic man remained semi-conscious and delirious. In his ravings Valentino cried out “Sarcophagus!”

Abruptly the mysterious raven-haired woman appeared. Valentino called her “Iset,” finally showing us what he had been trying to say in his delirium with “Is.. Is.”    

Frighteningly, Iset leaned over Valentino and told him “I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you. Oh, I’ll be tickled to death when you leave this earth, it’s true.” Just as scary, she winked at Gramps when he recognized the song from which those hateful-sounding words came.

Then, Iset with her multicolored wings flew away with Valentino! 

I think I hear the trumpet’s call.  Let’s get a wiggle on with Chapter 12.1. 

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 12.1

Tango

Valentino Iset Cape Blue Resurrection (2)

Valentino being carried off by Iset. Art by Rob Goldstein

The blue sky seemed to shimmer around them.  I watched helplessly as the beautiful woman Valentino had called Iset soared away on multicolored wings.  Valentino dangled in her grasp.

Valentino’s angel-bots poured out of the train, following on the ground.  They ran faster than I would have imagined possible.  It looked like they were trying to get a head of the flying woman.  Having achieved a small lead, they abruptly began to climb onto one another’s shoulders. 

They formed a triangular shape of clockwork bodies that towered skyward.  A trio of angel bots ran for momentum and began vaulting up toward the top of the formation.  One was noticeably smaller than the other two.  It had to be Wicky, Wacky, and the more diminutive Woo.

“Heroes, each one of them!” Tesla cried as he stared at the automatons in admiration.  “I always knew it was in them.”

Tesla portrait-c

Tesla, as imagined by Rob Goldstein

He lifted his hand to shield his eyes from the intense sunlight, dislodging Pearl’s hold on his arm.

“But they are machines,” Pearl complained.

Tesla looked at her as if she had said something incomprehensible.

Woo climbed and jumped along with Wicky and Wacky, all three received helping hands from the automatons in the formation.  Finally, they were at the top of the triangle.  I gasped in astonishment when Wicky and Wacky each took one of Woo’s arms and threw her high into the sky!

As Woo was propelled heavenward, Iset passed over with Valentino.  Woo grabbed for the enigmatic man’s ankle.  However, she lost her hold and fell back.

Iset lost her grasp on Valentino.  Still unconscious he fell through the air along with Woo.  Woo tried again to catch hold of him as they fell, but Valentino was just out of her reach.

Bot Valentino Iset hair down Goddess 2 (1)

Woo’s desperate grab for Valentino as Iset carries him away.  Art by Rob Goldstein

Wicky and Wacky leaned out dangerously far in attempt to catch the falling Woo.  At first, she reached toward them.  Then the entire formation of angle-bots became unstable and started to wobble. 

The tower of automatons swayed far to the left and then dangerously to the right.  It made me think of a terrifying tango as they leaned forward as if in a dip and then swayed some more.

Woo drew back her hand, apparently realizing that if the others caught her the entire group would fall disastrously.  Wicky and Wacky straightened.  The towering triangle of automatons gradually settled as each clockwork creature regained balance.

Meanwhile, Valentino’s unconscious form plummeted earthward.  Iset swooped down and caught him, barely a second before he would have hit the ground.  A few flaps of her majestic multicolored wings took them back high into the sky again.

Lulu light dress Pyramids-test-2

Lulu in Egypt, by Rob Goldstein

With so much happening, I repeatedly looked from one impending tragedy to the other. 

I saw Woo’s metal form hit the desert sands.  Her body bounced more than once.  I saw pieces of her come loose.

Cringing and unable to bear that terrible scene, I looked back to Iset and Valentino.  They had already flown beyond my sight.

***

Nickola Tesla screamed in horror when he witnessed Woo’s fall.

“Quickly, quickly!  There will be much to be repaired,” Tesla cried and ran toward his automobile.

The wind whipped up fiercely.

Gramps Arrives waves

Gramps by Rob Goldstein

“A tail wind,” Gramps commented, looking at the sky where we last saw Iset and Valentino.  “We’ll never catch up with her now.”

