Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Flash Fiction Friday, Week 29: A Simple Plan
The prompt this week was to write a story that takes place on St. Patrick’s Day, and to include the following five words in the story: Whiskey, gold, road, luck, and leprechaun.
My story is about a small town guy who dreams of living the good life. Will his dream come true?
A Simple Plan
Gerald Rainy was going to be a very rich man. He was going to be so rich that he would be able to buy and sell all those bullies at the factory. He lured and captured it, and once he got it to reveal its secret, he would be on his way to bigger and better things. He’d bought his share of lottery tickets, but luck had never been on his side.
This hadn’t been a simple task and had involved very careful planning. Gerald had befriended it once he discovered its real identity. Then, a couple of burgers and a cocktail laced with sleeping pills had done the trick. It never suspected Gerald’s true motive. No cars had been on the road last evening, so bringing it to the barn on the recently deceased old man Bondon’s farm for the final confrontation this morning went quite smoothly.
It was starting to come around. Gerald was beginning to worry he had stirred in one too many ZZZQuils in that drink. Gerald decided it was time to get down to business. He told the thing exactly what he wanted, and that he wanted it now.
“You want me to what?”
It was playing games and trying to stall. Gerald was not pleased.
“I said, I want you to reveal to me the location of your pot of gold. Since I captured you, and it is now St. Patrick’s Day, you have no choice. Don’t try to weasel your way out of this. I’ve done my research. Your riches now belong to me, Mason. Yes, I know that’s what you call yourself to the outside world, but we both know that isn’t your real name. What is it anyway? What kind of names do you leprechauns call each other when there aren’t any humans around?”
“Lepre…what? You’re not serious, are you? This is some kind of small town prank, right? Pretend to kidnap the new guy in town, tie him up and hold him in a supposedly deserted barn, and then everyone jumps out, yells surprise, and then you serve cake. Right?”
“Mason…I’ll have to keep calling you that because I don’t remember reading anywhere that you have to reveal your true name to me, listen carefully. You know this is no prank and there is no surprise party for you here. I know what you are. I knew the second I first saw you get off the Greyhound with your suitcase. So, what was in there anyhow? A book with magic spells and talismans, or do you memorize all that stuff?”
“Gerald, what was in my suitcase was my clothes and some personal items. I don’t know what you mean by a magic book or pot of gold. Like I’ve told everyone since I arrived, after my divorce, my wife moved to another big city and I decided to find a nice small town. I grew up in a little town in the Midwest and I’ve always enjoyed that life. You know, where everyone knows everyone and life is peaceful and safe.”
“You’ve probably been listening to the talk around town that I’m kind of slow. Maybe I’m not college educated and all that, and some things take me awhile to figure out, but I’m not stupid and you can’t fool me. Stop acting like you don’t know what I’m talking about, leprechaun, and tell me where you hide your riches. They belong to me now, and I’ve got big plans for all that gold.”
“Gerald, I am going to appeal to you as one human being to another. Please tell me what makes you think that I’m a leprechaun? A more appropriate question might be, what makes you think that leprechauns are real?”
“Oh, here we go. The books say that your kind tries to make their captors think they’re crazy and that you don’t really exist except in stories. That way, you talk them into letting you go and when you are gone, so is their chance for all that money. Well, I’m not letting you go until you tell me where it is. You want to know how I figured you out? Okay. I’ll tell you.
“I’ve been on the lookout all my life for a way out of this awful town. The only real jobs within a hundred miles are on the line at the factory at the South end of town. That’s the only place you can make enough to live on, and that’s barely, by the way. I wouldn’t be able to make my rent if I worked at the grocer or the drug store, so I put vacuum cleaner hoses together, one after another, 8 hours a day.
“That wouldn’t be so bad except the fellas I work with are nothing but bullies. They pick on me and make fun of my glasses and clothes, and laugh at me because I live in a boarding house. What am I supposed to do? There’s no way I can afford a nice apartment working on the line. They’re all inspectors and supervisors, so what do they know about hard times.
“When I saw you, I knew you were my ticket out. You’re short and ugly, shaped weird, have a beard, and you immediately headed for a job at the shoe store. Your kind always work around shoes, don’t you? Most of the books I’ve read said you mend shoes, but since there’s no shop like that, you took a job selling them instead. That’s how I knew then and how I know now. So, I command you to direct me to your hidden stash.”
“Gerald, I was hoping deep down it wouldn’t come to this. People in small towns are generally very gracious and accepting of those who are different, so I never expected anyone to be as biased and cruel as you are against my kind.”
“I’m not biased against your kind. The only reason I invited you to my room for a drink was because you are what you are. I drugged the whiskey so I could tie you up and put you in the trunk of my car and bring you here because you are one of them. That was the whole point.”
“Gerald, I’ve never had to explain myself to anyone before, but I’m going to explain to you exactly what I am, and I want you to listen to me very carefully. I am not, nor have I ever been, a leprechaun. Ger, I’m a dwarf. There. I’ve said it, much as I despise having to categorize myself. Now, can we stop all this nonsense?”
‘Oh my God, of course, Mason. How could I have gotten it so terribly wrong. But, I don’t understand about the shoes. The dwarfs don’t sell shoes. Where are your six friends?”
“Oh, no, Gerald. You aren’t saying…”
“I never thought for a moment that I would…”
“GERALD! Listen to me. I’m NOT one of THOSE dwarfs, and I’m NOT a leprechaun either. I’m a genetically little person. I’ve always considered myself rather charming in the looks department, but thanks for pointing out that I’m ugly. Like you’re Brad Pitt or something. Hear me now, Gerald, because I’m only going to say this one more time. I’m not a magical creature. I’m a man – a human man. I have no pot of gold, I live in a small kitchenette apartment in town, and I sell shoes.”
Gerald took a deep breath. Was it possible it was telling the truth? Could it really be a he – a regular he, just shorter and uglier? Oh my. Gerald wondered what would happen if he untied Mason. Would the police be called? Gerald knew he wouldn’t last long in prison. But, what had he actually done? After all, he gave Mason a good night’s sleep, tied him up for a few hours, but what harm was really done?
“Mason, I’m going to untie you now, but please know how sorry I am. I hope you can forgive me knowing how desperate I am to be somebody. No hard feelings?”
“Under the circumstances, Ger, I am willing to try. Just set me free and take me back to town and we’ll call it even. No hard feelings.”
* * * * * * * * * *
“Hello? Aengus? It’s Lorcan. Can you hear me all right? I love these new telephones. So much easier than using the mind to chat. That always gives me a powerful headache. Happy 17th to you too, my friend. I had planned to begin my pranking early, but one of the humans in town tricked me with drink, tied me up and tried to get my treasure, but I convinced him I was a regular fella and he let me go. I’m going to visit him tonight to pay him back for what he did to me. Today will be one day he will never forget!”