Beyond the Box

inside

we find

stuff

we know

our box

full of stuff

the wide world is waiting

waiting for us to share

it goes

unseen

by us

trapped in a box of despair

the wind pushes a lake

like a whisper on water

the sun shines through

blades of grass

that cut

a yellow-green hew

spreading their black shadows

behind them

pushing up

through cardboard

like a daisy

that delights

in day

a fountain of white petals

under which,

dust and dirt decay

on broken toys.

We grow up

from our nursery

joining the wide world

with rules and no answers

many of us want the truth

to unlock mysteries

with keys

inside

our box

but they always go to broken toys

or padlocks

the keys

are out there

though

once you’ve entered a new space

and grown larger

it’s impossible to fit

back in

where the story-book world

makes sense

in the box.

Theories and language

explain what it is

confusing what we know

memories we see

inside

our box

a story

is a made-up word

a switch

in our head

that won’t turn off

we are turned on

by the outside word

unlike a box

bathed, in artificial light

do we need to know

why?

or is an unsolvable mystery

better than

a predictable plot?

death

underground

waiting for us

a story

we can’t help telling

answers

in language

never true

but good to listen to

I love to tell them

I love to listen

to a world

that lives

beyond my box

escaping death

for a moment

in this real

expansive

life.

I admire the people…

I admire the people

who don’t do anything

it seems that people are

doing…doing…doing

but much of what they do

is stupid

don’t get me wrong

some of it matters…

and you always know when you’ve exerted yourself

in the right way

it’s when you’ve helped someone

who needed it

but there are also annoying people who help others

who don’t need it

Most of the time

you’re killing yourself

slowly

until there’s no life left

it takes courage

not to do anything

to recognize the hopelessness

of it all

if you wait, and nothing happens

there might be some truth in that

it’s so easy to do what others do

and get caught up in their games

they can’t win

and you can’t win

You can spend decades

paying off a house

or never paying it off

the end is approaching

sooner than you think

Why not think

rather than do?

you might not do anything

you might be a loser

in a game

they say, “you have to play.”

but your identity isn’t in doing

it’s the one

you give yourself.

Grasshoppers, We

Grasshoppers, hopping

on miles

of hot pavement

oily, viscous, burning

tar

impossible to fly

helpless

fry

fry

fry

poor grasshoppers

captured

by an amused little boy

bashed in the face

inside his jar

freezer frozen

unable to move

pierced by a hook

in the heat

flying, finally

drowning

in a blue lake

fish bait

while we crawl on green things

acting green

Camouflage

for thousands of little boys

with red magnifying glasses

who don’t know what it means to hurt

but who do know

how to spot the fakers

Pity is not in their vocabulary

smaller things

are squashed and separated

science

without salvation

the lives of smaller things

don’t matter

because their lives

will never end.

Mr. Kiely and His Predictions

My senior philosophy teacher believed he could predict the future of his students. At first, he acted like a fortune-teller, examining the eyes and the features of their faces like a phrenologist. Understandably, it made some of his female students uncomfortable, but his interest was purely scientific. He also upset the natural order of things, when he told the class that Megan was going to be the most successful in life, and not Chad— the premier yearbook pick. Megan had pimples and she was quiet. She was insecure and always wore drab gray clothes. She read the dictionary at lunch that her mother bought her for her birthday. Her glasses magnified her eyes, which didn’t make them beautiful. It only showed a lost look that took comfort in classifying syllables, under uncombed hair. Mr. Kiely was different too, and that was the nice way of putting it. He wasn’t loved or liked. He was only strange, but he didn’t seem lonely, so his students didn’t feel sorry for him. People suspected there was something off about Mr. Kiely for years, but they couldn’t prove anything, and after 10 years of service without a single complaint, the faculty decided he was harmless enough, and a fairly good teacher.

He had a premature balding-spot on his head, and he was a foot shorter than was desirable by the opposite sex. He had a strong relationship with his mother who doted on him continuously. It seemed like every day he had a new toy, a T-Rex or a Hot Wheels car, and he was over the age of 40. When Miss Menken stole his T-Rex and spray-painted it gold, Mr. Kiely flew into a rage.

