I take the box with me with my eyes set on the rainbow above. I smile gleefully as I travel through the woods, swinging the box at my side. The painstaking hike lasts hours – my sneakers are muddy, my back hurts, and my stomach gurgles. I stop in my tracks – I’ve reached the end of the rainbow.
“Eric,” says Jolly the Leprechaun, eyes at a squint. “I think you’ve gone the wrong way.”
“I want to make a deal,” I tell him. I walk holding my hands up, showing him I’ve got nothing on me besides the power-reversal box. I set it down on the tree stump between us. Jolly shakes as he tries to hide his glimmering gold coins behind his two-foot-eight frame.
“No deal,” he says. Jolly nervously waves a bloody, sharpened stick. I notice the body on the ground next to him. The young man’s mouth is open with eyes on me. He blinks and his chest rises.
Jolly shoves the wooden dagger down into his heart, then twists it. The man on the ground screams in agony until becoming completely motionless.
“You’ll never get me pot of gold, Eric,” says Jolly.
“I’ve actually got something to offer you this time.”
A sharp smile rises from his lip corners. “Do you remember the last time you saw me?”
I scratch my cheek and look away. Jolly continues.
“You told you me it wasn’t right, the way humans treated me. You said you wanted to help me.”
“I did want to help-”
I shake your hand and you grabbed me by the arm, threw me into a tree, then ran off with me pot o’ gold screaming nobody will ever love me.”
“I don’t remember that last part but I’m sorry you’re upset.”
“Oh you don’t remember the last part?” says Jolly, tugging his make-shift spear out from the corpse beside him. He carries it with the sharpened end aimed at me as he approaches. “Do you remember why you never escaped with me pot of gold, eh?”
“Vaguely,” I tell him. “From what I remember, I didn’t have the heart to leave you stuck in the tree. So I stopped running, set your pot of gold down, then returned to make sure you were ok.”
“Oh that’s interesting,” says Jolly. “Because I remember you stopped running when you saw a dead squirrel, picked it up, then returned to find me in the tree just so you could pretend it was making fun of me, using your fingers to move its jaw while you did all the speaking.”
“That was wrong of me,” I say, with sincerity. “But I’m here today with something to offer you. Something that will help you from ever having to deal with people like me again.”
Jolly begins studying me with his hands on his hips.
“Listen!” I say, shaking the box in front of his face. “See this red button? One push, and I can make you tall, human… maybe even… generous,” I tell him.
“I don’t believe you,” says Jolly. “How tall?”
“You don’t have to! I just need you to agree. I’ll push the button. And if it doesn’t work, then fine! We won’t have a deal.”
“And you want what for it, eh? me pot o’ gold?”
“Yes, that’s all I want.”
“That’s all you want, you sniveling animal,” he says with a sneer. “That pot’s got ten million dollars worth of gold and you have the nerve to say it’s all you want.”
Jolly points his stabbing stick at me as he speaks. He lunges for the box in my hand, but I tug it away like I’m keeping candy from a child.
“Just tell me it’s a deal,” I say, softly. I hold the box out with both hands. “One press, and you can be tall. That’s all it takes Jolly.”
His face burst with redness as his wrinkles contort with anger. The way he glares back makes me certain he dislikes me.
“Please, Jolly,” I say. “This is a win-win for both of us.”
“We’ll try it,” He blurts out, waving his stick ferociously. “But if your button doesn’t work than this stupid deal is off. I am more than willing to kill you for attempting any -”
I push the button on the box and suddenly Jolly shrinks into half his previous size, until he might as well be a leprechaun action figure.
“Oh shit,” I say.
Jolly looks at each of his hands with profound sadness. His defeated gaze slowly tilts up to me.
I hop with my left foot then punt Jolly off into the leaves with my right. I grab the pot of gold sturdy with both hands and begin sprinting away, tongue hanging out my mouth. That’s when I see it.
I stop in my tracks – a skunk, moseying around some leaves all alone. I could easily tape Jolly’s little legs to the skunk and watch him get tossed around like a miniature horse jockey. It will only take a minute, no more than ten. I set down my newfound riches and approach the skunk cautiously.
- Thomas M. Watt