Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 9.2

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Valentino Lulu Dance Hop Bot on horse RED Cotton Club-5-22-

Valentino and Lulu dance the Lindy Hop outside the Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  You know this story is spontaneously written.  Saturday I followed the impulse to do a recap… before Wednesday.  I added the rewind to one of the next set of things from Rob Goldstein  who creates the gorgeous images and videos for this series. (Click here for the entire collection of videos.)  So, that made the recap Chapter 9.1.  Today’s episode of Hullaba Lulu brings us to Chapter 9.2 of the series.

My Writing Process

Sometimes it takes me a bit of storytelling to make my way to a “thing.”  That is what happened here.  So, I’ve divided this chapter yet again.  I hope you enjoy the ride.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

It looked like the angel-bots were up to some matchmaking for Dynamite and his blue surge, Ginger.  They were excited that the Ouija board pointed to the Cotton Club as the train’s next destination.  Lulu didn’t seem so thrilled.

The automat provided money.  Even though it looked wrong, Boom-boom assured Lulu that nothing was amiss, including Bolshies or Russian spies. However, based on the strange currency, the she thinks that just as Atlantic City wasn’t the same place she knew, the Cotton Club might be similarly strange.

It’s time for Chapter 9.2.  Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet? 

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 9.2

Jukebox

Bot Valentino Lulu inside train windows Flight to Egypt-4

Angle-bot, Valentino, and Lulu inside the train, by Rob Goldstein

“Lulu!  Horsefeathers!  Where did you go?  C’mon.  Everybody is ready to go to the Cotton Club,” Rose called.

The corridors of the train rang with Rose and Pearl separately, calling my name.  They had split up to look for me.  I didn’t mean to be coy.  I wasn’t hiding, not exactly.  I just wanted to be alone.  When I should have been in my sleeper car, changing into my glad rags, I went to the darkened control room of the train instead.

Solemnly I poked around all the glosy glowy gismos.  I touched the golden control angel statue with the tip of one finger – just because I wasn’t supposed to touch anything.  I knew it was some sort of machine, but it couldn’t move around like the angel-bots.

My peripheral vision caused me to whirl back to face it.  I could have sworn the angel’s eyes opened.  Although they were closed.  I walked away, then jumped around, intending to take it by surprise if its eyes were open.  The eyes were closed.

Hmmm.

I moved to a device with a sphere and lightning blots that ran steadily to another machine.

Control room The Angel_0322-

The control room of Valentino’s train, by Rob Goldstein

“Hello, Miss.  Your friends are looking for you,” an angel-bot commented as he entered the control room.  “Do be careful.  All the instruments are precisely set and require delicate handling,” he added in the typically matter-of-fact way of the clockwork creatures.

There was a subtle Spanish sound to his voice.  Rather than regular gold like most of the bots, his finish had a bluish cast.  He used the same manner of speaking as the others when he answered my question about his accent.  He said his voice was from Cuba.

“What’s this thing?” I asked of the lightning bolt device.

“Ah!  The Tesla coil.  It was made by Nikola Tesla himself and gifted to Valentino,” the angel-bot explained with a tone of awe.

I had heard of Nikola Tesla.  He sounded like a real grouch.  No wonder Valentino knew him.  Grouches of a feather…  Maybe Tesla wore those pointy toed shoes too.  Those dog kennels would make anybody grumpy.

Valentino many bots painting red

Valentino and angle-bots, by Rob Goldstein

“Something seems rather off about the devise,” the angel-bot said with an inquisitive tilt to his bluish gold head.  “I should—” he stopped talking and blinked at me as if I were suddenly the object of his curiosity.  “Oh!  Giver of Names, I didn’t realize it was you.  Could I impose?  I mean, if it is not too much trouble…  Would you be so kind as to bestow a name upon this humble bot?”

I couldn’t help grinning.  The angel-bots were downright zozzled with delight about the prospect of getting named.  Again my mind went to songs in choosing a name.  When the idea came to me I smiled.  The clockwork man bounced on his toes in anticipation.

“Hmm, your voice is from Cuba, and there’s a bluish cast to your gold.  It kind of makes me think of the—  That’s it!  How about, Moon?  That’s from the song Cuban Moon,” I suggested.

My grin got bigger when the Orthophonic Victrola, which was part of the control room started playing the song.  (Chapter 4)

Apparently Moon liked his name.  In a flurry of clicks, flutters, and bounces he hurried away to tell his friends.  I had no idea what he had been about to say he “should” do a moment before, but it had to do with that dangerous looking Tesla coil.

With one finger extended toward the lightning, I tried to work up the courage to touch it.  Then Rose called my name from the doorway.  It startled me so badly that I yelped.  I jerked around, bumping into the Tesla machine as I turned.  It wobbled dangerously, the lightning shot out a wild arc.  I caught the machine before it could fall and hurriedly straightened it.

I wasn’t sure if the Tesla machine was facing the same way it was before.  I thought maybe I placed it backwards.  However, I didn’t want anyone to see that I nearly caused another hullaba calamity, as Pearl called my clumsiness.  So I rushed toward the door.

“There you are!  Pearl, she’s over here,” Rose called to our other friend.  “Lulu, why aren’t you ready?”

“You to go ahead,” I said as Pearl hurried up to join us.  “I’ll change and catch up with you in a jiffy.”

Lulu towel Bots Metropolis 4

Lulu and angle-bots at bath time, by Rob Goldstein

I ushered my pals off the train and moped back to my sleeper car.  It had cheered me up to give Moon the angel-bot his name, but that joy faded quickly.  As I walked past the jukebox in my sitting room, “Cuban Moon” started to play.  It was almost as if the machine meant to remind me of that cheerfulness, but it didn’t make me smile.

My eyebrows went up when the jukebox came on by itself.  Everything on that train seemed to be fluky.

I’m no stupid tomato.  From the beginning I realized the train was no ordinary engine.  Although everyone else seemed to ignore that fact.  Abruptly I wondered if it had anything to do with the reassuring pulse of the engine.

Could some kind of mesmerism be involved?

One thing was bothering me, making me sad.  I was pretty sure that train could go anywhere.  It was the only chance I would ever have to travel to faraway, exciting, glamorous places.  Yet instead of going to any of the hundreds of dreamy places I could imagine, it took us to Atlantic City, where I had previously been dozens of times.  Worse, it had already returned to New York, if not to my home borough.  I was bitterly disappointed.

A screen concealed a changing area with a tall mirror, a cushioned ottoman, and a clothes tree.  I was startled when an angel-bot stepped out from behind the screen.

“Were you unhappy with the gown, Miss?  When I saw that you hadn’t changed into the black gown you wore when you boarded, I brought another,” the angel-bot told me.

The metal of that angel-bot was unique.  She was rose-gold.  I knew Dynamite was stuck on her.

“You must be Ginger!” I exclaimed and the angel-bot nodded.  “I thought all the bots were eager to go to the Cotton Club.  Why are you still here?”

“Yes, Miss.  Thank you, Giver of Names,” she replied.  “Yes, everyone loves the club.  But I heard you were sad, so I will stay behind with you.”

How could Ginger have heard that I was sad?  That as creepy as the jukebox or the Orthophonic Victrola playing the song I mentioned.

I remember how excited Wicky, Wacky, and Woo had been because they had arranged for Dynamite to sing to Ginger onstage at the Cotton Club.  I couldn’t ruin that surprise for any of them.

Lulu Purple gown Toward Egypt 2

Lulu’s new gown, by Rob Goldstein

 

So, I pretended enthusiasm that I didn’t feel.  I admit that I actually did perk up when I saw the gorgeous gown Ginger brought.  It was royal purple silk and looked like an Erté original.  The rose-gold bot also brought a black boa to accessorize the gown.

“There’s a bit of a walk to the club,” Ginger began.  “Will your kitten heels be suitable?  Ah!  But there is another way.  We could take the Rolls-Royce!”

I remembered Valentino had that automobile parked on the street above my grandfather’s speakeasy.  (Chapter 2)  You had to admit, the guy knew how to put on the Ritz!

