Friday, March 15, 2013

FFF: Rainbow Blues

Every Friday, Kurt posts a new piece of flash fiction. March is Mystery Theme Month, so guess away! This week...

Rainbow Blues
Word Count: 600

“Oi!” shouted Aengus, standing on the stool so he could reach the bar to pound on it. “Oi! We’ve got a thirsty leprechaun over here!”

The barman walked over. “What’ll you have?” he asked.

Aengus pointed at the taps. “Give me a pint of the brown with a splash of that red ale and a twist of lime.”

The barman made a face, but reached for a pint glass anyway.

“Oi,” said Aengus. “Which way is East? I always drink facing Mecca.”

“That way,” said the barman, pointing down the bar. He finished pouring, and placed the murky-looking beverage on the bar.

Aengus grabbed his glass and turned, only to see an old friend sitting alone at the other end. “Ciaran!” he shouted. “It’s been ages.” He skipped across the empty barstools towards the other leprechaun.

Ciaran slowly raised his dour face. “Aengus,” he said, nodding. The glass before him looked red and virginal.

“Oi,” said Aengus. “What’s that?”

“Cranberry juice,” said Ciaran.

“But it’s not even noon yet,” said Aengus. “Is everything okay?”

Ciaran shook his head. “Shoe factory is shutting down,” he said. “In three days, I’ll be out of a job.”

“That’s terrible,” said Aengus. “Let me buy you a proper pint. This stuff”—he pointed to the cranberry juice—“will rot your brain.”

“I don’t need your charity,” said Ciaran.

“It’s not charity to buy a pint for a friend,” said Aengus.

“Easy for you to say,” said Ciaran. “You’ve got family gold. How many centuries since you last worked?”

“Oi,” said Aengus. “Just because you’re down on your luck, that’s no reason to be gettin’ personal.”

Ciaran sighed. “I’m sorry, Aengus,” he said. “I’ve not been myself lately.”

“So, will you take that pint?” asked Aengus.

Ciaran nodded.

“Oi!” shouted Aengus, standing on his toes and holding up his pint for the barman to see. “Another one of these for my friend here!”

The barman walked it over to them. “I wish you wouldn’t put your feet on the stools,” he said.

“Granted,” said Aengus, sitting. Then he emptied his glass with a single gulp. “Now,” he said, “surely another factory is hiring.”

“Not that I’ve found,” said Ciaran. “They’re replacing us with machines.”

“Now, why on Earth would anyone do that?” asked Aengus.

“Well, for starters, machines don’t get kidnapped by wish-hungry humans,” said Ciaran. “Also, you don’t have to pay them in gold.”

“Could you strike out on your own?” asked Aengus.

“I don’t have the startup capital,” said Ciaran. “Besides, I never apprenticed. And, anyway, I don’t want to be a business owner.”

“So what do you want to do?” asked Aengus.

“I want to slip behind a rainbow and lay there until I’m dead,” said Ciaran.

“Now, that’s no way to be,” said Aengus. “Your luck will change.”

“Will it?” asked Ciaran, stroking his beard. “I’m not getting any older.”

“Tell you what,” said Aengus, “tomorrow you and I—”

“No,” said Ciaran. “This is my problem; I’ll deal with it.”

“But—” said Aengus.

“Look,” said Ciaran. “I appreciate the pint, and the kindness, but I’d really rather be alone right now.”

“I see,” said Aengus. “Well, I’ll be seeing you, then.” He headed back to the other end of the bar and took a seat there.

The barman approached. “You okay, mate?” he asked.

“I’m worried about my friend,” said Aengus.

“Well, don’t,” said the barman. “He’ll land on his feet; you folk always do. You want another one of those nasty things?” he asked, pointing at Aengus’s empty glass.

“Nah,” said the Leprechaun. “Give me a cranberry juice.”

Edited by Carolyn "Get Me To The Stage On Time" Abram.

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