Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 10.1

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lulu Valentino chaos outside train Arrival 1

Lulu & Valentino see chaos outside the train when it passes into a Pittura Metafisica, by Rob Goldstein

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays, Sheiks and Shebas!  I’m happy to see you here at the station for this diesel-punk, pantser story.  Artist, Rob Goldstein  created a new video that serves as a visual recap for the series up to this point.  Rob’s post, Hullaba Lulu: The Music Goes Round talks about what he did.  If you want a more comprehensive review, he generously made a post with links to all the past chapters

(Click here for Rob’s entire collection of videos.)

This time I didn’t even make it to the first of the three things Rob sent for our tenth chapter… but I’m still calling this episode Chapter 10.1.  It wasn’t an official “thing” but as I was writing, I realized that I needed an electromagnet. So that’s my title for this segment.  The action picks up where Chapter 9.3 stopped.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Valentino told Gramps and Lulu that he is connected to the train and can’t be separated from it.  Worse, he said he doesn’t have long to live.

“I have kept the knowledge to myself, because you did not share it,” Moon began.  “But I know that your connection to the train has deteriorated.  I think the damage to the Tesla coil slowly eroded as your condition became worse.” 

Cotton Club Valentino on Car

Valentino reclining atop his Rolls-Royce outside the Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

Valentino’s train was out of control and headed straight for the Cotton Club.  However, instead of crashing into the nightclub, the train traveled into a Pittura Metafisica mural on the outside wall of the club. That created a strange vortex, pulling the Rolls-Royce and all the angel-bots into the painting along with the train.

Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet? 

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 10.1

Electromagnet

Rocking horse bot pulled after train The Pyramid 1

Things being pulled behind the train as it passes into a Pittura Metafisica

As the train went into the Pittura Metafisica of the bizarre Egyptian scene, I was mortified.  Valentino couldn’t be physically far away from the train.  Worse he said he didn’t have long to live.  So, I had to think that any separation at all would be more than he could take.

Yet I didn’t have time to focus on that thought because as the train charged into the painting it pulled the Rolls-Royce, the clockwork angel-bots, and a few nearby objects into the painting with it.

Colors whirled outside the vehicle’s windows.  Valentino grew pale and his hands shook.  He was telling Gramps something about “vortex” but I could barely hear them over the noise Rose and Pearl made. 

General vortex Flight to Egypt-5

Vortex, by Rob Goldstein

Giving a girlish scream wasn’t something I was likely to do, not after what Valentino said about dying back at the Cotton Club.  That weighed too heavily on my mind for me to have half a thought about being pulled inside a painting. 

Besides, it all happened so fast, there wasn’t time to divide one thought from the other.  My pals had not been at the table.  They didn’t know about Valentino.  There hadn’t been time to tell them, but I figured that wasn’t mine to tell anyway.  I didn’t know whether or not Valentino meant it to be a secret.

Our immediate peril became clear.  Outside, two angel-bots seemed to lose their hold on the vehicle.  When Ginger cried out I knew one of those bots was Dynamite.  By his blueish coloring the other bot had to be Moon. 

I gasped in consternation as they tumbled away from the Rolls.  Then I realized that they let go of the Rolls deliberately in a rash attempt to reach the train.  As Dynamite hurtled forward he grabbed hold of the railing on the train.  He caught Moon’s arm and the two of them gradually climbed onto the train and hurried inside.

Bot Valentino Lulu inside train windows Flight to Egypt-4

Train entering Pittura Metafisica

Soon all the angel-bots had made a chain, in much the same way that people would make a human chain to rescue a skater who fell through the ice.  Although I had only seen that done in pictures.  Clumsy as I was, that was one calamity that had never befallen me.  But then, I had never been ice skating.

Dynamite and Moon emerged from the train and wheeled out a machine about the size of a Victrola cabinet.  It was topped with a cylinder and a lot of wires, and the cabinet had a bunch of knobs and even more wires.  Valentino muttered the word electromagnet.

Moon twisted the knobs.  I heard a loud hum.  The automobile surged forward, connecting itself to the train.  The angel-bots gathered to make sure it was firmly attached.  Then they helped Pearl, Rose, Gramps, and me get on the train.

Briefly I wondered why the angel-bots weren’t stuck to the electromagnet.  I supposed they really were made from gold, rather than from some fake metal.  Before I could be astonished by that fact, a question from Pearl caused me to whirl away from the machine and the bots.

