Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Leprechaun Chronicles, v03: Jumpin Juice

The Jumpin Juice

Leprechaun Chronicles, Volume 3 (2009)

I got me a real late start this year. I let March slip up on me, and I had not even been down to bait a trap. Twixt the ice storms and the snow storms, the weather has just been too nasty to get down there. Then the ice storm debris is still everywhere, and I had to find a different way in to Daffodil Hill.

I almost didn’t go on the Great Leprechaun Hunt this year on accounta I have been sick, and really ain’t hardly had time to get ready. But then I got to thankin, what the heck else ya gonna do on a Tuesday night? Crap. Ain’t nothing on the television to watch. Might as well pack up and go a hunting. Sides, this year I got me a secret weapon!

Even though we had snow on the ground less than a week ago, the weather was right nice today. The air is warm, but it wisps a gentle cool breath from time to time. The earth is just beginning to green up all scraggily. Ole Moma Nature will need a hair cut soon. There is so much to see in the changing landscape that I got a little distracted on my drive to Daffodil Hill.

I stopped at the county line and stocked up on leprechaun bait. You might well remember that I try my best to abstain from the green spirits, but it is necessary to imbibe if I am to catch the Little Green Dude. It wuz right tough on me, but I forced myself to drink a couple of them beers on my way to the Land of the Leprechauns. You know I am outta practice and all. I needed to warm up jest a little afore I got down to business, and I needed a couple of near empty cans to use for bait.

I should have known the minute that I turned off the highway that I was in for a long night. I had already figured out that this part of the country had been hit hard by the ice storm because miles and miles of highline wires are still down. The poles laid out in fields and ditches resembled the playground of giants, strewn with broken and discarded Lincoln Logs.

After I drove about 10 miles down the gravel road, I pulled onto the dirt road to Daffodil Hill. I did not get very far, though, before I pulled up on a big tree down acrosst the road. Well CRAP! Like I have time for that. I got out and scoped out the situation. While I was searching for a solution, I drank another beer on accounta it helps me to think better. Now ifen I had me a 4 wheel drive, I could of probably gone around the tree, but I was scared to try it under the circumstances. Night was upon me, and there are no houses out that way. Plus, I might get on one of those lines that still be down if I had to walk in the dark. No Sirree. I decided to turn around and come in the back side of Daffodil Hill.

If you have ever seen me drive, you know that I don’t do so well in REEverse. Okay. Okay. I don’t do all that great going straight forward, either. Backerds is a real challenge for me. I guess I had to back up about a mile afore I came to an old cemetery where I could turn around. I was pretty uptight by then, so I figured I should have another beer . . . . just to settle my nerves. It is about 12.623 miles around to the gravel road that comes in the back side of Daffodil Hill. I lost my radio signal about 3 miles from the cemetery. Well, now, I must admit that it took another beer just to help me tolerate the sound of my own singing. My voice ain’t no music of the spheres. It’s more like the noise tires make when they lock and tar up the highway. That beer wuz just for medicinal purposes cuz my ear were a hurting purty bad.

I haven’t taken the back way in to Daffodil Hill for years, and I wasn’t real sure I was on the right road. Nothing looks right with all of the trees down, and it was very dark. Who told me we had a full moon? I finally got to the hill, though. To my great surprise, a fire was smoldering on the hill. I smelled it before I saw it. There weren’t nobody around, though. So I threw some of my wood on the smoldering embers and got a good fire going again.

Whew! That is hard work! I decided I would have me a big glass of tea and maybe something to eat before I set the bait. Can you believe that I FORGOT to bring my tea? I must have Parttimers or something! So there was really nothing for me to do but have another beer on accounta I was pretty thirsty after all that work.

After that, I spread out the blanket by the fire and set a few near empty beer cans for bait. I had to suck down a couple of beers hard and fast cuz I wuz 2 cans short.

Then I sharpened me a stick to make a Spam spear. You ever had Spam on a Stick afore? Spam roasted over an open fire? Mmmmmm MMM! Now that is good stuff. It is really better if you taken some pineapple slices and stick them to the Spam with toothpicks before you start roasting. That is really a bit much for a Leprechaun Hunt, though. I speared me a can of Spam and began to roast it over the fire. Drops of fat from the Spam sizzled and popped on the flames. I crunched on a crisp celery sticks while the Spam roasted, and started humming those old song lyrics,

Spam chunks roasting on an open fire,
Jack Fog setting on my nose,
Lepretide carols being sung by squirrels,
and folks dressed up like Spring gnomes.

