Jazz Age Wednesdays 14 ― Pip at the Holidays

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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

Christmas tree hat Modern Pricilla December 1920

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

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

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

Richs Department Store vintage

Rich’s Department Store

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

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

Photo by Suzanne DeBrango

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

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

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

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

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

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 13 ― Pip and the River Monster

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

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

Early Lucille 3 copy

Young Lucille Ball

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

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

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

Pip and the River Monster

Savannah GA Isle of Hope circa 1930

Isle of Hope, Savannah GA circa 1930

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

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

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

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

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

Sea Monster man woman Jean-Marc Côté 1900

Jean-Marc Côté circa 1900

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drebbel stamp

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sk-k-k skull?” Alastair queried.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End

***

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

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

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

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 11 ― Turkey Time for Pip

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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

Turkey Time for Pip

1928 Thanksgiving New Yorker

The New Yorker magazine, November 1928

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mysterious Affair at Styles* by Agatha Christie

The Age of Innocence* by Edith Wharton 

This Side of Paradise* by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Main Street* by Sinclair Lewis 

Glinda of Oz* by L. Frank Baum

Queen Lucia* by E. F. Benson 

Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners* by Sigmund Freud 

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

The end

***

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

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

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

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

 

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 10 ― Pip Sees a Pug

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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

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

On to the Jazz Age!

Early Lucille 3 copy

Young Lucille Ball

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

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

Pip Sees a Pug… or Four 

“Floyd?  Hey, Floyd!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pugs-4-smoking-vintage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes ma’am.  That’s my granny.”

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

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

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

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

studebaker1920_2

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

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

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

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

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

The End

***

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

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

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

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

 

Copyright © 2014 and 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 1

Wednesday, September 6, 2017Camel Walk dance poster 1920s

Each weekend I give you a new serial episode. I’ve been giving that throughout most of the past four years. However, Teagan’s Books is about more than serial episodes.  It’s about my books too.  So I’m creating this midweek feature.

I added a poll to the last post. Not a majority, but some people wanted me to keep it to one post a week.  No one is obligated to visit every post.  Although I have to say I find that discouraging.

Since my current release is Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I, I’ll be having Jazz Age Wednesdays.  That means short stories from the “Pip-verse.”  (At least for a while.  When Atonement in Bloom is published, the midweek feature will be from that universe.)

We like to joke about Wednesday being “hump day” and camels. Did you know that in the 1920s there was a dance called the Camel Walk?  Although this example from 1935 is probably a little more complicated than what the average couple did…

Here’s my first Jazz Age Wednesday feature.  It takes place right after the novella, The Three Things Serial Story.  I was honored to have a great review of the novella from author and translator Olga Núñez Miret.

It’s a short story, so it was driven by only one “thing/ingredient,” macaroni and cheese.  It came from Suzanne DeBrango’s  souffléd macaroni and cheese when we did a joint post in January.  (Yes, I’m re-sharing this story.)

Pip Arrives in Savannah

The breeze that rustled through the fronds of tall palm trees was tinged with salt.  I inhaled deeply as I walked out of the tall arched door at Savannah’s Union Station.  I heard the bell of a streetcar, which had gone past a moment before.  I stretched to see the trolley, but barely got a glimpse of its back-end.

With a loud Bronx cheer I dropped my suitcase to the curb of West Broad Street.  I thought the Jazz Age slang for the rude noise I made was appropriate, since my Pops was continuing on the train to New York City.

Pops said I needed to be reigned-in, and Granny insisted that I needed to learn to cook.  Neither of them would admit that I was a modern woman.  No self-respecting Flapper needed to cook!  Anyhow, Pops had unceremoniously dumped me off the train, saying he’d visit with Granny and me on his way back.  I blew another raspberry at the streetcar that I had just missed — and at my wretched situation.

Union Station Savannah, GA

The ringing of the streetcar’s bell faded into the distance.  The first time I ever saw a trolley was during a visit to my grandmother, there in Savannah, when I was a very little girl.  I slipped away from her and Pops, and scampered onto a streetcar.  I didn’t get far, but Granny Phanny was mad enough to spit. 

