Jazz Age Wednesdays 29 ― Hullaba Lulu 4

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hey, Sheiks and Shebas.  Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays

My “partner in crime” (Rob Goldstein) did the video above.  I’m using as a review of last week’s episode.  I’m happy to be able to feature more of the artwork of Rob Goldstein

Update:  Here’s a fun related post that Rob did over at his blog, “10 Everyday Items Invented in the 1920s* — click over and enjoy.

Today we have Chapter 4 of the Roaring Twenties fantasy series, Hullaba Lulu.  The “dieselpunk*” aspect of the story is beginning to show in this episode.  The “three things” Rob sent for this chapter were downright educational.  Some of the “things” take a bit more writing for me to work into the story than others.  So please bear with me for this somewhat longer episode.

 If you need to review Chapter 2, click here.  

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Today’s chapter picks up where Chapter 3 left off, with Lulu in her “secret place,” the abandoned subway station.  The Ouija board spelled out nonsense letters.  She thought she was alone until…

Suddenly, I felt cool fingers touch my shoulder.  I jumped backward and screamed.

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 4

Ectoplasm, Jung, Orthophonic Victrola

Magic table Lulu Valentino Gramps good portraits

Lulu, Gramps, & Valentino in the Abandoned Subway Station, by Rob Goldstein

My elbow hit one of the dead soldiers lined up on the counter.  As my scream echoed through the abandoned subway station the empty beer bottle toppled with a domino effect.  The entire row went down, rolling and clattering.  Several fell to the floor, but astonishingly none of them broke.  I wondered if the coat of dust on the floor was that thick.

Maybe it was, because a little cloud went up and I sneezed loudly.  As I wiped my nose on my sleeve I looked up at the owner of the cool fingers that had startled me.

Valentino.

For a moment I wondered how the mysterious man had gotten into my secret subway station.  Then I realized that I had not locked the door behind me.

“Your rouge needs blending,” he commented.

Once again, he looked at me as if he had stumbled upon a new species.  It made me wonder if I had a booger in my nostril.  I touched a knuckle to my nose uncomfortably and glanced around for a mirror.

Val hat Lulu trumpet expressions

Lulu and Valentino, by Rob Goldstein

I noticed Valentino held a red leather-bound volume.  It looked like some kind of logbook.  He casually set it on the counter near the Ouija board.  He put his hand to my cheek.  Using his thumb, he rubbed the raspberry colored cosmetic a few times.

“So, what’s that?” I inquired about the book.

Lifting the red cover, I saw hand written notes and illustrations.  Valentino laid his hand on the book cover, closing it.

“The pictures in it are unusual.  Did you draw them too?”

“Yes, Lulu.  I got the idea from Carl Jung.  It’s sort of a travelogue.  It wouldn’t make sense to anyone other than myself,” he replied.

(More about Jung’s own red notebook here)

I looked up at his face, evaluating his expression.  Brooksy, a classy dresser in that tuxedo, Valentino was suavely calm.  Maybe too cool.  It made me want to poke at the façade, get a rise out of him.  I wondered what would annoy him.

Val and Tom green

Valentino and Tom Driberg, by Rob Goldstein

Valentino had a charisma that was hard to describe.  I didn’t want to be attracted to him for the simple reason that my friends acted foolishly giddy over him.  I figured he had that effect on most women.  Maybe on men too, based on the way that journalist, Tom Driberg had gazed at him.

So focused was I on Valentino that I had not noticed my grandfather enter the room.  I was almost as startled to see Gramps as I had been when Valentino came up behind me.  I thought of the brief stare-down they had outside the speakeasy the night before.

The atmosphere around the two men seemed heavy.  It reminded me of ectoplasm.  I felt I would’ve needed a knife to cut through the gauzy membrane of it.

Then again, maybe it actually is ectoplasm, I thought.

Gradually a faint aura enveloped the two men.  It trailed away from them, becoming thicker, more visible as it stretched back to the Ouija board.  The planchette raced back and forth across the wooden board.  Apparently, I was the only one who noticed.

Gramps Valentino sepia Station

Gramps and Valentino in the abandoned station, by Rob Goldstein

Gramps swallowed hard and his eyes were tight as he fixed Valentino with a cold stare.  That was the second time I had seen Gramps encounter the enigmatic man.  Both times my grandfather’s intensity, his expressions and manner befuddled me.

“So that’s what brought you back?  That old Ouija board?  I guess coming back to get something is not as cold hearted as returning on a whim.  But it would have been better if you hadn’t come back at all,” Gramps told him in a level tone.

