Tag: leprechaun

Charlie’s Room: Cleaning Up

In the middle of the night, the wind started roaring. Isaac woke up from an awful dream where he was chased by lions, and it took a few minutes for him to figure out what was happening. Rain hit the window in bursts and sounded like the drumming of fingernails on the glass. Every once in a while, there was a strange, high-pitched whistle.

It was difficult to fall back asleep, so he went to the kitchen for a drink of water. Earlier in the evening, the full moon was visible. It hung bright and luminous and unreal somehow, like a sticker placed on top of the sky. Now, he couldn’t see it at all. The only light was from the streetlights, and the shadows wavered and danced in the yellow-orange glow, distorted by the rain tossed against the window by the wind.

The wind roared even louder, like an invisible ocean coming in to shore. Isaac glanced at the clock. He had an early meeting at work and couldn’t stay up late. With a reluctant glance back at the shifting shadows, he went back to bed. After a while, he fell asleep.

In the morning, it was still dark when he left the house with a cold muffin wrapped in a napkin for later. He swerved around branches in the street as he drove to work. The sun was just coming up as he arrived. He had to watch his step. The sidewalks were littered with papers and wrappers that had been blown against the buildings in the night.

After a busy day at work, Isaac was starving. The muffin wasn’t enough to cover breakfast and lunch. He spent the drive home imagining the wonderful sandwich he would eat when he arrived home. It was going to have everything he liked on it. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and whatever else he could find in the fridge that would fit on a sandwich.

The sidewalks and yards in his neighborhood were covered in debris from the storm. It would take a while to get things cleaned up. His home was no exception. When Marianne and Charlie didn’t call out to welcome him home when he stepped inside, he knew right away where to find them. They were in the garden.

Marianne had her hands on her hips, and she was shaking her head. Charlie was on his knees, inspecting the bottom of a trellis. Isaac hurried over. “Is everything okay?” he asked.

Charlie stood up and brushed off his knees. “I think so. We just have a lot of clean up to do.”

Marianne smiled. “Welcome home. I’m afraid that we need to put you to work right away while it’s still light out.” She pointed to a box of trash bags on the ground nearby. “Can you get a bag and start picking up in the front? We’ll take care of things back here.”

Ignoring his grumbling tummy, Isaac grabbed a bag and some gloves from the shed and got to work. It didn’t take long to get the front yard picked up. He looked around, pleased at the neat, clean yard, and thought about going inside and eating that fabulous sandwich. Surely there would be cheese in the fridge. He would add two slices, or maybe three.

And then he noticed the yards around him. Mr. Johnson would have a hard time picking up trash while leaning on his cane. The Simonsens worked until late. Maybe he could clean up for just a little bit longer.

Isaac cleaned quickly, quicker than he’d expected, and made his way back around to Miss Marta’s yard just as the sun was setting. The shadows were long and the light seemed heavier somehow. He reached for a plastic cup that was leaning against the base of a pine tree, when he saw something small dart forward through a gap in the iris leaves nearby. He froze.

The something small froze too. It was a little man, dressed in a green that was a perfect match for the leaves behind him. The man was clutching a small cast-iron pot, the size of a tea cup, to his chest. It was filled with golden odds and ends, things like buttons and bracelets and tooth fillings.

Narrowing his eyes and scowling, the man clutched his pot of gold tighter. “You can’t have it. It’s mine!”

Isaac took a step back and held up his hands. “Of course it is. I’m not sure that I even own any gold.”

“Well you can’t have mine.” The man stepped back, two big steps, while watching Isaac. “And don’t try to catch me and ask for wishes. I’d make them all turn out terrible, you know.”

Isaac nodded. “I understand. I’ll leave you and your gold alone.”

“You’d better.” The man took a few more backwards steps and then turned. Three more steps. He was fading into the shadows. Just then, Isaac’s stomach growled loudly. The man paused and turned back to look at Isaac.

Isaac smiled. “Sorry about that. Busy day.”

The man looked at Isaac’s bag of trash and the plastic cup nearby that Isaac hadn’t picked up yet. “I see that. I won’t grant you any wishes, but I can gift you some food.” He frowned. “But it’s only because I feel sorry for you.”

He waved a hand at Isaac, and suddenly Isaac was holding something wrapped in brown paper. When he looked up from the parcel, the man was gone. “Thank you,” he said anyway.

Isaac took off his gloves and unwrapped the parcel. Inside there was a sandwich with everything he liked on it. It even had three slices of cheese. It was delicious.

