Be Careful What You Wish For

Submitted into Contest #87 in response to: Write about a mischievous pixie or trickster god.... view prompt



Angus McKinley wasn’t what you would call a lucky man. In fact you might say he was a bit of a hard luck story. For most of his life, it seemed that he was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He always seemed to make poor choices that lead him to inevitable bad outcomes. Many people said that the Irish were lucky, but not Angus, he seemed to have been born under a dark cloud. Of course, you couldn’t say that other factors didn’t contribute to his poor circumstances. You see, Angus had been brought up by a dad who was less than reputable. He always told Angus, that no body would ever give you anything, that you had to take what you wanted from life. With that advice, Angus had learned to cheat, lie and con his way through life, always to a bitter end and bad luck. Well one day while Angus was walking around moping kicking a can down a dirty street in Boston, he happened on an old woman selling Irish Shamrocks. The woman saw Angus was looking down, so she called him over and asked what was wrong with him. At first he was not to keen on telling his life story to a stranger, but somehow the old woman elicited sympathy from him, she seemed like someone’s old granny and he didn’t want to be rude. So with a few embellishments, and omissions that would have made a Leprechaun with a blarney stone proud, he told his story. Little did he know how his luck was about to change. Little did he know the hole he was about to dig for himself.

   Angus spun his yarn with all of the craftiness’s of a spider building a web. He drew the old woman into his story and tugged at her heart strings. By the time he was done, she was tearing up and had went through half a box of tissue. With a sympathetic mannerism, the old woman said you poor thing. Then she said I normally don’t do this, but I think there is a way I can help you. Angus looked at the old woman and sort of jeers at her. In his mind he is thinking, what can this old woman do for me? Ah the kindly looking old woman says reading the expression on Anguses face, I have something that I keep hidden away. She says that I can’t just give it to anybody. Still skeptical but with his interest peaked, Angus plays along with the old woman. Ok he says to the old street peddler, how can you help me. Well she says , I have a special Irish Shamrock. It is said to have belonged to the King Of The Leprechauns. With a scoffing laugh, Angus said he didn’t believe in such foolishness. He said that if there were Fairies, Leprechauns or the like, someone would have caught one and put it on display for all of the world to see. The old woman then said, how do you know they aren’t real, so Angus played along with the old woman. He said alright, I will go along with you, so he asked what do I have to do to get this amazing lucky charm. The woman then smiled with the glee of a young school girl. She told Angus that it was very simple. All he had to do was abide by the 3 rules that came with the Shamrock and his troubles would be over. Rolling his eyes, Angus thought to himself there is always a catch. He said okay, what are the rules that I so desperately must abide by. The old woman looked him squarely in the eye with a squint and said, the first one is that you can’t tell anyone about the Shamrock. If you do the magic will be gone and you will be back to where you started. Okay Angus said, what is the second rule? The old woman, said you must not under any circumstance be selfish when you have good fortune, you must share with others. Angus rolled his eyes again, surly I am not selfish he thought under his breath. Okay he said, what is the third rule. The old woman told him that once you have gotten everything you want from the thing, you must pass it on to someone less fortunate than yourself, other wise you will regret it! Okay Angus said, don’t tell anyone about it, don’t be selfish and pass it on when I have gotten what I want. So with that, Angus asked how this would work. The old woman handed him the Shamrock which was made of what appeared to be fine Emerald and was as Green as a field of clover. The woman said just put it on and your luck will change immediately. So Angus took the Shamrock and stuck it on his lapel. He then thanked the old woman and walked away. As he walked away, he swore he could feel a the old woman’s eyes on the back of his neck, but as he turned to see, she was gone.