Gramps and I hurried after the inventor.  Of course, Pearl was right on Tesla’s heels.  Her turban almost came off as she ran.  Pearl paused to make sure her hair was hidden.

I saw the bluish gold angel-bot near Tesla’s electric automobile.  Moon always looked after the most advanced of the amazing whatchamacallits on the train.  He seldom left the train so it was not unexpected that he stayed behind when the other attendants left.  However, I was surprised to see a thick cable that ran from the automobile to Moon’s stomach.

“Moon!” Nikola Tesla called to the angel-bot.  “What have you done?” he asked in dismay.

Sparks came from Moon’s eyes.  The usual clicks and whirrs were broken by electric pops.  The automaton turned to Tesla in an unsteady motion.

Papá,” Moon began in a barely audible voice.  “There were difficulties charging your vehicle.  You must have the automobile if you are to reach Valentino in time.  I had to make sure it was charged inmediatamente,” the angle-bot said.  “So, I had to use my own lifeforce to power it.”

Abruptly Moon collapsed in a heap of blue-gold metal.

***

The End

***

Things are even worse! How is that possible? How many angel-bots were hurt when their towering triangle formation collapsed.  Woo was in pieces when she hit the ground. Can she be saved?  Plus, with the wind assisting her flight, how can they catch up with Iset?  And what does she have in mine anyway?  Be at the station again next week.  Maybe we’ll get some answers then.

Real World Notes

Nikola Tesla’s Electric Car.  There are a number of conflicting stories as to whether Tesla truly invented a working, rechargeable electric car.  However, there are also numerous accounts of his inventions and discoveries being suppressed by corporations and other entities who did so to advance their own financial interests.  I’ll leave it to you to decide.  In Hullaba Lulu, Nikola Tesla has his own fictional electric automobile.

The Tango.  Above, not your everyday tango! In the 1920s, the tango moved out of the lower-class brothels and became a more respectable form of music and dance.

I hope you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the caterpillar’s kimono!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka 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.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 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 ― Hullaba Lulu 11.3

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Iset full black gown Lulu - Goddess-3 (1)

Yes… she’s back.   Art by Rob Goldstein

Welcome everyone.  The diesel-punk train has arrived at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  It’s great to see all you Sheiks and Shebas! 

The diesel-punk train has been stuck in that Egyptian sand dune where it exited the pittura metafisica — both in the story and in my head.  Sunday is my writing day, so as I pen this, I was looking for inspiration.  I landed on the video composite (below) of Louis Armstrong. It includes some 1920s footage.  At the video site, there’s a nice bit of history too.

The second song “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal,” got me going with this episode.  Does that seem like odd inspiration?  Read on and you’ll understand.

Louis Armstrong – Satchmo At His Best – Legends In Concert

San Francisco artist, Rob Goldstein  created the pos-i-lutely swell images for this episode.  If you need a comprehensive review of this serial, I did that with a Real World Tech Review episode. 

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

All the angel-bots were excited to see Papá, who turned out to be Nikola Tesla. The inventor brought his violet ray machine and tried, unsuccessfully to heal Valentino.

Lulu felt an odd fluttering sensation inside her head. A strange but beautiful woman blinked into her sight but disappeared. 

Valentino’s condition deteriorated and Pearl told us,  “He was raving something, but his speech was slurred.  It sounded like he kept asking about something, Is it whatever.  I asked him ‘Is what?’ but he moaned and passed out again.”

Later, Lulu barely overcame the urge to shave Pearl’s head for her superiority complex and the snobbish things she said about Lulu and her family. 

Valentino Trumpet_The Mystic_Dark-2

Valentino uses the trumpet to call us to the train.  Art by Rob Goldstein

What do you think I did with the “things” that spontaneously drove this chapter? Without further ado, let’s get a wiggle on with Chapter 11.3.  Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet? 

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 11.3

Remote Control, Sarcophagus 

 

Virtual reality photograph of Gramps playing the Theramin

Art by Rob Goldstein

Everything seemed to sparkle.  Lights reflected in the chrome-and-glass coin-operated machines of the automat.  I stared absently at the beautifully ornate mirrors, marble, and marquetry, as my half-eaten fried chicken got cold.  A sign identifying Horn & Hardart* was positioned vertically so that the words lay on their sides. 

