Matchmaking Pigs in Atonement, Tennessee

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Pigs Road Moon unsplash composite

Deme & Honeybell, looking for adventure again

Deme and Honeybell, the otherworldly glowing pigs of Atonement, Tennessee had so much fun visiting with you recently that they talked me into letting them have the spotlight again today.  Yes, it’s another snort story.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, please forgive me for another rerun.  The past couple of work-months have been so “over the top” that I’m surprised I’ve managed to post at all.  I ran this as a Valentines story last year, but it doesn’t have to be about that.

Last week you met a much younger Marge Tipton.  She is a minor character in the “Atonement” books.  I enjoyed giving her extra life here on the blog.  She owns the local diner and she’s suitably quirky for the town.

It’s fewer than 2,500 words.  I hope this snort story leaves you with a happy glow

Deme and Honeybell — Matchmakers

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Silver light washed down from the moon to illumine the sidewalk.  Earth’s lone satellite was just past full.  The clock in the town square struck midnight on February 14th.

The moon wasn’t the only thing that glowed that night.  Two friends also emanated an ethereal radiance of their own, as they walked the deserted street.

Honeybell gave a surreptitious glance over her shoulder toward the second of two traffic lights on the main street of Atonement, Tennessee.  She grunted softly, fascinated by the slowly changing colors, red to green to yellow to red. 

It seemed an odd decoration.  It made her nervous.  This was all Deme’s idea.  Honeybell hoped her friend wouldn’t land them in trouble.  Deme could be something of a prankster, and Honeybell was getting the same reputation.  Still looking over her shoulder at the lights, Honeybell gave a loud snort as she bumped into Deme.

2-pigs-traffic-light

Deme & Honeybell, composite image by Teagan

Pay attention and stop acting like an unsophisticated pig,” Honeybell silently scolded herself.

Deme had stopped.  Her eyes were closed in concentration.  When she opened them, her sapphire orbs were bright with excitement.  She reared up to point at the sign, Annie’s Antiques and Consignment Shop, and her front hooves came back to the sidewalk with a sharp clip.

“It’s still here!” Deme quietly exclaimed.

Honeybell wagged her curly tail happily.

“What about the woman?  Is she close enough?” she asked Deme, concerned about all the details coming together properly.

“The woman lives near the first red-green-yellow light.  It is an easy run from here,” Deme replied in a satisfied tone.

The glow from the two otherworldly pigs brightened a as they stared at the door of the antique shop.  Grunt, snuffle, snort.  Grunt, snuffle, snort,” they vocalized in unison.

Annies antiques

Annie’s Antiques

The door swung open, shop-bell chiming in welcome.  Deme and Honeybell walked inside.

“I feel it!” Honeybell cried.  “I feel the rose quartz.”

Honeybell made a beeline to the back of the shop and a glass case.  As the pigs drew near, a necklace inside the case illuminated.  The filigree setting was polished brightly and held a large heart-shaped gem.  The pastel pink rose quartz stone pulsed softly in ruddy radiance.

“It’s as if the heart is beating,” Honeybell said in awe.  “What a lovely gem.”

Deme agreed, her sapphire blue eyes wide.  “Rose quartz helps us accept and love ourselves,” she replied agreeably.

Honeybell nosed at the necklace until it fell from the glass shelf to hang around her neck.  Deme made a sardonic grunt at her friend.

“The most practical way to carry the necklace is to hang it around my neck,” Honeybell explained in a very indignant tone.  “Oh look!  That light over there is not earthly,” she quickly changed the subject, and was happy when Deme followed her gaze. (More about Annie’s Inventory Notes here.)

The otherworldly pigs went to investigate the luminescence near the cash register at the front of the store.  The light shone through several layers of paper in the special inventory notes kept by Annie, the shop owner.  If the writing glowed, that meant an item had awakened.  Deme and Honeybell looked at the rosy sparkle of the necklace and nodded to each other in approval.

***

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After a briskly refreshing run, the two otherworldly pigs entered the home of bacehlorette and local diner owner, Marge Tipton.

Deme looked around the spotless kitchen.  She saw a local newspaper and an advertisement on the table.  There was also a deposit receipt from the local First Bank & Trust.

Honeybell snuffled as she scented the air and listened to the vibrations of the house.  “I feel a lot of hidden sadness,” Honeybell murmured, eyes brimming with tears.

“So do I, but get ahold of yourself.  We can’t afford to let our own emotions get mixed in with what we’re about to do,” Deme told her firmly.  “Things could go quite badly if we did.”

The small pigs moved toward the bedroom where they could hear the regular breathing of Marge Tipton.

“She is soundly asleep,” Deme whispered.  “Honeybell, you seem better attuned to this woman than I am.  Do you detect anything in this house that can be used to work with the rose quartz necklace?” Deme questioned, delegating some of the authority she had bestowed upon herself.

A collection of old vintage photos, postcards, and envelopes from Europe.

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Honeybell snuffled and grunted quietly.  She went to a box in the closet.  A broad satin ribbon was tied around the box.  Honeybell pulled the ribbon, untying the bow.  Inside was a stack of old postcards, with postmarks in the 1980s. 

One postcard had been torn in half and then taped back together.  Honeybell noticed the scribbled writing said “I can’t wait to get back to Phoenix to see you.  Love, Chad.” 

Some of the cards were marred by tear-stains, particularly one that was addressed to “Marla” with the name crossed out and “Marge” written next to it.  Most of the words were rendered illegible by the long dry tears.

With an excited snort, Honeybell scampered back to the kitchen.  Deme followed curiously.  The checkered cloth muffled the clatter of Honeybell’s hooves when she bounded onto the kitchen table.  Her twisty little tail wagged at a quick pace as she inspected a colorful sheet of paper.

The two pigs went over every inch of the flyer and the newspaper article that lay next to it, and the bank slip too.  The ad was from the Rowdy Rooster, a large redneck bar outside the town of Atonement.

“Hit recording artist and 80s TV star of The Medical Files, Chad Allen to perform!” Deme read the flyer.

Medical Center, Wikimedia

“The postcards were to Marge from Chad Allen,” Honeybell whispered then looked at the newspaper.  “They were lovers when she was a young woman.  Marge had a happy life then in Adrian, Texas.  But he left her to travel with the rodeo and got famous.  Then he recorded a hit song and did that television series and became a big star — for a while anyway.”

“He lied to Marge for years before she could admit the truth to herself.  She felt so betrayed and so ashamed that she never forgave herself for being foolish.  Then she came here when her brother begged her, saying he needed her,” Honeybell commented knowingly.

“So she is not in Atonement, Tennessee to atone,” Deme commented in a speculative tone.  “Her brother is.”

“Perhaps she actually is atoning too,” suggested Honeybell.  “Because she would not love herself enough to say no to those who did not deserve her love.”

The glowing pigs looked at each other for a moment.  They seemed to come to a silent agreement.

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“Help me put everything back the way we found it,” Deme said and they put the newspaper, flyer, and even the bank receipt in place.  “Let’s leave the rose quartz laying on these papers.  That should be enough to get things started,” Deme said.

Honeybell dropped the necklace onto the papers.  There was a tiny spark when the gem touched them.  Then the rosy radiance filled the entire room before dying down.

*** 

“Come on Marge!  So what if you don’t care about seeing a washed up TV star.  It’ll be a night out with the girls.  We’re both scheduled to be off,” Jenny, the lead waitress at L-O-L-A Lola’s Bar and Grille, pleaded into the phone.  “When you turn loose, you’re the life of the party!”

“Good gravy, Jenny.  It’s too early in the morning to be planning a night at a bar,” Marge grumbled sleepily.

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However, Jenny saying Marge was the life of the party brought a reluctant smile to the woman’s lips.  She had never told a soul in Atonement, Tennessee about the Chad Allen episode, as she thought of it.  She told her brother Tracey once, but he was too drunk to remember, so that didn’t count.

Jenny was still talking, but Marge had slipped into the past.  Every time she thought of her home back in Adrian, Texas she became melancholy.

Marge shook her head thinking of that evening of inebriated confessions with her brother.  They both sure had tied one on.  She thought it was such a shame that her brother couldn’t get past his drinking.  Tracey had a good heart and was surprisingly generous.  Once he gave her a diamond tennis bracelet for no reason at all.  She knew he must have saved his money for years to buy it.

“It won’t be half as much fun without you.  All the girls still love Chad Allen,” Jenny went on, and for a second Marge thought she might change her mind.

Opening the refrigerator door, Marge took out a container of milk.  The coffee was done.  As she poured the steaming liquid into her mug, she wondered what it would be like to see Chad again, even from across the big room of the Rowdy Rooster. 

Cappuccino in a white cup on a saucer with foam art and a small spoon

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Then all the scenarios of what people would tell her she should do, what she should feel blasted into her head.  Maybe Chad had changed.  His star had risen and fallen.  What if he had actually become the person he made her think he was back then, before she learned what a lying, philandering jerk he really was.

Marge was sure anybody she knew would tell her she should — no she had to go and see him.  She gave her head a shake.  Would she feel vindicated or sad if the years had been unkind to him?  She told herself that he’d never recognize her.  If he did, he’d likely cringe at her appearance and pretend he didn’t remember.

She took a deep breath and brought her attention back to Jenny on the phone.  Making up an excuse, Marge turned Jenny down in a firm “boss” voice.  Jenny had worked for her long enough to know that tone brooked no argument.

Marge hung up the phone.  Coffee mug in hand, she went to the kitchen table to finish reading the newspaper.  That was when she noticed the beautiful antique necklace laying there.

“How?  Who?” Marge stammered.

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She picked up the rose quartz necklace with a sigh at its beauty.  “Tracy,” she murmured thinking her brother must have left it there to surprise her.  It couldn’t have been anyone else.

Marge plopped down into a chair.  She glanced at the newspaper article and Rowdy Rooster advertisement about her old love, Chad.  She read both for the twentieth time.  With each reading she promised herself she would never be betrayed again.

It didn’t occur to her that she held the rose quartz necklace tightly in her hand, or that she didn’t want to put it down.  Then she fastened it around her neck.  Not only was the necklace the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen, she felt pretty just for wearing it.

***

That evening Marge tidied up the kitchen.  She picked up the newspaper and the receipt from First Bank & Trust.  It was a morbid attraction, but she couldn’t help looking at the flyer.  Taking a beer from the fridge, she read the article one more time.

“Marge Tipton,” she told herself aloud.  “Don’t you ever let your guard down like that again!” 

She had no wish to see Chad again.  She had firmly stomped on the imagined voices of everyone saying she should do.  So Marge wasn’t sure why she changed into some party clothes that evening, still wearing the rose quartz necklace.  Neither could she have said why she got into her mint condition 1972 red Chevy C10 pickup truck and drove way out highway 41 to the Rowdy Rooster.

Almost an hour later Marge got out of her truck and walked across the parking lot.  The noise of the patrons lived up to the name of the Rowdy Rooster.

Her footsteps became slower as she moved toward the door.  The sound of the crowd inside grated against her nerves.  She couldn’t imagine why she had come there in the first place, after flatly turning down Jenny’s invitation.  Marge didn’t realize she had stopped in the middle of the parking lot.

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

“Marge?  I mean, Ms. Tipton?” a voice intruded on her confused thoughts.

She turned toward the voice feeling muddled.  “I only had one beer before I left home.  What’s the matter with me?” she wondered and gave herself a mental shake.

He was barely recognizable in cowboy boots and a sport coat.  Marge had only seen Russell Skeen, the manager of the First Bank & Trust, in a dark business suit.

“Are you okay, Ms. Tipton?” Russell repeated.

“Oh, don’t mind me, I just suddenly felt a little out of sorts, that’s all.  And please call me Marge,” she stammered, feeling her cheeks heat with a blush.  “I should have stayed at home,” she murmured.

“I know what you mean,” Russell admitted.  “I do like the cowboy boots my daughter gave me, but I can’t say I care for this place.  I let my daughter pester me into agreeing to join her and her friends tonight.  Then wouldn’t you know, she just now called to say she won’t be coming,” he added in a bemused tone.  “She means to get me out more,” he said with a shrug.

Russell Skeen drew back a bit and looked at Marge curiously.  His hand rose toward her, but he stopped himself.  He shook his head and chuckled.

 

Marge at LOLAs

Marge Tipton at LOLA Lola’s

“For a second there I thought your necklace was glowing.  It must have been all those facets reflecting the light,” Russell told her.  “I see that you like antiques.  That one’s a beauty.”

Marge unthinkingly put her hand to the rose quartz necklace.  It felt very warm to the touch.  She looked at the unassuming bank manager as if she had never truly seen him before.  Marge was pleased with what she saw.

“You know, there are a few antique shops between here and Atonement.  I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather browse through them than be inside that noisy bar.  Do you think you could join me?  Maybe we could get some coffee somewhere too?”

Marge looked toward the Rowdy Rooster.  She thought about the flyer advertising Chad Allen.  She thought of the stack of postcards she kept even though he had betrayed her.

She picked up the rose quartz and held it so that she could look at it.  “Why did it feel so warm?  It actually does seem to be glowing a little,” Marge thought.

“Mr. Skeen, I think that sounds like a fine idea,” she told him.

“Only if you call me Russell,” he replied as he walked her back to her pickup truck and politely took her hand as she climbed up into the cab.

“Did you hear that?” she asked Russell.  “I could have sworn I heard a snuffling, snorting sound, like pigs.”

“There’s lots of farmland around here.  It could be that one got loose.  But you’d think all the bacon they serve in these places would scare a pig away,” Russell joked.

At the word bacon, a shrill startled-sounding noise was easily heard, but they still didn’t see any pigs.

The End.

White Pig ditry nose dreamstime_xxl_83059557

(Startled pigs from Dreamstime)

 

***

Here’s the requisite shameless self-promotion…

Pigs collection cover banner

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

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.

 

The Yuletide Collection of Short Stories

December 25, 2017

Perhaps there are one or three of you who have a little time on your hands…  Okay, that doesn’t seem likely.  Maybe you just need to escape from the holiday bustle and crowds.  With that in mind I’ve listed (with links) some of the holiday-ish short stories and vignettes I’ve posted over the years.  First, greetings of the season to you and yours!

