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Excerpt from Monsters



Illustration by Cherise Clark

The therapist’s office is done up in pastel, from the off-white lampshade to the lilac walls to the two comfy chairs, one butterscotch and one caramel, to the seafoam plastic flowers in the powder blue vase on the pale taupe coffee table. Lucky presumes it’s supposed to make him feel safe, but he feels more like he’s died and gone to a hotel.

The therapist asks, “How does it feel, right now, in this moment, to tell me that someone stole your pot of gold?”

“It makes me angry.”

“Ah, that’s good. That’s a start. Would you like me to give you a pillow you can hit?” The pillow cover is lavender.

“No, I want you to help me find the thief and give him what-for, and I want you to help me find my pot of gold.”

“You don’t want to express your rage?”

“Not now. When I find him.”

“Just a tiny bit? It’ll feel good.”

No response.

The therapist asks, “Do you mind, then, if I hit the pillow a couple of times?”

Lucky just looks at him.

Suddenly the therapist says, “How does it feel to have parents who named you Lucky? Was it horrible? Was it embarrassing?”

Few humans have ever seen a leprechaun. Even fewer have seen a leprechaun stunned speechless.

The therapist continues, “Are you sure your primary concern is with a pot of gold? Are you sure the theft of gold isn’t representative of something else that happened when you were younger, something deeper, darker, scarier?”

“I want my pot of gold back!”

“Of course you do, Little Lucky. You want your precious pot of gold, the precious pot of gold that was taken from you in the dark night when you were a little leprechaun, that dark night when The Bad Thing Happened to you.” He holds out the pillow toward Lucky.

Lucky shakes his head.

“Did the Bad Person say you were The Lucky One? Is that how you got your name, Little Lucky? Did you get special attention? Did it make you scared?”

Lucky pulls the piece of paper out of his pocket, holds it toward the therapist, asks, “Can you read this?”

The therapist looks at it. “Is this the secret message from your little leprechaun inside you, the secret message you’ve been trying to tell for all these years? The secret message that gives you nightmares when you try to sleep, that makes you scared both day and night?”


The therapist says, “Of course you would say that. This message must be very scary to be written in such a strange and mysterious language.” He looks intently, caringly, imploringly at Lucky, “But you know, Little Lucky, it’s not as important whether I can read this note as it is that you learn to understand it, that you learn the deep and scary secret of ‘who stole my pot of gold.’ Even more important is that you only understand this message when you are ready, and when you are strong enough, and when you know longer deny that what we’re really talking about is something that happened to you long ago. When you understand this, the message will be clear.”

“Oh, for crying out loud,” says Lucky. He puts the paper in his pocket, and disappears.

The therapist nods thoughtfully and says, “He clearly wasn’t ready to face his issues.”