“That was a gift from my mom!” He shouted.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. We can buy you a new one.”

“IT WAS FROM MY MOM! It was one of a kind.” When Mr. Kiely lectured on Peter Pan Syndrome, I knew he had it. It wasn’t a full-blown disorder though.

Anyway, Mr. Kiely’s obsession was the success and progress of his students. It wasn’t that he wanted them to be successful or that he tried to help them; it was his desire to predict their futures. Nobody would have taken him seriously if his predictions hadn’t turned out to be 100% correct. So much so, that parents got upset when he told the class the valedictorian would get a 30-year jail sentence on federal money-laundering charges.

“You can’t tell me my son is going to prison,” said Mr. Jansen during parent-teacher conferences.

“Oh, but I can, and he is.”

“You are a sick man!”

“I only tell the truth.”

Mr. Kiely had the attention of the principal and the school newspaper after a decade of successful predictions.

“How do you do it?” They asked.

“A combination of psychic reading and intuition,” Mr. Kiely said.

“But what does that mean?” Principal Ragnar asked.

“It means that I have not developed a black and white concrete explanation for my abilities that can be scientifically replicated. It’s more of an artform, than a science.”

“Can you read your own future?”

“Sure; all I have to do is look into the mirror.”

“And what do you see?”

“A dead man.”

“Oh, that’s funny. We all die.”

“Oh, not from natural causes.”

“How, then?”

“You murder me.”

“What?”

Mr. Kiely’s honesty was a bit much for the principal. He tried to dismiss the eccentric philosophy teacher, but couldn’t. Afterall, he had never been wrong. That summer and the following school year, Mr. Kiely created a personality-success inventory of thousands of questions based on physical observations that would predict who a person was going to be. I was a mediocre student, and didn’t want Mr. Kiely to read me. What if I was going to prison for the rest of my life or I became a nobody? It’s kinda like getting your intelligence tested. Who wants to know their limitations, or be told their true potential? I didn’t. I hoped I would live long and have a good life, but knowing more than that, was meant for God and not man. When a man tries to become God, he goes insane.

My theory was, Mr. Kiely was already somewhat insane, which allowed him to be somewhat functional while he played God, predicting the futures of his students. What I couldn’t understand was that he was not in the least depressed about getting murdered by the principal.

And when I asked him about it, he said, “It’s my destiny.”

Megan became a great literary icon, like Ayn Rand. She went from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan, with sexy legs and dazzling dresses that showed off her eccentric intelligence.

I decided that my fear of taking Mr. Kiely’s test was unfounded. I wanted to know my future, even if it took six hours to finish the questionnaire. I had to start the test in Mr. Kiely’s sixth period class and work until 8 PM. When I finished, Mr. Kiely began to score it. It took him three days.

On the third day, he didn’t come into work. I desperately wanted to know my results, but I couldn’t get ahold of him and neither could the faculty. The police paid his apartment a routine visit and found him lying in a pool of his own blood, in a makeshift fort he had constructed with chairs and blankets. He was strangled by his N64 video game controller cord. The police didn’t have any leads. His mother was devasted. Nobody knew who would want to kill Mr. Kiely, but I did. It was the principal, and even though no motive could be found, I trusted Mr. Kiely’s abilities. I wanted to see my results. They were in the crime scene. So, I talked to the detective and told him my name was on the test. I needed it for school. It was homework and it concerned my future.

He gave it to me, seeing as it wouldn’t help him solve the crime. I looked at my score.

It was like a calculus equation, some advance mathematical or philosophical formulas, and the results said, “Andy becomes a writer.” And that’s what I’m doing now, so Mr. Kiely was right! And I know the principal did it!

