Jazz Age Wednesdays — 1 Million Years B-Lulu

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

LULU Arrival 2.

Lulu’s clumsiness sends the train to 1 million years BC. Art by Rob Goldstein

It’s finally time!  I’ve been promising you a short story with illustrations by Rob Goldstein.  Lulu, Gramps, and Valentino are joined by a couple of unexpected characters in this one episode story.  I call it “One Million Years B-Lulu.”  It’s a little riff on “One Million Years BC,” which featured Raquel Welsh.  Don’t ask me why that particular scenario popped into my head.  I’ve told you that I’m just not wired right. The three random things Rob gave me to drive the story are velociraptor, stone axe, and capacitors.

Rob is featuring the story as a guest post today at Sue Vincent‘s blog, so I hope you’ll click over and visit them.  I’m posting it here as well.  Without further ado…

All aboard!

One Million Years B-Lulu

Lulu Gramps Valentino control room blue

Lulu, Gramps, and Valentino in the control room of the diesel-punk train. Art by Rob Goldstein

Soft clicking noises took on a familiar rhythm.  I looked over at the blue-gold angel-bot as he worked at a control station of Valentino’s amazing train.  The bot started humming to match the beat of his clicks and whirrs.  The sound reminded me of a music box.

Most of the train’s angel-bots were gold.  This clockwork creature was the only blue hued one.  Of all the bots, he was the savviest to the workings of the mysterious train.  I had named him Moon, after the song “Cuban Moon,” because of the subtle Spanish accent of his deep voice.  That’s the tune he hummed.

I loved to dance, so I did a few steps of the Brazilian Samba to his humming.  One turn caused me to bump into a table.  Exotic, futuristic looking instruments wobbled dangerously.  Fortunately, nothing fell ― that time.  I admit that I’m known for my clumsiness.  They didn’t sing “Don’t Bring Lulu” when they talked about me for nothin’.

Back on The Train

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

“Lulu, how many times have I told you ― don’t touch anything,” Valentino complained as he walked into the control room.

I stopped dancing.  Moon gave me a sheepish look, as if he felt partly responsible.  Valentino raised one eyebrow suspiciously at the angel-bot’s reaction.

“Don’t mind him, Moon.  He’s just grumpy because those pointy-toed dog kennels hurt his feet,” I told my clockwork friend.  “Go ahead and hum.”

The enigmatic Valentino looked from me to the bot in surprise.

“You’ve taught him to hum?  I wasn’t aware that they could,” Valentino commented.

An odd device I hadn’t noticed sat on one of the train’s control tables.  It resembled an hourglass, but rather than sand, it contained a gooey glowing substance.  Fascinated, I extended one finger toward the slowly moving molten goo.

“Lulu, don’t touch anything,” Gramps spoke by rote as he strode into the room.

“Especially not the time delineator!” Valentino added.

Valentino Bots Green Metropolis 6

Valentino and the angel-bots. Art by Rob Goldstein

Startled, I jerked my finger back so hard that the feather in my headband wobbled and the fringe of my short skirt swayed.  I wasn’t expecting my grandfather.

“Ah!  Sir.  Good.  I have finished the adjustments to your pocket watch,” Moon called to Gramps from across the room.

The angel-bot extended his mechanical arm to twice its usual length to hand me the pocket watch, since I was closest to my grandfather.  I was in a playful mood, so I decided to toss it to Gramps, rather than walk around the control tables and across the room to hand the timepiece to him.

I drew back my arm to make the toss.  The watch went into the air, rotating as it flew.  When my arm came back down, I knocked over the goo-filled hourglass thingy Valentino called the time delineator.

The glass cracked.  In midair, a drop of glowing goo splashed against the engraved pocket-watch my grandfather cherished.  It had been a gift from my late grandmother.

Abruptly I felt like a heavy weight sat on my head.  My feet tingled like they were asleep.  My stomach was up where my throat was supposed to be.  Plus, I felt like I had sneezed ― but in reverse.

The pocket-watch slowed until time really did stand still.  The glow of the goo grew until it became spherical, surrounding the pocket-watch.  Abruptly, both disappeared in a sphere of sparks.

When I opened my eyes after the inverse sneeze, everything around me looked like a Slavador Dali painting.  Then the world went black.

***

Lulu train pink-green 1 Million B-Lulu

Lulu’s clumsiness sent the diesel-punk train to 1 million years BC. Art by Rob Goldstein

I’m not sure how much time passed, but as consciousness returned to my aching head, I realized that I was face down on the ground.  And I do mean ground.  It wasn’t the floor of the control room against my face.

Warm breath snuffled against my face, sniffing.  My nose wrinkled.  The sniffer had bad breath.  I cracked open one peeper for a discrete look, and found a human eye locked on mine.  He grunted and sniffed some more.  When his nose headed where it had no business going, I scrambled backward.

“Hey!  Watch it!” I exclaimed.  “I’m not some easy biscuit.  Mind your manners.”

The train sat all catawampus nearby.  Amid the enormous leaves of strange plants, it looked as out of place as a wallflower at a speakeasy.

I sprawled on rocky terrain with scraggly bushes and gnarled trees.  Behind me was the mouth of a cave.  Leaning curiously over me was the smelly, fur clad man who woke me with his sniffing.

I remembered the goo-filled hourglass falling.  I gulped.  Hard.

Exploring-With Valentino Lulu dinosaurs

Art by Rob Goldstein

A rapid rhythm of clicks and whirrs emanated from Moon, the angel-bot.  Valentino’s head was down.  He murmured in low worried tones as the angel-bot clicked.

Gramps stooped to pick up his sunglasses.  He blew the dust off them and tucked the spectacles into the breast pocket inside his jacket.  Reflexively he reached to the watch pocket of his vest.  He patted the empty pocket.

His pocket-watch was gone.

Bushwa!” he muttered, though he looked heartbroken.

I gasped as fire singed my eyebrows.  The caveman waved a flaming stick, jabbing it toward my bobbed hair.

“Yes, her hair is the color of fire,” Valentino spoke in placating tones that one might use with a frightened animal.

The smelly sniffer appeared to take Valentino’s word for it that the fiery hue was normal for my hair, however unusual it must have been to him.

“Lulu!” Gramps hissed in a cautionary way, and I knew he thought the caveman was dangerous.

Laying my hand against my chest, I spoke slowly.

“I’m Lulu.  Who are you?” I pointed to him as I asked.

“Loana.  Fair one,” his gravelly voice pronounced and reached toward my bubs.

Tumac be Lulu’s daddy-4

Lulu meets Tumac. Art by Rob Goldstein

“Hey!  Watch yourself.  I’m a nice girl,” I cautioned him as I jumped backward.

Valentino snorted and I shot him a glare.

“No,” I continued from three feet away.  “Lulu.  I’m Lu-lu.”

He nodded and clapped his hand against his chest.

“Tumac.  Tumac strong!  Tumac be Lulu’s daddy,” he added with a leer.

“Where did you learn that language,” Valentino raised an eyebrow and asked suspiciously.

“Nupondi,” Tumac replied.  “Nupondi look like you,” he added with a sweeping motion that indicated Valentino head to toe.

“Someone dressed like me?” Valentino asked, though Tumac clearly didn’t understand the words.

Gramps had a worried expression on his face.

“Nupondi come back when he smells grub.”

Tumac motioned toward a fire-pit where a large carcass of something roasted on a spit.  I didn’t know what it was, but the aroma made my stomach growl.  The cave man chortled at the sound.  He gave me a companionable shove toward the fire and I stumbled.  Tumac really was strong, that was no boast.

What's cookin -2 Valentino Bot Lulu Tumac Gramps

What’s Cookin’? by Rob Goldstein

Soon I held the biggest crispy drumstick I had ever seen.  Juice ran down my arm as I hungrily sunk my teeth into it.

“Where does she get her appetite?” Valentino asked my grandfather in a tone that combined revulsion and stunned admiration.

My grand father shrugged.  He had been more interested in poking around in the bushes, looking for his pocket-watch than eating.  However, when Tumac acted offended that he wouldn’t eat, Gramps finally sat down at the fire.

“It really isn’t bad,” Gramps commented and pointedly made a yummy sound to gratify Tumac.  “I wonder what it is.”

“V’locy.  Mama v’locy,” Tumac mumbled around a mouthful.  “Find eggs too.  Big breakfast at sunup.”

Near the entrance of a cave I spotted the clutch of eggs.  Each one was about the size of a pigskin football.  I couldn’t imagine what kind of chicken could lay eggs so big.

“V’locy?” Valentino repeated and his face blanched.  “Velociraptor?” he exclaimed.  “Lulu, leave those eggs alone.  Even a hatchling could be deadly.”

“Oh, don’t give me that phonus balonus!” I told him and inspected the eggs.

The bushes rustled.  Tumac sniffed the air.  Gramps quickly grabbed the burning stick the caveman had waved around earlier.  He held it defensively.

Gramps Gets the Watch-3

Gramps by Rob Goldstein

The caveman didn’t seem concerned.  He grunted and muttered “Nupondi.”

Gramps jabbed the flaming stick toward the bushes.

Horsefeathers!  Have a care or you’ll set the whole place on fire!” an unexpectedly familiar voice protested.

“Tom?” I exclaimed as he nonchalantly tucked something into his pocket.  “Tom Driberg!  You were on the lamb from those hooligans.  So, this is where you wound up?”

Tom had betrayed us all, particularly my pal Rose.  We weren’t the only ones he quatched.  It turned out he had been a spy for both the Americans and the Russians.

That small motion of his hand to his pocket didn’t escape my notice.  Gramps squinted.  He had seen it too.  Tom was being a little too smooth, even for Tom.  He gave a guilty glance at Gramps.  Tom looked like a man who knew he had been caught.

“Well, Lulu.  Aren’t you just the cat’s particulars,” Tom said, stepping toward me.

Suddenly, Tom grabbed me and a surprisingly sharp stone axe was pressed against my throat.

“Give me that pocket-watch, Driberg,” Gramps demanded.  “It’s meaningless to you.”

“Quite the contrary old man,” Tom replied with a smirk.  “There aren’t any capacitors here.  Your beloved watch isn’t special just because it came from your wife, you know.  It can be modified to work as a time delineator, and I can finally go home!”

Tom’s sentence ended with an oof!  Tumac snuck up behind him and grabbed both of us, lifting us off the ground.  I heard Tom make a strangled noise and he dropped the axe.  With a hefty toss, Tumac sent Tom and me tumbling.

I saw the pocket-watch fall.  In the same instant I heard a shrill cry from above.

“Your sheba has found you,” Tumac chortled at Tom.

Your Sheba Has Found You

Pterodactyl swoops & gets Tom as Gramps retrieves his pocket watch. Art by Rob Goldstein

Huge wings darkened the sky.  Dust and ashes from the fire-pit clouded the air as gusts buffeted us.  Gramps put on his sunglasses as if they were goggles.

Blinking, I gaped speechlessly.  A pterodactyl settled to the ground.

Sunlight glinted off the pocket-watch.  The dinosaur’s eyes darted to the watch.

“Sheba like shiny,” Tumac muttered to Tom.  “Maybe she take it, not you.”

“What?” I couldn’t help asking, even it that circumstance.

“The damn dyno.  I was there when she hatched.  She imprinted on me.  Thinks I’m her chick or something,” Tom said as he cowered behind Valentino.

“You realize it’s not a bird, don’t you?” Valentino told him, as if that mattered at such a time.

Abruptly, Gramps darted and grabbed his watch.  The pterodactyl screeched.  Her sharp beak jutted dangerously toward him.

The sun flashed off his spectacles.  The dinosaur tilted her head as Gramps spoke.

“There, there now.  You don’t want this.  It’s not good to eat,” my grandfather cajoled.

The pterodactyl took another huge step toward him.  Surprised, I realized she saw her reflection in his sunglasses.  I whispered the fact to Gramps.  He slowly removed the shades and held them toward her.

“Careful,” Valentino cautioned.  “She could take your entire arm if she grabs the spectacles.”

Then a fierce look glinted in Valentino’s eyes.  I had always thought he had a ruthless streak, hidden under all that smoldering brooding.

Valentino_close Hat

Valentino by Rob Goldstein

Valentino reached behind himself, where Tom cowered.  He grabbed the spy’s arm and shoved him into the open.

“This is what you really want, isn’t it,” Valentino called to the pterodactyl.

