The magic had gone out of my life, like a candle thrown down a dark well. It was so deep, I couldn’t see the bottom of it. This happened slowly, as it often does—like a black hole sucking the light out of my universe.
A few years past this way, until strange sensations crept into my mind, like critters. For instance, I knew my eyes were hazel, but when I looked into the mirror, the green color, was a little too green. People were looking at me funny. They were approaching me, like they wanted to talk, but when we got face to face, they were speechless.
It was gas-lighting, at its worst.
The old man in the park, pointed his finger at me—accusingly. He didn’t have enough money to feed himself, and yet, he fed the birds. Many old people are like that—they steal a grape in the grocery store because they are too proud to admit they can’t make it on social security—and they won’t work at Walmart, for the same reason.
I kept smelling cigar smoke in my apartment.
Was it the maintenance man?
Suddenly, there was a shift. My luck changed. I won’t say it was good luck, but it was different.
Things I needed, just appeared. I was feared at work.
My co-workers stopped coming around.
I wondered if it was my green eyes, but I suspected it was something else…
When I walked past the old man, I saw something under a Maple tree. It was a dead pigeon. When I looked up, he was staring at me.
“What?” I asked.
“Have you been spending time around the old ruins?”
“Yeah. That’s where I eat my lunch.”
“Well—you shouldn’t go there, unless you want to deal with the forces of darkness.”
“Demons?” I asked. “Is it haunted?”
“No—but it’s King Neebir’s home.”
“Neebir. He’s been living there, for over a thousand years. Doesn’t take too kindly to trespassers.”
“I just wanted to go somewhere quiet to eat my lunch.”
“Ignorance is no excuse—especially when dealing with leprechauns.”
“Leprechauns?” I smiled. “You’re pulling my leg.”
“Believe that, if you want to, but it won’t make him go away.”
“Okay—hypothetically, let’s say you’re right—what do you want me to do?”
“You’ll have to trick him out of his gold. That is the only way he will respect you and leave you alone.”
“I haven’t seen him.”
“Yes—but he’s been around. He’s already doing magic on you, in your sleep. Your eyes are green and strange things have been happening to you.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I used to eat my lunch by the ruins too, and I figured-out too late that King Neebir doesn’t take kindly to trespassers. I’m his slave, you could say, and when I didn’t do his bidding well enough, yesterday, he killed my pigeon—strangled him like a chicken, he did.”
“That’s awful,” I said.
“It was a warning. He keeps threatening to choke me in my sleep. Leprechauns don’t have tremendous body strength, but their hands are stronger than a vice.”
Just thinking about a green lizard-like hand with yellow fingernails, choking me in my sleep made my heart sink.
“What do I have to do?” I asked.
“Go to the ruins at midnight and you will meet him in the flesh. Leprechauns are invisible in the daytime, but at night, they are revealed in the moonlight.”
I didn’t want to meet Neebir, especially knowing that I had trespassed on his land.
“What do I do when I get there?” I asked.
“He will tempt you with three wishes, and if you win, you will get the gold.
“And if I lose?”
“He will force you to give your children to him, to be his slaves.”
“Well… no problem there. I don’t even have a girlfriend.”
“Well, future children then…”
“But I got a vasectomy last year. It was a psychological trip to let a woman near my balls with a knife, and afterward, I felt better.”
“But children are our future…”
“That won’t be a problem. Even the dumbest humans replicate themselves. Look at the human race. Nobody wins.”
“You need to grow a heart.”
“Maybe King Neebir can help me with that?”
“Doubtful. His heart is filled with trickery and false contracts.”
I wished him well, but it didn’t look like it was going to do him any good. The leprechaun owned him.
Later that night, I grabbed my flashlight and walked up the concrete flagstones to the grassy knoll, where the ancient rocks stood.
On my way there, I spotted some Bloods, smoking dope. The night brings its own dangers, but they were too far gone to notice me. The moon was glowing bright, so that I didn’t need my flashlight, and when I turned it off, I heard a CLICK behind me.
There he was, with his silver sword drawn.
“I trust, you didn’t see the signs,” he said.
“Signs?” I asked.
“They’re all over the place.”
“You mean that graffiti?”
“So, I suppose you’ve come to collect your wishes then?”
“Well… actually… I want you to leave me alone. You see, I didn’t know this was your home. My accounting job is a pain in my ass, and I wanted to come up here, because the city looks far away from this spot.”
“Well… this used to be my kingdom, but not anymore. I have to use my magic to assert my authority now—drives people crazy, but they don’t know what’s going on. You see, they don’t even believe in leprechauns anymore.” He said this dejectedly.
“So, will you release the curse, or whatever it is that’s turning my eyes green?”
“I’ll tell you what—I’ll give you three wishes.”
“But I don’t want three wishes.”
“He doesn’t want three wishes…” Neebir was talking to himself. He looked mad. “Well, I never! You ungrateful wretch!”
I wanted to calm him down, but I couldn’t tell if he was mad at me, or something else.
“Your majesty—it’s not that I don’t want your magic. It just makes me feel funny. It’s too powerful.”
“Too powerful, you say. Really?” He seemed to like being called “your majesty”.
To be continued…