Endings: Into the Sunset

October 2, 2009

“This one,” says the one and only Teetonka O’Malley – the entrepreneur, the inventor, the world’s premiere magic carpet salesman.

“This one,” he repeated with his usual white-toothed grin, “this one I keep.”

His son, Shamus, was clearly puzzled. He had good reason to be disoriented, admittedly – today was the day his father was turning the busines over to him. Despite years of being primed by Teetonka in the trade, he had spent the day getting a crash course in the true secrets of the craft – the tips to getting the most zip and zoom out of every hand-woven, lovingly-enchanted carpet, as well as the tricks to putting them on the market, cajoling customers into taking a ride, and persuading them to part with every coin they had to their name.

It had been an intense, primal experience, and left Shamus fuzzy-headed and his thoughts swimming through a sea of silver words and cunning strategies – which made it especially difficult for him to understand why his father was laying claim to the rattiest, thinnest, dullest enchanted rug in their storeroom.

Teetonka’s smile grew even wider, his teeth shining bright despite the dim lighting in the warehouse room. “You think I have lost my touch, yes. My eye for the prize! Here I am, finally ready to retire. My enemies have been laid to rest, my family is safe and secure, and all I have before me is years of carefree travel and sampling the coffees of the world, yes? Why would I want to make the trip on such a rag as this, eh?”

Shamus nodded. “Yes, father. I would not have put it in quite those words, but… something like that, yes.”

Laughter echoed through the room as Teetonka shook his head and kneeled down beside the magic carpet – though his son, privately, wasn’t quite sure what his father found so amusing. Running one hand across the threadbare fabric, tracing out the red and gold pattern that had faded into a single crimson haze of color, the elder O’Malley chuckled until the room fell into silence.

Then, his eyes still dancing with merriment, he looked up at his son. “There are no words with which to explain it. But this one I keep as my own. And one day, when you stand before your own child and are flush with your greatest triumph, certain of your family’s safety and security…. then, on that day, you shall understand, with no explanation needed.”

And as the retired salesman rolled up the only magic carpet he would ever claim as his own, Shamus stood there in bewilderment trying – and failing – to offer a response.