Pip & Pancakes with Dan

Great news everyone — we have another guest!  Dan Antion at No Facilities agreed to be my next co-conspirator collaborator.  This post is already live at his blog for his One-Liner Wednesday feature.  So I’m handing things over to Dan to explain.  (I also think he should consider a career change to TV announcer.  He gave me such a nice introduction, I’m still blushing.)

A One and Three Twofer

It’s One-Liner Wednesday, the series brought to us by Linda G. Hill, and many of you will be surprised by how close to one line I am going to come. That’s because I am joined today by Teagan R. Geneviene who will soon release her 1920’s novel. If you’re not familiar with Teagan and her three-things stories, you’re in for a treat. If you are familiar with Teagan’s work, you know exactly what kind of treat you’re in for.

My one-liner is all about a treat too. A few weeks ago, when I woke up in Florida with the task making, changing and cancelling flights on a day the airlines were struggling with a blizzard in the Northeast, I wasn’t eager to get out of bed. I talked myself into action with the following thought:

When you know you’re going to have a bad day, make it better by starting with pancakes.”

Teagan told me that Pip could have some fun with pancakes, so let me get out of the way (after a few pictures for the foodies).

Now, while I finish my breakfast, please enjoy Teagan’s story. Try to imagine my best Ed McMahon voice, as I say:

Heeeeeer’s Teagan!

Thank you again, Dan, for agreeing to collaborate on a post with me.  I hope everyone will visit his blog.  Dan uses several post themes and they’re all terrific.  I had a great time at No Facilities.  His picture of the crow was pos-i-lutely inspired.  You’ll see why in a second.

Now for my part… This vignette 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.)  Pip’s father and grandmother decided to “settle her down” by having her live with Granny for awhile.  That’s where this tidbit picks up.  Also, as you guessed, the prompt Dan gave me for this tale was pancakes.  I hope you enjoy it.

Pip and Pancakes

1925 La Vie Parisienne woman pancake cooking

La Vie Parisienne, February 1925

Horsefeathers!  I think I sprained my wrist,” I complained as the iron skillet plopped back onto the stove with a loud clang.

Outside a crow made a cawing sound that might as well have been the bird’s laughter.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody, you will mind your language while you’re in my kitchen,” Granny Phanny warned me.

My grandmother hefted the heavy skillet with a quick motion.  A perfectly round pancake sailed high into the air.  It landed majestically, golden side up, in the pan.  I heard the crow again.  If it had a human voice, I was sure it would be saying “Ha!  Let’s see you do that.”

Granny must have biceps made of steel under her shirtsleeves.  She handled that heavy skillet like it weighed nothing.

The clear blue sky beyond the kitchen window distracted me.  I imagined being back in Florida with my friends, watching the boats on Santa Rosa Sound.  However, I was in Granny’s kitchen in Savannah, Georgia.  Pops had not appreciated the fact that I was a modern woman, a flapper.  It was an appalling sentence to be given, and it pos-i-lutely did not fit my transgression.  Why it was just a little yachting adventure.  Nonetheless, Pops and Granny contrived for me to stay with her and learn to cook!

Pillsbury Home Journal Pancake flour ad September 1920

Pillsbury ad, Home Journal, September 1920

Of course the crow chose that moment to caw some more.  It really did seem to be laughing at my predicament.  Or at least at the idea of me cooking.  I was ready to stick my tongue out at the bird.

Honestly, I only looked away for a moment.  Maybe it was my sigh that told Granny my attention had wandered.  Her lips curled in, which meant she was impatient.  I grimaced, knowing I wouldn’t get any sympathy there.  However, Granny gave a sigh of her own, and moved the skillet away from the burner.

“Pip, do you already miss your friends?  You’ve just gotten here.  This was supposed to be something fun for us to do together,” my grandmother told me.

I blinked in surprise.  Granny wanted to do something fun?  Applesauce!  If I had known it was meant to be fun, I might have put some effort into enjoying it.  I cringed when I realized I had said as much out loud.

Granny Phanny gave a snort.  “Maybe I’m not as old as I thought, because that actually made sense to me.”

“In that case, let me try again,” I told her with a grin.

I tried to imitate Granny’s motion and give the pancake a flip.  It only came halfway out of the pan and landed in a folded messy lump.  My grandmother gingerly picked up the half-cooked goo and set it to rights.  She told me to try again and give it some body English.

A tight-lipped grimace settled on my face as I picked up the iron skillet.  I heaved it just so.  The sloppy remains of the pancake lifted into the air.  It sailed up and flipped, and then flew even higher.  It made a wet thwack when it hit the ceiling… and there it stayed.

With a gulp, I looked at Granny, wondering how mad she would be.  Her expression was blank as she stared upward.  She cast an evaluative gaze on me, making me wonder if she thought I’d done it on purpose.

“Pip…  Well, that was right impressive,” she said, with the riotous squawking of the crow in the background.

Bye Bye Black Bird sheet music 1920s

Hurriedly I stirred the batter and poured a puddle of it into the skillet.  I didn’t want to give her time to consider in what way a pancake on the previously spotless kitchen ceiling was impressive.

