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 9 ― Pip’s Friend Hank

young Lucy blue

Young Lucille Ball

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 

Wow, you’re the berries!  I’m glad to see you back at Jazz Age Wednesdays!  

When I posted a Halloween story, Pip in the Field of Fear, you got to meet Pip’s friend Hank Hertz.  Those of you who have read Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I also know Hank.  Awhile back, I collaborated on a post with Kirt Tisdale at The Wall Gallery.  Kirt also has a “sepia gallery” which is giving me a lot of inspiration for The Skull of the Alchemist (my National Novel Writing Month project). 

For that tale, Kirt’s photo (below) inspired me to write.  However, it didn’t make me think of Pip.  Rather it brought me a backstory for Hank Hertz.  Without further ado, meet Hank.

On the Radio — Meet Hank 

Photo by Kirt Tisdale

No harm in trying one more time, Hank Hertz thought as he stacked all manner of electronic components on the counter.

“Hi, Mr. Hardscrabble,” Hank mumbled, trying to avoid eye contact with the hardware store’s proprietor.

“Hank, I already told you.  Your ma told me not to sell you any of this gadgetry tomfoolery.  You might as well put all that stuff back on the shelves, son.”

Hardscrabble put a hand to his balding head in a frustrated gesture.  He found his spectacles there and smiled because he’d forgotten where he put them.  However, he brightened when the door opened.  One of “Savannah’s finest,” Detective Dabney Daniels strolled into Hardscrabble Hardware.  His finely chiseled features remained neutral, but he raised an eyebrow at the tableau at the counter.

“Now get on with you, boy.  Put everything back.  I can’t take your money,” the store owner repeated before turning to a real customer.  “That boy gets more like his granddaddy every day.  Detective, what can I do for you?”

1928 Detroit police radio Blue

“No need to rest on formality, Homer.  I can’t find my flashlight, so I’m here for another one,” the detective replied then looked sheepish.  “Go ahead and laugh about things going missing at a police station.  I can tell you’re holding it back.”

Hank watched the exchange between the tall detective and the portly shopkeeper as he reluctantly made trips from the sales counter back to the shelves.  He could have carried more things at one time, but he delayed the inevitable, hoping Mr. Hardscrabble would change his mind.  As he picked up a few more items to return to the shelf, the detective stopped him.

“What is all that stuff, son?  If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were building a ham radio.  Or at least intended to before Homer shut you down.”

For a moment Hank’s face lit up at the mention of his passion — all things electronic, especially radios.  He looked dejectedly at his feet.

“Momma wants me to study law.  She says electronics and inventions are a distraction.  She even said they were toys!”

“So all the old fogies are conspiring against you, huh?  Well, you’d better ankle all that stuff back where it came from, like Homer told you.”

***

1920 Radio News

After supper Hank got an armload of books and headed out the kitchen door.  His mother looked at the heavy tomes and gave a satisfied nod.  Hank knew she was watching from the window above the sink as he walked to the little red barn.  Vines of Cherokee roses ran riot over the building.  The Hertz family used the barn for storage, but Hank made it his personal spot to study or just hang out.  He also had a workbench tucked in one corner where he discretely kept his radio equipment.

The horizon blazed red with sunset when Hank slipped out of the barn.  He pedaled the motorized bicycle he had made until he was far enough away that his parents wouldn’t hear the noise of the motor.  Dusk descended as he rode into town.

Hank didn’t pay any attention to the dark Ford parked on the corner, or to the fact that someone sat inside it.  He rode down the alley and came up behind Hardscrabble Hardware.  The back door was locked, but he found a window he could open.  He took his flashlight and climbed into the store.

He knew exactly where to find everything he wanted.  So it didn’t take Hank long to gather all the electronics he tried to buy that afternoon.  He stood at the sales counter and added up all the prices.  He figured the tax.  Then he left the full amount of the purchase, plus two cents, because he didn’t have enough pennies to leave the exact change.

Putting everything into his bag, Hank turned toward the back of the shop.  It felt like an electric charge shot from his neck down his arm when he heard a cough behind him.  Hank jerked around to face the sound.

1920 Victoria motorcycle ad

The boy thought he’d lose everything he ate for supper when he saw the police detective standing there, arms folded.

“So you actually broke into the store and paid for the things Homer wouldn’t sell you?  Son, I don’t know what to make of that.”

Hank stumbled back a step.  He wanted to run, but the copper knew who he was and where he lived.  Besides, Hank had a pretty good idea that those long legs could catch up with him before he got to his bicycle.  His breath caught in his throat.  Hank couldn’t have spoken even if he’d known what to say.

The detective closed the distance to the counter in a single step.  He pointed his new flashlight to the paper where Hank had added up his purchase.  Then he pursed his lips as he thought.  He stared at Hank as if he could see every fib the boy had ever told.  Hank gulped.

“Where’d you get the money for this stuff, son?  Allowance?  Money for odd jobs?”

Hank only nodded, still unable to talk.  Finally he found his voice and croaked out a reply.  “It’s my money sir.  Fair and square.  I wouldn’t steal anything.”

“I guess I’m going to have to have a talk with your parents,” Dabney Daniels said, slowly shaking his head.

Poor Hank felt like he might sink through the floor, right then and there.  His knees felt weak.

“But this,” the copper motioned at Hank’s bag full of stuff.  “I don’t see as any law has really been broken.  After all, I walked in through the front door, which was unlocked.  I know Homer leaves through the back door and forgets to lock the front.  But being as you’re here, I assume he left it open for you.”

Hank gazed at Daniels in wide eyed confusion.

“Besides, I hate doing paperwork.  If you had actually broken into this store, I’d have to haul you to the station and spend the rest of the night writing up the report.  I do have to talk to your parents though,” he added causing Hank to sink further.

The young man managed a groan.

“You know, I really need an intern down at the station.  I think your mother will see that working for me would be a good learning experience for a future lawyer.  In a way, that’s where law starts isn’t it?  With the police?  Meanwhile you can put your talent with radio gadgetry to use.  How does that sound?”

The end

***

I hope you enjoyed this backstory for one of the Murder at the Bijou characters.

Now you know what I have to do next… I must do the 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 cat’s pajamas! 

 

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.  

 

Book of the Month Update to Jazz Age Wednesdays 8 ― Pip and the Potent Poltergeist

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sheiks and Shebas, welcome to Jazz Age Wednesdays! 

(I’m probably causing frustrations by doing this… but I had something special to add, and I had already launched this mid-week post… So bear with me.  Thanks to Dan AntionOIKOS™-RedaktionVicto Dolorefragglerocking, and Olga olganm who had already commented.)

cropped-img_6396.jpgMy November is off to a pos-i-lutely neon-bright start!  I’m so giddy, people will think I’m zozzled, but get this — Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I  is the featured book of the month* for November at Hugh’s Views & News!  I hope you’ll click on over and visit Hugh’s blog.  It’s the bee’s knees, and so is Hugh! 

Seriously, I’m so excited! 

November 1st is also the kickoff of National Novel Writing Month* and yes, I opted in for that insanity again.  However, I’ll give an update on that this weekend, with the Thistledown Hiatus post, since that is the reason why the serial is well… on hiatus.

Now, let’s get to the Jazz Age!

Halloween was only yesterday and I’m still feeling that spirit.  So, I am sharing a ghostly tidbit from the not yet “book-ized” 1920s serial, “A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients II.”

Pip and the Potent Poltergeist 

lucille-ball-1937-stage-door

The fizzy purple vapor dissipated and I found that my eyes had not deceived me.  A strange, semi-solid man bowed before me.  I was too stunned to think.  It seemed like the purple mist befuddled my head.  I gradually became aware of one other thing, a shrill unpleasant sound that went on and on…

“Andy!” I cried, suddenly becoming aware again.

My dear old friend Andy Avis, was screaming like a school girl.  I grabbed his arm and shook him.  He stopped screaming.  For five seconds.  Then he screamed right into my face.

I felt like slapping him — only partly to bring him to his senses.  However, riotous giggling shocked both of us to silence.  The ghost stood in the kitchen bent double with laughter.  Apparently he found Andy’s reaction most amusing.Casper cooking

As seems to happen to me in times of stress, one detail stood out to me more than anything else.  I turned to Andy but pointed to the apparition. 

“You can see him?” I said, and I wasn’t sure if it was a question or an accusation.

I had been told that though I hadn’t known it, I had the gift for seeing spirits.  I was also told that Granny Phanny could too, but my grandmother had suppressed the
ability.  However, as you might expect, not everyone could see ghosts.  So I was surprised that Andy was able to see the spirit sitting sprawled at Granny’s kitchen table.

Before I took another breath I whirled on the ghost and demanded, “How can he see you?”

The apparition who had materialized from the gaudy bottle of spirits sobered.  He stuck out his lower lip in an exaggerated expression of consideration that I had a feeling was a habit with him.

“Well, I am one powerful poltergeist, Signorina!” he said between hiccupping giggles.  “It’s no effort for me to let anyone see me, and sometimes they do whether or not I’m intending it,” the ghost told me.