He finished picking up Miss Marta’s yard and went home. The streetlights were coming on. He threw the trash bag into the outside trash can and went inside. Marianne was in the kitchen, stirring a pot of soup and humming. Charlie was setting the table.

“That took you a while.” Charlie set out the spoons.

“I picked up a lot of trash,” Isaac said. “I picked up around the neighborhood a little.” He washed his hands at the sink.

“I’ll bet you’re starving after all that work.” Marianne tasted the soup and added a little salt. “It’s almost ready.”

“I had a sandwich,” Isaac admitted.

“While you were out?”

“Someone gave it to me.”

Charlie put the cups on the table with a smile. “Was it nice?”

“It was the best sandwich I ever ate.”

Marianne smiled. “Well the sandwich might have been nice, but wait until you taste this soup!”

The soup was wonderful. Isaac couldn’t have wished for better.

Flashback Friday: Career Counseling

This story was originally posted on March 17, 2017. I like unusual career ideas. My son, when he was younger, wanted to rule the world when he grew up. He thought he could do a better job of things. I wonder what the career path would be for that?

Mr. Marsh looked up when he heard someone knock on his open door. It looked like the next student had arrived for career counseling.   “Come in,” he said. He checked his schedule. “John?”

“That’s right.” The teenager sat at the edge of his chair with a big smile. Good, that probably meant he had some idea of what he wanted to do after school.

“So, have you given any thought what you’d like to do after next year?” He opened the folder at the top of the pile. “Your grades are good enough to get you into a nice university.”

“No, I think I want to go find the unicorns and live there with them. Like that lady did with the gorillas.” John looked entirely sincere.

Mr. Marsh waited for the moment when his expression would change and he’d shout ‘just kidding.’   It didn’t happen and the silence was beginning to feel awkward. “Um, John,” Mr. Marsh said at last. “Unicorns aren’t real.”

“That’s what they want you to think. Just like the dinosaurs.” John smiled.

Mr. Marsh tapped on his planner with his pen. “Dinosaurs were real. They just all died out.”

“You believe that comet theory?” John raised an eyebrow. “That’s ridiculous. A single comet took out all the dinosaurs?”

“Well, it blocked out the sun and changed the climate, and…”

“And didn’t kill the plants? Or the sharks?” John chuckled.

Mr. Marsh frowned.   “Well, it killed some of the plants.   And sharks are sharks. In any case, they’re all gone and unicorns don’t exist.”

John shrugged.   “Believe what you will.”

“Even if you believe in unicorns, you don’t know where they are. How can living with them be a valid career plan?”

“Finding them will be part of my career, of course.” John looked confident.

“And how do you plan on financing your expeditions?” Mr. Marsh asked. He clicked the end of his pen and prepared to take notes. If John was serious about this, he’d do his best to advise him. Even if he was fairly certain there was a hidden camera somewhere.

“Sponsorships, of course,” John said.

Mr. Marsh sighed.   “How do you plan on attracting sponsors?”

“It shouldn’t be too hard. Everyone likes unicorns.   Of course, the sponsors will have to realize that the unicorns may not agree with me sharing any of my findings.   They are probably hiding for a good reason.” John pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket.

Mr. Marsh leaned forward as John held the paper up. It looked like a list of names written in different handwritings.   “What’s that?”

“My classmates petitioned me to accept sponsors. It’s why I’m considering it even though I don’t think I’ll ever be able to share my research findings.” John folded the list up and put it back in his pocket.

“Then what was your original plan?” Mr. Marsh asked.

“Leprechaun gold.” John smiled. “It will probably be my main source of income. However, I do understand the need people have to be a part of major scientific endeavors. So, I will accept all offers of funding, as long as there are no strings attached.”

Mr. Marsh dropped his pen and leaned back. He ran a hand through his hair and took a deep breath. “John, you do know that there aren’t really any leprechauns, right?”

John rolled his eyes. “That’s what they want you to think.”

“Right. Right.   Like the dinosaurs.” Mr. Marsh took another deep breath.

John smiled.   “Exactly.”

“And how do you plan on obtaining this gold?” Mr. Marsh asked. He picked up his pen.

“Oh the usual way.   Follow a rainbow, trick a leprechaun.   You know.” John shrugged.

Mr. Marsh nodded and took notes. “All right.   Well, I see a lot of time hiking and camping in your future. And a lot of time spent outdoors in the rain. What do you think you need to do to prepare for that?”

John pulled out another piece of paper from a different pocket. He smoothed it out. “I’ve written a supply list. Tell me what you think.”

Mr. Marsh held out a hand and John handed him the paper. He looked over the list. “And where do you plan on finding rope made out of elf hair?”