Stories from the Atonement, Tennessee Universe

Three Atonement TN Holiday Things*

Lilith and mirror

Annie’s Inventory Notes — the Sleigh 

1905 Horseman mag Sleigh horses couple

Adelle’s Teapot

1937 Look Shirley Temple Santa tea

Stories from the Pip-verse (Three Things)

I was thinking I had more than one holiday related story of Pip and her friends, but apparently not.  At any rate, here is the most recently shared short story…

Pip’s Lemony Christmas*

Christmas tree hat Modern Pricilla December 1920

Wishing each of you a magical holiday.  Yuletide blessings and hugs!

Teagan

 

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 © 2013 to 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 5 — Pip in the Corn Maze

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 

red tam Pictoral Review Jan 1927

1927

Welcome to October at Jazz Age Wednesday.  I’ve been so busy, I forgot today was Wednesday!  However, I’m here now, with something new for the Pip-verse and I’ve gotten all Halloween-ish!

Writing Process

I was honored when Chris Graham*, the Story Reading Ape himself, agreed to do a short story for one of my Get Caught Reading Month posts awhile back.  (Check it out here*Chris is a fabulous storyteller, and it could be a prequel for the story below.) When I started writing this adventure for Pip, I just wasn’t “feeling it” until I remembered that story from Chris.  With his permission, I decided take a cue from his story and bring in one of his “naughty chimp” characters.

About This Story

This is another pantser tale.  Online I found a Pictionary word list for Halloween.  I decided to let that be my guide for random “things” to spontaneously write Halloween-ish stories of the Pip-verse.  I cut the list into slips for individual terms, put them in a bag, and then drew three slips or “things.”  They are:  corn maze, autumn, and zombie.

Now back to the Jazz Age!

Between corn rows 2

Pip in the Corn Maze

Trees in their glad rags of orange and yellow leaves lined the dirt road.  Granny Phanny maneuvered her cherished Model-T to avoid a hole.

“It’s the Autumn Festival, Pip.  Come on.  You’ll have a good time,” my grandmother insisted, but I had my doubts.  “There will be all sorts of things for young folks to do.  Now hang on to that basket,” she cautioned as we rounded a sharp curve.  “Those apple pies are for the bake sale.  Nobody will want to buy a pie that’s had the juice sloshed out of it.”

I had a hunch that the “young folks” part was a bunch of phonus balonus.  Although, I knew better than to voice that thought to Granny.  My grandmother slowed the automobile and pointed.

“Oh look!  They even made a billboard,” she said as she stopped to admire the sign.  “See all the fun things it lists?  Apple bobbing, the Sundown Séance, why there’s even a corn maze.”

Corn Field People n Background bonnie-kittle-143218

Bonnie Kittle, Unsplash

“That’s nice Granny, but this is a weekday and it’s the middle of the day too.  Everybody is either at work or at school, unless they’re—” I shut my mouth just in time before I said the word old.

Wet blanket wasn’t a name I could be called, but nobody was there but a bunch of bluenose old ladies.  Granny introduced me to some of them.  It was a combination of fawning over the visiting grandchild and tut-tutting from the ones who knew I was in Savannah with Granny as punishment for an adventure that included a yacht, a circus baron, and a gilded mansion in Sarasota, Florida.  I excused myself and wandered aimlessly.

My bored noodle was at war with my sore feet when I came upon the corn maze.  It was getting hot in the afternoon sun too.  The day before had been downright chilly.  Not so a day later, but that was typical October weather for Savannah.

I took a limping step.  There was definitely a pebble in my shoe.  Propping against the entrance sign for the maze, I untied my burgundy and cream oxfords to shake out the offending stone.  I took off the tam I had made to match my oxfords and used it to fan myself.

When I looked inside the maze I saw inviting greens and yellows, and sun-dappled shade.  A light breeze brushed my face as it moved into the maze, as if to invite me to the cooling shadows.  I really should have known better.  I pos-i-lutely have no sense of direction.  In no time, I was frustratingly, hopelessly lost in the labyrinth.

Hands in Corn Maze felix-russell-saw-136018

Felix Russell, Unsplash

Everything was unnaturally quiet.  It got creepy.  I jumped at a shifting shadow ahead, then scolded myself.

It’s not as if you’re going to walk into a zombie or something!  Get ahold of yourself, flapper!

Sounds of movement reached my ears so I turned left at the next opening.  I heard someone yawn.  Sheik or Sheba?  Who could guess gender from a yawn, but it sounded like a man to me.  I was just relieved that there was another person nearby.

Hopefully a living, breathing person, not the walking dead, my inner cynic muttered.

When I rounded the next turn, I stopped in my tracks.  That was no man!  It was a hairy animal.  I tried not to make a sound.  I didn’t want to startle a wild animal.  I squinted into the shadows.  What was it anyway?  A baby bear?

It made a harsh, shrill sound.  My eyes widened when I realized what kind of critter it was — a chimpanzee!

The chimp stretched and scratched his armpit.  He looked at me and grinned!  Then to my astonishment he bowed politely and called me by name.  That’s right.  The chimp talked!

I asked how he came to be in the corn maze.  I expected he had gotten lost from a circus somewhere, or maybe a zoo.

Cautiously, I inched closer.  It had to be some kind of gag.  If I ran out screaming about a talking chimp, there would be twenty people standing there laughing at me, I just knew it.  He picked up on my skepticism.

Reading Ape purple

“Pip, I promise you I’m the real McCoy, as you would say.  I’m Aristotle, but I hope you’ll call me Artie.  I’ve traveled a long way through time and space to meet you,” the chimp explained.

All thoughts of finding my way out of the maze left my mind.  Since he could talk I figured I might as well beat my gums with the little hairy guy.  But wait a minute… did he say through time?

“You traveled through t-time?”

To my increasing astonishment, Artie explained how he got there all the way from England.  He had invented a time machine — a for real time machine!  However, at first it would only go forward, not back to another era.  It also tended to land about 19 miles to the west of where he meant it to be.  Finally Artie fixed the machine so it would go backward in time.  Although he still hadn’t worked out the location problem.  That was why his time machine landed in the corn maze, not at Granny Phanny’s cottage.

“You honestly mean to tell me that you came here specifically to meet me?  Me?” I asked.

“Paisley Idelle Peabody,” he began and surprised me even more by knowing my full name.  “Your adventures are known far and wide — at least in my time.  The world hasn’t always known your story, but once it was unearthed, you became rather famous,” he assured me.

The corn maze was so cool and quiet that Artie sat down for a “ponderating moment” — in other words, he took a nap.  I figured the little guy was pretty tired if he traveled both across the ocean and through time.  I eased away quietly because I didn’t want to disturb him, but I pos-i-lutely had to tell somebody about him.

I managed to find my way to the entrance.  Only then did it occur to me that I hadn’t seen Artie’s time travel vehicle.  I turned to go back.  Suddenly it seemed important that I get a look at the contraption.Blue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer

A loud metallic screech made me cringe.  It was followed by a loud whirring sound.

“Artie?” I exclaimed worriedly as I rushed to retrace my steps.

“Oh no!  Not yet.  We’ve only just started getting acquainted!” Artie cried.

It only took a moment for me to reach the spot where I’d left the chimp, but he was gone.  I looked all around.  When I went around the next corner I found a big area where the corn was flattened and the ground felt hot to the touch.  My shoulders sagged.

The Halloween story of the century and I can’t tell a soul.  They’d cart me off to the looney bin if I did.

The End.

***

Would you like to continue the 1920s mood?  Did you notice the magazine image at the beginning? It mentions Edith Wharton having a “new” novel.  She was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer.  Wharton was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930.  While I didn’t find a free version of “Twilight Sleep” for you, some of her books are free at Project Gutenberg*!

Have you visited author Teri Polen’s Bad Moon Rising event?  Leading up to Halloween, author Teri Polen hosts Bad Moon Rising.  It’s her yearly celebration of suspense and horror.  Each year more than 30 horror/thriller indie authors are featured throughout the month of October on her blog, Books & Such.  I was there earlier this week! (Click here if you missed it.)

At Teri Polen’s Books & Such

Atonement TennesseeIn honor of Bad Moon Rising, through October, I’ve priced the Kindle version of my debut novel Atonement, Tennessee at just $1.00. 

 

Now I engage in more shameless self-promotion…  Here are 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 

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

 

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.  

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 4 — In the Pip of Time

Camel Walk cutoutWednesday, October 4, 2017

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesday.  I’m celebrating a wonderful review of Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I   by Molly Flanders!

on September 28, 2017
This is a very enjoyable murder story set in the 1920s. Pip, Granny Phanny and a whole bunch of alliterated characters populate the story of surprisingly strong suspense with equally surprising turns of events.
This is hugely enjoyable and definitely recommended to anyone with a sense of fun and humour.

I loved this book when it was published in parts on the blog and loved it even more re-reading it as a whole in one sitting. Yes, one sitting.

I only now realised just how much work had gone into the individual parts. I often forgot from one week to the next what certain references mean or what they allude to. The novel is hugely enjoyable and a fun read thanks to many quirky expressions, usage of words off the beaten track, fabulous character names and many more delicious ingredients.

The writing is very original and the story line is fun and always manages to surprise you. 

That’s in part because of the randomness of the supplies ingredients, but also due to the author’s creative powers.

I’m so glad this was released as novel so I can enjoy the continuity and appreciate just how well composed this ‘fragmented’ story actually is.