The dinosaur made a pained noise, followed by a series of croaks that sounded like a mother chastising her offspring.  Tom ran as fast as he could.

With a blast of air that knocked me to the ground, the pterodactyl flapped her wings and took flight.  In a moment she had Tom in her clutches.  She flew with him toward a rocky outcropping.

Tumac laughed so hard that he rolled on the ground.

I stood gobsmacked.

“She take Nupondi to nest.  She love Nupondi,” Tumac explained between chortles.  Nupondi not go hungry.  His sheba vomit breakfast for him.  Haha!  All over his head.”

***

Lulu Header 1-

Art by Rob Goldstein

In no time Moon had modified the pocket-watch to work as a time delineator for Valentino’s train.  Through a hand-held telescope, I saw Tom gingerly climbing down from the pterodactyl’s nest.  He was drenched in something, presumably regurgitated dinner, but seemed unharmed.  We bade a fond farewell to Tumac, our host.

When I walked past Tumac, he laughed, because he saw that I was hiding something behind my back.  I winked and hoped he knew to keep quiet.

The big Orthophonic Victrola in the train’s control room blared out “Toot, Toot, Tootsie! Good-bye,” and I knew we would be leaving in a moment.

“Are you alright, Lulu?” Gramps asked me.  “You look like something isn’t sitting well on your stomach.”

“Maybe some under-cooked dinosaur,” I replied weakly and mustered up a belch.

Delicately I put one hand to my lips, while the other was firmly behind my back.

“If not for that decidedly unladylike burp, I would go back and count all those velociraptor eggs,” Valentino told me with narrowed eyes as he climbed aboard the train.

“Well, I never…” I protested even though he hit the nail on the head.

Then I felt the egg move.  I twitched at the surprise, and nearly dropped it.  Valentino turned back at my abrupt movement.  I put my free hand to my stomach and groaned dramatically.  Clara Bow couldn’t have given a better performance.

A shining gold angel-bot leaned from the train.  It was Dynamite.

“All aboard!” Dynamite called.

I made sure Gramps and Valentino were both all the way inside the train before I let Dynamite help me aboard.  By then, the egg was practically dancing the Charleston.

The train’s Orthophonic Victrola always seemed to know more than it should be able to understand.  Not to mention that it had a mean disposition.  As the dinosaur egg lurched, the device started playing “Don’t Bring Lulu.”

Portrait of Lulu

Lulu back on the train, by Rob Goldstein

***

The end.

Update:  Rob has just finished a fabulous video of this story.  Do check it out and pay him a visit as well.  http://robertmgoldstein.com/

You’re the cat’s pajamas!

 

 

And don’t forget!

Coming in Spring

Another Roaring Twenties Pantser Tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

Stay tuned, shieks and shebas!  

You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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

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

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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

Copyright © 2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Images Copyright © 2019 by Rob Goldstein

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.

 

Coming Soon!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Back on The Train

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

Happy weekend, everyone!  I’m still settling in at my new digs in the Land of Enchantment, painting the walls, putting furniture together, and generally keeping every muscle in my body sore. 

Crystal the cat seems to have made the adjustment. A few nights I’ve heard her making a midnight romp, and this morning, she wanted to play with her collection of bouncy and fuzzy balls!  She also insists on approving any decorating.

Crystal n Robs Sunset

Crystal with one of Rob Goldstein’s images.

Coming Right Up

I’ve mentioned that San Francisco artist, poet, and activist, Rob Goldstein and I got back together with a short story for Lulu, Gramps, and the enigmatic Valentino.  I call it “One Million Years B-Lulu.”  It’s a little riff on the old movie “One Million Years BC.”

Rob has made terrific illustrations for it. He really got into the spirit of the story.  Rob will feature this short story at Sue Vincent‘s blog, but I’ll run it here as well. 

That’s Not All

Brother Love

Brother Love promo image

Brother Love collage by Teagan Geneviene

Hang on — that’s not all!  I’ve started work on a mini series with blogger Dan Antion.   The core of the story was inspired by a Neil Diamond song “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” along with the blues legend of the devil at the crossroads and Robert Johnson. 

If you will watch the video trailer, you will have some idea of the core components of the story.  It’s a pantser tale (spontaneously written), so I don’t know too much more about it yet.

Dan was kind enough to invite me to his fictional bar for a drink at his SoCS post this weekend.  I hope you’ll click over and share some conversation with us. 

Dan’s photos will help guide my pantser pen.  He’ll also give me some random “things” to drive the story.  (Most of you are familiar with my “three things” way of writing serials.) I can tell you that the setting is rural Mississippi in the late 1950s to early 60s.  My narrator is named Birdie Devovo.  Which brings me to your invitation… 

Come out to play!

It seems like a long time since I’ve been able to involve you, the reader, in my stories.  That actually makes a lot more work for me.  However, I love including you.  Dan will be giving me photos and two random things.  So I invite you to leave one random thing in the comments. That will make the total of three things. 

The first episode will post a week from today.  All three things will be from Dan on that chapter, but after that I will start including reader “things.” 

A rather old blues song has been running around in my head.  It helped me write the mystical prologue for the story, so I’ll go ahead and share it. Be sure to leave a random “thing” in the comments.  Happy weekend!

 

And don’t forget!

Coming up, another Roaring Twenties pantser tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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

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

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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

Copyright ©  2018 and 2019 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.

 

Coming in Spring — All Sorts of Things!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Lulu looking tub bot Metropolis 9

With helpful angel-bots, Lulu gets ready for a bath. (Art by Rob Goldstein)

I’ve been painting accent walls.  Places that I don’t even have are sore!  I sure wish I had a couple of angel-bots to run a nice hot bath for me…  Hullaba Lulu may have been brash and uncouth, but she was one lucky flapper! 

My plate is full with putting my new home in order.  I’ve been gathering the day-to-day needs that I couldn’t bring with me.  Did you ever stop to think just how many different needful things you use in the course of a single day?  From the handy holder for the toothbrush (still on my “to get” list) in the morning, to the bedside water glass at night. (I know that glass is here somewhere…) 

Anyhow, I’m not back to full-steam-ahead blogging quite yet, but I’m getting there!  Even though I’ve been scarce in the blogosphere for a couple of months, I’ve actually been working on a few things.