The End

Hold onto Love

Is

Life

Defined

by accidents

drip, droplets

of magnetic

lead paint

on canvas

a careless master

who denies the accident

or is fate

a destiny with limits

a broken pin-ball machine

with bumpers

a TILT

that turns our world upside down

when we try to cheat death

We are revealed slowly

by our passions

bubbling up within us

like a half-drunk milkshake

abandoned

and fermenting

on a hot afternoon

Drawing a reasonable line

won’t make a picture

worth looking at

it’s a crude copy of a careful instinct

Destiny

is a well-struck golf shot

you can feel

when you hit it right

Can you hit it right

again?

most can’t

the things you love

won’t love you back

like the girls

offended

when you politely asked

So, love is a test

you must fail

over

and over

again

a hobby

locked away

in a dark closet

for the next generation

or, it could find you

without you

finding it

your pupils get smaller in the sunlight

then they grow larger

like death in the daytime

a magnetic miracle

blinding and willing

you hold onto

love.

The Misogynist’s Book of Poetry and the Dangers from Reading It

An interest blossoms like a flower until it reaches full-bloom and dies. -Intellectual Shaman

Like all of my unusual interests and varied obsessions, they became extreme, until they were dangerous and I had to stop. When I was finishing high school and going to community college, I was interested in serial killers, and as a consequence, when I talked to girls, they were interested at first and then they were terrified of who I might be. When I realized I had creeped them out, no amount of convincing that I was “a good guy” could undue how they felt about me. In fact, it made things worse, because that’s how a serial killer would act. My obsession was escalating. I was interested in evil. I already knew a lot about what it meant to be good. People called me a “nice guy” and as a result, I finished last with the ladies. I watched all the movies about depraved minds, read the books that would’ve given me nightmares five years earlier, and analyzed the interviews conducted by the FBI. I even frightened my parents when I told them I wanted to be like Hannibal Lecter and I quoted Ted Bundy. I decided to take a break from serial killers, when I started killing people in my sleep. No, this is not a confession. It was happening in my dreams, where I would off someone with a knife or a shovel, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I was a pure psychopath. Then, I would go back home and sleep like a baby. Invariably, the police knocked on my door, and I lied so well, I could’ve aced a polygraph test.

Then I got interested in Jean Claude Van Damme who I believed to be the greatest martial artist and actor of all time. I collected all of his DVDs from the 90s and memorized his movie titles. I started practicing round house kicks on a heavy bag, and I wanted to be a kickboxer. At the same time, I got interested in Charles Bukowski, who was a great poet. He drank and smoked and had sex with whomever he liked, and he wrote about it. How I came to love this man, is anybody’s guess. My friends were horrified. I was classically mistaken to be a Mormon because of my conservative dress and proper speech. I didn’t consciously try to be this way. I just spent a lot of time around my parents, and it rubbed off. My friends were horrified because they were conservative evangelicals. I talked to them about sex, and how if I drank, I would drink wine like Bukowski.

“What do you see in that man?” They asked.

“You have to get past his whoring. Wisdom is found in the most unusual places,” I said.

So, while I was doing roundhouse kicks and reading poetry, I developed an obsession with philosophy, and decided I wanted to be the wisest man in the world, which made me sound like an egomaniac, which pleased me, because many serial killers were narcissists, and I liked to pretend I was bad, probably because I was so good, and I couldn’t stand being good.

My interests turned to psychology and Sigmund Freud who proposed a question he could not answer. “What do women want?” I did some research online and the men said women don’t know what they want, they only think they do. So, I got interested in intersexual dynamics, and female psychology. I probably read some sexist sources, which muddled my mind and will make it impossible for me to reproduce. I read quotes from a book about philosophers who failed in love. One said, “You can understand women, or you can love them.” I feel that thinking can ruin a person, and that has already happened to me. What sources can you trust, and is truth, only a perspective on the truth?

Anyway, I am getting away from the heart of this story. While I was learning about women from the internet and books in the library, I was attending a small bible study group. It was like a social experiment where I could study women up close. And yes, I know that sounds creepy, but I had purely scientific interest in mind and the best intentions.

At the same time I was learning about God, I made friends with the librarians, which is no easy task. If you seek their approval by being quiet and saying the right things, they won’t respect you. If you break the rules or act-out in a deliberate way, they’ll call George, who is the enforcer. He’s a tall black man who wears maroon sweaters and a black suit. He looks like a hit man, and he’s well-educated. I never wanted to tangle with George. Coincidentally, his last name is Washington, and he is from a long line of librarians. His mother was a librarian, and his mother’s mother before him. She was the first African American librarian in the county. George has dignity and toughness that makes you want to do right, but there were forces inside me that always wanted to do the extreme. If I got arrested, it would be because of my curiosity.