Horsefeathers!  My Gramps already knew Valentino?  But…

The red leather book flew open and the planchette jumped from the Ouija board to the book.  I hurried to look at the pages before Valentino could get a chance to close it again.

The left-side page was filled with words written in elaborate script.  The hand was neat but difficult to read through the gauzy nimbus.  I wanted to pick up the book, but I was afraid to put my hand into the ectoplasm.  The right-side page bore a hand drawn map.  I gazed at it in sudden inspiration.  I grabbed the notepad where I penciled the letters of the Ouija board to which the planchette pointed moments before, Y, T, I, C, C, I, T, N, A, L, T, A.  My eyes went back to the map.  I spat out the piece of saltwater taffy that as still in my mouth.

English_ouija_board

English Ouija board, Wiki Media Commons

“Atlantic City?” I read the title of the map.  “Bushwa!  Couldn’t it point to Paris, or Cairo, or even Shanghai?  But no― Atlantic City.  And why the devil did it spell the words backward?” I commented incredulously.

Valentino reached the desk in a single step.  He didn’t even flinch at putting his hand into the aura.  He picked up his travelogue.  He snapped it shut and the nimbus burst.  The noise of tiny pops repeatedly assailed my ears, like a string of lady finger firecrackers.  Bits of ectoplasm showered down in sparks.

I tried to take the book from him, but he held it tightly to his chest.  He gave me a derisive look that was probably meant to make me stop.  I desperately wanted to get another look at that page.  The only thing I had been able to make out in the handwriting was a name.  Lauren.

“Lauren was my mother’s name,” I hissed into his ear, not wanting Gramps to hear.

“I know, but save it for later,” he whispered back as he twisted away from my hands.

Lauren La Garçonne -1x

Lauren by Rob Goldstein

Pearl burst into my erstwhile secret place.  I stopped trying to get my hands on the book.  My fair-haired pal was clearly distraught.

“Lulu, you have to help me stop her!” Pearl cried.  “It’s Rose, she’s going to blouse.”

“She wouldn’t do that,” I assured Pearl.  “I don’t think Rose has anywhere else to go, no family or anything,” I commented, but paused for a second as a suspicious feeling tickled at my mind.  “At least she never talks about them.  Why would Rose be leaving?”

“I don’t know,” Pearl said near tears.  “Especially after all those gifts came.  But she is.  She’s packing her suitcase and everything!”

When I wanted to know what Pearl meant by gifts, she described several expensive items that were left at our friend’s door.

“And there was a beautiful Chanel suit, and even a big Orthophonic Victrola,” Pearl explained.  “A note came with it that was addressed to Margosha.  So, it wasn’t even meant for her.  I told her that if she didn’t want the stuff she could just send it back, but she was all upset about it.”

Valentino surprised me by telling Pearl, “I thought you were Margosha.  The name means pearl.”

Pearl Lulu Waves

Pearl, by Rob Goldstein

“Did you leave the goods then,” I asked him, and I was surprised to hear the accusing tone in my voice.

“No, but I’ve a good idea who did,” he told me.  “Pearl, go get your friend and bring her here.  It’s not safe for her to travel alone.”

Pearl daubed a lace edged handkerchief at her eyes.  She brightened considerably.

“It’d be a shame to send back the Victrola.  It’s the bee’s knees,” she sniffled and said, trying to joke.

“Not to worry.  I have one on my train.  We can let it play on the way,” he told her.

I saw Gramps shift his stance.  His hand twitched as though he was about to reach toward something.  Or maybe someone.

Valentino turned and picked up the Ouija board.

“Hey!  That’s mine,” I protested.

Gramps shocked me by saying, “It belongs to him.”

I turned to my grandfather in sputtering confusion.

Gramps_Red 001x

Gramps by Rob Goldstein

“I didn’t realize it had a defect when I left it.  That explains why I never got a message…” Valentino told Gramps in an apologetic tone that left me more muddled than ever.  “That’s why it gave you the letters in reverse order,” he added turning back to me.

My hands were still extended toward my Ouija board.  Too many strange words and thoughts were flooding into my mind.  They caught in a bottleneck, leaving me immobile.

“I’ll get you another one,” Valentino told me.

His mouth held an impatient twist as he looked at my outstretched hands.  He sounded like he was talking to a petulant child.  The whole situation was getting me in a later.

“This Ouija board is part of my train,” he added in an annoyed tone that was tinged with guilt.  “It’s part of the navigation system.  This one was a backup.  The primary board was corrupted and a default setting sent the train here, where the backup board was left.  I didn’t know it was bringing me here.  I didn’t mean to cause you pain,” he added, looking at my grandfather.

