I struggled to sleep last night. Kept up by the usual thing, when you worry you will forget how to breathe. The dreams don’t help either. Dreams bring repressed imaginings to the surface. It‘s a rigid system of symbolism. If you dream about spanners, you are sexually attracted to spanners. If you dream about sex, you may be sexually attracted to spanners. So I’m not sure if the following actually took place.
I woke up. It was morning. The first thing I do in the morning is regret. I had forgotten to cover myself last night and so I got frostbite around my knees.
Next, I checked the bedroom to see if there was anything there that shouldn’t be. People called me delusional when I spoke about the possibility of there being generous robbers: burglars that don’t steal but actually break in to leave stuff, just to mess with you. Many times I found things in the room that wouldn’t normally be there, like mussel shells and a garden shovel handle.
Now it was too early to be surprised or anything (my body doesn’t react physically to stuff until about ten) but I saw him. He sat in a stained, faded green suit, slumped in the corner. The little man, about half as tall as me, looked in my direction. He had whiskey eyes and a scraggly unshaven face. A few missing teeth from what I could tell. Like the product of womb abuse and exposure to heroine as a fetus Not at all like the other hobos who usually broke in to sleep on the bedroom floor.
Me: Am I dead? Who are you?
He sneered as he pulled out a cigarette and stuck it between his dry, chapped lips.
Him: Got a light?
I handed him one of the six lighters on my bedside table. I’m a lighter thief by the way but that’s another story. He took a long drag. I repeated, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
Him: “I’m the god damned Tooth Fairy. What do you think?!”
He grumbled a few swear words and scratched himself in a way that wasn’t publicly acceptable. There was enough disdain emanating from his wanton countenance to fill three large dog baths.
Him: “I’m a Leprechaun. Haven’t you seen one before? You would’ve, if you weren’t such a lazy !@#$%^&*.”
Me: “I don’t think you get Leprechauns in Umzinto. A Leprechaun? You don’t sound Irish? And you may want to move, a spider lives in that corner. He’s a hard one to kill. He’s the Rambo of spiders.”
Him: “Ugh…Do you have any Bourbon?”
Him: “Brake fluid?”
Me: “Nah. “
Him: “Ugh…how do you live?! Listen, Kid, not all Leprechauns are from Ireland right? I just need a place to hide out for a while. Now shut yeh trap and put on some clothes. I’m seeing parts of you only your wife should see.”
Me: “Hide from what?”
He reluctantly proceeded to tell me his current situation in vivid, vulgar detail. Joe, as he was called, had racked up a ton of gambling debts. There was no pot of gold either. I assumed the Euro zone recession was to blame for that. And the whole reason Leprechauns are believed to be Irish anyways is that they are the only people with the unique combination of being drunk enough to claim to have seen them, and being tolerable enough of other people who have actually seen them. I reasoned this in my head. If Jimmy says he saw a Leprechaun, many other people would say he’s an idiot. They would throw him into prison with a cabbage and an old blanket for company. Whereas Irish people would say, “Ah that’s just Jimmy. So what if he walks around with a paper bag over his head? What’ya gonna do?”
Joe’s most recent misdemeanor was sexual harassment of a fellow Leprechaun (you get girl Leprechauns apparently), which was not unexpected.
Him: “Hey Kid, I can’t be held responsible for myself when I’m drinking.”
He had won the case in court by bribing the judge with money he borrowed from a cut-throat mob family – so vicious in fact that their idea of entertainment is watching toddlers fight to the death over potato chips.
Him: “The Feds think I’m in on it Kid – with the O’Leary’s and everything and on top of that I got half-a-dozen Casino sharks up my !@#$%^&*. I bet you think you’ve got problems with that over sized Adam’s apple over there. I thought which better place to hide out than this dump? – no offense. But all the major scumbags hide out in Umzinto.”
Me: “Fair enough.”
He lit another cigarette.
Him: “You don’t know what it’s like having punks after you that either want you dead, imprisoned or both if they could get it. Life’s cruel Kid. The best you could hope for is some good chocolate ginger biscuits if you play your cards right. A day’s just long enough to get regret and then you have to go the bed.”
Me: “But you’re a Leprechaun, don’t you know some magic or some good stew recipes you could use to maybe make things better?”
Him: “Oh yeah – about that. I’m not.”
Me: “Not what?”
Him: “A Leprechaun. You actually believed that !@#$%^&*? There ain’t no such thing as Leprechauns. ”
Me: “Wait. What?”
Him: “Yeah – this is all a dream. Look at my face. Recognize it?”
I took a good look at his face.
Me: “Neighbor’s white dwarf gardener?!”
He stood up, nodded and flipped me off.
Him: “Now wake up before you choke on yeh own spit.”
I jerked awake in my bed. The only thing looking back at me from the corner where the Leprechaun should have been was the spider no one could kill.