The Yellow Rose of…IrelandShamrocks???

(A Modern Fairy Tale, or… Why the Pitukupf wears a green shirt!)

 

By: (who else??)  Irish McNeely 

      Irish2@erols.com

 

[a WTR holiday story…very tongue-in-cheek ;) ]

 

FOREWARD:  Everyone knows the story of Ireland’s Leprechauns and their mischievous ways and how they are charged to guard the “Pot-O’-Gold” at the end of their Rainbows.  There are similar stories of “little men” or “little people,” some helpful, some definitely not, in every culture.  When I was a child my late Father used to tell me the legends that he was taught on the Navaho and Ute reservations of Colorado and New Mexico, in the late 1910’s and early 1920’s.  One of the legends was about a small spirit-dwarf called the Pitukupf, who lived in a badger hole. The Pitukupf is not a “fun” spirit or legend like the Leprechaun; but remember, the Leprechaun can be an annoying pest, himself.  So please pardon the liberties I have taken with both legends (especially placing the Pitukupf in Texas!), put aside your belief in solid reality, and enjoy a “different” kind of WTR story.  Note: for the story I have capitalized the common nouns “pitukupf” and “leprechaun,” even though I have given the little “devils” names of their own. And bear with me, the WTR characters DO show up, eventually, LOL!!! Hope you enjoy!  Irish. 

 

Early morning, MARCH 16, 2002

 

        The Pitukupf was confused.  It was the cold-time, the period in which the spirit-dwarf should be resting, restoring his vitality and that of the earth in which he slept.  It was definitely not time to awaken and abide quietly until moved by absolute boredom to interfere in the affairs of Man, or Man came seeking him.  But Pitukupf sensed something strange, something outside of his experience.  Frankly, he smelled it, and it made his nose wrinkle. Something like clover and mint combined, certainly not a cold-time scent.   Pitukupf thought it might be worth his while to investigate.  So he stretched and scratched his small, rusty-brown body and shook off his winter lethargy. He buttoned his dusty gray-colored shirt and pants, put on his moccasins, shoved his floppy old hat over his long, black, braided hair, and ambled towards the entrance of his underground home.

 

        Emerging into the still chilly early-light of a Texas winter/spring morning, he shook himself lightly and tuned his senses to filter out all the smells of the earth awakening, except that of clover with mint. Turning his head 360 degrees, he resembled a great hoot owl seeking prey.   Skimming his environment quickly, he locked in on the scent that had awakened him. He found it, mixed with something earthy, musty, more of his world.  It was about a quarter mile off, moving in the direction of the Man place.  This concerned the Pitukupf.  He rather liked the tall ones who lived in the wooden Man place with their tiny girlchild, and he knew the smell was not part of their world.  The tall ones were kind and left him alone, never chasing him away or coming to ask needless or silly questions. Indeed, the Man-male was of The People and left presents of food by his home, as the old People had known was proper to do.  He would follow and challenge whoever, or whatever, had trespassed upon Pitukupf’s territory, and turn them away from the Man home.  He faded from sight; the only indication of his travels the rustling and swirling of dead leaves and grasses in his path.

 

        Up ahead, Malachi McCorkle the Leprechaun (from Ballybarrock, County Armagh), was feeling displaced, disgruntled, and downright disgusted.  In short (and we mean short, ), he was one unhappy Irish dude.  Apparently, being an internationally renowned and beloved sprite isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Otherwise he wouldn’t be stuck with this miserable assignment; guarding the “Pot-‘O-Gold” that was going to be at the end of the rainbow scheduled for the Dallas, Texas area at 4 p.m., the following afternoon.  TEXAS!  Why Texas, of all forsaken, end of the earth, un-green armpits of the world? How was he supposed to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Texas? They probably didn’t have a single decent, warm, pint of Guinness anywhere in the State.  Why not New York, or Boston or, he thought with utter green envy, Chicago?  But no, his cousins Sean, Conor, and Timothy got those plumbs-- the little suck-ups!  However, having seriously and deeply offended Michael Flakely of Dublin, the Leprechaun King and original “Lord of the Repetitive Dance,” Malachi was lucky he hadn’t been permanently assigned to Moscow (which had a serious problem with celebrating anything-- much less something Irish, Lord only knows why!).  Sheesh… how was Malachi to know that very cute little lady Leprechaun he’d been two-timing in Galway was Michael’s baby sister?  “If it wasn’t for tha’ bad luck,” Malachi grumbled to himself, “t’woud be no luck at all I’d be havin!”