Ginger made sure I had the gown fastened properly and that the feather boa hung just so.  Then she turned with a little dance step-kick and led me down the corridor.

We entered a dark car.  The rose-gold angel-bot didn’t seem to notice the dim light.  Ginger moved across the room and pulled a leaver.  With a series of whirring gears, a wide door opened and a ramp lowered to the ground.  Sunlight flooded the train car.  The green Rolls-Royce shimmered in the light.

Ginger hopped into the passenger seat.  I stood still.

“Miss, is anything the matter?” she asked.

“Well… I don’t know how to drive,” I confessed.

Val and LuLu green car purple bk

Lulu and Valentino with his Rolls-Royce, by Rob Goldstein

The angel-bot shrugged with head tilted and hands spread.

“Just press that button under the dash,” she instructed.

I sat down on the supple leather seat.  The burled wood dash was polished to a soft glow.  I wished I had a jorum of skee for courage.  All I had was bubble gum, so I took some from my beaded evening bag (Chapter 1) and in short order, blew a big bubble.  This seemed to delight Ginger.  Her metal hands clapped together with a sound like little cymbals.  

I pressed the starter button and hit the gas.  The green Rolls-Royce shot out of the train and barreled toward the Cotton Club.  A man on a bicycle and a guy selling hot pretzels for a nickel scattered out of our way.  We were nearly at the front door of the club.

Suddenly I realized that I didn’t know how to stop!

***

The End

***

Real World Notes

Electric Starter:  The first electric starter was installed on an Arnold, an adaptation of the Benz Velo, built in 1896 in East Peckham, England, by electrical engineer H. J. Dowsing.  In 1903, Clyde J. Coleman invented and patented the first electric starter in America U.S. Patent 0,745,157. 

Tesla Coil

Tesla Coil (Lightning Machine):  A Tesla coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit designed by inventor Nikola Tesla in 1891.  Tesla used these circuits to conduct innovative experiments in electrical lighting, phosphorescence, X-ray generation, high frequency alternating current phenomena, electrotherapy, and the transmission of electrical energy without wires. Tesla coil circuits were used commercially in sparkgap radio transmitters for wireless telegraphy until the 1920s, and in medical equipment such as electrotherapy and violet ray devices.

Erté: His real name was Romain de Tirtoff, (born November 23, 1892, St. Petersburg, Russia—died April 21, 1990, Paris, France), a fashion illustrator of the 1920s and creator of visual spectacle for French music-hall revues. His designs included dresses and accessories for women; costumes and sets for opera, ballet, and dramatic productions; and posters and prints. (His byname was derived from the French pronunciation of his initials, R.T.)  Britannica

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there. He also writes wonderful blog posts. 

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  Next time I’ll conclude Chapter 9 with Star of David.  Be sure to listen next week when the call of Valentino’s trumpet summons the diesel-punk train.

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

***

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

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 8

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Valentino Lulu Dance Hop Bot on horse RED Cotton Club-5-22-

Valentino and Lulu doing the Lindy Hop, by Rob Goldstein

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Today’s episode of Hullaba Lulu brings us to Chapter 8 of the series.  Rob Goldstein  is back with more gorgeous images and videos (Click here for the entire collection of videos.)  

A glimpse into my writing process 

Even though this is a diesel-punk fantasy, I try to add some real world tidbits for you.  Lulu seems to like to dance.  Early on she did a bit of the Camel Walk.  This time she’s doing an American dance which was born in Harlem, New York City in 1928 — the Lindy Hop.

This chapter has a bonus fourth thing.  I really try to stay true to the three things as they are sent. “Pittura Metafisica” was supposed to be one of the Chapter 7 things (last week), not “Bubblegum.” However, the scene I imagined for that artsy term was too long to fit into that chapter, so we have Pittura Metafisica in Chapter 8.  I didn’t want to leave a thing behind, so today there’s a fourth thing — Route 66.

vAL Grams Station_0011_007x

Valentino uses his trumpet to summon the train, by Rob Goldstein

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Lauren vanished on the tilt-a-whirl.  Gramps tried to go after her, but Valentino restrained him. 

“You can’t reach her!  The tilt-a-whirl never goes to the same destination twice!” Valentino repeated.  “What if that wasn’t even Lauren?”

The ground trembled.  I heard a loud bang!  Behind us the giant Ferris wheel lurched.  The A-frame structures holding the wheel collapsed. 

The great wheel rolled inexorably toward us.. 

It’s time for Chapter 8.  I think I hear Valentino’s trumpet.

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 8

Chanel No. 5, Pittura Metafisica, Videophone

and Route 66

Ferris wheel outside train Lulu Valentino

Lulu and Valentino as the Ferris wheel gets dangerously close to the train

The screech of twisting, tearing metal overwhelmed every other sound.  The great Ferris wheel, free of its frame rolled forward, crushing everything in its path.

In the distance I saw Tom Driberg running toward Valentino’s train.  The group of men in dark coats, the ones Tom told me were Russian spies, blocked his path.  Tom turned on his heel and made for the tilt-a-whirl.  In a flurry of lights, the ride came to life again, spinning impossibly fast, just as it had when Lauren vanished.  A moment later Tom was gone.

Valentino Tilt-a-Whril Tom_Travelin Sideways

Tom escapes on the tilt-a-whirl, by Rob Goldstein

The group of men didn’t see what happened.  They made a quick search of the ride’s cars and moved on.  I heard one of them say something about “a distraction.”  They turned away as if they heard something and then moved further into the park.

Movement caused me to look at the gilded fortuneteller booth.  Ask Sipsing was written in bright red script across the top.  Inside the window I saw a pair of knees.

Rose had prudently hidden inside the gypsy fortuneteller booth, folding herself up as well as she could.  As she squeezed out of the booth her purse caught on the latch and was pulled open.  I saw that it contained an expensive bottle of Chanel No. 5, complete with a ribbon and gift tag.  I would have bet anything the name on that tag was Tom Driberg.

Pearl Hat Fortuneteller_Visits Zoltar

Pearl at the fortuneteller automaton, by Rob Goldstein

Valentino turned to the mechanical fortuneteller and commanded, “Deal the cards.  Keep dealing until I tell you to stop.”

I didn’t think automatons worked that way.  I started to tell him that you had to ask it a question.  However, sure enough, the “gypsy king” automaton started dealing the cards.

Beside the Wheel of Fortune, the automaton dealt the Tower and the Chariot.  Valentino nodded sharply.

“Sipsing, you can stop,” he muttered and the automaton stilled.  “Our chariot awaits,” he said calmly, as if there wasn’t a giant wheel headed toward us.  “We have to get back to the train.  This entire area has become unstable.”

Wheel of Fortune Gilded Tarot

The Wheel of Fortune, the Gilded Tarot

The great Ferris wheel continued to careen through the amusement park.  As it neared the main gate, we hurried to the train.

Metallic clattering caused us to turn.  Dynamite and Boob-boom dragged the gypsy fortuneteller automaton ― still inside his booth ― to the train.  Valentino looked aghast.

“Dynamite, what in the Sam Hill are you two doing?” I asked.

“Miss, we could not leave Sipsing behind.  He is no ordinary automaton,” Dynamite drawled.

“Yes, Miss.  His casing is golden like an angel-bot.  Plus, he already had a name!” Boom-boom added as if that cleared up everything.

The train’s door closed behind me.  I watched through the small window as the huge wheel crashed through the main gate.  The amusement park sign split in half and the pieces sailed toward the train.  I ducked reflexively, but it didn’t seem to strike the train.

Lulu Valentino control room Red

Lulu and Valentino with chaos in the amusement part outside the train

Valentino’s trumpet played wildly.  The uninhibited notes wrapped around my consciousness, seeping into my soul.  I shivered as goosebumps appeared on my arms.  I looked out the window again and the great wheel was mere feet away.  There was no way the train could get out of its way in time.

Notes of a passionate refrain seemed to swirl from the loudspeakers.  I felt the ground tremble beneath the train.  In the distance some of the structures in the park collapsed.  The Ferris wheel came closer.  It looked like I could almost touch it if I were to lean out the window.

The trumpet’s notes flared to a crishindo.  The train abruptly lurched with such force that the motion knocked me to the floor.  All I could see beyond the window was a blur.

***

The train's automat, Lulu, Valentino, Pearl

Lulu, Valentino, and Pearl in the train’s automat. Art by Rob Goldstein

The train sped along.  I didn’t know where we were headed.  My wits were scattered after everything that happened in Atlantic City, whichever Atlantic City it might have been.  Gramps retired to his sleeper car.  I figured my grandfather needed some privacy, so I asked Dynamite to check on him, instead of going myself.

Rose, Pearl, and I headed for the automat.  My pals said they weren’t hungry, but I talked them into going with me.  The passages in the train seemed different.  Pearl said she hadn’t noticed, but Rose agreed.  It seemed to make her nervous and she kept looking over her shoulder.

We entered a very long compartment that I had never seen before.  The entire length of the extended car was covered in murals done in a strange surreal style.  Intricately detailed vignettes were tied together by a dark line that went from one end to the other.  Closer inspection showed me the line was a road, with tiny highway signs denoting Route 66.

Portrait of Gramps with stuff

Gramps and the angel-bots with examples of Valentino’s Pittura Metafisica

“What kind of art do you call this stuff?” I asked.  “It looks like some sort of zozzled dream, but I like it.  Horsefeathers, it’s so detailed!”

“That’s probably why you like it,” Pearl quipped.  “Speaking of which…” she added removing a flask from her garter.  “After all the scary stuff, I could use a jorum of skee.”

Attagirl,” I responded when she passed the flask to me.

“The style is known as Pittura Metafisica,” Valentino answered.

The enigmatic man stood in the shadows.  He held a paintbrush and palette.  I supposed the mural was his work.

Pearl offered him her flask and commented, “That sounds like Italian.”

“You are correct, Pearl,” he added but stopped short.  “Lulu, what are you doing?”

“It looks like I could walk right into the painting, just stroll into that bizarre dream,” I told him, mesmerized.  “It just moved!  I saw someone run down that street!”

Valentino many bots painting red

Valentino and angel-bots with painting, by Rob Goldstein

Hand outstretched, I stepped toward the painting.  Valentino dropped his art tools and lunged to put his hands around my waist, pulling me back.

“It looks like you could walk into it because sometimes you can walk into the painting.  You don’t want to do that.  It’s the most insanely dangerous thing anyone could do,” Valentino said heatedly.

His eyes bulged and a vein throbbed in his neck.  It was the first time I had seen Valentino rattled.

***

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat, by Rob Goldstein

Later, I swallowed the last bite of a hotdog as I left the automat.  My Mary-Jane shoes clicked on the floor as I did a rock-step-triple-step of the Lindy Hop.  I saw Valentino up ahead.  He didn’t see me because he was messing around with some whatchamacallit that was part of the train.

The big orthophonic Victrola in the train’s control room blared out “Toot, Toot, Tootsie! Good-bye.”  An angry look flashed across Valentino’s face.  He hurried into the control room and the music abruptly stopped in the middle of another toot.

Naturally I wanted to know what would make him mad like that, so I quietly followed him into the room.  I stopped in the shadows just inside the door.

Lulu Valentino in the control room

Lulu and Valentino in the train’s control room, by Rob Goldstein

Valentino opened what looked like a large brass compact.  It was about the size of a dinner plate.

“You!  Haven’t you made enough trouble?  What do you want?” he spoke to the big compact.

I moved closer for a better look.  A voice came from the brass thing.  It was not familiar, but I had the unpleasant feeling that I should know that voice.  Valentino shifted his stance and I had a clear view of the thing he held.  It was a videophone!

There was an article about videophones in Science and Invention magazine, but I never thought I’d see one in person.  Moving silently, I finally got into a position where I could see the person on the videophone.  I recognized her.  It was the woman from the tilt-a-whirl.  It was Lauren, my mother.

“What I want is for you to tell my old man to beat it!  You know I’m done with that life.  You’ve got a lot of gall, letting him on your train.  He’s got nothin’ I want, including the brat.  Unless you’ve brought Priscilla back from the dead, I guess the redhead I saw was her.  I’m going to blouse.  Anybody who knows what’s good for ‘em won’t try to follow me.  Understood?” Lauren said from the videophone.

Lauren La Garçonne -1x

Lauren by Rob Goldstein

My mother didn’t wait for a reply.  She broke the connection.

Valentino seemed to sense my presence.  He turned to face me. 

“Lulu…  I’m sorry you heard that.  Although, maybe it’s best that you did.”

I shook my head, stunned at the vehemence of Lauren’s words.  It made little difference that I was already pretty sure my mother was pure evil.  (Chapter 4)

“I’m just glad Gramps didn’t hear it,” I murmured.

***

The End

***

This Wednesday is a challenging workday for me. So I might not be able to attend comments as quickly as I’d like.  However, I hope you’ll still leave a comment.

Melancholy of Departure Giorgio de Chirico 1916

The Melancholy of Departure, Giorgio de Chirico 1916

Real World Notes

Pittura Metafisica: Marked by a strong sense of solitude and melancholy, the uncanny and dreamlike urban spaces and enigmatic iconography were typical of Pittura Metafisica or “Metaphysical Painting.”

Route 66:  Opened in 1926.  For some fascinating tidbits you might not know, click here.

Videophones:  Were first invented all the way back in the late 1800s, but they were refined in the 20s.  For more click here.

Chanel No. 5:  In 1921, a very clever designer and businesswoman created a scent that revolutionised the way women smell.  About a 100 years later, Chanel No. 5 is still the world’s most iconic fragrance.

The Lindy Hop:  Here’s how you do the foot-work!

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. 

Horsefeathers!  I’ve got to admire Lulu for her composure and for being well-adjusted.  They escaped that rogue Ferris wheel unscathed.  

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The things driving Chapter 9 are Jukebox, Star of David, and Bloshies.  What would you do with those things to further this story? Applesauce… Right now I have pos-i-lutely no idea what I’m going to write…And what the Sam Hill is a Bloshie?

Where will that swell diesel-punk train will go next?  I’ll see you at the station when Valentino’s train rolls up next week!

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

***

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

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 7

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Valentino, Lulu and Tom tilt a whirl

Tom, Lulu, and Valentino at the tilt-a-whirl, by Rob Goldstein.

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Today’s episode of Hullaba Lulu brings us to Chapter 7 of the series.  I hope you are enjoying my diesel-punk change of pace from the “Pip-verse.”  

Once again I have more of the pos-i-lutely fabulous artwork from Rob Goldstein.  We’re also having inspiring discussions and he’s sending me “three things” to spontaneously drive each chapter of this pantser story. 

Update: Rob just finished another video. 

I’m offering a little challenge.  Where would you take this story with pocket watch, Ferris wheel, and bubblegum?  Read on to see where those three things took my imagination.

If you need to catch up with past chapters, look to the right of the screen.  Scroll down to Categories, and click Hullaba Lulu*.  That will take you to all the past episodes.  Or click over to this post from Rob, which has links to chapters 1 through 5.2 and a video.

Tilt-a-Whirl Lulu, Valentino and man_the Spin a Twirl-2.

Art by Rob Goldstein

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Bright lights flashed.  Metal gears shrieked.  Green smoke poured from the machinery and the cars.  The tilt-a-whirl slowed to a stop.  Lauren had vanished.

My eyes were drawn back to the clown sign.  His grin was vulpine, downright scary.  The gears of the ride groaned to a stop. listening.

Do you hear the Valentino’s trumpet call?

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 7

Pocket Watch, Ferris Wheel, Bubblegum

Gramps inside train

Gramps inside the train with Lulu in background, by Rob Goldstein

It seemed like the force of a bull elephant ran past me.  He barely brushed my shoulder, but it was so strong I stumbled to one knee.  My grandfather practically flew to the tilt-a-whirl car where Lauren had been. 