“Where is Valentino?  Is he still in the Rolls?” Pearl asked.

Valentino Bots Green Metropolis 6

Valentino with Angel-bots, by Rob Goldstein

There was commotion around the automobile.  Valentino had collapsed.  So many of the angel-bots surrounded him that I couldn’t tell whether he was even conscious.

I tried to follow the clockwork figures who carried Valentino, but there were so many that they blocked the corridor.  I could see my grandfather’s hat.  He was taller than the others.  I was relieved that Gramps was with him.

Suddenly Dynamite and Ginger were beside me.

“Moon is quite skilled.  He can’t cure Valentino, but I know he will help,” Dynamite said in a comforting southern drawl.

“You should get some rest,” Ginger added.

I hadn’t noticed we were right outside my sleeper car.  Ginger opened my door and motioned me inside.  She plumped the pillows on my bed.  Next thing I knew, Dynamite handed me a snifter of brandy.

Lulu towel Bots Metropolis 4

Angel-bots looking after Lulu, by Rob Goldstein

I stood motionless, gazing in fascination at the chaos that fled by my window.  Wildly shifting scenes rushed past. 

Then, strangest of all I saw a vast multicolored wing.  Whatever it was must have been flying directly above the train. 

***

The End

***

Holly Hannah! I’m glad everyone is back on the train.  But applesauce!  Lulu has no idea whether Valentino is okay, but I’m glad it looks like Gramps is with him.  I wonder what the Sam Hill has “vast multicolored” wings?  Tune in again next week to see if the “things” answer any of those questions!

Real World Notes

Westinghouse surgical electromagnet 1915

Westinghouse surgical electromagnet 1915

Ectromagnet. A device in which a magnetic field is produced by an electric current.  William Sturgeon invented the electromagnet in 1825.  Sturgeon’s device came a mere five years after a Danish scientist discovered that electricity emitted magnetic waves. Sturgeon harnessed this idea and conclusively demonstrated that the stronger the electric current, the stronger the magnetic force.

His first electromagnet was a horseshoe-shaped piece of iron wrapped with a loosely wound coil. When a current was passed through the coil the electromagnet became magnetized, and when the current was stopped, the coil was demagnetized. It could lift nine pounds with a seven-ounce piece of iron wrapped with wires through which the current of a single cell battery was sent.

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

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The things Rob sent to drive Chapter 10 are The Theremin, Wave Frequency Machine and Hidden Door.  Your guess is as good as mine for what I’ll do with those things. 

I hope to see you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the berries!

***

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

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

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

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 9.3

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Featured Image -- 23201

Lulu and Valentino dance in a Pittura Metafisica, by Rob Goldstein

Hey there, Sheiks and Shebas! Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays. You already know I’m being a pantser as I write this story — flying by the seat of my pants, not planning anything.  All the details, major and minor are triggered by the sets of things from Rob Goldstein,  who creates the gorgeous images and videos for this series. (Click here for Rob’s entire collection of videos.)

Today I’m featuring music from the Jazz Age. There are videos for songs mentioned in this chapter from YouTube as well as some from Rob. I’m giving you those music breaks since this episode is about 2,000 words in length. That will help you save your place if you don’t have time.  If you don’t like long posts — you’ve been warned.

With today’s episode of Hullaba Lulu I’ve finally gotten to the third “thing” for Chapter 9 of the series.  The action picks up where Chapter 9.2 stopped.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Everyone but Lulu and the rose-gold angel-bot, Ginger had already left the train to go to the Cotton Club.  To make up time, they took Valentino’s Rolls-Royce. Unfortunately, Lulu doesn’t know how to drive! 

Valentino Trumpet_The Mystic_Dark-2

Valentino and the trumpet, by Rob Goldstein

This time

Valentino makes a dire revelation.

Now to Chapter 9.3.  Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet? 

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 9.3

Star of David

Lulu bending Valentino car Cotton Club

The runaway Rolls-Royce ploughed down the street sign for 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue.  That slowed the automobile.  On the outer wall of the building I saw a big mural that had pyramids, a sphinx, and a strange tower.  I had only been to the Cotton Club a few times.  I didn’t remember any murals on the outside, but the posters on the sidewalk looked familiar.

The Rolls-Royce bounced up over the curb and rolled to a stop right in front of the door to the Cotton Club.

Boom-boom had managed to bring the fortuneteller booth that housed the automaton, Sipsing.  He and another angel-bot used a hand dolly to wheel the booth.  I wondered at Boom-boom’s fascination with the gypsy automaton.  It was not nearly as advanced as the angel-bots and it couldn’t communicate the way they did.  Maybe it was like a pet to him.

Cotton Club-Egyptian outside The Flight to Egypt-12

Cotton Club with Pittura Metafisica, by Rob Goldstein

Ginger and I got out of the vehicle.  I bent over to inspect Rolls.  A bit of steam trickled out from under the hood, but I figured it would be okay.

A group of angel-bots ran out and hustled us into the club.  As the door opened I heard the song “I Wanna Be Loved by You,” and knew that it must be Dynamite singing.  He carried a torch for Ginger.

The rose-gold angel-bot walked into the club just as he sang Boop-boop-de-boop!  Applause erupted from the audience when they saw Ginger.  With so many bots in the crowd, the clapping sounded like hundreds of little cymbals.  I gave Ginger a little push to get her up onto the stage with Dynamite.

Bot on stage Val Lulu Cotton Club-9

Dynamite at The Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

I had a glimpse of Rose and Pearl headed backstage.  I figured they would sing or dance, or both.  Those Shebas loved the spotlight.  My eyes found Gramps and Valentino at a table, so I joined them.  Gramps commented on the mural I noticed outside when I arrived.  My grandfather asked if Valentino painted it.  The enigmatic man nodded.

Earlier when I wondered if the Cotton Club might be like the strange version of Atlantic City, I was right.  I was pretty sure it was “sideways” too.  I had never seen a more elegant, sophisticated group of people at a night club.  Their clothes were extraordinary.  Those weren’t just glad rags, they were ecstatic!  Wild and wonderful colors and designs, they didn’t conform to any convention or norm of fashion I had ever seen.

Valentino_close Hat

Valentino, by Rob Goldstein

A woman at the table next to ours wore an exquisite Star of David pendant.  It was made from some rare and precious metal that was unknown to me, except that the angel-bot I named Moon had the same metallic blue finish.  In the center of the star was a sapphire as big as an eyeball.

When I looked at Valentino, I saw the woman’s Star of David reflected in the depths of his dark eyes.

Dynamite and Ginger left the stage.  They were followed by Pearl and Rose.  I took a sharp breath when I heard the first chord of the music.  I hated that song!  I slouched down in my chair and tried to pretend that I didn’t exist as Rose took the first part.

 

“You can bring Pearl, she’s a darned nice girl,” Rose sang and pointed to her friend.  “But don’t bring Lulu.”

I slid farther down in my chair.

“You can bring Rose with her turned up nose.  But don’t bring Lulu!” Pearl sang and they both pointed to me.

In utter mortification, my eyes wildly searched for the exit.  Gramps laughed at the antics of my pals.  Valentino smiled.

“Lulu, are you well?” he asked me in a puzzled voice.

My eyes and nose were the only thing above the tabletop, I had sunk down so far.  I realized there was only one way around the embarrassing scene.  Like the man said, “If you can’t lick ’em, jine ’em.”

Lulu n bots onstage

With a motion to angel-bots Wicky, Wacky, and Woo I went to the stage and we sang “Back in Nagasaki.”  When I belted out the words, “Hot ginger and dynamite,” the angel-bots in the audience got so excited that some of them jumped up onto the table tops.

As I went onstage, I saw Pearl and Rose move onto the dance-floor with a couple of swell looking Oliver Twists.  Those four were such great dancers that I almost forgot the song while I watched them.  However, I lost track of my pals while I sang.  When my number was over, I went back to the table with Gramps and Valentino.  The evening was beginning to wind down anyway.

“I haven’t seen you leave that train of yours without the trumpet,” Gramps commented to Valentino.  “I don’t pretend to understand the many mysteries of the train, but it seems like you can use the trumpet to make the train come to you.”

The pained look on the enigmatic man’s face suggested my grandfather hit a nerve.  Valentino gazed down at the brightly polished horn.  He swallowed hard.  His eyes were haunted as he looked from Gramps to me.

Gramps Valentino contorl room lightning

Gramps and Valentino, Tesla machine on the left

“I’m not able to go more than a short distance from the train,” Valentino began in a rough voice, but stopped to clear his throat.  “Lately I can’t leave the train at all unless I have some aspect of it with me.  The trumpet, the Rolls-Royce, the Ouija board, and other things are all aspects of the train.”

