The Green Hat

It was an old felt hat, a little dusty. Green with a gold buckle and a black band. A leprechaun’s hat- the kind you’d wear on St. Patrick’s day before such hats were reduced to metallic cardboard. It had several abilities and one was to levitate, another to answer questions. Mavis kept it in a closet mostly where it hovered under some wire hangers. When she opened the door it followed her to her office and answered questions, mostly about her love life. Most of the responses were sarcastic, like What do you think? but Mavis realized that this sarcasm came from an intelligence far superior to her own so she kept up with her interrogations until she found something she could use. Well, obviously he would like the linguini, it only reminds him of the happiest time of his life, that’s all. But serve him whatever you want.

When she was done with the questions, the hat followed her back to the closet and she pushed it in, shutting the door quickly.

She tried to run her life without the hat for the most part. She made a point of never using it for wealth- she preferred to run her design agency herself. She wanted to really feel she had earned her design awards on her own. But when it came to love she was at a loss and that’s when the hat came in handy.

One evening she threw a dinner party with a collection of friends and neighbors. She had designs on two of the men but couldn’t decide which to go with. Marv was smart and interesting and Larry was dangerous and wealthy but she didn’t want to be stuck with either of them if they weren’t good in the sack.

On one of her trips back to the kitchen she stopped by the closet. Opening the door a crack she whispered to the hat, “Which one’s better?” There was a pause. In what way?

“You know what I’m talking about, hat,” she hissed. Oh, obviously the Marv guy because nice guys are always the best in bed, the hat replied in its usual patronizing lilt. Mavis closed the closet door quietly and spent the rest of the evening flirting with Larry, who ended up staying long after everyone else had left. They made love on the balcony and on every other surface available until the early morning sunlight glowed on their naked bodies. Just as Mavis was letting out a very long, satisfied sigh, the doorbell rang. “Who on earth could that be?” Mavis asked and rushed to the front, covering herself with a white satin robe. In her hurry she didn’t hear the hat call to her through the closet door, Sure, answer it, that’s a great idea!

She opened the door and was knocked off her feet by gangsters who riddled her condo with bullets. All family heirlooms, china, and artwork were destroyed instantly. The gangsters found Larry out on the balcony naked with a revolver in one hand. He barely fired off one shot before they let him have it and he toppled backwards over the railing, falling 44 stories to his death. The gangsters left as quickly as they had arrived to leave Mavis to struggle to her feet alone, head spinning as she stumbled through the smoke and debris.

She went to the closet, which was aerated with dozens of holes. She pulled the closet door open. The hat still floated there, its felt torn and ragged where several bullets had passed through. She stared at it, not knowing what to say. The hat rotated back and forth- its own equivalent of shaking its head, and floated away from her across the decimated living room, out to the balcony and on out into the city. Mavis ran over to the railing and stared out as the green hat got further and further away until it finally disappeared from sight.

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