by Dan Swanson
“So, you’re moving to Phoenix?” Ernie Earnest asked his ex-student Donal Regan as they sat down for lunch at The Sword and Flagon.
Donal was very excited over the move. “Y’know, I was a principal architect back in County Cork.” He had worked very hard, and his Irish accent was barely audible now. “They’ve not got a position for me here, but the business is boomin’ in the Southwest. So it means a promotion and a big raise fer me.”
“That’s great. The neighborhood will miss you, though,” Ernie replied. Donal changed the subject.
“Yuir lookin’ a lot better these days, boyo! Better color in yuir face, ye’ve put on some healthy weight, and y’r moving a lot easier.”
Ernie’s smile lit his face as Donal had never seen it before. “It seems like a miracle! You remember when Magoon kicked me in the back?” Since Ernie’s mugging a couple of weeks before, he’d spent a few days in the hospital. Donal nodded. “Well, somehow, he dislodged the bullet without severing my spine — and the doctors were able to remove it. There’s scar tissue built up all around it, and I’ll always have a limp, but I’m not in pain any longer!” It was a miracle, but Ernie wasn’t totally surprised. Years ago, he’d become acquainted with the powerful mystical Spirit of Liberty, and he occasionally saw indications that the Spirit was still interested in him. This could be another such sign.
“So what do you think happened to that Zing gal, anyway?” Ernie asked. “For a couple weeks, she was all you heard about, and then, all of a sudden, she’s gone like she never existed.”
“I heard a rumor that the coppers almost caught her,” Donal responded cautiously. “Maybe that shook her up, and she retired. Who knows? Say, you going to the Sox game today?”
Ernie wasn’t ready to change the subject. “Spinelli told me that his team had help — a team of leprechauns, no less! And then they vanished afterwards, like magic. Strange, huh?”
“Naiver heard of the wee folk here in America,” Donal agreed. “But I do know they work alone.”
“Spinelli said there were definitely four of them. Said they all looked alike, and they reminded him of someone he’d met recently, but he couldn’t quite place the resemblance. I wonder if it was someone in one of my classes?” Spinelli gave a talk to each of Ernie’s citizenship classes, he was a prime example of how the children of naturalized parents could succeed in America. “We might even know him!”
“I suppose. I’m a wee bit more interested in who’s pitchin’ t’day,” his friend responded. With a grin, Ernie let it go. He was pretty sure, though, that Phoenix would soon have a new protector.