Jazz Age Wednesdays 2 — Pip Sees a Camel

Camel Walk dance poster 1920sWednesday, September 20, 2017

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  I’m still celebrating the release of Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I .

For this weekly feature my intention was to make things easy for myself by re-sharing short stories I had already written.  However, to day I’m posting an all new vignette. It’s another hump day so my “thing” to create this story was, of course, camel

In the time-line of the Pip-verse, this story falls between the two books.  Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip, has just arrived in Savannah, Georgia.  She is late meeting her grandmother, but you saw the reason for that last week.   (Just a note — While this vignette happens immediately after “Pip Arrives in Savannah,” the other stories for Jazz Age Wednesdays are not in any particular order.  It is not a serial, so one doesn’t necessarily follow the next…)

Those of you who have followed the old three things serials for some time will recognize a character from Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.

Pip Sees a Camel

Lucille Ball teen blue

A teen-aged Lucille Ball 

The delivery truck from Wong’s Chinese puttered down Pearl Street in downtown Savannah, Georgia.  I had already thanked Alastair Wong about a million times for giving me a lift to his family restaurant, where I was supposed to meet up with my grandmother.

I knew we were late, but it couldn’t be helped.  I also knew Granny Phanny didn’t like to be kept waiting.  She could get downright ugly about it.

Anyway, I was feeling too antsy to beat my gums in chitchat.  Instead I looked out the window at the unfamiliar street and buildings as Alastair drove past.  Based on the sales signs in business windows, this city was a lot more expensive than my little hometown outside Sarasota Sound, Florida.

Finally, I saw the storefront of the restaurant.  A peep in the window told me the joint was elegant.  I imagined all the patrons in their glad rags, and cringed when I looked down and saw a splash of orange juice on the front of my frock.  Nervously I adjusted my pink cloche hat.

1920 Henricis Chicago IL

Henrici’s, Chicago, IL, circa 1920

“Strange,” Alastair muttered as he parked the truck.  “I don’t see Miss Phanny’s Model-T anywhere.”

Oh no!  Granny’s already left in a huff.  Is she planning to make me just fend for myself?  I don’t know my way around this city.  I didn’t want to be here in the first place! I silently ranted.

Alastair walked over to a desk.  For a moment, I thought he spoke to a doll in an embroidered blue satin dress.  However, it was a very tiny, very ancient woman.  She had to be well under five feet tall, and Lord knew how old.

“Pip, this is my cousin Victoria Wong.”

I bobbed a little courtesy, as I looked at the unusual woman in fascination.

“Arabella and Phanny left in a hurry when that dewdropper who runs the dance studio came in here.  Why two grown women would help a lollygagger like him is beyond me,” the diminutive woman told us, and then gave an indelicate snort to accompany the unexpected slang.  “The lazy man let his latest gimmick get away.  They all went to chase it.”

Alastair and I looked from tiny Victoria to each other in confusion.

“My mother and Miss Phanny with a dewdropper?  Latest gimmick?” he prompted.

“His dance studio,” Victoria said, as if everything should be obvious.  “The dewdropper is advertising classes for the Camel Walk dance.  And that nasty, spitting beast got away.”

“The gimmick or the dance teacher?” Alastair asked.  “What do you mean by gimmick anyhow?  How can a gimmick get away?”

Victoria was very old.  I decided she must be senile.  Whatever the case, she had Alastair and me all balled up.

An odd noise caused me to turn to the broad window that looked out onto the street while Alastair continued to try and get some sense out of his cousin.  The sight before my eyes shocked me so badly that I dropped my pocketbook.

The restaurant goers got up from their tables and went to the window exclaiming and pointing.

“Granny!” I gasped.

Arabella Wong, Alastair’s mother, opened the double doors to the restaurant.  Granny Phanny perched high atop a camel!  My grandmother leaned down and called to me.

1880 Blue_woman_on_a_camel Queensland Australia

Woman on a camel circa 1880, Queensland, Australia

“I’m glad you final decided to grace us with your presence Paisley Idelle Peabody,” she called out in a sarcastic voice.  “Your chariot awaits!”

Victoria giggled and told me, “Sweetie, you look like you could use a jorum of skee!

I gasped, feeling like I must already be zozzled.  Granny couldn’t be serious!  But it wouldn’t be the first time she’d gotten even with somebody for being late.  She didn’t move to get down from the camel.  Surely, she was joking…

The End

***

If you want to know more about this series, here is a review by Vashti Quiroz-Vega of the first book. 

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 

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

 

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.

 

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

 

Three Ingredients: Character Recap

Hello friends — old, new, and as yet unmet! Welcome to this character recap of the Three Ingredients serialDog-Cat-Cooking_dreamstime_s_24255835

I feel huge gratitude for all of your comments and encouragement. The Three Ingredients is the second storyline we’ve done in this “interactive” format. For new reader-friends, I call it interactive because the story is moved forward by the inspiration I get from the “ingredients” (things) you send.  The story is un-plotted, “panster” fun — because of you!

We started this interactive format with the previous serial, The Three Things. There you gave me three random things to drive the story. That allowed the “things” to directly drive every aspect of the plot, setting, and even the characters.Grannys teacup

When The Three Things concluded, I asked you readers for input on what sort of story you wanted next, and I settled on our current “culinary mystery” theme.  So this time, we have The Three Ingredients, with food-related interactive offerings from readers. However, that means the “things” you send have a less direct impact on the tale, but they still guide and inspire everything about the story.

That said, I can’t be sure how close we are to concluding this particular storyline.  However, I can see it somewhere on the horizon of my writing crystal ball.  So I’m offering up a pictorial review of the characters your ingredients inspired.

veil_of_sky_open_1 copyOften I write stories, intentionally leaving part of the physical descriptions of characters vague. I do that because I want the reader to supply part of what they want the character to be for things like race. The last thing I want is for someone to fail to identify with a character just because of how I happened to imagine their appearance. That is something I very intentionally did in writing Atonement Tennessee.  With the setting of a small (and Twilight Zone-ish strange) town, I wanted it to fit with anybody’s idea of that kind of place. I described hair color to help identify and differentiate characters, but I deliberately left most of the rest up to the reader.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I’m sharing with you some images that either directly inspired, or later came to represent the various characters to my imagination because I realize illustrations are helpful to many readers. If your mind supplied a different look for a character, I hope you will keep your idea.

I have omitted a few characters with especially small “walk on” parts. However, I hope I’ve developed a bit of personality even in those. Just so they don’t get left out… in alphabetical order:

  • Cotton the Poodle
  • Eunice of Eunice’s Uniforms
  • Godfrey Gilley of Gilley’s Groceries
  • Hortense Houston, the Kingston housekeeper
  • Alastair Wong the elder, an old flame of Granny’s

Now, I hope you’ll enjoy this review of the characters that developed from the ingredients you’ve sent.

Cast of Characters

Pip

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

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

Granny Fanny

Margaret Sanger as GrannyFanny Idelle Peabody.  The ingredients haven’t given me the opportunity to go there, but Granny is actually a “Pip” too.  Her given name was Phanny Idelle, and when she married into the Peabody family her initials became P.I.P.  However, everyone kept spelling her name with an “F” and she eventually went with the flow.  (Granny would like the phrase “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” She didn’t mind the misspelling that much.)

Writing this post put me on a mission to find a picture that I thought of as Granny Fanny.  I had a vague image of her in my mind, a woman with delicate features, but a backbone of steel. However, the photo that resonated with me looked different from my initial mental image. In pictures of Margaret Sanger, I saw Granny’s kind heartedness, firm resolve, and spunk.

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

Alastair Wong

Sessue_Hayakawa_as AlastairThe very first ingredient (geoduck in Episode-1) was the inspiration for Alastair Wong.  The Wongs immigrated to the United States from England, and Alastair has a faint British accent.  Neither he nor his parents had ever been to China, though they dreamed of visiting and faithfully passed down family recipes used at Wong’s Chinese, their restaurant. Alastair is a talented businessman and chef.

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

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

.

Arabella Wong1920s Vogue red hat

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

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

.

Byron and/or Bradley BinghamtonNiven as Binghamton

The Binghamton brothers are actually “walk on” parts.  However, at the moment, I’m not sure where the ingredients might take them. So I’ve included them, just in case.

Byron is the owner of the Bijou theatre (Episode 1). That setting is where our storyline began, when “the dead man” was found.  Bradley Binghamton, Byron’s lookalike brother is seen much later (Episode 22).  They have been minor characters, but might be necessary to the story just the same.  Something tells me that there might be some sadness in the history of the brothers, and this shot of David Niven in “The Bishop’s Wife” could be either of the lookalike brothers.

.

