Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Leprechaun Chronicles, v02: Of Beer and Bear

Of Bear and Beer

Leprechaun Chronicles, Volume 2 (2008)

I had such a good plan this year. You know, I caught up with the Little Green Dude last year. I know my trap works. I just had to make certain that I did not fall for HIS trap after I caught him in MINE. Simple enough.

I started baiting the trap two weeks ago. It wuz a turrible time to start a leprechaun hunt on accounta we just had that snow. I didn’t even know for sure if the Little Green Dude would come out of his hiding place when I started setting the bait because it was so cold. Also, the daffodils are not in full bloom yet. Bad sign. Something was taking the bait, though.

I couldn’t be for sure if it was the leprechaun because it was different this year. Always before, the little leprechaun drank the beer and left the cans. I always had to clean up his mess before I rebaited in the evenings. This year, though, I went back to the site every day for purt near 2 weeks, and nary a can were ever left behind. That wuz kinda weird.

So last night, I went out to daffodil hill. It was warm last week and over the weekend, so I was happy to see that we are finally seeing a few daffodils blooming. Oh. And they scented the air with the perfume of sweetest nectar.
The night started out great. I ate a real good lunch today. Corned beef & Kraut on Rye . Mashed taters. Two Jello snacks. Last year I did not have enough food on my stomach. This year I was prepared. I have to be able to drink enough beer to lure the Little Green Dude to my trap, but I also need to have enough food on my stomach to keep me in full control of my senses.

I loaded up my gear: blanket, wood, cooler full of beer. I even threw in some diet Jello to nibble on. Lime, of course. And, okay. I admit it. I took a couple of cans of SPAM and a jar o
f pickles.

We have had a lot of rain this year, and the Cache River is way out of her banks. Today she managed to cross the gravel road that leads to Daffodil Hill. That made me just a little nervous. I seem to remember getting stuck in a little patch of water on a dry road back in 1998. I am a bit skiddish about driving off into running water, but what wuz I to do? I had to get to Daffodil Hill, didn’t I? I back up a little ways and floored it. As soon as I hit the water, my tires slipped, and I slid almost sideways in the road. I tried to hold it straight, but my back end was sliding around like a new pair of skates on an ice pond. It took all I had to fight the water and mud, but I made it.

When I got to Daffodil Hill, it wuz getting dark. I did not even have time to get set up good afore it got good and dark on me. I got me a fire built quick enough, so I wuz okay with that. I wuz behind, though. I wasted a lot of time getting through that water, and then I had to drive real slow to keep from gettin stuck in the ruts. I had to drink a bit faster than I’ma accustomed to on accounta I had to get that bait set out. I finally got baited up, and cozied up to the fire. I got out my diet Jello because I did not want the alcohol to saturate my stomach. Have you ever had diet lime Jello with beer? It ain’t no goramay dinner, that’s for sure! Spam definitely adds a little sophistication to the meal.

And whut do you think happened then? I started hearing thunder rumbling off in the distance. The rumble was low and long, like the earth was groaning from a miserable emotional discomfort. I
t got cold pretty quick, too. I wuz not prepared for the cold. Purty soon my teeth wuz a chattering like a baby banging on a xylophone! Brrrrrrrr! Still makes me cold to think about it!

I moved a little closer to the fire, and that helped some. Until it started raining. Just what I needed. It wuz awfully chancy to leave my post and go back to my truck, but I had to fetch my umbrella. I started down the hill towards my truck, and I tripped and fell. Slid all the way down the hill like a hog in a wallow. I know you are probably thinking that I had too much to drink, but that simply is not true. I lost my footing on the wet grass.

Thank goodness I had a good towel in my truck. I cleaned up a little and grabbed my Barton’s Weather umbrella. As I got out the umbrella, I thought about the streak of luck I have had lately. That good luck began when I won this very umbrella in November. Since then, I have been on a winning streak. I smiled at the thought, which made me even more confidant that this is my year to bring home the gold.

I started back up the hill, and that just was not working. It was too steep, and the grass was too wet. I had to circle around the backside of the hill and come up where the slope was not so steep. There was a line of trees betwixt me and the fire, which was dimming under the rain, so I had no light from it to guide me. As I gathered closer to the tree where I had built the dwindling fire and stashed my cooler, the fire suddenly flared up and sent sparks flying high in the night. That wuz kinda odd. More than kinda. That was real odd! I did not think about it much, though, because I was cold and wanted to get to the fire. I assure you that the cooler had nothing to do with my motivations. Nothing at all.

What do you suppose I saw when I got up closer to the fire? That dag blasted Little Green Dude had done gone and dragged my cooler over close to the fire, and he wuz a sitting right up on top of it. Now that messes up my plan in all kinda ways! I sat down in the squishy mud while I tried to figure out what to do.

Then that little leprechaun pulled a real mean trick on me. He pulled out his fiddle and started playing the most beautiful ballads. He sang, “What’s Your Moma’s Name?,” “ Red River Valley ,” and “Barbara Allen.” I love those old songs. And THEN the old *@#% sang the song that reached out and touched someone, and since I was the only someone there, that would be me.
The Little Green Dude sang “Put My Little Shoes Away.”

