Disclaimer: I don´t own a bit of this awesome Disney-movie "The Luck of the Irish". I just loved to watch it - for so many reasons.
The score was 36:38. So far everything was still possible in this game. The audience cheered and booed as good as their vocal chords allowed them too without suffering from a soar throat the next day. The opposing team had the ball and their lead player was just heading for the hoop with it. That was until someone came in his way and stole the ball from him, taking it right out of his dribbling and continuing with his own as if it had been a well trained choreography. It happened so suddenly that the player the ball had just been stolen from, couldn´t believe his own eyes. After he had overcome the shock he turned around to follow the ball thief. But it was already too late. The ball had already been shot through the hoop and the score of the home team changed from 38 to 40. The audience cheered and chanted the name of the shooter in victory.
„Kyle – Kyle – Kyle!"
Kyle Johnson caught the ball, his teammate Russel threw at him after he had stopped it from jumping out of the field.
„Dumb lucky guy, hm?" the dark-faced man called.
„How long are you gonna ride that scooter?" Kyle replied laughing. „Luck´s got nothing to do with that."
„Yeah." Kyle assured still grinning. „Just look." and with that he kept dribbling again, around the opposite players that tried to block his way.
The leader he had owned with his little stunt before was now back and eager to get the ball back. Kyle threw a look at his friend Russel, which he could see through the waving arms of his opponent and gave him a nod. At the next opportunity that represented itself to him, he jumped up and threw the ball over to Russel. Only that his opponent had jumped up right in the same moment. He was too slow to keep the ball from leaving Kyle´s hands but the movement he had started went on and instead of blocking the ball, he hit Kyle pinpointed at the nose. They went down and hit the ground together. The audience exclaimed a sound of surprise and sympathy.
Kyle was holding his nose and when he looked at his fingers there was some blood on them. A moment later he looked up into the faces of Russel and his coach.
„Everything all right, Kyle?" the big man asked.
„Yeah." he managed it to say and sat up. „Just give me a minute."
„Man, that was some luck." Russel commented when he helped him stand up.
„Shut up." Kyle growled still holding his bleeding nose.
„Free throw for the Souring Eagles." he heard someone shout. The next thing he heard was the voice of his girlfriend who came running to the field.
„Kyle." she cried. „How bad is it?"
„He´s gonna live." Russel assured her and earned himself a fist into his shoulder from Kyle. „Excuse me." he then said nonchalantly. „Duty calls." and with that he was back in the game while Kyle sat down on the bench for a moment.
„Here." Bonny said and gave him a tissue to wipe off the blood.
„Thanks." he said. „Man, that was a ten points hit, wasn´t it?"
„Hey, Kyle." his coach appeared by his side. „How is it?"
„No big deal." Kyle assured him. „I´m back in a moment."
In this moment the audience started to cheer again, when Russel had buried the ball with his free throw and the game went on the usual way.
„Take your time, Kyle." Bonny demanded when she saw his face. „Your team can afford a minute without you."
He looked at her and couldn´t help but smiled. „All right." he agreed. He wiped his nose and then presented it to her for examination. „How is it?" he asked.
„Awful." she said. „He didn´t hit you enough to change that."
He grinned at her and she mirrored the grin.
„It looks better." she finally said. „I guess it wasn´t that bad after all. You´ll live."
„Good to know." he said.
She chuckled and looked down for a second. When she noticed something she took the tissue from his hand and started to clean something with it. He looked down at himself a little startled.
„There was some blood on your coin." she explained and wiped the old family-talisman clean. „We don´t want your luck to be a bloody one, do we?"
„Funny." he said. „I thought that only the British are talking like that."
„Well, if you remember Northern Ireland is part of the British empire." she put on her lecture voice.
„My mom´s from the south." he replied.
Bonny gave him a face that said smartass. Then she leaned forward and placed a short kiss on his mouth. „For the good luck." she said. „And now move your ass and get back in the game."
He didn´t wait for her to say it twice.
