Between Halos and Horns

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 (v.1) - O'Finnegan

Submitted: August 20, 2012

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Submitted: August 20, 2012

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"Wait, wait sorry," I interrupted suddenly, rubbing my nose.

"Somethin' you don't quite agree with?" Reid asked, his left eyebrow arching ever so slightly.

"Yeah, I just...-" I groaned, trying to get my thoughts together. Why was I even listening to this? He was born in 1934? Bullshit.

"I know it's all hard to swallow, kid, but I'll explain everything," he replied evenly, crushing his cigarette into the mounting pile of ash. "Now, can I continue? I don't exactly have all the time in the world here."

"Just, two questions."

"Shoot."

"Okay, how the hell were you supposedly born in 1934? You look mid-thirties, at least."

"I plan on explainin' that later on. Like I said, magic is real in this world, you've just been playin' the blind man for too long."

"Alright, fine, but how about your dad? Your father? What was his name? Norman, right? You never thought to maybe go out searching for him?"

"Oh I thought about it plenty, and eventually I did go out lookin' for 'im. But again, I'll explain this all later. First things first: Bo Deacon."

I didn't mean to, but I sighed out of frustration, this guy wasn't making too much sense to me. But I took another sip of my rapidly cooling coffee and motioned with my free hand to go on.

***------------------------------------------------------------------------------***

We were nine years old, Dale and I, and the Second World War was nearly at its height in conflict. I remember I used to read in the papers about how our boys were doin' over there in Germany, and France, and Japan. Of course, the media back then put a few more muscles on Uncle Sam than he actually had, but hey, all in the name of patriotism, right? Anyway, one day Dale and I were skimming through the streets, searchin' for potential victims to our petty crimes. We were very talented by then, naturals you could say, at what we did. We knew who we could and could not take from at any given time. We knew which streets were patroled by the law more often, and we knew which were dead ends, no profit.

"All's I'm sayin' is," Dale was sayin', "we go into the house, take just two things,two things, Tai, that's all. We'll get mo' money from one house than pickpocketin' ten folks. Now if ya think about it in the right mannerism, you'll really be savin' a load of folks a lot of grief. If you've got a house and nice things in't, chances are you got the money to replace it. That's all's I'm sayin' Tai,all'sI'm sayin." Somethin' you should note is that up to this point, we hadn't broken into a house before, we kept to the streets. Sure we talked about it, but the potential cons always drove us away from the pros. This time was different though, Dale had that look in his eye. You know,that look. The one a person gets when they're determined somethin' has to happen.

"I can see where you're comin' from, Dale," I replied. "No, don't look at me like that, really, I get it. But what you ain't seein' is the possibility of bein' caught n' kilt off over somethin' stupid."

"Ain't nothin' stupid about it! Two things, remember? Just two, nobody will miss it. Come on, don't be chicken, Tai. It'll be easy, easier than stealin' Mrs. Walsh's apple pied from the window sill."

"I just don't know." We were quiet for a little while, just walkin' through town, no right-minded person giving us a second glance. We was just a white boy and a black boy dressed in Depression-khakis with hats on, no need to even bother with us. To this day, I wish someone would have recognized us on that street. I wish some angry fella would have remembered the face that stole his nice wristwatch so they would take us to prison, and then afterwards, me and Dale would have been on the straight and narrow. We would've gotten jobs, new homes, wives and children, maybe even an automobile each. But that didn't happen, not that day, the day of all days.

"Well you think it over, Tai, you wuss. I'm fixin' to go buy somethin' in this here shop. You stay out here and give it a good think-over," Dale said as he approached the steps of a small all-purpose store.

"They gon' let you in?" I asked nervously. I know what you're thinkin', everyone would think the same in this day n' age. But the truth of the matter was, in 1943, black folks could be easily thrown out of any white-owned establishment. Did I agree with it? No. But that was just the way of the world back then.

"Dey's a black clerk in there," he replied seriously with a small nod. "You know Mr. Banks?"

"Yeah I know 'im. Alright, go on in then, I'll be here. Get me two cent's worth o' taffy, I'll pay you back, I swear it."

"You better Tai!" he called back and ran in.

And so I was left outside to try and decide whether or not I really wanted to run the risk of robbin' a house. On one hand, we would have enough money for food to last us at least two weeks withwhatever we found in there. On the other... it was just plain wrong to go into someone else's house and simply... take things. Sure takin' on the streets was the same idea, but at least you knew the folks you were stealin' from, they had an exceptional chance of catchin' you. Take from peoples' houses and what chance do they have? I was tryin' to make sense of this big dilemma of mine when I heard a subtle, "Pssstt," from a nearby alleyway.

I thought I'd heard a mice skitter or somethin' of the sort so I just ignored it. But a few seconds later, "Pssstt!Hey! Boy'o, over here lad!" It was an Irish accent, but I hadn't heard one before, so I came to the very real conclusion that someone was only talking funny. I turned in the direction of the alleyway and saw just a hand and the cuff of a green coat with bright, brassy buttons. The fingernails of this pink hand were grossly unmanecured and yellow, and the index finger motioned me to come closer."Tai Kash. This way, m'boy!" the voice whispered excitedly. I was never really a nervous child, curious if anythin'. So it was only natural that I take just one last glance up at the convenience store Dale had gone into before strollin' on over to the shadowed alleyway.