“Everything has been sideways from the minute he showed up,” I muttered, my mind on Valentino.  “Including my feelings.”

It was true. From revelations about my absent mother to all the strangeness of the oddly different versions of Atlantic City and the Cotton Club.  I felt like my entire life was catawampus, sideways

One of the clockwork attendants was clearing plates from a nearby table.  Placing the dishes on a cart it pushed some buttons and the cart rolled smoothly away to the kitchen.  Remote control, I’d never get used to it.

“Pardon, Miss?” Woo asked in a voice subtly accented with Chinese.

I didn’t know it was her until she spoke.  Though a few of the clockwork attendants had distinguishing features, most of the were identical.  Only their unique voices set them apart.

Automat Lulu Bot

Lulu waits for news about Valentino’s condition.  Woo brings refreshments.

Reaching to a different cart, Woo placed a bloody mary and a small bowl of horseradish on my table.  She asked if anything was wrong with my chicken.  I told her that it was fine and thanked her for remembering the horseradish that I had not requested.

The clockwork attendant shifted in a foot-to-foot hesitation.  I had come to realize that movement meant they were uncertain about something, or perhaps looking for the correct words.

“Thank you for your insights about the gowns,” Woo finally finished.

“Oh, you mean for Pearl?  It was nothing.  I’m sorry she was being such a rubber to you,” I told her.

The automaton lives up to the name angel-bot, I thought.  Woo had the patience of a saint to deal with Pearl.

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat… with cheeseburgers

She looked at me curiously when I shook my head and stuck my fingers in my ears.  That weird fluttering sensation deep inside my ears ― I’d felt it once before.  It was back.  Fluttering like a bird trapped inside my head, trying to escape.

My head started to buzz.  That also happened the other time.  Lights blared like a camera flash, although I realized the lamps in the automat hadn’t so much as blinked.

From one of the strobes of light, the strangely beautiful woman in a long white gown appeared for the second time.  Her long onyx hair lifted on a current that might have been from air or from electricity.  She still wore that funny little hat.  It looked like a tiny chair on top of her head.

The woman leaned down and sniffed of me!  I drew away.  She sneered but it turned into a vulpine grin.  Although that didn’t seem any friendlier.  With another flash of light, she vanished.  I shook my head again. 

Repeated clicking caused me to turn toward Woo.  Her eyes blinked convulsively.

“I have to go―” I started.

“Miss, we should―” Woo began.

“Check on Valentino,” I added in chorus with the angel-bot.

***

Tesla no hat Conducting-1-1

Tesla preparing to use the violet ray on Valentino, by Rob Goldstein

At the suggestion of Moon, the engineering attendant, I had played music on the theremin several times.  Moon had hoped it would repair Valentino’s connection with the train.  That was a side effect of when the train’s Tesla coil was sabotaged.  However, any positive effect the eerie music had on the enigmatic man didn’t last long.

We had high hopes that Nikola Tesla could cure Valentino using his violet ray machine.  However, despite the inventor’s efforts the benefits of the machine did not appear to be what Valentino needed.  Tesla was in the middle of another session when Woo and I walked into the room.

Valentino moaned fretfully as Nikola Tesla used the odd-looking contraption he called a violet ray.  His speech was slurred as if he was zozzled, although I knew it was from his sickness.  It sounded like he asked if something was set.  He repeated the word “is.”  Then he started saying my name along with his ravings.

“Is what set?” I asked him, but my lack of understanding only seemed to upset him more.

As Tesla worked, the room was suffused in violet light.  The air became charged with static electricity.  A sizzling noise met my ears. 

When I commented on a pleasant smell that seemed to be one of the effects, Tesla told me that it was the odor of ozone.  He said we should go ahead and inhale the ozone, that it was good for us.  Then he took a deep breath as if to illustrate.

I didn’t understand what was going on, but it seemed to soothe Valentino.  He stopped ranting whatever it was he wanted to know about “Is.”