The next day was a day off for Kyle. The Souring Eagles had won the game 62:58. And no, not just because of him. He was the star in the eyes of the public but Kyle was well aware of the fact that there was no one-man-team in this world. The whole team had played good and Kyle knew exactly where he would be without them. At least not on the way to the next State Aggies that was for sure. And for a team like theirs, that had started as a junior high basketball team, this meant something. Things had always been rough in the game and not all of their players were full time basketball players, but somehow they had made it. In two weeks they would have a really important game. The one that would decide if they would get further or if they would stay where they were, another year of hard training and careful hopes before them. But if things kept going the way they had so far, Kyle was confident that they could make it.
He unconsciously touched the little gold coin around his neck. This little talisman from his family that had served him with good luck all his life long. Being the offspring of a leprechaun clan did have its advantages. But it didn´t mean that Kyle would rely only on his good luck. There had been a time in his life when he had done that and he had had to learn his lesson in a rather serious way. But he had learned it and no matter how often Russel loved to tease him with that, he didn´t trust his luck to make up for missing skills.
He looked at the coin in his hand musing. No he didn´t. And Russel knew that too. He just loved it to tease him with it, that was all. He knew him too long to really believe that. He had been there ten years ago, when Seamus McTiernan had almost stole this luck from him and his family. And by the way. Russel wasn´t in a position to mock him with that anyway. He still wore the coin Kyle´s grandfather had given to him in that fateful game ten years ago. He had it in his shoe for every game they had and that though he knew it was fake. So who was the superstitious guy around here?
In this moment something caught Kyle´s attention. There was a tiny discoloration at the edge of the coin. It was only on one side of it. First he thought it was just a shadow but when he moved it around he saw that it was indeed on the metal. Was that some of the blood he had lost at it yesterday? He wiped it with his sleeve but the dark edge remained dark. Strange. What could that be?
He was still busy examining this stain, when the door was opened and Bonny came in. She entered the kitchen and placed a bag with groceries on the counter. She had been out to restore their food before she would head to work. Kyle looked up to greet her but too late for her not to notice that there was something that had startled him.
„What is it?" she asked immediately, already guessing that it had to do with his gold charm.
He sighed and showed her the discoloration. She seemed much more concerned about it than he was. „What do you think it means?" she asked him.
„I didn´t say it means anything." he protested. „I just said its weird. Maybe its some persistent dirt thats all."
„When did you ever have persistent dirt on your coin?" she demanded to know. „Exactly."
„Well, its an old coin." he said. „Who knows, maybe its a natural reaction of the metal. Many things change their color after some time. And a few hundred years is some time, don´t you think?"
„I don´t know." she sighed. „I don´t like this. Maybe you should take this more serious. This isn´t some random coin."
„Hey, I know what it is. You don´t need to tell me."
„Obviously I do." she argued. „God dammit, Kyle. I though you´d learned not to take your luck for granted."
„I did." he assured her and got an ah-yeah?-look in return. „Okay." he said. „If you feel better, I´ll ask Russel."
„I wasn´t thinking of Russel." Bonny said but Kyle just went on.
„Maybe there is some reason why gold should change its colour." he insisted. „He´ll know. And then we can close that case."
„If there is a reason, science can explain." she insisted on her point too.
„I´m sure there is." he said. „I mean … what other reason could it have?" He saw the face she gave him and regretted that he had asked this question at all. „Don´t worry." he said. „I talk to Rus and then …"
„I´ll call him." she said taking out her cell phone.
„Not now!" Kyle cried. „He´s at work. He told me over and over not to call him in the lab."
„But this is different."
„No its not. I´m sure it can wait until his shift is over." Bonny looked at him with her usual disappointed dark puppy-eyes. „Don´t worry." he repeated. „I´ll call him. Later. I promise."
„All right." she finally said with a sigh. „I need to go back to the office anyway. The buss company wants some up to date informations about the teams schedule for the game."
„See you this afternoon." he said, looking at her uncertain.
„Yeah." was all the reply she gave him and then she left.