***

The End

***

Now I’ve exposed another of the challenges of writing “three things” and/or serials — achieving the right combination of stopping point and length. Applesauce, I do try…  

Will Rose arrive safely at the abandoned subway station?  Why is she in danger anyway? Lulu has a mysterious mom that apparently no one talks about?  How the heck are a Ouija board and a Victrola part of the workings of a train?  Must be dieselpunk…  At least some of these questions will be answered next time with Hullaba Lulu Chapter 5 — Automat, Tilt-a-Whirl, Cheeseburger. 

1927 Orthophonic Victrola Ad

In 1925 Orthophonic Victrola* was a big innovation in sound reproduction.  The new electrically recorded phonograph records sounded harsh on the old Victrolas.  The had to consider all sorts of frequencies and even how long the horn had to be to produce a good sound — not to mention how to fold the resulting nine-foot long horn into a cabinet. 

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there. He’s not just a brilliant artist, he’s also an advocate for several important causes. 

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

 

 

PS:  I can’t forget 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 28 ― Hullaba Lulu 3

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ghost train station with color

Image by Rob Goldstein

Hi there, Sheiks and Shebas.  You’re at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Today’s episode brings us to Chapter 3 of the new series, Hullaba Lulu.  It is not in the “Pip-verse” but it still takes place during the Roaring Twenties. 

Update:  Here’s a link to a stunning video Rob made for the story. Please click over and check it out — it’s pos-i-lutely the berries!

Don’t Bring Lulu

I’m having a pos-i-lutely fabulous time working with artist Rob Goldstein.  He’s creating gorgeous artwork, starting inspiring discussions, and sending me “three things” to spontaneously drive each chapter of this pantser story.   If you need to review Chapter 2, click here.  Today we catch up with our bearcat Lulu the day after all the wild happenings in the abandoned subway tunnel.  Read on to see where Rob’s next three things took me for this chapter.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Valentino went up the ladder first to push aside the heavy manhole cover.  However, it was already open.  We climbed up to the street.  I looked around for my friends.  In the distance I saw the two gals climbing the stairs to Pearl’s front door.

A sulfuric smell accompanied the strike of a match.  I turned to see Tom Driberg leaning nonchalantly against a Rolls-Royce.  Cigarette smoke curled above his head as he jotted something on a small notepad.  He looked at Valentino the same way he had looked at Rose and Pearl.

Without a word, Tom walked into the night.

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 3

Saltwater Taffy, Raspberry-Red Rouge, Ouija Board

 

Lulu 5

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

The heels of my T-strap shoes clicked rhythmically against the cracked pavement, keeping me company.  I did a step-slide-step-brush of the Camel Walk dance as I walked down the deserted tunnel.  I was supposed to meet Rose and Pearl for a late breakfast.  However, neither of them showed.  So, I headed down to my secret place to console myself. 

Besides, maybe I’ll run into that man again.  I guess anybody who looks like the Sheik of Araby has a right to call himself Valentino.  But still… why didn’t Pearl or Rose show up? I’m the one who’s always late.

I remembered how oddly my friends had acted when that journalist, Tom Driberg, turned up the night before.  Then I thought about that car-full of government-looking types.  I suppressed a pang of genuine worry.  I did another a step-slide-step-brush to lighten my thoughts.

vAL Grams Station_012x

Gramps in the abandoned subway tunnel — Art by Rob Goldstein

Ever since I was a kid, Gramps had told me I wasn’t allowed in that part of the abandoned subway.  He always said it wasn’t safe, although I couldn’t tell that it was any different from the rest of the tunnels.  So of course, the forbidden area was my childhood playground.  The old station was the best place in the world for telling ghost stories.

The key to the station door hung from a ribbon around my neck.  When I found the key, years before, I started locking the door.  It became my special secret place and I didn’t want just anybody hanging out there.

My stash of saltwater taffy was behind the counter that had been the ticket desk when the station was in use.  I pulled off a sticky piece of the candy.  In a mood to reminisce, I took out my box of girlhood treasures. 

When I was little, one of the highlights of my week was when Gramps would let me take unclaimed things from the speakeasy’s lost-and-found.  One of those items was a dainty gilt embossed tin from Dorin of Paris*.  I removed the top of the raspberry-red rouge container.  Inside the lid was a tiny mirror.  I winked at my reflection and daubed a bit of the cosmetic on my cheeks.

Clumsy as ever, my elbow brushed against one of the dusty dead soldiers I had lined up over the years.  I caught the empty beer bottle just before it went over the edge of the counter. 

 

Lulu at table in station

Lulu in her secret place.  Image by Rob Goldstein

My knee bumped against something on the shelf under the desk.  I grinned when I saw what it was. 

