Jazz Age Wednesdays 20 ― Pip and Holding On Part 2

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

1923 Harold Lloyd Safety Last clock

Harold Lloyd in Safety Last, 1923

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Last time I posted part-1 of a story I wrote because Hugh Roberts, of Hugh’s Views & News, asked me to participate in his new feature series.  (Click here for Hugh’s post.)

Writing Process

Lately the real world has provided an over abundance of the “s” word.  Take that anyway you want, but I meant stress.  Stress drain.  It leaves me depleted of… well everything.  When that happens it’s extremely difficult for me to write, as this story proves. I spent two weeks of my writing time developing a simple short story.  I finished it last week, but I didn’t manage to make it short enough for one post, but today we have the conclusion. 

Pip and Holding On

Conclusion

City Hall Savannah 1920s

Savannah, Georgia City Hall 1920

After parking the Model-T, I walked with Miss Olive inside the echoing halls of the grand building, making sure she got to the right office.  It seemed like we waited at least an hour for someone to come to the desk.  However, the clock insisted that only ten minutes had passed.  I had never seen a secondhand creep along so slowly.  Someone finally came to help Miss Olive. 

Yes, I admit it.  I was bored that easily.  There were no distractions in that room.  Nothing to occupy the mind, no magazines, zipola.  Maybe it was all my fidgeting, but the elderly woman took pity on me.  Miss Olive told me it would be fine if I went to look around outside while she attended to her business.

I exited city hall and strolled a short distance down the sidewalk.  A commotion caused me to turn back.  A high-pitched call split the air.  A man screamed.  I heard Hank Hertz yelling.

When I looked up I saw the reason for the uproar.  The hawk we saw earlier had snatched Charlie’s little Chihuahua!  The raptor had caught the ruffles of the tiny dog’s dress.  Chichi dangled by her frilly dress, as the hawk flew high above the street. 

Two statues representing art and commerce adorned the fourth-floor balcony of city hall.  The hawk alighted there, Chichi in tow.  Charlie kept up his shrill scream so long I wondered where he got all the air.

Ramon Novarro chihuahua Chiquita1920s

Ramon Novarro with his chihuahua Chiquita, 1920s

Hank ran from the other side of the street toward the three arched entries of city hall and disappeared inside.  I went after Hank.  I didn’t see him anywhere, but I heard the pounding of his shoes on the marble floors.  I followed the sound.

I was breathing hard when I stepped out onto the fourth-floor balcony.  Maybe the hawk was spooked by all the yelling from Hank and Charlie Chilton.  Some of the people on the street were yelling too.  It flew erratically, hampered by the weight of the dog, as it flew from the statues up to the clock on the sixth story. 

(You can read the chapter of Murder at the Bijou that included Charlie and Chichi here.)

I leaned against one of the statues trying to catch my breath.  Thankfully that also put me in a shadow.  It was already getting hot outside.

The hawk stopped on the minute hand of the clock as it pointed at twelve.  Worse than the Chihuahua suspended high in the air, Hank Hertz had climbed out onto the face of the clock.  The bells gonged as the clock struck nine. 

Savannah’s youngest policeman cautiously stepped onto the hour hand.  Hank stretched up toward the vertical minute hand as far as he could, trying to reach the dangling dog.  However, the hawk flew back down to the statues.  Hank made a grab for Chichi, but lost his balance and started to fall.

Hank grabbed onto the huge minute hand of the clock, scrambling to get his footing.

Harold Lloyd clock

The Chihuahua struggled as the hawk glided down.  I stood stock still.  If the hawk saw me it would fly away with the little dog.  Or it might drop her.  That would be awful too.  Horsefeathers, it would be horrible if Hank fell from his predicament to the pavement 140 feet below.  What was he thinking?

The gears of the clock and the metal of the minute hand groaned.  Hank’s weight pulled it downward. 

Slowly I tilted my head to look up at the statue against which I leaned.  Chichi saw me and renewed her struggle for freedom.  The hawk was preoccupied by Hank’s presence on the clock. 

But what if it looks down? I worried.

