A POT of GLIMMER
Ireland’s Prince Liam, a talented storyteller,
has spent the morning amusing young hospital patients
with tales about leprechauns.
Mission accomplished, he joins his cousin Kevin for lunch,
but his failed romance with Janet intrudes.
A multigenerational lunch crowd sat throughout the dining room. Sports programs played on a trio of televisions set above the sleek oak bar. Chatting patrons sat on barstools. Waitresses scurried by, and at last, the hostess returned to the station where the cousins waited. Clearly aware of who they were, she sat them at a hearthside table screened by plants from public view. Once she’d assured them that someone would be right over, she returned to her duties.
Kevin never looked at the menu here. He always got the Thai curry. “There’s no better prawns in Ireland,” he said, his enraptured expression comical. “You must be starved after talking so much about leprechauns.”
Liam skimmed the daily specials and opted for fish and chips. “It’s a fine way to work up an appetite, Kev. The kids always love that story.”
“Do you suppose they’re real?” Kevin’s eyes darted as if he expected a fairy invasion. “The leprechauns?”
“Who knows? I’ve never met one, but before last summer, I’d never met the King of the Connaught Fairies.”
Kevin shivered. He’d met King Finvarra beneath Clontarf Castle. “Or the water fairies that bollixed you and Janet.”
“Me and who?”
“Yeah, Janet. Come on, Li. You don’t go messing with fairies together and not recall the girl’s name. Janet.”
“Janet with the golden hair that flows to her shoulders in sun-drenched clouds? Janet whose sapphire eyes have wounded many a helpless man? Janet with the heart-shaped face a perfect blend of lilies and roses? Janet whose coral lips utter words with a voice that could teach the birds to sing? Janet who lives at Deerfield House and goes to school in Wicklow?”
Kevin smirked. “Yeah. That Janet.”
“Can’t say I remember her.”
Kevin’s rolling eyes seemed to summon the waitress. If she knew who they were, she paid them no special mind.
She took their orders and filled their water glasses.
After she left, Kevin leaned forward. “No girl is worth it, Li. You’re being dazzled by a clip-on halo. There’s a power of other girls out there, and you a feckin’ prince.”
Liam ripped the paper top from his straw and stirred it through his water. “I’ve dated other girls, but whenever I think of Janet, I feel like a swarm of bees is trapped in my throat.”
“There’s no cure for it but to put it under your foot. One look forward beats two looks back, and all that. We’ll watch the semi-finals tonight. Maybe a flick. Shoot some snooker.”
“Thanks, Kev. That’ll distract me for the next two days.”
“What happens in two days?”
“The feckin’ Fourth of July thing at Deerfield House.”
“Why are you going to that? You don’t have to.”
“According to my father, I do. I hope you’re going.”
“Yeah, and so are my parents. Good will and all. They like Ambassador Gleason and his wife. It ought to be a good time.”
“For you, maybe. I’m in a right pucker over it.”
“There’ll be tons of people. Maybe you won’t even see her.”
Kevin unfolded his napkin and set it on his lap. “So be polite. Say hello, and we’ll get lost in the crowd. It’s only for a couple of hours. At least there’ll be no fairies there.”
The waitress returned with their lunch. Kevin attacked his prawns and peas and basmati rice.
Liam sprinkled vinegar over his beer-battered haddock. He could wear steel to protect himself from fairies. What would protect him from Janet?
There’s no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. Only mud.