I never can remember the rest of the lyrics to that song, so the singing did not last long. Sides, all that celery made me thirsty . . .

I started fixing a plate of finger food to go with the speared Spam when I thought I heard a faint voice in the woods . . . .

. . . the old man in grief pined away.

Then something about a child. I could not quite catch the voice.

The delectable smell of Speared Spam distracted me from listening. It was perfectly roasted, so I took the Speared Spam off the spear and put it on a paper plate that I had already arranged with pickled beets, boiled quail eggs, a chunk of hoop cheese, and celery sticks. This was truly a spectacular culinary feast before my eyes. Just as I was about to slice the speared Spam, I heard laughter off behind me. I turned around and to my surprise out walked the Little Green Dude with a Little Green Dudette and 2 wee Little Green Dudies. Well, now I am here to tell ya that I did not know what to think.

The Little Green Dude must have been terrible distracted cuz he stumbled right upon me. In surprise, he put his hands on his knees and laughed as he exclaimed, “Well curl my tail and call me a pig! If it taint the wee Lassie! Er it that time a year again already?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.

Well, now the Little Green Dudette and the Little Green Dudies must not of never heard that expression before because their laughter tinkled like the blue bells done come to life. Those two little girls fell upon the ground and giggled until the Little Green Dude got plumb tickled himself.

After they finally quit laughing, the Little Green Dude took off his new green hat and waved it to whiff up a little breeze and flourish the crimson plume that adorned it. With a bow and a grand gesture, he said, “Mee Lassie, let me introduce ye to Lacy Leprechaun!”

I am sure you can understand that I was completely speechless, which is quite a feat for me . . . . um or is that feet – as in foot in my mouth . Anywho, it was quite a feat for me, but I was speechless because all these years I was led to believe there were not another leprechaun in the country but for the one. I was so shocked I lost my balance and fell backwards. I would of rolled plumb down the hill if the tree hadn’t broken my fall. I am not sure you will believe the rest of this story, but it is true. Every word of it.

The Little Green Dude helped me sit down. Actually, it was more like he propped me up against the tree. Then he summoned up the Little Green Dudette and the two Little Green Dudies.

“Lassie, this here is me daughter, Lacy. And these youngins herin be Lucille and Lucinda. They er leprechaun twins. Mind you that is quite a rarity. Why in all of my 85 years, I don’t know as to I ever did heered of leprechaun twins afore.” Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Magnifee Cent! is what I say!

Naturally, I offered my hand, and Lacy was happy enough to shake it. The girls were shy, though. They hid behind their mother’s skirts.

I asked Lacy, “Was that you I heard singing in the woods?”

Lacy blushed and lowered her luminous emerald eyes. “Why, yes, yes it was. Did I disturb you?”

“Oh NO!” I exclaimed. “No Lacy. Your voice is beautiful. Please come sit by the fire and sing some more.”

Lacy blushed crimson and said, “perhaps just one song. Girls will you help Marmee sing a song for this nice lady?” The little girls giggled and nodded as they held hands and gathered around their mother who sat on the remains of a mighty oak that was felled by ice just a few weeks ago. The Little Green Dude stamped his feet with delight, and he encouraged the trio. “Sing “Lacy’s Song! Go ahead now.” Lacy began to sing and the two little girls chimed in to add a desolate note to the key passages.

Lacy’s Song
(The Little Green Dudies harmonized in the bracketed lines.)

On a cold winter's night
As the winds blew across the wild moor
Poor Mary came wandering home with her child
'Til she came to her own father's door

[ Papa oh Papa she cried
Come down and open the door ]
Or the child in my arms
Will perish and die
From the winds that blow across the wild moor.

But the old man was deaf to her cries
And not a sound of her voice did he hear
While the watchdog did howl
And the village bell tolled
[ The winds blew across the wild moor ]

Oh how the old man must have felt
When he came to the door the next morn'
And he found Mary dead
[ But the child yet alive
Clutched close to her dead mother's breast ]

Now the old man in grief pined away
[ In grief he pined away ]
And no one they say
Has lived there to this day
[ And the cottage is left to ruin ]

Now the villagers point out the place
Where the ivy grows over the door
Saying there Mary died
Once a fair village bride

[ From the winds that blew across the wild moor
From the winds that blew across the wild moor ]

When they finished the cheerless song, Lacy Leprechaun and Lester Leprechaun I spied sparkling dampness on the cheeks of the Little Green Dude and the Little Green Dudette.