I thought poor Andy’s eyes were going to pop right out of his head.

The spirit looked longingly at the food on the table.  Andy and I hadn’t even started our meal.  He licked his lips and sighed. 

“Signorina, a nice Stilton cheese would be beautiful with that,” he said wistfully.Vintage girl broken dish card

“Err… Would you care for anything?” I asked, knowing that after all, Granny would expect me to be a good hostess.  Then I gave my head a shake.  Had I really said that?

“I rarely partake.  Sometimes that doesn’t turn out so well,” he said, but his eyes never strayed from the food.  “But if I could just take a whiff,” he said leaning toward the table — and closer to Andy.

With a blanched face and panicked eyes Andy staggered backward.  There was nowhere for him to go, so he bumped hard against the table.  The ornate wine bottle wobbled precariously at the edge for a moment, and then it crashed to the blue and white tile floor.  It shattered into dozens of pieces.

The ghost shrieked.

Andy shrieked when the ghost did.

I shrieked at both of them to stop their shrieking!

However, I had an unexpected concern for the spirit.  “Are you all right?  I mean, I’ll bet you were bound to that bottle somehow.  Weren’t you?  Are you going to be okay?”1920s Owl Clock

“Yes!  No!  Both!” he replied, rapid fire in his strange accent.  Then he gave a giddy giggle.  “Thank God that gaudy bottle is no more!  Can you imagine making your home in such an ugly vessel?” he commented.  “However I must have something, or there will be… consequences.  Ah! Symbol of the wisdom I should have had in life!” he exclaimed when he saw the carved wooden owl clock.  “This will do,” he said even as he held the clock to his chest and then disappeared.

The clock dropped the short distance to the counter, landing with a wobble and a clunk.  Andy and I looked at each other in stunned silence.  A moment later the spirit remerged from the owl clock.  He sprawled into one of the white ladder back chairs my grandfather had made.  That was when I noticed the Renaissance era garb beneath his apron.

Bene!  What a relief!” he said and lifted his brimless toque to mop his brow, or at least I thought the chef’s hat was called a toque.

I leaned closer, wondering if ghosts could sweat. 

“If you didn’t like the bottle…” I began, but wasn’t sure how to ask what I wanted to know.  “Well, how come you’re — ” my words failed me so I pointed to the shards of the purple bottle.

“Ah Signorina,” the ghost began.  “It is a poignant tale.  I was chef to the Patriarch of Aquileia at the Vatican.  I always preferred the pun as a form of humor, and the Pope, he shared this with me.  However, one evening we served dinner to a plethora of patrons, speaking Punjabi, Parsi, and Philippine.  I presented a perfect prawn pasta…  Perhaps something went awry with the translations…  But — you see, the short of it is that I pissed off the Pope!  And this predicament is my fate,” the ghost said with a mournful expression.

I marveled at the poltergeist’s capacity to use the letter “P” so many times in one sentence.  I gave a hard blink to clear my mind.  Then I looked from him to Andy, with no idea what to say or do next.  However, Andy found his voice.

“You’re not a genie then?  You really are a ghost?” Andy asked.  “Too bad.  Granting wishes would have been a great ice breaker,” he joked, abruptly loosening up to my surprised relief.  “We don’t have to rub the owl clock’s belly to get you to come out, do we?”

1920s Vaudeville Cats postcard

1920s Vaudeville Furries Postcard

The poltergeist gave Andy that pursed lip expression, but then laughed heartily slapping his knee.  “No, young patron.  I can come and go as I please, so long as I bind myself to an object.  And mind you, I can’t be without one for more than a moment.  However, I tend to lose track of the time.  When I went into that gaudy bottle, I was in a great hurry, but that’s another story.  Anyhow, I think I was intoxicated on the noxious potion, so I did not wake for some little while.  Then you uncorked the bottle, and the rest, as you say, is history,” he said with a hiccup.

My nose wrinkled at the thought of being inside a bottle that smelled like that one had.  I said it must have been awful.  The apparition burped, blushed, and excused himself, making me think he might have become intoxicated from being cooped up in the wine bottle.

“Ah, one gets accustomed to the aroma,” he said affably.  “But now you speak of such… do you have any rum?  I do have a preference for the spirit, tee-hee!” he said with a giggle, inordinately pleased with his joke that a spirit would like spirits.

When I explained prohibition, he looked very downcast.  He somehow hiccuped and burped at the same time.  Then he made a shocked comment about the state of things that would allow such a law.  Andy and I agreed enthusiastically.