“Well, hello there.  I haven’t seen you for a long time,” I muttered to my old plaything.

It had been a long time since I’d thought about the Ouija board.  I wasn’t sure if it had belonged to my mother.  It looked so old that it might have belonged to Gramps.  Anyhow, nobody seemed to use it, so I had quietly taken it to my secret place.

I bent to take the Ouija board from the shelf.  I placed it on the counter.  Taking out my handkerchief I wiped a coating of dust from the wooden board.  The letters of the alphabet formed an arch across the polished wood-grain, and the numbers one through nine, and then zero, were in a line below.

English_ouija_board

Ouija Board, Wiki Media Commons

Most people would have said the station could use a good cleaning.  However, I liked the spooky feeling of the cobwebs in corners and the dust on the floor.  My footprints made a chaotic pattern in the dust, back and forth from the door to the desk and throughout the station.  Any prints other than my own had long since blended into the dust.

Or so I had thought.  I walked around the desk, intent on investigating.  My hand still rested on the scratched surface.  My eyes widened when I realized there were new foot prints.  They were considerably larger than mine and came from pointy toed shoes.  That’s when, from the corner of my eye, I saw a movement near my hand.

I jerked back around to the Ouija board.  The planchette moved.  The small, heart-shaped piece of wood was meant to glide across the board’s surface, with the light, unguided pressure from the fingertips of the participants.  It was supposed to reveal subconscious thoughts or clairvoyant messages from beyond.

As I watched in stunned silence, the planchette moved from letter to letter, with no one touching it.

Quickly I grabbed a pad and pencil from the desk.  I wrote the letters to which it pointed.  Y, T, I, C, C, I, T, N, A, L, T, A.

Suddenly, I felt cool fingers touch my shoulder.  I jumped backward and screamed.

Ghost Station_017x

The abandoned subway station, by Rob Goldstein

***

The End

***

The Camel Walk* dance originated in the early 20th century.  Variations of it have been popular over the decades.  If you want to pick up Lulu’s dance steps there several are how-to videos.  Here’s one for a modern country version:

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there. He’s not just a brilliant artist, he’s also an advocate for several important causes. 

Rob sent more “things” for Chapter 4 — Ectoplasm, Jung, and Orthophonic Victrola.  Be sure to come back next week to see where those take Lulu.

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

 

PS:  I can’t forget 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 Review

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hi ya’ll. Yes, you are at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Pull up a chair and get comfortable!

The Train_008

Art by Rob Goldstein

I’m working on the story for Chapter 3 of Hullaba Lulu.  Rob has already created a collection of wonderful images, and sent “three things” to drive the story. However, I’ve been dealing with “stuff” again for the past week (and weekend), and it kept me from writing.  So rather than give you a lower “quality” (not to mention rushed) episode I’m sharing a couple of things in stead.

Artist Rob Goldstein is collaborating with me for the new series, Hullaba Lulu. Rob shared some of his art for the “Lulu-verse” at his blog. There are new images, and some that you might not see here during the series.  Click here, it’s a fun post.

Magic table purple seated Gramps Valentino Lulu

Gramps, Valentino, and Lulu — by Rob Goldstein

Next… I’m late sharing this because I didn’t realize she had done it.  Dynamic author and translator, Olga Núñez Miret recently reviewed my current novel, “Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients 1.”  I’m so excited about her review that I had to share it right away.  Here’s Olga’s review as posted at Good Reads.

A fun and delicious book for readers with a sense of adventure who admire creativity I am a big fan of Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, as an author, a blogger, and I was lucky to discover her blog a few years back, and although I missed some of her early serials at the time of their initial conception, I have managed to catch up with them over time. I have also read her novel, Atonement, Tennessee and know that apart from an imagination that knows no bounds, and a love of period research and attention to detail. (You can check my review here.) She has a way with words and can create magical characters that readers get to care for and make them live through situations that never fail to surprise us and keep us on tenterhooks.

Blue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer

As she explains in her description, she has been running a number of serials on her blog, pantser style. She asks her readers for things and/or ingredients, and she makes up a story that keeps developing as her imagination, and the things and ingredients, dictate. I am in awe at her creativity and I must recommend her blog (Teagan’s Books), as I know she is working on her next serial (and her process of creation is totally interactive).

Many of her readers (I included) kept telling her we would like to have the option of having her serials in book format, and eventually, she relented.  I have reviewed her first serial in book format, Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story (you can read my review here). Many of the things I said about the previous book can be applied to this one.