Molly, I am overjoyed that you enjoyed the novel version, and delighted that you were “in the Model-T” for the serial.

Even though this video is not from the 1920s, let’s get up and dance for a minute! 

Awhile back, I did a joint post with author John W. Howell.  He has just launched a wonderful new novel, Circumstances of Childhood.  But it was one of John’s hilarious lists of what not to do gave me the “things” for this story.  My random “things” for this pantser story were Counterfeiting, Time, and Hollywood.

It’s another “hump day” and another short adventure with our flapper, Pip.  At the Bijou Theatre, things get a little weird…

In the Pip of Time

Aelita_1924_still_04

“Aelita, Queen of Mars” was playing at the Bijou Theatre.  I was brand new in town and my pal Alastair Wong invited me to go to the show with a group of his friends.  However, the friends cancelled.  To my surprise, Granny Phanny and Dr. Veronica Vale took the tickets.  At first I couldn’t understand why they would want to see a science fiction film about a soldier, an inventor, and a police informant taking the first flight to Mars.

Veronica reminded Alastair and me that she and Granny had been, and basically would always be suffragettes.  They encouraged films with strong female characters.  Of course, in this story, Aelita is not what she at first seemed and things end badly for her.  Nonetheless she was a strong character and the two older women wanted to see the show.

Afterward, Granny and Veronica were still animatedly discussing the story as we walked out of the Bijou.  Alastair and I were fascinated by the Hollywood “movie magic” that created the Martian city and the spaceship.  As you might expect our discussion was more whimsical than that of the older generation.

“What if somebody from Mars came here?” Alastair pondered.

250px-Princess_of_Mars_large

I always got a kick out of Alastair’s mildly British accent.  So I was already smiling when I told him Martians would have a tough time fitting in with humans.  It was doubtful that anybody would think they were the bee’s knees! 

A man wearing a bizarre metal hat and strange clothes burst out of the theater.  He tried to close a fancy briefcase as he ran.  Several bills flew out of it.  He grabbed most of them, but I noticed the breeze took one over to a planter.  The man just kept running until he rounded the corner of the Bijou.

Out of curiosity, Alastair and I followed him to the dead end alley behind the theater.  We backed against the wall, when a moment later a woman ran after him.  She had pointy cone shaped things over her ears.  Though no one was with her, she spoke as if in conversation with someone.  She held something that must have been a large gun, although it didn’t look quite like any shooter I’d ever seen.  She pointed it at the man and yelled for him to stop.

Gods_of_Mars-1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs

Then she fired the gun — I think.  At least she pointed it and seemed to shoot it, but I didn’t see it do anything.  However, the trash can six feet ahead of the guy exploded.  He looked at her fearfully, but he kept running.  So she threw a whirling thingamajig at his feet, causing him to fall.

The woman jumped on him, with her knee in his back, pinning him to the ground.  She muttered something about “low-life securities thief.”  He grunted at the pressure from her knee.

Then she spotted Alastair and me.  We shrank further against the wall.  The odd gun looked even bigger when she pointed it at us.  That bearcat had a fierce glare, I can tell you.  To my astonishment she abruptly started laughing.

Sci Fi Costume 1920s woman.png

“I could warn you not to tell anyone what you just saw,” she stopped chortling long enough to say.  “But if you did, they’d think you were insane.”

Still chuckling, she touched one of the pointy cones that covered her ears.  She and the man disappeared into thin air!  It was as if they had never been there at all — except for the exploded remains of the trash can.

Alastair and I exchanged wide eyed looks, speechless.  He made an obviously uncomfortable attempt at laughing.

“Those Hollywood types.  They’ll do anything to promote a film.”

“But there was nobody to see that but us,” I managed to say, though it was more of a squeak.  “It wouldn’t be much of a promo.”

I headed back around the corner, remembering the paper that fell out of the odd man’s briefcase.  The man had missed one and I saw it land in a planter.  I plucked it out of the greenery.

“That looks like mazuma,” Alastair whispered.  “Cash money!  But it’s not any currency I’ve ever seen.  Maybe it’s counterfeit.”

Inspecting it closely I nodded and turned the paper over to read both sides.  “It says ‘Federal Reserve Note’ but you’re right.  It must be counterfeit.  It’s odd looking, but even if it was from some other country, they’ve got the date wrong.  It says 2419.  As if maybe somebody transposed the date.”

Alastair and I continued to stare at one another.  Now and then one or the other of us would take a breath, start to say something, and then shrug mutely.

Finally I summoned the only words I could.  “I wouldn’t mind getting spifflicated about now.”

Alastair agreed.

The end.

***

1920s Man on Moon Drinking

If you want to know more about the characters in the 1920s culinary mystery, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, click here

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 

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the cat’s pajamas!

 

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. 

 

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.

 

Jazz Age Wednesdays 1 — Pip Arrives in Savannah

Wednesday, September 6, 2017Camel Walk dance poster 1920s

Each weekend I give you a new serial episode. I’ve been giving that throughout most of the past four years. However, Teagan’s Books is about more than serial episodes.  It’s about my books too.  So I’m creating this midweek feature.

I added a poll to the last post. Not a majority, but some people wanted me to keep it to one post a week.  No one is obligated to visit every post.  Although I have to say I find that discouraging.

Since my current release is Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I, I’ll be having Jazz Age Wednesdays.  That means short stories from the “Pip-verse.”  (At least for a while.  When Atonement in Bloom is published, the midweek feature will be from that universe.)

We like to joke about Wednesday being “hump day” and camels. Did you know that in the 1920s there was a dance called the Camel Walk?  Although this example from 1935 is probably a little more complicated than what the average couple did…

Here’s my first Jazz Age Wednesday feature.  It takes place right after the novella, The Three Things Serial Story.  I was honored to have a great review of the novella from author and translator Olga Núñez Miret.

It’s a short story, so it was driven by only one “thing/ingredient,” macaroni and cheese.  It came from Suzanne DeBrango’s  souffléd macaroni and cheese when we did a joint post in January.  (Yes, I’m re-sharing this story.)

Pip Arrives in Savannah

The breeze that rustled through the fronds of tall palm trees was tinged with salt.  I inhaled deeply as I walked out of the tall arched door at Savannah’s Union Station.  I heard the bell of a streetcar, which had gone past a moment before.  I stretched to see the trolley, but barely got a glimpse of its back-end.

With a loud Bronx cheer I dropped my suitcase to the curb of West Broad Street.  I thought the Jazz Age slang for the rude noise I made was appropriate, since my Pops was continuing on the train to New York City.

Pops said I needed to be reigned-in, and Granny insisted that I needed to learn to cook.  Neither of them would admit that I was a modern woman.  No self-respecting Flapper needed to cook!  Anyhow, Pops had unceremoniously dumped me off the train, saying he’d visit with Granny and me on his way back.  I blew another raspberry at the streetcar that I had just missed — and at my wretched situation.

Union Station Savannah, GA

The ringing of the streetcar’s bell faded into the distance.  The first time I ever saw a trolley was during a visit to my grandmother, there in Savannah, when I was a very little girl.  I slipped away from her and Pops, and scampered onto a streetcar.  I didn’t get far, but Granny Phanny was mad enough to spit. 

This time, I had done the opposite.  Instead of getting on a trolley when I shouldn’t have, I had missed the one I was supposed to ride to get to her.  Now Granny would be waiting to meet me at some Chinese restaurant downtown, but I wouldn’t be on the trolley.  Horsefeathers!  She would be in a lather.

A nearby news vendor walked away from his stall, probably headed for a bite of lunch.  I called out and waved as I hurried toward him, my suitcase bumping along at my side.

“Hey Mac!  Was that the trolley that goes to Pearl Street?” I called out, but he didn’t hear me over the blast of a train whistle.  “Enjoy your lunch,” I grumbled and my empty stomach answered in kind.  “I sure could do with some of Granny’s macaroni and cheese.”

“Did you miss the trolley, sweet cheeks?” a clear tenor voice asked.

I didn’t see him until he moved forward.  He had been leaning against the opposite side of the newsstand.  He wore a suit and hat, but they had flair.  He cast a furtive glance over his shoulder, but then tilted his head back and blew a smoke ring into the air.

Applesauce!  He looked pos-i-lute-ly like the kind of character I had always been told to avoid, but he was as sexy as the Sheik of Araby.  Then his cigarette smoke drifted to me and I sneezed.  So much for me being a sophisticated Sheba.  I had to agree with Pops that smoking was a nasty habit.

mallory-ad-man-in-car-hat-ad

“You’re new in town, huh?  I’m Floyd.  I can take you where the giggle water flows aplenty.  It’ll be a real blow,” he said with a smile and a wink that made him even handsomer.

“Says you,” I countered coyly, thinking he was joking around.

“At least let me drive you over to Pearl Street.  Stick around until my pal gets back.  He’s picking up something for me,” he added gazing up and then down the street, as if looking for his friend.  Stay right here and I’ll get my machine.  It’s a sweet ride.  You’ll love it,” he called over his shoulder as he rushed away.  “Don’t move.  Promise.  I’ll be right back.”

I stood baffled, gaping at Floyd’s retreating form.  I was also feeling flattered by his interest.  There was an intensity about him that I found exciting.  Not to mention the fact that I was relieved that I might avoid Granny’s wrath over me missing the streetcar and leaving her waiting.

Signorina, do not be going with that man.  It would be a bad thing for you.  Trouble comes,” a voice, heavily accented with Italian, said from behind me.  “There will be other transportation.”