Now by this time I was just about to burst with curiosity. Blimey if I hadn’t done plumb forgot why I came to Daffodil Hill to begin with. Seriously.

I was just about to ask where the Leprechauns of the female persuasion had come from when I noticed the little girl leprechauns eyeing my Spam on a Stick. “Are you hungry,” I asked. Twin heads nodded enthusiastically.

“Have you ever had Spam on a Stick?”

The girls turned to their mother, who answered for them. “We’re visiting from the Motherland, and I’m afraid we don’t know what type of animal Spam is.”

Well, I have to tell you that got the Little Green Dude all stirred up. He waved his hat in the air and stomped his foot. “WHUT? Ye nuvuh heerd of Spam? Well, curl my tail . . . . “ With that, he grabbed up the speared Spam and whipped out his little knife. Before I knew what happened, he had fed my supper to those children. Humph!

Luckily for me, I always keep a can of Spam behind the seat of my truck, just in case of emergency. While I was fetching the second can of Spam, I noticed my secret weapon behind the seat and suddenly remembered what I was a doing there to begin with! I slyly slipped the secret sauce in my pocket.

When I made it back to the fire, the Little Green Dude had gotten into the cooler and helped himself to a beer. Quick before I forgot again, I threw the blanket over him. Oh the cursing was loud and long. The eyes of the Little Green Dudies got big as mushrooms on a hot summer night.

“Father!” shouted the Little Green Dudette. “I must insist you leave off that language around the children!”

“Father?” I asked. “Father?”

From under the quilt I heard, “Alright. Alright. Ye caught me, Lassie. Let me out and I’ll be a splainin to ye.” I let the soft material fall away. “Lassie, this here be me own child, Miss Lacy, and she come from acrosst the Big Ditch to visit us.”

“She’s from Tennessee?” I asked in awe.

“No. She ain’t from Tennessee fer Tarnation. Land’s Sakes, Lassie! Ye think that old Mississip er be the biggest ditch there er? There be another un TWICE the size of the Muddy Missy, and they be a calling her the A Lantik O’Shun, after ourin cuzzins, the O’Shuns. Yessireee. It er TWICE the size a Ole Missy. Maybe even clost to thrice.”

“Well . . . where are you from?” I looked at the Little Green Dudette.

Before she could say anything, Lester spoke up. “Miss Lacy be borned right down thar on the Cache River, but her mother took her away from here. All the ways to ourin Motherland. They be a callin it Ireland. Miss Mary Leprechaun be er mother. Ah . . . Mary nuvuh loved me. She onlyst married me to git outta marrying Hurley Burnideste Leprechaun. A deesgusting little creature he was. Mary’s farther wanted her to be a marrying Hurley right away because he went and caught his little wildflower walking with a gnome. Well, that made Mary’s fadder pop a 3 vessels, as I’m sure you can imajun.”

I was thinking of the sad sad song that Lacy Leprechaun had been singing a bit earlier. I turned to her and asked, “the song ?”

“Yes marm,” she nodded. “That old song be about me own marther. She be a gittin sick on the big boat that crosst Big Ditch. Her ad a fever when we got to me grandpapa’s. And her died in short order. Ye know, I were but six year. Marther’s death kilt my grandpapa, and I was sent to live with my heathen relatives. Lived in the cow pastures. Didn’t even have enough sense to git clost to the water, much less git a beaver fir purrtekchun. Et nothing but taters and dranked MILK fer cryin out LOUD. Not a one of em would help me find my way back to my own farther cuz they did not like the American relatives. It tooked me many a yar to find me way home to mee on fardther. It done be around 43 yar.” With that she walked over and hugged the Little Green Dude.

“Nuff of all this cent tee MENTAL hogwast!” interrupted the Little Green Dude. “This be St. Patrick’s Day. Let us have anorthar beer and sing some songs.”

“How about us have another beer and go after my gold, “ I countered. With that, my leprechaun friend grabbed three beers and gave the rest of the celery and beets to the children. When he wasn’t looking, I slipped a little of my secret weapon into the leprechaun’s beer.