Young Lucy color blond

Young Lucille Ball

This is another light, fun, and fast book, with the same protagonist, Pip, a young woman, a flapper (as she keeps reminding herself and us, because being modern at the time was not an easy task), who, on this occasion, is sent to stay with her grandmother, Granny Phanny (she is a fabulous character, and although she would hate to be called a flapper, she is an utterly modern woman) in Savannah so she can learn how to cook. That helps introduce the ingredients part of the story, and the culinary theme adds a layer of interest to the story, although I would advise not to read the book when you’re very hungry, because although sometimes the ingredients don’t end up in a dish, they often do, and they all sound delicious.

Pip, who narrates the story in the first person, is recovering from a heartache and meets a cast of wonderful characters, from a family of Chinese restaurateurs, to a vet and his doctor wife, G-men, police officers, mobsters, and there is even a paranormal element in the story. Oh, and let’s not forget a collection of pets that will warm your hearts and make you laugh.

Pip’s language remains as peculiar as usual, and the author seamlessly includes the popular and fashionable expressions of the era in her book. I challenge readers not to end up using some of them, especially some of Pip’s favourites.

Studebaker blue 1920s 

I recommended readers of the previous serial to play a game and try and imagine in which direction they would send the story, or how they would use the three things at the beginning of each chapter. You can do the same here, and if you’re fond of cooking, I’m sure you will have fun exploring possible ways of using the ingredients, both to cook and to advance the story. And by the end of the book, you’ll be amazed at how the author has managed to create a cohesive story from such diverse elements.

I recommend this book to readers with a sense of fun and play who enjoy a fast and light mystery (cozy style. No explicit violence, although there is violence, no sex scenes) set in the Jazz Age (oh, don’t forget to follow the author’s blog if you enjoy that historical period as she shares a post on the subject every Wednesday), with charming characters and great food. And even if you don’t have a lot of time to read for long stretches at a time, as the serial was created to be read a chapter per week, it is very easy to follow the story and not get lost. So, there is no excuse!

Applesauce, Olga!  Wow, and thank you so very much!

Everyone, thanks for visiting.  Rob and I will be back next Wednesday for more of Hullaba Lulu.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

 

PS:  Now for more shameless self-promotion — the links to my 1920s books — the ones 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.

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 27 ― Hullaba Lulu 2

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Val and Lulu trumpet and Rolls

Art by Rob Goldstein

Welcome to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  I’m happy to see you back for Chapter 2 of this new series.  It is not in the “Pip-verse” but it still takes place during the Roaring Twenties.  

Artist Rob Goldstein is collaborating with me, creating fabulous visuals and sending me “three things” to spontaneously drive this pantser story.  Some of the details also come from a song Rob’s grandmother sang to him called “Don’t Bring Lulu.”  

Don’t Bring Lulu

I was captivated when Rob wanted me to include a (potentially supernatural) Valentino character.  I loved his idea.  If you’ve been following me for a good while, then you know I like to make fictionalized versions of historic people.  Then, one of the “things” (the Bright Young Things) Rob sent for this episode showed me a wealth of such people I might include.  Yes, one of them has already become a mysterious character.  You’ll see in a moment.

The mystery elements begin here in Chapter 2, so pay close attention.  I won’t tell you what’s a clue and what’s a red herring.  I’m just wicked that way.  And now…  

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 2

Grand Central Station, Garter Flask, Bright Young Things

Lulu 5

Lulu, image by Rob Goldstein

 

Rose MacDonald sneezed delicately as soon as we stepped out of my grandfather’s speakeasy.  The “raid door” opened to the abandoned subway tunnel.  It was dusty from decades of disuse. 

Still feeling the effects of the hooch, I pondered sadly that the speakeasy was becoming rather like the tunnel.  I remembered when the joint was jumpin’ like Grand Central Station.  It wasn’t nearly as busy as it once was.  Gramps refused to do business with some of the more disreputable rum-runners.  Business started to fall off long about that time.

Rose put an elegantly embroidered handkerchief to her turned up nose and sneezed again, a decidedly unladylike noise.  The stitching formed a monogram, an R bracketed by two Ms.  It also matched her dress.  Rose was always coordinated.

By then my nose burned too.  I gave a big achoo! that echoed down the tunnel.

Rose Lulu - Small

Rose, image by Rob Goldstein

I closed the emergency exit of the speakeasy.  From the outside it blended into the walls of the subway tunnel.  You had to know exactly where it was if you were going to find it.

Also, it was dark when the red and blue lights from the strange train died.  I took a torch from an inconspicuous bracket Gramps had bolted to the wall.  A flip of the switch and we had enough light to see.

The cacophony, just moments before had made me think that train was about to crash right into the speakeasy.  It stopped several feet beyond the door and rested on the tracks where a train ought to be.  Except that no train should be in that part of the subway at all.  Nothing could get past the caved-in area.

Rose and Pearl watched the man who had come into the speakeasy in a blaze of red and blue lights (along with that train) as if mesmerized.  Rose ran her finger down the lapel of his tuxedo jacket in a flirtatious way.  He met her eyes with a smoldering gaze, but I had noticed that the expression in his eyes usually looked that way.

“Ya know… you’re even more handsome than Rudolph Valentino,” Rose began.  “So, what’s your name?  I bet you’re a great dancer.  You look like a real sharpshooter, a regular floorflusher.  Why don’t we go back inside?  There’s a darb Victrola for dance music.”

“Yeah, tell us your name,” Pearl added her voice.

“Valentino,” he stated simply.

Bushwa!” I exclaimed.  “Who are you really?”

“I.  Am.  Valentino,” he repeated with emphasis.  “I take it that you know someone similar.  That happens sometimes,” he added in a tone that suggested he had said the same thing a thousand times.

His statement befuddled me.  We tried to get more sense out of him, but that was all he’d say about his moniker. 

Valentino_close Hat

Valentino, by Rob Goldstein

Meanwhile Pearl and Rose clung to his elbows.  I admit that I would have done the same thing.  However, he didn’t have a third elbow, and I wasn’t going to cling to anybody’s knee.

“What kind of woman is she?” he muttered to my pals in a baffled tone.  “She smells like onions and horseradish, and there’s marinara sauce on her cheek,” he added.

The man who called himself Valentino didn’t sound repulsed or offended, simply curious.  He looked at me like an ornithologist who had found a new species of bird.

“Oh, she’s not as wild and woolly as she seems,” Rose said with a grin, and winked at me.  “Although she is the kind of smarty who breaks up every party.  Cheer up honey,” she told me.  “Sometimes you get so glum when you’re tipsy.”

Pearl reached out and gave my hand a squeeze, although I thought she might be reassuring herself more than me.  Then she introduced herself and Rose.  The man was gracious, but in return he formally repeated the single name, Valentino, as if he had no other.

“And that’s Hullaba Lulu,” Pearl introduced me with the hated nickname, causing me to blush.  “You should see her Charleston!  We’d bring her to any party.”

I started to say something clever, but a hiccup escaped my lips instead.  Then I heard the echo of footfalls farther up the tunnel.

“Margosha!” another man called out from the distance.

The new stranger was coming from the direction of the hatch that lead up to the street.

“Is that you Margosha?”

He seemed to squint.  The lighting was dim.  I thought nothing would be able to pry my friends loose from the Valentino guy.  However, when the other man caught up to us, I noticed that Rose and Pearl had moved away into the shadows.

“Hey do you lot know where the door to the speakeasy is?” he asked.  “I’m looking for― um, an old friend and I heard that she hangs out there.”

Val and Tom D

Valentino and Tom

Judging by his face I would have thought he was an uptown swell, but he had longer hair, and the style of his suit made me think he had spent time in India.  I thought he must be a cellar smeller, who had somehow learned about my grandfather’s speakeasy.  At any rate, he didn’t look like a revenuer, so his presence didn’t worry me.  Besides I was still pretty well zozzled.

“Margosha?  That means pearl in Russian,” Valentino murmured so softly that I barely heard.

The door to the speakeasy opened.  Unnoticed by anyone else, Gramps stepped out, closing the door softly behind him.  His eyes went to Rose and Pearl in the nearby shadows.  The cellar smeller walked up to Valentino and me.

“You!” Gramps exclaimed, though I wasn’t sure which of the men he meant.

I didn’t understand my grandfather’s reaction.  His posture made me think of a snake, coiled and ready to strike.  That made me uncomfortable so I started babbling.  I tend to do talk when I’m nervous.  Unfortunately my chatter changed the subject and I didn’t find out which “You” Gramps meant.

“So, who are you, mister?  And who is Margosha?” I turned to the new comer and asked.

Tom Driberg.  He’s the journalist who tells all about the ‘Bright Young Things,’ you know?” Rose explained obligingly.  “The swells who throw all the wild parties.”

“The ones I’m never invited to?” I inserted a rhetorical comment.

I watched Rose and Tom Driberg.  There was a challenge in her eyes when she looked at him.  I wasn’t sure what to make of it.  However, I thought I recognized the hungry expression on his face when he looked at her and Pearl.

Pearl Lulu Waves

Pearl, by Rob Goldstein

Everybody said Pearl was a darned nice girl.  It was true ― at least if you asked me.  Yet at that moment she looked like a doe ready to spring away.  Pearl lifted her beaded dress revealing a garter flask.  She took a swig and almost forgot to pass the flask around.  I didn’t understand why she’d be upset.

“A hair of the dog,” Pearl explained.  “I’ve got a headache.  I really need to get home,” she added.

With an uneasy glance at Tom, Pearl started walking toward the subway hatch to the street.  She’d have a shortcut home that way.

Rose went after pearl to take care of her.  When I saw Tom Driberg, the journalist, follow them it didn’t sit well with me.  I turned back to Gramps.  I was surprised to see him and Valentino staring at each other wordlessly.

I cleared my throat, interrupting the silent tableau.

“I don’t trust that guy,” I announced.  “I’m going to make sure my pals are okay.”

Gramps_arm bent red

Gramps, by Rob Goldstein

“You should not go alone,” Valentino told me, abruptly breaking eye contact with my grandfather.  “I will escort you.  My automobile is up there.  We’ll make sure your friends are safe, then I can drive you back to your grandfather.”

Gramps looked none too pleased.  However, after a moment he nodded and went back inside his empty speakeasy.

We hurried after the others.  It was so dark I had already lost sight of them.  When we reached what I call the raid exit, Valentino went up the ladder first to push aside the heavy manhole cover.  However, it was already open.  We climbed up to the street.  I looked around for my friends.  In the distance I saw the two gals climbing the stairs to Pearl’s front door.

A sulfuric smell accompanied the strike of a match.  I turned to see Tom Driberg leaning nonchalantly against a Rolls-Royce.  Cigarette smoke curled above his head as he jotted something on a small notepad.  He looked at Valentino the same way he had looked at Rose and Pearl.

Without a word, Tom walked into the night.

***

The End

Valentinto LuLu Tom D Rolls

Valentino, Lulu, and Tom, by Rob Goldstein

***

If you want to know more about the real Tom Driberg click here.  He’s an interesting figure and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him.  That’s what causes fictional him to be a fun addition to this cast.

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  He’s not just a brilliant artist, he’s also an advocate for several important causes. 

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

 

PS:  Now for the shameless self-promotion — the links to my other 1920s books — the ones 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.

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 26 ― Hullaba Lulu

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  As much as I love Pip and her friends, I was in the mood for a change of pace.  Today is the premier of a new mini-series.  It is not in the “Pip-verse” but it still takes place during the Roaring Twenties.  I hope my “voice” is different enough to distinguish this story from the ones featuring Pip. 

A while back Rob Goldstein offered to do some 1920s images for me, when one of my tales reminded him of stories his grandmother told him.  He mentioned a song his grandmother sang to him called “Don’t Bring Lulu.”  Right away I wanted to do a story related to it.  

Don’t Bring Lulu

For several weeks, Rob and I have had a great time playing with ideas for this story.  He quickly sent me several images for potential “Lulus,” and he created additional and wonderful artwork as well.  Since the Lulu in the song had red hair, I chose that for Lulu — but I wanted to use the other two images as well.  So I took two names from the song to be friends of my Lulu.

One last note, my draining “stuff” continues, and I wasn’t able to plan a story.  So this is another “three things” pantser tale.  The things driving this work will come from Rob and from our brainstorming notes.  

Sorry about all my blah-de-blah…  Finally, I present to you Chapter 1 of the story.  The things driving this episode are Rose, Pearl, and Trumpet.

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 1

Rose, Pearl, Trumpet

 

Pearl_Lulu 1

“Pearl”  by Rob Goldstein

 

The vibrant notes of the jazz band echoed in my mind as I faded in and out of consciousness.  I wasn’t sure whether my eyes blurred or cigarette smoke still hung in the air, but the place had cleared out.

The last thing I remembered was jumping up onto the stage and doing the Charleston with Rose and Pearl.  They were my best pals.

Everyone said I played too hard.  What did I care?  Those old blue nose busybodies needed to mind their own beeswax

Even Gramps cautioned me about burning the candle at both ends, going to the speakeasy every night.  Bushwa!  Now that’s a nice how do you do.  It was his speakeasy!

Maybe they’re right, I thought woozily.  The three of us closed the place — again.

My grandfather’s speakeasy was quiet and empty except for Rose, Pearl, and me.  I noticed that Gramps had draped a blanket across each of us.  He wasn’t so hard boiled when it came to us girls.  Although you can bet nobody wanted to mess with him.

Garlic from the remains of a brick oven pizza wafted to my nose.  My hand plopped down on the table when I tried to pick up the last half-eaten piece.  I tried again and managed to get the morsel.  Although I was pretty sure there was tomato sauce on my face from trying to actually get it to my mouth.