Come and bathe my forehead, Mother
For I'm growing very weak.
Let one drop of water, Mother
Fall upon my burning cheek.
Go and tell my little playmates
That I nevermore will play.
Give them all my toys, but Mother
Put my little shoes away

Santa Claus he brought them to me
With a lot of other things,
And I think he brought an angel
With a pair of golden wings.
I will be an angel, Mother
By perhaps another day.
Will you do this for me, Mother?
Put my little shoes away.

Soon the baby will be larger,
And then they'll fit his little feet.
And he'll look so nice and handsome
When he walks upon the street.
I'm going to leave you now , Dear Mother,
So remember what I say.
Will you do this for me, Mother?
Put my little shoes away.

I'm growing tired, dear Mother.
Soon I'll say to you good day.
Always remember what I told you.
Put my little shoes away.
I'm about to leave you now, Dear Mother,
So remember what I say.
Will you do this for me, Mother?
Put my little shoes away.

I am
not even going to try to tell you that I was not crying. The Little Green Dude did not even have to whip out his magic dust. He simply sang a song and played the fiddle. The Little Green Dude had me right where he wanted me. I just didn’t know it yet.

“C’mon up here by the fire, Missy,” the leprechaun whispered so softly that I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t the wind whipping through the trees instead of a voice I heard. For an entire YEAR, I have planned ways to lure the Little Green Dude out of the darkness into my trap. I have imagined many scenarios where he crept from the darkness of the trees to my fire. Never did I imagine that it would be ME creeping from the trees and brush by invitation of the Little Green Dude. I built the fire. I dragged that heavy cooler to the top of the hill. I baited the trap for 2 weeks. With nothing more than the sweet sound of the fiddle and the lyrics of a sad ballad, I was reduced from predator to prey.

This ain’t good!

It wuz raining harder now, and I wuz found out anyways, so I stepped out of the shadows into the fire and offered to share my Barton’s umbrella with the leprechaun. He gladly joined me, as he whipped out a harmonica and began to play a low slow song. The music was soft and faint, and it sounded like Mother Nature sighing with satisfaction after painting a summer sunset.

When the song was finished, the Little Green Dude offered me a beer. I agreed only because I did not want to be rude. I completely forgot that it was MY beer to begin with!

The Little Green Dude started to talk about his grandmother. She had taught him all these ballads as they worked in the leprechaun garden together. The little leppie missed his Nanny something fierce. Apparently, she was one great leprechaun lady. He showed me her picture. I think she would have been real pretty if she wasn't painted up like Mimi from The Drew Cary Show.

The Little Green Dude wiped away my tears and said, “I like to think me wee daughter be like me Nanny.”

“Daughter?” I replied. “ I didn’t know . . . “.

“I know you didn’t, Lassie. I did not tell yer sweet soul because I did not want to see the tears cloud those blue eyes of yourin.”

“So why are you telling me now?”

“Ye done be a crying all night, Lassie! Them blue eyes will turn grey if ye cry anymore. Seemed like a good time to bring it up on accounta ye already be wet from weeping.”

“Did your daughter . . . . did she . . . . um . . . “

“ You be a wanting to know if she died when Farmer blew up our town? Sure ye do. Naw. Her mother done be a leaving me many years afore that. She took me wee lass back to Ireland when she were a might 6 year old. “

I reached out and took his little wrinkled hand in mine. “I’m sorry,” I choked out with the strained voice of tears in the bottom of my throat. We sat with our fingers entwined for about 20 minutes. No words spoken.

Mother Nature must have lost her temper with us because she let loose with hail that was first the size of peas, but grew to the size of Susan B. Anthony dollars. The Lucky Leprechaun grabbed me by the hand and began to run down the hill, across the road, and through the field.

We took shelter in the hollow of a tree. My head was spinning from the run (not the beer). It wuz cold, and I snuggled up next to the leprechaun. I remember thinking he wuz quite warm and furry before I drifted off to sleep. Warm. Really warm.

I woke up curled up with a Moma BLACK BEAR! Have you ever waked up with long hard claws in your face? The body is warm and comforting, but those claws on my face were cold and hard, like white quartz from the darkest and coldest cave. I held my breath as I carefully extracted myself from the bear and crawled out of the tree hollow. I musta lost 15 pounds gittin outta that predicament.

I sat in the woods, covered with mud, and realized that the Little Green Dude had escaped me once again.

I slipped in the mud a few times as I made my way back to my truck. What do you think I found there? A note taped to my steering wheel.

Dear Lassie,

Ye are getting soft in yer old age! I caint believe you let a little ole storm come betwixt you and the gold. I left you in safe-keeping with Moma Bear. As long as you leave Baby Bear be, she will treat you fine. Be sure to bring her some apples this summer.

I trust I will see you next year, Lassie!

With affection,
Little Green Dude, Esq.
PS: Don't forget to recycle!

As I slipped behind the seat of my truck, I heard a distinct screech from the woods.
HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! And then the low sound of a fiddle very softly playing a sad ballad. I could not quite tell where the music came from. It seemed to surround me.

Alas, another year escaped me.

I trust I will see you next year, Lester!

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