John shrugged.   “Oh, you know. Usual place. Go to a fairy circle, trick an elf.”

Mr. Marsh sighed.

Charlie’s Room: Tall Tales

“Dad, were you always tall?” Charlie asked one day.

Isaac fit a piece of sky into the puzzle with a smile. “What do you mean?”

Marianne reached across the table for a mostly yellow piece. “I’ve never seen a baby as tall as him, so I doubt it.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Charlie sighed and turned the piece he was holding sideways and tried to fit it into the roof of the birdhouse. It didn’t fit.

“I think that’s part of one of the branches. The brown is more gray and less green,” Marianne said.

Holding the piece up, Charlie squinted. “I think you’re right.” He scooted around the end of the table and started trying to fit the piece in a different spot. “I was meaning that everyone says I’m short, and I was wondering if Dad was short too when he was my age.”

“He’s not short now,” Marianne said. She gave up on the yellow piece and picked up a piece with a stripe of brown down one side. “I was always short when I was younger. Then I was normal. Maybe you get the shortness from me.”

“I worried about being short once. I worried about it for about a month. Luckily, my school had a leprechaun as an exchange student. After standing behind him in the lunch line, I realized I wasn’t really short after all, and I haven’t worried about it ever since.”

“A leprechaun?” Charlie asked, putting down his puzzle piece.

“Mmm-hmmmm.” Isaac placed a piece of sky that had the edge of a bird’s wing. “He wore a little green suit and had a big bushy beard and was as tall as the top of my knee without his top hat.”

“He had a beard? In elementary school?” Marianne raised an eyebrow, looking skeptical.

“Yes, but I think he was rather young in leprechaun years. I’m not really sure how that works.” Isaac found another piece of sky and bird.

“Could he do magic? Did he have a pot of gold?” Charlie asked, paying no attention to the puzzle.

Isaac looked over at him and smiled. “Of course. I told you he was a leprechaun, didn’t I? He could pop around to wherever he wanted to go, so he was always first in line. He kept his gold at the end of the rainbow where it’s safest.”

“If it was just sitting there, what kept people from taking it away?” Marianne found the last piece of the birdhouse roof and put it in place.

“Rainbows always seem just as far away no matter how quickly you walk or drive, right?” Isaac began.

“But he could pop over to it, so he’s the only one who could get there,” Charlie said loudly while grinning. “It makes sense.”

“Aha!” Marianne said. Isaac and Charlie turned to watch as she fit a branch she’d been working on separately into place in the puzzle. She nodded. “I knew I could attach it eventually.”

Charlie looked back down at the pieces and found a piece with a line through it. He handed it to his mom. “Is this the end of a branch?”

“Yes, and I know where it goes,” she said. “It’s nearly the end when the pieces start going in fast.”

“Because there aren’t as many places they can go,” Charlie said, handing her another piece. “How long did the leprechaun stay at your school, Dad?”

“Just for the rainy season. I think he had to stay close to rainbows.” Isaac put the last plain blue piece into the sky.

“Why don’t we get exchange students?”

“I don’t know. Budget cuts?” Isaac handed a piece of branch to Marianne.

“We never had exchange students at my school, either,” Marianne said as she fit the piece in place. “Maybe it was just a special program at your dad’s school. Or maybe your dad is just telling tall tales.”

“Tall tales?”

Marianne tried a piece, turned it, and placed it somewhere else. “A story that’s exaggerated. There was probably someone shorter than him in school, but the kid wasn’t knee-high with a beard. Leprechauns aren’t real, of course.”

“Oh.” Charlie handed her the last piece.

Marianne handed it back. “Why don’t you do the honors?”

Charlie put the piece in place. The puzzle was done. “Puzzles always go faster when Mom helps.”

“We all have our talents.” Marianne smiled. “I can’t run as fast as your dad does.”

“Well, I thought I could run fast until that first gym class with the unicorn exchange student. He ran so fast that he made us all feel like we were standing in place.”

Charlie laughed. “I get it. That one’s a fast tale, right?”

Flashback Friday: Wishing for Wishes

This story was originally posted on July 25, 2017. I like the idea of this story. I think it would be even better as a longer story with more explanation and such. (For example, how does the alligator talk to everyone? Is he a normal alligator?) Maybe someday I’ll sit down and write that story.

The alligator swam as quickly as he could.  The rainbow was fading.  “Wait,” he said.  Instead of waiting, the rainbow started to fade a little faster. Fortunately, alligators are faster in water than on land, and this rainbow ended over water.

