A child's three wishes will make you stop and pause.
David's trap was set. A common, everyday shoebox lay outside, with a "DO NOT ENTER" sign posted above the arched cut-out, rainbow-painted entrance. It was carefully placed underneath the dining room window within a thick patch of clover, very near a thorny, bloom-laden rose bush. Inside laid three gold coins from his father’s coin collection. He’d have to make sure to get those back pretty quick as David's father enjoyed going through his coins meticulously each evening. On the roof of the box, David’s ingenious yet simple contraption awaited: a long single strand of his mother’s beautiful auburn hair (more natural than twine or fishing line ) when stepped on, would jingle a small silver bell – it is well known, of course that Leprechauns love the sounds of bells, so this wouldn’t be a distraction or frightening to the little creature in the least – and adjacent the bell above the gold coins was the rare earth magnet painted white to match the color of the interior. As the Leprechaun approaches the irresistible golden treasure the metal in his belt and shoe buckles will pull him upwards hopefully holding the little Imp until David can catch him. Science over magic he thought.
Ring ring ring! The tiny silver- bell rang, alerting David, who dropped his hand-held game and barreled around the corner. The little shoebox bounced and bucked. Loud thrashing and angry cursing - in a thick Irish brogue -greeted David upon arrival. Spectacular golden lights, like fireworks, illuminated the entrance.
“I got one! I got one! ” David dropped to his knees, pushing down on the box, holding it firmly in place. “Stop struggling. I’ll let you out, but you have to let me see you first.” The box settled a bit but the swearing continued.
“A‘right laddie, if you be heppin’ me out, I be grantin’ you three wishes, or ye can be ‘avin’ me pot o’ gold!” The magical Leprechaun within knew he had to honor the longstanding code.
David relaxed his hand lessening the pressure then slowly flipped the shoe box over. Inside, a very small Leprechaun – no bigger than six inches - dressed in a green, long-tailed topcoat, an enormous green stove-top hat, a pair of black shoes and little white stockings lie face down at the bottom of the box, the metal of his huge belt buckle attached to David’s magnet. Inside the Leprechaun’s pointy ears was a pair of shiny headphones pulsing loudly rhythmic Gaelic rap.
David sat spellbound. He had captured the little man and there he sat firmly stuck to the magnet. It had worked.
“Wow! Cool.” David reached in and grabbed the Leprechaun firmly around the waist. Pulling, he easily detached the magical creature from the magnet. Held tightly in his fist, he reached with his free hand to grab his dad’s gold coins and place them in his pocket.
“Can’t breathe…ughh,” the ill-tempered Imp gasped.
“Sorry ‘bout that.” David loosened his grip. Still securely holding the Leprechaun in one hand, he picked up the shoebox in the other and raced upstairs to his room.
Sitting on his bed, he looked at the little man, and thought about the Pot of Gold and his three wishes.
“Okay, wish number one, I wish my mother could have more children.” David thought how many times his mom spoke so fondly of her brothers and sisters, and how she wanted the same for her boy, but try as they might, David was an only child of ten. He too wanted siblings.
To David’s amazement an emerald green glow pulsed from the Leprechaun; the enormous shamrock on the gigantic clover-green hat spewed a shower of golden stars, circled the room then shot through his closed bedroom door.
“What’s your name by the way?” David asked, remembering his manners. He still held the Leprechaun firmly. It seemed rude, but he didn’t think it wise to relax his grip or set him down.
“Lenny. Thanks for asking. Most don’t.” He noticed his captor's eyes were blue; the boy's face round and pleasant.
“Sorry I didn’t earlier. My name is David. Nice to meet you,” David smiled.
“Nice to meet you as well, Master David.”
“Wish number two, I wish that my dad would get his job back.”
Again, the shamrock shot out golden stars, racing away to find the recipient of David’s wish.
“Wish number three, I wish for all cancer to go away.”
No gold stars shot forth from the shamrock. It didn’t even begin to glow.
“What’s wrong?” David asked. “Grant the wish.”
