Jazz Age Wednesdays 25 ― Pip’s a Chicken

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Early Lucille 2

A very young Lucille Ball

Hi there, Sheiks and Shebas.  I’m happy to see you back at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Here we are in the month of March.  For many of us, March came in like the proverbial lion.  I hope it takes on a much more lamb-like countenance for the remaining three weeks.

Good riddance year of the Fire Rooster!
Welcome year of the Earth Dog!

Speaking of critters… I haven’t done a post for Chinese New Year, although I did last year.  I’m going to re-share the story I wrote for last year.  I hope you don’t mind.  If you are curious about the original post, click here*.   Anyhow, I used my “three things” exercise to write the story.  Those things were Fire, Rooster, and Calendar.  Without further ado, here’s Pip.

Pip’s a Chicken

“Bock, bock-bock.  Bock!  Baaawk!”

Of all the nerve!  My mouth dropped open.  I was speechless.  Granny Phanny bocked at me like a chicken.  She bocked.  She put her fists under her armpits and flapped her boney elbows — and she bocked at me!

Then, to make matters worse, she laughed.

Why that banty old woman.  Of all the self-important, cockalorem!

“Oh Pip, if you could see the look on your face,” she said, still chuckling.  “It’s not like you to chicken out.  Now tie on your apron and we’ll look at this recipe together.”

Granny hung an apron around my neck, and then put her hands on my shoulders to forcibly turn me around.  She tied a bow in back that I knew without looking was perfectly symmetrical.

“But Granny, I nearly set the kitchen on fire last time,” I complained, sincerely afraid of what damage I might cause.life-woman-chickens-1908

“Hush that nonsense right now, Sweetpea.  We’ll not be having any fires.  Just because your fried chicken turned out as tough as an old rooster doesn’t mean you can quit.”

“An old rooster?” I exclaimed, mortified.

I looked at the recipe card.  “Chicken Fricassee…” I read aloud.  “Dredge chicken pieces in the flour mixture; coat well.  Oh Granny, this sounds pos-i-lutely like a repeat of the fried chicken disaster.  Granny?”

Phanny Irene Peabody was gone.  Her purse was missing from the corner table.  I called out again and she hollered from the living room.

My eyes fell on the calendar that hung on the wall.  Wong’s Chinese Restaurant made one annually for Chinese New Year.  Granny was going to an early dinner with friends.  No wonder she wasn’t worried about me ruining dinner again. 

“Granny!” I yelled, really miffed.

“I’ll be back this evening, Pip.  Just keep the stove set to low while you fry that chicken, and follow the instructions for the fricassee,” she called from the living room to the sound of the front door creaking open.

I blew a raspberry as the front door closed with a thud.  My hand plopped down on the plump poultry with a smacking sound.

“Old rooster, huh?  I’ll show her,” I muttered and went back to the recipe card.

The End

***

Yesterday I posted a request for your votes and feedback.  I want your input as I decide on what kind of blog serial to do next.  It will be a “three things” style serial, with you sending three random things to drive the story.  So I want you, the reader to be evolved every step of the way.  If you missed that post you can vote and leave your thoughts here*.  Please do.

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

 

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 © 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 21 ― February Pondering

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Hi there, Sheiks and Shebas.  It’s darb to see you back at Jazz Age Wednesdays.  It feels like it’s been a long cold winter to me… and it’s only February.  

Teagan’s Pondering

 

The research geek in me wanted to know how different I might have felt if I lived in the Roaring Twenties.  How did they keep their frozen spirits up and generally cope with winter?  Putting it into perspective, some preferences weren’t profoundly different from the present.  I thought I’d provide you my pondering.

Snuggling with a pet is still a great idea.  I can’t make out all the text on the cover, but much as we might, the folks in the 20s thought about spiffing up their “nests” with new decor.  A new lampshade or an art map (maybe a map of warmer climes).

1926_Feb Modern Pricilla Girl Cat

Modern Priscilla, February 1926

Even if you are a romantic only in secret, you might secretly hope for a Valentine’s package in February.

1918_Feb Modern Priscilla girl package snow

Modern Priscilla, February 1918

Unfortunately, for some of us, snow is an inescapable part of February.  Some like it, others don’t.  However, those who like to play in the white stuff have gear for the snow.  Materials, styles, and means of navigating it have changed, but we still play in the powder — whether with waterproof coats and snowmobiles, or warm wool mittens and snowshoes.  Also when we go inside to get warm, we might read a serial story.  Theirs were in magazines, while ours might be in a blog. (Hint, hint… have you been to Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam lately?)

1922_Feb Good Housekeeping Child showshoes

Good Housekeeping, February 1922

One way we deal with the chill February weather is escaping to the movies.  In the Roaring Twenties, they might go see the latest film. If the weather was bad they couldn’t binge on Netflix — but there were several periodicals all about Hollywood, cinema, and the stars.  The latest gossip was eagerly devoured.

1922_Feb Photoplay girl scarf coins flower

Photoplay, February 1922

Or if Tenseltown just isn’t your thing, you might have chosen a magazine that kept you abreast of the latest technology.  Then and now you could have read about “new ideas.”  In the 1920s those topics were aviation, your home workshop, engineering, or automobiles.  (Have you ever noticed that I don’t use the word “car” in my stories?  Back then the term was automobile.  A car was something else.)

1929_Feb Popular Science Man construction building

Popular Science, February 1929

Like they say… the more things change, the more they stay the same.  I hope you enjoyed this bit of pondering.  Thanks for visiting the Jazz Age with me, if only in imagination.  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.

 

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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 14 ― Pip at the Holidays

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s the Jazz Age here at Teagan’s Books.  This time I’m not telling a story.  I’m just imagining what the holidays might have looked like for Pip and her friends during the Roaring Twenties.

Christmas tree hat Modern Pricilla December 1920

I imagined Pip decorating a Christmas tree.  Granny Phanny would have had a few prized glass ornaments to hang from the tree.  The baubles would most likely have been German-made back then.  Granny would have gotten in a lather if one was broken.  However, for the most part, they wouldn’t have had the sophisticated ornaments we have today. 

Pip would doubtless prick her finger many times while stringing popcorn, and that’s no phonus balonus.  She would painstakingly cut little strips of paper to make chains that would decorate the tree as well.  Granny Phanny would have likely been pretty handy with a crochet needle, not to mention deliciously preserved food treats.  She would have passed along those darb handmade gifts. 

Pip,  on the other hand would have needed to shop.  She is a bearcat, but she’s not very handy with crafts, and she’s still learning to cook.   During a few seasons Granny and Pip would have gone up to Atlanta for a special shopping trip at Rich’s department store.

Richs Department Store vintage

Rich’s Department Store

The holiday dinner table would have had a centerpiece made of lemons and oranges.   Granny Phanny would probably have served a baked ham rather than turkey, but I imagine she changed up the main course from time to time.  While her guests were waiting for the meal, Granny would have had Pip pass around some hors d’oeuvres like deviled eggs, roasted nuts, or olives.

Desserts?  There would have been more than one, but some kind of spice cake would have been in the offering.  If you’re looking for a recipe, try this delectable dessert from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen.

Photo by Suzanne DeBrango

Now Granny Phanny is no Mrs. Grundy.  She might have had some giggle water on hand, and passed around a jorum of skee.  That is, as long as neither the G-man, Marshal Moses Myric, nor the copper, Detective Dabney Daniels, were around.

I’d love to stick around in the Roaring Twenties, but I have to get back to the present now.  

Hopefully it’s copacetic because I have to do the requisite shameless self-promotion.  Here are 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 

I appreciate your visit.  You are pos-i-lutely the bee’s knees!

 

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 © 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 13 ― Pip and the River Monster

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hey Sheiks and Shebas,  I’m pos-i-lutely happy to see you at Jazz Age Wednesdays again! 

Early Lucille 3 copy

Young Lucille Ball

I started this short story back when I did a collaborative post with author John W. Howell*.  The three things driving that story were “Counterfeiting, Time, and Hollywood.” The ultimate result was In the Pip of Time, which you saw here

Like I was saying, that was when this story started, but not when I finished it.  I was having one of moments when the many characters I’ve written cross the boundaries of their stories.  Cornelis Drebbel (of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers) popped into the short story I was trying to write…  I couldn’t make the story go where the “things” needed to take it — at least not at that time.  (Applesauce! If that sounds like a lot of bushwa to ya’ll, then all I can say is that’s part of how my brain is just wired wrong.)

I’ll stop beating my gums and say that for this post, I went back to that derailed beginning to finish the story.

