Man, there must be something about green beer that makes you have to go even more than the usual stuff, Pat decided as he attempted to make his way in a straight line down the avenue. He’d gone before he left the pub, but now the urge was upon him once again.
St. Patrick’s Day. What a gas! Any reason to blow off some steam after a day at his high-pressure stock market job, but this day, ah, this one was the best of all. Everybody in a party mood, and the perfect excuse to kiss lots of women and cop the odd feel in the bargain. He smiled to himself at that thought and turned down the next alley he came to so he could answer nature’s call. It wasn’t something he was inclined to do in ordinary circumstances, but this was an emergency.
As he stumbled along the pitch-black alley he heard a high-pitched squeal and then the sound of a cat hissing. Great, a cat fight. Ah well, he’s just stop here and do his business. He was just about to take matters in hand when he heard something that made his mind reel.
“Back off, ye damned beast!”
What? No, he must have had too much beer. He moved a ways further down the alley, his eyes finally adjusting to the conditions and he saw something that couldn’t possibly be. There, for all the world, was a leprechaun, and it was brandishing a tiny shillelagh at the cat, who was advancing, hissing and spitting and about to deliver a fatal blow to the little man. He ran forward, not sure what the hell he was doing and yelled at the cat, who hissed at him, considered it’s options, and fled the scene.
He rubbed his eyes and looked down again, and there stood the leprechaun with a scowl on its face, regarding him with one bulging eye.
“I’ll be thanking ye for saving me from that foul beast. I made my appearance at, shall we say, an inopportune moment.”
Pat was stunned. This had to be some sort of St. Patrick’s Day joke someone was playing on him. He looked around the alley, but there was no one else about.
“No, you’re not imagining things. I am what you suppose me to be” the leprechaun said in a disgusted tone,” and now I am bound by the code to reward you.”
“A pot of gold?” Pat asked, adjusting to the situation, helped enormously by the quantity of beer he’d consumed.
The leprechaun gave a derisive snort. “No, ye fool, that’s just a story some idiot made up. I will grant you a wish, no more, no less, them’s the rules that I must obey.” He had grown weary over the millenia of having to explain.
Pat wished he had somewhere to sit down; this was all a bit much. His mind started trying to work it all out.
The leprechaun looked him over and then said, “I don’t suppose you’d do me the favor of just letting me go? You see, i’m over my quota of wishes, and if I have to grant another right now, i’ll be in for it.” He looked sheepish and annoyed at having to grovel.
“Let you off the hook? Hell no! I saved you, and if you’re bound to give me a wish, then I want it!” Pat was sure the leprechaun was trying to scam him. He’d heard they’d say anything to get out of doing the right thing. Well, that was the legend anyway; up until now he really didn’t believe they existed.
The leprechaun scowled again. “Are you sure you want to do this? I’d be thinking twice if I were you.” He spoke in a pointed manner.
Pat wasn’t impressed. “Nope. I want my wish, and my wish is for ten million dollars.”
“Can’t do that, laddie. The limit on money is five million, them’s the rules.”
Pat was annoyed. “No way, you’re lying!”
The leprechaun’s eyes bulged and he shook his shillelagh at Pat. “Ye listen to me, you. You’re treading on thin ice, ye are! Five million is the limit, I am bound by the code.”
Pat decided discretion was the better part of…well, whatever the hell that saying was. “Alright, where’s my money?”
“It’s in an account in your name. Here’s the number and the location of the bank.” A piece of paper appeared in his hand from out of thin air. Pat was impressed.
“Cool. So I can access this tomorrow?”
“Indeed ye can. If ye dare…” The leprechaun grinned and then said, “And now my obligation is done. Fare thee well.” With that he faded from view.
If I dare? Pat wondered what that was about. He decided it was just sour grapes on the little man’s part. He did what he had come to do and headed home, thinking about what he would do with the money. One thing for sure, he was going to quit his lousy job at Simmons and Blake Traders tomorrow. Life was his oyster from here on out.
The next morning he got to work bright and early, not caring in the least about his hangover. He turned in his notice, and was surprised when his boss didn’t seem perturbed by it, giving him an odd look. Ah well, no matter, he would on to bigger and better things soon. The day dragged on, he couldn’t wait for lunchtime so he could go and check on this bank account.
He hurried to the bank at noon and presented the details to the teller and asked for his account balance. The teller brought up the information. Five million dollars. He suppressed his glee and walked back to work as if he were on air.
After work he hurried home, he had big plans to make. When he got there he was taking off his jacket to settle in when he was startled to see the leprechaun sitting on the floor grinning at him.
“What are you doing here?” he asked. This couldn’t be good, he just had that feeling.
“Oh, I just wanted to make sure you checked on your money. You did, didn’t you?”
“Of course. Its all there.”
Just then there was a knock at the door. Pat looked at the door and back at the leprechaun, an icy dread rising in him. “What’s this all about?”
The leprechaun grinned. “I take it you didn’t see the headlines today.” He produced a newspaper from behind his back and held it up – “Stock Company Uncovers Embezzlement Scam, Police Receive Tip-off.”
Pat went pale. “No…You said you were obligated…”
“I told ye it would put me in a jam. I asked ye to let me go.” The leprechaun shrugged his shoulders. “The money has to come from somewhere, you know.”
The knocking had turned into banging, and the police were threatening to break the door down. The leprechaun grinned at him one more time and faded from view.