“Aye, lad, that I canno’ do. Disease is powerful, and all the magic that exists in all the magical lands, would not be enough to end it.”
David looked down, eyebrows furrowed, lips tight together.
“Can’t you cure even one person’s cancer?” David bit his lip, waiting…
“Aye that I CAN do.”
“Wish number three I wish Timothy’s cancer was gone.”
The green glow began once again. For the third and final time, golden stars shot out racing to find Timothy and cure his cancer.
Lenny popped out of David’s hand and landed on the floor beside him.
“David you’re a fine lad, and wise to boot. And I have fulfilled my obligation to ya’. Have a lovely Saint Patty’s Day," and with a snap of his fingers, he disappeared in a shower of golden stars.
David smiled and walked downstairs. Flushed with excitement David’s parents rushed over to tell him his dad’s boss just called; the company found a way to keep the position after all so David’s dad had his old job back. They wouldn’t need to sell the house and move!
And, they needed to get to the hospital ASAP. The nurse also just called with fantastic news about David’s best friend Timothy.
Arriving at the hospital David spotted Timothy surrounded by nurses, doctors, family and friends; everyone talking about the last set of tests, and how miraculous the results were. For surety’s sake a third battery was being ordered but it appeared between the initial and second tests he was in remission, even though the first test - performed only hours before - unmistakably showed an unrivaled aggressive advancement of the tumor. The word "Miracle" was being tossed about quite generously.
“Way epic, Timmy,” David hugged his best friend. Smiles and laughter lit up the room as the two boys talked about everything in a crazy-sort-of-kid way while the parents and doctors marveled at their recent turn of luck. The doctors were baffled. The nurses were crying or laughing or both; family and friends were all smiles and slaps-on-the-back.
“David!” He had slumped forward unconscious into Timothy’s lap. His mother raced to her son’s side
“DOCTOR!” David’s father shouted.
“Maybe it’s just the excitement of the day,” His mother kneeled down stroking David’s small, angelic face.
“He’s bleeding, from the mouth,” Timothy said, pointing. He wrapped his arms around David’s chest, holding him in his lap.
“Patrick Lawton picked up his son and carried him to room 317, with his wife, Timothy's parents, and Timothy close behind. Elizabeth Lawton gently squeezed David’s strong, youthful hand. He never quit playing sports, and as such had maintained much of his physical strength.
“It’s been a year to the day, I first met David…” Timothy faltered, leaning into his father he sobbed quietly. Indeed, one year ago David entered this room, ready for his first round of chemotherapy, when Timothy came in. The hospital was never the same. You couldn’t come to their floor without hearing about some antic or another or meet some poor frazzled nurse, swearing she’d quit the next time they pulled another stunt, but laughing while she said it. This room was David and Timothy’s home away from home.
Recently, David had begged for a few days away from the hospital. His doctor said it would be fine and probably do him some good. He was due back tomorrow morning for his final round of treatment. Neither of the boy’s prognoses was promising but they kept each other’s spirits up and believed the best. A little hope is better than none at all.
On his first visit after the funeral, Timothy realized that no one but he noticed the tiny rainbow that arched over his best friend’s headstone. However, no one could miss the beautiful patch of shamrock that sprung up overnight directly over little David’s resting place.
Bewildered groundskeepers had given up trying to maintain it; the shamrocks grew back faster every time they cut it down. Golden flowers no one could quite identify bloomed in a heart-shaped pattern directly over David.
“Indeed the boy called me little-man, but it was he that was truly ‘a man among boys’.” Lenny, bowed to one knee, tipped his hat and shot off in a sparkling shower of golden stars.
David Patrick Lawton was born March 17th, one year later. He had a perfect, shamrock-shaped birthmark gracing the bottom of his right foot. The following year on his birthday, and every year thereafter three golden coins appeared under his pillow. Patrick received not only the three gold coins each March 17th, for the next six years, but six new siblings for his mother gave birth to three, strong, handsome boys and three clever, beautiful girls, quite incredibly - each and every one - sharing the exact same birthday.