“When your daughter, Lauren traveled with me I underestimated her,” Valentino began with a regretful look at Gramps.  “There was another passenger, the most brilliant man I’ve ever met.  His name was Nikola Tesla.  Your daughter mesmerized him.”

Both men turned their eyes briefly to me.  Maybe they thought I would be defensive.  I didn’t know how my grandfather might feel about something negative being said about my mother, but I already understood what kind of person she was.

Bots and People Cotton Club-5-22--3

Inside the Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

“Wait a minute,” I objected.  “I’ve heard of Tesla.  He was too smart to be undone by a choice bit of calico.  Lauren couldn’t have been smarter than him.”

“No,” Valentino continued.  “However, Tesla was fragile in a way.  He also had phobias that Lauren used to her advantage.  I’ve never seen anyone get so upset at the touch of human hair.  Or the sight of a woman’s earrings…  It’s no wonder Nikola liked the angel-bots.”

“Lauren dissected an angel-bot to take the part that gives them intuition.  She used that plus alcohol and drugs to mesmerize Tesla.  Then she used the knowledge she pulled from him, along with the angel-bot’s mind…  I think she meant to take over the train and failed.  But in her attempt, she altered my connection to the train.  That’s why I can’t leave the train without having an aspect of it with me.  Now that glitch in my affinity with the train has grown,” Valentino stated, but paused and stared down at the trumpet.

La Garçonne-ectoplasm

Lauren on the train, by Rob Goldstein

“As my affinity with the train deteriorates, so do I,” Valentino explained.  “I haven’t much longer to live.”

Applause for the jazz band interrupted that horrible revelation.  My grandfather was speaking quietly to Valentino.  Both their voices had serious tones.  I was too stunned by what Valentino divulged to hear what they said.  I was speechless.  I couldn’t even look at either of them.  I stared blindly at that trumpet and desperately fought tears.

The crowd had thinned.  A group was gathered around the fortuneteller booth.  The familiar words of the automaton cut into my fugue.  Dazed, I turned to watch.

“Sipsing the Gypsy King knows all, sees all.  What would you divine?” it asked.

Question after question was posed.  The automaton dealt tarot cards in response.  Sometimes he made a mechanical remark about the cards.  Other times he remained silent.  Though I stared, I wasn’t paying attention until I realized that Sipsing’s audience had quieted to worried sounding murmurs.

Valentino abruptly stalked to the group.  His long legs took him across the room in a few strides.  His expression reminded me of the way he looked when he pulled me away from that Pittura Metafisica he’d painted.

Gilded Tarot Chariot.jpg

The Gilded Tarot, The Chariot

“Sipsing!” Valentino commanded the automaton.  “What is wrong?  What do you divine?”

The fortuneteller dealt a single tarot card ― the Chariot

Valentino went pale.

Just then Moon, the engineering-bot burst into the club.  His blue-gold finish was easily recognizable.  I saw several scorch marks marred the shine.

“You were to remain with the train,” Valentino challenged the angel-bot.

Moon was so distraught that could barely form a sentence.  His clockwork mechanisms clicked and whirred erratically.

“It’s the Tesla coil,” the engineering-bot blurted out.  “It’s shooting lightning randomly, haphazardly!”

In his excitement, Moon’s Cuban accent more pronounced than it was when I met him.  However, that wasn’t what took me aback.  Just before I left the train, I had nearly knocked the Tesla machine off its shelf.  I caught it, but when I put it back, I wasn’t sure if I set it down exactly the way it had been.

Valentino looked at me and I tried to act casually, but I couldn’t meet his eyes.

“I noticed the Tesla coil was turned backward.  Naturally that wouldn’t do any harm,” Moon added.

Bless the blue-gold bot, he gave me a quick reassuring glance.  I relaxed and looked Valentino on the eyes, and then raised my eyebrows inquiringly.

“But that made me examine the device,” Moon continued.  “I found that it had been changed, sabotaged.  It appears the initial sabotage was done quite some time ago.”

Moon paused awkwardly, looking down at his feet.  I placed my hand on his arm and urged him to continue.  He looked at Valentino.

“I have kept the knowledge to myself, because you did not share it,” Moon began.  “But I know that your connection to the train has deteriorated.  I think the damage to the Tesla coil slowly eroded as your condition became worse.”

Valentino cleared his throat uncomfortably.  I gradually became aware of a noise outside the club.

