Jazz Age Wednesdays ― Hullaba Lulu 10.1

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lulu Valentino chaos outside train Arrival 1

Lulu & Valentino see chaos outside the train when it passes into a Pittura Metafisica, by Rob Goldstein

Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays, Sheiks and Shebas!  I’m happy to see you here at the station for this diesel-punk, pantser story.  Artist, Rob Goldstein  created a new video that serves as a visual recap for the series up to this point.  Rob’s post, Hullaba Lulu: The Music Goes Round talks about what he did.  If you want a more comprehensive review, he generously made a post with links to all the past chapters

(Click here for Rob’s entire collection of videos.)

This time I didn’t even make it to the first of the three things Rob sent for our tenth chapter… but I’m still calling this episode Chapter 10.1.  It wasn’t an official “thing” but as I was writing, I realized that I needed an electromagnet. So that’s my title for this segment.  The action picks up where Chapter 9.3 stopped.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Valentino told Gramps and Lulu that he is connected to the train and can’t be separated from it.  Worse, he said he doesn’t have long to live.

“I have kept the knowledge to myself, because you did not share it,” Moon began.  “But I know that your connection to the train has deteriorated.  I think the damage to the Tesla coil slowly eroded as your condition became worse.” 

Cotton Club Valentino on Car

Valentino reclining atop his Rolls-Royce outside the Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

Valentino’s train was out of control and headed straight for the Cotton Club.  However, instead of crashing into the nightclub, the train traveled into a Pittura Metafisica mural on the outside wall of the club. That created a strange vortex, pulling the Rolls-Royce and all the angel-bots into the painting along with the train.

Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet? 

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 10.1

Electromagnet

Rocking horse bot pulled after train The Pyramid 1

Things being pulled behind the train as it passes into a Pittura Metafisica

As the train went into the Pittura Metafisica of the bizarre Egyptian scene, I was mortified.  Valentino couldn’t be physically far away from the train.  Worse he said he didn’t have long to live.  So, I had to think that any separation at all would be more than he could take.

Yet I didn’t have time to focus on that thought because as the train charged into the painting it pulled the Rolls-Royce, the clockwork angel-bots, and a few nearby objects into the painting with it.

Colors whirled outside the vehicle’s windows.  Valentino grew pale and his hands shook.  He was telling Gramps something about “vortex” but I could barely hear them over the noise Rose and Pearl made. 

General vortex Flight to Egypt-5

Vortex, by Rob Goldstein

Giving a girlish scream wasn’t something I was likely to do, not after what Valentino said about dying back at the Cotton Club.  That weighed too heavily on my mind for me to have half a thought about being pulled inside a painting. 

Besides, it all happened so fast, there wasn’t time to divide one thought from the other.  My pals had not been at the table.  They didn’t know about Valentino.  There hadn’t been time to tell them, but I figured that wasn’t mine to tell anyway.  I didn’t know whether or not Valentino meant it to be a secret.

Our immediate peril became clear.  Outside, two angel-bots seemed to lose their hold on the vehicle.  When Ginger cried out I knew one of those bots was Dynamite.  By his blueish coloring the other bot had to be Moon. 

I gasped in consternation as they tumbled away from the Rolls.  Then I realized that they let go of the Rolls deliberately in a rash attempt to reach the train.  As Dynamite hurtled forward he grabbed hold of the railing on the train.  He caught Moon’s arm and the two of them gradually climbed onto the train and hurried inside.

Bot Valentino Lulu inside train windows Flight to Egypt-4

Train entering Pittura Metafisica

Soon all the angel-bots had made a chain, in much the same way that people would make a human chain to rescue a skater who fell through the ice.  Although I had only seen that done in pictures.  Clumsy as I was, that was one calamity that had never befallen me.  But then, I had never been ice skating.

Dynamite and Moon emerged from the train and wheeled out a machine about the size of a Victrola cabinet.  It was topped with a cylinder and a lot of wires, and the cabinet had a bunch of knobs and even more wires.  Valentino muttered the word electromagnet.

Moon twisted the knobs.  I heard a loud hum.  The automobile surged forward, connecting itself to the train.  The angel-bots gathered to make sure it was firmly attached.  Then they helped Pearl, Rose, Gramps, and me get on the train.

Briefly I wondered why the angel-bots weren’t stuck to the electromagnet.  I supposed they really were made from gold, rather than from some fake metal.  Before I could be astonished by that fact, a question from Pearl caused me to whirl away from the machine and the bots.

“Where is Valentino?  Is he still in the Rolls?” Pearl asked.

Valentino Bots Green Metropolis 6

Valentino with Angel-bots, by Rob Goldstein

There was commotion around the automobile.  Valentino had collapsed.  So many of the angel-bots surrounded him that I couldn’t tell whether he was even conscious.

I tried to follow the clockwork figures who carried Valentino, but there were so many that they blocked the corridor.  I could see my grandfather’s hat.  He was taller than the others.  I was relieved that Gramps was with him.

Suddenly Dynamite and Ginger were beside me.

“Moon is quite skilled.  He can’t cure Valentino, but I know he will help,” Dynamite said in a comforting southern drawl.

“You should get some rest,” Ginger added.

I hadn’t noticed we were right outside my sleeper car.  Ginger opened my door and motioned me inside.  She plumped the pillows on my bed.  Next thing I knew, Dynamite handed me a snifter of brandy.

Lulu towel Bots Metropolis 4

Angel-bots looking after Lulu, by Rob Goldstein

I stood motionless, gazing in fascination at the chaos that fled by my window.  Wildly shifting scenes rushed past. 

Then, strangest of all I saw a vast multicolored wing.  Whatever it was must have been flying directly above the train. 

***

The End

***

Holly Hannah! I’m glad everyone is back on the train.  But applesauce!  Lulu has no idea whether Valentino is okay, but I’m glad it looks like Gramps is with him.  I wonder what the Sam Hill has “vast multicolored” wings?  Tune in again next week to see if the “things” answer any of those questions!

Real World Notes

Westinghouse surgical electromagnet 1915

Westinghouse surgical electromagnet 1915

Ectromagnet. A device in which a magnetic field is produced by an electric current.  William Sturgeon invented the electromagnet in 1825.  Sturgeon’s device came a mere five years after a Danish scientist discovered that electricity emitted magnetic waves. Sturgeon harnessed this idea and conclusively demonstrated that the stronger the electric current, the stronger the magnetic force.

His first electromagnet was a horseshoe-shaped piece of iron wrapped with a loosely wound coil. When a current was passed through the coil the electromagnet became magnetized, and when the current was stopped, the coil was demagnetized. It could lift nine pounds with a seven-ounce piece of iron wrapped with wires through which the current of a single cell battery was sent.

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there, and terrific blog posts too. 

