Three Things Epilogue

1920s FanCan you believe this serial began with Oscillating Fan?  That was our very first “thing.”

In case you felt like there was a bit too much unresolved, I’ve written an epilogue for our little 1920’s story.  I expected that the characters readers would be most curious about are Frankie the Fireman and Mona the Movie Star, even though Pip is nearest to my heart as the narrator.

So for those who like things nice and tidy, here’s a bit more.

Epilogue

“Are you sure you won’t stay here in Sarasota for a while?” Mona pleaded.  “You don’t have to breeze off. Ca d Zan-1 Bepa told me that Mr. Ringling asked you to stay as long as you want.  There aren’t many places where you could get free room and board.  And there aren’t any at all as beautiful as Ca’d’Zan!”

I looked down at my hands and shook my head mutely.  I promised to stay until after the party Mable Ringling was throwing for her friend, Countess Babikov.  However, everything I saw in and around the gilded mansion brought me unhappy thoughts.  I was so disappointed in Frankie and all his cousins.  How could they kidnap anybody, let alone a sweet old woman like Bepa?

Lucille Ball teenaged 1What I overheard didn’t sound like Frankie wanted to commit those crimes, but nonetheless that’s what he did.  Maybe when he saw that Flavio and the twins were going to prison, I hoped maybe he would straighten up.  Maybe.  But how could he reform himself when he was going to spend years running from the law?  Ringling’s G-man friend told me that it might not be as big a deal, since they didn’t take Bepa across the state line.

He hinted around that if Frankie turned himself in that Countess Babikov would be willing to let the charges against him “go away.”  Wealth and power had arms as long as those of the law.  But the coppers would demand that Frankie testify in court against his cousins, and I knew the fireman wouldn’t do that. Besides, whether the police detective believed me or not, I didn’t know where Frankie was, and I didn’t expect to hear from him.

“Come on Sweet Pea,” Mona cajoled.  “Cheer up.  Bepa and Mable want to take us shopping for glad rags to wear for their swanky soirée.  It’ll be the bee’s knees!”

I smiled and told myself to join in the fun and not bring everyone else down with me.

When we stepped 1925 Emanuel Haldeman-Juliusinto the hallway I could hear Andy pounding away at his typewriter.  The events that broke my heart had inspired Andy to write an original screenplay.  He wasn’t unfeeling, quite the contrary.  He was just too creative not to put it all on paper.

“There are going to be studio big wigs here all the way from Hollywood,” Mona said.  “Andy is determined to finish his story before the party so he can pitch it.  He hasn’t slept a wink since it happened.  I expect he’ll be moving to California.  I really think his ship is on its way in.”

“And you Mona?  Has Boris warmed up any?  It’s obvious that his babushka adores you,” I said.

Mona blushed prettily.  “Oh, I don’t know Pip.  Maybe.  I think Boris is a man who needs to take things slowly.  I liked the countess the minute I met her, and after getting acquainted with Bepa, I think she’s the cat’s pajamas.  So I’m willing to give this situation more time.  Maybe I need to slow down just a little bit too.  I’m going to stay here for the winter and maybe take trapeze lessons from some of the 1920s circus acrobatsperformers.  They were encouraging me to when Andy and Ringling told them about the short film,” Mona confided.

The butler walked up to us.  Yes, they had an honest-to-God butler.  Can you believe it?  I was surprised and apprehensive when he said there was a phone call for me.  He led us to a sitting room with a phone.  It was my father.  I had sent a telegram to him so he’d know that I was alright, figuring he’d get wind of the shootout in the newspaper.

“Pops, how are you?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

“Yes, Mona is fine too.”

“Granny?  Is something wrong with Granny?  … Oh thank goodness.”

“What?  Cooking?  Pops, you know I can’t even boil water.  What do you mean that’s the point?”

“Yes, I know how Granny is when she sets her mind on something.  But I’m a modern woman.”

“No, I don’t want to learn to cook!  Flappers don’t pin all their hopes on being a good cook and housekeeper.”

“But…  Oh come on Pops!  I love Granny, but I don’t want to live there…”

“Pops…  But…  Pops please!”

***

The Beginning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leB3Ewm7qtc

1920s Dance Party

***

Three Things: 29 – Cypress Tree, Mosquito, Gams

Happy December everyone!1920s Typist-2.jpg

Now that National Novel Writing Month is over, I’m back with our Three Things Serial.

Without further preamble, here is episode 29 of the Three Things Serial:

29.  Cypress tree, Mosquito, Gams

All the Fabro cousins stood on one corner of the deck, apparently just beating their gums about nothing in particular while they fished.  Frankie swung his fishing line out into the water, and then looked up at me with that adorable lopsided grin of his.  Okay, so it’s just the way my pop raised me, but I don’t talk a lot about these things, but I had gotten pretty sweet on Frankie.

In case you’ve forgotten, the yacht was on the way to the Ca’ d’Zan mansion in Sarasota, the rich circus magnate having invited everyone for the trip.  We barely had enough time to hurry back to the office building where most of us lived (except the Fabros) and grab a few personal things.  Andy and Mona were below decks talking to Ringling about the Astronaute man’s short film idea, which was the impetus for the generous invitation to all of us.