"How do you know my name?" I asked, a few inches away from the hand. But he held his palm up to me, motioning silence, and then beckoned once again. I couldn't help but smile, this was just too interesting for me. Finally I walked into the alleyway and repeated, "How do you know my name?" before looking around for the mysterious fella. I didn't find him right away, which upset me - not scared me, mind you - but upset me. I had expected... well, I didn't know exactly what I had been expectin', exactly. But definitely somethin' more than the nothin' I found.

But then, a tap on my shoulder.

I turned around to find a man, hardly taller than me, pink in the face with a large nose and a toothy grin - his smile as yellow as his fingernails. He wore a large, green wide-brimmed hat with a four-leaf clover and a knife tucked into the sash. His suit was the same grass green, all except his vest and shirt, which were black and white respectively. There were comically large black boots on his feet, I remember (he laughs a bit here, and I can't help but smile myself at his description of the man), and the sprouts of hair that came from within his hat as well as his eyebrows were the lightest blond, almost albino.

" 'Ello," he said with a grin and a funky laugh.

I laughed back and replied, "You talk funny."

"Oh I sure do, boy'o! You should see me dance though, I dance funny too!"

"Will you dance for me?" I asked eagerly.

"I haven't danced in the longest time though, lad! Surely I'd make a fool o' me-self!" he answered with a dramatic bit of hesitance.

"Oh come on, don't be a sore sport now, Mister!' I pleaded. "I'm sure you'll do fine!"

"Oh... oh alright then! Ye've convinced me!" and with that exclamation, he burst into a funny dance. He went in a circle, his feet rising nice and high, a goofy jangle with his arms. It was genius to a nine year old orphan.

As I stood there laughin', damn-near fallin' on my ass, he stopped, completely out of breath and said, "Now... I've a very important message for ya, Tai."

I wiped a tear away, and still grinning I asked, "What? What you have to tell me, Mister?"

"Me name is O'Finnegan laddy, call me that!" he exclaimed. This made me laugh a bit more; real, Old-country Irish names weren't exactly common in Nashville, Tennessee at the time. He reached out then, and pressed his palm against my face. I remember it was warm, it calmed me down. The last time I had felt that was by my own mother. He smiled, almost a sad smile... no surely, it was a sad smile. Somethin' about those green eyes at that moment. (Reid spaces off, rubbing his five o'clock shadow in deep thought. Soon enough he shakes himself out of it.) "You're going to do great things, m'boy," he whispered, that distant smile still on his face. "Great things indeed. You've the touch of magic about ye, that's for sure." O'Finnegan was silent, and so was I - my big grin having been exchanged with a confused look moments before.

He suddenly livened up again though, as if it never happened, and his hand left my face. As strange as it sounds, I yearned for the warmth as soon as it left. Even from a complete stranger, there was something about this Irishman that seemed so familiar. "Come with me, b'boy," he said, prancing off to the other end of the alleyway. I followed eagerly, his words of magic never quite reaching me, not until years later. As I was about to step out of the alleyway, he pressed a hand against my chest, ceasing my movement. "Oh you don't wanna go out there just yet, Tai. Ye might give a few people a good scare," he laughed.

Confused, I looked out into the street in front of me, and the people strolling on the sidewalk even closer. A thought struck me all too suddenly, "Can... can they see us? They can't, can they?"

O'Finnegan looked down at me and smiled, "You're quick. No, no they can't."

"What kinda alleyway is this? Are there more like it?"

"Many," he replied quietly. "But it's not my place to show you any more than this one, laddy. Now, see that house across the way there?"

"Yeah I see it," I replied, nodding my head. "That one, with the two floors, you mean?"

"Exactly," he grinned and patted my head. "Now I know what you and yer mate Dale want to do. Don't worry, I'm not 'ere to get ye in trouble, I'm 'ere to help. That house there has a necklace that will have ye eatin' fer a whole year as well as a princess tiara, a real one, that'll have ye eatin' for another."

"Wow, Mister O'Finnegan, really?" I asked incredulously, wide-eyed. What money that could be, so much more than I'd ever had in my life. Seventy dollars maybe? Maybe more? One Hundred? That was worth any risk.

"Break in tonight, laddy," he said quietly with a soft wink and smile. "They won't be home, gone to watch a film. Take from them, and ye can't go wrong. Ye'll be rich beyond yer dreams." I was running toward the other end of the alleyway before he finished his sentence. Now, I'm not positive, but I turned back to look at the man one last time before gettin' Dale, and I could've swore I saw the same sad smile he had given me earlier.

I burst out the alleyway and straight into Dale. He dropped his armful of choclate, peanuts, bubble gum, and my taffy onto the sidewalk along with the soda pop that was in his other hand. The glass smashed and the soft drink flowed everywhere. "Tai! Watch where you're goin'! See what you done now? That was awholenine cents! You owe me every penny!"

The poor boy was clearly frustrated, but I waved away his concerns like a pesky fly and rushed the words out of my mouth as fast as I could, "Dale! Shut up! We gon' make one hundred dollars tonight, maybe two hundred if we find both!"

"One hundred dollars?!" he cried out in joy, grabbing me by my shoulders. "How did you hear about this, Tai?!"

"O'Finnegan, this funny man I met in the alley there!"

"The alley where?"

"Right there you blind...-" as I turned to point at the alleyway, my mouth dropped open in complete disbelief. The alleyway had disappeared.


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