Long story short: at the now-defunct Blogstream, my friend Sharon (aka Willard Clark) and I used to collaborate on stories and poems about a fictional Knobite Corner psychic called Madame Sadie. This St. Patrick’s Day adventure was one of our earliest, dating from 2008 or 2009.
Madame had, back in the day, a horrible crush on a once-famous British psychic–who was later exposed as a fraud–and used to chase him all over the world. On that St. Pat’s Day, she had just returned from one such expedition, and herb doctor and granny woman Aunt Ornery (also Sharon ;)) was not happy about it.
But on to our story. . .
Since Willard had to work on St. Patrick’s Day, she and I got together a day or two early to celebrate our Irishness. We had no plans–other than checking in on our psychic friend, Madame Sadie. Neither of us had seen her since her return from her trip across the pond. We gathered, from some hints Aunt Ornery had let slip, that Madame’s trip had not been a success; Auntie, unfortunately, would give us no particulars. She’d just shake her head and grumble about that old bat and something to do with watered-down cherry bark cough syrup.
We hopped into Willard’s SUV and rode down the creek, bouncing plans for later off each other. We’d turned onto the lane to go up the holler when–eeeEEE-KKKKK!–Willard slammed on the brakes, narrowly avoiding making mud out of a short man, dressed head to foot in green, who leaped into the middle of the road, waving his arms wildly and shouting loud enough to wake the dead.
Willard shoved the SUV into park and we both flung ourselves out, ready to hang the little twerp up by his suspenders, when up behind him loomed the most terrifying apparition I ever hope to see in my life: Madame Sadie, wearing nothing but her possum skin bikini and a pair of bright green Chuck Taylors, flailing the air with a pink butterfly net. It was evident that she was chasing the leprechaun–as I now realized the little man was–and, if she hadn’t been drunk as a skunk, would have caught him long before now.
The little man had sized Willard and me up and realized we’re Irish hillbillies–her hair’s flaming red (this week) and me–well. . .Willard dove forward just in time to keep Madame from dropping the butterfly net neatly over his head, and he shrieked at me, in an accent more Brooklynese than Dublinese, Mistress Fairweather! Mistress Fairweather! Sanctuary! SANK-CHEW-AIRY!!!
I didn’t hesitate. I ran back to the SUV, dove across the armrest into the driver’s seat, and, with the little man clinging desperately to the passenger’s side rear-view mirror, reversed and made a turn that would have made a Hollywood stunt driver weep with pride. As I put it in drive and took off I roared over my shoulder at Willard, “Stall her! I’ll be back in a few minutes to pick you up!”
The little man had managed to climb into the open window and flop into the passenger’s seat. “Thankee, Mistress Fairweather,” he panted. “The old bat about had me.”
“So I saw,” I said drily. “What was she after? Your pot of gold?”
“Worse,” he said. “Worse.”
“Surely not yer lucky charms?”
That insulted him. He didn’t say another word till we were back at the house. I knew I had to hide him, but I didn’t dare take him inside; God knows what kind of germs the little shrimp might have given Mom, just for spite over that “lucky charms” crack. I finally took him out to the corncrib. Blackadder followed us at a safe distance; when we stopped, just outside the corncrib, he gave Shorty–as I now thought of the little man–a good smellover. He didn’t like what he smelled. He looked pleased when I shoved Shorty into the corncrib. “Don’t try to get out till I come back,” I told him through a crack in the wall. “I’ll let you out when the coast is clear.”
Blackadder promptly mounted guard duty, as only a cat can do. When I pulled out of the driveway and looked back he was marching back and forth in front of the corncrib door, tail in the air and a militant sneer on his face.
I took my time getting back to Madame’s. To be frank, I wasn’t sure what condition her condition would be in. Luckily, just as I pulled into Madame’s drive, Willard came out onto the porch, shutting the door behind her. I climbed across into the passenger’s seat; she got in on the driver’s side and, for a moment, laid her head on the steering wheel. “Was it that bad?” I asked.
Where had I heard that before?
“What the hell was the old bat up to? Shorty told me the same thing when I asked if she was after his pot of gold.”
“She wanted him for a lawn sculpture.”
“She saw him out that big front window and–well, she’s been drinking Guinness the last couple of days and it’s made her goofier than usual. She mistook him for a gnome and thought he’d look cute standing in her tulip bed.” Willard shuddered. “I got her back in the house and gave her a hair of the dog. She’s sleeping it off now.”
By now we were back to the house. Blackadder was still on guard duty in front of the corncrib. I swear he tried to snap a salute when I said teasingly, “You’re relieved of duty, Sergeant Blackadder.” He stalked away, then broke into a slow trot as he headed toward the house–no doubt to tell Mom about his big adventure.
Shorty’s clothes were covered in cornhusks, but otherwise he was fine. Willard told him, “She’s asleep back at her place, but you’d better clear out. I can’t guarantee she won’t chase you if she sees you again.”
“Thanks for savin’ me, Mistress Willard and Mistress Fairweather,” he piped.
Willard said, “How about leading us to that pot of gold?” and grinned. She knew as well as I did that the pot of gold was strictly for the tourist trade.
“Turn your backs and I’ll leave a little somethin’ for yer troubles.”
We raised an eyebrow at each other but turned our backs. We heard a thump and a few tinkling sounds, and then jumped as we both felt PINCHES ON OUR BUTTS!
We turned in a hurry, but the little man was gone. But he had indeed left something–a cast-iron pot full of–gold wrapped Godiva chocolates!
I said through a mouthful, a few minutes later, “Been a long time since I got pinched on the ass.”
“Me too, and I better not tell my man,” said Willard. She thought for a moment, then added pensively, “Thank God I wasn’t wearing my Daisy Dukes.”
Any resemblance to persons, living or legendary, is purely intentional.
Happy St. Pat’s, everybody!
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