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The things Rob sent to drive Chapter 10 are The Theremin, Wave Frequency Machine and Hidden Door.  Your guess is as good as mine for what I’ll do with those things. 

I hope to see you will be at the station again next week to catch the diesel-punk train.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the berries!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka 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.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

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 ― Hullaba Lulu 9.3

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Featured Image -- 23201

Lulu and Valentino dance in a Pittura Metafisica, by Rob Goldstein

Hey there, Sheiks and Shebas! Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays. You already know I’m being a pantser as I write this story — flying by the seat of my pants, not planning anything.  All the details, major and minor are triggered by the sets of things from Rob Goldstein,  who creates the gorgeous images and videos for this series. (Click here for Rob’s entire collection of videos.)

Today I’m featuring music from the Jazz Age. There are videos for songs mentioned in this chapter from YouTube as well as some from Rob. I’m giving you those music breaks since this episode is about 2,000 words in length. That will help you save your place if you don’t have time.  If you don’t like long posts — you’ve been warned.

With today’s episode of Hullaba Lulu I’ve finally gotten to the third “thing” for Chapter 9 of the series.  The action picks up where Chapter 9.2 stopped.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Everyone but Lulu and the rose-gold angel-bot, Ginger had already left the train to go to the Cotton Club.  To make up time, they took Valentino’s Rolls-Royce. Unfortunately, Lulu doesn’t know how to drive! 

Valentino Trumpet_The Mystic_Dark-2

Valentino and the trumpet, by Rob Goldstein

This time

Valentino makes a dire revelation.

Now to Chapter 9.3.  Do you hear Valentino’s trumpet? 

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 9.3

Star of David

Lulu bending Valentino car Cotton Club

The runaway Rolls-Royce ploughed down the street sign for 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue.  That slowed the automobile.  On the outer wall of the building I saw a big mural that had pyramids, a sphinx, and a strange tower.  I had only been to the Cotton Club a few times.  I didn’t remember any murals on the outside, but the posters on the sidewalk looked familiar.

The Rolls-Royce bounced up over the curb and rolled to a stop right in front of the door to the Cotton Club.

Boom-boom had managed to bring the fortuneteller booth that housed the automaton, Sipsing.  He and another angel-bot used a hand dolly to wheel the booth.  I wondered at Boom-boom’s fascination with the gypsy automaton.  It was not nearly as advanced as the angel-bots and it couldn’t communicate the way they did.  Maybe it was like a pet to him.

Cotton Club-Egyptian outside The Flight to Egypt-12

Cotton Club with Pittura Metafisica, by Rob Goldstein

Ginger and I got out of the vehicle.  I bent over to inspect Rolls.  A bit of steam trickled out from under the hood, but I figured it would be okay.

A group of angel-bots ran out and hustled us into the club.  As the door opened I heard the song “I Wanna Be Loved by You,” and knew that it must be Dynamite singing.  He carried a torch for Ginger.

The rose-gold angel-bot walked into the club just as he sang Boop-boop-de-boop!  Applause erupted from the audience when they saw Ginger.  With so many bots in the crowd, the clapping sounded like hundreds of little cymbals.  I gave Ginger a little push to get her up onto the stage with Dynamite.

Bot on stage Val Lulu Cotton Club-9

Dynamite at The Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

I had a glimpse of Rose and Pearl headed backstage.  I figured they would sing or dance, or both.  Those Shebas loved the spotlight.  My eyes found Gramps and Valentino at a table, so I joined them.  Gramps commented on the mural I noticed outside when I arrived.  My grandfather asked if Valentino painted it.  The enigmatic man nodded.

Earlier when I wondered if the Cotton Club might be like the strange version of Atlantic City, I was right.  I was pretty sure it was “sideways” too.  I had never seen a more elegant, sophisticated group of people at a night club.  Their clothes were extraordinary.  Those weren’t just glad rags, they were ecstatic!  Wild and wonderful colors and designs, they didn’t conform to any convention or norm of fashion I had ever seen.

Valentino_close Hat

Valentino, by Rob Goldstein

A woman at the table next to ours wore an exquisite Star of David pendant.  It was made from some rare and precious metal that was unknown to me, except that the angel-bot I named Moon had the same metallic blue finish.  In the center of the star was a sapphire as big as an eyeball.

When I looked at Valentino, I saw the woman’s Star of David reflected in the depths of his dark eyes.

Dynamite and Ginger left the stage.  They were followed by Pearl and Rose.  I took a sharp breath when I heard the first chord of the music.  I hated that song!  I slouched down in my chair and tried to pretend that I didn’t exist as Rose took the first part.

 

“You can bring Pearl, she’s a darned nice girl,” Rose sang and pointed to her friend.  “But don’t bring Lulu.”

I slid farther down in my chair.

“You can bring Rose with her turned up nose.  But don’t bring Lulu!” Pearl sang and they both pointed to me.

In utter mortification, my eyes wildly searched for the exit.  Gramps laughed at the antics of my pals.  Valentino smiled.

“Lulu, are you well?” he asked me in a puzzled voice.

My eyes and nose were the only thing above the tabletop, I had sunk down so far.  I realized there was only one way around the embarrassing scene.  Like the man said, “If you can’t lick ’em, jine ’em.”

Lulu n bots onstage

With a motion to angel-bots Wicky, Wacky, and Woo I went to the stage and we sang “Back in Nagasaki.”  When I belted out the words, “Hot ginger and dynamite,” the angel-bots in the audience got so excited that some of them jumped up onto the table tops.

As I went onstage, I saw Pearl and Rose move onto the dance-floor with a couple of swell looking Oliver Twists.  Those four were such great dancers that I almost forgot the song while I watched them.  However, I lost track of my pals while I sang.  When my number was over, I went back to the table with Gramps and Valentino.  The evening was beginning to wind down anyway.

“I haven’t seen you leave that train of yours without the trumpet,” Gramps commented to Valentino.  “I don’t pretend to understand the many mysteries of the train, but it seems like you can use the trumpet to make the train come to you.”

The pained look on the enigmatic man’s face suggested my grandfather hit a nerve.  Valentino gazed down at the brightly polished horn.  He swallowed hard.  His eyes were haunted as he looked from Gramps to me.

Gramps Valentino contorl room lightning

Gramps and Valentino, Tesla machine on the left

“I’m not able to go more than a short distance from the train,” Valentino began in a rough voice, but stopped to clear his throat.  “Lately I can’t leave the train at all unless I have some aspect of it with me.  The trumpet, the Rolls-Royce, the Ouija board, and other things are all aspects of the train.”

“When your daughter, Lauren traveled with me I underestimated her,” Valentino began with a regretful look at Gramps.  “There was another passenger, the most brilliant man I’ve ever met.  His name was Nikola Tesla.  Your daughter mesmerized him.”

Both men turned their eyes briefly to me.  Maybe they thought I would be defensive.  I didn’t know how my grandfather might feel about something negative being said about my mother, but I already understood what kind of person she was.

Bots and People Cotton Club-5-22--3

Inside the Cotton Club, by Rob Goldstein

“Wait a minute,” I objected.  “I’ve heard of Tesla.  He was too smart to be undone by a choice bit of calico.  Lauren couldn’t have been smarter than him.”

“No,” Valentino continued.  “However, Tesla was fragile in a way.  He also had phobias that Lauren used to her advantage.  I’ve never seen anyone get so upset at the touch of human hair.  Or the sight of a woman’s earrings…  It’s no wonder Nikola liked the angel-bots.”

“Lauren dissected an angel-bot to take the part that gives them intuition.  She used that plus alcohol and drugs to mesmerize Tesla.  Then she used the knowledge she pulled from him, along with the angel-bot’s mind…  I think she meant to take over the train and failed.  But in her attempt, she altered my connection to the train.  That’s why I can’t leave the train without having an aspect of it with me.  Now that glitch in my affinity with the train has grown,” Valentino stated, but paused and stared down at the trumpet.

La Garçonne-ectoplasm

Lauren on the train, by Rob Goldstein

“As my affinity with the train deteriorates, so do I,” Valentino explained.  “I haven’t much longer to live.”

Applause for the jazz band interrupted that horrible revelation.  My grandfather was speaking quietly to Valentino.  Both their voices had serious tones.  I was too stunned by what Valentino divulged to hear what they said.  I was speechless.  I couldn’t even look at either of them.  I stared blindly at that trumpet and desperately fought tears.

The crowd had thinned.  A group was gathered around the fortuneteller booth.  The familiar words of the automaton cut into my fugue.  Dazed, I turned to watch.

“Sipsing the Gypsy King knows all, sees all.  What would you divine?” it asked.

Question after question was posed.  The automaton dealt tarot cards in response.  Sometimes he made a mechanical remark about the cards.  Other times he remained silent.  Though I stared, I wasn’t paying attention until I realized that Sipsing’s audience had quieted to worried sounding murmurs.

Valentino abruptly stalked to the group.  His long legs took him across the room in a few strides.  His expression reminded me of the way he looked when he pulled me away from that Pittura Metafisica he’d painted.

Gilded Tarot Chariot.jpg

The Gilded Tarot, The Chariot

“Sipsing!” Valentino commanded the automaton.  “What is wrong?  What do you divine?”

The fortuneteller dealt a single tarot card ― the Chariot

Valentino went pale.

Just then Moon, the engineering-bot burst into the club.  His blue-gold finish was easily recognizable.  I saw several scorch marks marred the shine.

“You were to remain with the train,” Valentino challenged the angel-bot.

Moon was so distraught that could barely form a sentence.  His clockwork mechanisms clicked and whirred erratically.

“It’s the Tesla coil,” the engineering-bot blurted out.  “It’s shooting lightning randomly, haphazardly!”

In his excitement, Moon’s Cuban accent more pronounced than it was when I met him.  However, that wasn’t what took me aback.  Just before I left the train, I had nearly knocked the Tesla machine off its shelf.  I caught it, but when I put it back, I wasn’t sure if I set it down exactly the way it had been.

Valentino looked at me and I tried to act casually, but I couldn’t meet his eyes.

“I noticed the Tesla coil was turned backward.  Naturally that wouldn’t do any harm,” Moon added.

Bless the blue-gold bot, he gave me a quick reassuring glance.  I relaxed and looked Valentino on the eyes, and then raised my eyebrows inquiringly.

“But that made me examine the device,” Moon continued.  “I found that it had been changed, sabotaged.  It appears the initial sabotage was done quite some time ago.”

Moon paused awkwardly, looking down at his feet.  I placed my hand on his arm and urged him to continue.  He looked at Valentino.

“I have kept the knowledge to myself, because you did not share it,” Moon began.  “But I know that your connection to the train has deteriorated.  I think the damage to the Tesla coil slowly eroded as your condition became worse.”

Valentino cleared his throat uncomfortably.  I gradually became aware of a noise outside the club.

“Surely that didn’t cause you to leave the train,” Valentino stated.

“It’s the train!” Moon cried.  “The Tesla coil triggered the train.  Neither the control angel nor I could get it in check.  It will break free any moment.”

At that moment the trumpet spun around on the table.  Of its own accord the horn blared out the notes that had been sensuous when Valentino played them ― and it played the notes backward.

I thought Valentino’s eyes would pop out of his head.  That vein in his throat started throbbing.  The ground trembled.  The roar of the train filled the room.  I knew it must be headed right for the Cotton Club.

Everyone ran outside.  I saw that Pittura Metafisica of pyramids and a sphinx that Valentino painted on the wall at some past date.  My eye was drawn to the sphinx because oddly, it wore a Star of David as an earring ― and the earring was glowing.  Abruptly I realized the odd tower was a Tesla tower.  The picture came to life and lightning bolts shot from the tower as the train bore down upon us.  The pyramid in the painting started to glow.

Sphinx Tesla Tower

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Valentino played the trumpet furiously, but it had no effect on the rapidly approaching train.

It was in sight by then and looming large.  Strangely it was the caboose that headed toward us.  The train was going backward.

Valentino yelled something about the Rolls Royce.  Gramps made sure Pearl, Rose, and I got into the car.  Some angel-bots squeezed into the car too.  We were packed like sardines.

It looked like my grandfather meant to give up his seat.  He would be left behind to whatever disaster headed our way.  Then Ginger got in and pulled Gramps inside to sit in her lap.  Any angel-bots that couldn’t fit inside the vehicle held onto the outside.

Somebody pressed the starter switch and Valentino hit the accelerator.  The Rolls shot out of the way just as the caboose rolled past.  I cringed and threw up my hands reflexively because I was sure the train would crash into the wall of the Cotton Club.

However, it went into the Pittura Metafisica.  I don’t mean it hit the mural, I mean it went into it!

Since Valentino said he could not be separated from the train, I was horrified.  He said he didn’t have long to live.  The train vanished into the painting, Valentino would surely die right away!

Wake of train travel red photo Flight to Egypt-8

Image by Rob Goldstein

***

The End

***

Bushwa!  Lulu is afraid Valentino is going to die.  Well, he said he would if he’s separated from the train.  Will there be time to save him?  Tune in again next week!

Real World Notes

The Cotton Club.   It was the place to be for music in the 1920s. The club’s beginning is a bit dubious with gangsters and such.  In 1920, Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion, opened the Club Deluxe on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue in the center of Harlem. Owney Madden, a white gangster, took over operations in 1923, and renamed the venue the Cotton Club. However, it was legendary for featuring black entertainers.

Val Lulu inside club Lurking Lauren (1)

Art by Rob Goldstein

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there, and terrific blog posts too. 

Stay tuned for more spontaneously written fun.  The things Rob sent to drive Chapter 10 promise to be a big challenge for me — Wave Frequency Machine, The Theremin, and The Oscillation Overthruster!  Right now, I have no idea where the seat of my pantser pants will fly with those things.  Wish me luck!  I hope to see you on our diesel-punk train again next week.

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

***

Now some shameless self-promotion for my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka 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.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

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 ― Hullaba Lulu 6

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Lulu looking tub bot Metropolis 9

A bath on Valentino’s train, by Rob Goldstein

Hey, Sheiks and Shebas.  Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  The weekly three things and images, from my “partner in crime” Rob Goldstein, spontaneously guide what I’m writing.  Last week he did an image of an Art Deco angel as part of my mystical diesel-punk train’s controls.  That caused me to see more of the train.  I can tell you, Valentino has one luxurious way to travel!

I guess this is a spoiler, but it has nothing to do with the plot…  I had already given the train a control room with mystical gizmos for navigation and communications, and then an automat.  Now I have deluxe sleeper cars — with attendants.  Between Rob and me, Lulu freaked out when she suddenly realized the bath had attendants… 

Lulu Towel run or dance botsMetropolis 5

Lulu and the Sleeper Car Attendants, by Rob Goldstein

Rob did another video for us (below).  I’m happy to be able to feature more of the artwork of Rob Goldstein

Here’s another fabulous video from Rob. Click for the full post.

Today we have Chapter 6 of the Roaring Twenties fantasy series, Hullaba Lulu.  The “dieselpunk*” train has reached Atlantic City.

Previously with Hullaba Lulu, Chapter 5

From Chapter 5

In the distance ahead, I could make out bits of the boardwalk.  I saw the great Ferris wheel and the tallest hills of the old Loop the Loop.

 “Hold on a minute!” I exclaimed.  “Atlantic City took down the Loop the Loop in 1912.  I’ve only seen it in photographs.”

 In the midst of the strange flashing lights, the tilt-a-whirl spun wildly.

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 6

The Garconne Look, Tarot Cards, Kodak Brownie

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat… with cheeseburgers

The loudspeaker had a calm voice as it spoke, “Nearing destination.  Prepare to disembark.”

It was the slightest shift, but I felt the train begin to decelerate.  Suddenly excited, I wanted to remember this adventure forever.  Plus, that Loop the Loop — I needed a picture of that so people would believe it was there.

I ran down the corridor toward Gramps’ sleeper car, hoping he brought his Kodak Brownie with him.  When I came to the spiral staircase that went up to the control room, I paused to look up the stairs.  Everything seemed quiet and dark.  I figured everyone was getting ready to leave the train.

A moment later I was at my grandfather’s room, but he wasn’t there.  I saw his open suitcase on the bed and moved to see if the camera was there.  Gramps might not think to take it with him.

A soft click caused me to turn.  My eyes bulged at what I beheld.

Single angel-bot

Angel-bot by Rob Goldstein

“May I help you, Miss?”

“You’re an automaton!” I exclaimed after a stunned moment.  “A golden angel like the sculpture in the control room… but you’re an automaton.”

With halting movements he bowed.  His eyes blinked with another quiet click.

“I’m the sleeper car attendant.  May I help you, Miss?  Your companions have gone to the amusement park.  You will need these,” he said with a slight southern drawl.

He handed me a brown paper sack.  The aroma of the contents reached my nose before I opened the bag.  It contained several cheeseburgers.

“Oh, thank you, but I just ate,” I told him.

“Yes, I see,” he said and touched the side of my mouth with a white linen napkin embroidered with the letter V.  “There was a bit of mustard.  The cheeseburgers are currency.  You will need them.  You’d best hurry.  Your companions have already disembarked.”

I followed the golden angel-looking automaton into the corridor.  We had to step aside when three more of the clockwork creatures needed to pass.  I noticed they held various cleaning implements.  I stopped them, and asked a bunch of questions. 

Metropolis 3 inside train

Art by Rob Goldstein

Angel-bots! I thought in amazement.

“Hang on just a minute.  How many of you clockwork people are on this train?  And no offence, but you all look just alike.  How do I know one of you from another?  Do you have names?”

“There are sufficient numbers of us to assist in keeping the train in good working order and take care of all the passenger needs as well,” the sleeper car valet told me as the other three made soft clicking noises.  “We haven’t had a need for names, so we have none.”

When I stood speechless, another of them inquired in a voice touched by the Bronx, “May we assist you, Miss?”

I found it unaccountably disturbing that they all looked so much alike.  It reminded me of the time I met triplets when I was very young.  I wanted to give them all rhyming names like the triplets, but I wasn’t any kind of poet.

The first one, with the southern accent seemed to understand that something bothered me.

“We all look very much alike, except for the red-gold attendant,” he said.

The three housekeepers made mechanical chuckling noises.  He turned his placid face toward them.  I had the feeling that he would have blushed if he could.  I felt a little sorry for him.

Bot inside Metropolis 08

Bots, by Rob Goldstein

“She’s a hotsy-totsy!” he confessed with a shuffle of his feet.  “I tried to learn flapper language when I heard the train was going to Atlantic City,” he added, sounding entirely practical.

“Red-gold?” I asked.  “She must be Ginger then, and Hot Ginger because I think she’s your blue serge!  So, my friend, that would make you Dynamite.”

Suddenly inspired by the Nagasaki song I turned to the other three and stated, “That makes you three Wiki, Wacky, and Woo, like the song.”

“The song, Miss?” Dynamite asked.

Hot Ginger and Dynamite!  Somethin’ something’ and wicky wacky, woo!” I belted out a bar of the tune, or the part I could remember anyway.

For a moment there was silence.  Then I was surrounded by clicking noises.  They started chattering to each other.  I thought they were excited to have names.  I know ― everyone thinks clockwork creatures don’t have emotions, but I was there.  I was sure they liked having names.

***

Lulu hands behind head new dress

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

A familiar excited giggle drew me to a brightly painted booth.  Pearl had found a fortuneteller automaton.  It was much less sophisticated than the angel-bots on the train.  Its voice had no infliction as it prompted us.

“The gypsy knows all, sees all.  What would you divine?” it asked repeatedly as it spread tarot cards on the small table inside its booth.

“Go ahead, Lulu!  Ask it a question.  It gave me ‘the lovers’ card,” Pearl told me.

“You always ask about love, and they always tell you that you’ll find it.  I never know what to ask,” I complained.  “Oh, okay.  How is the Loop the Loop still here when it was taken down in 1912?  Did we go back in time?” I added in a softer voice.