 

“HOLY MURTHER’ O’ G--!!!!!!”  Malachi jumped as far back as his knock-kneed, stumpy legs would allow and found himself sprawled, backwards, in the red dust of a small Texas ranch.  Looking up at the black-eyed apparition staring down at him, he hurriedly said a few (normally neglected) prayers and spasmodically clutched the lucky four-leaf clover in his pocket. (Oh, come on-you knew there had to be a four-leaf clover somewhere in this story, didn’t you?)

 

Finding his voice, Malachi rasped, “What in the name of Joseph the Carpenter are YOU?”  Rising slowly, Malachi backed away from the man? Thing? It?  Malachi noticed that the person (?) was no taller than he, two and half feet at the max, and definitely NOT cute.

 

        The Pitukupf regarded the strange looking entity before him.  The intruder was his height, very pale and freckled, with bright red hair, including a bright red beard/mustache. He had green eyes, which the Pitukupf had never seen before.  The stranger was dressed in a formal-looking, black velvet suit of another era, complete with tails, but with the strangest looking shoes. The plain, black shoes looked like ancient Persian slippers that curled up tightly just beyond the toes, with Puritan-like buckles on them. The vest he wore was deep green velvet with gold buttons. He also had a top hat with a green silk band around it, a black belt with a large gold buckle, and there was a long, white clay pipe and a thick carved stick, lying just beyond where the trespasser had fallen. The tailcoat lapel sported a huge green three-leaf clover.  Also, his ears were extremely pointed.

 

        “I am not a WHAT,” answered the Pitukupf.  “I am a WHO, though it’s possible that other definitions might be acceptable.  And I’d like to ask, before I boil and eat you, WHAT are YOU?” (He was pretty much kidding about eating the Leprechaun, but the Pitukupf figured scaring the heck out of whatever it was couldn’t possibly hurt).

 

        Malachi filed the “boil and eat you” reference in the back of his mind and replied, “I am not a WHAT either.  I’m a Leprechaun, and my name is Malachi.  And if you’re a WHO, then what’s YOUR name?”

 

        In his ten thousand years of being, no one had ever asked the Pitukupf what his name was.  That this ill-designed stranger had done so, strangely pleased the wee man. 

 

        “My name is Athapasca.  I am a Pitukupf.  What in the name of the People, are YOU?”  Extending his hand, the Pitukupf showed that it was empty to the redheaded stranger. 

 

        Having no clue that the gesture was a symbol older than memory itself, indicating that the Ute spirit-man held no weapon to harm the tiny Irishman; Malachi grinned broadly, came forward, grabbed and pumped the diminutive Pitukupf’s hand until Athapasca felt like his head was half shaken off.

 

        Equally having no clue as to what Malachi was doing (the handshake not being part of Athapasca’s cultural consciousness), the Pitukupf became plainly pissed. As a result, he hissed at the Leprechaun.  Literally.  Athapasca had made his tongue forked, exactly like all the species of Texas snakes.

 

        Malachi dropped Athapasca’s hand and disappeared.  Literally.  He reappeared, shaking and gasping, several yards away, squatting on a small rock.

 

        “Would ya’ be tha’ Devil, himself?” Malachi’s voice quavered.

 

        “I don’t know what a ‘devil’ is,” replied Athapasca, “but I don’t like being shaken like you’re separating wheat from chaff.”

 

        “I was just giving you a friendly handshake, ya’ heathen’ ignoramus!” Retorted Malachi.   “Apology accepted,” was Athapasca’s answer.