You see, I have been on the puny side this March. March of the Punies. Well, what do you think I found in the back of the cabinet? Weren’t nothing but an old bottle of “the good stuff.” You know that cough syrup with cocaine in it that is so hard to get a script for? Well, I got a big bottle of that special sauce, and I gave the leprechaun a hefty dose of it. You know it makes you very sleepy and very happy. THIS YEAR I am gonna make it home with the gold.
“Drink up, old man,” I said, as I reached for the last egg. “We got work to do.”

The trip into the leprechaun forest should have been easy for me. After all, it is not the first time I went into the woods. I know what to expect now. And I finally understand that I will be safe in the woods as long as I stick close to the leprechaun. I started out feeling all safe. Then I got to noticing how many of us were there together. The key to safety was to stay CLO
SE to the Little Green Dude. There wuz two kids and a lady leprechaun betwixt me and him. That wuz not making me feel all warm and fuzzy.

The forest did not look familiar and the path was completely gone. The damage from the ice storm drastically altered the landscape here. We often had to climb across large trees or go around piles of limbs too high for us to go over. I fell many times, but the gang of nimbly leprechauns never seemed to lose their footing.

It was such a nice warm day, and I expected the evening to be warm as well. It WAS warm by the fire! The deeper we went into the woods, the colder I got. The world did not seem just exactly right, either. Sometimes it felt like I was walking in slow motion while the others scampered off away from me.

I called out to my leprechaun friends to slow down, but they were laughing and deep in conversation. All of the sudden there was a succession of thunder slaps coming from the way of the river. Something scared the beavers. Suddenly the noise of the frogs, crickets, and birds came to a dead silence. The leprechauns crouched near an old tree and blended into the scenery, but I could not make myself move. My legs felt like lead, and my heart was racing. The sharp shrill of the painter scream broke the silence, and I turned my back to the river . . . . searching the woods for the painter. Then my world went dark and musty. I could not see. But I could sure smell, and whatever the hell was on my head smelled like it had been drug around by a family of skunks.

“SKUNK!” I screamed. The only reply I got was another round of thunder slaps as the beavers sent up another warning from the river. Then I felt the severe pain of something piercing the skin on my arm and making a long, but not deep, cut. Was that laughter behind me? It must be the leprechaun. He was trying to get out of paying up the gold. The third round of thunderslaps from the beavers unnerved me, though. I was skeered, but I just could not focus on all of the noises around me. It sounded like some sort of a fight, and the painter was still screaming in the woods.

From the darkness, something grabbed me and started dragging me through the woods. The way was rough, and I was dragged over many piles of limbs that scraped the hide off my backside. The hide off my backside . . . is that a country song? I felt myself shoved into a tree hollow, and the skunk-smelling sack was yanked off of my head. As I scarfed up a deep breath of fresh (well at least fresher) air, I looked around to see where I was. The Little Green Dude stood near. He leaned close and whispered, “lizzen to me good now, Lassie. You gots to stay here and you got to be quite. It’s dagblasteed Hobnobbins what got aholdt of yee. I nevuh evuh thought we’d see them thar varmints in this part of the country again, but here they be. You sit still and be shush! Maybe we will all live through this.

He LOOKED sincere, but . . . .


Do you REALLY expect me to believe in HOBNOBBINS? Seriously! Do I look like I wuz borned yesterday? I don’t believe in such nonsense as hobnobbins.

I started to leave the hollow of the tree when the Little Green Dude quickly shoved the children inside the hollow with me. The look on his face told me that I needed to stay put, whether I believed in Hobnobbins or not. He might be trying to scare me away from the gold, but he was in FRONT of me when that sack was slung over my head. At least I think he was.

I hunkered down in the tree hollow with the children. They thought it was a grand adventure. I was terrified.

The forest was suddenly a cacophony of sounds. There was a clanking that sounded like metal against metal. Birds stopped singing and started squawking. The ole painter still screamed, but it was not as close as it was before. Grandfather Hoot Owl flew by the hollow every few minutes. I thought about running, but where would I run to? And I felt like the world was moving so slowly around me.

You might have a hard time believing what happened next. I mean, it doesn’t seem believable at all, but it really did happen. Grandfather Hoot Owl landed on the ground right in front of the hollowed out tree. Very very slowly he turned his head around backwards and looked at me. Then he whispered to us, “Who, Who, Who will follow me?”

Now I never had THAT happen in the woods before!

The little girl leprechauns got right up and motioned me to come with them and Grandfather Hoot Owl. What are my choices here? Sit in the tree hollow by myself with all that racket around and a painter looking for me or follow the children and their “Grandfather” Hoot Owl? Decisions. Decisions.

