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Flapper Follies 1
Diana Woods, a thoroughly modern woman of the 1920s, is thrilled to begin a secretarial job helping visiting professors research the Wild West days of Fort Worth, Texas. Things heat up when she and two of the profs witness the speakeasy abduction of a prominent citizen and realize they could be next.
The group hits the road to escape danger, and the professors send Diana to safety in the hometown of their former student Adler Behr, a grouchy banker who has no use for modern women and whose temperament resembles his bear namesake.
As Diana schools Adler in the allure of her twentieth-century skills, danger is never far behind. Adler learns that his future lies in the hands of a woman who can do more than cook and darn socks, and Diana finds even a grumpy Behr has a softer side.
Page Count: 364
Word Count: 100630
“Modern women. A flock of guinea hens, most of them, trying to play a man’s role in a man’s world.” He glared at Diana, then shrugged. “As you said, Archibald, it’s your project. Do as you like.” He snorted. “Flappers.” He picked up his hat and turned to go. “I suppose hiring a woman would save you some money, at least. You wouldn’t have to pay her as much,” he added over his shoulder.
Diana cleared her throat. “Excuse me? I know it’s common to pay less to a woman, but does that seem reasonable?” She drew herself to her full five feet four inches. “Do you think my boarding house charges me less because I’m a woman? Does the streetcar that takes me to work discount my fare because I’m wearing a skirt? Does the little café where I sometimes get dinner cut the price of the blue plate special for the women who eat there? Gentlemen, I work in order to live, and my expenses are no less than a man’s.”
The Horned Owl glared again. “Then go home to your family. Isn’t that where a young woman should be until she marries? Not trying to compete with men who have households to support.”
Of all the obstinate, old-fashioned attitudes! “This is 1925, not 1825, sir. A good many women have been working, making their own way since the war, and doing pretty well at it.” She drew a short breath. “As it happens, my only family is my sister. We have no one else. If we don’t work, we don’t eat. A simple matter of survival.”
He looked back at the older man, apparently dismissing her response. “As you said, Archibald, this is really not my concern, and you do need help immediately. I’d look a bit more before deciding, but I do have meetings to attend, so I must go. The banking commission expects me this morning. Gentlemen, I’ve done what I can for your project. The rest is up to you. I’ll see you for dinner.” He looked back at Diana. “As for you, Miss Woods, if they choose to employ you, I trust you’ll give the professors no reason to regret their choice.”
“I’ll certainly do my best, Mister…” The name still escaped her.
“Behr, Adler Behr, Miss Woods. I certainly hope you’re better at organizing the professors’ notes than you are at recalling names.” He glanced at the other men in the room, shook his head, and turned away, marching out of the room with rigid back, leaving them to their folly.
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