Of course, it was empty.  Gramps bolted to the ride’s controls.  He hesitated briefly.  He wouldn’t know what my mother had done to make the tilt-a-whirl behave so violently strange.  However, there were only a few levers ― a lucky guess was easily possible.

What if Gramps got on that ride and vanished the way Lauren did?  I always knew my mother had abandoned me when I was small.  Gramps never tried to sugarcoat the facts.  It was just as well with me if Lauren disappeared.  But not Gramps.  I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him.  The idea of him leaving me like that way… it was even worse.

His eyes held wild determination.  It frightened me to see his face transformed to an expression of such desperation.  I wanted to throw him to the ground to keep him away from the tilt-a-whirl, but few men would be capable of that.  I certainly wasn’t big enough.  Gramps wasn’t just the owner of a speakeasy, he was also the bouncer.  He was a physically powerful man.

Valentino Arcade _The Fly Cop-Dark

Valentino in the Arcade, by Rob Goldstein

I couldn’t let that stop me.  With a gulp of air, I moved toward my grandfather.  I heard the clip of the heel taps on those pointy toed patent leather shoes just before Valentino barreled past me.  I spun around, but at least I remained standing.

Valentino grabbed Gramps from behind in a bearhug.  To me, it seemed like a foolish thing to try.  I didn’t know anybody stronger than Gramps.  The two men struggled furiously.  At one point, Valentino leaned back, lifting Gramps’ feet off the floor.  My grandfather wasn’t able to break his hold.  I couldn’t believe anyone would be able to restrain Gramps like that.

His gold chain came loose in the struggle and an engraved pocket watch fell from my grandfather’s jacket.  The watch slid to a stop near my feet.  Gramps opened the watch every day, but he wasn’t checking the time.  He opened it to read the inscription.  “I’ll love you throughout time.  Priscilla.”  The watch was a present from my grandmother on their wedding day.

Once I had thought Gramps would make a match with the seamstress on the next block.  He chuckled and told me that Priscilla was his one true love and he would never try to replace her with anyone.  He lost Lauren too.  That was as bad because she wanted to leave, and her indifference to Gramps and me, made it even harder for him.

The men were yelling at each other.  Gramps refused to hear what Valentino was saying, so the enigmatic man kept saying it louder.

La Garçonne Rose n Valentino

Lauren and Valentino on the train, by Rob Goldstein

“You can’t reach her!  The tilt-a-whirl never goes to the same destination twice!” Valentino repeated.  “What if that wasn’t even Lauren?”

He wasn’t speaking to me, but the question left me cold.  What if it wasn’t Lauren?  I wasn’t sure I would recognize my mother if she walked up to me.  I just remembered she liked the tomboy styles and the more polished Garconne look.  It didn’t occur to me that the woman I glimpsed could be someone else.  Yet, why would someone else run away?  I guess I also wondered why Laruen would run, then or when she left us for that matter.  I pushed the thought away.

“It looked like her.  And that man’s suit.  She wore those clothes just to thumb her nose at everybody.  It must have been her,” Gramps growled between grunts as he tried to break Valentino’s hold. 

“This is no ordinary place.  If you get in that machine, you could be lost forever!  And the one thing that is certain is that you would not land in the place where she went!” Valentino shouted.

Valentino Trumpet_The Mystic_Dark-2

Valentino with trumpet, by Rob Goldstein

Finally, Gramps stopped struggling.  He looked into Valentino’s eyes and must have seen honesty.  His eyes turned to me and the tension left his body.  I heard him murmur my name.

“Lulu, I’m sorry,” Gramps began with a tear at the corner of one eye.  “I thought I could bring her back to you.”

His words surprised me.  I came to terms with my situation a long time before that day.  Apparently, Gramps had not.  He hung his head.

“Gramps, after everything I’ve heard about my mother…  After the things I read in the ‘return to sender’ letters you mailed to her―  Of course I read them!” I blurted out when he tried to interrupt me.  “I never wanted Lauren back in our lives!  You’re all I need, Gramps.”

He lifted his head.  Gramps looked at me like he’d never seen me before.  I took his big rough hand in mine.  Valentino cleared his throat.

“Not to intrude, but have you seen your friends, Lulu?  That journalist who was nosing around the speakeasy seems overly interested in Rose.  I saw him a moment ago.  I don’t like the cut of his jib,” Valentino said, bringing me back to the present.  “We should look for them.  Have you any idea where they would go?”

Pearl Hat Fortuneteller_Visits Zoltar

Pearl at Fortuneteller, by Rob Goldstein

I shook my head.  My mind was still working with what had just happened.  It didn’t have enough thoughts left over to work my mouth.

“There’s a big map of the park right over there.  Maybe you’ll see something that would interest Pearl and Rose.  Somewhere they may have gone,” he offered.

Valentino took my elbow to point me in the right direction.  I must have looked pretty distracted.  He kept his other hand firmly around my grandfather’s bicep as if he thought Gramps might bolt back to the tilt-a-whirl.

“That’s one huge map,” I stated.  “Okay, lemme see.  Pearl and Rose both like the water, so they might look for the bathhouse.  But they didn’t bring a figleaf,” I commented, but noted the two confused looking faces.  “You know, a one-piece bathing suit.”

“There might be a boutique for that kind of thing.  Perhaps they went looking for a shop,” Valentino suggested and he and Gramps turned back to the map.

Men always seemed to want to take over when it came to map reading.  My stomach rumbled.  I wished I hadn’t exchanged that bag of cheeseburgers for tokens when I entered the park.  I saw a vending machine a few feet away and went to investigate, hoping it would have an apple, or even a cup of soda.  Unfortunately, it only dispensed stockings, stamps, and bubblegum.  With a sigh, I put a token in the machine and got some Wrigley’s Near Miss gum.

Lulu blowing bubble

Lulu, by Rob Goldstein

With a mouthful of bubblegum, I tried to chew away my appetite.  I thought I could probably make a pretty swell bubble.  Carefully, steadily expelling air into the chewy pink, I blew the biggest bubble of my life.  It was nearly as big as my head!  

My eyes darted around, but I didn’t see anyone to share my achievement.  Suddenly the bubble popped.  Sticky pink bits of various sizes plastered my face.  Instantly I switched from wanting someone to see me to hoping no one would get a look at me.  I jumped and tried to hide my face when I heard a voice behind me.

“May I help you, Miss?” came a familiar drawl.

“Dynamite!” I exclaimed.  “Oh, yes.  Can you help me get this gum off my face?”

The angel-bot delicately touched my face with cool metal fingers, picking away the gum.  I hadn’t noticed that he wasn’t alone.  The other angel-bot waited quietly, eyes downcast.

“There you are, Miss.  May I assist you with anything else?”

“I don’t suppose you know where my pals Rose and Pearl are?” I asked but received the expected negative reply.  “Who’s your friend?”

“This one works behind the automat,” Dynamite introduced his companion.  “Wicky, Wacky, and Woo told him that you had given us names.  He begs your indulgence.”

Bot inside Metropolis 08

Angel-bots, by Rob Goldstein

“Yes, Giver of Names, would you be so kind?” he asked in a British accent.

I heard clicks and whirrs as the angel-bot bowed.  Standing upright he glanced at my eyes but seemed too contrite to hold my gaze.

“Giver of Names?” I asked in astonishment.

A duet of “Yes, Miss” was the reply.  I was taken aback.  I wouldn’t just dish out a name willy nilly.  They took my pause the wrong way.

“We’ve been too forward, Miss.  Please accept our apologies,” Dynamite said and both angel-bots took a step backward.

“No, no.  I’d be tickled to give your friend a name,” I assured them.  “I just want it to be a good one.”

My eyes fell on the bright golden surface of the angel-bot.  It reflected like a mirror.  I could see Gramps and Valentino coming toward us.  The bots noticed them and shifted as if the presence of the men made them nervous.  I thought they might leave, but they settled and turned their attention back to me.

“If you’re pals with Dynamite,” I began as inspiration struck.  “Then you must be Boom-boom!”

With a soft click the angel-bot blinked his eyes.  The two clockwork creatures turned to one another.  I was afraid he didn’t like the name.  Then he lifted up onto his tiptoes a couple of times, almost like bouncing.  Both the angel-bots nodded.

“Boom-boom, yes.  Thank you, Miss.  I am grateful,” he said.

By then Gramps and Valentino were there.  My grandfather didn’t seem to think anything about the odd little scene.  The sheik was another matter.  He looked astonished.

“I’ve never seen an angel-bot leave the train before.  Yet these two disembarked to seek you.  And for a name?  It’s the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen,” Valentino commented wonderingly.

Morg-rose_009x

Rose and Pearl, by Rob Goldstein

I jumped and screamed at a sudden cold shock.

As ice slid down my back I whirled around to find Rose and Pearl, each holding a snow cone.  I demanded to know where they’d been.

“I ducked into a house of mirrors and I couldn’t find my way out,” Rose began.

“She was hiding from that nosey Tom.  He’s trying too hard to get her back if you ask me.  He gives me the creeps.  Anyhow, I saw Rose in one of the mirrors and went in to help,” Pearl finished.

“But I heard you scream,” I complained.

“That first distorted reflection scared the bejesus out of me,” Rose defended.

An annoying feeling, which I pushed aside, made me wonder if that was all there was to it.

Pearl Rose Lulu 2

Pearl, Rose, and Lulu

“Oh look!” Pearl cried.  “There’s the gypsy fortuneteller.  Rose, you have to get Sipsing to read your cards.”

We were near the brightly painted Ask Sipsing booth again.  The automaton inside wasn’t as “human” as the angel-bots.  Its voice had no infliction as it mechanically called out to us. 

“Sipsing the gypsy king knows all, sees all.  What would you divine?” it asked as it spread tarot cards on the small table inside its booth.

“What’s in my friend’s future?  Sipsing, will Rose find true love?” Pearl asked the machine when Rose wouldn’t ask it a question. 

I rolled my eyes.  All Pearl could think about was romance.

The gypsy automaton turned over the Wheel of Fortune card.  Behind me Valentino drew a sharp breath. 

The two angel-bots turned back toward the rides, watching intently.  Valentino went pale.  He whirled around seeming to look everywhere at once.  The ground trembled.  I heard a loud bang!  Behind us the giant Ferris wheel lurched.  The A-frame structures holding the wheel collapsed. 

The great wheel rolled inexorably toward us.

Wheel of Fortune Gilded Tarot

The Wheel of Fortune, the Gilded Tarot

***

The End

***

Real World Notes

Doublemint gum ad 1930 flapper

Double Mint Gum ad 1930

Bubblegum:  In 1928, an accountant invented bubblegum. Walter Diemer, was experimenting with new gum recipes. One recipe was less sticky than regular chewing gum, and stretched more easily. The original bubble gum was pink in color because that was the dye that Diemer had most on hand at the time. 

Ferris Wheel The original, sometimes also referred to as the Chicago Wheel, was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.. With a height of 80.4 metres (264 ft) it was the tallest attraction at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, where it opened to the public on June 21, 1893.

Sipsing:  I named the gypsy fortuneteller automaton for a real life gypsy king in England.  Spising is reputed to have ruled 11 years before being hanged for a murder in Wombourn, Staffordshire, having escaped the same fate earlier by seeking sanctuary in Westminster Abbey. (Wikipedia)

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images and videos there.  He also has a Youtube channel (click here.) 

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The things driving Chapter 8 are Chanel No. 5, Pittura Metafisica, Videophone, and Route 66!  That’s right — four things.  I’ll have an extra challenge with a fourth thing.  Be sure to come back next week to see where those take our diesel-punk train.

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

 

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 Lulu 6

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Lulu looking tub bot Metropolis 9

A bath on Valentino’s train, by Rob Goldstein

Hey, Sheiks and Shebas.  Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  The weekly three things and images, from my “partner in crime” Rob Goldstein, spontaneously guide what I’m writing.  Last week he did an image of an Art Deco angel as part of my mystical diesel-punk train’s controls.  That caused me to see more of the train.  I can tell you, Valentino has one luxurious way to travel!

I guess this is a spoiler, but it has nothing to do with the plot…  I had already given the train a control room with mystical gizmos for navigation and communications, and then an automat.  Now I have deluxe sleeper cars — with attendants.  Between Rob and me, Lulu freaked out when she suddenly realized the bath had attendants… 

Lulu Towel run or dance botsMetropolis 5

Lulu and the Sleeper Car Attendants, by Rob Goldstein

Rob did another video for us (below).  I’m happy to be able to feature more of the artwork of Rob Goldstein

Here’s another fabulous video from Rob. Click for the full post.

Today we have Chapter 6 of the Roaring Twenties fantasy series, Hullaba Lulu.  The “dieselpunk*” train has reached Atlantic City.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu, Chapter 5

From Chapter 5

In the distance ahead, I could make out bits of the boardwalk.  I saw the great Ferris wheel and the tallest hills of the old Loop the Loop.

 “Hold on a minute!” I exclaimed.  “Atlantic City took down the Loop the Loop in 1912.  I’ve only seen it in photographs.”

 In the midst of the strange flashing lights, the tilt-a-whirl spun wildly.

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 6

The Garconne Look, Tarot Cards, Kodak Brownie

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat… with cheeseburgers

The loudspeaker had a calm voice as it spoke, “Nearing destination.  Prepare to disembark.”

It was the slightest shift, but I felt the train begin to decelerate.  Suddenly excited, I wanted to remember this adventure forever.  Plus, that Loop the Loop — I needed a picture of that so people would believe it was there.

I ran down the corridor toward Gramps’ sleeper car, hoping he brought his Kodak Brownie with him.  When I came to the spiral staircase that went up to the control room, I paused to look up the stairs.  Everything seemed quiet and dark.  I figured everyone was getting ready to leave the train.

A moment later I was at my grandfather’s room, but he wasn’t there.  I saw his open suitcase on the bed and moved to see if the camera was there.  Gramps might not think to take it with him.

A soft click caused me to turn.  My eyes bulged at what I beheld.

Single angel-bot

Angel-bot by Rob Goldstein

“May I help you, Miss?”

“You’re an automaton!” I exclaimed after a stunned moment.  “A golden angel like the sculpture in the control room… but you’re an automaton.”

With halting movements he bowed.  His eyes blinked with another quiet click.

“I’m the sleeper car attendant.  May I help you, Miss?  Your companions have gone to the amusement park.  You will need these,” he said with a slight southern drawl.

He handed me a brown paper sack.  The aroma of the contents reached my nose before I opened the bag.  It contained several cheeseburgers.

“Oh, thank you, but I just ate,” I told him.

“Yes, I see,” he said and touched the side of my mouth with a white linen napkin embroidered with the letter V.  “There was a bit of mustard.  The cheeseburgers are currency.  You will need them.  You’d best hurry.  Your companions have already disembarked.”

I followed the golden angel-looking automaton into the corridor.  We had to step aside when three more of the clockwork creatures needed to pass.  I noticed they held various cleaning implements.  I stopped them, and asked a bunch of questions. 

Metropolis 3 inside train

Art by Rob Goldstein

Angel-bots! I thought in amazement.

“Hang on just a minute.  How many of you clockwork people are on this train?  And no offence, but you all look just alike.  How do I know one of you from another?  Do you have names?”

“There are sufficient numbers of us to assist in keeping the train in good working order and take care of all the passenger needs as well,” the sleeper car valet told me as the other three made soft clicking noises.  “We haven’t had a need for names, so we have none.”

When I stood speechless, another of them inquired in a voice touched by the Bronx, “May we assist you, Miss?”

I found it unaccountably disturbing that they all looked so much alike.  It reminded me of the time I met triplets when I was very young.  I wanted to give them all rhyming names like the triplets, but I wasn’t any kind of poet.

The first one, with the southern accent seemed to understand that something bothered me.

