Rick and Lyra have a new client who demands they find the leprechaun linked to a psycho golden shamrock that is a time machine, or she'll kill them all. The team travels to Ireland in search of the end of the rainbow so they don't lose their lives.
Rick Shilling to the Rescue Story 3—NOVELLA LENGTH
A beautiful blonde woman sauntered into Rick's home office with a sway to her step. Rick glanced up from his work, seeing Neville standing behind the dame. Her angled black wide-brimmed hat partially covered her short 1940s hairdo. She wore a black skirt with a white paisley design, accentuating her hips on her tiny frame. The matching blouse was more like a long-sleeved jacket, with frill of some sort around the plunging neckline. A tiny purse hung on her forearm, while her small black gloves rose to meet the handle of the clutch. Her makeup was flawless, from the red lipstick to the rouge and understated mascara.
Overall, the woman looked as if she'd just stepped out of a 1940s catalogue. Since Rick had been studying fashion to get Lyra up with the times, he knew class when he saw it. And this lady overflowed with finesse from her fashionable hat to her pencil skirt.
Rick stood up and lowered his eyes down over the woman one more time, not quite sure he'd gotten enough input for his dreams that night. "May I help you?"
"You Rick Shilling?" She pulled on the fingers of each glove to remove it while he stared. It was mesmerizing to watch her undress, even if it was just her black gloves.
"Yes." He returned his gaze to her very blue eyes.
"I'd like to discuss a business transaction with you."
"Certainly." He pointed to the chair on the other side of the desk. "Have a seat."
The woman sat down and crossed her legs in the tight skirt, revealing only her shapely calf and the slit up the back of the material. She wore black slightly open-toed pumps, with about a two-inch square heel, and a strap on the ankle. Very stylish, but not in fashion for today. It made him wonder where she shopped…or when.
"Want me in on this?" Neville asked. He'd been standing in the background, also watching the woman dressed in black, but Rick had forgotten about him.
"Uh…" Rick glanced at Neville, but his eyes kept going back to the woman in black. "Sure." He might need someone else around so they'd remember what the lady said. His mind was that captivated by this woman.
Neville pulled a chair up right beside the woman and sat down.
Rick sat as well, and leaned up, crossing his arms on the desk. "What's the problem?"
The woman pulled a white dainty handkerchief from her purse and dabbed at her eyes. The handkerchief had a monogram on it, with the initials EMT on it. She had a medical background? Good, because he thought he was going to have a heart attack, just from watching her.
"It all started two weeks ago," she said. "I was married to Albert, and things were going great. We were rich, with a pool in the backyard of our mansion, butlers, and even a limousine with a driver."
"So you didn't live around here?" No one in this area was that rich.
She glanced up at him. "No. We lived in South Africa, so Albert could be closer to his job. He was the CEO of a diamond mine there and we were very well off." She dabbed her eyes again, but her makeup stayed perfect.
Rick was taking mental notes for Lyra, since she was at her home, cleaning, yet again.
"Anyway," the woman said. "Two weeks ago today, my uncle Oliver died and I went to Cincinnati for the funeral. My aunt Agnes gave me a small cigar box that Oliver wanted me to have. It was his one treasure in his life. Inside were things that Oliver and I'd used when I was a kid."
"You used things with your uncle?" Neville asked. "Why would you deal with your uncle?"
"Oh. Let me go back a bit. My name's Emily Tinkerton. I was born Emily Rochet, in Patterson, New Jersey."
Come to think of it, she did have a slight Jersey accent.
Emily continued. "My father was a member of the mob. When I was eight, my parents were both gunned down in cold blood inside our home. I was at school at the time. I rode the bus home and when I got there, I found them both dead with blood everywhere. I called the cops and they put me in a foster home until my Aunt Agnes and Uncle Oliver could drive from Ohio to New Jersey to get me. They adopted me and we were great friends. Uncle Oliver was a jeweler and had to make trips to South Africa for his job. I went with him one summer, right after my senior year in college. That's when I met Albert. We dated long distance for a year, and then we got married in Ohio. We moved to South Africa for his job, and I kept in touch with Aunt Agnes and Uncle Oliver. We were all friends, and they traveled to Africa many times, just to see Albert and me."
"No kids?" Rick asked.
Emily shook her head. "No. It wasn't to be. It wasn't that we didn't try, but for some reason, we had no children." She paused. "Anyway, I came alone to the funeral, because Albert was closing a huge deal for the mine. They'd just purchased more land and were expanding. He also was dealing with the mineworkers union, who wanted to negotiate more money. They treat their workers very well, unlike some of the mines, but they were only making triple U.S. minimum wage and they didn't think that was enough. They got greedy, so Albert had to deal with that and their contract. Thus, I flew back here alone. After the funeral, Aunt Agnes gave me the cigar box. I found my old jacks that Aunt Agnes and I used to play with, a key to a piggy bank that broke a long time ago, and ten bucks in silver dollars, along with many notes Uncle Oliver and I had written to each other. I laughed at most of it. But when I lifted all the notes, I found a little black pouch like you'd see for diamonds. I figured it must be something we'd saved years ago, as a dowry for my wedding or something. I opened it and this is what I found." She opened her purse and brought out the black pouch, and then laid it gingerly it on the desk as if it might explode or something. "Be careful when you handle it and don't wish for anything." She nodded. "Take it. I want it out of my life."
Rick didn't know what to think. But he reached over, grabbed the velvety bag, and dumped the contents on the desk. There, before him, was a piece of old parchment paper and a golden shamrock, about the size of a quarter.
"What's this?" He pointed at the shamrock.
She reached out and slapped his hand away. "Don't touch it with your hand!"
Rick backed off. "Why?"
"It's possessed," she whispered. "The thing has magical powers. It's psycho!"
Psycho? Weird. He wondered about her sanity and if she was the psycho one. "But it's only a piece of gold metal." It probably wasn't even real gold, but gold plated steel. "How can a golden shamrock be psycho?"
"Read the parchment and you tell me." She sat back and blew out a breath.
Rick stared at her for an extra moment, wondering if she really was crazy. No one looking that good could ever be crazy, so he lifted the yellowed parchment into his hands and began to read aloud.
"This be the shamrock from the old country. A magical leprechaun cast a darlin' spell on its gold, that'll transport the holder to any time or dimension of their choice. One trip to and fro per customer is all it takes, and all worldly goods will be transformed as well."
Rick lifted his eyes to Emily. "A time or dimension?" He glanced down at the golden shamrock. "This is a time machine?"
She nodded. "Yes." She motioned toward her outfit. "These are now my clothes. I wished to go back to 1947, when a rival diamond company came out with a slogan that would change the face of engagement rings everywhere. The De Beers Company wisely educated the public about the 4 C's on diamonds—cut, carats, color, and clarity, and had the winning slogan, 'A Diamond is Forever.' They made buyers think that every woman had to have a diamond engagement ring. They made a fortune, because ever since that time every woman longed for that diamond. I wanted to see it happen. My husband worked for Carated Diamond Company, and I really wanted him to go to De Beers because they had a monopoly on the diamond industry at one time. They were giants. Granted, Carated did really well, but Albert would've done better at the competitor." She pointed at the shamrock. "When I found that item, two weeks ago, I thought it over for a week, wondering what would have happened if Albert had gone to work for De Beers. Then one evening about two nights ago, I had a revelation. I'd go back to 1947, right before the slogan came out, and invest in De Beers, since it was before Albert was born. If I did that, I'd have the money from the investment and be able to tell Albert that I was a shareholder. That way, he'd want to go to work there, and he'd be more famous and we'd be richer. He'd also help them with various other issues." She sighed, and tears made her eyes glisten. "Going back in time was the worst decision of my life."
"What happened?" Rick asked.
"Well, I went back to 1947, to South Africa. I took a thousand dollars with me, thinking I'd invest. When I got there, all my clothes had turned into the fashion of that day." She moved her hands down over her to show off her outfit. "Also, that thousand dollars became thirty thousand dollars of the cash used in that day. My purse was really heavy. So the first thing I did was to get a place to stay. I was only going to stay for a short time, so I went to a boarding home, run by a little old woman with the last name Antonio. I found out later that she was hiding out from the mob. I had no idea that the mob had fingered her and the bad guys were ready to make a raid on her home. They killed everyone inside when I went out that first day to invest in De Beers. When I returned, I found three dead bodies, just like finding my parents so many years ago. I also saw the murderer run out the back of the home, and they're on the lookout for me. I think they gave up after I left, but they're hot on my tail again now, since I went back to our home in South Africa." She motioned toward her clothes again. "I look just like when they saw me witness the murder, so now they know who I am and what I look like."
"Wow," Neville said. "That was bad timing."
She nodded. "You know it. I did invest in De Beers that day. But when I got back, our house had been bulldozed, and I found out we'd moved back to the States, to New Jersey. We had a big home in the Princeton area, thanks to my investment back in 1947. However, about two months ago in the new timeline, Albert died, leaving me with more debt than I knew we had. Turns out, after we bought the house, he gambled all that money away that I'd made with that one investment. He also had quit the job in South Africa and became a blackjack dealer at a casino." She sucked in a breath and her face grimaced as she tried not to cry. "Because I went back to 1947, I not only lost Albert, but our home and all my belongings except my 1940s outfits. I'm also dirt poor. Not only that, but the mob saw me and tracked me back to New Jersey. Because they've been searching for me as their witness for all these years, I'm on their hit list for cement shoes in the Atlantic Ocean."
Rick wasn't getting this. Why would someone wear cement shoes and go near the ocean with them? "Huh?"
Neville leaned closer. "It's said that the mob puts the victim's feet in cement, waits for it to harden, and then throws them into the ocean to kill them."
"Oh. Murder." Now Rick got it. He turned his attention to Emily. "So what would you like us to do for you?"
"You can't fix my situation, so I want you to take that rotten shamrock and deliver it to the original maker." She pointed at the golden shamrock lying on the desk. "I don't want anyone else to get hurt." She sobbed a slight cry. "I'm not the only one who's suffered at the hands of that ornament."
Rick sat up, even more interested in her story. "Why is that?"
"Both my aunt and uncle used it, and it changed all of our lives forever. If they hadn't gone back in time, my parents would both be alive."
Barnes & Noble
Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow!