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D.J. Ludlow

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Books by D.J. Ludlow
Luck Of The Irish
By D.J. Ludlow
Thursday, January 01, 2004

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What happens when Irishman "Lucky" Sean encounters the "luck of the Irish?

"Stupid dog!" Sean ('Lucky' to his mates) cursed under what little breath he had left as he flung himself along the path trying desperately to regain the precious time and distance he had lost when he collided with 'some stupid idiot's mongrel'. Sean's only consolation was that the dog had come off second best judging by the yelps of pain now rapidly fading off behind him as he regained his stride despite a very sore knee and elbow. But those few lost seconds spent picking himself up off the ground meant that the 'boys in blue' were right on his tail and had caught a glimpse of him. Not only that but they had all three park entrances blocked off. He still couldn't figure how they had done that so fast. "Where's the luck of the Irish when you really need it", Sean thought wryly as his mind raced as fast as his legs to find an escape route.

Still clutched under Sean's arm was a large, fashionable leather handbag, recently the property of one equally large, fashionable, middle aged lady, now somewhere far behind him. Sean knew that somewhere in the voluminous bag was a fat purse stuffed with large denomination notes. He knew because he had watched the lady extract them from the ATM across the road from the park and very carefully, but not very discretely, place them in there. If he could only stop somewhere safely he could find the purse and make his own withdrawal, ditch the incriminating bag and purse and walk off with the cash. But he couldn't stop, not with the police so close on his heels.

As he broke into the next clearing Sean caught a glimpse of movement and flash of white off to his right and as he stole a quick glance the pace of his brain raised itself up a few notches as the spark of a plan lit up his face. "Lucky's back in town!" he grinned to himself. About thirty metres away beneath a spreading shade tree sat a young man about his own age clutching his right temple. Blood oozed between his fingers as he leant forward in obvious pain, a low hanging branch above him clearly the cause of his condition. Without slowing down Sean dexterously managed three things at once. As he veered off the path toward the hapless man he grabbed the bag from under his arm and with a flick threw back the loose flap covering the top. Without looking down he frantically rummaged through the contents until his fingers closed on the bulging purse before deftly extracting it and dropping it down the front of his T-shirt. In the meantime his eyes appraised the area beyond the man on the ground, before a quick glance over his shoulder. It was going to be close but Sean was well experienced in these things and while the far edge of the clearing was too far the inevitable park bench in the clearing was reachable - if he was fast enough.

The man on the ground had slightly fairer and longer hair but that wasn't important. What was important was that he, like Sean, was also wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers. "OK!" Sean thought, "If my luck holds out this will be my sweetest escape yet". "Timing is everything", Sean muttered as he padded swiftly up the slight slope, his feet now silent on the short, well manicured grass in the clearing. As he passed the man on the ground, who was still busy nursing his head, Sean, without breaking his stride, bent down and deftly dropped the now rifled handbag directly behind the still dazed man. Just as Sean expected the man instinctively turned to his left, the direction Sean had come from. Of course by this time Sean had already passed behind him and was now heading off to the man's right. "Now, get your Irish rear end on that seat before the cops get here", Sean urged himself as he put everything into the last few metres. "Yesss!" he hissed as his rump skidded to a halt on the park bench just as the first of the two officers broke into the clearing. "Slow deep breaths", Sean commanded his heaving chest, "remember you have been just sitting here enjoying the cool of the afternoon breeze". The same breeze he hoped would dry off the sweat on his face before the police eventually got to him.

As expected the two officers stopped by the man under the tree and 'helped' him to his feet with a firm grip on each arm. One of the officers retrieved the bag from where it still lay on the grass and rummaged through it before nodding to his partner. There followed a brief conference between the two officers before they both turned their attention to the man who swayed ungainly between them, held up, it would seem, only by their joint grips. "Man, I wish I was a bit closer", a rather pleased Sean chuckled to himself, "that has got to be one seriously funny conversation".

The eyes of both officers periodically scanned the clearing, observing, memorising, as their basic training took over. More than once Sean felt, more than saw, their eyes zero in on him before moving on to other targets. "Don't run", he commanded his legs as reason battled with years of survival instinct. "Run now and you blow the whole thing", he told his instincts. "Your Irish luck is working overtime - but it is working". "Don't look away, look interested, just like the others", Sean instructed himself, referring to a little knot of on-lookers who had since assembled on the path at the other end of the clearing, having wandered in on the scene unfolding before them. "Lucky!!" Sean whistled under his breath, realising that had it been a few minutes later these people would have also been in the clearing making his ruse impossible. Eventually one of the officers lead the injured man to the tree where he sat him down and, easing the man's fingers away from the side of his head, surveyed the damage. The wince that crossed the officer's face told Sean that it was not a pretty sight. A two-way radio magically appeared in the officer's other hand as he made a call. "Probably needs an ambulance", Sean surmised, "Man, is he having a bad day", he chuckled to himself without altering his carefully crafted outward appearance of casual interest.

While this was happening the other officer was making his way to the small knot of on-lookers to Sean's right. Sean followed him with his eyes in what he hoped looked like idle interest. In reality he was looking for the first accusatory finger to emerge from the group and point his way. He'd be off before it had found its mark. "Luckeee!" Sean sighed as no finger emerged from the little crowd and a succession of head shakes confirmed that none had seen his little ruse.

Satisfying himself that there were no witnesses to be had from the group the officer sauntered toward Sean, pen and notepad still in hand. "Sauntering - that's good", thought Sean, "No pursuit, emergency is over, just hunting for witnesses now to build an air tight case". "I'm gonna be a good little witness for you", Sean silently promised the still approaching officer. "Good afternoon officer", Sean was all smiles and cordiality when the officer stopped in front of him. "Good afternoon sir", the officer responded in that odd mix of formality and cordiality the police are obliged to adopt when dealing with the general public, "been here long?" "About half an hour I think", Sean feigned that vague casualness of someone who'd been relaxing and not really keeping track of time. "Did you see what happened here?" the officer gestured toward the tree where the man still sat holding his temple. "Sure did!" Sean sat up and played the eager witness happy to finally get some excitement and a meaningful role in an otherwise dreary and seemingly pointless life. "OK," before we start can I have your name and some form of ID", the officer asked politely before quickly adding by way of explanation, "just in case we need to call you as a witness". "Sean O'Connell" Sean responded, a little surprised at the sound of his own name and trying to remember when was the last time he had actually volunteered it, especially to a policeman. He searched his wallet for his real driver's licence figuring that it was better to give his real name and ID. After all, as he reasoned, best not to spoil it all now by getting caught out on an easily verifiable technicality. Especially as he was now just a witness and not a suspect - which was a novel situation for Sean, and a role he was beginning to enjoy.

"So what happened here?" the officer gestured in the general direction of the injured man with one hand as he returned Sean's drivers licence with the other, before getting ready to take notes. "Well I was just sitting here enjoying the afternoon breeze," Sean quickly warmed to his mentally rehearsed story, "when suddenly that guy down there comes bursting through the bushes there", he said gesturing to his own recent entry point. "Anyway, next thing he comes running up this way like a bat out of hell and keeps looking back over his shoulder, which is probably why he didn't see the tree branch. Next thing, WHACK! He runs straight into that branch where you found him and goes apex over base backward. I was about to get up and see if he needed any help when you two guys came running up". "Is he gonna be OK?" Sean added with what he thought might be a nice touch of caring thoughtfulness that a regular by-stander might have.

Sean couldn't be sure but he had the distinct impression that the officer had lost some of his cordiality as he had been relating his version of events but could see nothing in his manner or story that could possibly arouse any suspicion. The officer had dutifully written down everything Sean had said but something in the way the officer now looked at him stirred vague thoughts of past troubles. Sean had seen that look before and knew he had been recategorised from witness to suspect - in fact prime suspect. But why? Sean could not fault his performance and was sure it gave no reasonable grounds for suspicion, especially compared to whatever the other guy could offer by way of explaining why he had a stolen handbag in his possession. "Stay cool", Sean instructed himself, "your just getting edgy that's all". The officer put his notebook away but his eyes did not leave Sean. When his hand returned the notebook had transformed itself into a set of handcuffs. In the same movement the officer had taken a step forward effectively trapping Sean on the bench where he was still seated. Just to make escape totally impossible the second officer materialised next to the first, obviously summonsed by some subtle, unseen signal. "Stay seated and place your hands behind you", said the first officer in a voice that was all formality and no cordiality, "you are under arrest for assault and robbery - and resisting arrest", he added as a sort of after thought.

Hemmed in as he was Sean dutifully complied as they placed the handcuffs on him, but still mystified he tried a last ditch effort to talk his way out of it. "Never know your luck if you don't try it", he thought to himself. "Excuse me officer but I don't understand why I am being arrested?" Sean was all innocence, which was feigned, and puzzlement, which wasn't. "Well the guy down there says he was actually sitting on the bench here letting his dog Bruno have its daily run when he heard it yelping in pain and obviously distressed. Says he set off in the direction of the sound to look for it when he hit his head on the tree branch", the officer explained. "Says he heard someone run by and drop something but, of course, couldn't see who it was." "WHAT!" Sean exploded, playing the indignant 'I'll sue for wrongful arrest' angle hoping he might get lucky and scare them into letting him go, or at least taking the 'cuffs off so he could try and do a runner again. "Don't tell me you bought a cockamamie story like that! Even if you were stupid enough to believe that why pick on me? After all, didn't you say even he claims he couldn't see who ran past - which was very convenient if you ask me". Sean was ready for any one of several possible reactions to his outburst, but the ensuing laughter wasn't one of them. "Actually", the officer chortled, obviously enjoying himself immensely, "we weren't sure who to arrest - until you told us your story. You see he really does have a dog called Bruno. In fact I think you have already met him, back down the path there". "Oh, by the way," the officer added, trying unsuccessfully to keep a straight face, "if your interested at all, Bruno will be bruised and sore for a while but he'll be OK". "Oh I heard that dog too", Sean interjected, trying to push his fast fading luck as far as he could, "could be anybody's dog". "Actually it couldn't", the officer finally managed to get out when he could stop laughing long enough, "you see Bruno is not just his dog - Bruno is his guide-dog . The guy's blind as a bat - which makes your story a bit hard to swallow".

The last of Sean's Irish luck disappeared into the distance when a subsequent search discovered the plump purse still down the front of his T-shirt. In his preoccupation with trying to outsmart the cops Sean had totally forgotten about getting rid of the incriminating evidence.

A police car was waiting for them outside the park entrance. Sean recognised the driver, having had several close encounters with him before. As they bundled him into the back seat the driver looked over his shoulder and spoke to the arresting officer, "I know this guy - you were lucky to catch him Mick". "Luck of the Irish, Jim", grinned officer O'Grady, "luck of the Irish".

D.J. Ludlow Copyright 2002.

       Web Site: An Island Place

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Reviewed by Divinity 11 1/2/2004
haha, i really liked this story, as I am very irish,

but geez, i hope my luck is better than that

Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 1/2/2004
good write; well done, d.j.! (((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :D happy new year to you and yours!

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