“We all look very much alike, except for the red-gold attendant,” he said.

The three housekeepers made mechanical chuckling noises.  He turned his placid face toward them.  I had the feeling that he would have blushed if he could.  I felt a little sorry for him.

Bot inside Metropolis 08

Bots, by Rob Goldstein

“She’s a hotsy-totsy!” he confessed with a shuffle of his feet.  “I tried to learn flapper language when I heard the train was going to Atlantic City,” he added, sounding entirely practical.

“Red-gold?” I asked.  “She must be Ginger then, and Hot Ginger because I think she’s your blue serge!  So, my friend, that would make you Dynamite.”

Suddenly inspired by the Nagasaki song I turned to the other three and stated, “That makes you three Wiki, Wacky, and Woo, like the song.”

“The song, Miss?” Dynamite asked.

Hot Ginger and Dynamite!  Somethin’ something’ and wicky wacky, woo!” I belted out a bar of the tune, or the part I could remember anyway.

For a moment there was silence.  Then I was surrounded by clicking noises.  They started chattering to each other.  I thought they were excited to have names.  I know ― everyone thinks clockwork creatures don’t have emotions, but I was there.  I was sure they liked having names.

***

Lulu hands behind head new dress

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

A familiar excited giggle drew me to a brightly painted booth.  Pearl had found a fortuneteller automaton.  It was much less sophisticated than the angel-bots on the train.  Its voice had no infliction as it prompted us.

“The gypsy knows all, sees all.  What would you divine?” it asked repeatedly as it spread tarot cards on the small table inside its booth.

“Go ahead, Lulu!  Ask it a question.  It gave me ‘the lovers’ card,” Pearl told me.

“You always ask about love, and they always tell you that you’ll find it.  I never know what to ask,” I complained.  “Oh, okay.  How is the Loop the Loop still here when it was taken down in 1912?  Did we go back in time?” I added in a softer voice.

The automaton stopped and looked right at me.  Something about the sudden change in clockwork movement gave me the heebie-jeebies.  The gypsy gathered the tarot cards and spread them again.  It drew out a card with a drawing of a man hanging by his foot.  The fortuneteller moved the card so that the man was laying down.

“Sideways,” was all the automaton said.

“We didn’t move east or west, or forward or backward…” I began.

“Sideways,” it repeated.

Morg-tom 031x

Rose and Tom dance, by Rob Goldstein

I gave a frustrated sigh.  Why couldn’t the blasted thing be useful?  I turned to Pearl and asked her where Rose was.  My fair-haired friend shrugged, then she giggled and asked the fortuneteller.

“Where is our friend, Rose?”

The gypsy automaton gathered the tarot cards, spread them, and turned over the Three of Swords.  The design on the card was like the leaflet I found in the automat.  There was an image of a heart pierced by three swords.  I shuddered.

“Betrayal,” the fortuneteller said.

The air was split by a loud scream.  The sound echoed around the amusement park.

“Rose?” I exclaimed.

I turned around, looking everywhere.  At first, I saw no one.  Then I saw a shadow that somehow made me think of the Ford with a bunch of G-men – or that’s what they looked like.  That was the night we met Tom Driberg.  I muttered his name.

Abruptly I realized that Pearl was gone.  She must have gone to look for Rose.  I took a breath to call for Pearl, when I the sound of feet pounding the pavement made me turn.

Lulu and Tom car

Lulu and Tom, by Rob Goldstein

“Speak of the devil,” I snorted.  “I should have known you were here when I glimpsed those G-men just now,” I told Tom Driberg.  “But how did you manage to get here”

“I heard Rose scream.  Where is she?” he asked.

He sounded suspiciously calm and I commented on the fact.

Tomato, didn’t anybody notice the handcar that hooked onto the end of the train?  I thought my stowaway jig was up when one of those clockwork angel things found me.  Anyhow, those weren’t G-men,” he told me in a voice tinged with contempt.  “Those are Russian agents.  They must have gotten to Margosha before I could.  I mean your friend Rose.  Margosha is her first name.  Rose is her middle name.  Didn’t you know?  Her monogram, MRM didn’t tell you anything?” he added with a condescending chuckle that grated my patience.

I looked around wildly for my friends.  Half panicked, I didn’t know what to do.

Rose Am I Blue

Rose, by Rob Goldstein

“Calm down.  They won’t hurt her.  They mean to use her to get to me.  You see, I quit them and they think dragging Margosha back into the spy business will force me to join them again.”

“What do you mean dragging her back?” I demanded.

The noise of screeching metal caused me to look away.  It sounded like something huge moving in a way that it had no business moving.  When I turned back to Tom, he was gone.  Twisting around in a circle I searched for any familiar face.  The scream could have come from any direction.  Tom could have run anywhere, so could Pearl.

Not knowing what to do, or where to do it, I started walking forward, farther into the park.  In the distance I saw a woman wearing the menswear inspired Garconne look.  Her face reminded me of one that I mostly knew from pictures.

I brought up the Kodack and aimed.  Abruptly she turned toward me.  I took the photo.

Lauren?

Lauren La Garçonne -1x

Lauren by Rob Goldstein

The woman who looked like my mother ran.  I followed.

Panting, I paused, hands on knees as I tried to catch my breath.  A brightly painted clown face marked the entrance to the tilt-a-whirl.  The clown had curved line for an innocent smile, and his eyes were little plus marks.  I looked beyond the sign to the ride.

I spotted her.

With a glance over her shoulder, Lauren did something, moving the levers on the ride’s controls.  She climbed onto one of the tilt-a-whirl cars.  It spun and turned, faster and faster.  Soon it looked like a blur.

Bright lights flashed.  Metal gears shrieked.  Green smoke poured from the machinery and the cars.  The tilt-a-whirl slowed to a stop.  No one was aboard the ride.  I ran to the car where Lauren had been.  It was as empty as all the others.

My eyes were drawn back to the clown sign.  The face had changed.  His eyes openly leered and his grin grin was vulpine, downright scary.  The gears of the ride groaned to a stop.

Pontchartrain beach Clown full face.png

***

The End

***

Well, I’m not sure what to say about that…  Except maybe that I will think twice before I get on a tilt-a-whirl again.  And where the Sam Hill did everybody go?

Next time, Chapter 7 — Pocket Watch, Pittura Metafisica, Bubblegum. 

 

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images and videos there. 

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

 

PS:  Remember my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 5.2

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hold the presses!  Update!

I had to include this masterpiece from Rob (above).  His best video yet.  It’s magical.  And it’s the cat’s meow!

Control room The Angel_0322-

The control room of Valentino’s train, by Rob Goldstein

Sheiks and Shebas, welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  This episode concludes Chapter 5 of the new series, Hullaba Lulu.  I seem to have a lot to say about Valentino’s train in this “diesel-punk” fantasy.  

Some of you will remember that early in my novella, The Three Things Serial Story, I imagined the voice of Lucille Ball narrating those tales.  I wanted Hullaba Lulu to have a much different “voice” or tone.  However, no narrator sprang to mind.  I imagine Lulu being genuine, slightly crass, and lovably snarky, sort of like a female version of Seth Meyers.  (See Late Night with Seth Meyers.)  I toyed with the idea of narrating a snippet but… I got shy.  Oh, what the hell.  Why not…

vAL Grams Station_0011x

Valentino in the abandoned subway, by Rob Goldstein

Happily we have more beautiful artwork from Rob Goldstein to punctuate this chapter.  I’m finally writing about the “three things” Rob sent for it.  The characters are now on that amazing train.  

A word of warning — this episode is a little longer than usual (1,790 words or so). Here’s the rest of what started last week. 

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Last time Lulu overheard a strange conversation between her grand father and Valentino. It sounded like they’d known each other since before she was born — but Valentino was too young for that.  Lulu kept the puzzling exchange to herself.

Mysterious gifts were sent to Rose, probably from that shady journalist, Tom Driberg.  It prompted Valentino to say Rose wasn’t safe. Valentino offered to take the girls away.  To Lulu’s astonishment, her Gramps demanded to go along.