On one particular morning when the library opened, I walked to the poetry and philosophy aisle. There was a big bin filled with books. The librarian responsible for the bin had pink hair and piecings in her upper lip.

“What are you doing with those books?” I asked.

“These books are misogynistic, homophobic, racist, patriarchal trash. The library finally got permission to remove them. Now, nobody can read these bad ideas.”

I was horrified. I already knew all the good ideas, and I was desperately curious to learn about the bad.

“Do you mind if I comb through your trash, seeing as you’re going to get rid of them?”

“Why? Are you a misogynist?” She asked.

If I answered “No,” I was answering with a negation, which automatically made female psychology suspicious, so I decided to answer a question with a question, “Do I look suspicious?”

“No; you look like a Mormon.”

“Well, I want to help the depraved thinkers. The best way to reach someone, is to empathize with them. I will need to read these books to help evil men with bad ideas.”

I could tell she thought I was weird, but she let me read the books. Most of them would go into my private library for later, but one stood out.

The Misogynist’s Book of Poetry.

I read the disclaimer on the front page. “Read these poems with an open heart, and women will give themselves to you.” A man is tempted by power he has never had. I read the first poem and I knew it was more than just aesthetic art; it was magic. Some magician wrote this book, spelling words that would control female consciousness like a spell. I couldn’t wait to try it out on the women in my bible study group.

I put the other books in the trunk of my car. I had rescued Nietzsche and Bukowski from the flames. On Tuesday, the girls were waiting. I had done an improper thing by joining their group. There were men’s bible studies, and men and women’s bible studies, and women’s bible studies. I was a genius and pretended to be confused when I went to an all-women’s bible study. This way, there was no male competition, and I could feign ignorance, which was my greatest weapon against feminists who wanted to dominate men. I allowed them to think I was ignorant, while simultaneously being charming.

“Does anyone have a verse from the bible they would like to read that spoke to them this week?” Anna asked.

“Not from the bible, but God has been speaking to me through literature. Wisdom comes from the strangest places,” I said.

“You’re not going to read us Bukowski, are you?”

“Oh no…no… this is poetry though.”

“Oh, we like poetry. Are you sure you’re not gay?”

“No, I’m not gay, but I do seem to have more qualities in common with women, than men.” I started reading, and a trance washed over them. They were all hypnotized, and I started asking them to do things, and they did it. I was an animal, an evil animal; and the power in my hands, was the power of God. Man was not meant to have this power. If Satan wrote a bible, it was this one. I never showed it to anyone and I keep it hidden. Every so often, I decide to go to bible study and read the girls a poem. I feel bad afterwards, giving myself over to the flesh, and I have to repent. But none of us are perfect, no, not one; only God. I blame my sinful nature, my curiosity interested in evil. I read the bible and I read poetry, and I hope that one balances out the other.

The End

The Leprechaun and I Tell Our Story to Middle School Boys

I had great success with a student. The special education teacher told me that he was glowing after he talked to me, and somehow it felt good, that I had made his day. I felt like the sun. I didn’t have to say anything; I just rose in the sky, and he needed that during his dull gray days in school. I needed to feel like I could help things grow, that I could brighten someone’s day. And when the special education teacher called on me to do more than just paperwork, it was like being called on for a higher purpose.

“Would you come talk to the boys during sixth period?” Miss Landrey asked.

“I’d love to,” I said.

“Good; well, we’ll just let them have at you.”

“Oh, I don’t know if I would put it that way.”

She smiled.

“What would you like me to talk about?”

“Why don’t you tell them about yourself,” she suggested.

But I knew she was also curious. Women are that way. When a guy isn’t married at 34, women start to wonder… So, I thought about what 6th and 7th grade boys are interested in… guns, cars, girls (but they won’t admit it), and videogames. None of those were an option. If I talked about them, parents would accuse me of corrupting the youth or being an adult child; I am, in a way, an adult child, but that’s only because of the leprechaun.