 

        Having taken care of the inter-mythical species pleasantries (and stored away each other’s dubious talents for future recall and warning), Pasky and Malachi spent most of the day exploring each other’s cultures, folklore, legends, and tall-tales, especially the meaning and origin of St. Patrick’s Day.  (Malachi had asked if he could call the Native spirit “Pasky,” as Athapasca was just so dang LONG!  The Ute dwarf-man had agreed.  He’d never had a nickname before.  He tried it out. ‘Pasky the Pitukupf’, he murmured.”  He liked it.)

 

         Somewhere during the course of the late afternoon, as the shadows grew long, Malachi had introduced a large jug of exceptionally fine Irish Whisky into the equation.  (No, don’t bother to ask, How?  He’s a Leprechaun, remember???)  Pasky had never tasted anything that was so hot and so cold all at the same time.  After several overly generous cups, and a few hours of sharing Malachi’s clay pipe, Pasky didn’t feel too well.  And he sure wasn’t thinking too well, either.

 

        Now, Malachi should have recalled that copious amounts of fine whisky (especially in conjunction with that wonderful American invention, Killian’s Red beer followed by a shot of Tequila), had been one of the causes of the behavior that had so infuriated Michael the Leprechaun King.  But sadly, just like Humans, some Leprechauns have to learn the same hard lesson, several times!

 

        Malachi had been boasting about his powers and abilities to bug the ever-living daylights out of Humans. Indeed, he’d been insufferably smug about the fact it was his right and destiny to bedevil the poor beasties to distraction. And that, of course, he was exceptionally, marvelously, outstandingly, and indubitably the absolutely finest Leprechaun in the field when it came to making Humans half-nuts.

 

        Pasky, being well, um, kinda’ soused, began to be a tad irritated with Malachi’s over-heated rhetoric.  He considered turning Malachi into a dung beetle, but then he remembered the gold.  Pasky smiled, slyly.  He liked gold, a lot, even though he had no particular use for it.  It wasn’t like he dressed up for a lot of social events.  He just thought it was real “purty.”

 

        “Soooooo… Pasky hissed (He remembered not to flick his tongue out, recalling Malachi’s previous reaction), you think that you’re the verrrrra besht at aggravatin’ Humans, do you? Wouldcha’ care ta’ make a besht, I mean bet, on that?”

 

        Malachi stared at the wizened little gnome and drew himself up to his full, albeit swaying, height of two and one half feet.  “Dan, dang, dur, DAMN right I am, I am!  Whaddya’ wanna’ bet?”

 

        “Your Pot-O’-Gold, of course. It will be showin’ up roun’   tomorrow afternoon, I believe?  There is a family of Men that lives on this land and I bet that I can annoy an’ ‘fuddle them far better than you; by the time that rainbow appears at 4 p.m. tomorrow.  No rules, ‘cept that the Humans may not actually be harmed in any way, ‘specially the infant one.  I visit with her regularly. She is of The People, as is her Man-father, and I’ve just started teaching her Ute beliefs, to keep company with the Cherokee traditions her Man-father will teach her, so I don’ wan’ her frightened of either of us. And you might keep in mind that she’s parsht, parst, PART Irish.  Pasky couldn’t understand why he was having such a time getting his tongue around his words!

 

        “Courshh not…silly man, t’aint even a decent suggestion, as if any right-hearted Leprechaun would harm a solitary hair on a tiny babe’s head, ‘specially a wee Irish lassie! Ye moron! But what do I get if you loose?  And who’shh gonna’ deshide, uh, decide the winner, anyway?”

 

        “Welllll…” Pasky thought for a minute (as best he could with the headache he was developing). He had a hidden treasure of gold bracelets, coins, bejeweled amulets and crowns beyond number, not to mention silver, turquoise and coral beyond imagining.  Also ancient pots, statues, rings; all the rich offerings that members of The People had brought to him over the endless years when they sought him out to answer their infernal questions about life, love, and the events of the future.  Surely that was more valuable than a small pot of gold coins?  So he offered that.

 

        “DONE!” Cried Malachi with greedy delight. “ Now, who’ll judge the bet?”