This time, I had done the opposite.  Instead of getting on a trolley when I shouldn’t have, I had missed the one I was supposed to ride to get to her.  Now Granny would be waiting to meet me at some Chinese restaurant downtown, but I wouldn’t be on the trolley.  Horsefeathers!  She would be in a lather.

A nearby news vendor walked away from his stall, probably headed for a bite of lunch.  I called out and waved as I hurried toward him, my suitcase bumping along at my side.

“Hey Mac!  Was that the trolley that goes to Pearl Street?” I called out, but he didn’t hear me over the blast of a train whistle.  “Enjoy your lunch,” I grumbled and my empty stomach answered in kind.  “I sure could do with some of Granny’s macaroni and cheese.”

“Did you miss the trolley, sweet cheeks?” a clear tenor voice asked.

I didn’t see him until he moved forward.  He had been leaning against the opposite side of the newsstand.  He wore a suit and hat, but they had flair.  He cast a furtive glance over his shoulder, but then tilted his head back and blew a smoke ring into the air.

Applesauce!  He looked pos-i-lute-ly like the kind of character I had always been told to avoid, but he was as sexy as the Sheik of Araby.  Then his cigarette smoke drifted to me and I sneezed.  So much for me being a sophisticated Sheba.  I had to agree with Pops that smoking was a nasty habit.

mallory-ad-man-in-car-hat-ad

“You’re new in town, huh?  I’m Floyd.  I can take you where the giggle water flows aplenty.  It’ll be a real blow,” he said with a smile and a wink that made him even handsomer.

“Says you,” I countered coyly, thinking he was joking around.

“At least let me drive you over to Pearl Street.  Stick around until my pal gets back.  He’s picking up something for me,” he added gazing up and then down the street, as if looking for his friend.  Stay right here and I’ll get my machine.  It’s a sweet ride.  You’ll love it,” he called over his shoulder as he rushed away.  “Don’t move.  Promise.  I’ll be right back.”

I stood baffled, gaping at Floyd’s retreating form.  I was also feeling flattered by his interest.  There was an intensity about him that I found exciting.  Not to mention the fact that I was relieved that I might avoid Granny’s wrath over me missing the streetcar and leaving her waiting.

Signorina, do not be going with that man.  It would be a bad thing for you.  Trouble comes,” a voice, heavily accented with Italian, said from behind me.  “There will be other transportation.”

Turning, I saw a portly man in odd looking chef’s clothes.  He lifted his brimless toque and bowed.  A jalopy backfired so suddenly and so loudly that I jerked around to face the noise.  When I turned back, the chef was gone.  I didn’t see him anywhere.  It was as if he disappeared into thin air.

I quickly forgot about the odd occurrence when a wooden crate fell off a passing truck.  The driver pulled to the curb beside me.  Without thinking I went to help.  He had not been traveling fast, so little damage was done.  A few oranges rolled from a broken crate.  I started picking up the wayward fruit.1920s delivery truck

An Asian looking guy with a quasi-British accent jumped out of the driver’s door, apologizing even before his feet hit the street.  He gingerly hopped over the tailgate and began re-positioning the crates.  A couple of them looked ready to fall.

I noticed lettering on the truck proclaiming Wong’s Chinese.  Was that the name of the restaurant where I was supposed to meet Granny?  I was so resentful about being sent to Savannah that I hadn’t even paid attention to what she said.  I knew there wouldn’t be more than one Chinese restaurant on the street.

“Your place isn’t on Pearl Street by any chance, is it?”

“Yep, that’s Wong’s,” he replied with a grin, stopping his work.  “Hey, are you Pip?  Miss Phanny will be looking for you.  I’m Alastair Wong,” he bent from the truck bed and shook my hand.

I sighed with relief.

Then a brand new Ford stopped and gave a long blare of the auto’s horn.  “Hey! Move it,” my Sheik of Araby from moments before shouted angrily, and followed that with a racial slur.

Floyd got out of the automobile, moving toward us in a menacing posture.  I stood up, a smashed and dripping orange still in my hand.

