I’m happy to offer you a thoroughly unpleasant piece of flash fiction as my contribution to the chain. Warnings for language and violence. If you choose to read on? Enjoy! And remember, never listen to a leprechaun. Click the links after the story to find out all the other things the leprechaun said.
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The Luck of The Irish
Riona climbed gingerly out of the cab and tottered on six inch heels down the rutted road into the Rainbow Trailer Park, clutching her coat around her to deflect the icy Michigan wind. As the sun started to peek over the horizon, she touched the back of her hand to her swollen lip, then opened the door to the dirty yellow trailer.
Paddy was on the couch as usual, scratching at his scraggly red beard, empty Guinness cans scattered all around and the ashtray overflowing. He scowled at her over the top of the book he’d been reading: American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Riona took off her coat and dropped it on a chair, then slipped out of her shoes, grimacing with relief. “How’s the book?”
“Fucking shite, you illiterate cunt. Why are you back so early?”
She sat on the chair and lowered her head. Best not to look him in the eye. He’d take it as a challenge. “Rough night,” she whispered. “I was unlucky.”
“Useless fucking whore,” he muttered. “Here, something for you.”
She looked up just in time to be hit in the face with the empty Guinness can he had thrown. She lowered her head again, staring at her swollen feet. He couldn’t help being angry. He hadn’t slept in ever so long.
‘Well, make yourself useful, woman. Breakfast.” He chortled merrily. “Fried potatoes will hit the spot.” He returned to his book.
“Right, Paddy. I’ll just take a quick shower first.” She stood.
“Hey. Bitch.” He clicked his fingers, then held out his hand. “My money.”
Riona slid a hand into her coat pocket and pulled out a rolled-up wad of bills. “Here.” She tossed it to him, then scurried to the bathroom before he could raise an objection or a fist.
Soon, she was in the shower, resting her head against the side of the stall as the overly-hot water washed away the stench of stale sweat and semen. Washed away, too, her tears. Why had she done it, all those years ago? Even with the gnawing pain in her belly, the bitter taste of starvation in her mouth, she should have known better. Was it a hundred years ago? Two hundred? “Kiss me once,” he’d said, as they sat under the arc of a rainbow. “And I will take you on the next ship that sails to America, where the streets are said to be paved with gold and you shall eat potatoes every day and never be hungry again. Kiss me once. Be mine forever.”
He hadn’t lied. And she’d never once known him to sleep, though she’d waited and hoped and waited. She stepped out of the shower and toweled herself dry, scrubbing away with the rough fabric. Hurriedly, she threw on some clothes. He wouldn’t wait long for his food. Lord, how she wished she could never see a potato again.
She attempted to move quietly into the kitchen without catching his notice. No luck.
“Fetch my money, you fucking peasant. I want to count it.”
Riona picked up the large earthenware pot from the kitchen counter, heaving with the effort, and carried it to him. In her rush to appease him, she tripped over the shoes she’d left on the floor and the pot went flying towards Paddy.
She covered her face with her hands, cringing, and waited for the beating.
She peeked through her fingers at Paddy. He wasn’t moving. The pot was on his chest and, unbelievably, a trickle of blood ran down his temple. She moved closer and picked up the pot. Thrust it above her head. And brought it smashing down on his face. She lifted it again. His nose was broken and pulpy, his unfocused eyes fluttering in confusion. Again. Again. Again, she hit him, the bills and coins flying everywhere, onto the blood-stained couch, over the brain-spattered book. She stopped, exhausted. Trembling. Smiling.
She grabbed a bag from the bedroom and stuffed it as full of clean money as she could. She’d earned it, after all. Every last penny. On her back, on her knees, in the back seats of cars, up dark alleys in the rain. She put on her coat and some sensible shoes, then fled the trailer, running as fast as she could over the rutted ground, laughing into the pale dawn. After all the years, she was finally free. She oriented herself to the sun and turned eastwards. Towards Ireland. In the direction of the village where everyone she’d once known had long since rotted in their graves. Riona didn’t care. Her luck had finally changed.
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