 

“WE will,” called out a grim voice behind them.  “Jumpin’ Jehosuphat!!!!!!!!” Screamed Malachi, turning a full circle in a somewhat drunken, but still graceful about-face. “Michael, Sire, My Lordship, Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Your Most High and Worshipful King and Ruler of All Leprechauns… !“

 

“Stow it, Malachi!” Michael roared.  Malachi stowed.  Michael approached his disreputable Leprechaun Deputy-Ambassador to the U.S. for Texan Affairs, and got in his face. 

 

“Leave it to you, you base-hearted, besotted, be-deviled, sorry-ass example of a Leprechaun, to make a liquor-sodden bet with an innocent Native Spirit.  Well, have it your way, Malachi, but I’ll be watching you like a hawk.  No cheating, no nasty tricks, and no using truly unusual Leprechaun powers.  IF you win this bet, you’ll win it on the level, for the very first time in your teeny, weeny, Leprechauny life! And if you DON’T win it, you’ll be an EX-Leprechaun!  I’ll take away your Leprechaun status and you’ll spend the rest of your time being a very short HUMAN!!  And worse, I’ll make sure you remain here as a short TEXAN!!”  Michael stood his high ground (High because he was just over three feet tall, which was gigantic for a Leprechaun), and turned to the other individual beside him.  “Well, what do you have to say, White Eagle?”

 

White Eagle was highly amused by the whole thing, but thought it best to appear somber and wise before the three miniature (and rattled) historical/legendary elves.  Facing “Pasky the Pitukupf” White Eagle gave him a hard “eagle-eye” look-over.

 

“The same goes for you little Pitukupf.  You have to win fair and square, and no using the baby’s affection for you to bewitch the parents,” White Eagle instructed, sternly.  “Am I clearly understood?”  Pasky was anything but pleased at this turn of events, but had no choice but to agree.  White Eagle was not a Cherokee shaman that you crossed, lightly, even if you were a Ute Spirit, and not Cherokee yourself.  “Agreed,” Pasky promised, sullenly.


        “So be it.  The contest ends at 4 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, at the end of the Rainbow.  White Eagle and I decide who wins. The bet begins, NOW,” Michael intoned, while fading from visibility.  White Eagle also began to fade into the surrounding trees, but that was mostly so Malachi and Pasky wouldn’ t see him start to have paroxysms of laughter.

 

        “Oh Washo, Alex…” he chortled while holding his sides from laughing.  “You’re about to have the most irritating, exasperating, and infuriating twelve or so hours of your lives.  May you both survive it intact!”  On that note he was gone.

 

Late evening of March 16, 2002, the kitchen and dining room of Cordell and Alex Walker’s Ranch House:

                       

        Alex was at the stove, preparing to stir the pasta boiling in the pot.  She reached for her spaghetti stirrer and came up empty.  “What the heck..? It’s supposed to be right here.  Where the blazes did I put it?  She looked in every drawer but didn’t find it.  Sighing, she settled for a wooden spoon.  But it didn’t do the trick and by the time Walker was at the table, the pasta had cooked to a lovely lump of starchy goop. 

 

        Just then, Alex noticed that the heat under her sauce was way too high (and HOW did that happen?), but she didn’t reach the saucepan in time, it boiled over.  “DRAT!” Screeched Alex.

 

        “Honey, it’s not that bad,” soothed Walker.  “The sauce will be fine and the pasta will be covered with the sauce, so it doesn’t matter.” 

 

        “I know,” Alex sighed.  “It’s just that this is our first time home together at dinner time in several days and I wanted to make it a nice evening for us both.” 

 

        “Alex, any time with you is wonderful. So, sit down and let’s just unwind over the food and a little bit of wine.”  Walker sat down and reached for the wine bottle.  As he got his fingertips around it, it “slipped” and red wine spilled all over the tablecloth.  “Oh darnation,” muttered Walker under his breath. He was aware that Alex had just laundered and ironed the linen tablecloth. 

 

        “Oh, NO!” Alex glared at Walker and then got up to get some salt to pour and rub on the stains.  As she prepared to pour the salt, the top of the saltshaker fell off and the entire container of salt spilled out over the cloth, but not on the stains.