Pip and the River Monster

Savannah GA Isle of Hope circa 1930

Isle of Hope, Savannah GA circa 1930

Sunlight glittered on the calm Savannah River.  My friend Alastair helped me down from his truck.  The vehicle had a sign proclaiming “You’re always right with Wongs!  Wong’s Chinese Restaurant.” I had been joking when I gave him that as a slogan for his family business.  I shook my head.

Arabella Wong’s birthday was coming up and Alastair planned a party for her.  I remembered the riverside park from childhood when Pops brought me to visit Granny Phanny.  I wanted to see if Alastair liked it as a venue for his mom’s party.

A gust of wind nearly took my pink cloche hat.  I shoved it firmly onto my head.  Maybe it was a blustery day, but it was still beautiful.  We both jumped at a bright flash of light and a crack of thunder.  A fisherman still carrying his rod and reel pushed past us.

Alastair caught the man’s arm, asking him what was wrong.

“River monster!” the fisherman gasped.  “No time to explain.  You kids will beat it, if you know what’s good for you!” the man cried as he pulled free of Alastair’s grip.

Sea Monster man woman Jean-Marc Côté 1900

Jean-Marc Côté circa 1900

My buddy Alastair was more excited than afraid.  His eyes twinkled as he looked expectantly at the Savannah River.  I however, took a step backward.  Alastair gave me an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

“Don’t worry, flapper.  It’s probably a dolphin.  You know this end of the river is close to the ocean.  Hey!  This has been a warm year, and Florida is not that far away.  It might even be a manatee!” Alastair exclaimed.

Alastair looked at the back of the departing fisherman and chuckled.  I looked at him and hoped he wasn’t a whole heap smarter than us!

We turned back to the river.  A faint purplish glow bathed the area at the shore.  I saw something rise from the water that looked like the head of a huge snake.  I slapped my hand over my mouth to hold back a scream.

Something huge slowly rose from the river.  Alastair stopped smiling.

“Horsefeathers!  That’s no manatee,” he muttered.  “What the Sam Hill is it?”

I tilted my head to one side, suddenly more curious than fearful.

“Alastair…  I’ve seen pictures,” I began hesitantly because I was stunned.  “That looks like an old submarine,” I finished as the thing rose higher out of the water.

It moved right up to the pier.  Water poured down as a hatch opened.  A man with unkempt blonde hair and bushy eyebrows stuck his head out from the hatch.  He waved to Alastair and me.  That’s when things really got strange.

Drebbel stamp

Cornelis Drebble, “Pioneers of Sea Transport” stamp, 2008

 

“Ah-ha!  Mr. Wong!  I wondered why I was drawn to this place.  It’s good to see you, old boy!” the strange man called.

Then he levitated up from the submarine’s hatch and over to the pier.  Honest!  That’s really what happened.

I heard a squeak and a gasp.  I wasn’t sure which sound came from Alastair and which came from me.  I grabbed his arm, although I wasn’t sure whether it was to keep him from running, or to anchor myself.

“Wong,” the stranger began as he walked up to us.

He stopped abruptly.  He looked at the shores of the river.  He sniffed the air.

“This is not Hong Kong,” he stated and then looked closely at Alastair.  “And you sir, are not the right Wong.”

With a perplexed expression he turned his gaze to me.  He took in my bobbed hair.  Then he looked at my fashionably short, but still perfectly proper skirt.  In fact, his peepers paused a little too long at my gams.

“And based on your attire, this is far from the correct era,” he added.

However, another look at Alastair seemed to settle his mind.

“I apologize for my lack of manners,” the odd man went on.  “Allow me to introduce myself.  I’m Cornelis Drebbel, alchemist.  Young man, your grandfather’s grandfather once was the holder of my skull.”

There was another louder squeak, and that time I’m pretty sure it came from me.

“Sk-k-k skull?” Alastair queried.

The man, Cornelis Drebbel looked at each of us, and then smirked.

“Well now, you didn’t think I was ordinary, did you?  If my arrival in a submarine was not enough, after I levitated out of the vessel, you must have realized something.  Maybe you didn’t,” he finished drolly.

I can’t begin to describe how the conversation progressed from that point.  However, we found ourselves sitting on a blanket and drinking coffee from the thermos I had brought.  Cornelis tried to explain the alchemy that connected him to Alastair’s ancestor, and how it brought him to Savannah, Georgia.  I admit most of that went right over my head, but apparently that family tree drew him to Alastair.

After a while he wanted to know more about us.  I told him how we happened to be at the pier, to see if it would be a good place for a birthday party for Alastair’s mom.

The alchemist’s eyes lit up.  He clapped his hands together and grinned.

“I have the perfect place!” he exclaimed.  “How about a river cruise?”

“A riverboat party would be the cat’s meow, but it would cost more mazuma than I see in a year,” Alastair said regretfully.

“Oh, dear boy, tsk-tsk.  I don’t mean a riverboat.  I meant my submarine!” he chortled.  “I’d love to meet your immediate family and give you a tour.  It’s not often I get to meet the descendants of one of the keepers of my skull.”

Unfortunately, Alastair and I couldn’t talk much about it later.  We had to pass it off to Alastair’s family as Hollywood type special effects.  Yet it was pos-i-lutely the most memorable birthday party I ever attended.

The End

***

After the amazingly talented Adele Marie Park asked to know more about my Cornelis Drebbel character, I decided to share a link to the old serial where he was “born” so to speak.  Here is episode one of that “three things” style steampunk series: https://teagansbooks.com/2015/01/17/new-interactive-serial-episode-1/ 

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 © 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 12 ― Characters of the Three Things Serial Story

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hello everyone, it’s pos-i-lutely divine to see you here at Jazz Age Wednesdays!  This time I thought a change of pace might be in order.  I’m going back to the novella of the first serial, The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story.

For those of you who are new to Teagan’s Books, this post is an introduction to the characters in that novella.  Some of them come back for Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I.  If you’ve been following all along, then I hope this will be a fun visit with your old friends.

I hope the characters in this 1920’s serial have wiggled into your mind so comfortably that you have your own ideas of how they would look or sound.  However, I thought it might be fun to show you how I imagine them. So in no particular order, please meet the cast of The Three Things Serial.

Paisley Idelle Peabody

lucille-ball-1937-stage-door

Better known to you as Pip

The moment I saw a picture of a teen-aged Lucille Ball she became my Pip. In my imagination the voice of a grown-up Lucy narrates The Three Things Serial, as she looks back on the adventures of her youth.

Pip might be a tad conservative, naive, or innocent as flappers go, but that allows her to take people as they are, without judgement.  Time and “things” will tell if that open hearted naïveté gets her into a pickle — or maybe a barrel of them!

The heart of a true flapper beats in Pip, and she is determined to be what she thinks of as a modern woman.

*

Pops

John Forsythe 1958

John Forsythe 1958

Pip’s Unseen Dad

Thus far I’ve done three incarnations of this “interactive” serial.  Pip’s father has been mentioned many times, and he’s made a phone call or two. However, he has never actually made an appearance. It started to remind me of the 1970’s television series, Charlie’s Angels, with John Forsythe phoning in as the never-seen Charlie.

*

Mona the Movie Star

Clara Bow
Clara Bow

Pip enjoyed giving everyone nicknames, usually based on their occupations or their aspirations.  Her friend and neighbor, Mona, had big dreams of being an actress, but little chance of seeing them come to fruition. Mona is something of a flirt, but you won’t see her “lead anyone on.” It’s just that people (particularly men) jump to do things for her.

 In my imagination, the original “It Girl” — Clara Bow plays Mona.

*

Andy the Astronaute-man

Willie Garson

Willie Garson

Andy Avis

The “things” for Episode-2 required me to write about a ballerina, a fireman, a movie star, and an astronaut.  Have I mentioned that I’m a research geek? I had to make sure the word “astronaut” was actually used in the 1920’s. I got conflicting information, but the greater consensus said “no.” However, I learned the term Astronaute was used in France at the time. So Andy Avis is also of French lineage.

Andy is a science fiction writer, hence Pip’s nickname for him Andy the Astronaute-man.  Despite the heroic stories he writes, Andy is not the bravest bean in the bunch. Discretion is pos-i-lute-ly the better part of valor with him. To his credit, sometimes Andy overcomes his big fears and takes action. Doesn’t it take a lot more courage to do something when you’re afraid than if you are just naturally brave?

Right away I saw a younger Willie Garson as my Andy.  (You might know him from “White Collar” or Sex and the City.) I could see the friendship between him and Mona. Although unlike Stanford, Andy hopes the friendship will become a romance. 

