Three Wishes for Jerry
One of the most magical and mystical places on Earth (NO, not Stonehenge!) is a rather innocent and pleasantly secluded hill, Clover Hill. The magic and mystery of the place were kept secret through generations of Native Americans and then the prestigious Pine Family. To this day, Clover Hill (although noted on maps) is completely unknown or rather its power is unknown. This mystical hill has sparked countless tales, one in particular is the focus of our story.
Jerry and his family had been coming to this hill much longer than he could remember and it was always the highlight of their weekend hike. The hill is surrounded by a deep wood but completely devoid of trees itself, not even saplings. Large boulders of granite rise from the sea of clover, like islands. These boulders dot the hill's otherwise perfect carpet of green.
The hill has only one visitor today. Jerry is alone with his bike, which he lovingly calls The Lone Ranger, propped up against one of the large boulders and facing the wood. Today Clover Hill will be the backdrop for Jerry's favorite book series, 'The Kentucky Kid' which is a historically accurate look at a young drifter and his kid, in the 1870's. Numerous books and graphic novels have been devoured here due to the peacefulness coupled with the fact that Jerry's imagination seems to be greatly enhanced on Clover Hill.
At just ten years old, Jerry is small for his age and skinny with short unkempt brown hair. He is dressed in a nondescript yellow shirt and faded blue jean shorts; a red backpack lay at his feet, half open. The only sounds to hear are birds, lightly conversing in their ancient language and the slight ruffling of pages as Jerry tears through the book. Sitting up a little, he adjusts the book to capture more of the fading light. Glancing at the sky he notices that dark gray clouds are blocking the sun and threatening rain. Slowly the clouds grow darker and thicker and before he can take cover, the first drops of rain are spattering on his forehead and cheeks.
"Oh no!" He squeaks and sprints for the cover of the woods, fiercely guarding his book while stashing it in his backpack. He jumps astride The Lone Ranger and races down the hill. Skidding to a halt just inside the wood, Jerry peers around cautiously. The book was just getting to the end and everything was coming together. Due to the enhancing effect the hill has on his imagination, Jerry can't help but feel like the bank robbers are hiding slightly deeper in the dark wood. Shivering with fright and cold, he crouches down beside a large oak where the branches offer shelter from the majority of the rain.
As the wind picks up and the branches begin to sway and Jerry is soaked! Soon he is ducking and dodging small leaf clusters, many of which contain acorns. Towards the end the clouds begin to clear and light shines through the rain. He gasps and gawks as a rainbow forms because rather than being far off in the distance, this one terminates atop the hill! For several minutes he stares, unable to believe his eyes. Everything his Science teacher taught him, goes against this, so he rubs his eyes. Still the rainbow is there.
As Jerry creeps up Clover Hill to inspect this oddity, the short form of a man appears. The man walks with confidence, directly up to the rainbow. He is a tiny man, perhaps eighteen inches tall and seems to have materialized out of thin air (or should I say thick, it is quite humid). Jerry is sure it isn't a child because the man has a full beard, clearly visible from where Jerry is crouching. This odd man stoops to pick up a tiny pot, no bigger than a walnut shell, which radiates a golden glow. Jerry doesn't hesitate; he knows a leprechaun when he sees one. Anyone lucky enough to catch one earns three wishes! Jerry darts from the boulder he is hiding behind while the leprechaun stoops, and scoops him up in one swipe.
"Help me!" The tiny man squeals. He is garbed in a green suit with a green bowler's cap that has a four-leaf clover tucked in it. His fiery orange hair and beard seem to glow in the brilliance of the gold within the pot.
"I've got you! I've got you!" Jerry's shout of triumph startles the little man, causing him to drop the pot. As the tiny pot falls, Jerry catches it and peers inside. Leprechaun's gold is worth more than any other substance in the world and here within the pot sit three coins. The reason for this is obvious, each coin will grant the wielder, one wish!
"Please! Give me back me gold!" The Leprechaun begs but Jerry just holds him by the belt and smiles.
"Not a chance, little guy!" Jerry laughs. "You know the drill, each coin will grant me one wish."
"Yes yes! So what be your first wish?" The leprechaun asks impatiently.
Jerry is holding the coins in his palm, and the golden glow is reflected in his eyes. A delighted smile crosses his lips and then the coins sink into his hand, changing his smile to an O of surprise. Wide eyed he stares at the little man, the leprechaun is laughing, making his cheeks a rosy red color that extends to the tip of his nose. He knows better than to drop the leprechaun but he is beginning to become very frightened.
"What's going on here?" Jerry whines.
"The wishing gold laddie," the leprechaun chuckles. "You didn't know about its properties?"
Jerry is transfixed on the impish grin spreading across the little man's face. An exceptionally bright beam of light pierces a dark cloud and flashes across the imp's face making his eyes sparkle with an unearthly green glow. This time Jerry does drop the leprechaun and turns to run. He makes it three steps before colliding with an invisible wall.