I heard the scrape of Hank’s shoes as he scrabbled against the face of the clock for a foothold but found none.  Metal moaned as the minute hand moved again.

Involuntarily I gasped when Hank lost his hold.  The hawk heard me. 

Chichi yipped, tiny legs working furiously.

Hank managed to grab onto the railing below the clock face.  I held my breath as he swung one leg up over the banister.

The Chihuahua’s ruffled dress ripped where it was pierced by the hawk’s talons.  She sagged as her dress tore.

Hank finished pulling himself to the relative safety of the ledge behind the stone railing.  I heaved a sigh of relief.

Then the hawk launched itself from the statue.  The awkward burden of the dog caused the bird to bob downward as the frilly dress continued to rip.

I was never any good at catch.  However, the bird was directly above me.  As the fabric tore free and the little Fido fell, I put my hands out and caught her.

***

1920s Ice cream Flapper

Viola Dana, 1920s Film Star

“Lord have mercy.  Paisley, you are a sight.  Your headband is all catawampus and that short skirt looks like you slept in it,” Miss Olive told me in a half-scandalized tone, but then she chuckled and waved her hand.

To my surprise, Miss Olive was sharing a cup of tea with a stranger.  Looking at the scene you would have thought they were old friends.  The man looked like a traveler, probably on his way to Union Station.  A suitcase sat at his feet with labels from England, Ireland, and Wales.  He spoke with an accent that sounded kind of British to my ear.

When the man finished his tea, Miss Olive dumped the tealeaves into the saucer.  Her wrinkled face squinted into even more creases as she peered at the pattern of the leaves.

“Miss Olive, do you see great things in my future?” the stranger asked lightly with a kind, patient smile.

“I see happiness for you,” the very old woman told him.  “That’s a great thing, Mr. Roberts.  I’m just a little puzzled that the main thing I’m seeing is not you.  It’s one of your descendants.  A brilliant novelist.  He’ll be called Hugh.”

The End

***

As a footnote, “Charlie Chilton” never looked anything like handsome actor Ramon Novarro, pictured above with his chihuahua Chiquita.  Sorry Charlie.  For more about the Savannah City Hall dome, click here.

Thanks for visiting.  You are pos-i-lutely darb!

PS:  Of course, I have to show you the links to the books about Pip and her friends. 

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

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 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 20 ― Pip and Holding On Part 1

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

 

1922_Saturday_Evening_Post

Hey, Sheiks and Shebas!  It’s pos-i-lutely darb to see you at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  I have something to share.  When handsome, humorous, honorable, most huggable Hugh Roberts, of Hugh’s Views & News, asked me to participate in his new feature series, all I could say was, “And how!”  

Here’s Hugh’s description of this feature: In this feature, I will be sharing snippets from my diary of 1988. We’ll also take a trip in Hugh’s Music Time machine to hear some songs from the 1980s which have been chosen by some specially invited guests. (Click here for that post.)

Writing Process

Writing a story is not as easy as you might think.  Plus, I never can make things simple for myself… For Hugh’s feature and my favorite 80s song I wanted to pick something to which I could relate a new story from the Pip-verse.  I chose Blondie’s The Tide Is High.  I thought that since Savannah (where Pip was staying with Granny) is on a river and on the ocean it would be easy to write a story around a high tide.  Unfortunately a search for images of high tides in old Savannah got me nowhere. Horsefeathers!  No inspiration there.

Next I considered the lyrics. The tide is high, but I’m holding on; I’m gonna be your number one… didn’t help either.  Bushwa!  I gave up and searched movies of the era, and that gave me the 1923 film Safety Last with Harold Lloyd.  I saw the numbers (number one) on the clock from which he dangled, and he was certainly holding on! 

That created a new problem.  I needed building in 1920s Savannah, with a clock, that was high enough to risk life and limb.  I did a lot of research.  How could I possibly rope all that together and put Pip in the middle of it? On the level, that wasn’t easy.  Applesauce… I’ll stop beating my gums.  Here’s part one of two… 

Pip and Holding On

Part 1

1925 Model-T ad

The Model-T puttered down the street.  Somebody laughed, hollering that it was an old flivver but it was going as fast as most of the other vehicles.  I told myself that the old automobile was a breezer, as the wind ruffled my strawberry blond bob.  My cloche hat might have blown off with the open vehicle, so I wore a wide beaded headband instead. 