But of course she wouldn´t just drop the subject so easily. Just because Kyle refused to take this serious didn´t mean that she would do so as well. She had barely left the house when she took out her cell phone and dialed Russel´s number. She got an answer after five rings. He probably had been busy with something.
„Russel Holloway." he said. He had been obviously too busy to even look at the caller ID before answering.
„Hey, Russel, its me." she said.
„Bonny." he cried. „Man, how often do I have to tell you guys that I can´t chat with you during my working time? I almost burned the top of my table because of you."
„Sorry, Rus, but this is important." she said.
„I know the organisation of the trip and the game is important for you. But hey … your boss won´t kill you if you´ll be a little slower than light speed this time."
„Its not about the trip, Russel." she cut him off. „Its about Kyle´s gold charm."
„What about it?" now he sounded a little more interested.
„There is a discoloration on the edge of it." she told him. „I don´t know what it is and I wanted to ask you if there is any chance … of it being just a metallurgic reaction."
There was a brief silence on the other end.
„Russel?" she asked. „You still there?"
„Listen, Bonny." Russel said.
„There is no reason, is there?" she guessed.
„I don´t know yet." he said in a don´t-freak-out-right-away-tone. „I just can´t think of any reaction that could be caused by the metal on its own. Gold doesn´t oxidate, thats all I can say so far. Maybe its just some sticky dirt." He sighed. „Look. I´ll come over and have a look at it this afternoon, okay?"
„Okay." she said.
„Okay. See ya later then. I need to clean up the mess you just caused me. Bye, Bonny."
„Bye." she said and hung up. It did release her a little that Russel would see to it but still, there was this nasty voice in the back of her head that gnawed on her mind, insisting on the possibility that it was something more serious than just dirt. This whole business with the leprechauns had taught her to expect everything from a shrinking boyfriend over instant place to place teleportations to occasional magically incidents, which admittedly usually contained good things but it didn´t matter. When you lived and breathed the traditions of a leprechaun clan for ten years, you had no choice but to develop a feeling for things that were out of order. And there was definitely something off with this discoloring coin. She just hoped it wouldn´t be too bad.
Russel dropped by at four twenty, just as he had promised. He brought all possible things and instruments with him, neither Kyle nor Bonny could imagine what their purpose was. To find out what had caused the discoloration he said. That alone told Bonny that Russel was as concerned about this as she was. The only one who seemed still too calm about it, at least for her taste, was Kyle.
Russel was bowed over the table, looking at the coin through a magnifier, sprinkling it with some fluids, scratching at the discoloration but with no result whatsoever. All his investigation ended in a dead end. For him it must seem as if there wasn´t any discoloration in the first place. That at least was it what his tests said.
„Sorry, man." he said eventually and shook his head. „I did everything I could with this thing. I have no idea what that is. Its no dirt, thats all I can tell you."
„But what then?" Kyle asked.
Instead of answering Russel looked at Kyle in a strange way.
„What?" Kyle asked confused.
„Nothing." Russel said. „Just checking if your ears are getting pointy."
„Skip it." Kyle demanded with an angry frown. „Maybe its something in the metal." he then suggested.
Russel just shrugged. „To find that out I´d have to take a sample." he said.
„I´m not sure if that is a good idea." Kyle replied uncomfortable and his right hand went up to his ear, making sure it truly wasn´t pointy yet. Russel just shrugged again.
„Kyle, you have to talk to your grandfather." Bonny insisted. She had heard enough. Something was wrong and she wouldn´t let him ignore that.
He seemed to realize her determination because he lowered his gaze and nodded obediently.
„You guys want to go immediately?" Russel asked and held up his keys. „I can give you a ride."
Of course they took the offer and together they drove over to the big "Emerald Isle" potato ships factory at the city limits. They parked at the visitors parking lot and walked up to the front entrance. The man who sat behind the counter today was Mike McFadden and when Bonny saw him, she groaned in silence, already knowing what would come now.
„We´d like to see Mr. O´Reilly." Kyle said as politely as he could, when they reached him. It was a mystery to Bonny how he could keep up this politeness anyway, though he knew very well that McFadden knew him and that he didn´t like him a bit.