Life October 1929As I walked across the deck toward Frankie and his cousins I pulled my sweater closer.  Around Sarasota it was 61 Fahrenheit (°F), still warm compared to most places.  But out on the open water it felt a lot cooler to me.  My gams were freezing and I wished for some thick wool stockings, or — the flapper in me hated to think it, but maybe a longer skirt!

The boys didn’t seem to notice the cold.  All of them had their shirtsleeves rolled back.  That was the first time I paid any attention to the tattoos.  They all had the same one on their forearms.  Once I had asked Frankie about his, but he seemed shy about it and conveniently put his arm around my shoulders where I couldn’t see the tattoo.  It was of a Maltese cross inside a triangle and it had a spear through it.

The men abruptly stopped talking when I walked up.  One of the twins elbowed the other, Fred or Fedel — it was hard to tell them apart.  Flavio shot me a funny surreptitious look, but that was just him.  Charming as he was, he did have sort of an odd way about him.  For the first time I felt kind of awkward around the guys.  I shivered dramatically to cover my self-consciousness and commented on the weather.  “At least it’s too cold for mosquitoes!  Catching anything?” I asked.

Fred (or was it Fedel?) held up an impressive string of fish, and I made a big deal over them.  Frankie waived toward the shore.  I could make out some cypress trees and realized that there must be a stream or lake just beyond my view.  The yacht wasn’t too far from shore.  “My grandma always said that there’d be good fishing if a cypress tree was within sight,” he told me.1920s Cosmo Fishing cover

Frankie seemed to really love his grandma.  That was one of the things that endeared him to me.  I remembered the time he threw his shoe to stop the guy who broke into Boris’ place.  He had proudly said “Good thing I’ve got big feet!  I get them from my grandma!”

I chuckled at the memory.  He gave me a funny look for a second, but his smile never faltered and he reached out and pulled me closer to him.  I snuggled up under his arm — after all, it was kind of cold out on the deck.

Three Things Serial: 19 – Comfortable Home, Happy Disposition, Vex

Jane Austen's "power" in Hollywood c...While I was browsing around the New York Times, I stumbled upon “The Janeiac Quiz.”  Since I’ve always enjoyed Jane Austen‘s books, I took the quiz — and failed miserably.  I’m sharing it because many of you enjoy those classics.  Emma is probably my favorite of Austen’s works and it is also the source of today’s Three Things.  I’ll take them from the first sentence of the book.

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

As always, you can do catch-up reading where the complete serial lives on the Three Things Serial page.  And now, three Emma things.

Comfortable Home, Happy Disposition, Vex

Ringling-Zalophus-Ca-d-ZanI told myself not to feel vexed with Mona for acting silly with Flavio.  Then I told myself again.  When I told myself the same thing for the third time Frankie chuckled.  There was no telling what kind of expressions had gone across my face.  He raised his eyebrows and made a mock-hopeful puckered face.  I grinned at him and said, “Sorry fella, the bank’s closed.”

“Dr. Banting said to make ourselves at home.  Why don’t we look around?  I don’t know about you, but I doubt I’ll ever be inside a yacht like this again,” he said with a smile.

He was right.  And I needed to get back to business.  Where was that microscope?  We left, Mona and Flavio still giggling.  The next cabin we came to was open, but Frankie knocked on the doorframe just in case and called out cheerily.  The fireman really did have a happy disposition.  I squeezed past, under his arm.  Frankie actually was a very nice height.

Then I spotted it sitting on a table in the corner, all brass and shiny – the microscope.  It was hard not to look at the beautiful estate in the painting that hung above the device.  The place looked like a Venetian palace, and the yacht moored there looked like the one we were on!

Frankie gave a low whistle.  “That looks like a… comfortable home.”

“You’ve really got a gift for understatement,” I agreed.  The house in the picture was huge and in a beautiful setting.  “That place is the berries all right.”

I took the ornate but bent key out of my purse and carefully placed it under the microscope.  However, I couldn’t make out any words – and I was afraid to move any of the settings.  I could only guess how expensive the thing was; scientific things were always pricy.  The engraving looked like it might be just a pretty design, but with the damage it was hard to tell.  I held my breath and barely moved one knob on the microscope.  A word came into focus, but it was hard to make it out amid all the swirls of the engraved pattern.  “Ring… Ringing?  No.  Ring-ling.  Does Ringling make any sense?”

“Ringling?” Frankie repeated in an incredulous tone.  “As in circus?  That Ringling?”

“Applesauce!” I exclaimed in an awed whisper.  “Do you think this key is for the Ca’d’Zan mansion in Sarasota?”

Our speculation was interrupted by the sound of a scuffle.  A man’s voice boomed.  “You’ve got what you wanted, now be off with you!  If you ever think to pull a stunt like that again, it will be your last!”

We hesitantly peeped out the door in time to see two men leaving right after those ominous

John Ringling

John Ringling

words were shouted.  There was a man in the doorway of a cabin, shaking his fist at the departing backs of the men.  Then someone shrouded in an old quilt pushed past the man.  I heard a muffled sob.

The man lowered his head and said, “Don’t worry.  They aren’t going to hurt anyone else.  We’ll see to that.”The quilt covered shape turned toward him.  The tattered covering fell back to reveal an older woman, who was still elegant despite her somewhat disheveled appearance.It was the white-haired woman.