“Why don’t I tell them a story?” I suggested.

“What kind of story?” She asked suspiciously.

Apparently, I was the sort who might be up to no good.

“Oh, it’s harmless, really. It has to do with when I first met a leprechaun several years ago.”

“Oh, they might like that story,” she said enthusiastically. “But you say it like it actually happened.”

“That’s because it did. I met him two years ago, and he granted me my wish.”

Her expression said I was crazy, but that I might be entertaining to 6th and 7th grade boys.

Miss Landrey wasn’t too sure about me. I was strange in my own way, and unapologetic; there is something off about a person who won’t change for other people. I was constantly told I was unprofessional, but at other times, teachers thought I had special powers—like I could connect with kids on a level that wasn’t quite human. But that really doesn’t matter. What does matter is the joy I was going to get from telling a good story. I was selfish in that way, and it seemed to make other people happy.

Sixth period rolled around. I was a bit antsy, excited. I walked down to the classroom where they kept the students with bad behaviors.

“This here, is Mr. Johnson,” Miss Landrey said. “Or should I say, Dr. Johnson?” It was her way of rewarding me for doing something dangerous… trying to entertain boys in bad moods who do not want to be in school, and would rather be playing videogames.

“Hi, I’m Mr. Johnson,” I said. Half of them were asleep. I wondered how that was possible, because it was 6th period. They had all day to wake up, but apparently, their teachers had failed.

“Do you know the rabbits in Maple Valley?” I asked.

“Yeah, there’s whole bunches of ‘um,” a pimple-faced boy said. He had greasy hair. It looked like he didn’t bathe. Perhaps his mom literally pulled him out of bed.

“Well, the rabbits are a sign that the leprechaun king has returned.”

“Leprechaun?” They asked.

“Yes; maybe I better tell you about when I first met him… He granted me a wish that came true two years ago, and I played golf with him last week.”

At that moment, the principal walked in. It was his first year, and he had serious misgivings about me. I didn’t say the right things at the right times. You can tell a lot about a person by what they say.

He said, “Teachers need routines so they can feel secure.” Perhaps, he felt that way, and I was the most unpredictable wrench in his perfectly oiled machine of a school. In fact, that’s why kids didn’t like school. It was run by the adults, and the adults had to do a good job, and if the kids got in their way, they were the wrench.

His eyes got really big and he stared at me. In that moment, I knew I had two options. I could conclude my story or double-down on my craziness. Like usual, I decided to be crazy.

“Well, over the break we went on a midnight hunt and caught the white stag, and I was granted another wish,” I said.

“What did you wish for?” The boys asked.

“Oh, one can’t tell their wish or it won’t come true.”

“We want to meet him…we want to meet him,” they said. “Would he talk to us?”

“I don’t know. Leprechauns are tricky. They stay hidden from adults, and only appear to children, occasionally.”

“Then, why can you see him?”

“Well, it might be that he appeared to me when I was young. I’ll tell you what, I’ll talk to the little king, and see if he’d be up for it.”

“Hurray!”

Miss Landrey smiled. Apparently, I went above her expectations. The principal wasn’t too sure about me.

When the boys left, I turned to him, “Do I need special permission to have a leprechaun visit school?”

“Grow up Mr. Johnson.”

I shrugged my shoulders and left. He did not give me a “No.” So, it was up to the leprechaun. Finding him and getting him to do what I wanted was tricky. Leprechauns do as they please. They are not subject to the powers of men.

So, I went to the liquor store after work and bought a fifth of Irish whiskey. It was my best chance. I walked into the woods where the rabbits were multiplying and poured a drink. I wasn’t a drinking man, so I placed the tin cup on a moss-covered tree stump and waited.

In less than five minutes, I heard a burp. Out from the bushes came the king.

“What did you get for me?” He asked.

“Why don’t you try it?” I said.

He went to sip, but then, stopped.

“What are your conditions?”

“I need you to speak to some 6th and 7th grade boys.”

“What? In a school?”

“Sure.”

“With adults around?”

“Yes.”