In my haste I had the heat too high, and the hotcake began to smoke.  Granny moved toward the window.  She told me to just get the spatula and turn it before it burned.  I was more than simply nervous by then.  I don’t know what possessed me, but I tried to do a combination, turn and toss, with the spatula in one hand and the skillet in the other.

Just then Granny shrieked.  The crow cawed even louder.  I whirled around.  The bird was right outside the window. 

My one-handed grip on the iron skillet was too loose.  When I moved so suddenly, the skillet flew from my fingers.  The shining black pan could have been the cousin to the cawing crow, the way it soared across the room.

I gazed in amazement at the flying frying pan.  It spun as it sailed cleanly through the open window.  The skillet crashed into the lilac bush just outside.

The crow’s clamorous cawing abruptly choked.  I might have chuckled to have gotten the last word on the bird, even if by accident.  However, the sound of Granny’s scream was still in my ears, so I didn’t savor that victory.

I spun back toward Granny Phanny to see what was wrong.  She stood stock still.  Her hands were in fists at her side.  My magnificently tossed pancake no longer littered the ceiling.  It draped and dripped over Granny’s forehead.

What’s that they say about the better part of valor?  On pretext of retrieving the skillet, I ran from the kitchen.  The crow alighted on the lilac bush and looked at me accusingly.  It fluttered to the windowsill.

“You won’t go in there if you know what’s good for you,” I told the bird.

Granny appeared on the porch, picking batter from her hair.  She gave me a look that I couldn’t define.  The crow made a brazen cackle.  After a moment Granny burst out laughing.

“Pip, go inside and let’s get cleaned up.  You haven’t been to the Georgian Tea Room.  I’ll treat us to brunch there.  If we stay here we might be eating crow — literally,” she said with a meaningful glare at the bird.

With a last disgruntled caw, the crow flapped away.

Georgian Tea Room in The Olde Pink House 1929

The Georgian Tea Room in the Olde Pink House;  Savannah, GA circa 1929

***

The end.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the cat’s meow.  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.

The Characters, Murder at the Bijou

It’s hump day and I needed a boost to get me through the rest of the week.  I avoid midweek posts, but I thought this might give me the lift I need.  When this song popped into my head (again) I knew I had to share.  Because I’m getting ready, ready, ready for the takeoff!  What I mean is the launch of Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I.

It’s a Roaring Twenties culinary mystery.  It was spontaneously written as a “pantser” serial here at this blog.  Everything, event, and character in the story was inspired by things or ingredients the readers of this blog sent.  Now, as I’m closer and closer to takeoff I wanted to show you my concept of the characters.

Studebaker blue 1920s

Cast of Characters

PipBlue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer


The Three Things
gave us Pip (Paisley Idelle Peabody), the narrator of both story-lines. 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 Phanny, 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 Phanny

Margaret Sanger as GrannyPhanny Irene Peabody.  Granny is actually a “Pip” too.  Her given name was Phanny Irene, and when she married into the Peabody family her initials became P.I.P.  

I never found a photo that seemed like Phanny to me.  I only had a vague image of her in my mind, a woman with delicate features, but a backbone of steel. However, in a photo 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) 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.

Long time followers of this blog will recall that there are two Alastair Wongs.  The first one  you meet is the younger. Later, in Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers, you meet his grandfather, Alastair Wong the elder.

I had a small crush on Alastair, so his prolonged absence during 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.

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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.

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Byron and/or Bradley BinghamtonNiven as Binghamton

The Binghamton brothers are actually “walk on” parts.  However, when I started looking for character images, I wasn’t sure where the ingredients might take them. So I’ve included them anyway.

Byron is the owner of the Bijou Theatre. That setting is where our storyline began, when “the dead man” was found.  Bradley Binghamton, Byron’s lookalike brother is seen much later.  They were minor characters, but 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.

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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.  Maybe he was not 100% bad if he was Cracker the Parrot’s “daddy.”  However, I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.

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vintage bunnyCinnamon Bun

When I received “cinnamon” as an ingredient we got Cinnamon Bun, a Flemish Giant Rabbit with reddish fur.  You recently saw his back-story in the vignette, Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit.  The veterinarian, Vincent Vale gave him to Granny Phanny. 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 adWe also meet 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 cataloging 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 ValeOur veterinarian is Vincent Vale.  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 included “graham cracker” and of course that gave us Cracker the parrot.  Granny Phanny 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 Phanny’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-microscopeThe pantser writing of this serial also 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 was “peas”… and we got Moses Myrick.  Go figure, right?  That’s just how my brain works. 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 halfway into the story.  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.

Hank Hertz

Hank Hertz or Hugo Johnstone-BurtA reader wasn’t thinking when leaving ingredients for me. 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, the spontaneity 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. Her story line continued into the next serial.

Mr. Farceur

The domineering major domo was also introduced late in the story.  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, faceless 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?

***

So there you have it — most of the characters for the soon to be “book-ized” Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Wednesday!

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.