Friday, November 25, 2011
MWW Day 1 - Alice Duncan's Daisy Gumm Majesty
Daisy: Yes, the world was a very different place after The Great War and the disastrous influenza pandemic that overlapped it. So many, many people lost loved ones that they’re happy to have me communicate with their dearly departed. So what if I have to pretend? My work honestly helps people, no matter what Billy and Sam think.
Now I understand you have a real honest to goodness babe who has hired you. Any chance you could fix her up with your new friend, Mitch Malone?
Daisy: Really, Mr. Malone! How terribly crude. Besides, Mrs. Pinkerton is much older than you. And she’s a married woman. I know *some* men wouldn’t find that a deterrent, but I must beg you not to bother Mrs. P. She’s my best and most faithful client. Even if she is a nitwit. Oh, dear. Please don’t tell her I said that.
Daisy: Yes, I am a spiritualist medium. Mind you I’m *not* a fortune-teller, although according to my husband, Billy, and his best friend, Sam Rotondo, there’s not any difference. But there is. As for what the spirits are advising me in GENTEEL SPIRITS . . . if you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll admit to you that I’m a fraud. I can’t really communicate with dead people. However, there are lots and lots of people who would rather take advice from a phony spiritualist like me than from friends, neighbors, alienists or ministers, so I take their money and do my best. Unfortunately for me, my job in GENTEEL SPIRITS is that of personal spiritual advisor to a *very* temperamental and stupid silent-screen actress, Lola de la Monica, who claims to be from Spain. I’ve heard her when she wasn’t acting, though, and I can tell you she sounds awfully much like my Brooklyn-born party-line neighbor.
People pay you for that? Must be that World War I time period when people were different. I’m a man of sensitivity myself. Any chance you would want to advise me on some matters over a few drinks?
Daisy: Advise you over a few drinks? Really, Mr. Malone! Prohibition is the law of the land, and I don’t care how many people flaunt that law. I can’t afford to do anything so foolish. How many people do you think would hire me if they knew I drank? None. That’s how many. I have to protect my image, which is that of a pale-but-interesting, sober-clad spiritualist who’s an expert wafter. I tell you, I’m *good* at my job!
Oh, sorry, didn’t realize Prohibition was the law of your time and you're married. I don’t mess around with married women. I hear you have another story coming out in just a month or so called ANCIENT SPIRITS. What hare-brained, err adventure befalls you?
Daisy: Yes, indeed, I am married: to the love of my life, Billy Majesty. We had planned a long, happy and fruitful union, but the forever-damned Kaiser and his stinking mustard gas took care of that dream for us. Billy joined the army and went to France shortly after we were married. He wasn’t there for more than a month when he was gassed out of his foxhole and then shot when he tried to crawl to safety. He came back to me after months and months in various hospitals, a ruined man. Therefore, I have to earn a living for the both of us. Billy hates that he can’t work; worse, he hates that I have to. I’m afraid we live a rather fraught existence.
As for ANCIENT SPIRITS . . . well, you’ll just have to wait and find out, won’t you? Although I can tell you I get to ride a camel during the book. And a more evil-smelling, short-tempered beast I’ve never encountered.
Thank you Daisy. It’s been a blooming good time. Get it, Daisy, blooming? Oh, well maybe not so funny. Fine. We’ll just finish this up. For a strong read about a woman who is threatening me with a right hook, pick up GENTEEL SPIRITS or ANCIENT SPIRITS. Before I become ancient myself, check out http://www.aliceduncan.net for more information and where to find Daisy’s fascinating tale.
• GENTEEL SPIRITS (featuring Daisy Gumm Majesty, and set in Pasadena, CA, in 1922): http://tinyurl.com/3ndzcff
• PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL (featuring Annabelle Blue and set in Roswell, NM, in 1923): http://tinyurl.com/3uafvqg
• FALLEN ANGELS (featuring Mercedes Louise Allcutt and set in Los Angeles, CA, in 1926): http://tinyurl.com/3wh2a6t