The automaton stopped and looked right at me.  Something about the sudden change in clockwork movement gave me the heebie-jeebies.  The gypsy gathered the tarot cards and spread them again.  It drew out a card with a drawing of a man hanging by his foot.  The fortuneteller moved the card so that the man was laying down.

“Sideways,” was all the automaton said.

“We didn’t move east or west, or forward or backward…” I began.

“Sideways,” it repeated.

Morg-tom 031x

Rose and Tom dance, by Rob Goldstein

I gave a frustrated sigh.  Why couldn’t the blasted thing be useful?  I turned to Pearl and asked her where Rose was.  My fair-haired friend shrugged, then she giggled and asked the fortuneteller.

“Where is our friend, Rose?”

The gypsy automaton gathered the tarot cards, spread them, and turned over the Three of Swords.  The design on the card was like the leaflet I found in the automat.  There was an image of a heart pierced by three swords.  I shuddered.

“Betrayal,” the fortuneteller said.

The air was split by a loud scream.  The sound echoed around the amusement park.

“Rose?” I exclaimed.

I turned around, looking everywhere.  At first, I saw no one.  Then I saw a shadow that somehow made me think of the Ford with a bunch of G-men – or that’s what they looked like.  That was the night we met Tom Driberg.  I muttered his name.

Abruptly I realized that Pearl was gone.  She must have gone to look for Rose.  I took a breath to call for Pearl, when I the sound of feet pounding the pavement made me turn.

Lulu and Tom car

Lulu and Tom, by Rob Goldstein

“Speak of the devil,” I snorted.  “I should have known you were here when I glimpsed those G-men just now,” I told Tom Driberg.  “But how did you manage to get here”

“I heard Rose scream.  Where is she?” he asked.

He sounded suspiciously calm and I commented on the fact.

Tomato, didn’t anybody notice the handcar that hooked onto the end of the train?  I thought my stowaway jig was up when one of those clockwork angel things found me.  Anyhow, those weren’t G-men,” he told me in a voice tinged with contempt.  “Those are Russian agents.  They must have gotten to Margosha before I could.  I mean your friend Rose.  Margosha is her first name.  Rose is her middle name.  Didn’t you know?  Her monogram, MRM didn’t tell you anything?” he added with a condescending chuckle that grated my patience.

I looked around wildly for my friends.  Half panicked, I didn’t know what to do.

Rose Am I Blue

Rose, by Rob Goldstein

“Calm down.  They won’t hurt her.  They mean to use her to get to me.  You see, I quit them and they think dragging Margosha back into the spy business will force me to join them again.”

“What do you mean dragging her back?” I demanded.

The noise of screeching metal caused me to look away.  It sounded like something huge moving in a way that it had no business moving.  When I turned back to Tom, he was gone.  Twisting around in a circle I searched for any familiar face.  The scream could have come from any direction.  Tom could have run anywhere, so could Pearl.

Not knowing what to do, or where to do it, I started walking forward, farther into the park.  In the distance I saw a woman wearing the menswear inspired Garconne look.  Her face reminded me of one that I mostly knew from pictures.

I brought up the Kodack and aimed.  Abruptly she turned toward me.  I took the photo.

Lauren?

Lauren La Garçonne -1x

Lauren by Rob Goldstein

The woman who looked like my mother ran.  I followed.

Panting, I paused, hands on knees as I tried to catch my breath.  A brightly painted clown face marked the entrance to the tilt-a-whirl.  The clown had curved line for an innocent smile, and his eyes were little plus marks.  I looked beyond the sign to the ride.

I spotted her.

With a glance over her shoulder, Lauren did something, moving the levers on the ride’s controls.  She climbed onto one of the tilt-a-whirl cars.  It spun and turned, faster and faster.  Soon it looked like a blur.

Bright lights flashed.  Metal gears shrieked.  Green smoke poured from the machinery and the cars.  The tilt-a-whirl slowed to a stop.  No one was aboard the ride.  I ran to the car where Lauren had been.  It was as empty as all the others.

My eyes were drawn back to the clown sign.  The face had changed.  His eyes openly leered and his grin grin was vulpine, downright scary.  The gears of the ride groaned to a stop.

Pontchartrain beach Clown full face.png

***

The End

***

Well, I’m not sure what to say about that…  Except maybe that I will think twice before I get on a tilt-a-whirl again.  And where the Sam Hill did everybody go?

Next time, Chapter 7 — Pocket Watch, Pittura Metafisica, Bubblegum. 

 

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images and videos there. 

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the oyster’s earrings! 

 

PS:  Remember my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka 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.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

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 ― Hullaba Lulu 5.2

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hold the presses!  Update!

I had to include this masterpiece from Rob (above).  His best video yet.  It’s magical.  And it’s the cat’s meow!

Control room The Angel_0322-

The control room of Valentino’s train, by Rob Goldstein

Sheiks and Shebas, welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  This episode concludes Chapter 5 of the new series, Hullaba Lulu.  I seem to have a lot to say about Valentino’s train in this “diesel-punk” fantasy.  

Some of you will remember that early in my novella, The Three Things Serial Story, I imagined the voice of Lucille Ball narrating those tales.  I wanted Hullaba Lulu to have a much different “voice” or tone.  However, no narrator sprang to mind.  I imagine Lulu being genuine, slightly crass, and lovably snarky, sort of like a female version of Seth Meyers.  (See Late Night with Seth Meyers.)  I toyed with the idea of narrating a snippet but… I got shy.  Oh, what the hell.  Why not…

vAL Grams Station_0011x

Valentino in the abandoned subway, by Rob Goldstein

Happily we have more beautiful artwork from Rob Goldstein to punctuate this chapter.  I’m finally writing about the “three things” Rob sent for it.  The characters are now on that amazing train.  

A word of warning — this episode is a little longer than usual (1,790 words or so). Here’s the rest of what started last week. 

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Last time Lulu overheard a strange conversation between her grand father and Valentino. It sounded like they’d known each other since before she was born — but Valentino was too young for that.  Lulu kept the puzzling exchange to herself.

Mysterious gifts were sent to Rose, probably from that shady journalist, Tom Driberg.  It prompted Valentino to say Rose wasn’t safe. Valentino offered to take the girls away.  To Lulu’s astonishment, her Gramps demanded to go along.

All aboard!

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 5.2

Automat, Cheeseburger, Tilt-a-Whirl

The Station-Diner_043-

Lulu, Valentino, and Pearl — by Rob Goldstein

Valentino strolled down the railroad tracks.  He started playing that trumpet of his as he walked.  There was something about the music…  I couldn’t explain it, but the notes were more than just a tune.  My skin prickled with goosebumps.  I gave an involuntary shudder.  My grandfather glanced down at me.

The tension between Gramps and Valentino was out of character for him.  Gramps was usually easy going.  He never put any restrictions on me about revealing frocks or bobbed hair.  He said discipline should be saved for more important things.  So, his comment surprised me.