   So here he was, doubting Angus, nothing good ever happens to me . Walking back down the same street where a few moments early he had been kicking a can. He was going to cross the street, but decided for what ever reason to turn the corner instead. As he was walking around the corner, he saw a man who appeared to be in a hurry about to step out in front of on coming traffic. Not knowing why or even caring, Angus rushed up and pulled the man out of the path of an on coming car. Suddenly as if waking up from a dream, the man regained his composure. He looked over at Angus and said, I could have been killed! Angus promptly ask him what was wrong with him! The man said that he had a great deal on his mind and thanked Angus for saving him. Angus started to move on when the man said hold on, your actions deserve some kind of reward. Angus stopped dead in his tracks and turned around slowly. In his mind he imagined the worst possible outcome, but was astonished when the man reached inside of a small black satchel he was carrying and fished out some money. The man asked if 500 dollars would be enough. Stunned Angus didn’t say anything, but just stood there with a dumbfounded look on his face. The man then said not enough, which was an open ended with Angus. The fellow then reached back into the bag and gave Angus another 500 dollars. Angus didn’t know what to say, he was still in amazement. He did however manage to give an insincere thank you while still bewildered at the situation. The man said don’t mention it, I mean if not for you I wouldn’t be able to spend any of my money again. So the two parted ways and Angus leaned up against a nearby building holding the money still baffled how that had just happened. He then looked down at the Shamrock and a big smile came on his face. It must be true, his luck had finally changed. His life really had turned around and the Shamrock really was a lucky charm. So Angus set off again, inspired by new confidence and the Luck of the Irish on his side for once in his life!

   From that point on, it seemed as if Angus was the luckiest man in the world. He couldn’t fail at what ever he did, for good or ill, he seemed to be on a winning streak he had been waiting for all of his life. Right after he saved the man crossing the street, he went into the nearest restaurant he could find and was the 1000 customer for the month and won a free meal. From winning at any game of chance, to getting a free meal, Angus was on a roll. Unfortunately for Angus, he wasn’t always keen on listening or following rules. So it wasn’t long before he begin to slip back into his old habits. The first mistake he made was that he didn’t seem to want to share any of his good fortune. On several occasions a someone would ask for a dollar to help them out. All Angus would do is tell them he couldn’t help, even though he now had plenty of money. He just couldn’t help himself, he thought what had anybody ever done for him, so on he went with his luck changed, not caring for anyone but himself.

   Angus kept on winning it seems, he seemed to be able to proper at anything. He had new clothes and had won a nice car, things that he had only dreamed of were now his. He could even go into his local pub and buy a round for all of his so called new found friends. One night when Angus was drinking it up, someone came over to him and asked him how he did it, how he had turned his luck around? Not wanting to disappoint and being a grand story teller all of his life, Angus began to spin a tale of how he had bested a Leprechaun in a game of chance and how he had won the poor fellows luck in the form of the Shamrock. Many people laughed at the story, but there are always ears keen to hear a good tale, especially those of people who are opportunistic. That was the day that Angus broke his second rule, but as drunk as he was, he didn’t pay it any mind. He was finally lucky and couldn’t loose.

   Time went on for Angus and he amassed quiet a bit of money and prestige. He was both admired and respected, the thoughts of his former life seemed to fade away. Then one day as he was out and about, a man in a finely tailored suit happened upon Angus. Angus didn’t know him, but the man recognized Angus instantly. He greeted Angus and gave him his business card. He said that he had been in the bar the night that Angus had spun his tale about the Leprechaun and how he changed his luck. The man talked Angus up about how fortunate he was and about how he wished he could have such luck. So Angus not being one to miss an opportunity, got a crazy idea. He thought this man looks as if he has a lot of money, I can sell him the Shamrock and set myself up for good and I won’t need luck anymore. He ask the man if he would like to have the Luck of the Irish on his side for once. The man thought about it, he had seen how Anguses luck had changed, so he said he would be very interested. So they talked a bit more and agreed on a price for the Shamrock. The man said for Angus to meet him at his bank that afternoon and he would pay his price. This was the third and final mistake Angus McKinley would make. This would not turn out at all how he expected it to. 

