Yeah, so… I was too busy celebrating freedom yesterday to share any inspiration with you. To make up for it, here is my contribution to this month’s Words on Wednesday linkup. But first, a little explanation…
It’s a scene from somewhere in the middle of a story I’m contemplating, centered around the fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Oberon’s habit of becoming concerned with the love lives of random humans has always made me giggle, as does his habit of sending the endlessly mischievous and flighty Puck to do his dirty work. I wondered what would happen if Oberon became interested in bringing together a couple of average American high school students, and sent Puck in to bring them together. Puck (otherwise known as Robin Goodfellow), an ancient, shapeshifting animal spirit (yes, Puck is a pooka) masquerading as a teenager, and befriending a girl in the process, seems to hold certain possibilities.
“Hey Leah, come watch this movie with me,” her dad called from the living room. “It was one of my favorites growing up, you need to see it.”
“What is it?” Leah shouted back from the kitchen.
“It’s called Harvey. It’s got Jimmy Stuart in it, playing a guy whose best friend is a six-foot high white rabbit that only he can see.”
“What?” Leah came and stood in the doorway.
“I know, but you just have to see it, trust me. Then it will almost make sense. Besides, it’s a classic.”
“Okay…” Leah sat down on the edge of the couch, balancing her plate on her knees. She was more focused on not spilling her food while texting her friend than what was happening on screen, until suddenly Jimmy Stuart’s eerie monotone cut through her thoughts. “Harvey’s a pooka,” he was explaining to another character.
“A what?” Leah yelped, dropping her fork.
“A pooka,” Jimmy Stuart answered.
“Pookas are animal spirits from Celtic folklore,” Leah’s dad explained. “You okay there?”
“Yeah,” Leah muttered, retrieving her fork. “Yeah, I know what a pooka is. I’m going to get a new fork.”
She sat through the rest of the movie without seeing it, trying to keep from bursting into semi-hysterical laughter every five seconds. This was too unreal.
“So, what did you think?” her dad asked as the credits rolled.
“Oh, it was… cute. I liked it,” Leah managed to say. “Like, that whole pooka thing… that was funny.” She stood up. “Hey, I think I’m going to go to bed now. I didn’t really get much sleep last night.”
“Okay, hon.” Her dad looked at her closely. “Sure you’re all right? Not coming down with something, are you?”
“No, I’m fine. Night, Dad.” Finally, she escaped to her room.
The next morning, when Leah left the house, a tall white rabbit was leaning against the street light, arms folded and legs crossed casually. Leah pursed her lips and walked past him as if he wasn’t there, but he fell silently into step beside her.
“So, you’re spying on me now?” Leah asked him after a while.
The rabbit shrugged. “Why not? You spied on me first.”
Leah’s mouth opened, then shut. “I googled you,” she protested. “That’s different. Would you please stop already with this rabbit thing?”
“Why? You’re the only one who can see me, you know. To anybody else who might be watching you’re just a pretty young girl talking to her imaginary friend.”
“Well, whatever. It’s creeping me out. I just want you to go back to looking like yourself.”
The rabbit laughed. “I doubt if you would find that any less ‘creepy,’ as you put it.”
“I mean your normal, teenage-looking self. Your school self.”
“Normal,” the rabbit snorted. But as Leah watched, he began to melt and fold in on himself until Robin was walking beside her. The whole process couldn’t have taken more than three seconds.
“Well that was disturbing,” Leah observed after she recovered from her shock.
Robin clicked his tongue. “First you tell me to change because I’m ‘creepy.’ Then when I do change, I’m ‘disturbing.’ There’s no pleasing you, is there?”