I was on my patio in the heart of MiMo the other evening just enjoying some of the fantastic new daylight savings and drinking a beer when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.
When I looked, nothing was immediately obvious, but then there was a low whistle that came from one of the shrubs and I ran over to see who it was. “Come on out of there!” I demanded, brandishing a nearby shovel I’d fortunately left out in the rain to rust for the past month.
The branches parted and out stepped the famed Crichton Leprechaun. I knew him in an instant from his massively viral YouTube video and the amazingly accurate “amateur sketch.”
“Oh my God ….” I stammered, dropping the shovel. “You’re the ….”
“That’s right, laddie, I’m the Crichton Leprechaun. You caught me. Your fortune is made. You’re gonna ‘get da gold,’ so to speak,” he said.
I was still practically speechless. Like everyone else, I had long laughed at the concept of the Crichton Leprechaun and the ridiculous WPMI story that ran 12 years ago. But here he was in all his glory — in my backyard!
“What’s wrong, laddie, cat got your shillelagh? You just caught a leprechaun! You should be dancing an Irish jig, or at least twerking,” he said.
“I’m sorry … um, Mr. Leprechaun, I’m just a little blown away by all of this. I feel like a crackhead that got ahold of the wrong stuff, if you know what I mean,” I said, trying to relate to my small visitor.
“Oh Lordy! Please don’t start quoting that idiotic news report! I can’t go anywhere without someone yelling, ‘Might be a crackhead!’ or ‘Where da gold at!’ My kids are completely embarrassed. They’re teenagers. You know how they get,” he said.
“Absolutely, I have two teens right now and they’re totally embarrassed of just having me so much as breathe around them,” I said. Soon we were chatting away about raising teens and the challenges of trying to keep them from getting in trouble or doing stupid things.
“Mr. Leprechaun, it’s just heartbreaking that your son felt like he had to give away pots of gold to all his classmates just to be popular,” I said.
“Please, please, call me Steve. Let’s not be so formal. After all, I am about to make you a very rich man!” he said.
“OK, Steve. Do you mind if I ask a question, though?” I asked.
“You just did, laddie!!!” he said, jabbing me with his cane. “Of course, anything.”
“What are you doing in my backyard? I thought you lived in Crichton,” I said.
“If you want to be a half-wit the rest of your life, keep getting all your information from TV news,” Steve said, sounding irritated. “First of all, I don’t live in Crichton. Why would I live in Crichton if I have a pot of gold? The whole ‘Crichton Leprechaun’ thing was made for TV. I’ve had a phat pad on Dog River for years now.”
“So what were you doing in Crichton?” I asked.
“The kids go to school at UMS. I was coming back from a baseball game and thought I saw some gold on the side of the road. Turned out to be just someone’s gold tooth that had fallen out, but by the time I was headed back to the car I was spotted, and, well, the rest is history,” he said.
Steve seemed a little worked up. Was being the Crichton Leprechaun really so bad? It sounded better than the Dog River Leprechaun, I thought.
“Hey man, you want a beer?” I asked, figuring it might calm him down.
“No thank you, I don’t drink,” he said.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said.
“I’m joking ya dunderhead! I’m Irish! Of course I drink!!!” he said.
I got him a beer and he took a good, long swig. “So really, why are you rooting around in my backyard? No gold teeth back here,” I said.
“Well, I thought I might sneak a wee peek at your pretty wife while she was taking a shower,” he said. Then he started laughing and poked me with his cane. “I’m kidding! I was looking at your gas meter!”
“What? Why were you doing that?” I asked as he gulped down his beer and started a second.
“Laddie, we leprechauns are always interested in ‘where da gold at,’ and those folks at Spire are definitely bringing in the nuggets right now,” he said. “I’ve been going through mailboxes looking at people’s gas bills, then comparing them to their meters. Let’s just say ‘Cha-Ching!’”
“You know going through people’s mail is a federal offense,” I said.
“So is not reporting a pot of gold on your taxes,” he said, giving me a hard look. I caught his drift.
“Are you saying the gas company is ripping people off? That’s pretty hard to believe, Steve,” I said. “I’m sure Spire is a quality, out-of-town company only interested in giving Mobilians the finest gas service possible for the lowest price. Certainly any wildly fluctuating bills customers may have experienced are simply a result of the bitter cold we’ve experienced of late and not part of any type of ineptitude stemming from a lack of giving a damn about our community.”
“Oh! Look who believes in fairytale creatures!” he said laughing. “Which is more likely, a leprechaun roaming around your backyard with a pot of gold or a public utility that’s actually trying to keep prices down? Next you’ll tell me you have a pet unicorn.”
“Wait … you mean you’re not actually the Crichton Leprechaun?” I asked as it all started to sink in.
“Don’t be an idiot,” he said laughing. “I’m just a Peeping Tom on my way to a St. Patrick’s Day party in the neighborhood. Tell your wife thanks!”
With that he hit me hard on the knee with his cane and ran for the gate and disappeared, yelling, “Everybody who sees a leprechaun say yeah!”