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 5.2

Automat, Cheeseburger, Tilt-a-Whirl

The train's automat, Lulu, Valentino, Pearl

Lulu, Valentino, and Pearl in the train’s automat. Art by Rob Goldstein

Valentino strolled down the railroad tracks.  He started playing that trumpet of his as he walked.  There was something about the music…  I couldn’t explain it, but the notes were more than just a tune.  My skin prickled with goosebumps.  I gave an involuntary shudder.  My grandfather glanced down at me.

The tension between Gramps and Valentino was out of character for him.  Gramps was usually easy going.  He never put any restrictions on me about revealing frocks or bobbed hair.  He said discipline should be saved for more important things.  So, his comment surprised me.

“Lulu, are you sure that dress is what you want to wear to travel?” my grandfather asked, but he turned away to answer a remark from Rose before I could say anything.

Pearl had changed into a printed dress of soft cream and gold with a wide sash at the dropped waist.  With her light blond hair, it made a classy monotone combination.  Rose wore a Chanel suit that I expected was one of the gifts from Tom Driberg.  I still didn’t understand what was going on with that situation, but I figured I’d find out eventually.

Pearl at Station-04-23-18

Pearl by Rob Goldstein

Anyway, when I looked down at my own clothes, I realized Gramps had a point.  However, it was too late for me to change.

The last notes of the melody Valentino played on his trumpet echoed in the tunnels of the abandoned section of the subway.  I heard a sound like an engine, but it didn’t sound like an ordinary train.  Then came the chugging of the wheels turning.  That sounded more like a train.  In a moment the sleek machine stood at the old station.

The train looked like something from the cover of “Science and Invention,” all sleek and polished.  When we boarded, I saw that the inside was even more fantastical than the outside.  The engine’s controls were unlike anything I had ever seen, even in scientifiction* stories.

I saw my Ouija board on the console and my temper flared.

Bushwa!  It was still mine, no matter what anybody said.  It had been mine for as long as I could remember.  I was feeling possessive and put upon.  I didn’t appreciate Gramps telling me that it belonged to Valentino, any more than I liked the sheik taking over it.

Lulu at Train BW

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

Sputtering and pouting, I watched in silence as the enigmatic man hooked the wooden board to the control panel of his train.

“Stop growling, would you please, Lulu,” Valentino muttered.  “If we’re to go anywhere I need to use the Ouija board.”

Okay, so I wasn’t completely silent, but it was only a little growl.

Valentino picked up my Ouija board and carried it to what at first appeared to be an Art Deco angel sculpture, but then I saw that it was part of the controls for the train.  He attached the Ouija board to the statue.

Something he touched sparked and popped.  Valentino jumped back with a muffled exclamation, shaking his hand as if he’d been stung.  I admit it was gratifying, but I swear I didn’t smirk.  Well, maybe a little.  Okay, I looked like a cat with a bowl of cream, but I put a neutral expression on my face before he turned around.

Valentino Angel color Setting Course-3

Valentino at the controls of the train

When I looked at the angel statue again, for a moment I could have sworn it winked at me!  I shook my head and blinked my eyes.  I couldn’t be zozzled.  I hadn’t had a drop of giggle water all day.  I moved to the angel, inspecting it closely.  Nothing moved, and it was cold to the touch, and still as a statue should be, not warm, living, and able to wink.

I hopped up onto the console of his Orthophonic Victrola and crossed my legs.  I leaned my head against its horn.  He made a face and cleared his throat as a hint.  When I wouldn’t take the hint, he motioned for me to move my gams out of the way.

“Be careful of the pavilion,” he cautioned.  “You might move the settings.  You wouldn’t want us to head down the garden path, would you?”

“The pavilion?  Oh, the horn?  So grumpy.  Do those pointy toed dog kennels hurt your feet or something?” I said just to poke him.

Valentino held a glass tube capped with metal on each end.  He was already a hotsy-totsy and being so intense with the scientific stuff ― that was so sexy! 

Valentino Trumpet_The Mystic_Dark-2

Valentino uses the trumpet to bring all the train’s controls in tune

I reminded myself that I didn’t want to feel that way and focused on the strange tube.  It was filled with glowing green liquid.  Valentino ignored me as he bent to touch the console, where a smooth brass plate bore an engraving of music symbols.  He pressed the plate and it opened to reveal the shining trumpet he played earlier.

Then he leaned over me to reach the Victrola.  When he removed the record I saw another of the glowing liquid filled tubes.  Valentino placed the tube he carried next to the one in the Victrola.  Then he put the trumpet to his lips and played a series of notes.  Harmonic sounds emanated from the tubes.

“Everything is in tune now,” he commented in a pleased tone.

He fiddled with knobs and switches, contentedly humming a tune I didn’t recognize.  The man was completely absorbed in his work.  I grew bored and left Valentino to his inventions.

Pearl and Rose surprised me when they seemed to be happy that my grandfather was coming with us.  They made quite a fuss over him.  The three of them went to the dining car.  I probably should have gone with them, especially since I was feeling peckish.  Instead, I went off on my own to explore the strange train.  I was used to having plenty of alone time.  I wasn’t sure how much I would like being confined on a train with five other people, all the way to Atlantic City.

Automat Clara Bow and man mix

Clara Bo (inset) Paramount Automat 1931

My heels clicked on a mosaic tile floor when I entered the next car.  The room was wall-to-wall chrome and glass.

Holy Hannah!  An automat!” I exclaimed, but nobody was there to share my glee.

It had everything from a hot cup of noodle juice to porterhouse steaks to jiggly gelatin in ritzy molds.  My stomach rumbled and my mouth watered.  I opened a little glass door and removed a plate of exotic Hawaiian pineapple upside-down cake.  I’d never tasted pineapple.  (Recipe and history here*.)

I felt a soft bump as the train traveled.  It wasn’t even enough to make me stumble.  It could have been from anything.  Then one of the compartment doors of the automat opened.  A newspaper fell out.  I bent to pick it up.  On the front page was an article by Tom Driberg about the society swells called the Bright Young Things.  Interestingly, the next story was not by Driberg, but about him.  There was no byline, but the writer insinuated that Tom was a spy working for the Russian government.

Bushwa!  Does Rose really have a history with that guy? 

She hadn’t admitted it, but I had become sure that Rose recognized him that night outside the speakeasy when Driberg was looking for someone named Margosha.  Plus, I had feeling that they were more than ships that pass in the night.

Morg-rose_019x

Tom and Rose, by Rob Goldstein

A leaflet fell out of the cubby where the newspaper had been.  It was an advertisement for a fortune reader on the boardwalk.  There was an image of a heart pierced by three swords.  The image was powerful.  It made me think of betrayal.

I gazed out the window as I thought.  There was nothing to see, the train was inside a tunnel.  There were large metal plates in the walls in the part we had been running through the last few minutes.  I could see a distorted reflection of the train in the metal.

For a second I thought I saw men hunched over a handcar that was right behind the train.  

No, that would be impossible!  There’s way a hand car could keep up with the train. 

The reflection was blurred and wavy.  I blinked hard and looked again.  However, the train had quickly left that part of the tunnel.  The shiny metal plates were replaced by brick walls.

Licking my fingers for the last sticky cake crumb, I was even hungrier than before.  A rattling sound caused me to turn to the other side of the automat.  Against that wall stood a long table.  A hatch door in the wall lifted, showing a conveyor belt.  It started cranking out plates holding cheeseburgers.

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat… with cheeseburgers, by Rob Goldstein

Warm cheddar oozed from the steaming buns.  As the aroma drifted to my nose, my belly growled anew.  I had eaten three of the burgers before I realized I had even finished one. 

Suddenly lights began to flash.  Electric loudspeakers that were installed in every car of the train began blaring part of the song Don’t Bring Lulu!  Rose and Pearl had harnessed me with my nickname, Hullaba Lulu, because of that blasted song.

The sound of running feet preceded the appearance of pointy toed patent leather shoes.  Valentino skidded into the automat.  He looked from me to the empty plates in astonishment.