“Forget it. You can’t trust adults. Anything out of the ordinary, and they want to lock it up and put it in a zoo.”

“Well, why don’t you make yourself visible to the boys and invisible to the adults then?”

He liked that, and took a sip. “Okay, I’ll do it, but no funny business, and I’ll leave when I decide to leave.”

“Sounds good to me.”

The next week, he was waiting for me outside my middle school. The little king watched me doing paperwork all day and fell asleep.

“I can’t believe you do this for a living,” he said. He was just waking up.

“That makes two of us. Are you ready?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I want to go home.”

“You can’t back out now. Here, take a drink.” I gave him two sample bottles of fire whiskey, which were like two regular 12 oz. shots for a leprechaun. He walked as straight as an arrow toward the special education classroom. Apparently, it took a lot more whiskey to affect an Irish leprechaun who had been alive for centuries. He had a tolerance, like the tolerance we have for water. Leprechauns don’t live without it.

When we walked into the classroom, the boys cheered.

“Mr. Johnson is for real!” They shouted.

Miss Landrey looked at me like I was crazy. “You aren’t supposed to bring animals into the school,” she said.

“I didn’t. This here is the leprechaun.”

“That’s a rabbit,” Miss Landrey said.

“Oh, that’s right. That’s what the leprechaun looks like if you can’t see him. Would you mind showing yourself to Miss Landrey, your majesty?”

“Oh, all right, but just this once. It is highly unusual for me to reveal myself to adults.”

He appeared and Miss Landrey feinted into her teacher chair. After our story and talk with the boys, Miss Landrey came-to.

“Where am I? The leprechaun, he’s real. Help. I think I need to go lay down. I’ll be in the nurse’s office. Mr. Johnson, you aren’t crazy, but I wish you were.”

“What’s wrong with her?” The boys asked.

“Adults can’t accept changes to their world. At a certain point, they think they know everything, and when their beliefs are challenged, they realize there are other worlds waiting to be discovered, but they don’t have the courage to walk into them. Realizing one doesn’t have courage, is a horrible feeling if you’re an adult, because you think you have everything under your control, and then you realize you don’t.”

We left the classroom and I thanked the little king for coming. He winked at me. “Until next time.” And the purple hare bounded off into a briar patch.

I was glad I could see him, and that I wasn’t troubled by magic.

Magic makes life more tolerable.

The End

You Don’t Need to Fit-in

I don’t speak

for to speak

is to argue

and I have nothing

to defend.

I love life

to explain life

in scientific terms

is to misunderstand it.

I often want to get to know

people

but often

there is nothing there

to get to know.

People are consumed by their culture

eaten

by what they don’t love.

No wonder

they aren’t happy

their power

is poison

rejected

and eaten

again.

I still reach out to people

maybe more than ever

but a dozen

silent barriers

prevent us from talking.

Oh, we might engage in robot talk

“Did you find everything you were looking for?”

“Yes, thanks.”

Or risk, talking about the weather

to be full of sunshine

during an eight-month drip

is not in their forecast

and they look

seven days in advance

All they see is rain

We fit ourselves

into these puzzles

we don’t understand

better to be part of the whole

than a lost piece

without meaning

but the picture we go to

doesn’t fit our vision

being alone

and useless

ordered out

and replaceable

is not the grand idea we wanted.

I provoke

just to hear people say

what they think

and no wonder

they keep silent

or say, memorized lines

“You’re not a nice guy.”

“Oh, I am, I am,” I say.

I play along with their control

to get me

back in

but somehow

they know

I’m out

and once you’ve gone out

there’s no getting back in.