*

Ca’ d’Zan

The Ringling Mansion

Although it is not truly a character the Ca’d’Zan mansion is an important part of this story. Learning about this amazing place was so much fun that I had to include it here. I hope you’ll do some research of your own about the home of John and Mabel Ringling.

Ca'd'Zan Mansion

Ca’d’Zan Mansion

*

John and Mabel Ringling

Mabel and John Ringling

Mabel and John Ringling

The fictional characters I created of the Ringlings don’t play huge roles in the story, but they were important nonetheless.  Pip and company are invited onboard a yacht that they don’t at first realize belongs to John Ringling. Countess Bepa is old friends with Mabel Ringling.  The entire gang ends up at fabulous Ca’d’Zan where the mystery concludes.

*

The Fabros

1920s 4 Look-alike Guys

Frankie Fabro and His Cousins

Frankie the Fireman and his cousins Flavio, Fedel, and Frediano. First we meet Frankie. He’s taller and a little bigger than his cousins, but all four of the young men look a lot alike. Elder brother Flavio looks out for twins, Fred and Fedel. Pip has a crush on Frankie. Flavio, like most men, seems to think Mona is the berries.

Oddly enough I never had an image in my mind of Frankie the Fireman. So he is included here with his look alike cousins.

*

Countess Bepa Babikov

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

The mysterious white-haired woman… turns out to be not only the grand mother of Boris the Ballerina, but a real life countess. It was after Bepa Babikov came along that I saw a photo of Countess Von Hartenau that was simply the vision of Bepa’s elegance, as well as her fierce determination.  She instantly replaced any other image I had of Bepa.

*

Boris Babikov

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

Boris the Ballerina

Retired from the Ballets Russes after a career-ending injury, Boris gives the occasional dance lesson to earn a living. Mona is infatuated with Boris, but also conflicted. She has some ways of thinking to outgrow.  Boris is the strong silent type. His friends have to work at it to get to know him. When I saw a photo of Fred Astaire, in a rather sulky pose, it made me think of Boris Babikov.

Would you like a tidbit from the novella?  This snippet is from pretty far into the story. Let’s get a wiggle on!

Kitten, Fake, Comfort

My eyes strayed to the Art Deco pottery jug into which Ringling had casually dropped the bent key. 1920s  Ben Key Had he been a little too offhanded when he did that?  What if his nonchalance was fake?  I shifted my gaze to the circus millionaire and found him looking at me.  I knew it might be foolish of me, but I couldn’t stop myself from blurting out my thoughts.

“That’s no ordinary key,” I said.  “It might be to Ca’d’Zan, but it’s no door key.”

Everyone became silent, except for Pear the hedgehog, scrabbling inside his lunch pail carrier.  I turned to Countess Babikov.  By the expression on her face, I knew the direction of my words didn’t give her any comfort.  It was obviously meant to be a distraction when she turned to Mona and indicated the tin lunch pail.

“Dear!  What have you in that box?  I hear a tiny creature moving around.  Is it a kitten?” she asked Mona.

It was a feeble attempt at diverting me and the white-haired woman must have realized that, because she blushed and glanced over at me.  However, I was not diverted.  My mind went to that very eventful night when the countess was abducted, and later the group of us returned home to find Boris’ place being burglarized.  I remembered the broken vase and speculating that a key might have been hidden inside.  At the time I wondered if Boris had a key to match the bent one that was dropped from the getaway car.  Once again I considered the same idea — and I voiced the thought.

Ringling and the countess looked at each other in a silent exchange.  She drew an unsteady breath and looked up at him from her spot on the beautifully upholstered sofa.  “John, I am more worried than ever for my grandson’s safety.  If these young people can tell us where to find him…  Can you bring him here?  Please?”

I couldn’t imagine anyone refusing the tortured look in the woman’s eyes.  The circus magnate was not immune to her gaze.  Frankie shifted his feet in a nervous way.  Mona sat in silence.  She licked her lips and looked from the fireman to me.  After all, these people were strangers to us.  Boris kept us at arm’s length, but he was our neighbor and a friend, if not a really close one.  We had already concluded that he was in some kind of trouble.  But did these people have his best interest at heart?  And why did my friends seem to want me to make that decision, I wondered in dismay.

***

 

Of course I must engage in the requisite shameless self-promotion…  Here are links to the books about Pip and her friends.

 

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

 

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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

 

Copyright © 2014 and 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene 

All rights reserved.

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. 

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.