I could have gotten more speed out of the Model-T, but it was the first time Granny Phanny had let me drive the automobile without her.  You can be sure she would find out if I drove too fast, and she’d have a hissy fit.

There was more traffic than you might have expected, but the population of Savannah, Georgia had more than doubled since the turn of the century.  Heads turned to see me behind the wheel of an automobile.  A young woman.  Driving.  However, I was a flapper.  I guess I always will be.  So, I returned their stares of shock and disdain with an impudent grin.

1920s Downtown Savannah

Downtown Savannah, GA 1920s

My passenger was tiny enough that a passing motorist might mistake her for a child.  However, the countless wrinkles on her face would prove their mistake.

Miss Olive surely must be the oldest person alive, I thought for the fiftieth time.

(Meet Miss Olive here.)

Granny Phanny told me to take Miss Olive to the courthouse, wait for her while she attended to her business, and then drive her home.  It sounded horrifically boring, but I would do just about anything for a chance to drive Granny’s cherished yellow Model-T. 

It turned out Miss Olive was good company.  From our brief first meeting I remembered that the elderly woman read tealeaves.  Something clicked into place in my thoughts, and I thought about how Granny taught me to read tarot cards.  I remembered her doing the same with tealeaves a time or two.

“Miss Olive,” I began.  “Were you the one who taught my grandmother to read tealeaves?”

“Oh Paisley, I haven’t thought of that in years,” she told me with a chuckle.  “I met your grandmother when she was a young’un, not long after her parents were killed in that awful tornado.  She stayed with me for a time.  That’s when I showed her how to read the tealeaves.  She needed a distraction from her woes, and I thought it might comfort her.”

The day was bright and sunny.  The shadow of a large bird caused us to look at the blue sky.

“What was that?” I pondered aloud.

“That’s a hawk,” Miss Olive replied, squinting to watch the bird.  “And one of the biggest ones I’ve seen in many a year.”

We watched as it glided gracefully to alight on a railing high atop the copper dome of City Hall. 

City Hall Savannah 1920s

Savannah, Georgia City Hall, circa 1920

“He’ll be up there using his ‘hawk-eye’ to watch for something to eat.  I guess it’s pretty slim pickins’ here in the middle of town.  He might spot a rat or something,” the elderly woman remarked.

The thought gave me the heebie jeebies.  I tried to suppress a shudder, but I didn’t do a very good job of it.  Miss Olive gave me a sidelong look.

“That’s just nature’s way, Pip.  All God’s creatures have to eat,” Miss Olive reminded me as she gazed back up at the hawk. 

He spread his wings majestically as he perched atop the copper dome of Savannah City Hall.

“He sure is a beauty,” Miss Olive added.

Automobiles were parked on both sides of the palm tree lined street where the government buildings were.  Savannah City Hall reigned at the end of the drive, crowned with a copper dome that glittered like gold in the sun.  I imagined a stout monarch with a crown presiding over the other structures.

A motorized bicycle came up beside us.  I recognized the odd-looking contraption.  Hank Hertz built it himself.  He honked its little horn even though I was looking right at him.  I figured Hank was making a delivery from the police department to city hall.  He waved and kept going. 

“Well bless my old soul,” Miss Olive said.  “I’ve never seen such a thing in all my days.”

For a moment I thought she was making a comment about Hank.  Then I beheld what she saw on the sidewalk.  It was Charlie Chilton and Chichi the trained Chihuahua.  The rotund man in his pink seersucker suit and boater hat was eye-catching enough, but the tiny dog wore a ruffled dress as she pranced beside him.

End Part 1

***

Now for a special treat, here is a YouTube video of Safety Last!  (If you are unable to access the video, I sincerely apologize.)  Is it also a hint about the conclusion?  Horsefeathers!  I’ll let you guess.

Thanks for visiting.  You really are the cat’s pajamas!

PS:  Of course, I have to show you the links to the books about Pip and her friends.

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

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

 

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 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.