“This cake eater’s bad news, Pip.  You don’t want to have anything to do with him,” Alastair Wong whispered as he stepped in front of me protectively.

In the distance a police whistle trilled.  The guy’s eyes widened and he looked over his shoulder.  Before I knew what was happening, he had hit Alastair in the head with the butt of a pistol.  I shrieked as he dragged me into the open Ford, my arms and legs flailing.

I could hear the coppers coming toward us, shouting and blowing whistles.  Suddenly the Ford was blocked between the delivery truck and police vehicles.  Alastair lay unconscious on the street.  The busted orange dripped juice all over my skirt.  The guy waved his gun around excitedly.  A maniacal gleam came to his eyes when he looked at me.

1920s Police car

An over eager copper fired his gun.  I heard the whiz of the bullet pass by my head.  Startled, Floyd jerked toward the policemen.  Movement from the delivery truck caught my eye.  A catawampus crate started to wobble.  Suddenly that crate and another one tumbled down to land on the windshield of the Ford.  Floyd started screaming and cursing, waving his pistol even more.

When he turned back to me, on sudden impulse I stuck the busted orange in his face and smeared it into his eyes.  By then the coppers had reached us.  They grabbed him before he could do any damage with the gun.

A copper helped me out of the Ford.  I ran to Alastair as another cop helped him stand.  Across the street I saw Floyd’s pal, the news vendor being held by a policeman.

“What just happened here?” I demanded.

A paddy wagon rolled up and the policemen pushed Floyd into it, along with his pal.

“Bootleggers,” a copper told me.  “As if we didn’t already have enough of those around here.”

“So Pip,” Alastair said while he held a handkerchief to his bloodied forehead.  “How do you like Savannah so far?”

I chuckled despite everything.  At least he had a sense of humor.

studebaker1920_2

“Well, I was afraid I would be bored to tears here,” I told him with a dramatic sigh.  “But I suppose it will be interesting enough.  So far I’ve learned three things.  Don’t take any wooden nickels.  Don’t get into Fords with handsome men.  And Wong’s Chinese is the right place to go.” 

Alastair laughed.  “That’s a good slogan, doll face.  Mind if I use it?  How about we get you to the restaurant.  Miss Phanny will be getting impatient.”

And so began my adventures in Savannah.

The end

***

You’ll find more of Pip and her friends and her adventures in Savannah in Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I .  Thanks for visiting. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

Bijou front only 2

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Characters, Murder at the Bijou

It’s hump day and I needed a boost to get me through the rest of the week.  I avoid midweek posts, but I thought this might give me the lift I need.  When this song popped into my head (again) I knew I had to share.  Because I’m getting ready, ready, ready for the takeoff!  What I mean is the launch of Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I.

It’s a Roaring Twenties culinary mystery.  It was spontaneously written as a “pantser” serial here at this blog.  Everything, event, and character in the story was inspired by things or ingredients the readers of this blog sent.  Now, as I’m closer and closer to takeoff I wanted to show you my concept of the characters.

Studebaker blue 1920s

Cast of Characters

PipBlue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer


The Three Things
gave us Pip (Paisley Idelle Peabody), the narrator of both story-lines. I was so fond of Pip, a flapper and aspiring “modern woman,” that I kept her around for The Three Ingredients. I added her grandmother, Granny Phanny, and the fledgling catering business so that we could have the culinary mystery theme.  The rest of the story is inspired by your ingredients.

The moment I stumbled upon a photo of a very young Lucille Ball, I imagined the voice of grown-up Lucy as Pip, telling the stories of her youth.

Granny Phanny

Margaret Sanger as GrannyPhanny Irene Peabody.  Granny is actually a “Pip” too.  Her given name was Phanny Irene, and when she married into the Peabody family her initials became P.I.P.  

I never found a photo that seemed like Phanny to me.  I only had a vague image of her in my mind, a woman with delicate features, but a backbone of steel. However, in a photo of Margaret Sanger, I saw Granny’s kind heartedness, firm resolve, and spunk.