Lulu blowing bubble

Lulu blowing a bubble (Art by Rob Goldstein)

On the Horizon

San Francisco artist, poet, and activist, Rob Goldstein and I are getting back together with another adventure for Lulu, Gramps, and the enigmatic Valentino.  This one is only a short story, not a serial.  I call it “One Million Years B-Lulu.”  It’s a little riff on “One Million Years BC,” which featured Raquel Welsh. 

Rob asked me to do a story with his illustrations. Don’t ask me why that particular scenario popped into my head.  I’ve told you that I’m just not wired right.  Rob will feature it at Sue Vincent‘s blog, but I’ll run it here as well. 

It’s a big horizon!

Snowy Railroad tracks Crossing Road Dan Antion

A Crossroad (Photo by Dan Antion)

Hang on — that’s not all!  Before Rob asked about a new Lulu story, I was already working on a mini series with blogger Dan Antion.   

But I’m getting ahead of myself!  The idea for this story started nearly a year ago.   I penned an intro episode, planning to make it into a serial.  The story was inspired by a Neil Diamond song that has always caught my imagination.  Being born in a small town in the deep south, the sultry words, “Hot August night, and the leaves hanging down, and the grass on the ground smelling sweet,” took root in my soul and stayed.  (I enjoy Diamond’s description of how the song came to be in this video, preceding the song.)

Yet I didn’t have time for a new serial.  However, like the words of the song, the story idea held on.  Now that I should have a little more writing time, the idea loomed large.  I wanted someone to bounce ideas around with, and create images.  Immediately I thought of Dan Antion. 

I wasn’t sure what Dan would say when I sent him the idea.  Partly because I told him that I’m also inspired for it by the old blues legend of the devil at the crossroads.  Also, I had no idea if he even liked Neil Diamond or the song. 

The Reader’s Digest version is that Dan was onboard.  He even went out right away, to a particular (railroad) crossroad that inspired him, to take photos. I should also mention that he went out into the harsh winter weather to take those pictures. 

The working title is “Brother Love.”

Although I’m not quite sure how I will work the opening I wrote last year into the new serial, I’m sharing it here as a teaser.  Originally, my thought was to use “things” from the Neil Diamond song to drive the new story.  I’m not sure if that will work for this collaborative incarnation of it, but here’s the original beginning.  The new serial will likely be different from this.  …Or maybe not.  I don’t know yet.

The Traveling Salvation Show

In the summer, leaves hung down so far, they almost reached the sweet-smelling grass on the ground.  Moths clung to the screen, attracted to the kitchen light.

I fanned myself futilely with a mimeographed flyer.  It did nothing to alleviate the heat of the night, and the cloying odor of the ink turned my stomach.  I stared at the wet circles on the formica tabletop as the ice melted in my glass of sweet tea.

At last a breeze!  It rustled the pages of the Pan Am calendar hanging on the wall.  August exclaimed “Back to Hawaii!” and boasted a man and woman disembarking a plane while greeted by hula dancers and musicians.  That scene was too farfetched for my imagination. 

I liked July better.  It showed a couple, suitcases in hand, laughing and walking fast.  Yes, I liked that one best.  They could be anyone, going anywhere… maybe the girl could even me.

The mimeographed flyer floated on the breeze from the table down to the cracked and faded linoleum floor.  Someone had left the ad on the front door ― Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show, it read.  It was odd for anyone to come around, witnessing or leaving things like that.  They rarely came all the way to the outside of town.  I was glad I missed them.

Thunder rumbled faintly, very far away.  Maybe there would be rain. 

Or maybe not, I thought as I put the damp glass to my forehead.

I crawled half-under the table to pick up the flyer.  The kitchen light flickered and popped, causing me to bump my head.  Then all the lights went out. 

The screen door creaked open.  Normally it would bang shut, but it closed softly.  At the sound of footsteps, I scrunched the rest of the way under the table.

***

Remember, this may or may not be part of my collaboration with Dan.  However, I wanted to share the origin with you.

So there you have it — the things that have been simmering away on my twisting brain’s back burner while I’ve been so scarce around the blogosphere!

And don’t forget!

Coming in Spring

Another Roaring Twenties Pantser Tale

Continuing the adventures of Pip and Granny, it’s…

Three Ingredients 2

A Ghost in the Kitchen!

Stay tuned, shieks and shebas!  

You’re the cat’s pajamas! 

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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

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

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

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

Copyright ©  2018 and 2019 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.

 

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 7 — Doors & Doors

Cathedral of Learning Dan Antion

Cathedral of Learning; Photo by Dan Antion

For a few episodes, I have thought this unplanned tale would take me to a feature of fellow blogger, Dan Antion.  His blog has a number of fun features throughout the week, notably Thursday Doors.  Now and then he also does posts about trains or trolleys. Many times I see a story in one of the pictures.  Dan graciously gave me permission to use some of the door and trolley photos from his posts. 

Writing Process

The pantser story kept causing me to mention the character Dan named, leading up to who knew what.  Now I’m finally featuring him.  It carries over to the following episode as well.  However, even then, I’m not sure if I’ve finished with the doors thing.  (Dan can tell you that “Doors” can come to have a strong effect on people.) If you think the uncertainty of where I’m going is enough to drive me nuts…  Let’s just say that it was a short trip.

Need to Catch-up? Last weekend I interrupted this serial to announce my latest novel, Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I.  My heartfelt thanks again to everyone who so generously participated in the book launch!  ❤   Anyhow, I realize you might need to refresh your memory so here are some links.  

Episode 6  and Links to all past episodes.

About This Episode

This time Bedlam Thunder meets a new character from the other faery-verse.  She’s not quite sure what to make of him, but I have a hunch that he might have another part to play in this serial.  I’m just not sure precisely what, or when.  

When we left Bedlam last time, the counterpart of Catseye Glimmer — Royal Chimera, warned her to leave right away.  Then three glowing doors appeared.  When she entered one, I wasn’t so sure how well that was working out for her.  So let’s get on with Episode-7 right now.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 7

Märchendom Saalfelder Feengrotten

Märchendom_Saalfelder_Feengrotten

Doors and Doors

Black. 

Silence. 

It was neither hot nor cold, but in a state near panic I began to sweat.  Was it reality or a horrible dream of being blind and deaf?

“Leave this place before it’s too late!”

Royal Chimera’s warning was strongly in my mind.  How did he expect me to leave when I didn’t know how I had gotten there?  I didn’t know, except that I followed the sandhill cranes. 

Then three doors, glowing with blue light had appeared. 

Had I left that place at all?  The darkness in which I found myself seemed like it should be part of that bleak world. 

One thing seemed sure, I had somehow left Thistledown. 

I exhaled a trembling breath.  Tiny sounds of my clothes rustling told me I was not deaf.  Although my ears had the unpleasant, stopped-up sensation of being underwater.  I shook my head and stretched my jaw, trying to make the feeling go away.

My eyes became adjusted to the dark, and I found that things were more gray than black.  I spotted a dim light and cautiously moved toward it.

I reached the source of the un-dark.  That’s how I thought of it, since it wasn’t exactly light.  It reminded me of the reflection pool, but it stood upright.  I extended a hand and touched a cool gemstone surface.  On closer inspection I thought it must be obsidian.  Yet rather than any color I knew the gem to be, it was pale grayish yellow.  It gave off a diffused glow.

Black Gray Swirls david-werbrouck-247332

David Werbrouck, Unsplash

As I gazed at it, my eye muscles twitched, as if they tried to cross.  I blinked and an image formed.  It was of the tall stone wall where I last saw Poppy Songbird minding the powderpuff sheep.

Wind gusted, just as it had when I left to deliver that message for Poppy.  A twinge of guilt came to me.  I hadn’t delivered the message yet.

The view went upward, over the wall.  Poppy was there coaxing the sheep toward the enclosure.  One animal lagged behind.  Suddenly the wind touched it just right, and the sheep lifted into the air.  The gust took the sheep so quickly that I gasped.

Poppy darted into the sky after the sheep.  Soon she sat astride the accidentally wayward animal.  It bleated in a way that suggested relief, though they were still airborne.  By appearances, Poppy rode a flying sheep.  However, the powderpuffs had no control over their flight.  It was Poppy who controlled the flying. 

Her flower-shaped spectacles were askew, but Poppy held the sheep tightly as her wings fluttered furiously.  Eventually, Poppy and the extra fluffy sheep touched down, but they had traveled some distance.

Purple wings shimmered in the sunlight.  Lavender Cozy fluttered down beside Poppy and the sheep.  She looked worried.  Since Lavender was a gifted healer, her concerned expression made me fearful.

“Poppy, are you okay?” Lavender asked, already checking my friend’s eyes and heart rate.  “I saw that wild flight.  I got here as fast as I could.”

“Fit as a fiddle, Doc!  You must have really been zooming to get here so quick.  But then, you always were one of the fastest things on wings,” Poppy said with a grin.  “Although, I would appreciate it if you could take a look at this powderpuff.  They’re pretty unflappable, but I’d feel better to have your opinion.”

“He’s just fine,” the healer commented, after examining the sheep.  “I’m sorry to rush, but I was on the way to a patient.  So as long as you weren’t traumatized, I’d best leave,” Lavender told her with a wink.

Everyone knew Poppy was not easily rattled, so they both grinned and had a quick hug.  Then Lavender darted into the sky.

As I watched the scene via what was apparently a gigantic scrying stone, I saw Carver Eastdoor hurry toward Poppy.

“Wow, Poppy!  That was some show,” Carver greeted her.  “If they make sheep wrangling a sport you’ll be a champion.”

“Did Bedlam give you the message from my cousin Holly?” Poppy asked him, but her brows knitted in a worried expression as if she already knew the answer.

“Bedlam?  No, I haven’t seen her in ages.  Do you mean she was on her way to see me?  I can tell you are afraid something is wrong,” Carver said.  “There’s a shortcut Bedlam might have used, a deer trail that parallels the pond at the Dragonfly orchard.  I’ll go that way and make sure nothing has happened to her.”

In a jiffy Poppy tied a harness and leash around the powderpuff sheep.  The animal’s hooves frequently lifted from the ground.

“You need a trim so you won’t be so buoyant,” she told the sheep, who made a plaintive bleat in return.  “I’m coming with you!” she called as she hurried to catch up with Carver.

1 Butterfly wing

I whirled away from the scrying stone.  I hadn’t heard anything, but I had the strong sense that someone else was there.  Out of the shadows walked a man wearing a bowler hat.  At first I thought the hat was decorated by three feathers standing from the band.  As he came closer I realized they were not feathers but long, sharp-edged leaves.

Nervously I took a step backward.  I stopped when I saw his disarming smile, but I didn’t relax.  He swept off the bowler had and bowed with a flourish.

Poison Ivy Razorleaf,” he proclaimed himself.  “At your service m’lady.  I see you’ve already found and brought light to the scrying mirror.  You must have quite the talent, Bedlam Thunder.”

My mouth moved noiselessly.  I didn’t know what to say or whether it was safe to be with the strange fae.  The edges of the leaves in his hatband looked sharp enough to cut like a knife.  They glinted even in the dim light as he returned the hat to his head.

“How do you know my name?” I demanded.

Or rather I tried to demand.  It came out as a whisper.

“As the keeper of the mirror, I pick up a lot of information.  Selling it actually makes for a decent livelihood.  I’m not that much of a seer, so I have to supplement my income.  Oh, don’t look like that.  I don’t blackmail anyone or do anything too unscrupulous,” he told me with a twinkle in his eyes and a saucy grin.

The huge scrying stone dimmed for a moment before showing Poppy and Carver again.  They were at Carver’s home.  I watched as he and Poppy spoke briefly with his wife and little daughter.  Then they hurried around to the back where Carver had made a huge sheltered work area.

“That’s quite a setup,” Poison Ivy Razorleaf commented as he stood beside me watching.

I jumped a little.  I didn’t realize the fae had stepped that close to me.  However, his attention was fixed on the image in the obsidian.

“Ah!” Poison Ivy exclaimed in a knowing voice.  “I had wondered how I could get you home, but maybe I don’t need to.”

His comment surprised me.  What did he mean by that?  My eyes involuntarily sought a way out of the strange shadowy chamber.

“Most intriguing,” he murmured, still looking at the image of Carver and Poppy.

“I was making this for your cousin Holly and her band to make a grand entrance at the solstice party Peaches is giving,” I heard Carver say.  “But I think we better use it now.”

Carver disappeared from my view.  I saw Poppy waiting before an elaborately designed door.  The colors decorating the door stood out brightly in the dull chamber.  Surrounding the door was a cloud-like border made of every imaginable candy.  Although he was out of view, I heard Carver say the sweets would fly out into the party crowd in a harmless, happy explosion when Holly Songbird came through it.

Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Dan Antion

Saks Fifth Avenue at Christmas, photo by Dan Antion

Then he and Poppy had an intense conversation.  I couldn’t make out their words, but Poppy looked really worried.  Beside me, Poison Ivy Razorleaf rocked back on his heels and grinned in what seemed like anticipation.

Finally Carver reappeared.  He held a huge copper ax.

“Where did you get that relic?” Poppy asked him.  “It looks like it was made for chopping more than wood,” she added with a cringe.

“It belonged to my great-great-great grandfather,” Carver answered.  “And you’re right.  It was a battleax.  He had a storied life.  Thankfully there has never been a battle in Thistledown.”

I couldn’t explain why, but Carver’s words made me shiver.  Razorleaf looked at me and chuckled.

Then Carver braced himself and swung the massive ax at the beautiful door he had created.

“It was nice to meet you, Bedlam Thunder,” Razorleaf said in a sardonic voice.

The enormous scrying stone went blank.  A sound like the entire world shattering filled my ears.

The End

*** 

Now, how could Carver Eastdoor think destroying that delicious door could help?  However, he knows his faery magic much better than anyone else.  Come back next time to learn what happened.  

New mystery folk revealed in this episode were Hugh Roberts, and Victo Dolore.  Please take a look at their wonderful blogs.  

Until next time, hugs on the wing!

 

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

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 4

Thistledown Girl

Alex Iby, Unsplash

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, and magical creatures of all ages!  I’m happy you’ve come back to Thistledown.

Congratulations to the winners of Sunday’s lightning contest!  Annette Rochelle Aben won the faery mug and Lavinia Ross won the Creative Haven adult coloring book.  Congrats ladies! I hope everyone will take a moment to visit their blogs.

I know that sometimes it can be a challenge for guys to embrace something as “frilly” as this story.  So I’m extra appreciative of the men who chose to “come out and play” by naming characters.

Writing Process

I posted a faery name chart/game (click here to see it) that gave folks the chance to find their faery names. I did one for “frilly” names and one for “scary” faery names.  Maybe I’m old fashioned, but not many of the possible names seemed to be, well… masculine.  So when a guy joined the game, often as not, I made up my own name for him.  One example is Skypainter Morning — that was the name exchange I made when Kirt Tisdale joined.

Thinking of Kirt’s amazing photos and photo-art, an image popped into my mind of a young male fae, winging through the sky, and painting it as he went.  Kirt generously allowed me to use some of his photos for episodes involving the Skypainter character.

Last Time

Last time (Episode 3) Bedlam Thunder had a new vision of the dark faery-verse and we met some of the “scary” faeries.  Although they actually seemed pretty nice.  I’m flying by the seat of my pants, so I’m not sure if the serial will get to this but — I see the “scary faeries” I’ve introduced so far as being a rebellious group with a rather punk-edge. In a world where everything is dull and people don’t tend to wear anything that isn’t black or gray, this group can’t resist a splash of bright color.  How will learning about Bedlam’s “sugary” world effect their already mutinous tendencies?

About This Episode

Like I said, this serial is spontaneously written, but I’m beginning to wonder when we’re actually going to hear about Bedlam’s main vision that got her (and River Mindshadow too) suspended from school and generally into trouble.  However, I think you get the basic idea.

Today I introduce Skypainter Morning and his fae talents.  This time we also learn about a bit of faery magic (or maybe it’s faery tech) belonging to Tinder Willowtree, a character we met in Episode 1

Without further ado, here’s the next installment of Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam 4

A Finder

The musical sound of happy laughter filled the orchard.  Lanterns were arranged and rearranged and lit by the spark of magical peppers.  Everyone seemed to enjoy experimenting with the various lights Pepper Stargazer brought.  Peaches Dragonfly would surely have the best of all the Midsummer parties.

The people I admired most in Thistledown were willing to hear about my awful vision — the one that had caused so much trouble.  They wanted to hear it straight from me.  However, being as bereft of grace as always, I had hurt myself.  Then everybody thought I had fainted, when I actually had another vision…

I realized everyone going outside to help with the lanterns was just a pretext.  They were giving me time to regain my composure.  How could I deserve such kindness?  Though I felt like a wretched coward, I quietly slipped away while everyone was occupied by a particularly explosive pepper.

Aimless wandering brought me near the reflection pool.  The Opal sibs, Moonglow and Stargazer popped up, saw me, and ran down a wooded path.  Their fun laughter trailed behind them.  I didn’t see anything of interest that the children might have been watching, so I guessed they were playing chase.

Green LIghts Drew Collins_1466939721550-ad3ef4b9eeec

Drew Collins, Unsplash

Then I heard a crash and a splash.  A bright flash caused spots to dance before my eyes.  Momentarily half blind, I stumbled on a stick.  Reflex caused my wings to abruptly unfold when I lost my balance.  I cried out as much from fear of hurting my injured wing as from pain.

“Woah there!  I’m really sorry!  Are you okay?” asked a familiar voice.

Someone ran from the reflection pool to the place where I wobbled.  At least I hadn’t fallen on my wings or on my face.  I would settle for a stumbling wobble.

A hand reached out and steadied me.  I was beginning to see a little more than the spots.

“Hi Bedlam.  Are you okay.  I guess you got caught in the flash.  I didn’t expect anyone to be around.  I should have set up some kind of warning,” Skypainter Morning apologetically told me.

“What are you doing, Sky?” I asked curiously.  “Your legendary talents are usually displayed in the heavens.  That flash was at ground level.”

“Something that’s never been done!” Skypainter exclaimed.  “You know the reflection pool helps us see visions.  So rather than just paint a composition on the clouds, I want to have a real, moving vision reflect onto the sky,” he explained with smiling enthusiasm.

He was right.  I was sure that had never been done.  It hardly seemed possible.  However, if anyone could make such a spectacle, it was Skypainter Morning.

“I know it will work, but I just haven’t found the right catalyst,” he began.  “I’ve tried fae enhanced carrot powder, distilled ginkgo extract, and bilberry wine.  This time it was ground red flash-pepper.  That was a challenge to make, let me tell you.  It kept exploding before I could finish grinding it.  And well… as you see that didn’t work out either.”

Sky had pulled me into his experiments that easily.  I was fascinated.  My mind automatically chased the riddle he presented.

“Except for the flash-pepper, all those are plants that help with eyesight.  I can understand the symbolic aspect of the magic,” I said and he nodded, looking glad that I had followed his thoughts.  “Have you thought about gems instead of plants?  Gemstones that are used to enhance scrying or visions?  Maybe black onyx?  That’s what my grand-uncle used for scrying.  Or how phantom quarts helps meditation, or rainbow fluorite increases intuition?” I asked.

Insides_of_a_Amethyst_Geode

Abruptly I felt like I had said something stupid.  Sky was so expert in his visual creations.  I couldn’t possibly have anything to offer.

“Maybe it’s not a useful idea.  It would be a lot harder to grind a stone to a powder than grinding a plant or distilling a liquid.”

To my surprise, Skypainter’s eyes lit up at the idea.

“It wouldn’t be that difficult!” Sky called over his shoulder, hurrying in the direction of his home.

***

As I gazed heavenward, I was surprised to see someone flying past.  It looked like my friend, Tinder Willowtree.  I had known her for as long as I could remember, and maybe then some, but it had been awhile since I had seen her.  However, I knew Willowtree was busy with the visit from her grand-niece and nephew — the Opal siblings.  It seemed odd that I had seen the Opal sibs headed in the opposite direction only moments before.

I waved and Willowtree gently settled to earth.  She had a hopeful look in her eyes.

“Have you seen Moonglow and Stargazer?  They should be around here somewhere,” Willowtree asked as she repeatedly looked at a plate-sized piece of black obsidian.

The children seemed to have a combination of exuberance and curiosity.  It had to be difficult to keep up with them.

“I got a glimpse of them a moment ago.  It looked like they were headed for home,” I replied and Willowtree huffed an annoyed sounding breath.  “Don’t worry, they looked fine.  I have a hunch they were spying on Skypainter Morning,” I added and her eyebrows went up, but her mouth slowly turned to a smile.  “He was at the reflection pool, experimenting on his solstice spectacle.  He had a couple of, shall we say flashy setbacks.”

Willowtree chuckled before saying, “Well, they aren’t that late.  I guess I can take it easy on them.  I’m sure watching Skypainter blow up something was irresistible to them.”

It was ironic that Willowtree should be out trying to find the kids.  She had such a talent for bringing people together.  Athletes in need of someone to fill a spot on a team, craftsmen wanting an apprentice, musicians looking for partners, they all came to Willowtree.  In fact, she was responsible for arranging for Holly Songbird and her group Dragon’s Nest to perform at the Midsummer party Peaches Dragonfly was going to hold.

She looked at that unusual piece of black obsidian again.  Abruptly a fond smile came to her lips.  I asked what it was.  The gemstone slice was bright and reflective, but I could tell it wasn’t an ordinary scrying mirror.

Reflections refract erik-eastman-267511

Erik Eastman, Unsplash

“Oh, you’ll love this.  Fleur and I have been working on it,” she said, meaning her husband, Fleur Moonglow.  “Fleur calls it a finder.  Take a look.”

She handed me the obsidian. Where I expected to see my own reflection, I saw multiple pieces, like a broken mirror.  Then the parts started to move and an image melded together.  I watched as the Opal sibs quietly entering the back door of their grand-aunt’s house.

“Wow, that’s amazing!” I exclaimed.  “It lets you see where they are?”

“In a manner of speaking, but it’s a little more complicated than that, and not always exact,” she explained.  “For instance, even though you saw them getting home just now, it didn’t pinpoint where they were here.  I would have flown right past if I hadn’t seen you wave.  It’s still pretty great though,” she added with a grin.

“That’s still hugely impressive,” I told her.  “How does it work?”

“Naturally it needs a little magic.  It also needs whoever I’m looking for to wear a medallion that’s been attuned to the ‘finder’ — otherwise it’s not much more than an ordinary scrying mirror.  And that of course, would need the talents of a seer,” Willowtree told me.

The finder had gone almost dark.  It held a dim view of Fleur standing on their front porch lighting a lantern.  My friend’s face became serious as she looked from the obsidian to me.

“It only shows me Fleur because of our bond.  He’s left the medallions on the children to make sure I could know they’ve gotten home.  But you, Bedlam…  You have the gift.  Even though you don’t think there’s any magic in what you do, you are a seer.  I know you wanted the school to bring out another talent in you.  And maybe you think there’s no longer any hope for that, since you got suspended before even your freshman term was finished.  But that part of your life doesn’t have to be over,” Willowtree told me, but I could tell she hadn’t gotten to her point.

“I know your visions come to you unbidden,” she continued.  “But I believe you will eventually be able to master them.  I’m certain of it,” she stated and smirked at my eye-roll of denial.  “Okay, it might take some time.  Measure that in years, not weeks.  Bedlam you might even be able to do things like this,” she said, holding up the finder.  “But if your gift grows the way I believe it will, you won’t need a finder or any other special magic enhanced device.  I know it, Bedlam.  Whatever else you do or don’t do, you can’t keep believing that your abilities are limited to frightening visions,” she stated emphatically.

Willowtree’s forceful words left me speechless.  I couldn’t think of a response.  After extracting a quick promise from me that we would get together soon, Willowtree zipped into the sky. 

Sunrise

Photo by Kirt Tisdale

As I watched her fly away, I suddenly wondered if Skypainter Morning could glean any inspiration from the finder for his moving vision idea.

I looked up at the twinkling sky.  Soon the stars would be in alignment for Midsummer.  An inexplicable chill traveled down my spine.

***

End Episode 4

Do you get the feeling that something unexpected might happen with Skypainter Morning’s moving vision creation?  I think we’ll eventually come back to that.  Be sure to fly back next time because we’ll have a special visit from A Pug in the Kitchen.  Until then, mega hugs!

Percy Tie pug hill

Percy

 

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

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

 

 

At the Wall Gallery and on The Radio — Meet Kirt and Hank

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to two pos-i-lutely fantastic guys — Kirt Tisdale and Hank Hertz!  It was my great pleasure to be a guest at the Wall Gallery, Kirt’s blog, The Wall Gallery There you will find his inspiring collection of art and photography.  

Thanks to Kirt for working with me on this joint post!  It’s already live at his blog, so forgive me for another rerun if you’ve already been there.  Many of you have already visited there.  Thank you so much!  If you haven’t already seen this post, thank you as well — for being here.

I never managed to move to Arizona in real life, but I had a great virtual visit with Kirt. Let me hand things over to him now.  Kirt, the stage is yours.

Writer Inspires Artist – Artist Inspires Writer or On The Radio – Meet Hank

I could call this week’s post – “The Art of Visualization: The Key Element to Writing, Art and Photography”, but the result of that ability is “On The Radio – Meet Hank”.  I’m doing a joint collaboration with one of my favorite authors, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. One of my most consistent comments to her after reading her writing is: “I love it…I am instantly pulled in because I can visualize everything you are writing about.”  

When she asked me to do this joint post, her request was simple: “Go through your art and photography portfolio and send me a picture that you would like to have me weave into one of my novels.”  

I narrowed it down to Cedar Rapids Barn because this capture of an old dilapidated barn created a visualization of a rural setting and the mystery surrounding the structure (side note: I was driving on the outskirts of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the heavily wooded hills along the river when I spotted this structure nestled in the trees. Of course I had to stop…hike into the woods and take some shots with my camera). So with that, I would like to turn it over to the star of this visualization, Teagan. 

What a fantastic introduction!  I’m not sure I can live up to it… So I’ll call on Donna Summer to build some excitement first! 

3-things-cover_3-2016

From his wonderful collection, Kirt chose the image above, Cedar Rapids Barn.  I let it spontaneously lead me to the story below.

As you probably expected, this tale is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip.  (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story click here.)

Today meet Hank Hertz.  This vignette is part of Hank’s backstory.  He’s a young man Pip will meet when she is sent to live in Savannah, Georgia with her grandmother.  However, this vignette takes place at some point not too long before Pip arrives there, so she is not in this story.

On the Radio — Meet Hank

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

***

And so Savannah’s youngest policeman began his career.  If you want to know more about the other characters in Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, click here.  Thanks for reading.  Mega hugs!

 

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

 

Photo-Artist Tim Price Reviewed “Atonement, Tennessee

Perspectives

Peacock Chateau Paris vintageFor once I don’t feel like I’m engaging in shameless self-promotion.  I guess that’s because it’s giving me the chance to share with you the wonderful talent of someone else.

I’m proud as a peacock of the mindful review photo-artist Timothy Price did of Atonement, Tennessee.  But I was absolutely stunned when I saw the photo-art he created for it.  I was also delighted, flattered, honored, humbled…

He shares his work with art, documentary and promotional photography at T&L Photos.  If you like to use only WordPress, Tim has POTDE Archives, with links where you can access his main site.

Tim created his interpretation of the old graveyard, which is the setting for a couple of key scenes in my novel.  Tim’s photography is based in New Mexico.  So that is where he found an old cemetery that gives a southwestern perspective of those scenes.

Atonement TennesseeThat perspective is what made the photography so special to me.  You see, I’ve always enjoyed the fact that a single story can be perceived differently by a dozen people. When people talk to me about “Atonement,” each reader’s perspective brings out a different aspect of the story — and that makes my spirit soar!  (I wonder… do peacocks soar?)

Recently Tim added reviews to his blog.  He’s also doing great memory-story features he calls Tales from My Youth.  I really enjoy those, and I’m sure you will too.

So please, follow the links to Tim’s blog and check out his review and photo-art of Atonement, Tennessee.  

Oh yes… since Tim’s photo captured the spirit of the novel and the graveyard scenes so well, here’s a suitable little snippet from my novel.  Our heroine has been in her new/old home little more than 24 hours. It’s getting dark when she realizes the cat is missing…

“Atonement, Tennessee” Snippet

I thought about the layout of the property and realized I was making my way to the graveyard.  It would be just like Lilith to cause me to wander around in the dark.  Alone.  In a cemetery!

Naturally I had no idea which way the cat went, and I don’t know why I kept going that direction.  However, if something made me feel like going that way, then I knew that was where I should go.  So I did.

In the fading light it was hard to make out the gravestones that told me I had reached the cemetery.  Everything was overgrown.  I thought the street should be over and down the hill from that spot.  I hoped Lilith didn’t venture that far.  Oh great, I thought.  Now I was getting even more worried, because I had thought of the street.  My heart beat faster still.

I raised the kibble box to rattle it again, hopping it would get her attention. Suddenly I stopped.  I was sheltered by a big clump of tall bushes of some sort.  I thought it might be mountain laurel.  I could see the broad side of the mausoleum from there.

black_eagle_with_open_wings_design-t1Shadows lurched violently against the stone crypt.  Big shadows.  Reflexively I drew back into the concealing vegetation.  Then I heard a loud avian-like screech and realized that the shadow shapes might have been wings.  My heart hammered.

The noise escalated.  It definitely sounded like more than one creature was causing that ruckus.  Then I heard the cat hiss.  I dropped the box of food and ran toward the sounds; ready to use the flashlight as a club, and wishing I had something more effective.

“Lilith!” I called.  Oh, let’s face it — I screamed.

As I ran out form the concealing mountain laurel a gust of wind buffeted me.  I tripped and fell on the uneven pavers of the path, just as the wind blew my hair, along with some dirt, into my eyes.  I couldn’t see at all for a moment, but I heard a lot of heavy rustling, scraping, shifting sounds.Black feather

Every time I thought I had half way cleared my eyes, the wind blew something into them again.  I struggled to my feet, desperately wiping my stinging eyes.  I heard soft footsteps coming toward me.

“Are you hurt?” he asked.

With an electric jump I gasped.  The calm kindness of the words did nothing to ease the added fear of knowing there was a person there.  A stranger.  In the dark.  In the graveyard.

***

Now… Truly shameless self-promotion

Barnes & Noble Nook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/atonement-tennessee-teagan-geneviene/1117790203?ean=2940148918431

Kindle and Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412384486&sr=1-1

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A

Amazon Canada

http://www.amazon.ca/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438820924&sr=8-1&keywords=atonement+tennessee

Amazon India

http://www.amazon.in/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1481826948