Tony is the bee’s knees, I thought with a loud belch.  Makes the best pizza in town and doesn’t charge me for it half the time.  ‘Course, I slip him some giggle water now and then…

Across the table from me, Rose snored softly.  Her black hair fell across her face.  I wondered if her little turned up nose had anything to do with the snoring.  She acted like such a goody two shoes that no one ever suspected her of anything, but she was a swell gal.

In the chair next to me, fair haired Pearl twitched in her slumber.  Everyone said she was a darn nice girl.  I couldn’t argue with that.  Pearl and Rose were invited to every party.  True blue friends, they always brought me along, even though for some reason I wasn’t usually on the invitation list.

Lulu 5

“Lulu” by Rob Goldstein

Me?  They called me Hullaba Lulu.  Don’t ask me why.  I wasn’t any more audacious than any other flapper.  I couldn’t help it if I had the reddest hair.  So what if I liked to dance and drink and had a good healthy appetite?  Although I admit I was clumsy.  Gramps had banned me from his glass blowing shop.  I wasn’t allowed to touch the dishes in the speakeasy either, because I had dropped and broken so many of them.

It’s an absurd nickname, I thought as I burped again.

Those thoughts swam randomly through my muddled mind just before my head dropped back down to the table.  My face landed on my beaded handbag.  It didn’t make the best pillow, but at that moment, I didn’t notice.

A noise startled me awake.  I lifted my head, the fancy clutch stuck to my cheek.  It fell after a second, leaving that side of my face covered with little round marks from the beads.  I wiped a bit of drool from my chin and looked around.  I could have sworn I heard a trumpet, but the band was long gone.  I strained my ears but didn’t hear anything.  That was to be expected.  Sound didn’t usually get into or out of the speakeasy. 

My grandfather’s speakeasy was the best kept secret of the Prohibition Era.  It was underground, so there was no noise to give it away.  I should back up and explain that.

He built his house around a small structure that was one of the original subway entrances.  No one wanted to construct anything too close to Gramps because of the fire hazard of his glass blowing “profession.”  Of course, his real money came from the speakeasy.

1900s Manhattan Subway Entrance

Manhattan Subway Station circa 1918

The old subway entrance was converted to his workshop.  A hidden door at the back of his shop lead to the speakeasy downstairs, underground.  It was in a disused section of the subway.  There had been a cave-in many years before.  The subway authority never cleared that section, finding it cheaper to build a new one instead.  In case of a raid, the speakeasy had a secret emergency door, which opened to the abandoned tunnel.  There was a ladder and a hatch that came out on the street a quarter mile away.

So, I couldn’t possibly have heard the sultry notes of a trumpet.  Yet I heard it again ― just as the room started to shake!  At the loud rumble of a train I stood abruptly, causing my head to spin.  I grabbed the table to steady myself.

“There can’t be a train!  That’s impossible,” I exclaimed.

Rose snorted and woke, looking around shocked and bleary eyed.  Pearl gave a stifled scream as she roused.

I turned toward the back of the club, looking at the emergency exit.  Red and blue lights blazed from the edges of the door.  I heard the screech of the subway train stopping.  The door burst open.

Portal Valentino_Entering ND-2

Portal image by Rob Goldstein

Spots danced before my eyes.  All I could make out was a pair of pointy toed patent leather shoes.  When my vision cleared I beheld a man as stunning as the Sheik of Araby.

Pearl gave a fearful little shriek. 

Rose made a dramatic gasp that would have pleased Cecil B. DeMille. 

“He looks just like Valentino!” Rose and Pearl exclaimed in chorus.

I hiccupped.

Sheik of Araby

Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik 

The End

***

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  He’s not just a brilliant artist, he’s also an advocate for several important causes.  Thanks for visiting.  You’re the bee’s knees! 

 

PS:  Of course, I have to show you the links to my 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.

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.

 

Introducing ― Hullaba Lulu at Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Featuring Images from Art by Rob Goldstein

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Headed your way — Hullaba Lulu!

An All New Roaring Twenties Story

Premiers tomorrow, only at Teagan’s Books — Jazz Age Wednesdays

This new collaboration features images by Rob Goldstein*. 

It’s an all new 1920s fantasy story.  All new characters.  All spontaneously written pantser fun!

Lulu 5

Lulu, by Rob Goldstein

Tune in tomorrow here at Jazz Age Wednesdays for Chapter 1.  Three things will drive each episode.  Chapter 1 is Rose, Pearl, and Trumpet

Now where do you think those “things” will take the beginning of my new story?  This video will give you some clues.  See you soon!

Don’t Bring Lulu

Of course, I have to show you the links to my 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.

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.