I hold the contraption at my side with my eyes set on the rainbow above. After months of research and groundbreaking technological innovation, scientists have completed a gadget that will change the world as we know it. I’m just lucky I was able to steal it from them.
I smile gleefully as I travel through the woods, swinging the clicker-style gadget near my hip. 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 must be lost. ”
“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 size-changing contraption. 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 agape with blood dripping down his cheek. I stumble backwards when the teenager blinks and his chest rises. He’s still alive.
Jolly shoves the wooden dagger down into his heart, then twists it. His victim screams in agony and writhes until he’s completely motionless.
“You’ll never get me pot of gold, Eric,” says Jolly.
“I’ve got something to offer you this time.”
A sharp smile rises from Jolly’s 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-”
“When I shook your hand you grabbed me by me 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 until it rips flesh as he frees it from the fresh corpse. He aims its sharpened, bloodied end aimed at me as he approaches. “Do you remember why you never escaped with me pot of gold, eh?”
“Vaguely,” I tell him.
“Oh that’s interesting,” says Jolly. “Because I remember you stopped running when you captured a raccoon then tied me legs to its sides and watched us jump around and yelled at me like I was in horse race.”
“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 gadget 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 and 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.
“You’ve got to 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.”
“This gold is all I got in life,” he says. His face burst with redness as his wrinkles contort with anger.
“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 your stupid deal is off. I am more than willing to kill you for attempting any -”
I grab his little hand and smash it on the button. 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.
“Tricks are for kids, bitch!” 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.
I hear the high-pitched squeal of a lizard person screaming after me. I’m not proud of my actions but I am happy about my new riches. I stopped a murderer, I remind myself, and am a goddamn hero.
- Thomas M. Watt