Like a stupid fish in an aquarium, he tries one more time at full steam, with the same result although this time he falls flat on his rear. Rolling laughter meets his ears and unable to help himself, he looks over his shoulders to stare at the little man. The leprechaun begins doing a jig and magically pulls out a tiny fiddle and bow. The fiddle sways as the bow dashes back and forth, silently at first but slowly increasing in volume.
Instantly the most beautiful song Jerry has ever heard, fills the air and the sunlight intensifies causing the boy to squint. The beat works up to a fevered pace and he has to swivel in order to keep the leprechaun in sight. The little man dances and leaps with grace and speed that at times are blinding. The little fiddle dips and sways as the bow continues to dart back and forth so fast that the little man's hand doesn't even appear to move. Just as Jerry thinks the little man will burst, the beat slows to a danceable level and he breaks into song. The singing voice of the leprechaun is eerily beautiful in its squeaky pitch.
"Oh wishing gold from - the sun in the sky
With rain it comes for - Leprechaun to find.
Human being breed – a greed in their heart
If captured it is - the wishing will start.
It resides within - the hand if it's caught
Just one wish each piece - is what will be bought.
With gold the human – will be quite alive
The Imp need recharge - it takes twenty-five!"
The song comes to a close and the man takes a bow with the fiddle held aloft and behind. Jerry realizes he was supposed to pay attention to the words but the music had so enthralled him that he completely missed them. He pauses for a moment and then a boyish grin splits his face, anything that could make music that lovely couldn't be all that bad!
"Um…. what?" Jerry asks a bit dreamily.
"Make your first wish, laddie." The mischievous grin is back and Jerry feels like he is missing something.
"Gee, I wish I knew what to wish for." Jerry says, quite truthfully. His head is still spinning from the song and he tries to come up with a really good starter wish.
"You should wish for everything you could ever wish for!" The leprechaun's triumphant cry seems to be tinted with sarcasm but Jerry ignores this besides, boys of ten rarely notice things like that.
"Oh, yeah! That's a great idea! I wish for everything I could ever wish for!" Jerry's eyes shine with delight. He is just about to think of something else to wish for when the leprechaun bursts into a gale of laughter. Puzzled by this odd behavior, Jerry pauses in his thinking, "what?"
"In twenty-five years you can wish for that. Your first wish is used up." The leprechaun clutches his belly in a fit of cackles.
"I haven't even wished it yet!" Jerry cries defensively. "I wish for everything I can ever wish for!"
The leprechaun gets control of his laughter and tries to look serious, "Your first wish," here he imitates Jerry's voice so perfectly it is eerie, "I wish I knew what to wish for."
"No fair! That wasn't a wish! I was talking to myself!" Jerry slowly goes red with embarrassment and anger, realization of the truth sinking in. He looks down shocked and one of the coins is now in his palm, how long it had been clutched in his hand he doesn't know but when he opens his hand it begins to glow. Without warning it zips from his palm to the leprechaun's who quickly pockets it.
"I'll be back in twenty-five years for the next one." The leprechaun says gleefully.
"What?" Slowly Jerry begins to remember the words, like a ghost whisper. "In twenty-five years?"
He blinks and the leprechaun is gone without another word. Jerry is left to ponder the experience and as the hours turn to days and the days turn to months, Jerry begins to convince himself that it was a dream. He never tells his father or mother, thinking that they would not believe him and after some time, he doesn't believe it himself. He goes on being a normal boy of ten and then of eleven while the memory of his odd experience fades completely.
Life is not very good to Jerry for the next twenty-five years. His stupid wish is joined by stupid decision after stupid decision. Jerry is in and out of Juvenile Hall and finally drops out of school, so he takes to drinking alcohol quickly becoming an addict. As an adult he is in and out of jail until Jerry finally lands in prison for a B&E on government property. When he is arrested he asks lamely, "That's federal land? I didn't know!"
No one cares for Jerry's excuses and with a public defender he finds himself chained to a thirty-year sentence. Jerry is devastated by the sentence and for the first few nights he cries himself to sleep. The adjustment to prison life is a long road filled with violence and grief. Jerry is small and skinny with no friends so he quickly becomes a target and is often shoved in the lunch line. He looses most of his food to neighboring inmates who aren't satisfied with the quantity of food on their tray and when Jerry obtains any personal items his cellmate or a neighbor quickly takes them. They wouldn't even let him join in any reindeer games!
One night, while staring through the skylight he hears a little cough, the kind that is designed to get your attention. He glances across the cell to the origin of the sound and nearly jumps out of his skin. A little man stands leaning against the toilet, with a grin on his bearded face! Jerry squeezes himself into the niche farthest from this man, eyes wide with disbelief.
The little man is garbed in a green suit and trousers, a green bowler's cap atop his head with a four-leafed clover tucked in the brim. The little man's fiery red hair clashes with his emerald green eyes. Jerry gets an uncomfortable feeling of de-ja-vu and coughs himself. Jerry's cough is the kind that is designed to put one's heart back in the chest, kind of a reverse gag.
"Top of the marnin to ya, Jerry me boy!" The small man's cheerful voice seems to hide a darker personality, just below the surface. "Be you ready to part with me second coin?"
