Seamus Gets Comfy
The door opened on the grinning face of Officer O’Brien.
-Good evening, Miss Hudson.-
-Good evening.- Thea greeted. -You want something? Tea, Coffee?- Cyanide?
Red curls shook with fierceness. -Ah, no thanks. I’m just saying hello. Det. Browne would chop me head off if I don’t get back to the PD in less than five secs. -He tried to peer past her shoulder. How it’s goin' so far?-
-He got violent?-
-Nah. Just eating. And watching cartoons.-
He arched an eyebrow. Thea chewed on her cheek. They shrugged in sync.
-So? The cops found out anything?-
Another shake of red. -Actually nothing. And with nothing I mean that. We went through missing persons, kidnappings, even insurance frauds, but nope. Right now we have not one file matching our guy.-
-Mh.- No evidence, no matching. He’s out of nowhere. Butterflies flickered behind her ribs with no reason at all. –
-Have, have you checked with Dublin cops? Or hotels? Maybe he’s not Irish.-
-You heard him talk, ma’am. He’s disgustingly Irish.-
-‘Got a point.-
-We’re moving that way anyway, and if not well go for all the other cities. Meanwhile, we can still hope he’ll come back to his senses.- O'Brien gave her a smile that was half-apology and half just a smile, and began to zip up his leather jacket.
-Well, that's all we have. Oh, yes, tomorrow the social assistant would come to take a look.-
Thea grunted before stopping herself. -It's not a lovey-dovey prim spinster, right?-
-Oh, definitely no, ma'am.-
She decided not to have the strength to investigate further. -Well, thanks for the hint. Goodnight, Officer O'Brien.-
-Goodnight Miss Hudson.-
The boy waved a little, jogging back towards the hall. He stopped two steps far, squinted back at Thea.
-Cartoons, mh? And what?-
-Fairy Godparents. -
He gave a thumbs up over the shoulder. –Of course.-
That night Thea sat at the kitchen table and decided it was time to do some work. Seamus was snoring on the couch, knocked out by a mix of tuna pasta, cartoon re-runs and painkillers deceived in hot milk mugs. A vague rockabilly rhythm waved up from Miss McGoran's floor. Things had not changed a bit, she still had no idea what to do, but it was night. It was her ritual, her dance. It was hers.
She gave a look at the paper folders sprawled on the tablecloth. Lately she had been busy with a reasoned comment over Changeling, witch doctors and their connection with the principles of shamanic transition, and the closer folder was the research’s material. The other one, well, it gathered all she had ever known about Leprechauns and Clurichauns.
She pensively sipped from her Doctor McCoy’s mug. The sensible thing to do was to pick the Changeling folder. She had a deadline, and she still had to transcribe latest notes on her laptop and read for real the photocopies of Armagh Book manuscripts she got from Dublin Library. Moreover, looking for clues to Seamus’ deliriums wouldn’t help at all, right? What would you do, Bones?
Oh, Hell. Of course she grabbed the Leprechaun folder.
She opened the pages flat on the table with a soft thud. It was a massive work, stratified in years and trips. The scribbling running all around the papers ranged from late teens to weeks ago. Half-handwritten, half-printed, brochures, notes, articles cut from magazines, sketches and single words, all covered in coffee-stains and pencil-smudges. She brushed lightly a corner. Right there was all the world knowledge and big pieces of Thea’s soul.
Leprechauns’ folklore was a professionally intriguing topic. Symbols of Ireland, of Irish folklore, the only name of that breath-taking mythology to be known behind the shores of that island and of colleges, and yet, so very few information. The problem was, they had no appeal to poets and scholars. People wanted stories about creatures horrid or beautiful, gods and monsters; listening to a legend, people wanted to be scared or be smitten. Those ruddy prickly men worked good in gift cards, but nowhere else. And so, somehow, Leprechauns became way more mysterious than gods and monsters.
She decided to start with the basis, a collage of Mrs.Wilde and Yeats’ descriptions. She scrolled it.
Leprechaun. Working fairy. Probable etymology connecting to “shoemaker”, confirmed by traditional iconography. Often described as intent on the making of a single shoe, good-willed towards honest workers and skilled artisans.
Thea rubbed her eyes. The connotation of shoemaker just linked the Leps to the artisan fairies category, like brownies and similar figures present almost worldwide. It was moreover a reference to the idea of trip, of hand-work, of the spark of magic innate in handicraft.
Of course, the crossest, or most candid interpretation would be, “he really likes shoes.” She scanned the day for any hints to shoe-fetishism on Seamus’s part, God knows the guy doesn’t need it too. Found none.
Where she was? Ah, there. Character. Whimsical. Stubborn. Mischievous. Jerk. That could fit.
She flipped back at the iconographic section. Some were her own sketches put together with dim-lighted descriptions, but the appearance of Leps was maybe the only topic Irish tales agreed on. Little, exclusively men, not taller than a child, ruddy nose from drinking and air scraping. Humble, vaguely old, funny or grotesque according to the writer’s sense of humor.
Thea tapped the mug brim, frowning.
What a strange choice, to play a Leprechaun. Really, if you hit your head hard enough to conjure up a fairy identity, you pick up something fancier. More famous. Except if he was an Anthropology scholar and, c’mon, he does not look as a scholar at all. Why a Leprechaun? Especially when you’re six feet tall and good-looking and with an absolute lack of humble clothes. It was complicated and improbable, and that was the thing, because mind’s emergency patterns were rarely either way.
Moreover he never mentioned rainbows and pots of gold. In stories the Leprechauns did grant wishes to the one catching them, but not necessarily gold. The rainbow tradition instead was largely modern bullshit.
But, wait. He, Seamus, didn’t say Lep. He said Clurichaun. Oh, what an even weirder choice. Even less info, even more ignored. Usually presented as Leps’ drunken cousins, Clurichauns were described as a messy, party-goer, lazy lot, but still the main connotation was angry. Clurichauns are fierce and prideful and infuriated with humans. Warriors. And as in every declining folk, warriors are the first to sway on pathetical.
Most experts presumed Clurichauns as a sort of darker version of Leps, but through the years Thea had come to think the other way around. Clurichauns were the old, they were the ones from a time well before gift cards. Why choosing them? How choosing them? A shiver ran along her spine and she didn’t know why.
Who was sleeping in her living room?
Fairies are not good and not bad. They are.
A crow landed on her windowsill in a flurry of wings. It looked at her, cracked and slipped away in the dark.
The coffee had gotten cold.