“Lulu, are you sure that dress is what you want to wear to travel?” my grandfather asked, but he turned away to answer a remark from Rose before I could say anything.

Pearl had changed into a printed dress of soft cream and gold with a wide sash at the dropped waist.  With her light blond hair, it made a classy monotone combination.  Rose wore a Chanel suit that I expected was one of the gifts from Tom Driberg.  I still didn’t understand what was going on with that situation, but I figured I’d find out eventually.

Pearl at Station-04-23-18

Pearl by Rob Goldstein

Anyway, when I looked down at my own clothes, I realized Gramps had a point.  However, it was too late for me to change.

The last notes of the melody Valentino played on his trumpet echoed in the tunnels of the abandoned section of the subway.  I heard a sound like an engine, but it didn’t sound like an ordinary train.  Then came the chugging of the wheels turning.  That sounded more like a train.  In a moment the sleek machine stood at the old station.

The train looked like something from the cover of “Science and Invention,” all sleek and polished.  When we boarded, I saw that the inside was even more fantastical than the outside.  The engine’s controls were unlike anything I had ever seen, even in scientifiction* stories.

I saw my Ouija board on the console and my temper flared.

Bushwa!  It was still mine, no matter what anybody said.  It had been mine for as long as I could remember.  I was feeling possessive and put upon.  I didn’t appreciate Gramps telling me that it belonged to Valentino, any more than I liked the sheik taking over it.

Lulu at Train BW

Lulu by Rob Goldstein

Sputtering and pouting, I watched in silence as the enigmatic man hooked the wooden board to the control panel of his train.

“Stop growling, would you please, Lulu,” Valentino muttered.  “If we’re to go anywhere I need to use the Ouija board.”

Okay, so I wasn’t completely silent, but it was only a little growl.

Valentino picked up my Ouija board and carried it to what at first appeared to be an Art Deco angel sculpture, but then I saw that it was part of the controls for the train.  He attached the Ouija board to the statue.

Something he touched sparked and popped.  Valentino jumped back with a muffled exclamation, shaking his hand as if he’d been stung.  I admit it was gratifying, but I swear I didn’t smirk.  Well, maybe a little.  Okay, I looked like a cat with a bowl of cream, but I put a neutral expression on my face before he turned around.

Valentino Angel color Setting Course-3

Valentino at the controls of the train

When I looked at the angel statue again, for a moment I could have sworn it winked at me!  I shook my head and blinked my eyes.  I couldn’t be zozzled.  I hadn’t had a drop of giggle water all day.  I moved to the angel, inspecting it closely.  Nothing moved, and it was cold to the touch, and still as a statue should be, not warm, living, and able to wink.

I hopped up onto the console of his Orthophonic Victrola and crossed my legs.  I leaned my head against its horn.  He made a face and cleared his throat as a hint.  When I wouldn’t take the hint, he motioned for me to move my gams out of the way.

“Be careful of the pavilion,” he cautioned.  “You might move the settings.  You wouldn’t want us to head down the garden path, would you?”

“The pavilion?  Oh, the horn?  So grumpy.  Do those pointy toed dog kennels hurt your feet or something?” I said just to poke him.

Valentino held a glass tube capped with metal on each end.  He was already a hotsy-totsy and being so intense with the scientific stuff ― that was so sexy! 

Valentino Trumpet_The Mystic_Dark-2

Valentino uses the trumpet to bring all the train’s controls in tune

I reminded myself that I didn’t want to feel that way and focused on the strange tube.  It was filled with glowing green liquid.  Valentino ignored me as he bent to touch the console, where a smooth brass plate bore an engraving of music symbols.  He pressed the plate and it opened to reveal the shining trumpet he played earlier.

Then he leaned over me to reach the Victrola.  When he removed the record I saw another of the glowing liquid filled tubes.  Valentino placed the tube he carried next to the one in the Victrola.  Then he put the trumpet to his lips and played a series of notes.  Harmonic sounds emanated from the tubes.

“Everything is in tune now,” he commented in a pleased tone.

He fiddled with knobs and switches, contentedly humming a tune I didn’t recognize.  The man was completely absorbed in his work.  I grew bored and left Valentino to his inventions.

Pearl and Rose surprised me when they seemed to be happy that my grandfather was coming with us.  They made quite a fuss over him.  The three of them went to the dining car.  I probably should have gone with them, especially since I was feeling peckish.  Instead, I went off on my own to explore the strange train.  I was used to having plenty of alone time.  I wasn’t sure how much I would like being confined on a train with five other people, all the way to Atlantic City.

Automat Clara Bow and man mix

Clara Bo (inset) Paramount Automat 1931

My heels clicked on a mosaic tile floor when I entered the next car.  The room was wall-to-wall chrome and glass.

Holy Hannah!  An automat!” I exclaimed, but nobody was there to share my glee.

It had everything from a hot cup of noodle juice to porterhouse steaks to jiggly gelatin in ritzy molds.  My stomach rumbled and my mouth watered.  I opened a little glass door and removed a plate of exotic Hawaiian pineapple upside-down cake.  I’d never tasted pineapple.  (Recipe and history here*.)

I felt a soft bump as the train traveled.  It wasn’t even enough to make me stumble.  It could have been from anything.  Then one of the compartment doors of the automat opened.  A newspaper fell out.  I bent to pick it up.  On the front page was an article by Tom Driberg about the society swells called the Bright Young Things.  Interestingly, the next story was not by Driberg, but about him.  There was no byline, but the writer insinuated that Tom was a spy working for the Russian government.

Bushwa!  Does Rose really have a history with that guy? 

She hadn’t admitted it, but I had become sure that Rose recognized him that night outside the speakeasy when Driberg was looking for someone named Margosha.  Plus, I had feeling that they were more than ships that pass in the night.

Morg-rose_019x

Tom and Rose, by Rob Goldstein

A leaflet fell out of the cubby where the newspaper had been.  It was an advertisement for a fortune reader on the boardwalk.  There was an image of a heart pierced by three swords.  The image was powerful.  It made me think of betrayal.

I gazed out the window as I thought.  There was nothing to see, the train was inside a tunnel.  There were large metal plates in the walls in the part we had been running through the last few minutes.  I could see a distorted reflection of the train in the metal.

For a second I thought I saw men hunched over a handcar that was right behind the train.  

No, that would be impossible!  There’s way a hand car could keep up with the train. 

The reflection was blurred and wavy.  I blinked hard and looked again.  However, the train had quickly left that part of the tunnel.  The shiny metal plates were replaced by brick walls.

Licking my fingers for the last sticky cake crumb, I was even hungrier than before.  A rattling sound caused me to turn to the other side of the automat.  Against that wall stood a long table.  A hatch door in the wall lifted, showing a conveyor belt.  It started cranking out plates holding cheeseburgers.

Burgers Lulu Recline

Lulu in the train’s automat… with cheeseburgers, by Rob Goldstein

Warm cheddar oozed from the steaming buns.  As the aroma drifted to my nose, my belly growled anew.  I had eaten three of the burgers before I realized I had even finished one. 

Suddenly lights began to flash.  Electric loudspeakers that were installed in every car of the train began blaring part of the song Don’t Bring Lulu!  Rose and Pearl had harnessed me with my nickname, Hullaba Lulu, because of that blasted song.

The sound of running feet preceded the appearance of pointy toed patent leather shoes.  Valentino skidded into the automat.  He looked from me to the empty plates in astonishment.

The loudspeaker shouted, “Don’t bring cash honey.  You pay in cheeseburgers!”

“Lulu…” he began but seemed at a loss for words.  “We needed those cheeseburgers for Atlantic City.”

“There’s plenty to eat there,” I mumbled around the last bite of burger.

“Cheeseburgers are as good as money where we’re going.  It’s not the Atlantic City that you know,” he told me.

1928 Sunnyside Amusement Park

1928 Sunnyside Amusement Park

“Huh?” I replied as I swallowed.

I burped, but I had the decency to blush.

“Excuse me…”

Sunlight flooded the car.  The train had left the tunnel.  I moved to the window expecting to see pasture land.  We couldn’t be there yet. 

I was wrong.  In the distance ahead, I could make out bits of the boardwalk.  I saw the great Ferris wheel and the tallest hills of the old Loop the Loop*.

“Hold on a minute!” I exclaimed.  “Atlantic City took down the Loop the Loop in 1912.  I’ve only seen it in photographs.”

I twisted around to Valentino, but he was gone.  When I turned back to the window, the train was much closer to the boardwalk.  I could see the bathhouse, the Love’s Nest and the Shimmy Auto. 

(For more about the attractions of Atlantic City in the Roaring Twenties, click here*.)

Goosebumps rose on my arms.  A disturbing sensation went through me and I shuddered, just like I did a moment before the train arrived at the station.  Flashing lights drew my eyes farther into the amusement park.

In the midst of the strange lights, the tilt-a-whirl spun wildly.

mother-you-need-shoes-1

Portal by Rob Goldstein

***

The end.

So, what’s the deal with that tilt-a-whirl?  And what did Valentino mean by It’s not the Atlantic City that you know?  Not to mention the reflection Lulu saw in the tunnel — had there really been a handcar behind the train?

Don’t forget to visit Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there, and insightful posts too.

Real World Notes

Science and Invention was the name during the 1920s and 1930s of a popular technology magazine founded by Hugo Gernsback and edited by him until 1929.  The magazine also ran science fiction stories.

Scientifiction:  In 1929 the term science fiction was used (first attested in advertisements for “Air Wonder Stories” magazine), though there is an isolated use from 1851; abbreviated form sci-fi is from 1955.  Earlier in same sense scientifiction (1916) was used.

Loop the Loop:  The rollercoaster opened in 1901 and operated until 1912.  It was one of the earliest looping roller coasters in the United States.

Thanks for visiting.  You’re the kitten’s ankles!

Now for that obligatory shameless self-promotion, here are my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka 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.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

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 29 ― Hullaba Lulu 4

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hey, Sheiks and Shebas.  Welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays

My “partner in crime” (Rob Goldstein) did the video above.  I’m using as a review of last week’s episode.  I’m happy to be able to feature more of the artwork of Rob Goldstein

Update:  Here’s a fun related post that Rob did over at his blog, “10 Everyday Items Invented in the 1920s* — click over and enjoy.

Today we have Chapter 4 of the Roaring Twenties fantasy series, Hullaba Lulu.  The “dieselpunk*” aspect of the story is beginning to show in this episode.  The “three things” Rob sent for this chapter were downright educational.  Some of the “things” take a bit more writing for me to work into the story than others.  So please bear with me for this somewhat longer episode.

 If you need to review Chapter 2, click here.  

Previously with Hullaba Lulu

Today’s chapter picks up where Chapter 3 left off, with Lulu in her “secret place,” the abandoned subway station.  The Ouija board spelled out nonsense letters.  She thought she was alone until…

Suddenly, I felt cool fingers touch my shoulder.  I jumped backward and screamed.

Hullaba Lulu

Chapter 4

Ectoplasm, Jung, Orthophonic Victrola

Magic table Lulu Valentino Gramps good portraits

Lulu, Gramps, & Valentino in the Abandoned Subway Station, by Rob Goldstein

My elbow hit one of the dead soldiers lined up on the counter.  As my scream echoed through the abandoned subway station the empty beer bottle toppled with a domino effect.  The entire row went down, rolling and clattering.  Several fell to the floor, but astonishingly none of them broke.  I wondered if the coat of dust on the floor was that thick.

Maybe it was, because a little cloud went up and I sneezed loudly.  As I wiped my nose on my sleeve I looked up at the owner of the cool fingers that had startled me.

Valentino.

For a moment I wondered how the mysterious man had gotten into my secret subway station.  Then I realized that I had not locked the door behind me.

“Your rouge needs blending,” he commented.

Once again, he looked at me as if he had stumbled upon a new species.  It made me wonder if I had a booger in my nostril.  I touched a knuckle to my nose uncomfortably and glanced around for a mirror.

Val hat Lulu trumpet expressions

Lulu and Valentino, by Rob Goldstein

I noticed Valentino held a red leather-bound volume.  It looked like some kind of logbook.  He casually set it on the counter near the Ouija board.  He put his hand to my cheek.  Using his thumb, he rubbed the raspberry colored cosmetic a few times.

“So, what’s that?” I inquired about the book.

Lifting the red cover, I saw hand written notes and illustrations.  Valentino laid his hand on the book cover, closing it.

“The pictures in it are unusual.  Did you draw them too?”

“Yes, Lulu.  I got the idea from Carl Jung.  It’s sort of a travelogue.  It wouldn’t make sense to anyone other than myself,” he replied.

(More about Jung’s own red notebook here)

I looked up at his face, evaluating his expression.  Brooksy, a classy dresser in that tuxedo, Valentino was suavely calm.  Maybe too cool.  It made me want to poke at the façade, get a rise out of him.  I wondered what would annoy him.

Val and Tom green

Valentino and Tom Driberg, by Rob Goldstein

Valentino had a charisma that was hard to describe.  I didn’t want to be attracted to him for the simple reason that my friends acted foolishly giddy over him.  I figured he had that effect on most women.  Maybe on men too, based on the way that journalist, Tom Driberg had gazed at him.

So focused was I on Valentino that I had not noticed my grandfather enter the room.  I was almost as startled to see Gramps as I had been when Valentino came up behind me.  I thought of the brief stare-down they had outside the speakeasy the night before.