I followed the owl. We ran through the woods to the river. We were running away from the racket in the woods. When we reached the slough that led to Leprechaun Lair, I immediately recognized it. I have spent hours walking the river in this stretch of the woods looking for that slough. Now it appears almost as if by magic. How in the . . . .

I paused a little too long, and Owl circled close to my head, urging me on. When we got to the place where the path becomes narrow, 2 large beavers came out of the woods. One stepped up onto the path, and Owl nudged the children to fall in line behind them. I stepped up to the children and cautioned them to be quiet on the path. “We know,” they chim
ed in unison. “We have been this way lots of times. It is dangerous, so we must be perfectly quiet.” I nodded at them, amazed at the wisdom in those young eyes. The second beaver stepped up on the path behind me.
Out of the darkness came the blood curdling howl of a coyote. The beaver behind me stood up on his hind legs and gave me a push with his front paws. We all followed the lead beaver down the path as quickly and quietly as possible. There were many briars along the path that reached for my arms and legs, tearing my clothes and cutting my skin. Bats swarmed the area like blackbirds on a wheat field. I could hear whispers in the woods, but I could not quite make out the words. I thought I heard “hairy hobnobbins” in the whispers, but that could not be.

First of all, I don’t believe in hobnobbins (of course), and also, have you EVER heard of a hairy hobnobbin? Everybody knows the mythical creatures are supposed to have but 3 hairs on their head: 1 black, 1 silver, 1 red. I don’t know what those whispers were, but it couldn’t have been THAT.

After a few minutes, we made it safely to the end of the path and stepped into the gentle glen of Leprechaun Lair. The girls ran to the fire, and each snuggled up to one of the beavers. I found some wood to add to the fire. Then I crouched next to a tree and tried to figure out how the heck I got here and what the heck my plan was.

Well, you know it was cold and all, so I figured I better look around and see if the Little Green Dude had any antifreeze. Sure enough, I found a big tub of beer on ice. Might as well have one while I study on what to do . . . or two.

The girls and the beavers were hungry. I admit that my stomach was making noises, too. I said, “well, let’s go below the tree and find something to eat.” It was clear from the look on the girls’ faces that they knew not to take me near the gold. Instead, one of them ran behind the tree and came back with two little pans. She gave one to me and one to her sister. Then she got a nice little pile of sapling wood for the beavers to munch on. I tasted the funny looking dish. It was a bit greasy, but tasty. I was about to ask when the second little girl chimed, “ I just love bear with possum gravy. Don’t you?” My mouth was full. It took a lot to swallow.

At some point, I dozed off. The children and I slept while the beavers stood watch.
I woke to the mostest awful attempt at singing that I EVER heard!

We're Knights of the Round Table.
We dance whene'er we're able.
We do routines and chorus scenes
With footwork impeccable.
We dine well here in Camelot.
We eat ham and jam and spam a lot.

We're Knights of the Round Table.
Our shows are formidable,
But many times we're given rhymes
That are quite unsingable.
We're opera mad in Camelot.
We sing from the diaphragm a lot.

In war we're tough and able,
Quite indefatigable.
Between our quests
we sequin vests
and impersonate Clark Gable.
It's a busy life in Camelot.
I have to push the pram a lot.

I sat up and saw the Little Green Dude swagger into the gentle glen with his daughter and 7 more leprechauns! They were all singing . . . . well they were making noise in unison. They seemed mighty happy, too. They didn’t even notice me, as they went straight to the beer on ice. I watched them drink and sing for a while.

The Little Green Dudette had noticed me, as she went directly to her sleeping children. The others partied loudly until I stood up. The seven Little Green Strangers all screamed and ran to hid behind fallen trees. The Little Green Dude hiccupped and began to swear, “well I be snuffagalblastuptanuffatreealous! I firgit all bout ye, Wee Lassie! I er . . . . I . . . well, I guesst I figured you woulda headed back to the Hill. Why did ye foller Owl and the beavers? I never took ye ta be a wantin that gold bad enuff to come this fir by yeeself.”

I let loose a low growl of my own before I hissed between my teeth, “do you REALLY think I would leave those children in the woods alone? This had nothing to do with the money! I cannot BELIEVE you think I am that shallow!” You know how I get. Once I start losing my temper, it is a terrible dangerous slide that can quickly turn into an avalanche.