“Surely that didn’t cause you to leave the train,” Valentino stated.

“It’s the train!” Moon cried.  “The Tesla coil triggered the train.  Neither the control angel nor I could get it in check.  It will break free any moment.”

At that moment the trumpet spun around on the table.  Of its own accord the horn blared out the notes that had been sensuous when Valentino played them ― and it played the notes backward.

I thought Valentino’s eyes would pop out of his head.  That vein in his throat started throbbing.  The ground trembled.  The roar of the train filled the room.  I knew it must be headed right for the Cotton Club.

Everyone ran outside.  I saw that Pittura Metafisica of pyramids and a sphinx that Valentino painted on the wall at some past date.  My eye was drawn to the sphinx because oddly, it wore a Star of David as an earring ― and the earring was glowing.  Abruptly I realized the odd tower was a Tesla tower.  The picture came to life and lightning bolts shot from the tower as the train bore down upon us.  The pyramid in the painting started to glow.

Sphinx Tesla Tower

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Valentino played the trumpet furiously, but it had no effect on the rapidly approaching train.

It was in sight by then and looming large.  Strangely it was the caboose that headed toward us.  The train was going backward.

Valentino yelled something about the Rolls Royce.  Gramps made sure Pearl, Rose, and I got into the car.  Some angel-bots squeezed into the car too.  We were packed like sardines.

It looked like my grandfather meant to give up his seat.  He would be left behind to whatever disaster headed our way.  Then Ginger got in and pulled Gramps inside to sit in her lap.  Any angel-bots that couldn’t fit inside the vehicle held onto the outside.

Somebody pressed the starter switch and Valentino hit the accelerator.  The Rolls shot out of the way just as the caboose rolled past.  I cringed and threw up my hands reflexively because I was sure the train would crash into the wall of the Cotton Club.

However, it went into the Pittura Metafisica.  I don’t mean it hit the mural, I mean it went into it!

Since Valentino said he could not be separated from the train, I was horrified.  He said he didn’t have long to live.  The train vanished into the painting, Valentino would surely die right away!

Wake of train travel red photo Flight to Egypt-8

Image by Rob Goldstein

***

The End

***

Bushwa!  Lulu is afraid Valentino is going to die.  Well, he said he would if he’s separated from the train.  Will there be time to save him?  Tune in again next week!

Real World Notes

The Cotton Club.   It was the place to be for music in the 1920s. The club’s beginning is a bit dubious with gangsters and such.  In 1920, Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion, opened the Club Deluxe on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue in the center of Harlem. Owney Madden, a white gangster, took over operations in 1923, and renamed the venue the Cotton Club. However, it was legendary for featuring black entertainers.

Val Lulu inside club Lurking Lauren (1)

Art by Rob Goldstein

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

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The things Rob sent to drive Chapter 10 promise to be a big challenge for me — Wave Frequency Machine, The Theremin, and The Oscillation Overthruster!  Right now, I have no idea where the seat of my pantser pants will fly with those things.  Wish me luck!  I hope to see you on our diesel-punk train again next week.

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

***

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

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 8

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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

Valentino and Lulu doing the Lindy Hop, by Rob Goldstein

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

A glimpse into my writing process 

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

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

vAL Grams Station_0011_007x

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

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

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

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

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

The great wheel rolled inexorably toward us.. 

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

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 8

Chanel No. 5, Pittura Metafisica, Videophone

and Route 66

Ferris wheel outside train Lulu Valentino

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

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

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

Valentino Tilt-a-Whril Tom_Travelin Sideways

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

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

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

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

Pearl Hat Fortuneteller_Visits Zoltar

Pearl at the fortuneteller automaton, by Rob Goldstein

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

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

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

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

Wheel of Fortune Gilded Tarot

The Wheel of Fortune, the Gilded Tarot

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lulu Valentino control room Red

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

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

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

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

***

The Station-Diner_043-

Lulu, Valentino, and Pearl in the automat, by Rob Goldstein

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

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

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

Portrait of Gramps with stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valentino many bots painting red

Valentino and angel-bots with painting, by Rob Goldstein

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

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

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

***

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat, by Rob Goldstein

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

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

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

Lulu Valentino in the control room

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lauren La Garçonne -1x

Lauren by Rob Goldstein

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

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

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

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

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

***

The End

***

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

Melancholy of Departure Giorgio de Chirico 1916

The Melancholy of Departure, Giorgio de Chirico 1916

Real World Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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

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