Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shamrock Shaken (WW)

Author's Ramblings: A quick note to my loyal readers, apologies for missing last week's Friday Fiction. The current excuse I'm sticking with is life and WAY too much homework. Feel free to blame my professors-lol. (Who are wonderful and hard-working, btw). So instead, I'm offering a special seasonal short piece (just written, no edits) as a consolation while you wait for Friday to come 'round again. It does have a touch of romance in it and virtually no actual plot as far as monsters and zapping people, but hey--read and comment. Let me know what you think. 

Pryce was waiting for me by the front porch when I finally stomped to the front window to see what the ruckus was about. He was holding my cat in one arm, cuddled against his chest and leaning against my car, triggering the security alarm.

I don’t know if it was his boldness that annoyed me or the fact that my father did not budge from his position behind the morning paper when he mentioned the lack of peace and quiet. Either way, I started the morning quite horribly with no inspiration from either of them.

Dad instructed me to get going and to brush my teeth before I left, so I wouldn’t be late. Late to where, was the question on the tip of my tongue that I didn’t ask as I left the half-eaten English muffin to brush my teeth. It was St. Patrick’s day, though what it had to do with green things, luck and little men with beards was beyond me.

I just wanted another normal school day. Normal, at least for me. I didn’t quite care about everyone else, if they wanted to waltz around in their happy silly fantasies of another contrived holiday, then I wasn’t going to burst their happy bubble.

Pryce was left outside with the cats while I scrubbed my teeth and brushed my hair, snapping it into submission with a tight, high ponytail. The decisive swish offered an encouraging air as I swept out of the house, backpack, laptop and purse in hand.

“Jacket.” I muttered, thrusting the baggage at Pryce. “and put Princess down, she doesn’t like strangers.”

“I’m a stranger?” He asked, with all the mock horror he could bring to his oddly long face. “No green?” His light green eyes skittered quickly over my thrown together outfit of the day. “You’re not that late.” The bags were carefully stowed in the backseat and he surfaced to hear my answers.

“Yes. Yes. No.” I whirled around fast enough to be slapped by the power ponytail. Spitting the tips out of my mouth, I fixed my best guy friend with my very best glare.

He weathered it like a champion, breaking the staring match to set my fluffy Siamese on the gravel driveway. “Sleep late?”

“None of your business.” I stepped in to nudge him away from the driver’s side of my care. “Move. I’m late.”

“I was hoping I could give you a ride-”

“I can drive myself.”

“Or you could give me a ride.”

I stopped to stare at him, minus the glare. A quick glance showed his car parked directly behind mine, exactly where it had been minutes before. He’d have to move it if he was riding with me, meaning there was nothing wrong with the car. “There’s nothing wrong with your car.”

“You would begrudge me a friendly-”

“What are you doing here?” I snapped. “I’m not up to playing your little games and-” One hand opened directly in front of my face and a tiny gold pendant swung in front of my face, with a green, four-leaf clover on the front.

It was pretty.

I was speechless.

Pryce took that moment to circle around me and fasten it to my neck from behind. “Happy Saint Paddy’s day.” He whispered in my ear. “Is that enough of a bargaining chip for a ride to school?”

“C-car’s not clean.” I licked my lips, one hand automatically moving up to inspect my new treasure. It really was pretty. I wondered how much he’d spent on it. As a fellow college student, there wasn’t much afforded on a minimum wage paycheck for part-time help.

“I’ll clean.” He took the keys from my hand. “I’m very small and I don’t take up a lot of room.” He flashed a smile. “We can even  stop for coffee.”

My face scrunched up into a grimace, the standard reflex action for the distasteful word. “No coffee.”

“Okay.” He shrugged. “Go wear something green…you have time.”

I looked down at the scuffy velour pants and hoodie. There had to be a pair of clean jeans in the back of the closet. “Fine.”

Another quick dash in the house and five minutes later, I’d struggled into black corduroys, a Green-Lantern Comic T-Shirt, transitioning from power ponytail to relaxed headband—gold, of course. A few fingers poked in various plastic containers, produced cover-up to hide the shadows beneath my eyes, green to decorate the eyelids and a smear of pink for lips and cheeks. Shoving my feet into sneakers over sandals, I took the steps two at a time and swiped the keys from Pryce.

“In. I’m driving.”

He grinned, having already moved his car in my absence and added his backpack to the backseat.


The ride wasn’t as bad as I thought it was and neither was the day. We didn’t go out for coffee, instead Pryce humored me in chasing around the city in search of the elusive Shamrock Shake by McDonald’s.

“It’s a milkshake?” He clarified as I pulled into the third parking lot.

“Yes.” I shifted into park and turned the key. “It’s a chocolate mint, but it’s green. I want it.”

“I see.” There was a pause. “Let me try this time, wait here.”

For lack of a decent excuse, I let him, watching as he walked across the parking lot, straight red hair just a tad longer than his ears. It blew softly in the wind and I took the moment to survey him from the back through the rearview mirror. He was wearing a green hoodie, olive pants and the usual battered shoes. He could be a leprechaun…if he was shorter…had a beard…and a hat…and a belt buckle…and actual luck.

I almost smiled as his image disappeared from view. That thought was farther out there than the idea of his giving me a gift. I stared down at the pendant, then pushed the thoughts away, drumming out songs on the steering wheel to pass the time.

About fifteen minutes later, he reemerged, two white cups in hand, trying very hard not to smile. I took mine through the window and waited until he’d climbed into the car and fiddled with his seatbelt. “They had it?” I didn’t dare examine the contents without the first hint of a clue.

“Green milkshake…chocolate mint flavor?” He took a loud slurp from his own and stared straight ahead. “Where are we headed next?”

I popped the plastic cover off and stared at the green inside. I’d chased this particular milkshake for years and had yet to stumble across one, yet the moment he walks across the—I shook my head. “Where’s the receipt?”

“My treat.” He said, quickly.

“I can pay for myself.” I snorted. “and I can take a treat too. I just wanna see the receipt.”

“Too many people…too busy…don’t have one.” He took another deliberate slurp.

My suspicions were getting a little too wacky as I mentally reviewed the day’s events and their equally strange circumstances. A slight shudder went through me.

“Are you okay?” The green eyes grew wide. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m convincing myself that you’re not a leprechaun.” My traitor mouth answered.

He took the answer, puzzled it over and then nudged my milkshake up. “Drink. It’ll help.”

I did.

It didn’t.

“It’s not…possible…you’re…” I shook my head. “No…just, no.”

“Right.” He agreed. “Keep drinking.”

“Is this a date?”

A strange look passed over his face and he paused in mid-slurp. Then, he dabbed his mouth with a napkin and thought some more. “Is it?”

“I don’t know. I asked first.”

He leaned over and kissed my cheek, cold lips, minty-chocolate breath. “Lovely. Now it is.”

The smile wriggling out onto my face couldn’t be restrained. I drank my milkshake and breathed through my nose. “Happy Saint Patty’s day, Pryce.”

© Sara Harricharan


Yvonne said...

Love YOU!