Wilfred and the Leprechauns

Dear Kathy,

So glad to hear that law school is going well.  On that note, is there any way to get out of jury duty?  The Tutoring Center has been served a rash of them recently…yep, Marcos, Coco, Drew, and Wilfred have all been summoned to serve our country in the court system.  And, well, they all would prefer to serve our country some other way.  So I told them I’d ask you.  (They don’t have a chance short of a broken leg, do they?)  Anyways, since you seemed so amused by Wilfred’s antics on Valentine’s Day, I knew you would enjoy this short tale from St. Patrick’s Day.

I had a crazy morning.  My alarm clock broke.  I dropped my coffee cup and stepped on a piece of glass.  I didn’t know the forecast and dressed for weather like yesterday–sunny, breezy 70s.  Well, I walked into work sopping wet from the 40-degree rain and was greeted by Dexter and Coco shouting, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

“Bah humbug to you too,” I muttered and sat down in my favorite swivel chair.

“You’re not wearing green,” said Marcos with a mouthful of pretzel.

“Oh,” I looked down at my blue T-shirt and brown cargo pants, “I forgot….Marcos, what are you doing?”

“Recreational engineering,” he answered, scewering a red jelly bean with a coffee stir, “We found expired jelly beans from last Christmas in the file cabinet, so I’m making a polycarbonate chain with them.  The red jelly beans are carbon atoms and the coffee stirs are my hydrogen bonds.”

“Where’s the green in your polycarbonate chain?” Coco asked.  “You’re not being very festive.”

“I’m saving those for another project,” Marcos replied in a wounded voice.  “Don’t pick on me. I’m already wearing green and I’m not even Irish, Coco Fitzpatrick.”

The next few minutes were spent in analyzing our family trees for any Irish roots.  Most of us found some except for Marcos and Dexter.  (Poor Dexter could only remember his Dutch and German forefathers with lots of “van” and “von” before their last names.)  Spencer was using his gift of gab to tell us about some long-lost relatives who own an Irish castle or something when Wilfred stormed in.

“Are they here yet?” he asked breathless.

“Who, Wilfred?” I asked wearily.

He stood catching his breath for a few minutes before assuming a non-chalant expression and strolling over to me.  He put a clipboard up beside his face to hide it from everyone else and said, “The F.B.I. of course.”

“No, they haven’t,” I responded, too tired to ask why on earth the F.B.I. would show up at our tutoring center.  After working with Wilfred for a while, you just accept statements like that.

“Oh good,” he said, wiping his brow, “then the leprechauns are still safe.”

My face responded for me.  “Marbles, you look like you just swallowed a cupful of Crisco,” Spencer remarked drily.  “What did Wilfred say this time?”

“He thinks the F.B.I. is after the leprechauns,” I repeated.

“I don’t think, Marbles,” Wilfred said solemnly, “I know.  When you’ve been invisible long enough, you learn things–government conspiracy kind of things.  This is a bigger secret than Roswell.”

He then launched into his story.  I would repeat it, but it was really too complicated to remember.  Something about a stash of gold found near D.C. in the 70s and Nixon trying to cover up his belittlement of the Little People and the area around Asheville really being called Area 61.  And there was something about red-headed politicians thrown in there, but I don’t know how that connected.  As you can imagine, I responded with statements of incredulity like normal.  (How many ways are there to respond to Wilfred?  Neutrality is often the only preventative for going insane.)  Well, Dexter and Coco demanded to hear the Wilfred story, so I sat down and started re-telling the tale–with all the government agents searching for fairy rings, ATF officers outlawing mushrooms, and renegade leprechauns storming Fort Knox.  Soon Marcos put down his polycarbonate model and leaned in to listen.  Just as I was nearing the end of the story, Dexter shouted, “Holy cow, Marbles, there’s a guy right behind you.  Where did he come from?”

I looked behind me and saw Wilfred standing there with his arms crossed in amusement.

“Yikes!” Coco responded.  I see him too.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Marcos said, “how come we can see you now, but not this morning?”

“You finally used your imagination,” Wilfred said.  “I knew you all had one.”  He paused to sit on the computer table.  “You see, it takes an imagination to see your invisible co-worker, just like it takes imagination to believe I tutor fencing.  But both are true.  I am invisible and I tutor fencing.”

“But we don’t have a fencing class,” Coco frowned.

Wilfred waved the idea away.  “That’s none of my concern.  I just worry about being on time.”

“You’re never on time,” Spencer mumbled.  But I heard him…and so did Dexter.

“You could see him this whole time, Spencer?” Dexter pointed at him in astonishment.  “Suppression!”

Spencer’s eyes widened a little as he realized he had been found out.  Wilfred started laughing and Marcos choked on his pretzel.  I did not laugh, or choke, or widen my eyes.  My face just turned the shade of a Maraschino cherry as I sputtered, “Spencer Whatever-your-middle-name-is Romley, you little fiend!”

Spencer brushed away a mild blush and shrugged, “Oh come on.  When was the last time you heard any self-respecting psychology student actually admit to seeing…an invisible fencing tutor?”

He popped a few M&Ms in his mouth.  We were all silent for a few minutes.  “Hey,” Wilfred said with a burst of eureka, “why don’t we play Tesla’s Coil of Horror?”

“What is that?” Dexter frowned.

“Oh it’s this great game that’s a cross between Hungry, Hungry Hippos using Tesla’s coil set in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” Wilfred explained casually.

With a sudden surge of interest, Dexter, Coco, and Marcos joined Wilfred in his game while Spencer left on his lunch break.  Sometimes, I wonder about us.  I guess Owl City says it nicely, “Reality’s a lovely place.  But I wouldn’t want to live there.”  On behalf of the WHHC tutors, Kathy…have a normal day, please.

Marbles

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