"Excuse me?" It is weak but on such short notice, it's the best he can come up with.
"The wishing gold!" The leprechaun's eyes flash green in the darkness of his cell and a wicked smile cracks the Imp's face. "REMEMBER!"
The little man makes a cup of each hand and acts like he is catching the word he just spoke; Jerry even thinks he sees the letters. The leprechaun shakes his cupped hands and then opens them, blowing towards Jerry who watches helplessly. A dim green ball hurls toward Jerry trailing little green fireflies that quickly go out. When the ball hits Jerry, he instantly remembers and sits down with an 'Oh!' of realization.
"I wish I hadn't been so stupid." Jerry says in a daze as the memory of the wasted first wish rushes back.
The leprechaun snaps his fingers and instantly they are sitting on cushioned sofas. The back lawn of an enormous estate house stretches out before them. The night sky twinkles above and a river snakes along the valley below. The house behind them is a white Victorian with what appears to be pale blue trim and shutters, in the dim glow produced by the lights dotting the porch and walk. A beautiful pool is between Jerry and the river and he thinks to himself, I must be dreaming.
"No laddie, you are not dreaming! You weren't that stupid. You made smart choices instead of stupid ones, always, just as you wished." The little man sits back and puffs a small pipe, with a slightly crooked grin on his face. Jerry is instantly wary of the creature.
He looks down and notices he is clutching one of the little wishing gold coins which flies from his hand just as before. Slowly Jerry begins to gain the memories of his new life and in just ten minutes time, he knows the complete story. He turns to thank the leprechaun and realizes the little man has disappeared. Slowly Jerry wanders into his estate house and takes stock.
Jerry Nathaniel Pine is a very successful defense attorney and he laughs at the difference between this and his prior life. He is unmarried and without children but has every material possession that a man can want. In the garage, fully gassed and polished sits an SUV, a sports car, a street bike and a racing bike. The private neighborhood marina houses his seventy-foot yacht and two speed boats. In his drive is an RV, also fully gassed and stocked as well. A sweetheart deal he scooped up on at nineteen left him with forty-seven time-share apartments. Other real estate includes three cottages that he rents out weekly through a real estate agency, keeping several choice weeks for himself and twenty-two rental properties. His stock portfolio is loaded with fortune 500's and in his stupidity he realizes he has made an excellent wish but could have wished for everything he could ever wish for. He silently curses his thoughtless and overactive mouth.
The hours turn to days and the days turn to months. Gradually he begins to think of his past life as a dream and then finally it truly is a dream (at least to him). His assets grow enormously before he retires at the age of sixty however he's still a bachelor. Due to constant physical activity he is in excellent shape and looks forward to countless years of retirement. Now perhaps he can lasso a girl and see what married life is like.
The first month is grand but then he catches a nasty virus and while it isn't life threatening, it makes him feel like death. Stubbornness keeps him from the doctor and one night in the heat of a fever, a little man comes to him in his room. 'Oh no!' He thinks, 'I'm dying! I'm starting to hallucinate and next comes coma!'
The little man does nothing to reassure the old one. He simply stands on the foot-board and grins wickedly. Jerry feels his pulse race and he tries to sit up, while attempting to crawl backwards. The sight of it makes the little man laugh and Jerry is plagued with an eerie sense of de-ja-vu. The little man taps one foot impatiently and removes the green bowler's cap with a four-leaf clover tucked in the brim. He scratches his fiery red hair and Jerry sees that tiny horns protruded from the top.
"Well?" The little man questions impatiently. "What be your wish?"
"Oh evil spirit, I just wish I could see one last sunrise!" Terror creeps into Jerry's voice and an icy rush of fear stiffens his spine. He is certain this demon from hell will take him to the fiery pits.
The little man claps his hands and laughs a genuine laugh. Jerry feels lightened and he even cracks a nervous grin. The man returns the hat to his head and brushes off his sleeves, "Done."
"What?" Jerry asks, thoroughly confused however he glances down and notices a small disk of gold in his palm. The disk shoots out of his hand, landing in the tiny palm of the little man.
"Your wish is granted and that be three, nothing else you'll get from me." The little man chirps in singsong. He turns to leap off the bed and pauses at Jerry's look of perplexity. Turning back the little man sits cross-legged at the foot of the bed. "You really don't remember?"
"Remember what?" But when he hears the little man's last word and then repeats it, the spell is renewed and memory floods back. He slaps his palm to his forehead and makes a disgusted sigh, "Stupid!"
"Aye!" The leprechaun laughs and winks, "But it wasn't all bad! Some fare far worse than you!"
"Twenty five years, you made me wait twenty five years each time." He cursed himself silently.
"Aye, me magic needs recharge. 'Tis but a moment for me but an unimaginably lengthy time for you." The little man shakes his head sadly, "Fear not though, your last sun rise you shall see!"
"What?" Suddenly, Jerry suffers an enormous heart attack, realizing his awfully worded wish means this will be his last sunrise. As the sun breaks the tree line across the river and bathes his room in its first light, he smiles at the irony and utters his final two words, "Stupid me."