This week’s list is inspired by Teagan R. Geneviene who is working to release her next 1920’s novel. In a discussion, she wondered aloud what it would be like to be transported back to the roaring twenties. My mind went immediately to the Top Ten things one shouldn’t do if transported. You see, I have the belief that Teagan can do anything she puts her mind to doing. I feel it is my job to warn her in case she is successful. So here is the list.
Top Ten Things Not to Do If You are Transported Back to the Roaring Twenties
10 If you have been transported to the roaring twenties, do not try to pay for anything with the money in your pocket. If you do, at best you’ll be a laughing-stock. At worst, you may be charged with counterfeiting. (Nothing like a little time on bread and water to help that waistline huh, Bunky?)
9 If you have been transported to the roaring twenties, do not let anyone see your iPhone or Apple watch. If you do, at best they will think you are from Hollywood. At worst, you might find yourself tied to a stake on top of a very big pile of wood. (That guy with the kerosene and matches heading this way is not the fire chief, Buford)
8 If you are transported back to the roaring twenties do not think you can tell someone how a computer works in hopes of usurping Bill Gates. If you do, at best you’ll have very confused people trying to understand your directions. At worst, that jacket you are being fitted for is not for show. (Does the name Bellevue ring a bell, Buster?)
7 If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not try out your charleston until you see how others do it. If you do, at best those old movies were wrong. At worst, most everyone will assume you have been overserved. (The nice part there are no cell phone videos to go viral huh, Tex?)
6 If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not laugh when you are served a martini in a teacup. If you do, at best the bartender will think you are drunk. At worst, the gang may assume you are a Fed and invite you to take a swim while wearing cement overshoes. (Boy, those guys play rough don’t they, Slick.)
5 If you are transported back to the roaring twenties do not wave second-hand cigarette smoke away and claim you are allergic. If you do, at best you might be asked to leave. At worst, Tiny the Bronx wrestling champ and the club bouncer might ask you to leave his way. (You were sure that door was going to stop you from hitting the ally weren’t you, Champ. Oh yes. Tiny says you owe him for a new door.)
4 If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not grab a megaphone and start singing Winchester Cathedral. If you do, at best you’ll get strange looks. At worst, people will think you have a crush on Rudy Vallee. (You see Ferd, it would be like singing a Bono song. It’s just not done.)
3 If you are transported back to the roaring twenties do not try to pump your own gas. If you do, at best you won’t be able to crank the pump. At worst, the local service station attendant may think you are after his job. (How did that large monkey wrench feel before you passed out huh, Babe?)
2 If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not ask for a doggie bag at the restaurant. If you do, at best you’ll get a raw bone. At worst, the chef might assume you felt his food was only fit for dogs. ( I would not argue with a guy who has such a big knife, Pard. In fact, I would take off running.
1 If you are transported back to the roaring twenties, do not use slang until sure of the proper context. If you do, at best you might insult a few people. At worst, you may have triggered a full-blown riot. (Who knew Twenty-Three Skidoo was a code word for a steelworker rebellion. Not you huh, Putz?)
As a special treat, I also have Teagan as a guest today with a vignette In the Pip of Time. The post is all yours Teagan.
Hello, everyone! I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, from the blog, Teagan’s Books. Thank you, John, for agreeing to do a joint post with me, using one of your fabulous lists of what not to do! As I get ready for the takeoff of my next 1920s novel, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, I’m doing some collaborative posts with other bloggers. I’m delighted to be here at Fiction Favorites.
This vignette is set in the Roaring Twenties world of my flapper character, Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip. (For more about Pip, see The Three Things Serial Story click here.)
Your readers might not know that I’m fond of doing “pantser” stories, written spontaneously, according to random things, provided by readers. This time I took my three things from numbers nine and ten of John’s list: Counterfeiting, Time, and Hollywood. I hope you enjoy this impromptu vignette. Here goes!
In the Pip of Time
“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 canceled. 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.
I always got a kick out of his 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.
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.
“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.”
If you want to know more about the upcoming 1920s culinary mystery, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I, click here.
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