The atmosphere around the two men seemed heavy.  It reminded me of ectoplasm.  I felt I would’ve needed a knife to cut through the gauzy membrane of it.

Then again, maybe it actually is ectoplasm, I thought.

Gradually a faint aura enveloped the two men.  It trailed away from them, becoming thicker, more visible as it stretched back to the Ouija board.  The planchette raced back and forth across the wooden board.  Apparently, I was the only one who noticed.

Gramps Valentino sepia Station

Gramps and Valentino in the abandoned station, by Rob Goldstein

Gramps swallowed hard and his eyes were tight as he fixed Valentino with a cold stare.  That was the second time I had seen Gramps encounter the enigmatic man.  Both times my grandfather’s intensity, his expressions and manner befuddled me.

“So that’s what brought you back?  That old Ouija board?  I guess coming back to get something is not as cold hearted as returning on a whim.  But it would have been better if you hadn’t come back at all,” Gramps told him in a level tone.

Horsefeathers!  My Gramps already knew Valentino?  But…

The red leather book flew open and the planchette jumped from the Ouija board to the book.  I hurried to look at the pages before Valentino could get a chance to close it again.

The left-side page was filled with words written in elaborate script.  The hand was neat but difficult to read through the gauzy nimbus.  I wanted to pick up the book, but I was afraid to put my hand into the ectoplasm.  The right-side page bore a hand drawn map.  I gazed at it in sudden inspiration.  I grabbed the notepad where I penciled the letters of the Ouija board to which the planchette pointed moments before, Y, T, I, C, C, I, T, N, A, L, T, A.  My eyes went back to the map.  I spat out the piece of saltwater taffy that as still in my mouth.

English_ouija_board

English Ouija board, Wiki Media Commons

“Atlantic City?” I read the title of the map.  “Bushwa!  Couldn’t it point to Paris, or Cairo, or even Shanghai?  But no― Atlantic City.  And why the devil did it spell the words backward?” I commented incredulously.

Valentino reached the desk in a single step.  He didn’t even flinch at putting his hand into the aura.  He picked up his travelogue.  He snapped it shut and the nimbus burst.  The noise of tiny pops repeatedly assailed my ears, like a string of lady finger firecrackers.  Bits of ectoplasm showered down in sparks.

I tried to take the book from him, but he held it tightly to his chest.  He gave me a derisive look that was probably meant to make me stop.  I desperately wanted to get another look at that page.  The only thing I had been able to make out in the handwriting was a name.  Lauren.

“Lauren was my mother’s name,” I hissed into his ear, not wanting Gramps to hear.

“I know, but save it for later,” he whispered back as he twisted away from my hands.

Lauren La Garçonne -1x

Lauren by Rob Goldstein

Pearl burst into my erstwhile secret place.  I stopped trying to get my hands on the book.  My fair-haired pal was clearly distraught.

“Lulu, you have to help me stop her!” Pearl cried.  “It’s Rose, she’s going to blouse.”

“She wouldn’t do that,” I assured Pearl.  “I don’t think Rose has anywhere else to go, no family or anything,” I commented, but paused for a second as a suspicious feeling tickled at my mind.  “At least she never talks about them.  Why would Rose be leaving?”

“I don’t know,” Pearl said near tears.  “Especially after all those gifts came.  But she is.  She’s packing her suitcase and everything!”

When I wanted to know what Pearl meant by gifts, she described several expensive items that were left at our friend’s door.

“And there was a beautiful Chanel suit, and even a big Orthophonic Victrola,” Pearl explained.  “A note came with it that was addressed to Margosha.  So, it wasn’t even meant for her.  I told her that if she didn’t want the stuff she could just send it back, but she was all upset about it.”

Valentino surprised me by telling Pearl, “I thought you were Margosha.  The name means pearl.”

Pearl Lulu Waves

Pearl, by Rob Goldstein

“Did you leave the goods then,” I asked him, and I was surprised to hear the accusing tone in my voice.

“No, but I’ve a good idea who did,” he told me.  “Pearl, go get your friend and bring her here.  It’s not safe for her to travel alone.”

Pearl daubed a lace edged handkerchief at her eyes.  She brightened considerably.

“It’d be a shame to send back the Victrola.  It’s the bee’s knees,” she sniffled and said, trying to joke.

“Not to worry.  I have one on my train.  We can let it play on the way,” he told her.

I saw Gramps shift his stance.  His hand twitched as though he was about to reach toward something.  Or maybe someone.

Valentino turned and picked up the Ouija board.

“Hey!  That’s mine,” I protested.

Gramps shocked me by saying, “It belongs to him.”

I turned to my grandfather in sputtering confusion.

Gramps_Red 001x

Gramps by Rob Goldstein

“I didn’t realize it had a defect when I left it.  That explains why I never got a message…” Valentino told Gramps in an apologetic tone that left me more muddled than ever.  “That’s why it gave you the letters in reverse order,” he added turning back to me.

My hands were still extended toward my Ouija board.  Too many strange words and thoughts were flooding into my mind.  They caught in a bottleneck, leaving me immobile.

“I’ll get you another one,” Valentino told me.

His mouth held an impatient twist as he looked at my outstretched hands.  He sounded like he was talking to a petulant child.  The whole situation was getting me in a later.

“This Ouija board is part of my train,” he added in an annoyed tone that was tinged with guilt.  “It’s part of the navigation system.  This one was a backup.  The primary board was corrupted and a default setting sent the train here, where the backup board was left.  I didn’t know it was bringing me here.  I didn’t mean to cause you pain,” he added, looking at my grandfather.

***

The End

***

Now I’ve exposed another of the challenges of writing “three things” and/or serials — achieving the right combination of stopping point and length. Applesauce, I do try…  

Will Rose arrive safely at the abandoned subway station?  Why is she in danger anyway? Lulu has a mysterious mom that apparently no one talks about?  How the heck are a Ouija board and a Victrola part of the workings of a train?  Must be dieselpunk…  At least some of these questions will be answered next time with Hullaba Lulu Chapter 5 — Automat, Tilt-a-Whirl, Cheeseburger. 

1927 Orthophonic Victrola Ad

In 1925 Orthophonic Victrola* was a big innovation in sound reproduction.  The new electrically recorded phonograph records sounded harsh on the old Victrolas.  The had to consider all sorts of frequencies and even how long the horn had to be to produce a good sound — not to mention how to fold the resulting nine-foot long horn into a cabinet. 

I hope you’ll click over and check out Rob’s blog.  You’ll find more fabulous images there. He’s not just a brilliant artist, he’s also an advocate for several important causes. 

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

 

 

PS:  I can’t forget my other 1920s books — the original “three things” stories about Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka 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.

Artwork Copyright © 2018 by Rob Goldstein

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.