I guess the Little Green Dude musta realized that he was treading some pretty thin water because he jumped up and ran to the tub of beer. He grabbed a nice cold one and offered it to me with a sly smile, “Come on now, Mee Lassie. Ye jest needs to rest a minute. Here now. Take ye a drank of this nice cold beer.” Well, I did not want to be unsociable.

“LeRoy! Larry! Liam! Lafe! Lamont! Darryl! Daryl! Come here! I gots somebody I want you to meet. It’s okay. She be alright! And she usually brangs beer!” The seven Stranger Leprechauns came running out of the woods to the beer tub. I really did not like the way they were gawking at me, like I was the one who wuz unusual or something.

After a few minutes, one of the little men grabbed up a frash beer and offered it to me. As I took it from his small hand, he said, “Hi. My name’s Larry. This is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl. Darryl don’t talk much.” Then he began to point to the others, one by one, “This be my nephew LeRoy. LeRoy’s mother, my dear departed sister, be departed.”

“She died,” I asked.

“Naw. Her didn’t DIE. She just departed,” answered Larry. Then he continued, “Lafe is Darryl’s oldest son.”

“Which one,” I asked.

“Lafe,” answered Larry.

“I mean which one is Lafe’s daddy,” asked I?

“Darryl,” answered Larry. Both Darryls were grinning at me in a goofy kinda way, so I decided to let that one go. They coulda been loony leprechauns for all I know, and you don’t want to mess around with that.

“Lamont shake hands with Lassie,” Larry said as he motioned to the shortest of the Stranger Leprechauns. “Lamont be a LooeeeezzeeAnna Leprechaun. Ye probably ain’t seen many of them. Thay usually hang close to Cajun country. Thay sho nuff can cook, though! Hey now! How about some bear with possum and toadstool gravy? Lamont fixed a big batch earlier today.”

“It’s gone. We ate it all when we got here. It was . . . different,” I smiled and nodded at Lamont.

I was a little overwhelmed, but I shook hands with all of them.
Then I turned to the Little Green Dude. “I believe you and I have a little unfinished business.”

“Why now, Lassie, I dount believe we can do any bizzynuss until tomorry, on St. Patrick’s Day,” whispered the sly little leprechaun.

Larry was quick to speak up. “Brother! This er St. Patrick’s Day! Ye know it must be. Otherwise, Lamont woodnunt a made sech a delicacy as possum and toadstool gravy.“

The Little Green Dude stamped his little foot, and said, “I be dagsnuffleoustafolious! Ye be right thar, brother. Sit down, now, Lassie. Let us be having a drink afor we starts ourin bizzynuss. Sides, I wants ye to tell Lamont how to fix that thar Spam on a Stick.”

“What’s a Spam?” asked Lamont.

“What’s a Spam? What’s a SPAM? Lamont ye mean to tell me with all yer culinary skills ye ain’t
nevuh evuh kilt a SPAM afore?” exclaimed the Little Green Dude. Then he sighed and looked at me. He lowered his voice and asked, “Lassie, what is a Spam?”

“Don’t start that crap with me!” I stomped my foot so hard that I nearly felled over. “I’m not ignernt you know. You might be a wily leprechaun, but you’ll not be a distracting me again. I caint hardly wait to get my gold and get back home to count it. Now let’s talk business Mr. Little Green Dude.”

Well you know it just ain’t fittin to try to sashay over business without a social drink, so I decided to have one more. Also, I still had the secret sauce in me pocket. I had almost forgotten about it. So we had another beer. Besides, I wuz purty curious about where all these leprechauns came from. I might as well get a little information while I waited for my chance to doctor the Little Green Dude’s beer.

“I’ll share a beer or two with you my friend, as long as you do not forget that you owe me one large pot of gold!” I warned.

“Aye. Me not be a fergittin, Lassie.”

Just then the Little Green Dude turned his back on me to whisper something to the wee girls. I took the opportunity to add a double dose of the good stuff to his beer.

Now the curiosity was getting the best of me. “So, did ALL of you guys come from across the Big Ditch,” I innocently inquired. Okay. I ain’t all that innocent, but the alliteration is great.