 

        Staring at the mess, Alex slowly put the saltshaker down and started to sink into her chair.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t there.  It had been pulled out, way beyond the usual space needed to be seated at the table.  Walker’s next view of his wife was as she landed on her rear, instead of on the seat cushion.  He tried not to laugh, but failed, utterly.  Actually, he had tears running down his cheeks and could hardly get his breath from laughing.

 

        “WALKER!”  Alex fumed.  “The least you could do is help me up!”  “Uh, yes, of course, Sweetheart.”  Walker tried his best, but he was laughing so hard he couldn’t get his arms and hands coordinated enough to pick his exasperated wife up off the floor.

 

        “Never MIND!”  Alex got herself up onto the dining room chair and glowered at her half-hysterical spouse.  “Walker, will you stop long enough to eat something?”  Alex was almost exhaling fire, but Walker didn’t see the danger.  “Uh, sure, Honey, Suurrre…and he was off again on another laughing jag.

 

        Throwing down her napkin, Alex said, “FINE, just FINE! Sit there laughing like a hyena.  I’M going up to see how our daughter is doing.  You can have the rest of dinner by yourself!  And don’t forget the dishes!”  Alex stormed out of the dining room.

 

        “Score 1 for the Leprechaun,” Malachi thought to himself. “I couldn’t have done that scene better.”  He rocked back on his heels, well satisfied with his efforts. 

 

        “Nope, minus one point, Malachi,” Michael the Leprechaun King’s voice whispered in Malachi’s ear.  “The human woman could have been seriously hurt when you moved her chair.  That’s forbidden, remember?  No harm must come to the Humans.”

 

        Sulking, Malachi wished his counterpart no luck at all.

 

        Upstairs, Alex was tearful as she entered her baby daughter’s room.  “Dang men,” she thought.  “No sensitivity at all. Especially Walker!  I wanted dinner to be so nice, and he couldn’t stop laughing long enough to give me just a little bit of sympathy.” 

 

        Sniffing her cute little nose, Alex walked over to Angela’s crib and found her daughter wide-awake, gurgling, and kicking her legs in the air in delight.  It was quite apparent that Angela needed a clean diaper.  Picking up her baby and heading towards the changing table, Alex didn’t see Angela’s wide eyes and delighted smile that was directed somewhere over Alex’s shoulder.

 

        Having finished removing the diaper, Alex turned to dispose of it, while keeping a hand on Angela.  In that second Angela managed to get her pudgy hands on the open plastic squeeze bottle of baby powder, and nature took its course.   When Alex turned back, a white cloud of talcum was everywhere, especially everywhere on Angela.  She looked like a flour-covered ghost!

 

        Laughing ruefully, but shaking her head over having to

re-bathe and re-clothe the baby and clean up the mess, Alex wondered out-loud how in the world the child managed to get hold of the bottle when it was in the holding basket behind Angela’s head. 

 

        Grinning broadly, “Pasky the Pitukupf” answered her, though Alex couldn’t hear it.  “It’s not very difficult when someone floats it into your waiting hands!!  That’s one point for me!!”   White Eagle and Michael, laughing hard, agreed.  The night wind murmured the news that the score was 1+ to 1-.

        Malachi sulked even more.

 

        After spending another half hour putting Angela back to bed, clean, dry and non-powdery, Alex returned to the kitchen to discover Walker looking desperately for dishwasher soap.  He’d cleaned up and filled the dishwasher, but the full box of soap that he knew was under the sink, simply was not there. 

 

        He started complaining to Alex, who hushed him and said that it didn’t matter.  Why didn’t they just turn in as it was late and the dishes could wait a day.  Frustrated, Walker agreed.

 

        “Not very original, Malachi,” but we’ll take away the negative point for it, echoed White Eagle. “You’re back to zero, and it’s

one to nothing. Pasky thought Malachi shouldn’t get a thing for such a boring trick as hiding dishwasher soap.  “I would never stoop so low,” he sniffed to himself in a superior manner. 