With a final burst of speed, he dove under the water and sat on the pot of gold.  A few seconds later, a leprechaun popped into view.  It flailed its arms and legs for a moment, and then surrounded itself and the alligator and the gold in a bubble of air.

“Give me back my gold, you big lizard,” the leprechaun said.  “What would you do with gold anyway?”

“Maybe I’m turning into a dragon and need to build a hoard,” the alligator said.

The leprechaun’s mouth dropped open.  “You can do that?” he asked in a squeaky voice.

The alligator snorted.  “No, of course not.  I just want a wish.  Grant me a wish and you can have your gold back.”

The leprechaun shut his mouth and scowled.  “I won’t be granting a wish to something with teeth like that.  Keep the gold.  It will do you no good.”  The leprechaun folded its arms and disappeared with a crack.  The bubble of air disappeared with him.

The alligator waited another half hour underwater and then gave in.  Even he would need to go up to breathe eventually.  Once he left, the leprechaun would come for the gold.  He could take it with him, but what was the point?  He didn’t want the gold.  He wanted the wish.  And the leprechaun made it clear how he felt about that.

This was not the first time or the second or third time the alligator had been denied a chance for a wish.  He’d wished on the first star.  He’d found a stray campfire to blow out on his birthday.  He caught a leaf as it fell.  He held his breath as he ran through a tunnel.

Every time, a fairy popped in front of him and told him that their wishes were not for alligators and to stop wasting their time.  No one asked him what his wish was or told him how alligators could get wishes.  It just wasn’t fair.

However, alligators are stubborn, and this one wasn’t any different.  He had a wish, and he was going to find a way to get it.  It wasn’t one he could work towards on his own, so he needed to find help.  Well, he’d just keep looking.

He caught a fish and let it go.  The fish laughed at him and swam away.  He rubbed a camping lantern with his paws.  The genie popped out, grabbed the lantern and vanished.  He blew the seeds off a white puffy dandelion.  A fairy appeared, gathered all the scattered seeds and blew a raspberry at him.  “If you try this one more time, I’ll send the fairy princess to stop you.  She’ll turn you into a beetle,” the fairy said.

The alligator did not give up.  There had to be a way for alligators to get wishes.  And then one morning, he heard a faint cry for help.  He rushed towards the voice.  He found a frog cornered by a snake.  The alligator knocked the snake out of the way.

The snake looked up, and his expression went from angry and annoyed to terrified.  The alligator grinned to show all his teeth, and the snake slithered away.  “I’m doomed,” the frog said.  “I’ve gone from the frying pan into the fire.”

“Nonsense,” the alligator said.  “Did you know that you are speaking in English and not Frog?”

“I am?” the frog said.  “That would have made things a little easier, I suppose.  If I wasn’t about to be eaten.”

“You have a feel of magic around you, and you don’t talk Frog.  I’m not going to eat you,” the alligator said.  “So, tell me your story.”

“I’m an inventor.  I invented a self-flying broom.  It made the witches’ guild angry, and they turned me into a frog.  I can only become human again if a princess kisses me.  In this day and age, I think that’s a near impossibility.” The frog sighed.

“Does it have to be a human princess?” the alligator asked.

“They didn’t say,” the frog said.

“Then it doesn’t.  Follow me,” the alligator said.  He went to the meadow and picked a white, fluffy dandelion and blew.  A majestic, angry looking fairy appeared.

She glared at the alligator.  “You were warned,” she said.  She lifted her arm.

“Wait,” the alligator said.  “This human needs your help.”

The fairy princess turned and looked at the frog.  Her eyes narrowed.  “He looks like a frog, but there is magic surrounding him.  Tell me, frog, how did this happen?”

“I was cursed by witches.  I can turn back if a princess kisses me.”  His voice shook.

“Oh, very well.  I never did like witches, so I wouldn’t mind spoiling their plans,” the fairy princess said.  She blew a kiss at the frog, and in a swirl of light he became human again.  “There,” she said.  “Now their spells won’t work on you.”

Then the fairy princess turned and glared at the alligator again.  “As for you, knock it off.”  She disappeared in a clap of thunder.

“What was that about?” the inventor asked.

“The fairies refuse to give wishes to alligators,” the alligator said.  “It isn’t fair.”

“What is your wish?” the inventor asked.

“I want to fly,” the alligator said.

“So that it’s easier to catch and eat things?” the inventor asked.

“No.  So I can fly.  I mostly eat fish, and flying wouldn’t make it any easier to catch them,” the alligator said.

“Well then,” the inventor said.  “I think I can help you.”

A few months later, the alligator was darting around in a rocket-propelled suit.  It was as amazing as he’d always dreamed it would be.

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: