It was a dark, cold, rainy night, and I’m sitting at my messy desk in my sleazy office above the long-shuttered Woolworth’s store, gulping down shot after shot of bourbon. This old gumshoe is in need of money, a woman and a case—and not necessarily in that order. Suddenly, there’s a light knock near the bottom of the door, and in strolls a freakin’ leprechaun. In an Irish brogue, he says: “Me wants me pot of gold back. Give it to me!”
Well, let’s backup here for a moment. It’s not dark or cold or night or anything like that. It’s ten a.m., and it’s the day after Halloween.
Yes, I am at my desk in my sleazy office, but it’s not above a long-shuttered Woolworth’s store. It’s above a dentist office in a rundown section of the inner city of downtown St. Louis, Missouri. It’s not actually my office, either. As the painted, block, black letters on the glass top section of the wooden- framed front door clearly states: “Hurts and Mayor’s Detective Agency”—I share this office with one James Hurts.
He’s fast asleep on our tattered, old, black, leather couch that’s next to the door to the office—the poor old guy. Both of us should have gone to the hospital. We’re both pretty bang-up—we both have bruises and cuts to the face and body, and bite marks: Jim got beat up worse than I did, though.
Jim retired last year, in 2008, after thirty years with the city police department. He opened this place up about six months ago because he got bored with being retired. I came on board four months ago. He had placed an ad in the newspaper, wanted a partner or an associate—someone who would assist him with cases and help pay the rent: Actually, I think besides wanting someone to help him pay the rent, he was lonely and wanted someone to talk with. I accepted. I hadn’t wanted to, but at least it was a way of getting Mom off my back about opening up my own detective agency.
See, I’m no detective. I got roped into doing this because of who and what I am—a loser. I’ve always hated working. I’ll do anything to get out of working. I’m fifty-eight-years-old, and if it wasn’t for the kindness of my parents still permitting me to live with them, I’d be on the streets.
So, a couple of years ago, at Christmas time, I’m feeling sorry for my mom because it’s Christmas and we had to place my father in an assistant-living facility because of him having Alzheimer’s. I started watching old detective movies with Mom at night and one night I conned her into believing that I had what it takes to be a private eye. I thought it was funny. Well, the next day, she gets me my first client, our next-door neighbor. I solved two murders on that one, and last year, I saved a girl from being murdered. Now that case was really bizarre. A Mafia hit-man had tried to kill this girl, but someone killed him instead. She didn’t see who killed him, and she wanted me to find out whom and why someone had tried to kill her, and who and why someone was following her. Well, it turns out that it was her boss who wanted her dead, and the guy who was following her was her dad. Her dad was protecting her. He had been missing for seven years—and get this: he was a vampire. Mom was scared to death of him. Mom’s very religious and kept calling him Satan’s son and such.
It’s not too bad working with Jim, though. We don’t do very much. Since I’ve been with him, we’ve only had three cases: All three cases were of wives wanting to know if their husbands were cheating on them with other women—two of them were and one of them was cheating on his wife by going to cheap motels and having sex with watermelons. You should have seen the pictures we took of that guy. It was disgusting. He would cut out a hole in the watermelon and—well, I don’t want to talk about it.
Mostly, Jim and I sit at our wooden old desks and shoot the breeze, or we play cards, or we watch TV, or we read the newspaper, or we sleep, and on and on.
Jim can be pretty grouchy at times—like with the desks. I mean, it’s bad enough that this office is only about double the size that the closet is in my upstairs bedroom, but he was determined that one of the desks had to face the door to the office, which is in the middle of the east wall. This meant that one of the desks had to be against the west wall, in front of the four tall, narrow windows that face the street below. On sunny days, the sun comes barreling down on you—or on me I should say. Jim arrogantly stated that since he was here first, that that was my desk. Because the almost-breadbox-size small bathroom is against the north wall, Jim positioned his desk against the south wall. That sun can be brutal, too. I wanted him to split the cost and buy curtains or something, but he shouted that that would be too “girlish” looking. And his stories are always better than my stories, or so he always thinks.
Well, one day I got pissed at him, and I decided to shut him up good. I told him how last year I had saved a girl’s life from being murdered by a vampire. That’s right. A vampire.
He got real quiet, and I thought: Checkmate, you old fart!
But then he says: “That’s nothing. My last case for the city was at the Grand Hotel. Do you remember how people kept dying there? Well, it was a…” He goes on to tell me how that hotel was possessed by something called a Thesulac demon. Thesulac demons are invisible and they prey off of your most inner fears and insecurities. They whisper into your ear that you’re going to be found-out. Jim said that it almost got him, but he figured out what it was and killed it.
“No,” he said, arrogantly. “A Thesulac demon beats a vampire any day of the week.”
Jim’s an OK guy, though. When I first met him and told him that I drive my mother down every day to visit and feed my dad lunch at the facility he in, Jim said: “Oh, I don’t have a problem with that. Family comes first.”
From some of the “war stories” Jim has told me about being on the police force, I get the impression that Jim wasn’t the most honest of cops—that he was about as crocked as is that long scar on the left side of his face. But then last year, last Halloween, after he had killed that demon, his whole life changed. He got religion. He prays; he goes to church, and he even has a relationship with his two daughters. He hadn’t seen them since they were children. They had wanted nothing to do with him because of how he had treated—or mistreated—their mother. But he kept begging them to forgive him--kept telling them that he was a changed man, that he had even found religion, and that he would do whatever they asked of him if they would only forgive him—and they finally did, somewhat.
Mom sure likes Jim. Jim has had supper with us several times now, and once Mom found-out that Jim was a Christian—well, they’re like two peas in a pod.
“You know, Jim,” Mom said to him one night, “I think the Lord has revealed these demons and vampires to us because He wants us to be His warriors against evil: ‘We fight against powers and principalities,’ as the Good Book says.”
“Those are true words, Lill,” Jim replied heartily. “Amen to that.”
Both Jim and I always wear our tattered suits in the office. We hadn’t had a case in quite a while, and money was getting tight. My black leather loafers looked just awful—I even think that a heel was coming off of one of them.
So, to generate business, last month Jim suggested that maybe instead of staying open from nine-to-five, we should pick a night and stay open to about eight o’clock. I agreed and we chose Thursday to stay open until eight o’clock, principally because on Monday and Tuesday Jim and Mom attend two of her many prayer meetings and there’s nothing much good on TV on Thursday.
This past Thursday was just dead. Jim and I were both bored out of our minds. At a quarter-to-eight, Jim and I decided to shut the place down and go home. Then, suddenly, the door to the office burst open and this kid—he was in his early twenties, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans that were unzipped and below his hips: he was holding them up with his right hand—comes staggering into the office and then collapses facedown onto the dirty, hard, old linoleum floor.
“Help me get him to the couch,” Jim said to me.
We carried him to the couch. He wasn’t heavy to carry at all. He was thin and about five-six, or five-seven, feet tall. He had raven-black hair—clearly a dye job: I told myself that he must be into that Goth stuff.—that was worn long on the right side of his head, and he was all chewed up—literally. Besides having cuts and bruises on his face and arms, he had bite marks on his long, slender arms.
“Hey, kid,” Jim said to him, towering over him. “What are you doing here, kid? What happened to you?”
“My girlfriend,” he muttered in a semi-conscious stupor. “They got my girlfriend.”
“Who’s got your girlfriend?” Jim asked. “C’mon, kid. Stay with us here,” Jim continued, slapping him lightly in the face. “What’s your name?”
“Todd Downs,” he replied. “Water. I need fuckin’ water—or beer.”
“I’ll get him some water,” I said to Jim.
I got him some water from the sink in the bathroom, using my coffee cup.
“Here,” I said to Jim, handing him the cup. Jim handed him the cup and he gulped it down thirstily. This seemed to revive him, somewhat.
“What’s this all about, kid?” Jim said to him.
After a few minutes had passed in which he seemed to be collecting his thoughts, he said: “My grandma died last month, and she left me a lot of stocks and bonds. I had them changed into gold coins. Tomorrow, my girlfriend and me were going to rent a car and move to Chicago. We both work at Pete’s Laundry-O-Mat on 4th street. We wanted, like, a new life, you know. Well, yesterday, my two best dudes, Fred and Tim Spencer,--they’re brothers—were over at our apartment and they saw the coins in a pot on the kitchen table. Well, today, about six o’ clock, I walked down the street to get Cindy and me some hamburgers,--Cindy’s my girlfriend, Cindy Parker—and when I get back to the apartment, it’s like trashed, man, and Cindy’s gone. The phone rings and its Fred. He says that they got Cindy, and if I want her back I better bring them the gold. I was on my way there when they jumped me right outside of this building. They took my gun and the four gold coins I had on me. They beat me up, man.” He paused for a moment, and then continued. “Can you guys help me? They only live a few blocks away from here. I’ll pay you. Each coin is worth two thousands dollars, and if they haven’t gotten them, Cindy had four of them on her, and I’ll tell her to give them to you.”
Jim and I looked at each other, and we were both smiling and thinking the same thing: Four gold coins at two thousands each would be eight thousands dollars. Ca-ching! We just hit the jackpot.
“Do these guys have weapons?” Jim asked.
“Yes,” he replied, sheepishly.
“Are these guys dangerous?” Jim asked.
“Yes,” he replied, sheepishly again.
“You’ll give us the four gold coins?” Jim asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
In unison, Jim and I both said: “We’ll do it.”
After he gave us the address of those two brothers, Jim told him to stay here in the office and we left the building and got into Jim’s 1997, grey, Nissan Pathfinder and drove away.
Jim said he was starving and wanted to stop at the pizza place at the end of the block and get a pizza-to-go before we went to those brothers’s place. We got some sodas, too, and sitting in the front seat of the car, we tore into that large hamburger pizza like starving wolves.
The neighborhood where those two bothers lived was pretty old and rundown. Both sides of the narrow city street were lined with two-storied, red-brick, old houses. Large maple trees stood guard over both sides of the sidewalks.
“Well, this is the address,” Jim said after pulling to the curb and parking in front of a house that was midway down the block and on the west side of the street. “Todd said that they rent the flat on the first level.”
“How do you want to handle this?” I asked
“Let’s go around to the back and see if we can see inside of the place,” Jim said.
We got out of the car and walked up three cracking cement steps. We followed a narrow cement path to our left that separated the two houses and lead to the backyard. At the backyard, we saw a dilapidated wooden porch. Like the door to our office, the back door was wooden-framed, with the top half of it being glass.
As quietly and carefully as we could, we climbed the three wooden steps and went to the sides of the door and peeked inside.
Sitting at the kitchen table, and restrained by rope fastened to the metal-frame of a kitchen chair, sat a girl about Todd’s age. She had waist-length-long black hair and matching eyes and eyebrows. She was wearing a white pullover blouse and skin-tight white jeans that hugged that slender body of hers. She was a good-looking gal—in a sleazy way. Her face had a hardness to it—a gal of little education, who even at her young age had had it rough.
A large, floppy, black leather purse sat on top on the table in front of the girl. The top of the table was cluttered empty beer bottles, an ashtray filled with smoked butts, and a sawed-off shotgun. Two, tall, burly guys,--both wearing white T-shirts and tattered old jeans—with tattoos running up and down their hairy arms, stood at opposite ends of the table. They seemed to be arguing with each other.
Jim motioned for me to back off the porch.
When we got to the bottom of the porch, Jim said: “I’d like to get those guys away from her and distract their attention. I’m hoping that that backdoor is unlocked, but if it isn’t, I can pick it. That way, I could get the drop on them.”
“How about this,” I said. “I’ll go to the front door with that pizza box and pretend to be delivering a pizza to them while you go through the backdoor.”
“That’s a good plan,” Jim said, and patted me on the shoulder. “I’ll go back to the car with you and get my baseball bat.”
As we walked back to the car, I said: “You got your gun with you, don’t you, Jim?”
“How many times do I have to tell you, Mayor, that I don’t have a gun,” Jim said to me, arrogantly. “Your dick’s a gun. What I have here,” he continued, touching the left side of his armpit over his light-blue suit-coat, “is a 9mm. semi-automatic pistol.”
Jim told me to give him five minutes before I started knocking on that front door. I did.
Holding that empty pizza box, and after knocking hard on the wooden, Grecian-styled, old front door, I shouted, “Pizza man. I have your pizza for you. Pizza man.”
A few minutes passed, and I heard someone say in a rough-sounding voice: “We didn’t order no pizza, man.”
“Isn’t this 1162 Jefferson Street, apartment A?” I said.
“Yeah, it is, man,” he replied, “but we didn’t order no pizza.”
“Well, do you want this pizza?” I asked. “It’s a good pizza. It’s hamburger with pineapple on it. I don’t know why anyone would put pineapple on a pizza. Pineapple is a fruit, and why you would—no, maybe pineapple is a vegetable. Let’s see now, vegetables have seeds, and fruit doesn’t have—“
“Man, get your fuckin’ ass out of here,” he shouted through the door. “We don’t want no—“
I then heard a loud cracking sound, which was immediately followed by a moan and then the sound of something, or someone, falling to the floor. A few seconds later, Jim opened the door.
I stepped inside. One of those guys was lying facedown on the wooden floor, knocked-out cold, with that sawed-off shotgun lying beside him and Jim’s broken baseball bat.
“Go untie the girl,” Jim said as he got behind that guy and started to drag him by the shoulders to an old sofa that was near the door.
I stepped over that sawed-off shotgun and headed for the kitchen. When I got to the door-frame of the kitchen, I stepped over the unconscious body of that other guy.
“Who are you guys?” she said as I entered the kitchen. Her voice sounded rough and gravelly—like she had smoked for years. I found it kind of sexy.
Tossing that empty pizza box onto the table, and knocking the ashtray and an empty beer bottle to the floor, I said: “You’re Cindy, right?” She nodded yes. “We’re the private detectives your boyfriend hired to save you.”
I untied her, and she reached into that black purse on the table and pulled a pack of cigarettes from it. After lighting a cigarette, she went straight to the refrigerator, got a beer from it, unscrewed the cap with the fingers of her black painted fingernails, and chugged down that whole beer in one long gulp. She let out a thunderous loud belch, and then said: “Oh, I needed that.”
I told myself that she was a screamer in bed. I pictured myself on top of her and she was just screaming away with pleasure. She screamed—
“Hey, Tom,” Jim said from the doorway, dragging that other guy towards that sofa, “will you get in here and help me. Bring that rope with you and we’ll cut it up and tie up these two.”
After we had those two tied at the hands and feet, Jim slaps one of them awake, and says: “Which one are you?—Fred or Tim?”
“What’s it to you, fucker?” he replied, real mean.
Jim grabbed him by his shirt at the chest with his left hand, and he made a fist with his right hand and pulled it back as if he was going to punch the guy. He said: “You better speak nice to me if you want to keep your teeth. Are you Tim or Fred?”
“Fred,” he said.
“OK, Fred,” Jim said, “that’s better. Here’s the deal, Fred. You and your bother here stay away from Cindy and Todd. If you ever bother them again, I’ll come back here, and if I come back here, you and your brother are dead. I’ll throw your stinking, rotting bodies into the river for the fishes to eat. Got me, Fred?”
Fred nods yes, and Jim said: “Good. Nighty-night, Fred,” and Jim punched his lights out.
“Let’s get out of here,” Jim said, rubbing his right knuckles with the palm of his left hand. We then left.
While we were driving back to the office, I called Mom on my cell phone and told her that Jim and I had been on a case and that I’d be home in about an hour. I told her not to wait up for me, though, that she should go to bed. She told me that she would and that I should be careful.
We got back to the office a little after ten o’ clock.
Todd was asleep on the couch, and when Cindy saw him, she goes to him and cries: “Todd, what happened to you, honey?! Who busted you up like this?”
“Fred and Tim beat him up,” Jim told her.
“Fred and Tim?” she said, confused. “How could Fred and—“
After sitting up fast, Todd reached out and grabbed Cindy by the arms and threw her down to him, with her black purse strapped to her right shoulder. He began kissing her passionately, saying: “Oh, baby, I was so worried about you.”
Seeing this, I felt embarrassed and angry—embarrassed because I felt that this should be done in private and angry because I wanted it to be me that she was kissing.
“I hate to break up this little romantic reunion,” Jim said, “but it’s getting late and we need to be paid for our services.”
Todd then said to Cindy: “I told them that if they helped me get you back I’d give them the four coins—you know, from the money that grandma left me. Do you still got those coins?”
Cindy stretched out and then reached into a front pocket of those skin-tight white jeans and pulled out four gold coins. She then handed them to Jim.
Jim took one of them, and after biting it and inspecting the coin, he winked at me and said: “Its pure gold.”
The coins were about the size of a quarter, and they were funny looking. I mean, they didn’t have any markings or writing on them. They were simply coins made of gold.
“Would you guys like to make four more gold coins?” Cindy said, and then looked at Todd for approval. “We want to move to Chicago tomorrow. Todd has the gold in a gym bag, and he buried the gym bag in the yard behind our apartment. If you guys help me dig up the gold, pack up some clothes, rent a car and help me get Todd into the car, we’ll give you four more gold coins.”
Jim looked at me and then back at Cindy and said: “It’s a deal.”
“Good,” Cindy said. “Where’s your toilet?” she then said. “I got to piss like a racehorse.”
“It’s through that door,” I said, pointing to the door against the north wall.
I watched her as she got up and went to the bathroom, and I thought: In a few moments, that lovely ass is going to be sitting, naked, on our toilet seat. God, I’d give two of those gold coins to see that.
Jim walked over to his desk and after opening the middle drawer, he placed those four gold coins in it. Closing the drawer, he said: “You stay here with lover-boy, and I’ll go with the girl.”
“Well, you look awfully tired, Jim,” I said, which he did. “Maybe I better go with Cindy and you stay here.”
“No, no,” he said. “I’ll go. I want to see what all that gold looks like.”
“But you’re so tired, Jim,” I replied. “Look at you. You’re all worn-out. I’ll go.”
“Stop babying me, Mayor,” Jim stated. “Jesus, you’re not my mother. I’ll go—you don’t need that type of trouble anyway.”
When Cindy came out of the bathroom, she leaned down and kissed Todd, saying: “Goodbye, sweetie. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Todd said goodbye to her and she and Jim left.
I’m ticked. I’m fuming mad. I wanted to go.
I stormed behind my desk, flopped down into my swivel, wooden chair, propped my legs and feet up on my desk, fold my arms and hands together, and closed my eyes.
“Hey, man,” Todd said. “Do you have a cigarette?”
“No, I don’t,” I replied, tersely.
“How about some beer or whiskey?” he then asked.
“No, I don’t,” I repeated, lying to him. Jim always keeps a bottle of bourbon in his desk. “Just go back to sleep—lover-boy.”
I fell asleep. I don’t know how long I slept, but suddenly I was jerked awake by being thrown away from my desk. I felt hands all over me, holding me down in the chair. I opened my eyes and—and the room was filled with leprechauns. Leprechauns! There had to be twenty or thirty of them in the room.
They were all dressed alike, either in all green or red coats, with matching vests and pants and black leather shoes—and buckles. They had large, silver-like buckles on their pilgrim-like hats, and on their belts and on their shoes. They all had flaming red hair and red beards, except for the women, of course: they didn’t have beards, and all of them couldn’t have been over three feet tall.
One of them was straddling the top of my desk. He was smoking a small white pipe. He took it out of his baby-sized mouth, and angrily pointed the tip of it at me, and barked: “Where’s me pot on gold?!”
I was shaking with fear, but before I could answer him, he sniffed the air, and then shouted with jubilation: “Me gold! Me gold!” He let out this shriek laughter of: “HeeEEEEEEE!” and spun around, jumped off my desk, dashed over to Jim’s desk, jumped up onto it, opened the middle drawer, and cursed: “Damn! Damn!” He grabbed those four gold coins in his tiny hand, jumped back up onto my desk, and holding out the arm and hand to me that was holding the four gold coins, he shouted: “Where’s the rest of me gold?!”
“That’s all of the gold they gave us,” I stated with a dry mouth, pointing with my head to Todd, who was still sleeping in spite of all of this.
“Off with his pants,” he said, and two of them unbuckled my belt, unbuttoned my pants and then pull my pants down to my angles. “Now tape him up,” he said, and two others duct taped my hands and legs to the chair. Then one of them placed a piece of duct tape over my mouth.
“Your shoes!” he then shouted angrily, pointing to my feet. “Disgusting! Shameful! … One at a time … Damn you … It’s nearly dawn … Apron!” and someone handed him a small, full-length, leather apron, which he pull on. “One at a time,” he stated again, and one of them handed him one of my shoes. “Tools!” he then said, and I watched as he repaired that shoe and then the other one, cursing me the whole time: “Damn you … It’s nearly dawn … One shoe at a time … Heel! … Shoes in need of repair must be repaired—immediately … Soul! … One shoe at a time … Damn you! … It’s nearly dawn … Polish! … Damn you … One shoe at a time….”
When he finished, he set my shoes down on the right inner-edge of my desk, close to me. He jumped off my desk and dashed over to where Todd was sleeping.
“Bring him with us,” he barked.
Four or five of them got at each end of Todd, and they lifted him on to twelve or fourteen of them and they began carrying him out the door. Todd woke up and he began shouting: “Hey, man. What the fuck’s going on here?! … Help me! Help me!” and then one of them hit him in the head with a tiny hammer.
“If you want to see him again,” the one who had repaired my shoes said to me, “bring me me pot of gold to Crondolet Park after dark—the woods on the left side of the main pavilion.”
The morning sun began beaming down on my back an hour or so after they had left. I later learned that it was ten-after-eight when Cindy and Jim returned to the office.
“What the hell happened here?” Jim said after entering the office and seeing me: He was carrying a black gym bag with dirt on it in his right hand. Cindy cried: “Where’s Todd?! Where’s Todd?!”
“Help me get him loose,” Jim said to Cindy, setting the gym bag down on top of my desk, next to my shoes.
After removing a pocketknife from his suit-coat pocket and opening it, he began cutting the duct tape from around my wrists. Cindy ripped that piece of duck tape from my mouth in one quick sweep of her wrist and hand.
“Ouch,” I yelled, still tasting the glue from the duck tape on my mouth. “Leprechauns,” I said, hurriedly, suddenly out of breath. “Hundreds of them—thousands of them. They filled this room.”
“What?!” Jim replied, incredulously. “Leprechauns?”
“Yes,” I replied. “They took Todd. They took our gold coins.”
“They took our gold—“Jim began, but then he stopped speaking and made a B-line for his desk.
Cindy was crouched down now, with a hand on my bare right leg,--almost by my underwear—helping me pull at the duck tape around my ankles: Having her hand that close to my “privates” made me almost explode.
“It’s gone!” Jim yelled, after looking in the drawer. “The money’s gone … What are you trying to pull here, Mayor?!” Jim said to me.
“What do you mean ‘What am I trying to pull here’?” I replied, standing up and pulling up my pants. “Do you think that I tied myself up? Do you think that I pulled my pants down? … Look at my shoes,” I said, holding them up. “Look at them. They look brand new. It was the leprechauns. The leprechauns.”
“What do you know about this, Cindy?” Jim then said to her.
“I don’t know nothing about this,” she replied, flatly. Then, she stormed over to the couch and sat down, angrily, throwing her purse down beside her.
“Cindy,” I began, “I like you a lot, but for Todd’s sake, you better tell us the truth. One of them did all the talking—I guess he was the leader. He told me that if we wanted to see Todd again that we had to bring him his pot of gold back tonight, at Crondolet Park. So, again, for Todd’s sake, what’s this all about?”
She was silent for a moment, and then she reached into her purse and removed a pack of cigarettes from it and a lighter. After lighting the cigarette, she bent down and retrieved that coffee cup from the floor that Jim had given Todd a drink of water from the night before. Holding it up, she said: “You mind if I use this as an ashtray?”
“No, I don’t mind,” I replied.
“Really?” Jim said to me, dryly. “You don’t mind?” He reached into a drawer of his desk, and removed from it a plastic, black ashtray. “Here,” he said, walking to her, “I’m trying to quit, but I smoke, too.” He handed it to her, and she said: “God, I wish I had a beer or some whiskey.”
Jim looked at me, and then said: “All right.” He went back to his desk, and from another drawer he produced a full bottle of bourbon. “Use his coffee cup for this,” he said, handing her the bottle. He returned to his desk and sat down.
Balancing the ashtray on her knees, she poured herself a stiff drink. After gulping it all down in one gulp, she poured herself another drink and then set the bottle down on the floor beside her. She then took a long drag from her cigarette, released it, and then sat back and told us the whole story.
Fred, Tim, Todd and she have been friends for years. Sometimes they like to get “buzzed-out-of-their-minds”—on alcohol, pot, coke, or whatever drugs they can get. Often, when they do this, they then go out and “raise some hell.” They jump into Fred old car and break into cars and steal whatever is in the car; they rob teenagers and old people at gunpoint, and on and on. They save going to Crondolet Park for last, because the later in the night that they arrive there, the easier it is to rob drunken teenagers and homosexuals.
Wednesday, they had arrived at the park just before dawn. It began raining, hard—“cats-and-dogs” hard. Fred pulled over it was raining so hard. It began thundering and lightning. Then, this one lightning exploded into daylight, and Todd shouted: “Look, over there by that tree!—a fucking rainbow! … What’s that that’s shining by that tree?” he said, and then he jumped out of the car and dashed over to it. He comes back carrying this small black pot in both hands.
“It’s gold!” he shouted. “It’s gold!”
They hurriedly left the park and drove back to Todd and Cindy’s apartment.
“We’re fucking rich, man,” Fred said as they all glazed in wonderment at the pot of gold sitting on top the dilapidated, wooden, old kitchen table.
“You’re not fucking nothing, man,” Todd said to Fred. “This is my money.”
“Screw you, man,” Fred replied. “We’re splitting this.”
“I’m not splitting nothing,” Todd stated, and he reached behind his back and pulled out his gun. “You two,” he then said to Fred and Tim, “get the hell out of here.”
“This sucks, man,” Tim said to Todd as they left, and Fred said: “This ain’t over with, man.”
“…and the rest you know,” Cindy said, gulping down the rest of the whiskey that was in my coffee cup. “Except that we took one of the coins to the pawn shop down the street here, and he told us that it was worth two thousand dollars.”
“So it was the leprechauns who beat up Todd last night, and not Fred and Tim?” I said.
“I guess,” Cindy replied, and then bent down and reached for that whiskey bottle.
Jim got up from his chair and came over to my desk. He unzipped the gym bag, revealing the pot of gold. “Leprechauns,” he stated, looking at the gold, and thinking. “Leprechauns,” he repeated. “Do you want Todd back?” he said, after turning around and facing Cindy.
“Well, yeah. Sure,” she replied, taking another drink from my coffee cup.
“All right,” he then said. “Here the deal. We’ll get Todd back for you, and you can keep the gold. But we want half of it.”
“Half of it?!” Cindy cried. “That’s no fucking fair, man. That gold is ours.”
“That does seem a bit unfair, Jim,” I said. “What about taking only a third of it?”
Jim shot a murderous look at me. “Half of it,” he stated, still looking at me. Then he turned to Cindy, and said: “Do we have a deal?”
“What other fucking choice do I got,” she replied. “Deal.”
“All right,” Jim said. “You come with me, Cindy. We got some shopping to do.”
After setting my coffee cup back down on the floor, and after getting up and grabbing her purse, she said: “I got to use the toilet first.” When she got to the door of the bathroom, she turned around and said: “Oh, could we stop and get some burgers and beer—and I just have to stop somewhere and get some tampons. I’m on the rag.”
Oh, she’s in heat, I moaned, filled with lust for her.
When she shut the bathroom door, I said: “I’ll go with you.”
“No, you won’t,” Jim stated adamantly. “You get on your laptop,” he said, pointing to my desk, referring to the laptop that I have in one of the drawers, “and see what you can find out about leprechauns. And when we leave here, you go into that bathroom and do whatever you have to do to relieve your sexual tension.”
After they left, I did what Jim told me to do. It did help, somewhat. I also took a drink of Jim’s whiskey, and then returned the bottle to one of his drawers.
They returned to the office a little after ten o’ clock. In one hand, Cindy had a large paper-bag of hamburgers and fries,--they smelt delicious, and I was starving—in her other hand, she had a 12-pack of cold beers. Jim had two bags, too. One of them was a paper-bag the size of a grocery bag, and had the words written across it in black letters: WILSON’S HARDWARE. The other bag was smaller and of green plastic.
“What did you find out about leprechauns?” Jim asked as he set the two bags he had down onto the couch.
“Nothing,” I replied. “About the only thing that I found out about them is that if you capture one, he has to grant you three wishes.”
“Oh, well,” Jim said dismissively. “Let’s eat first,” he said, pointing to his desk, “and then we’ll get to work.”
Jim sat at his desk and Cindy and I stood at the other end of it, and we devoured those hamburgers and fries: Cindy had two beers to our one.
After eating, we all felt full and sleepy. Cindy went to the couch, flopped down on it, and lit a cigarette. Jim took a pack of cigarettes out of one of his suit-coat pockets and lit a cigarette, too.
“I thought you stopped smoking?” I said.
“I did,” he replied, “but smelling Cindy’s smoke was too much for me.”
Jim kept flicking his ashes into the small, plastic, black trashcan that was beside his desk.
After he had finished smoking, Jim tossed all of the hamburger wrappers, French fries containers, and the bag that they all came in into the trashcan. Then he said: “Let’s get to work. Cindy, bring those bags here.”
From the large paper-bag, Jim removed electrical box after electrical box and tossed them onto the desk in a pile.
“How many of these did you buy?” I asked.
“Forty,” he replied.
He then removed three files from the bag and three screwdrivers and placed them on the desk. Holding up one of the electrical boxes, he picked up a screwdriver and tapped the metal disk out of it. Each electrical box contained five disks: two on both sides and one on the bottom.
“After we knockout all of the coverings on these boxes,” Jim said, “we’re going to file them down into perfect quarter-like coins. Then comes the fun part,” he said. From the smaller bag, Jim removed a perfume-sized bottle and three slender paintbrushes. Holding up the bottle, he said: “Pure liquid gold. Let’s get started.”
I helped them work on removing those disks from the electrical boxes until eleven-thirty. That’s when I left the office, drove home, picked up Mom and drove her down to visit and feed Dad lunch. Mom said that I looked exhausted, and that I stunk and needed a bath and a shave. Well, we all did, stunk, that is. Even Cindy smelled of body odor—but her body odor smelt sweet. It intoxicated me. I had thought about taking a bath and changing into one of my other two suits, but I wanted to get back to the office.
I got back to the office a little after one-thirty. Jim and Cindy were both sleeping: Jim at his desk, and Cindy was on the couch. Newspaper covered the top of Jim’s desk like a blanket, and on top of the newspaper were the disks, painted in gold and drying.
I went to my desk and sat down. Cindy’s back was to me, and she was lying in a fetal position. The back of her white blouse was up a bite and I could see skin—the crack of her ass. Seeing that sent sexual chills running up and down my body, and I had to see more of it: I just had to. I got up and stealthily tip-toed over to her.
“Don’t even think about it, Mayor,” Jim stated, with his eyes still shut. “Go back to your desk and get some sleep.”
Then Cindy ripped a big one. A glass-shattering, loud, smelly fart.
“You’re a real piece of work, Mayor,” Jim said. “You’re old enough to be her father; she‘s not in the least bit interested in you, and a two-dollar whore has more class than she’s got. Just go to sleep.”
At eight o’ clock, Jim, Cindy and I piled into Jim’s Pathfinder and we headed for Crondolet Park.
Jim had taken the Leprechauns’ gold out of the gym bag and poured it into the top left drawer of his desk. With his hands, he then scooped-up the gold-painted disks, and placed them into the black pot. He then placed the pot back into the gym bag, zipped it up, and then carried it down to the car when we left.
Crondolet Park was about ten blocks south of the office. Crondolet Park has been a staple in St. Louis since the turn of the century. I think it was named after a Union leader of the Civil War. It covers about a two-mile area, and is a great place for picnics, family reunions, romantic moonlight strolls in the park and on and on. It has two ponds for fishing and two long, old pavilions of bloodless red brick.
“He said next to the main pavilion,” I said as Jim pulled the car to the curb.
“That’s the tree where Todd found the gold,” Cindy said from the back seat of the car, pointing to a cluster of tall maple trees on the left side of the pavilion.
After expelling a heavy breath, and after grabbing the handles of the gym bag, Jim said, “All right. Let’s do this.”
We got out of the car and began walking towards those trees.
There was a coldness to the night air,--made colder by our fear of the unknown—and an eerie mist hovered low to the turning brown grass around those trees.
“I haven’t been in the park in years,” I said as we walked.
“I use to bring my girls here when they were babies,” Jim said.
When we reached the trees, Jim looked around and said: “Well, where are they?”
No sooner had he said that when they appeared. The woods seemed to be full of them—thirty or forty of them.
The one who had done all of the talking at the office came up to Jim. He stopped in front of him, sniffed the air, and shouted: “Me gold! Me gold!” and jumped up and down and then did a little jig. “HeeeEEEEH,” he laughed, and then said: “Give me me pot of gold!”
“Not so fast,” Jim said to him, looking down at him. “Where’s Todd?”
Not taking his beady little eyes off of Jim, he shouted: “Bring him!”
Escorted by four leprechauns, Todd suddenly appeared. He looked horrible. It looked as if they had beaten him up again. He had fresh cuts and bruises to his face, and fresh bite marks to his arms and legs. His arms and hands were bound behind him with duck tape at the wrists, and his pants hung around his ankles. A piece of duck tape covered his mouth. He walked slowly and unsteadily, and looked as if he were going to pass-out facedown at any moment.
Jim knelt down, placed the gym bag on the ground, and then unzipped it, revealing the gold.
“Me gold!” he shouted again, and did another jig. “HeeeEEEEH. Me pot of gold!”
After standing back up, Jim motioned to Cindy and me with his right hand for us to get Todd and to get-the-hell out of there.
We laid Todd down. Jim grabbed him by the head, and I grabbed him by the feet. We lifted him up, and with Cindy behind us, we ran back to Jim’s car as fast as we could. We threw Todd into the back seat, got into the car, and sped away.
Back at the office, we helped Cindy get Todd into the back seat of the car that Jim had helped Cindy rent earlier in the day.
Once upstairs in the office, Jim went over to the drawer that he had poured the gold into and opened it. He placed that large paper-bag that had held the electrical boxes on top of the desk near the drawer, and said to Cindy: “Do you want me to count this out evenly, or just eye-ball your share?”
“Just eye-ball it,” she replied, flatly. “I want to get out of here.”
After Jim did that, he crumbled up the top of the bag and handed it to Cindy, saying: “It was nice doing business with you.”
“Yeah,” she replied, flatly again. “Whatever.”
She walked to the door, and when she opened it, I quickly said: “I liked meeting you, Cindy.”
“Whatever,” she replied, and slammed the door shut. My heart sank with sadness and despair.
Jim wanted to know what we were going to keep our share of the gold in, and I suggested that we use the black, cloth case for my laptop. He agreed.
My laptop case has a long shoulder-strap to it. I sat the case down on top of Jim’s desk and unzipped it. After removing the drawer that contained the gold coins from his desk, Jim poured the coins into the case.
Jim didn’t want to leave those coins in the office. He said that we should rent a locker at the bus station and leave the coins there until tomorrow when we would split our share of the coins and deposit them in the bank. I agreed.
At the bus station, we rented a locker. Jim set the case in the upper section of the locker and started to close the locker, but then he changed his mind. He reached back into the locker, unzipped the case, and removed five coins from it. Turning back to me, he said: “I just like the feel of having gold on me. I’m going to buy an island in Fiji with my share … Do you want some?”
“Yeah,” I replied. “I’ll take five coins, too.”
Jim handed me five coins, and I placed them into the right pocket of my dark-gray suit-coat.
Jim re-zipped the case, closed the light-grey, metal door of the locker, and we left.
After pulling to the curb in front of the office and behind my car, Jim said: “Why don’t we give ourselves a break and not come into the office tomorrow until ten-thirty.” He looked about as dead-tired as I.
“Sounds good to me,” I replied. “See you tomorrow,” I said and got out of the car.
At home, in my bedroom, the first thing that I did was toss those five coins into the middle drawer of my desk. My desk is situated against the east wall, under a long, narrow window that faces the street below. After removing my wallet and keys from my pants pockets and setting them on top of my desk, I removed my red tie, and then unclipped my cell phone from my belt, and set them both down on top of the desk. Then, I ripped those stinking clothes off of me and tossed them into a pile on the hardwood, cold-to-the-bare-feet, old floor.
I slipped into my black sweatpants. I didn’t want to wake up Mom, but--and as tired as I was—I just had to take a shower and shave. I did.
Returning to my bedroom, I slipped on a white T-shirt, pulled the cover back on my bed, and then plopped heavily into bed. I fell asleep within seconds.
I had terrible nightmares. That leprechaun who had done all the talking kept screaming at me: “Where’s me gold?! Give me me gold!”
I don’t know what time it was, but suddenly I felt this heavy pain to my chest, as if a heavy object had been thrown against my chest. It startled me awake. There, sitting on top of me, with his short legs and buckled-shoed feet on both sides of my face, sat that leprechaun who had done all of the talking. Other leprechauns held me down to the bed. The room was packed with leprechauns. His temper was as red-hot as was his hair and beard.
“Trying to trick a leprechaun will get you killed, boy,” he barked. He thrust his right arm and hand out in front of my face. In his small hand he held five coins. “Where’s the rest of me gold?!” he demanded.
Shaking with fear, I replied: “I don’t have it here, but I can get it for you.”
“That’s the same thing your friend said,” he replied.
I thought: Oh, no. Jim. What have they done to him? … Did they kill--
“Tommy!” I heard Mom scream. “Tommy!”
“Mom!” I shouted.
“If you want to see her again,” he said, “bring me gold to me tomorrow night at the park.”
“No!” I screamed at him. “You can’t take my—“
“Hammer,” he barked, and then he hit me on top of my head, knocking me out.
I awoke with a startle. I felt dizzy and disorientated, and the inside of my head ached with a sharp, stabbing pain. My arms and hands were bound behind my back at the wrists with duck tape. My legs were also bound at the ankles with duck tape, and I was lying there in my underwear—my sweatpants were at my ankles. I also had a piece of duck tape over my mouth. I tried to sit up, but I couldn’t. I heard the phone ringing downstairs in the kitchen. I struggled to break my arms and hands free, but I couldn’t.
Mom, I thought, remembering. They got Mom, I said to myself, and I struggled even harder to break free, but it was to no avail.
I looked over at my alarm-clock on top of my desk. It was a little after twelve-thirty. I thought of Dad. This would be the first time since we had placed Dad in that facility that we wouldn’t go down to visit with him and feed him lunch. This sadden my greatly. I struggled again to free myself, but I just couldn’t. My cell phone began ringing. I struggled again, and again and again. I just couldn’t free myself.
Time dragged on. Then, at a quarter-after-one, I heard Jim yell: “Tom!” as his heavy body lumbered heavily up the wooden stairs. “Tom!” he yelled again. “Lill!”
Panting, and out of breath, he threw the door to my bedroom open. He rushed over to me and sat me up.
“Mommmommmomm,” I said to him through the duck tape covering my mouth.
He ripped the duck tape from my mouth. “They got Mom, Jim,” I said to him, hurriedly and worriedly. “The leprechauns took Mom.”
“Damn!” he replied, angrily. Jim was wearing his dark-blue, pinned-striped suit, with a black tie. He reached into the right pocket of his suit-coat and removed his pocketknife from it. He opened it and cut me loose. “Here,” he said, handing me the now closed pocketknife, “you take this one in case this happens to us again. I got another one. I had a hell of a time getting to it and cutting myself free.”
“What are we going to do, Jim?” I said, helplessly. “They got Mom.”
“Let’s not panic here,” Jim said, sitting down on the bed beside me. “Let’s think here. What can we do to get your mom back and trick them—“
“Oh, no, Jim,” I protected. “No more tricks; no more games; no more deals,” I stated. “I want Mom back, period.”
“OK, Tom,” Jim said. “You’re right. I’ll get the gold and come back here at eight o’ clock.”
“Good,” I replied. “Now I have some shopping to do, of a sort”
He rose from my bed and walked to the door. He stopped, turned back around, and said: “Don’t worry, Tom. We’ll get her back. I promise.” He then left.
At eight o’ clock on the dot, Jim pulled up in front of our house. Wearing my light-blue suit, white dress shit and red tie, I walked swiftly to his car, carrying two, large, brown-paper, groceries bags,--one in each hand—by the crumbled-up tops of them. After I got into the car, and as I was setting the two paper-bags onto the backseat, Jim said: “What’s in the bags?”
“Protection, I hope,” I replied. “C’mon, let’s get going.”
Once inside of the park, Jim parked the car in the same spot where he had the night before. My laptop case sat on the front seat between us. Jim reached for its shoulder-strap. I placed my hand on top of Jim’s and said: “This is my show tonight, Jim. I’ll carry the gold.”
With my laptop case strapped over my right shoulder, and carrying those two paper-bags, we headed for that cluster of tall maple trees where we had the night before.
The park was the same as it had been the night before. There was a coldness in the night air, and there was that same eerie mist that hung low to the ground around those trees. The only difference between last night and this night was that this night there was a wind in the air. It howled through the trees and blew in our faces and tousled our hair. Well, at least it did to my long, salt-and-pepper, mop of hair: Jim always wears his salt-and-pepper hair short, in crew-cut style.
Jim looked worried. I didn’t know if it was because of what we were doing, or if it was because he was worried about Mom, or if it was because it was Halloween night. Maybe it was a combination of all of those things. I wasn’t worried or scared. I was damn angry and determined to get my Mom back, or be killed in attempting to do so.
When we got to the same tree where we had stopped the night before, we stopped, turned around, and stood our ground.
As with the night before, they suddenly appeared before us, filling the woods.
The one who had done all of the talking came up to Jim and me. He sniffed the air, pointed to my laptop case, and shouted: “Me gold! Me gold!” He jumped up and down in place, and then did a little jig. “Give me me gold!” he demanded.
“Where’s my mother?!” I shouted, equally demandingly.
“Bring her!” he barked.
As with Todd the night before, escorted by four leprechauns, she suddenly appeared before us.
Although she looked worn-out, it looked as if she hadn’t been beaten up. She didn’t have any cuts or bruises, or bite marks, on her. Her mouth was cover with a piece of duck tape, and her arms and hands were bound behind her back at the wrists with duck tape. She had worn her white long-johns to bed last night, and now the bottom half of them sagged loosely around her ankles. She stood before us in her thin, white underwear. I don’t know if it was because I was so relieved to see her, or if it was because of seeing her in her underwear, but I wanted to laugh.
“Now give me me gold,” he demanded again.
I knelt down and set the two bags down on the ground on both sides of me. I then removed my laptop case from my shoulder, and set it on the ground in front of me. I unzipped it, unfolded it open,--revealing the gold coins—and then shoved it towards him. I quickly picked up my two paper-bags and stood back up.
“Me gold! Me gold!” he shouted with glee. He dashed up to it, laughing: “HeeeEEEEEEEH.”
But after looking at it more closely, his laughter turned instantly to fiery anger.
“Where’s the rest of it?!” he demanded, spiting out the words.
“This is all of the gold we got,” I told him. “Todd and Cindy have the rest.”
“Not good enough!” he bellowed murderously. “Get them!” he shouted and came charging at me.
Before I knew what was happening, he and many others were on top of me. It was like bees covering my whole body. They kept hitting me and biting me, knocking me down to the ground. I desperately kept holding on to those two bags. I could hear Jim screaming in pain: “Ouch! Ouch! … Goddamn you, you little sons-of-bitches! I’ll kill ever last one of you! … Ouch! Ouch!” It sounded like they had Jim on the ground, too. His voice seemed to be getting farther and farther away from where I was.
I knew that I had to act fast, or we would be doomed. Throwing my arms and hands up over my head, and still clinging to those two paper-bags, I began rolling on the ground to my left, towards Jim’s voice. I rolled and rolled, and like a steamroller smashing whatever object was underneath its solid, heavy roller, I felt their diminutive bodies leaving me. I knew that I had only seconds before they would be on top of me again. I shot to my feet, and raised those two paper-bags high in the air above my head. I thrust them down hard in front of me, flicking my wrists. The bags split opened and the contents came spilling out of them onto the ground. “Shoes!” I shouted. “Shoes,” I shouted again, “in need of repair.” After Jim had left, I had collected every old pair of shoes of Mom’s, Dad’s and mine in that house.
The woods became immediately silent, reverently silent. All of them just stood there looking at the shoes—looking bewildered and befuddled. Then, they all charged at me again. But when they came to the shoes, they stopped and knelt down in front of them.
“Damn you!” the one who had done all of the talking cursed at me. “Damn you!” he repeated. “One shoe at a time … Aprons! … Damn you! … Tools! … One shoe at a …”
I watched as some of them placed on aprons and began working on the shoes, while the others began positioning the shoes in lines in front of the leprechauns who were wearing the aprons.
“Damn you!” he said to me again. “Damn you! … One shoe at a time … Heel! … One shoe…”
I gingerly weaved my way between them—sometimes stepping over them.
I made my way to Jim. He lay upon the ground. He had taken a pretty bad beaten,--cuts and bruises and bite marks—and his pants were at his ankles. I helped him up off of the ground and helped him pull up his pants. Stretching out his right arm and hand, I placed it around my neck, feeling the leather holster of his gun, his pistol, under my right armpit. We walked as fast as we could to Mom.
Not even stopping to free Mom, and not even stopping to pull up her pants, Jim and I pulled at the long-johns around her ankles as the three of us kept walking.
At the car, I opened the backdoor and helped Mom get inside. Jim had a nasty cut over his left eye. Blood kept dripping into the eye, blinding him.
“Give me your keys,” I said hurriedly to him. “I’ll drive.” Jim got into the backseat with Mom.
For some reason, I was now nervous, extremely nervous. I was so nervous that I had trouble inserting the key into the ignition switch. I started the engine, dropped it into Drive, and then put the pedal-to-the-metal. With tires screaming and smoking, we sped out of that park doing eighty-five miles an hour.
“Here,” I heard Jim say. “Let me get that for you, too, Lill.”
A few seconds later, I heard Mom say: “Thank you, Jim.” Then she cried: “Leprechauns! Leprechauns! What odious little creatures they are. I’m a married, Christian woman, and they pulled my pants down. They’re of the devil.”
“They sure are, Lill,” Jim said. “They pulled my pants down, too.”
“They’re sons of Satan,” she stated. “Why even vampires don’t pull your pants down.”
“Mark my words, Lill,” Jim said. “I’m going to study-up on leprechauns, and when I do, I’m going to kill every one of them—and I’ll take their gold just for the hell-for the fun of it.”
“Will you two stop bellyaching back there,” I said. “You should be ‘Praising Jesus’ that we got out of there with our lives.”
“But, Tom,” Mom protested. “I’m your mother, and they pulled down my…”
After we got Mom back home, Jim asked me to return to the office with him—just to talk some. I think he was feeling sad about us losing the gold. I didn’t want to, but I did.
At the office, Jim dropped down heavily onto the couch. He asked me to get him his bottle of whiskey. I did. There was only about a quarter of bourbon left in it. He took a long gulp from it, straight from the bottle.
There were only two beers left from that 12-pack of beers that Jim had bought yesterday for Cindy. I grabbed one of them, walked to my desk, sat down in my chair and popped that can of beer open.
“Well, we’re broke again, Tom,” Jim said, depressed. “I was going to buy an island in Fiji … Where exactly is Fiji, Tom?”Jim said, and took another drink of whiskey.
“I don’t know, Jim,” I replied.
It wasn’t long after that that we both fell asleep.
I had terrible nightmares again. I can’t actually remember them—something about seeing that leprechaun who had done all the talking chasing my mom with her pants down and me chasing after him.
Something shook my awake. I thought I heard a light knocking at the lower part of the door to our office and a: “HeeeeEEEEEH!”
Sleepily, I raised my head from the top of my desk. I looked at my wristwatch. It was a little after five a. m. I looked towards the door, and there they were: Todd and Cindy. They had their faces pressed up against the glass section of the door, with duck tape covering their mouths.
I dragged myself over to the door and opened it. Their arms and hands were bound behind their backs at the wrists with duck tape. Their legs were bound with duck tape as well, and both of their pants sat at their ankles. As with Mom, they stood before me in their white underwear. Using the pocketknife that Jim had given me, I cut them loose.
“Them little fuckers jumped us!” Cindy cried, angrily, pulling up her pants.
“They took our gold, too!” Todd said. “We were at a rest stop,” Todd began, “and I—“
“Stop!” I said, interrupting Todd, and holding up my arms and hands. “Stop! I don’t want to know. You two have been nothing but trouble from the moment we met you. The leprechauns took our gold, too. There’s nothing more that we can do for you. Goodbye.”
Before I slammed and locked the door shut, I looked to my left. There lined up against the outer wall of the office and on the hallway floor in rows of seven were all of the shoes that I had taken to the park—all of them looking brand new.
“You dickless prick!” I heard Cindy say as I walked back to my desk.
I dropped back down into my chair, lowered my head again to the top of my desk and closed my eyes, muttering: “Well, at least I saw Cindy naked.”
Well, that’s my story.
So, as I have said, it’s ten o’clock, and Jim is still fast asleep on the couch. The sun is beaming in through those four windows directly behind me, showering me and my desk in warm, inviting light. It’s a new day—a new beginning.
“Damn leprechauns,” I said, thinking about last night.
Demons; vampires, and now leprechauns. What’s next—the invisible man?
It was a dark, cold, rainy night, and I’m sitting at my messy desk in my sleazy office above the long-shuttered Woolworth’s store, gulping down shot after shot of bourbon. This old gumshoe is in need of money, a woman and a case—and not necessarily in that order. Suddenly, there’s a light knock near the bottom of the door, and in strolls a freakin’ leprechaun. In an Irish brogue, he says: “Me wants me pot of gold back. Give it to me!”
The Fringe is open to submissions of poetry, flash fiction and short stories of any genre. Stories accepted will be published online in our Ezine and also in the monthly pdf magazine.
We are also open to submissions from artists for inclusion in the magazine.
Submissions should be in RTF format or in the body of the email. Send email submissions only to email@example.com
Currently we only offer payment for one story selected as the feature story in the monthly pdf magazine only. The successful author will be contacted to organise payment via paypal for a $5AUD payment. Authors of other accepted stories published on the webzine and in the pdf copy will receive a copy of the pdf version of the mag the story appears in.
We are open to unpublished and previously published stories up to 40,000 words in length.
About The Fringe Magazine
Here at The Fringe Magazine we publish Short Stories, Flash Fiction, Poetry in all genres and reviews of books, roleplay games, music and movies.
Our variety seems to be hiting the mark with over 100,000 views of our Online Magazine with a good spread across all articles.
Our variety seems to be hiting the mark with over 100,000 views of our Online Magazine with a good spread across all articles.?xml:namespace>From surveys we've conducted, our readers are like most people and enjoy reading all kinds of books, both fiction and non-fiction.
With over 350 readers visiting our site each day, we listen to the voice of the masses and try and procure books in all genres to review. To date, we have reviewed over 600 books, including; non-fiction reference, music, art, photography, gardening, cooking, Self Help, architecture, design, biographies and roleplay games.
We also review fiction in all genres; Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Horror, Crime, Thriller, Comedy, Western. We also publish Author Interviews, Paintings, Sketches, Art Work, Art Work by Susie Wilson, and non-fiction articles. The only thing you won't find at The Fringe Magazine is a bad review, if we don't like something, we won't put up a review at all.
You will also find music and dvd reviews and the occasional interview with musicians and actors.
- FICTION: First Words by Samuel Eden
- FICTION: BEHIND WHITE CURTAIN by Valery Petrovskiy...
- FICTION: Returned to the Dark by Nicky Ellam
- FICTION: I dream of Past Futures By Thomas Ecclest...
- FICTION: In a Flash By Katrina Erickson
- FICTION: Aaron By Angel Johnson
- FICTION: Falling by Stephanie Diaz
- FICTION: Precious by Victoria Griffin
- FICTION: Tragedy By Neil Weston
- FICTION: The Coward by R.D.Cullipher
- FICTION: AUTOPSY by Mike Goldstein
- FICTION: The Moon and the Electrician by Steve Sim...
- FICTION: Rocky Road By Jake Johnson
- FICTION: The Rose Cycle By Cathy Bible
- Title: Aston Martin: Power, B...
- BOOK REVIEW: A Classical Journey:The Houses of Ken...
- FICTION: Damn Leprechauns By Alan Zacher
- FICTION: Mira By John Kujawski
- FICTION: To Act by Damion Hamilton
- FICTION: Sneeze by Trina Jacobs
- FICTION: She by Michael Kelso
- FICTION: ABANDONED BY BRANDY ALLARD
- FICTION: “Thirty-Three” By P. Keith Boran
- FICTION: THE NEW ANIMAL By Lee Nagle
- FICTION: Little Bit By Michelle Hauck
- FICTION: LET'S GO SAILING by Jennifer E. Lee
- FICTION: Dreems by Michael McCloskey
- FICTION: Vacation by Jamie Mathews
- FICTION: Pandora by Elaina Thompson
- POETRY: Mag-Numb by Denny E. Marshall
- FICTION: Deviants by Gerard Lough
- POETRY: This Hand That’s Played By Sarah E. White
- FICTION: Fat Tuesday by Tony Burnett
- FICTION: The Radiomen by Jake Johnson
- FICTION: LUCILLE’S LEGS by Waite Jorin
- FICTION: No More Stories by David Parchment
- FICTION: Flowers for a Grave by J. Scott Kunkle
- FICTION: The Journal Beneath By Jason E. Hodges
- ▼ October (38)
- ► 2010 (403)
- ► 2009 (214)