Larry Leprechaun shook his head no, and with a solemn look, said, “no, Lassie. We been prisoner to the Horrible Hobnobbins . . . . somes calls them Hostiles . . . . for many many a year. Many a year ago, we be a making war with the Horrible Hobbnobbins and thar cuzzins the Horny Hobbits. Now don’t look at me like that, Lassie! Me believe yer mind be deep in the ole slough tonight. As Hobbits age, they grow horns. Only the horniest are worthy to be warriors. That’s why they calls em Horny Hobbits.”

I’m sure you can imagine how badly I was blushing. I was quite embarrassed. I was getting very hot, too. My vision blurred a bit, so I moved away from the fire and closer to Larry Leprechaun. He encouraged me to finish up my beer as he continued his story.

“We thought the thar Horrible Hobnobbins be a gone from this country. Then one day they showed up right in front of Farmer with DyNOmight. They drugged ourin beavers that day.”

“They did no sucha thang,” argued the Little Green Dude! He leaned over to engage with Larry, and I took the opportunity to add a little more cough medicine to his newly opened beer.

After they argued a bit, Larry continued. “We had gotten lazy on guard duty cuzzin theyd be no Horrible Hobnobbins or Flippin Farmers around fir a long time. We not be a payin attention. Flippin Farmer blew up the beaver dams, and that killt a bunch of us, but not all of us. The Horrible Hobnobbins ran in and grabbed us up while we wuzza unCONSeeus. Them thar weezlussafusses wouldn’t a been able to take us on iffen we beeed awake. Anywayz. Usins woke up in shakles. The Horrible Hobnobbins et most of us up over the years, and they be a workin hard at fattening up the rest o us.”

I took a deep breath of horror. How could this be? “Right here in these woods,” I asked.

“Naw naw Missy. We been in LooeeeezzeeAnna all this time. That er whar the Horrible Hobnobbin Headquarters ere. We been a plannin to Eescape fir a long time. The Spirit of Saint Pat lured away the Horrible Hobnobbins and freed us from our horrible shakels. They be a chasin us all the way here, but they won’t naught a be chasin nobody, no mores.”

“Why not?” I asked, but I did not hear the answer. I found myself suddenly sick. I leaned against the tree and closed my eyes just for a second. When I woke up, I was stretched out by the fading embers of my campfire. The cooler was turned over and empty. Not a beer around. The blanket hung from a tree. My hair was all tangled up, and my mouth felt like somebody stuffed it with cotton. When I tried to stand, I had a piercing pain in my head. Dizzy. Dizzy. I took a deep breath and stumbled to my truck where I found a ragged and damp piece of paper under a rock on the hood of my truck.

Dear Lassie,

I nevuh did take ye to be a cheat. Ye look so innercent and all. I shore nevuh thought you’d try to spike my drink jest ter get after me gold. Oh yes, Dearie. I knowd all along whut ye wuz a doing. That’s why I switched our dranks. I hope ye head don’t hurt too bad now, Lassie, but ye did put a lotta Jumpin Juice in them thar beers. It is a shame really cuz I wuz all set to give me riches to ye this year. Ye jest had to go an ruin it with yer dishoNESTy. Tetch. Tetch. Tetch.

I be a going away fer a while, mee dear Lassie. Me and LeRoy and Larry and Liam and Lafe and Lamont and Darryl and Daryl be a goin on a trip acrosst the Big Ditch to meet up with me Darlin Lacy’s husband. Who knows. I might even stay a while. Or could be I find me a wee Lassie Leprechaun to brung back as me bride to these here woods.

Now Lassie, I won’t be a needin all of me gold to git acrosst the Big Ditch. So I be a drawin ye a little map. Ifen ye can get past the painters and goblins, the beavers will help ye acrosst the slough. Ifen ye can git thar on yer own, Lassie, ye mayest be a keeping the gold. Least ways keep it until I come a callin for it. HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

I will be a missin ye, Lassie. Ye have entertained an old lonesome leprechaun a bit over the yars and me be a ppresshatin that, even ifen ye did try to dope me with yer Jumpin Juice. Study the map, Lassie. Save some gold to seed me nest when I be a returning.

With Affect Shun
Little Green Dude, Esq.

I turned the page over, and sure enough I found a very detailed map on the back. I dropped down the tailgate thinking that I would sit and study the map. Try to make my way back this morning. You will never believe what happened next! Outta nowhere came a fierce gust of wind, and it blew that paper right out of my hand. I ran after it, but it did me no good. That paper landed right on the last red ember of the fire and POOF it was gone.

From the woods, I heard the gleeful laugh of the leprechaun.

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