Cracker Jack DaddySpeakeasy_Stories-July

Jack Daddy was a minor character who was fundamental to the storyline. His nickname was Cracker Jack because he was a skilled safecracker and a mobster.  But he must not have been 100% bad if he was Cracker the Parrot’s “daddy.”  He entered the story in Episode-1, but we didn’t identify him until Episode-9.

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vintage bunnyCinnamon Bun

When I received “cinnamon” as an ingredient for Episode-3, we got Cinnamon Bun, a Flemish Giant Rabbit with reddish fur.  The veterinarian, Vincent Vale gave him to Granny Fanny. She adores the oversized bunny, and so does Cracker the Parrot, who often brings Cinnamon Bun treats.

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Dabney Daniels

JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adEpisode-3 also introduced Detective Dabney Daniels of Savannah’s finest. The moment I saw a vintage ad for Arrow shirts, I had an image for Dabney. He has known Granny Fanny for some time, and helps her with heavier work around her cottage. Dabney seems to take an interest in Pip, letting her ride along for part of the murder investigation and work at cataloguing evidence. Is Granny trying to push the two together?

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

 

Vincent Vale

Christopher Timothy as Vincent ValeEpisode-3 also mentioned our veterinarian, but Vincent Vale didn’t appear until the next episode.  He has broad knowledge and training for a veterinarian of that era, including acupuncture.

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

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Cracker

Parrot in flightThe ingredients for Episode-4 included “graham cracker” and of course that gave us Cracker the parrot.  Granny Fanny resisted liking that “nasty bird” for quite a while.  But Cracker’s unexpected devotion to the injured Marshal Moses Myrick won Granny over.

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

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

Veronica Vale

1920s woman scientist-microscopeEpisode-6 brought us the wife of Vincent Vale.  Mrs. Veronica Vale is an accomplished medical doctor and surgeon who has traveled widely. She is the most accomplished woman Pip has ever met. At Pip’s determination to be a “modern woman” Granny introduced her to “the real deal.” Veronica’s intelligence is matched by her good nature and sense of humor. Both the doctors Vale are caring, generous people.

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

 

Marshal Moses Myrick

Barrie Craig adventuresOne of the ingredients for Episode-8 was “peas”… and we got Moses Myrick.  Pip was distrustful when she unexpectedly learned that he’d known her grandmother for a long time, and apparently quite well. So her first reaction to Marshal Myrick was less than positive, “He was very polite and all, but I couldn’t help thinking what beady little eyes he had.  Green eyes… like little peas!

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

 

Queenie WetsonJoan Crawford as Queenie Wetson

The Queen of Clubs is introduced in Episode-12.  I was looking for a vintage queen of clubs card, when I found celebrity playing cards. Guess whose picture was on the queen of clubs?  Joan Crawford. From that moment, there was no other choice for Queenie Wetson.

As of this writing, Queenie has not showed up in person, but I’m pretty sure she will soon!

Hank Hertz

Hank Hertz or Hugo Johnstone-BurtWhen we came to Episode-13, I faced a challenge. I try not to put restrictions on your ingredients, but one of the items was microwave. I knew it was meant as the microwave ovens we use today, but as I suspected, my research showed they had not been invented in the 1920’s.  However, scientists had long known about microwaves. That gave us a new character, Hank Hertz.

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

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

Daisyvintage queen of the may

In a planned (or technically correct) story I would not add new players so late in the tale.  However, Episode-21 unexpectedly led me to new characters — including Daisy.  Also called The Dainty Dish, Daisy was the second Mrs. Henry Kingston. Her story was a local legend, according to which she was given to him as a payment for a gambling debt, but Kingston fell madly in love with her. Daisy died mysteriously.

Pip also met a young woman named Daisy at Eunice’s Uniforms.  However, at this writing, we shouldn’t get into that. Besides, who can say where the ingredients will lead?

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Mr. Farceur

The domineering major domo was also introduced in Episode-21.  At first I saw him as a stodgy old Black Butler 2man… but then the ingredients suggested that he could be an interesting complication to the story.  That’s also when his name came along.  Maybe his name, Farceur, is significant, or maybe it’s a red herring — only the ingredients know for sure!

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

***

Keep sending ingredients, please.

I don’t think the “ingredients” all of you supply will lead to any more new characters this far into the storyline… but only the ingredients know for sure!

Please continue to leave ingredients for future episodes. Even when this storyline concludes, there will be another “interactive” serial.

I hope you’ll keep dropping in to visit, read, and comment.

Hugs,

teagan

 ***

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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.