McFadden looked up at them with the usual grim face and took the receiver of his phone to ask if Mr. O´Reilly was available. Bonny had to restrain another groan. One should think that being the grandson of the factory´s owner would gain Kyle a bit of special treatment and if it was just when it came to visit his own grandfather. But this guy McFadden just wouldn´t differ from the protocol of how to treat visitors. After a minute of talking he put the phone back in its cradle and turned back to them.
„Mr. O´Reilly awaits you in his office." he said firmly.
„Thanks." Kyle said. „We know the way."
McFadden gave them a pinched smile and pushed the button that opened the door for them that led into the part of the building, where Mr. O´Reilly had his office. They took the elevator up to the business story and headed down the hallway until they reached the door with the golden nameplate that read Reilly O´Reilly.
Bonny just reached out her hand for the doorhandle when the door was opened and the little old man stood before her. The familiar features of Kyles grandfather, that she had gotten so used to over the years. The white hair, the clear blue eyes and the pale skin that talked so strongly about the man´s Irish heritage. The only difference she noticed was the little beard O´Reilly had grown now. It wasn´t as long as it had been ten years ago, when Kyle had lost his lucky coin but it hung down at least a few inches, still not touching his chest though. She thought it looked rather civilized so far.
Now that O´Reilly saw her, his features lightened up in a bright smile. „Ah, Miss Lopez." he greeted her. „How are ya today? Its been a while."
Bonny immediately smiled back at him. She didn´t know how he did it, but even if she was upset with something, the old man always made her smile. Maybe it was the blarney, she sometimes mused. „I´m fine thanks." she said.
„Wow." Russel cried next to her. „Check out this beard. Since when do you have that?"
„I just thought I try a moo traditional look forra change." O´Reilly explained proudly in his strong accent. „Makes me look a wee more distinguished, dusn´t it?"
„Granda." Kyle cried and shoved himself through Bonny and Russel. „I need your help. Its about my coin."
O´Reilly´s smile vanished in an instant and he looked around for a second as if afraid someone might hide behind the next plant to listen to their talk. Then he waved for them to come inside.
„What is it this time, boyo?" he demanded to know.
Kyle took off his coin and showed it to him. The instant the old man´s eyes fell on the coin his gaze want deadly serious.
„Since when is it like this?" he demanded to know.
Kyle just shrugged. „Since today, I guess. Maybe yesterday but not longer."
„Are ya sure about it?"
Again Kyle could just shrug. „I guess." he said. „Look. I usually don´t check my coin every day for unexpected discolorations."
„What does it mean, Mr. O´Reilly." Bonny wanted to know.
„Oooh this isn´t good." O´Reilly shook his head. „When the luck of a leprechaun turns dark, it always talks about sumthin dark thats cuming upon us."
„What do you mean?" Kyle asked. „What´s coming?"
„I don´t know!" O´Reilly cried. „You have to find out. Oh, Bonny! Bonny, give me that atlas there. Its under me desk."
Bonny hurried over to the massive mahogany desk and bend down to get the equally massive book out. She hefted it up and lay it on top of the desk.
„What do you want with that?" Kyle asked confused.
„I want to find out where it comes from." O´Reilly explained and turned to Bonny. „Open it." he said.
„Where what comes from?" Russel asked still confused about the whole subject.
„What map do you need?" Bonny asked O´Reilly.
„Start with North Amerika." the old man said. „And let´s hope it is originated here and not somewhere on the other end of the world."
Bonny flipped through the big pages of the atlas until she found the right map. O´Reilly placed the coin back in Kyles hand in a way that it was dangling from his hand like a pendulum and shoved the young man behind his desk.
„What am I supposte to do?" Kyle asked confused.
„Just hold it over the map, boyo." O´Reilly told him. „The coin will do the rest."
Kyle did as his grandfather had instructed him and let the golden coin dangle over the atlas. First there was just the usual movement of an object that wasn´t at rest yet, but soon the swinging really seemed to gain some life. The coin started to swing around the map in wider and wider circles.
„Man, what are we doing here?" Russel cried. „Some pendulum treasure hunt or what?"
Bonny shushed him, her eyes fixed intently on the moving coin. Now the circles had started to become more rough and it was dangling sometimes here sometimes there, making its way in a triangle course over the map. And was it just her imagination or was at least one point that this pendulum kept brushing again and again, the fateful lake Eerie? But then the coin stopped brushing over the drawn shores of Eerie and swung into another direction.
One point that was pretty solid though was their own hometown here in Utah. Of course it was. The coin was here after all. The last point in that former triangle was the west coast. And as the swinging went on, it was clear that this would be the place it would eventually find its target. A few minutes later it was more than just a guess, it was unmistakable. The coin had found the place where it had wanted to be.
„Santa Barbara?" Russel cried. „What the heck is in Santa Barbara?"
„That´s what you´ll have to find out, boyo!" O´Reilly told his grandson.
Kyle looked so pale Bonny had never seen him before. „What will I find there?" he asked and it was obvious that he was scared.
„I don´t know." O´Reilly said. „But you must go. Who knows what the coin is trying to warn us of."
„He can´t go now!" Bonny cried. „His team has a game in two weeks. In Logan."
Everybody looked at her unsure what to say. She felt pretty stupid herself. Of course she knew how ridiculous this objection was, especially in a situation like this. But it was the only thing she had known to say. To have at least some argument to bring up against the idea of Kyle going somewhere where it could possibly dangerous.
„Bonny." he now said and reached out for her. She wanted to back away but he didn´t allow it. He hold her at her arms and made her look him in the eyes. „I have to go." he said. „I need to find out what all this means and … if there is anything I can do …"
„I know." she said and tried desperately not to tear up. „I just …" but she didn´t know what.
„I know." he said and hugged her.
„Don´t worry." Russel said. „I go with him. I make sure he doesn´t get in too much trouble."
„I would come with you too." Bonny said. „But my boss will kill me if I leave him now. The trip has to be prepared and the bus company still hasn´t signed the contract. Not to mention the hotel reservations and all the …"
„I think we got it." Russel cut her off. He knew her long enough to know that in this state he actually did her a favour by doing so.
„We´ll take care." Kyle promised her and she nodded. She knew they would. But damn how she hated it that she had to let them go.
„Don´t forget, boyo." Reilly O´Reilly told his grandson when they were at the station, ready to get in the train. „If there is any trouble over there, that you can´t handle on your own … call me and I´ll be there as fast as a rainbow appears in the sky. Maybe even faster. Depends on how urgent it is. And the traffic conditions of course."
„I will, Granda." Kyle promised with a chuckle. „And remember. No word to mom and dad about this. They would just worry."
„Trust me on this." the old man said.
Kyle nodded and turned to Bonny. „Same goes for you." he told her just to make sure.
She smiled a forced smile at him over this making her take up her promise. „Don´t worry." she said. „I won´t tell them."
„Thanks." he said and he really meant it. He didn´t want his parents to worry about him. They might decide to come after him and he didn´t want to deal with them too. He had no idea what would await him and Russel in Santa Barbara but he had the bad feeling that it would be already enough to watch out for themselves.
„Just be careful." Bonny demanded now.
„Its probably nothing anyway." he claimed and she nodded though she knew better than that.
„Lets go, Kyle." Russel urged. „The train leaves in a minute."
So he kissed Bonny one last time and then they got into the train. The train that would bring them to the west coast and the distant city of Santa Barbara. And to whatever would wait for them in this strange city under the bright and warm California sun.
Authors note: I tried to do some research on the basketball part of this story but since I am not too deep into sports in general, I´m sure I made some mistakes anyway. Please feel free to correct me if you like. But understand that it wasn´t the main point in this story, thats why I dared to handle it a little lazy. Sorry for that.
There will be a follow up to this story as you can guess. But it will be a crossover with the TV show Psych so you will find it under that category. Look it up if you like.
And thanks for reading. Reviews are welcome.