Bruce and Denny’s Saint Patrick’s Morn
by Herbert G. Emert
(Norristown, PA, 19401, USA)
It had been a soft night when the dew hung heavy and the sun painted a rainbow on the horizon. As the first rays of sunlight brushed the gnarled branches of the tree stump by the ridge it seemed to quiver, then shake, and move in entirely un-tree-like.
Finally it shook, like a dog ridding his coat from excess dew, until there stood a perfect leprechaun. Stretching to his fingers and rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Come on Bruce, time to rise!” He said slapping a nearby boulder with his open hand. A guttural sigh came from the large pile of rocks. Knocking on the stones with his black thorn shillelagh the leprechaun persisted. “Bruce me lad wake up, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day.” Accompanied by a deep groan, the boulders began to stir, shedding rock of numerous sizes for the leprechaun to dodge and weave.
“Bruce! Would you kindly not cast your debris in my direction?” Stretching out his neck a dragon emerged from the ridge of stones. “I only get to come out on Saint Patrick’s and the occasional blue moon and the last thing I want is to be flattened by your bloom-in boulders.”
Straightening out his plaid vest and hat, the leprechaun muttered out loud. “I am getting to old for this. I am not nine hundred anymore!”
“Just how old are you Denny?” the dragon leaned in towards the leprechaun with a toothy grin.
“Don’t be starting that again you wily old serpent yah!” Shaking his fist wrapped around his shillelagh. Denny tried to look threatening. “You’ve at least a century or two on these old bones. If you’re going to be contrary you might as well… climb back under those rocks!”
“Tell me Denny,” Bruce paused as if checking the facts in his dragon mind. “Over the last decade, or so, I have noticed you seem to be more grumpy each Saint Patrick’s day. I thought you loved this day?”
“I am not grumpy!”
“You are so.”
“Drat and blasted, I am not!” Denny was about to throw his hat to the ground in exclamation when he noticed Bruce’s large yellow eye fixed on him while the other scaly eye brow was raised indicating the patience of his old friend. “So, it only took you a decade, or so, to notice. Of course I am grumpy, why shouldn’t I be.”
“So tell me, Denny old boy, what exactly led you to this conclusion?”
Denny smoothed the red whiskers on his chin, and only said one word, “Assumption!”
Bruce wanted to grin, but since that always makes Denny anxious tipped his head. “And what do you meant by assumption?”
“People, they take us for granted. There is no more respect, no happy thoughts, or bedtime stories. Leprechauns are a thing of the past. The ‘Darby O’Gill’ days are long behind us.”
“What about those cookie commercials?”
“Odds crumbs! We are tailors, cobblers. We are not happy little bakers! When people believed in us the magic flowed through the countryside. I was free to wander the waterfalls. But now I spend the days as the stump of a tree and find it a bit harder each year to wake up. When was the last time there was a great movie made just about leprechauns?”
“There was that one, but that was an evil leprechaun.”
“Well I never, evil leprechauns you say? Precocious, troublemakers, but never evil! When was the last time you knew of an evil leprechaun?” Bruce paused.
“There was that one, but his was all stringy and nasty tasting, I didn’t enjoy him one bit.” When Bruce came out of his reminiscence he noted Denny’s scowl and remembered how he hated being reminded of Bruce’s pre-reformed eating habits.
“But, at least people love leprechauns, they hate dragons.”
“No there was some positive stuff like… that song and movie about that guy… what was his name?”
“Oh you mean the magic dragon craze? Who raised the little boy, sailed all over the world with him, and then was abandoned when the boy grew up. There should have been another verse were the dragon showed up at Jackie’s wedding and toasted him and the bride like a hot dog. Oh, I can think of something recent for you Denny, the Artemis series… that had leprechauns in it, right?”
“Mr. Fowl was tinkering with “the People” who happen to be fairies. At least they got that right. Damned imposters, can you believe they actually used to pose as leprechauns, so they could pass as us? As if they only could… ” Denny put his fingers through his red locks of hair.
“They aren’t nearly handsome enough.” Bruce chuckled, only coming from a dragon if sounded more like a hissing valve. “Ah, I’ve you now. What about that whole series about dragons saving the world? The stories where the dragons teleported themselves anywhere they liked.”
“That whole ‘Pern’ thing does me little good. They were helping colonist on a distant planet, and they weren’t real dragons. They were genetically engineered from flying lizards… it barely gives me a buzz.” Bruce paused, looking around like there should be something more. “No, dragons always end up as the bad guy, the attacking mindless fiend who preys on helpless farm animals. I mean did they have to make those moo-ing animals so tasty, and dumb?”
“Sure the heavy always gets the press time, but the point is, there are enough books and movies involving dragons you could live off that synergy full time! And those are called cows by the way.” Bruce frowned seriously at Denny.
“So, I should stay awake, full time, and risk reviving that whole dragon-hunting thing? No thank you!”
“Then why would you sleep all year, and only wake up on Saint Patty’s day with me?” Bruce again raised his scaly eye brow and waited for the truth to dawn as Denny’s scowl began to soften.
“Oh, well…” Denny’s face flushed, his blarney failing him all at once. “Well then Bruce, I have to admit you are one of the few real friends I would spend my last days.”
“Come on Denny, as long as the river flows green in Chicago, U S of A, there will always be Saint Patrick’s Day buoyed on an ocean of green beer.”
“Of course, King Brian moved there decades ago. He spent some time in Hollywood with that Disney fella, but liked the spirit in Chicago better.”
“Really, can you imagine that?”