It hurts to be disliked

but I love life

all the more

I’m free

searching where I might go

they’ve replaced me

they don’t need me

Somehow,

being whole

is not being whole.

it can’t be this bad

my imagination is an invisible sword

cutting into me

cutting other people

paranoia?

it might be real

hidden faces

awkward smiles

a trusting man

little secrets

said

to others

said wrong

I can walk into a room

and sense hostility

Lately,

the temperature is rising

in many rooms

I have to be careful what I say

because

once a skillful gossip decides to get you

it’s all over

People are fundamental in their thinking

if they decide not to like you

they can find a million excuses

there’s nothing

you can do

it’s like the rage on the road

HONKING

SCREAMING

SHOUTING

Somebody 

cut someone off

without

meaning to

There is power

in making others mad

There is power

in being invisible

There is power in humiliation

There is power in domination

People see what we have

People see what we don’t have

The trick is to be average

stay within

your body temperature

don’t get hot

don’t get cold

but this isn’t living

You have to be able to ride the waves

of their emotions

don’t fall off

and don’t drown

the ocean doesn’t care

it’s a churning death trap

Great men

stay up

They don’t surf

still ponds.

The Leprechaun King Returns and the Midnight Hunt

I was looking forward to a week off from work, while my colleagues were planning road trips, and vacations to Hawaii. I just wanted to lay in bed. I know it’s not adventurous, but sometimes it feels good to stare at a blank ceiling. After two days of staring though, I was done, but I hadn’t planned anything, and boredom started to settle in, like stirred-up mud in a still pond.

It was late in the afternoon, and I was listening to an audio book without listening to it. I was half asleep, when I opened my eyes to look through the window. He was sitting up there, just as calm as you please, resting on the ledge. I blinked, and then I blinked again. I believed, because I had met him before, but I still couldn’t be sure. Then he struck a match and lit his pipe.

“How are things?” He puffed.

“Hey, you promised me success at the thing I love most.”

“Yes?”

“Well, I don’t feel very successful.”

“Oh well, feelings are tricky.”

“I think you’re tricky.”

He smiled a devilish grin. His green clothes and golden crown did not match my white wall.

“Success is a relative word,” he said.

“You know what I meant when I made the wish.”

“And you are successful, more than you know; just wait, and your success will catch up with you, but until then, why don’t you join me for a hunt.”

“A hunt, in Maple Valley?”

“Sure; I have a horse standing by.”

He wasn’t lying; there was a horse standing outside my apartment building. It was glowing. The leprechaun had done something to it.

“What are we going to hunt? Elk?” I asked.

“No; we’re going to hunt the white stag.”

“The white what?”

“Stag; it’ll give you a wish. You said you want to be more successful, now you can get more specific.”

“I don’t trust you.”

“Look here, you were bored a second ago, and a leprechaun shows up and offers to take you on a midnight hunt. What more can you want? You stopped being a kid, and you became an adult. Adults are never happy. They need contracts for everything. A kid just accepts the gold or the twenty-year wish.”

“Okay, I’m sorry your majesty. You’re right.” I could tell he liked being called “your majesty.”

“No worries. The hunt. You ride Gabriel, and I’ll ride Kawasaki.”

“Kawasaki?”

There was a red motorcycle parked next to the curb. He hopped on, hitting the gas and popped a wheely, leaving me in a cloud of exhaust. I galloped on Gabriel, and soon we dashed across crosswalks and leaped over hedges. We got to the woods, and followed the motorcycle down a deer path.

Suddenly, the King stopped. “There it is!” He pointed. It was white—a pure orb.

“I don’t want to kill anything,” I said.

“Who said anything about killing? We just catch it. Use the lasso. I noticed the rope for the first time around Gabriel’s saddle. I tossed it above my head and pursued the white stag. Any ordinary horse would’ve made sound, but Gabriel was a ghost, galloping more softly than the wind. I wrangled the rope and caught the stag.

“What do you wish to wish for?” It asked in a whisper.

“I wish the leprechaun would visit me more often. He’s never dull, an interesting friend, and I need magic in my life.”

“Granted,” the stag said.

“You are beautiful.”

It smiled at me and vanished into the forest.

“What did you wish for?” The king asked.

“Nice try; you know if I tell you, it won’t come true.”

“Awe, you’re too smart for me. You have a good evening then.”

“Same to you.” And he tore off into the dark. I wondered when I would see him again. I planned to play golf with some buddies of mine who always liked to bet. The little king would come in handy. He was a master at cheating, and if you didn’t get caught, it didn’t count. Oh well, he had other people to trick, but when I woke up the next morning, he was standing there, next to my golf bag, ready to caddy.

I couldn’t lose.

The End