I finally found my manners and thought to introduce myself and Andy.  The ghost bowed again, with a slight wobble.  “My great pleasure, Signorina o Signore.  I present myself, Maestro Martino.  Please do me the honor of calling me Maestro,” he said with a flourish.

The end… or the beginning.  It depends on how you look at it.

***

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from A Ghost in the Kitchen.  Yes, you’re right — that means there’s another novel on the way for Pip!  As you see she is reunited with her pal Andy.

Now 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 cat’s pajamas! 

 

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 8 ― Pip and the Potent Poltergeist

Please see the Updated Post.  I am sorry for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sheiks and Shebas, welcome to Jazz Age Wednesdays! 

My November is off to a pos-i-lutely neon-bright start!  There is something in the wind about Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I  but that is all I can say right now… 

November 1st is the kickoff of National Novel Writing Month* and yes, I opted in for that insanity again.  However, I’ll give an update on that this weekend, with the Thistledown Hiatus post, since that is the reason why the serial is well… on hiatus.

Now, let’s get to the Jazz Age!

Halloween was only yesterday and I’m still feeling that spirit.  So, I am sharing a ghostly tidbit from the not yet “book-ized” 1920s serial, “A Ghost in the Kitchen — Three Ingredients II.”

Pip and the Potent Poltergeist 

lucille-ball-1937-stage-door

The fizzy purple vapor dissipated and I found that my eyes had not deceived me.  A strange, semi-solid man bowed before me.  I was too stunned to think.  It seemed like the purple mist befuddled my head.  I gradually became aware of one other thing, a shrill unpleasant sound that went on and on…

“Andy!” I cried, suddenly becoming aware again.

My dear old friend Andy Avis, was screaming like a school girl.  I grabbed his arm and shook him.  He stopped screaming.  For five seconds.  Then he screamed right into my face.

I felt like slapping him — only partly to bring him to his senses.  However, riotous giggling shocked both of us to silence.  The ghost stood in the kitchen bent double with laughter.  Apparently he found Andy’s reaction most amusing.Casper cooking

As seems to happen to me in times of stress, one detail stood out to me more than anything else.  I turned to Andy but pointed to the apparition. 

“You can see him?” I said, and I wasn’t sure if it was a question or an accusation.

I had been told that though I hadn’t known it, I had the gift for seeing spirits.  I was also told that Granny Phanny could too, but my grandmother had suppressed the
ability.  However, as you might expect, not everyone could see ghosts.  So I was surprised that Andy was able to see the spirit sitting sprawled at Granny’s kitchen table.

Before I took another breath I whirled on the ghost and demanded, “How can he see you?”

The apparition who had materialized from the gaudy bottle of spirits sobered.  He stuck out his lower lip in an exaggerated expression of consideration that I had a feeling was a habit with him.

“Well, I am one powerful poltergeist, Signorina!” he said between hiccupping giggles.  “It’s no effort for me to let anyone see me, and sometimes they do whether or not I’m intending it,” the ghost told me.

I thought poor Andy’s eyes were going to pop right out of his head.

The spirit looked longingly at the food on the table.  Andy and I hadn’t even started our meal.  He licked his lips and sighed. 

“Signorina, a nice Stilton cheese would be beautiful with that,” he said wistfully.Vintage girl broken dish card

“Err… Would you care for anything?” I asked, knowing that after all, Granny would expect me to be a good hostess.  Then I gave my head a shake.  Had I really said that?

“I rarely partake.  Sometimes that doesn’t turn out so well,” he said, but his eyes never strayed from the food.  “But if I could just take a whiff,” he said leaning toward the table — and closer to Andy.

With a blanched face and panicked eyes Andy staggered backward.  There was nowhere for him to go, so he bumped hard against the table.  The ornate wine bottle wobbled precariously at the edge for a moment, and then it crashed to the blue and white tile floor.  It shattered into dozens of pieces.

The ghost shrieked.

Andy shrieked when the ghost did.

I shrieked at both of them to stop their shrieking!

However, I had an unexpected concern for the spirit.  “Are you all right?  I mean, I’ll bet you were bound to that bottle somehow.  Weren’t you?  Are you going to be okay?”1920s Owl Clock

“Yes!  No!  Both!” he replied, rapid fire in his strange accent.  Then he gave a giddy giggle.  “Thank God that gaudy bottle is no more!  Can you imagine making your home in such an ugly vessel?” he commented.  “However I must have something, or there will be… consequences.  Ah! Symbol of the wisdom I should have had in life!” he exclaimed when he saw the carved wooden owl clock.  “This will do,” he said even as he held the clock to his chest and then disappeared.

The clock dropped the short distance to the counter, landing with a wobble and a clunk.  Andy and I looked at each other in stunned silence.  A moment later the spirit remerged from the owl clock.  He sprawled into one of the white ladder back chairs my grandfather had made.  That was when I noticed the Renaissance era garb beneath his apron.

Bene!  What a relief!” he said and lifted his brimless toque to mop his brow, or at least I thought the chef’s hat was called a toque.

I leaned closer, wondering if ghosts could sweat. 

“If you didn’t like the bottle…” I began, but wasn’t sure how to ask what I wanted to know.  “Well, how come you’re — ” my words failed me so I pointed to the shards of the purple bottle.

“Ah Signorina,” the ghost began.  “It is a poignant tale.  I was chef to the Patriarch of Aquileia at the Vatican.  I always preferred the pun as a form of humor, and the Pope, he shared this with me.  However, one evening we served dinner to a plethora of patrons, speaking Punjabi, Parsi, and Philippine.  I presented a perfect prawn pasta…  Perhaps something went awry with the translations…  But — you see, the short of it is that I pissed off the Pope!  And this predicament is my fate,” the ghost said with a mournful expression.

I marveled at the poltergeist’s capacity to use the letter “P” so many times in one sentence.  I gave a hard blink to clear my mind.  Then I looked from him to Andy, with no idea what to say or do next.  However, Andy found his voice.

“You’re not a genie then?  You really are a ghost?” Andy asked.  “Too bad.  Granting wishes would have been a great ice breaker,” he joked, abruptly loosening up to my surprised relief.  “We don’t have to rub the owl clock’s belly to get you to come out, do we?”

1920s Vaudeville Cats postcard

1920s Vaudeville Furries Postcard

The poltergeist gave Andy that pursed lip expression, but then laughed heartily slapping his knee.  “No, young patron.  I can come and go as I please, so long as I bind myself to an object.  And mind you, I can’t be without one for more than a moment.  However, I tend to lose track of the time.  When I went into that gaudy bottle, I was in a great hurry, but that’s another story.  Anyhow, I think I was intoxicated on the noxious potion, so I did not wake for some little while.  Then you uncorked the bottle, and the rest, as you say, is history,” he said with a hiccup.

My nose wrinkled at the thought of being inside a bottle that smelled like that one had.  I said it must have been awful.  The apparition burped, blushed, and excused himself, making me think he might have become intoxicated from being cooped up in the wine bottle.

“Ah, one gets accustomed to the aroma,” he said affably.  “But now you speak of such… do you have any rum?  I do have a preference for the spirit, tee-hee!” he said with a giggle, inordinately pleased with his joke that a spirit would like spirits.

When I explained prohibition, he looked very downcast.  He somehow hiccuped and burped at the same time.  Then he made a shocked comment about the state of things that would allow such a law.  Andy and I agreed enthusiastically.

I finally found my manners and thought to introduce myself and Andy.  The ghost bowed again, with a slight wobble.  “My great pleasure, Signorina o Signore.  I present myself, Maestro Martino.  Please do me the honor of calling me Maestro,” he said with a flourish.

The end… or the beginning.  It depends on how you look at it.

***

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from A Ghost in the Kitchen.  Yes, you’re right — that means there’s another novel on the way for Pip!  As you see she is reunited with her pal Andy.

Now 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 cat’s pajamas! 

 

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 7 ― Pip in the Field of Fear

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  In celebration of Halloween, I have another new 1920s tale with Pip and company.  This time I let search engines guide me to three random things to drive this story ― first Google, then Yahoo, then Bing.  I typed in “Halloween,” hit enter, and used the first thing that caught my eye at each.  The three things are:  candy, fields of fear, and children holding hands.

Pip in the Field of Fear

Peoples Home Journal Halloween 1924

People’s Home Journal, November 1924

As an autumn breeze whistled through the trees as I left the candy store with a white bag of lemon drops.  A young man with a motorized bicycle caught my eye.  I couldn’t see his face, but I knew only one person who had a contraption like that ― Hank Hertz.  He had a passion for all things electronic, especially radios.  He was such a wiz at the stuff that it earned him a place as the youngest officer of the Savannah, Georgia police department.

Hank loaded all sorts of mystifying gadgets into the basket on the bicycle.  He jumped when I walked up behind him and asked what he was doing.  Of course, that made me grin.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody,” Hank grumbled, trying to sound authoratative.  “I might have known.”

“Are you making another radio, Hank?”