Pearl Turban 3

Pearl wearing turban to hide her hair, by Rob Goldstein

Only then did I notice Pearl sitting behind Tesla.  She wore a modest pastel gown in an outdated style.  A matching turban hid her fair hair.  Her long earrings were notably missing.  She looked like the women of the past, whom Tesla was quoted as saying he preferred.  She had also hidden the things of which he had phobias ― human hair and women’s earrings.

Pearl moved the stool on which she sat, staying as close to the inventor as she could get without causing him to trip over her.

To my surprise, Tesla gave Pearl a fond glance.  Her plan to win Nikola Tesla seemed to be working.

I saw my grandfather’s intense gaze.  The man could stare down a locomotive if he put his mind to it.  At first, I thought he looked at me, but his eyes were fixed on a spot just over my shoulder.

Gramps Arrives waves

Gramps by Rob Goldstein

 

“Now all she needs is some pigeons,” a voice said from behind me.

Startled, I turned around to see the onyx-haired woman from before.  She pushed past me, moving toward Valentino.

“I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal, you,” she said as she moved closer to the semi-conscious Valentino.  “Oh, I’ll be tickled to death when you leave this earth, it’s true.”   

Satchmo?” Gramps muttered incredulously, causing to the woman to divert her intense gaze from Valentino to him.

She gave my grandfather that vulpine smile and winked!  His eyes bulged. 

It scared me half to death.

“But I can’t let you die just yet,” the woman added, turning back to Valentino.

I heard the fluttering again, but that time it was not inside my head.  Abruptly the woman had wings!

Iset Purple wings Lulu - Goddess-5

The strange woman returns — with wings

 

I remembered the huge multicolored wing I had glimpsed a few times.  I wondered if it was her.  I couldn’t tell because everything in the room had a purplish cast from the violet ray machine.

Abruptly Valentino sat up on the table where he lay.  He shouted a single word.

Sarcophagus!” he cried.

In an instant the winged woman stepped toward Valentino.  Her large wings obscured my view. 

“Is… Ist…,” Valentino raved.  “Iset,” he finally spoke clearly.

Then I was blinded by intense repeated flashes of light.  When the spots cleared from my vision, the woman and Valentino were both gone.

The angel-bots rushed to a window and pulled back the curtains.  I could see the black-haired woman spread multicolored wings. 

She flew away, carrying Valentino with her.

Valentino Iset Cape Blue Resurrection (2)

Iset carries away Valentino.  Art by Rob Goldstein

***

The End

***

Is-who?  Iset?  That might be good… Then again she didn’t exactly seem friendly, so it could be really bad!  And now the strange winged woman has noticed Gramps.  I’m with Lulu — that would scare me too!

Real World Notes

Satchmo.  Louis Armstrong (via OneMediaMusic) Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an “inventive” cornet and trumpet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly recognizable deep and distinctive gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. 

Horn & Hardart automat 1920s

Horn & Hardart, Times Square, New York, circa 1920

Horn & Hardart and its cavernous, waiterless establishments represented a combination of fast-food, vending and cafeteria-style eateries. These restaurants, with their chrome-and-glass coin-operated machines, brought high-tech, inexpensive eating to a low-tech era.  became an American icon, celebrated in song and humor. With their uniform recipes and centralized commissary system of supplying their restaurants, the automats were America’s first major fast-food chain.

I hope you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the oyster’s earrings!

***

Satchmo’s songs on the video at the top of this post are: 

1. Hello, Dolly!

2. I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead You Rascal You

3. Muskrat Ramble

4. On The Sunny Side Of The Street

5. Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen

6. Jeepers Creepers

7. C’est Si Bon

8. Medley: Now You Has Jazz / Tiger Rag

9. The Birth Of The Blues (feat. Frank Sinatra)

10. I Love Jazz

11. South Rampart Street Parade

12. When It’s Sleepy Time Down South

13. Just Because

14. St Louis Blues

15. Some Day You’ll Be Sorry

16. When The Saints Go Marchin’ In 

17. The Umbrella Man

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka 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.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 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.