 

        Up in the bedroom, Alex had finished her shower and left the bathroom to Walker, who stepped in, turned on the water and prepared to relax under the hot spray.   “AAAAAGGGGGHHHH…”  Alex could hear her husband’s yell of dismay right through the bathroom door.  Alarmed, she hurried in and found Walker jumping up and down like a jack-in-the-box, in the middle of the bathroom floor, soaking wet.  “What happened!” asked Alex.   “ICE COLD WATER! THAT’S what happened!” was Walker’s infuriated response.  “But how could that be?  We have a 50-gallon hot water holding tank. There’s no way two showers would use up that much hot water!”  “I don’t know and I don’t care! I’ve had enough of this evening and I’m hitting the sack before anything else goes wrong.” Grumbled Walker.

 

        “Not bad, Malachi, not bad,” smiled Michael.  “A point to you.  Agreed, White Eagle?”  “Oh yes, indeed. You should have seen the expression on Washo’s face when he was trying to shut off the shower head and couldn’t!”  White Eagle actually giggled.  (And you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a Cherokee shaman giggle.  It doesn’t happen often!)  The contest was now even-up.

 

        The exhausted and confused Walkers dropped into bed and slept restlessly, probably because of the rather odd dreams that they had.  However, Michael and White Eagle refused to give any points for those as they insisted the “victims” had to be awake to experience the mischief the protagonists were wreaking.

 

        March 17, 2002, various locations

 

        8:30 A.M.

 

        Walker slowly came to and roused himself long enough to eye the clock.  “ALEX!  UP, NOW!  The alarm didn’t go off! It’s only an hour til’ Church!”   1 pt. to Malachi.

 

        “OH NO, not today! I’m supposed to be there NOW!  It’s my turn to run the coffee and doughnut hour after Service.  Drat, I don’t have time to dress Angela…  ANGELA! Oh my Lord, she can’t still be asleep? She’s usually up by 7!”  Alex set off to her baby’s room at a dead run.  But it was all right, Pasky had been entertaining Angela mightily and she wasn’t the least upset at the lateness of her parents’ attentions.  (Pasky was awarded 1 point simply for being nice, which made Malachi fume!)

 

        And that was the last moment of simple peace that Alex, Walker and Angela experienced for the remainder of the day.  To tell the whole story would take 25 more pages, and I wouldn’t want to tax the patience of the audience to the breaking point. So, what follows is a summary of Sunday, March 17, 2002, from the Walkers’ perspective:

 

 Alex:  unable to find the Church dress for Angela that she laid out the night before, forced to dress baby in simple romper.  1 pt. to Malachi.

 

Walker: unable to find wallet with driver’s license, forced to let Alex drive to Church.  1 pt. to Pasky.

 

Both: Spend 15 minutes trying to find keys to Alex’s SUV.  Unable to find.  Forced to use the RAM and put Angela’s car seat in the extended cab (Oh sure, YOU TRY getting a baby seat in an extended cab when there’s no door to the back area!)   2 pts. to Malachi.

 

Both:  Flat tire on the way to Church.  Walker takes 10 minutes putting on spare.  Late to Church and Alex has to leave the Service early to do the coffee/donut setup that she was supposed to do before Service.  Angela becomes extremely fussy without her Mommy, forcing Walker to take her out of Church (oh yeah, everyone stared!) and take her to Alex.   2 points taken away from Malachi because the flat tire was inherently dangerous. Pasky delighted.

 

Walker: after returning home from Church, unable to settle Ranger, Angel and Little Ranger down.  Horses will NOT stay still for grooming, snorting and rearing constantly, Walker ready to explode by end of grooming session.  1 pt. to Malachi (which Pasky protested since he felt it took no effort to spook the horses just by lounging in the corner of the stalls and letting the animals see him.  White Eagle agreed with the protest, Michael did not, so they split the decision and reduced Malachi’s award to a half-point).

 

Alex:  Washing machine overflows, causing complete mess in the laundry room.  Suds everywhere.  Alex spends a good 45 minutes mopping up.  1 pt. to Pasky.

 

Alex:  Unable to find St. Patrick’s Day card she purchased for Walker.  Spends a fruitless half-hour looking everywhere for it.  Useless, as Malachi had zapped it into oblivion.  1 pt. to Malachi.

 

Walker:  Unable to start tractor due to “misplaced” key.  Cannot haul hay out to cow herd.  Only a ½ pt. to Pasky because the judges felt it wasn’t very nice to deprive the cows of their food.

 

All:  Angela is hungry for lunch, so is Walker.  No lunch from the usual source, Alex still cleaning up laundry room. Walker forced to forgo his lunch in favor of feeding screaming infant.  Alex doesn’t get lunch either.  Extra pt. to Pasky for causing two problems with one trick  (see laundry problem, above).

 

Alex:  Makes angel food cake with butter frosting for dinner, frosting colored green for St. Pat’s Day.  Tastes frosting, throws out cake.  Frosting had been made with salt, instead of sugar.  Alex feels she’s going nuts since the sugar bowl does have sugar in it!  1 pt. to Malachi.

 

Both:  Tired, perturbed, frustrated, irritated and discouraged, Walker and Alex collapse upon the swinging chair on the porch and attempt to recoup and rest.  They watch the storm that is coming up over the horizon and marvel at the lightening that begins to flash and crack around them.  They rejoice at the fat drops of rain, since the area hasn’t had enough moisture in the last few weeks. Ending up holding onto each other, they talk about their strange, miserable day.  One thing leads to another, and husband & wife begin to be verrryyyy interested in one another.  Alex suggests they retire to their room and Walker happily agrees.  There is accord and anticipation.  Right up to the moment they really start to enjoy themselves.  At that point, a certain little lady interrupts it all.  Naptime is OVER!   Walker and Alex bow their heads in the sad acknowledgement of the fact that one 10 months old infant can really put a damper on romance.  (No point awarded, the judges put it in the category of “nasty trick.”)

 

And the clock tolls 4…finally!

 

        Attending to Angela, Alex looks out the window, past the changing table.  Startled, she calls to Walker to join her, quickly!

Coming to her side, Walker sees what Alex is so excited about.  A magnificent Rainbow bows across the sky in a band of myriad and luminescent colors.  “Look, Walker, it looks like it ends behind the barn!”  “It sure does, Sweetheart.  Want to go look for the Pot-O’-Gold the Leprechaun is guarding?” Walker says, kiddingly, with a boyish grin on his face.  Holding Angela close, Alex smiles contentedly. “No, I don’t need gold, Walker, I already have all the things gold CAN’T buy.  The Leprechaun is welcome to his golden coins.”  Nodding his agreement, Walker hugs his treasures close to him and watches as the miracle of the Rainbow fills the window, reminding the watchers of the Covenant it represents.

 

4 p.m., Sunday March 17, 2002, behind the barn at The Ranch

 

        “Well, WHO WON?” Blurts Malachi  (Patience is not a Leprechaun virtue).  Malachi is standing by his little Pot-O’-Gold, (which sparkles nicely in the end of the Rainbow that is enveloping it), practically twitching in his eagerness to claim Pasky’s horde of treasure.  Pasky, on his part, is balefully regarding all the other parties.  Michael the Leprechaun King, and White Eagle are solemnly regarding the pint-sized contestants.  They look squarely at each other and nod.  They speak in stereo:  “No one.”

 

        “NO ONE?”  The screams of disbelief from both Malachi and Pasky echo beyond the fields.  Walker and Alex think it’s a howl of wind through the trees by the ranch house.

 

        “That’s right.” White Eagle chimed in.  “You both ended up with 4 ½ pts. which is a tie. Therefore, neither is entitled to each other’s gold.  However, in recognition of the fact you both bedeviled your “victims” equally well, Michael and I decree that you should both give each other a token remembrance of the contest. What that remembrance is, we leave up to you.  You have 10 minutes to consult and decide.”

 

And that’s how the Leprechaun came to sport a large yellow rose (or other big yellow flower) in his lapel, and how the Pitukupf came to wear a green shirt.

 

;) 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to ya’ll.

 

The End

 

All the usual Legal Disclaimers prevail.