Thursday, March 1, 2007

Deleted Beans 01: Things get magically delicious

The following is the original text for episode 29:

Lara and Andrew didn't immediately recognize the seven diminutive men in the front doorway as leprechauns. Unlike the popular North American stereotype made famous by Lucky Charms cereal, these leprechauns were wearing red coats with either bright gold buttons, or gold embroidery in celtic knotwork, green trousers, shiny black shoes with large gold buckles and hats of various bright colors cocked to one side.

Lara gaped. Andrew glowered.

"How did you get in here?" he demanded. "I locked that door!"

"Aye, ye did," the leprechaun in front replied. "But I'd be Gobsmacked to be finding a lock that'd be keeping us out." He smiled, and then his eyes went wide, he grabbed his hat from his head and gave a deep bow. "Here I am forgettin' me manners. Finn MacChuail at your service," he announced. "Our apologies for barging in like this. We're sort of an unexpected party."

"I'm closed for business," Andrew told him. "We've got some...botanical issues." He looked carefully at the seven brightly adorned figures. "You guys look like you might be looking for the comic shop. First door past the copy shop, straight up the stairs."

"We'd be lookin' to use your Tree," Finn said.

"Excuse me?" Lara stole a glance at Andrew. While she wasn't one hundred percent sure what the meaning of gobsmacked was, she assumed Andrew was currently the poster child for it.

"Yes, we'd be wondering what ye'd charge us to travel along the Tree," Finn said.

Andrew was still gobsmacking, or however one would describe 'standing with one's mouth agape enough to swallow a small wren.' Lara decided to take up the slack. "Travel...? As in climb its branches?"

"Well, that's how it starts, yes, but it leads to other places," Finn said. "Yer man looks like someone belted him in his dangly bits."

"He's not my man," Lara replied. "He's just...ummm...having a bit of a Monday."

"Not yer Man?" one of the other leprechauns said appreciatively. "Game on!"

"No time for a bit of slap and tickle Jimmy," Finn said. "Besides, she's too tall for ye."

"Never stopped me before," Jimmy said sulkily.

"Amputation wouldn't stop ye," Finn replied.

"You said you need to travel the tree," Lara interrupted. "How exactly are you going to do that? And...where will you end up?"

"Well, normally we leprechaun travel by rainbow," Finn explained, sitting down at one of the tables. His companions followed suite, putting their feet up on the assorted debris and chairs. "But there isn't exactly what you'd be callin' an abundance of rain this time of year in these parts."

"Wait." Andrew was running a hand down his face, squeezing it enough that as his hand slid past his eyes, he pulled all the skin down. "You're supposed to be leprechauns? St. Patrick's day isn't for another two weeks."

The leprechauns all looked at each other. "Look here Boyo," Finn said, leaning forward with an air of seriousness. "We aren't supposed to be anything. We are what we are. And what we leprechaun."

Andrew laughed and let go of his face. The bottoms of his eyelids slowly moved back into place. "First magic coffee beans and now leprechauns. What next, the Easter bunny?"

"That's actually why we're here," Finn said. "We've been hired by her husband to find her and bring her back."

"You've been..." Andrew couldn't finish the sentence.

"Hired by Dieter Rabbit to get his wife Eostre back," Finn said. "Those little bastards at the 'Pole thought it would be clever to go and kidnap the girl and hold her ransom. An extra long winter doesn't bother them none."

"The bastards at the Pole being...?" Once again, the sentence hung in the air.

"The elves," Finn said matter-of-factly.

"Right." Andrew smiled in a way that pulled his whole face tight. "And does Santa know about this?" Lara could tell that her new boss was dangerously close to breaking into hysterics.

"We don't think so," Finn replied. "He's usually on vacation this time of year. Goes down to Mexico for a few months."

"There's something I don't understand," Lara said.

"Only one thing?" Andrew asked, incredulous.

Lara ignored him. She had the three fates in the basement, what were a couple of Irish faeries in the mix? "You said something about an extra long winter. What does that have to do with the Easter bunny?"

"Eostre," Finn corrected. "If she and Dieter--"

"Isn't it Peter?" Andrew asked facetiously.

"Common error," Finn said. "If Dieter doesn't have Eostre all banged up before long, it'll stay winter. That's why it's so damn cold so late in the season."

"Nothing to do with air currents or our position to the sun," Andrew said under his breath.

"And you need to go and get...uh...Dieter, back from the North Pole?" Lara asked.

"You're a sight more on the nose than your man is," Finn said. "We get her back, the rabbits do a bit of effing, and Jayney Mack! It's Spring."

"And you need the tree..." Now Lara was having trouble ending sentences.

"To get to the Pole," Finn said. "Should take about a week to get there traveling the tree," Finn said. "Then we storm the workshop and beat seven shades of shit out of those northern fairies--giving us all a bad name I'd say."

"Can you give us a moment?" Lara said, and turned to Andrew, bending close and speaking in low tones. "I don't think it would hurt to have them use the tree."

"Of course not," Andrew said. "What damage could seven midgets do to this tree? That's not the point. I've got better things to be doing with my time than babysitting crazy people."

"Andrew, you grew a tree in a coffee shop overnight...using magic coffee beans. If you can accept that, then why are you having so much trouble accepting this?"

"Because if I accept that they're leprechauns," Andrew paused and took a deep breath, "then I'll have to accept everything that entails. And since I don't know how far this whole messed up situation extends...I'm not sure I can do that."

"Do you have a choice?"

"Yeah," Andrew said. "I close the shop and let the university deal with it."

"Not nearly as much fun," Lara said.

Andrew stopped and looked up into Lara's eyes. "You really believe all this, don't you?"

"No harm in doing so," she said. "Besides, I'm paid to be here until five."

He smiled. She smiled back. He rolled his eyes, and turned to the leprechauns.

"All right," he said. "You can use the Tree."

"That's the first time you've spoken of it properly," Finn observed. "Which only leaves one matter to be settled."

"Which is?"

"The matter of payment," Finn replied. "Will ye be wanting cash, or do ye accept gold treasure?"