The loudspeaker shouted, “Don’t bring cash honey.  You pay in cheeseburgers!”

“Lulu…” he began but seemed at a loss for words.  “We needed those cheeseburgers for Atlantic City.”

“There’s plenty to eat there,” I mumbled around the last bite of burger.

“Cheeseburgers are as good as money where we’re going.  It’s not the Atlantic City that you know,” he told me.

1928 Sunnyside Amusement Park

1928 Sunnyside Amusement Park

“Huh?” I replied as I swallowed.

I burped, but I had the decency to blush.

“Excuse me…”

Sunlight flooded the car.  The train had left the tunnel.  I moved to the window expecting to see pasture land.  We couldn’t be there yet. 

I was wrong.  In the distance ahead, I could make out bits of the boardwalk.  I saw the great Ferris wheel and the tallest hills of the old Loop the Loop*.

“Hold on a minute!” I exclaimed.  “Atlantic City took down the Loop the Loop in 1912.  I’ve only seen it in photographs.”

I twisted around to Valentino, but he was gone.  When I turned back to the window, the train was much closer to the boardwalk.  I could see the bathhouse, the Love’s Nest and the Shimmy Auto. 

(For more about the attractions of Atlantic City in the Roaring Twenties, click here*.)

Goosebumps rose on my arms.  A disturbing sensation went through me and I shuddered, just like I did a moment before the train arrived at the station.  Flashing lights drew my eyes farther into the amusement park.

In the midst of the strange lights, the tilt-a-whirl spun wildly.

mother-you-need-shoes-1

Portal by Rob Goldstein

***

The end.

So, what’s the deal with that tilt-a-whirl?  And what did Valentino mean by It’s not the Atlantic City that you know?  Not to mention the reflection Lulu saw in the tunnel — had there really been a handcar behind the train?

Don’t forget to visit Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there, and insightful posts too.

Real World Notes

Science and Invention was the name during the 1920s and 1930s of a popular technology magazine founded by Hugo Gernsback and edited by him until 1929.  The magazine also ran science fiction stories.

Scientifiction:  In 1929 the term science fiction was used (first attested in advertisements for “Air Wonder Stories” magazine), though there is an isolated use from 1851; abbreviated form sci-fi is from 1955.  Earlier in same sense scientifiction (1916) was used.

Loop the Loop:  The rollercoaster opened in 1901 and operated until 1912.  It was one of the earliest looping roller coasters in the United States.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the kitten’s ankles!

Now for that obligatory shameless self-promotion, here are 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 30 ― Hullaba Lulu 5.1

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Lulu reclining trunks Valentino Station

Valentino and Lulu wait at the abandoned subway station.  (Rob Goldstein)

Hi there, Sheiks and Shebas.  You’re at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Today’s episode brings us to Chapter 5 of the new series, Hullaba Lulu.  I hope you are enjoying my change of pace from the “Pip-verse.”  Yes, it’s another story set in the 1920s, but this one is a “Diesel-punk” fantasy. 

Once again I have more of the pos-i-lutely fabulous artwork from Rob Goldstein.  He’s made another fun video for this series.  Button up your overcoat and check it out below.  Rob and I are also having inspiring discussions and he’s sending me “three things” to spontaneously drive each chapter of this pantser story. 

However, this time I’m cheating a little…  When I started fleshing out my notes for this chapter, I found myself relating the backstory of Lulu’s family — before I even got around to any of the “three things” from Rob.  The backstory was enough for a small episode.  So, I decided to give you “Chapter 5.1” today and move the three things to next week.

Our darb cast of characters is finally ready to get aboard that diesel-punk train.  I can’t resist showing you the images Rob made for that. 

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

“This Ouija board is part of my train,” Valentino 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.

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

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 5.1

The Backstory

Next Time 5.2: Automat, Cheeseburger, Tilt-a-Whirl

My senses tingled with excitement.  I got goosebumps just thinking about getting on that train.  And Valentino―  No!  I wasn’t going to think about him that way.  I refused to be like everybody else. 

I went to Brick Oven Pizza and asked my pal Tony if he could help get the trunks down through the speakeasy for Rose and Pearl.  Tony was a peach.  I knew he’d help without asking questions.

The Station Val_Pearl enters_red

Pearl made it back after going to check on Rose (Rob Goldstein)

Then I ankled back to the abandoned subway tunnel.  I was surprised to hear voices ahead.  One belonged to my grandfather.  After a moment I realized the other was Valentino.  Gramps sounded like he was in a lather.

Gramps tended to be taciturn, and Valentino seemed pretty tight lipped.  So, I knew they would clam up if they knew anyone else was there.  I took off my kitten-heeled shoes so they wouldn’t hear me as I drew closer.  The conversation I witnessed left me speechless and confounded.

“The first time I met you, I didn’t know what to think ― of you or of my own reaction to you.  I was young then.  I didn’t know much.  I thought you’d left forever.  Life went on.  I married Priscilla, the love of my life.  Then you showed up again.  I only saw you in the distance, and that was for the best,” Gramps said.

vAL Grams Station_0011_007x

Valentino summons the train with his trumpet. (Rob Goldstein)

My grandfather’s words sounded like a man reminiscing, but there was nothing of sweet memories in his tone.  How could he have known Valentino that long ago, unless the darb mystery man had been a small child?  I felt confused.

“Priscilla and I had Lauren, our beautiful daughter, though my Priscilla didn’t live to watch her become a woman,” Gramps said and swallowed hard.  “If she had, Lauren might not have turned out the way she did.”

La Garçonne-ectoplasm

Lauren inside Valentino’s train  (Rob Goldstein)

“I know the girl has a mean streak a mile wide, but I still love her.  She took up with that mobster and to be honest, I don’t know which one was worse, him or Lauren.  Finally, she came back to Lulu and me.  But I knew she wasn’t happy, Lauren couldn’t be satisfied with us.  She needed thrills that a normal life couldn’t provide.  I shouldn’t have been surprised…” my grandfather’s voice trailed away, as Valentino waited in silence for him to continue.

“So, the last time you were here, you left with my daughter.  I never saw her again.  Now you mean to take my granddaughter with you — don’t bother denying it.  I know I wouldn’t be any more able to stop her than I could have stopped Lauren, even if I had known what she meant to do.  Well mister, things are going to be different this time.  This time I’m going too!”

Rose Enters Station portal

Valentino, Rose, Gramps, and Lulu wait for the train (Rob Goldstein)

A noise caused me to turn.  I heard Rose and Pearl thanking Tony.  They insisted that they could manage on their own.  The sound of an old baggage trolley with squeaky wheels echoed through the tunnel.  The two men heard it and stopped talking.

My mother the mobster?  I knew which rumrunner Gramps meant.  If Lauren was potentially worse than that man… well, she must be pure evil.

 And Gramps… I wasn’t completely sure what he meant about Valentino, but maybe that was because I was stuck, trying and failing to process what he said about my mother.

I put my shoes back on and waited quietly for Rose and Pearl to catch up.  I didn’t want  anyone, particularly Gramps or Valentino, to know I had been listening.

Val Margosha getting on train All Abord

Rose made it too.  Is that a Chanel suit she’s wearing?

Here ends part 1 of the fifth chapter of Hullaba Lulu.

Next Time Chapter 5.2: Automat, Cheeseburger, Tilt-a-Whirl

 

Now that I’ve finished my Saturday serial, Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam, we might have some new readers on this diesel-punk train.  This seems like a good time to provide links to the past chapters of Hullaba Lulu.  If you’ve just gotten aboard Jazz Age Wednesdays, you can catch up at these links:

Chapter 1 ― Rose, Pearl, Trumpet

Chapter 2 ― Garter Flask, Grand Central Station, Bright Young Things

Chapter 3 ― Saltwater Taffy, Raspberry-Red Rouge, Ouija Board

Chapter 4 ― Ectoplasm, Jung, Orthophonic Victrola

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 oyster’s earrings! 

 

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 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.