Maxine was sitting on the porch staring out into nothing particular, taking repeated drags of her cigarette.
"Ma? I thought you gave up smoking," Amy groused as she sat herself down next to her Mom.
"Oh, ah," noticing Amy for the first time, "well, I had, but I had . . . I felt like one and it is my house."
Amy understood what her mother meant. She wasn't ready to talk about what was bothering her yet. So Amy made herself comfortable to wait for Maxine to be ready to talk, because it was clear to Amy that her Mother had something important on her mind.
"What do you know about Leprechauns?"
"What do I know about what?" Amy repeated thrown by her mother's question.
"You heard me," was Maxine's terse reply.
Amy looked at her Mother like she was crazy. "They're Irish, short, bury Gold at the end of Rainbows, and they eat 'Lucky Charms' because they're magically delicious."
The final comment earned a brief half smile from Maxine before her face became more serious once more. "I'm actually serious."
"Oh, other than they are some sort of Irish fairy tale I don't really know anything more than that." Amy glanced up at her mother, "what's this about?"
Maxine stood and walked over to the porch railing, not looking at Amy. "Did you know Sean carries a small gold coin in his pocket?"
Amy did not understand the conversation, but decided to go with it, "no, I didn't."
"He does," Maxine turned leaning back on the railing facing Amy. She took a deep drag of her cigarette. "One of the kids, picked his pocket. Took his coin. He was really upset about it. He said it was a family heirloom. The youngest in the family always carries it."
"Was Sean able to get his coin back?"
"Eventually, but not before . . . " Maxine stopped, took one more drag and threw her cigarette to the ground smashing it with her foot, and turned to her daughter.
"Before what, Ma?"
Maxine ignored Amy and continued talking, "the only time it was out of his possession was when his twin brother Seamus had taken it from him, but he got it back when his brother got sent to Lake Erie. It wasn't long after that he moved here. He wanted to start over, away from his brother."
Maxine paused as she thought over what she said, "did you know he even changed his name because his brother wasn't someone he wanted to be associated with? His name use to be McTierney – Sean McTierney. In fact, it was why he went into social work, to be different from his brother . . . "
Any was surprised. If there was one person she didn't suspect of having secrets it was Sean. "Ma, if he got his coin back, what's the problem?"
"I saw him, without his coin. I saw him, without his coin - that is the problem!" Maxine snapped, "I thought he was sulking. He said he didn't want to see anyone until the coin was found. I never listen, never have. I let myself into his office to tell him to stop feeling sorry for himself – that one coin was no big deal." Maxine laughed humorlessly as she reached in her pocket for another cigarette. "I say when I am wrong and I was wrong, Amy. One coin is really important."
Amy looked at her mother a question on her face, but not yet formed on her lips.
"I walked into his office. I knew he was in there, he hadn't left, but I couldn't find him. I went to see if he was under his desk or something. . . . "
She lit her cigarette. "I found him. He was standing on his desk. His ears were," she tugged at the top of her ears.
"How did you miss him if he were standing on his desk?"
"He was hiding behind the telephone," Maxine said after a long drag.
"He was hiding behind the telephone," she repeated. "Of course, he was only six inches high at the time; I am old not blind." Maxine took a deep breath, "he's a Leprechaun, Amy. His coin lets him appear human. When he got it back, he was back to normal."
Amy just stared at her mother, trying to decide if she were delusional, if Vincent put her-up to this odd prank, or if somehow . . . Could Sean Potter really be a Leprechaun?
Amy wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer.