Alpin slowly unzipped the bag
and crawled out of the interior. He stepped on the bagpipe, filling the
luggage hold of the airplane with faint groaning sounds.
“What do you think you are
doing?” Gobban slipped from the bag next to Alpin and joined his friend.
“You don’t know who’s down here. We could get caught.”
“But I’m starving and since
you’ve taken my cabbages from me, I have nothing left to eat now.” Alpin
rubbed his belly. “I think I’ve lost a pound or two.”
With an edge to his voice,
Gobban nudged Alpin in the ribs. “Does it look like there is any food down
here? All I see is luggage.”
Alpin rubbed his hands
together. “When someone goes on a trip to visit someone else, what do they
Gobban shrugged his
shoulders. “How would I know?”
“And that my good man,” said
Alpin, slapping Gobban on the back, “is why I’m here. Now step aside while
I’ll follow my natural survival instincts and locate a meal for us both.”
“Well…” Gobban’s voice
trailed off for a moment. “I could use a spot of something to fill me up.”
“Then follow me.” Alpin led
the way as they rummaged through the suitcases, pulling out chocolate bars,
cakes, candy, breads and whatever else they found among the luggage. After
awhile, Alpin leaned against one of the bags, licking each of his sticky
fingers. “I was near starved to death. This is a rather long flight.”
“You better hope the human
doesn’t decide to search this bag and find us.”
“You worry too much,” said
Alpin, waiving aside Gobban’s threats. Just then, the pilot lowered the
wheels of the plane, making the gears grind against each other. “Och, that
is a horrible noise,” said Alpin. “We’ve just landed. Didn’t you feel the
Gobban shook his head.
“Once we’re in America, what
will we do?” Alpin crumpled the wrapper into a ball and tossed it over his
“We will need to find a way
to Charleston.” Gobban paused while he thought for a moment. “We should
probably travel by night. You never know about these Americans.”
“What about ‘em?”
Gobban sneered before saying,
“What’re you talking about?”
Alpin tweaked the end of
Gobban’s nose. “What’re you talking about? You speak as if American’s are to
Gobban lowered his voice as
his eyes grew rounder by the second. “I hear they’re giants and can crush us
under the weight of their boots.”
“That doesn’t sound right.
I’m too big to fit under anyone’s shoe.” Alpin arched his brows. “How many
American’s have you seen before?”
“Uh, let me think…none.”
Gobban rolled his eyes. “Just keep quiet and let me think of a plan.” He
paused a moment before continuing, “We both know that we can’t let King
Rogan come up with a plan.”
“That is very true,” said
Alpin, nodding his head.
Gobban leapt to his feet and
shoved Alpin. “Quick. Back in the bagpipe. I hear someone coming.”
“But I’ve only just finished
eating,” wailed Alpin. “I really need a nap.”
“You can take a nap once
we’re back in the bagpipe.” Gobban pulled Alpin by the ear toward the
suitcase that Gobban hid within.
After much grumbling, Alpin
said, “Why can’t I go back to my own suitcase?”
“No time.” Gobban shoved
Alpin in the bag and joined his friend. He sighed when he heard the cargo
door open and the luggage handlers exclaim about the mess of opened
suitcases that must have come loose from the air turbulence. Gobban shook
his head when one of the men yelled to his boss about finding a three-leaf
clover. “I’m going to hurt you,” mumbled Gobban as the bags were loaded onto
a cart. A moment later, the sound of a car trunk closing and a taxi driver
yelling out obscenities to on-coming traffic, stopped Gobban from mumbling
An hour passed, and then
another. Alpin and Gobban listened to cars, buses, the sounds of a busy
city, the jostling of the bags being moved from one location to another and
“Do you think it’s safe to
come out of our hiding place yet?” Alpin’s stomach rumbled.
“Shush,” said Gobban.
After several more minutes
passed, Alpin said, “Now do you think it’s safe?”
“Probably,” whispered Gobban.
“Just be careful when we open the luggage bag.” He slowly opened the zipper
and with his right eye, peeked through the crack. “I don’t see any humans.
Follow me.” Helping Alpin from the bag, Gobban said, “And make sure you keep
quiet.” The room was bathed in darkness.
“Where are we?” Alpin grabbed
Gobban’s shirt to keep from falling over another suitcase, but pulled them
both to the ground.
“Get off me,” shouted King
Rogan, who grunted when Alpin landed on the pile of luggage.
“Most sorry, Your Majesty.”
Alpin fumbled in the dark before unzipping a duffle bag and grabbing a
shirt, yanking King Rogan from the bag.
Gobban flipped the light
switch, flooding the room with florescent light.
“We’re in a hotel room. Fancy
stuff this is.” Alpin let loose with a low whistle upon eyeing the fluffy
bedding, plush carpet, overstuffed chairs and mini refrigerator nestled
under the counter. “I now know what heaven looks like.” He rifled through
the refrigerator, stuffing chips and candy into his coat pockets. A moment
later, he guzzled water, soda and several small bottles of scotch. “I’ll
keep these for later,” he said, with small whiskey bottles poking out from
his pants pockets and socks. He ignored Gobban’s raised brow, who stood next
to King Rogan.
Gobban quietly opened the
door before peering into the hallway. “I don’t see any humans. Let’s find
King Rogan led the way down
the hall, followed by Gobban, but Alpin had other ideas. The king let out a
shrill whistle, undetectable by humans, but several dogs began to bark
outside of the hotel. Doors up and down the hallway opened and closed as the
other leprechauns joined King Rogan and Gobban. “Good. We’re all here.” The
king tapped his foot while chewing the end of a pipe. He eyed his subjects.
A tug on the end of his jacket drew the king’s attention and he said, “What
“Your Majesty?” Gobban wrung
his hands together. “We are missing a leprechaun.”
“And who might that be?”
Gobban avoided the king’s
probing gaze by holding his hands behind his back and shuffling back and
forth on his feet. “Well…Your Majesty, it’s uh…”
“Quit your stalling. Who is
it?” King Rogan’s upper lip stiffened against his teeth.
“It’s Alpin, Your Majesty,”
King Rogan’s face grew beet
red, a low growl erupted from deep within his throat. “I should have him
flogged for his flagrant disobedience.”
Gobban threw himself at the
king’s feet, crying for mercy on behalf of his friend. “Have pity Your
Highness. He can’t help being the way he is. Mum left him out in the cold
one time too many when he was a small child. She…she…dropped him on his
head…she forgot him at the market…she…”
“Compose yourself Gobban. I
won’t flog him, but he’s getting a box on the ears for my troubles.”
“Oh Your Highness. Thank you.
Thank you,” cried Gobban before falling to his knees.
“Rise Gobban,” said King
Rogan. “Lead the search for Alpin.”
Gobban wiped his tear stained
cheeks with the sleeve of his coat and mumbled while opening the door to
another room. “Once I get my hands on him, I’ll be sure to box his ears if
the king forgets to do so.” When Gobban opened the locked door to another
room without any trouble, since it was a little known fact that leprechauns
could slip in and out of places that no one else could, he choked back a
shout when he caught sight of Alpin yanking the covers over his head. Gobban
scurried to the edge of the mattress, yanking the down filled comforter from
“Will you quit getting me
into trouble?” Gobban grabbed Alpin by the ear and led him to the middle of
the room. “I’m so tired of covering for you.”
“Stop! Stop! I’ve got room
service coming in the next several minutes.” He jerked away from Gobban’s
grasp and rubbed at his sore ear. “I thought we could use a spot of
refreshment after the long journey.” Alpin waved the menu under Gobban’s
nose. “See? They guarantee delivery within ten minutes.”
Gobban rolled his eyes.
“Would you quit thinking of your stomach? King Rogan is spitting mad and
looking to punish you.”
Alpin stopped in his tracks.
“But what have I done?”
Gobban sighed before patting
Alpin’s shoulder. “Nothing. You did nothing wrong. Now hurry before your
“nothing” further angers our king.” Together they joined the other
leprechauns who waited in the hallway.
“Thank you for deciding to
join us,” said King Rogan.
Alpin bowed. “You are most
welcome Your Majesty.”
As Gobban led the leprechauns
down the hall, the sound of creaking cart wheels over muffled carpet drew
Alpin’s attention. He crept back down the hall and peeked around the corner,
spotting the waiter heading toward the room he’d ordered the room service
from. Once the waiter stopped to knock at the door, Alpin scurried down the
hall like a rat and grabbed the pastries from the plate, shoving them in his
jacket. The smell of fresh brewed coffee followed Alpin as he joined the
“Couldn’t help yourself,
could you?” Gobban tapped his foot on the carpet.
“Here,” said Alpin, handing a
raspberry filled danish to Gobban. “Don’t be upset. I brought you this
Reluctantly, Gobban accepted
the danish and sank his little teeth into the flaky pastry. He sighed at the
sweet berry taste.
“Here, you have a few crumbs
on your cheek. Let me get those for you.” Alpin leaned over to flick the
flakes onto the ground.
“Thanks,” whispered Gobban.
“I must’ve been hungrier than I thought.”
“No problem.” Alpin finished
the rest of the pilfered pastries before licking his fingers clean. Once all
the food was gone, he whispered to Gobban, “Why are we so focused on
stealing Finnegan’s treasure? I mean, really, it’s just a pot of gold, and
it’s been missing for…” He paused for a moment, thinking back on the night
that Finnegan rushed to their village and told the leprechauns about his
stolen gold. “Uh, almost three hundred years?”
“Give or take a few decades,
but that sounds close enough.” Gobban nudged Alpin in the ribs. “No more
talk of Finnegan’s treasure. The king is looking for a reason to punish you,
so don’t be giving him any excuses to do it.”
“I suppose your right.”
Alpin kept his mouth shut while King Rogan led them through the hotel, out
the back entrance and down an alley.
“I think we’re near a train
station,” said King Rogan. A whistle blew, proving the king correct. “Come.
I think it’s this way.”
They snuck down the alley,
hid behind trucks, jumping inside dumpsters if they couldn’t find a place to
hide. After several minutes of dodging humans and hiding with the trash, the
train station came into view. The leprechauns crept along the outside wall
of the station while keeping an eye out for any people.
As Gobban and King Rogan hid
under a bench, Alpin strolled down the platform without a care in the world,
eating an ice cream cone. Gobban gasped while King Rogan pounded the
pavement with his fist.
“Psst!” Gobban growled under
Alpin looked left and then
right, but when he didn’t see anyone, he shrugged and continued eating his
“Who’s there?” Alpin drew up
short, coming to a standstill. He cocked his head to the side to listen for
“Down here, you dolt.” From
underneath the bench, King Rogan tugged Alpin’s pant leg.
“Down here,” said Gobban.
Alpin knelt onto his knees.
“What’re you both doing down there?”
“Hiding, you idiot,” said the
Gobban rolled his eyes,
quickly loosing patience with his friend. “From the humans.”
Alpin ate the last of his
treat before saying, “Oh, don’t worry about them. I’ve already talked to
several of the humans. They think we’re here for the Saint Paddy’s Day
parade. Apparently the Americans know about leprechauns, but believe us to
be a myth. One of the human children asked if I was going to be in the
“So what did you say?” Gobban
scratched his head while waiting for Alpin to answer.
“I told him aye, aye I am.”
Alpin held out his hand and pulled the king from under the bench. “It seemed
like a good idea at the time. The boy’s mum even believed me.”
“She did? I mean, of course
she did,” said the king, while straightening his jacket and hat. “Alpin
learned how to lie with the best of them…me.”
“Very good Your Majesty. If
you hadn’t taught Alpin how to stretch the truth with your incredible
skills, we’d be forced to hide like common criminals, but instead, we can
walk among the humans,” said Gobban.
Alpin rolled his eyes,
shaking his head behind the king’s back, while Gobban continued to praise
the king and ignore Alpin. A moment later, a group of rowdy young men joined
the leprechauns on the train platform.
“Hey, look at this,” said one
of the young men. “We got us a leprechaun convention going on here.”
King Rogan stepped forward
and said in his most commanding voice, “We are the leprechauns from Ireland
and we are here to celebrate Saint Paddy’s Day. Now bow down to me like
proper royal subjects.”
Laughter rang out from
several of the men as one of them stepped forward and bowed. “Your Highness,
we thank you for blessing us with your presence. Will you be joining us on
the train? Me and my friends would like to buy you leprechauns a round of
drinks.” He nudged his friends. “It’s not often I can say I bought a
leprechaun a drink.”
Alpin, who held his hands
behind his back while rocking back and forth on his heels, said, “Would you
be buying us whiskey, now? No self respecting leprechaun drinks anything but
“You betcha,” said the main
as he nudged his friend. A moment later, the train pulled into the station.
The group of men and now
rowdy leprechauns boarded the train and celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day all
the way to Charleston. They arrived late the following evening, hot from the
heat and stinking drunk from the whiskey.