“Yes.  No.  Well, not exactly,” he stammered.  “I’m working on something for a charity thing the department is doing for Halloween.  You know how people like to scare themselves this time of year.  They’re going to have something like a haunted house, but it will be outside. I’m going to rig up some radio speakers and make noises to scare people when they get to spooky parts.  I hope it doesn’t rain,” he added with a suspicious look at the sky.

“That sounds like the cat’s meow,” I said encouragingly since Hank always seemed like somebody who could use a little extra praise.

“We’re going to call it Fields of Fear,” Hank enthused.  “The chief owns a farm on the outskirts of town and he said we could use it.”

“I thought he lived over on King street,” I commented.  “It must be nice to have enough mazuma to afford two places.”

Hank made a face and nodded.  Then he looked at all the electronic gadgets and grinned.

***

Ghost chase postcard

Hank and Detective Dabney Daniels built a platform hidden in the branches of a big oak tree.  From there they ran wires for speakers to four different spots that Hank could see from the hiding place.  One speaker was placed behind a skeleton.  When anybody stopped there, either Hank or Dabney would use a deep voice as the skeleton speak to the people.

Applesauce!  You should have heard the shrieks!  They did the same with a jack o’ lantern sitting on a hay bail and a bed-sheet rigged up like a ghost.  Gaffers and bluenose old ladies were like children holding hands.  They screamed, and then they hollered with laughter.

Granny Phanny and some other women approached the ghost.  The whole thing was worth it to see the look on Phanny Irene Peabody’s face.  (Yes, my grandmother and I have the same initials.) Detective Daniels showed he was an old foggy in the making though, and made me stop laughing so hard.  But when he turned his head, I couldn’t help busting out with another laugh.

Unfortunately, the ghost stopped working not long after it got a scream out of Granny Phanny.  At least we still had the skeleton and the jack o’lantern.

Long about 11:30 that night the coppers decided to call it quits with the shindig.  While Daniels helped Hank lug the radio stuff down from the tree, I started spooling up the wires.

The “ghost” sat in a heap atop a hay bail.  It had been held up better than that.  Maybe the wind was to blame, but I didn’t remember any strong gusts.  Hank caught up with me when I reached it.  He wanted to figure out what went wrong with it before I took the speaker wire.

Bushwa!” Hank exclaimed, startling me since the expletive was so unlike the mild-mannered kid.  “The wire isn’t connected.”

“Wouldn’t that be why it stopped working?  If the wire came loose,” I offered.

“That’s not what I mean.  The wire’s completely disconnected.  The screw’s been loosened and the wire is all the way away from it,” he explained puzzled.

In the distance I heard the clock at the Independent Presbyterian Church strike midnight.

Independent Presbyterian Church Savannah Ga Circa 1920s

Independent Presbyterian Church Savannah, Ga Circa 1920s

“The sheet’s got a wire hooked to that tree,” Hank told me as he motioned to the ghost.  “I’ll climb up and get it.”

I gasped.  I could have sworn the crumpled ghost twitched.  Then I saw that the wire at its “head” wasn’t attached to anything else.  I grabbed Hank’s arm and pointed, because the cat had my tongue.

The white sheet moved again.  There wasn’t any doubt about it ― the sheet really did move.  The ghost slowly rose upright.  It reached out to grab Hank.  He shrieked like a banshee.

Hank caught ahold of my elbow and started to run.  However, the ghost had already grabbed me!  I screamed nearly as loudly as Hank.

I tried to run but the ghost had a tight hold.  Detective Dabney Daniels came along and we started yelling for him to help.

“Shoot it!”

“Yeah, just shoot the thing before it kills us!”

“Shoot it?  But ghosts are already dead,” the detective stated with infuriating calm.

The ghost started shaking. I was terrified to think what that could mean. I could feel it quaking because it held me that close to its…  Body?  Did ghosts have bodies?

I screamed again when the ghost cackled with laughter.

Detective Daniels bent double.  Had it attacked him too, through some kind of spectral magic?

Then I realized the copper was bent over with laughter.  The ghost let go of me.  Finally, I caught the cackle and recognized it.

“Granny!” I yelled.

My grandmother threw off the white sheet, still laughing uproariously.

“Pip… If you could just see the look on your face,” she said, gasping for breath between laughs.

Daniels returned to his nonchalant manner.

“The apple, or in this case the pip doesn’t fall very far from the tree,” he remarked.

The end

***

I hope you enjoyed this little ditty with Pip.

Have you visited author Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising event?  Leading up to Halloween, author Teri Polen hosts Bad Moon Rising.  It’s her yearly celebration of suspense and horror.  Each year more than 30 horror/thriller indie authors are featured throughout the month of October on her blog, Books & Such.  I was there earlier this month! Click here and say hello*!

At Teri Polen’s Books & Such

Atonement TennesseeIn honor of Bad Moon Rising, through October, I’ve priced the Kindle version of my debut novel Atonement, Tennessee at just $1.00. 

 

Now I engage in more 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 cat’s pajamas!

 

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.  

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 5 — Pip in the Corn Maze

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 

red tam Pictoral Review Jan 1927

1927

Welcome to October at Jazz Age Wednesday.  I’ve been so busy, I forgot today was Wednesday!  However, I’m here now, with something new for the Pip-verse and I’ve gotten all Halloween-ish!

Writing Process

I was honored when Chris Graham*, the Story Reading Ape himself, agreed to do a short story for one of my Get Caught Reading Month posts awhile back.  (Check it out here*Chris is a fabulous storyteller, and it could be a prequel for the story below.) When I started writing this adventure for Pip, I just wasn’t “feeling it” until I remembered that story from Chris.  With his permission, I decided take a cue from his story and bring in one of his “naughty chimp” characters.

About This Story

This is another pantser tale.  Online I found a Pictionary word list for Halloween.  I decided to let that be my guide for random “things” to spontaneously write Halloween-ish stories of the Pip-verse.  I cut the list into slips for individual terms, put them in a bag, and then drew three slips or “things.”  They are:  corn maze, autumn, and zombie.

Now back to the Jazz Age!

Between corn rows 2

Pip in the Corn Maze

Trees in their glad rags of orange and yellow leaves lined the dirt road.  Granny Phanny maneuvered her cherished Model-T to avoid a hole.

“It’s the Autumn Festival, Pip.  Come on.  You’ll have a good time,” my grandmother insisted, but I had my doubts.  “There will be all sorts of things for young folks to do.  Now hang on to that basket,” she cautioned as we rounded a sharp curve.  “Those apple pies are for the bake sale.  Nobody will want to buy a pie that’s had the juice sloshed out of it.”

I had a hunch that the “young folks” part was a bunch of phonus balonus.  Although, I knew better than to voice that thought to Granny.  My grandmother slowed the automobile and pointed.

“Oh look!  They even made a billboard,” she said as she stopped to admire the sign.  “See all the fun things it lists?  Apple bobbing, the Sundown Séance, why there’s even a corn maze.”

Corn Field People n Background bonnie-kittle-143218

Bonnie Kittle, Unsplash

“That’s nice Granny, but this is a weekday and it’s the middle of the day too.  Everybody is either at work or at school, unless they’re—” I shut my mouth just in time before I said the word old.

Wet blanket wasn’t a name I could be called, but nobody was there but a bunch of bluenose old ladies.  Granny introduced me to some of them.  It was a combination of fawning over the visiting grandchild and tut-tutting from the ones who knew I was in Savannah with Granny as punishment for an adventure that included a yacht, a circus baron, and a gilded mansion in Sarasota, Florida.  I excused myself and wandered aimlessly.

My bored noodle was at war with my sore feet when I came upon the corn maze.  It was getting hot in the afternoon sun too.  The day before had been downright chilly.  Not so a day later, but that was typical October weather for Savannah.

I took a limping step.  There was definitely a pebble in my shoe.  Propping against the entrance sign for the maze, I untied my burgundy and cream oxfords to shake out the offending stone.  I took off the tam I had made to match my oxfords and used it to fan myself.

When I looked inside the maze I saw inviting greens and yellows, and sun-dappled shade.  A light breeze brushed my face as it moved into the maze, as if to invite me to the cooling shadows.  I really should have known better.  I pos-i-lutely have no sense of direction.  In no time, I was frustratingly, hopelessly lost in the labyrinth.

Hands in Corn Maze felix-russell-saw-136018

Felix Russell, Unsplash

Everything was unnaturally quiet.  It got creepy.  I jumped at a shifting shadow ahead, then scolded myself.

It’s not as if you’re going to walk into a zombie or something!  Get ahold of yourself, flapper!

Sounds of movement reached my ears so I turned left at the next opening.  I heard someone yawn.  Sheik or Sheba?  Who could guess gender from a yawn, but it sounded like a man to me.  I was just relieved that there was another person nearby.

Hopefully a living, breathing person, not the walking dead, my inner cynic muttered.

When I rounded the next turn, I stopped in my tracks.  That was no man!  It was a hairy animal.  I tried not to make a sound.  I didn’t want to startle a wild animal.  I squinted into the shadows.  What was it anyway?  A baby bear?

It made a harsh, shrill sound.  My eyes widened when I realized what kind of critter it was — a chimpanzee!

The chimp stretched and scratched his armpit.  He looked at me and grinned!  Then to my astonishment he bowed politely and called me by name.  That’s right.  The chimp talked!

I asked how he came to be in the corn maze.  I expected he had gotten lost from a circus somewhere, or maybe a zoo.

Cautiously, I inched closer.  It had to be some kind of gag.  If I ran out screaming about a talking chimp, there would be twenty people standing there laughing at me, I just knew it.  He picked up on my skepticism.

Reading Ape purple

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

All thoughts of finding my way out of the maze left my mind.  Since he could talk I figured I might as well beat my gums with the little hairy guy.  But wait a minute… did he say through time?

“You traveled through t-time?”

To my increasing astonishment, Artie explained how he got there all the way from England.  He had invented a time machine — a for real time machine!  However, at first it would only go forward, not back to another era.  It also tended to land about 19 miles to the west of where he meant it to be.  Finally Artie fixed the machine so it would go backward in time.  Although he still hadn’t worked out the location problem.  That was why his time machine landed in the corn maze, not at Granny Phanny’s cottage.

“You honestly mean to tell me that you came here specifically to meet me?  Me?” I asked.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody,” he began and surprised me even more by knowing my full name.  “Your adventures are known far and wide — at least in my time.  The world hasn’t always known your story, but once it was unearthed, you became rather famous,” he assured me.

The corn maze was so cool and quiet that Artie sat down for a “ponderating moment” — in other words, he took a nap.  I figured the little guy was pretty tired if he traveled both across the ocean and through time.  I eased away quietly because I didn’t want to disturb him, but I pos-i-lutely had to tell somebody about him.

I managed to find my way to the entrance.  Only then did it occur to me that I hadn’t seen Artie’s time travel vehicle.  I turned to go back.  Suddenly it seemed important that I get a look at the contraption.Blue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer

A loud metallic screech made me cringe.  It was followed by a loud whirring sound.

“Artie?” I exclaimed worriedly as I rushed to retrace my steps.

“Oh no!  Not yet.  We’ve only just started getting acquainted!” Artie cried.

It only took a moment for me to reach the spot where I’d left the chimp, but he was gone.  I looked all around.  When I went around the next corner I found a big area where the corn was flattened and the ground felt hot to the touch.  My shoulders sagged.

The Halloween story of the century and I can’t tell a soul.  They’d cart me off to the looney bin if I did.

The End.

***

Would you like to continue the 1920s mood?  Did you notice the magazine image at the beginning? It mentions Edith Wharton having a “new” novel.  She was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer.  Wharton was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930.  While I didn’t find a free version of “Twilight Sleep” for you, some of her books are free at Project Gutenberg*!

Have you visited author Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising event?  Leading up to Halloween, author Teri Polen hosts Bad Moon Rising.  It’s her yearly celebration of suspense and horror.  Each year more than 30 horror/thriller indie authors are featured throughout the month of October on her blog, Books & Such.  I was there earlier this week! (Click here if you missed it.)

At Teri Polen’s Books & Such

Atonement TennesseeIn honor of Bad Moon Rising, through October, I’ve priced the Kindle version of my debut novel Atonement, Tennessee at just $1.00. 

 

Now I engage in more 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 cat’s pajamas!

 

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.  

 

Cover Reveal! Murder at the Bijou – Three Ingredients-I

 

Bijou front only 2

Ta-dah!  I’ve finally finished the technical aspects of book-izing the second of my blog serials.

About the Novel

Murder at the Bijou – Three Ingredients-I is the second of my “three things” style of blog serials.  As with the first serial, The Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story, it was a spontaneously written (“pantser”) serial.  Everything in it — characters, setting, plot, was driven by things left by readers of the blog, episode by episode.  However, this time the things were “ingredients” since it is a culinary mystery!  

Pip returns as narrator.  She has new friends for this adventure, as she has been “sentenced” to live with her grandmother until she learns to become a passable cook.  As you can imagine, that does not sit well with our flapper. (Yes, I still need to write a blurb…)

Book Launch?

My “real job” doesn’t allow me time for marketing or promotions.  I limit that to this blog.  So you don’t see much fanfare with my books.  However, I want to ask… 

Is anyone interested in hosting me for a book launch post?

If so, please leave a comment to let me know.  I’ll write something to be posted at your blog.  Any takers?  

See you Friday, or whenever you can visit this weekend, for the next episode of the current serial, Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam. Until then, hugs on the wing!

 

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.