   At precisely 3 pm, Angus was outside the bank where the man had told him to meet him. Waiting patiently, Angus was getting a little nervous. He began to think about all of the things that had happened to him and the warnings came back to him in a sudden rush. Just as he was about to leave, the gentleman who had made him the offer turned the corner and grabbed him by the sleeve of his coat. Angus turned abruptly and was both startled and relieved that it was the person who wanted the Shamrock. Greetings the man said with a wide grin. Angus tried to muster his strength, but could only barley manage a small polite smile. Well the man said, are you ready to complete our business. The man held up a briefcase and said I have your money right here. All we need to is go into the bank and were done. So Angus reluctantly went inside with the man. The man went to a bank employee and asked to see a safety deposit box. Once inside the vault, the man opened his brief case and took out 100 thousand dollars. He gave it over to Angus and said there you go. With much trepidation, Angus took the Shamrock off and handed it to it’s new owner. With a sudden sense of relief, Angus felt as the world had been lifted off of his shoulders. The man took the Shamrock and placed it into a safety deposit box. Angus was puzzled and asked wasn’t the man going to try it out. He said that he didn’t need it at the moment, but that he wanted to have it available to him should he need an extra bit of luck in the future. Angus didn’t argue, he simply took his money and put it into a shoulder bag he had brought with him. Angus thanked the man and left the vault. As he was walking out, he suddenly became keenly aware that something was wrong, the bank employees were standing completely still and no one was making a sound. Not giving it a second thought, Angus walked out of the bank and found a cab sitting right in front. He thought to himself that this must be my lucky day. He looked inside and only saw the driver, so he jumped in. Just as he was about to close the door, a second person came rushing out of the bank and told the driver to go. Not thinking about anything but how rude it was, Angus turned to confront the second passenger only to find that the man was looking at him with a puzzled look on his face as well. Before Angus could speak, he heard the sound of a siren. He looked back out of the cabs rear window and saw two police cars chasing them. Angus told the cabby to pull over but he ignored him. The second man looked to be in a bit of a panic, but then he leaned out of the passenger side window and began shooting at the cops. This went on for a few more moments, that is until the Cab turned the corner and ran dead into a police road block. The car came to a screeching halt and the driver and shooter bailed out and tried to run. Angus sitting there with his bag of money was sorely confused, suddenly surrounded by a dozen cops with guns, he threw up his hands and didn’t try to move. Later at police headquarters, he tried to explain the situation to the police. He asked them to check with the bank and see, they would have a record of the man coming in with him. For some unknown reason, the bank could find no record of anyone coming that morning with Angus. They only had him going into the vault and there was no sign of anyone entering a safe box. What they did have though, was a 100 thousand dollars missing from the vault.

   Several days had passed and Angus was no where near figuring out what went wrong. He went back in his mind looking for answers as he sat in his jail cell. He rattled his brain, but couldn’t come up with any answers. He then remembered the old woman and her warning. Angus felt as if he were in a nightmare that would not end. Finally, he was able to get an attorney. After spending all of his money, he was released from jail with no further charges . It had been several months since the incident at the bank. Angus was now back to where he had started last year, kicking a can down a dirty street in Boston, wondering how he could have come to this end? As he rounded a corner, he saw an old woman with a peddlers cart selling Shamrocks, talking to someone. At first Angus wanted to go and confront the old woman, but then he thought better of himself and turned and went back the other way. As he turned a corner, the person to whom the old woman had been talking left. Then with a gleeful smile the old woman let go of her cart and it transformed into a sled drawn by two large deer. The old woman began to walk and she shed her ragged looking clothing for a fur coat leggings, boots golden armor and a helmet with horns that covered locks of flowing red hair . Loki the trickster stepped into his sled with a gleeful laugh as he looked at a Shamrock in his hand. He smiled with exuberance and scoffed to himself, really who believes in Leprechauns and the luck of the Irish?

April 01, 2021 19:38

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