From this point, I’ve listed the characters in order of their appearance in the story.

Alastair Wong

Sessue_Hayakawa_as AlastairThe very first ingredient (geoduck) was the inspiration for Alastair Wong.  The Wongs immigrated to the United States from England, and Alastair has a faint British accent.  Neither he nor his parents had ever been to China, though they dreamed of visiting and faithfully passed down family recipes used at Wong’s Chinese, their restaurant. Alastair is a talented businessman and chef.

Long time followers of this blog will recall that there are two Alastair Wongs.  The first one  you meet is the younger. Later, in Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers, you meet his grandfather, Alastair Wong the elder.

I had a small crush on Alastair, so his prolonged absence during the serial should show you that it really is guided by your ingredients.    :o)  

I think a vintage photo of Sessue Hayakawa could be Alastair — if I could find one of him in a less somber, brooding mood. Alastair certainly has a serious side but he also has a beautiful, ready smile.

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Arabella Wong1920s Vogue red hat

Alastair’s mother, Arabella also appeared in Episode-1 and she is mentioned a few times afterward. However, the ingredients haven’t led to a larger part for her… At least they haven’t yet. Only the ingredients can say!

A vintage Vogue magazine cover made me think of Arabella’s graceful elegance, though there has been little opportunity to describe her.

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Byron and/or Bradley BinghamtonNiven as Binghamton

The Binghamton brothers are actually “walk on” parts.  However, when I started looking for character images, I wasn’t sure where the ingredients might take them. So I’ve included them anyway.

Byron is the owner of the Bijou Theatre. That setting is where our storyline began, when “the dead man” was found.  Bradley Binghamton, Byron’s lookalike brother is seen much later.  They were minor characters, but necessary to the story just the same.  Something tells me that there might be some sadness in the history of the brothers, and this shot of David Niven in “The Bishop’s Wife” could be either of the lookalike brothers.

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Cracker Jack DaddySpeakeasy_Stories-July

Jack Daddy was a minor character who was fundamental to the storyline. His nickname was Cracker Jack because he was a skilled safecracker and a mobster.  Maybe he was not 100% bad if he was Cracker the Parrot’s “daddy.”  However, I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.

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vintage bunnyCinnamon Bun

When I received “cinnamon” as an ingredient we got Cinnamon Bun, a Flemish Giant Rabbit with reddish fur.  You recently saw his back-story in the vignette, Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit.  The veterinarian, Vincent Vale gave him to Granny Phanny. She adores the oversized bunny, and so does Cracker the Parrot, who often brings Cinnamon Bun treats.

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Dabney Daniels

JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adWe also meet Detective Dabney Daniels of Savannah’s finest. The moment I saw a vintage ad for Arrow shirts, I had an image for Dabney. He has known Granny Fanny for some time, and helps her with heavier work around her cottage. Dabney seems to take an interest in Pip, letting her ride along for part of the murder investigation and work at cataloging evidence. Is Granny trying to push the two together?

Detective Daniels has been patient with Cracker, even thought the parrot bit his ear. He shows concern for Granny, and for his fellow law enforcement officers. Though he seems emotionally distant to Pip’s way of thinking.

Vincent Vale

Christopher Timothy as Vincent ValeOur veterinarian is Vincent Vale.  He has broad knowledge and training for a veterinarian of that era, including acupuncture.

Vincent seems like a gentle soul. He rescued both Cinnamon Bun and later Cracker.  Together, he and his wife Veronica built an impressive medical facility for animals of all types.  Who else would I imagine as Vincent Vale but “All Creatures Great and Small” actor, Christopher Timothy.

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Cracker

Parrot in flightThe ingredients included “graham cracker” and of course that gave us Cracker the parrot.  Granny Phanny resisted liking that “nasty bird” for quite a while.  But Cracker’s unexpected devotion to the injured Marshal Moses Myrick won Granny over.

Cracker is a most unusual and clever bird. The one thing we can expect from this parrot is the unexpected.  Cracker learned many things related to the various mysteries in this storyline through her association with Cracker Jack Daddy, her late owner. When Vincent Vale examined her, he said Cracker was about 40 years old, so we can only guess at the scope of the parrot’s life experiences.