Turning, I saw a portly man in odd looking chef’s clothes.  He lifted his brimless toque and bowed.  A jalopy backfired so suddenly and so loudly that I jerked around to face the noise.  When I turned back, the chef was gone.  I didn’t see him anywhere.  It was as if he disappeared into thin air.

I quickly forgot about the odd occurrence when a wooden crate fell off a passing truck.  The driver pulled to the curb beside me.  Without thinking I went to help.  He had not been traveling fast, so little damage was done.  A few oranges rolled from a broken crate.  I started picking up the wayward fruit.1920s delivery truck

An Asian looking guy with a quasi-British accent jumped out of the driver’s door, apologizing even before his feet hit the street.  He gingerly hopped over the tailgate and began re-positioning the crates.  A couple of them looked ready to fall.

I noticed lettering on the truck proclaiming Wong’s Chinese.  Was that the name of the restaurant where I was supposed to meet Granny?  I was so resentful about being sent to Savannah that I hadn’t even paid attention to what she said.  I knew there wouldn’t be more than one Chinese restaurant on the street.

“Your place isn’t on Pearl Street by any chance, is it?”

“Yep, that’s Wong’s,” he replied with a grin, stopping his work.  “Hey, are you Pip?  Miss Phanny will be looking for you.  I’m Alastair Wong,” he bent from the truck bed and shook my hand.

I sighed with relief.

Then a brand new Ford stopped and gave a long blare of the auto’s horn.  “Hey! Move it,” my Sheik of Araby from moments before shouted angrily, and followed that with a racial slur.

Floyd got out of the automobile, moving toward us in a menacing posture.  I stood up, a smashed and dripping orange still in my hand.

“This cake eater’s bad news, Pip.  You don’t want to have anything to do with him,” Alastair Wong whispered as he stepped in front of me protectively.

In the distance a police whistle trilled.  The guy’s eyes widened and he looked over his shoulder.  Before I knew what was happening, he had hit Alastair in the head with the butt of a pistol.  I shrieked as he dragged me into the open Ford, my arms and legs flailing.

I could hear the coppers coming toward us, shouting and blowing whistles.  Suddenly the Ford was blocked between the delivery truck and police vehicles.  Alastair lay unconscious on the street.  The busted orange dripped juice all over my skirt.  The guy waved his gun around excitedly.  A maniacal gleam came to his eyes when he looked at me.

1920s Police car

An over eager copper fired his gun.  I heard the whiz of the bullet pass by my head.  Startled, Floyd jerked toward the policemen.  Movement from the delivery truck caught my eye.  A catawampus crate started to wobble.  Suddenly that crate and another one tumbled down to land on the windshield of the Ford.  Floyd started screaming and cursing, waving his pistol even more.

When he turned back to me, on sudden impulse I stuck the busted orange in his face and smeared it into his eyes.  By then the coppers had reached us.  They grabbed him before he could do any damage with the gun.

A copper helped me out of the Ford.  I ran to Alastair as another cop helped him stand.  Across the street I saw Floyd’s pal, the news vendor being held by a policeman.

“What just happened here?” I demanded.

A paddy wagon rolled up and the policemen pushed Floyd into it, along with his pal.

“Bootleggers,” a copper told me.  “As if we didn’t already have enough of those around here.”

“So Pip,” Alastair said while he held a handkerchief to his bloodied forehead.  “How do you like Savannah so far?”

I chuckled despite everything.  At least he had a sense of humor.

studebaker1920_2

“Well, I was afraid I would be bored to tears here,” I told him with a dramatic sigh.  “But I suppose it will be interesting enough.  So far I’ve learned three things.  Don’t take any wooden nickels.  Don’t get into Fords with handsome men.  And Wong’s Chinese is the right place to go.” 

Alastair laughed.  “That’s a good slogan, doll face.  Mind if I use it?  How about we get you to the restaurant.  Miss Phanny will be getting impatient.”

And so began my adventures in Savannah.

The end

***

You’ll find more of Pip and her friends and her adventures in Savannah in Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I .  Thanks for visiting. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

Bijou front only 2

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Sharing: Time to Lie by Phil Taylor

Recently Phil Taylor at “The Phil Factor” participated in the launch of my new novel Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I.  Now I’m honored to return the favor as he releases a new book.

Read all about it HERE at Phil’s wonderful humor blog.  Be sure to leave a comment there to wish him luck.

You can also find Time To Lie on Amazon by clicking this link!

 

Meanwhile, here at Teagan’s Books, I’m thinking about a series of midweek posts.  To promote Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I,  I’m thinking about re-sharing the various short stories I’ve written set in the “Pip-verse.”  What do you think?

Comments here are disabled (because I want you to visit Phil).  So please vote below.

 

Looking for Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam, Episode 8?  Click HERE.