She definitely has opinions about the humans in the story. Cracker took a dislike to Dabney Daniels, perhaps associating him with the death of her “daddy.” But she loved Moses Myrick and the rabbit, Cinnamon Bun from the very start. It took her a while to win Granny Phanny’s affection, but she did. Cracker seems to like Pip and the poodle, Cotton. And she at least tolerates Hank Hertz.  However she shakes her foot as an expression for her disdain of “The Joker.”

Veronica Vale

1920s woman scientist-microscopeThe pantser writing of this serial also brought us the wife of Vincent Vale.  Mrs. Veronica Vale is an accomplished medical doctor and surgeon who has traveled widely. She is the most accomplished woman Pip has ever met. At Pip’s determination to be a “modern woman” Granny introduced her to “the real deal.” Veronica’s intelligence is matched by her good nature and sense of humor. Both the doctors Vale are caring, generous people.

She performed emergency surgery on Marshal Myrick after he was ambushed by the bootleggers. Vincent is a veterinarian, rather than a “people doctor” but he proved his skill too during the operation. Granny revealed yet another skill, acting as surgical nurse.

Marshal Moses Myrick

Barrie Craig adventuresOne of the ingredients was “peas”… and we got Moses Myrick.  Go figure, right?  That’s just how my brain works. Pip was distrustful when she unexpectedly learned that he’d known her grandmother for a long time, and apparently quite well. So her first reaction to Marshal Myrick was less than positive, “He was very polite and all, but I couldn’t help thinking what beady little eyes he had.  Green eyes… like little peas!

I saw an ad for a vintage detective story, and thought the man could easily be Moses Myrick. He wins Pip over, and Cracker likes him right away. He seems to have an affinity for the parrot… and a history with Granny Fanny.

Queenie WetsonJoan Crawford as Queenie Wetson

The Queen of Clubs is introduced halfway into the story.  I was looking for a vintage queen of clubs card, when I found celebrity playing cards. Guess whose picture was on the queen of clubs?  Joan Crawford. From that moment, there was no other choice for Queenie Wetson.

Hank Hertz

Hank Hertz or Hugo Johnstone-BurtA reader wasn’t thinking when leaving ingredients for me. I faced a challenge. I try not to put restrictions on your ingredients, but one of the items was microwave. I knew it was meant as the microwave ovens we use today, but as I suspected, my research showed they had not been invented in the 1920’s.  However, scientists had long known about microwaves. That gave us a new character, Hank Hertz.

Our Hank is the fictional grandson of Heinrich Hertz, who proved the existence of radio waves back in the late 1880s. So the “microwave” ingredient gave us Hank, who is a wizard with the police radio. It also led to more layers in the mystery — Since the gangsters were using  open radio transmissions (microwave brought us to radio waves) they used code names.

As I visualized Savannah’s youngest policeman I thought of a TV actor who could easily play Hank — a slightly younger version of Hugo Johnstone-Burt who played Hugh Collins on “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.”

Daisyvintage queen of the may

In a planned (or technically correct) story I would not add new players so late in the tale.  However, the spontaneity unexpectedly led me to new characters — including Daisy.  Also called The Dainty Dish, Daisy was the second Mrs. Henry Kingston. Her story was a local legend, according to which she was given to him as a payment for a gambling debt, but Kingston fell madly in love with her. Her story line continued into the next serial.

Mr. Farceur

The domineering major domo was also introduced late in the story.  At first I saw him as a stodgy old Black Butler 2man… but then the ingredients suggested that he could be an interesting complication to the story.  That’s also when his name came along.  Maybe his name, Farceur, is significant, or maybe it’s a red herring — only the ingredients know for sure!

For a moment he had been a nameless, faceless butler. When a classic anime character pinged into my mind, I indulged myself with the image of “Black Butler” Sebastian Michaelis.  How could I resist?

***

So there you have it — most of the characters for the soon to be “book-ized” Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Wednesday!

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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.