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Stories by Laura Lagana
Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure - Chapter 5

Hamish tried to stifle a yawn, but failed.

Lucy leaned to the side of her desk and whispered, “Didn’t sleep last night?”

“Not much. Apparently my Grams invited one of our daft cousins, or uncle, or whatever, for a visit. He snuck into the house and scared the bejesus out of me in the middle of the night.” Hamish yawned again. “The man kept rambling on about a treasure he stole and a leprechaun that turned him into a stone charm several hundred years ago.”

“Your family sounds interesting. All my cousins ever do is steal the remote control and claim my bedroom and make me sleep on the couch.”

“Aye, but do they bathe? The man smells like he’s never seen water a day in his life. I swear the stench is something awful.”

“Did your parents meet him?”

Hamish chuckled at the memory. “Grams and I were sitting at the table when she broke the news to my mum and dad. When my cousin walked into the kitchen in his filthy kilt, kicked aside a chair, stole everyone’s bacon and gulped down my dad’s coffee, I thought mum was going to burst a blood vessel.”

“So, are you saying you mom isn’t happy with the extra company?”

“Not happy is putting it mildly. I could hear her shouting at Dad to make the hooligan leave the house, while dad tried to calm her down.”

“Is he staying?”

Hamish grinned. “Of course he is. Once Grams began sobbing about no one loving her, both my parents gave in. Malcolm is now sleeping in the bird’s room.”

“What about your parrot?”

“If the daft man claims to be a pirate, he can get used to Marvin’s squawking.” A slap on Hamish’s back drew his attention.

“Hey Lamish, you’re Irish. Dressing up as a leprechaun for Saint Patrick’s Day?”

Hamish turned around to face Alex. “You’re an idiot, you know that?”

“Hey, what did I say? I was just trying to be friendly. You Irish are real sensitive.”

“I’m not Irish, I’m Scottish,” said Hamish, while clenching his fists.

Alex shrugged. “Irish, English, Scottish, it’s all the same.”

“I really hope you never say that to an Irishman or an Englishman. You’re likely to get a beating,” said Hamish.

At that moment, the teacher stepped into the room, breaking up Hamish’s and Alex’s budding argument. “Now class, settle down.” She reached for the marker and began writing on the board. As she scribbled the topic, she said, “Who can tell me what holiday we’ll be celebrating this week?”

Waiving his hand, Alex jumped from his chair and yelled, “I know…I know.”

The teacher turned around. “Yes Alex?”

“It’s Saint Patrick’s Day.”

“And what can you tell me about the holiday?”

“Ask Hamish,” said Alex. “He’s from there.”

The teacher cleared her throat and said, “Hamish is Scottish, not Irish.”

“I don’t know why there should be a difference. At least the Irish gave us Saint Patrick’s Day. What did the Scottish ever do?”

Lucy bristled at the comment. “Are you kidding? What about Alexander Graham Bell?”

Alex glared at her. “If he’s so great, what did he do and why don’t I know who he is?”

She arched a brow. “He only invented the telephone. If you’re going to make fun of people, maybe you should have a clue what you’re talking about, otherwise, shut up. You’re just embarrassing yourself.”

Hamish chuckled and whispered to Lucy. “Thanks.”

Alex growled low in his throat when the other kids in the class laughed at him. “Oh yeah? We’ll if you’re so smart, what else did the Scottish do?”

Lucy rolled her eyes and stared at the ceiling. “Why am I blessed with brains, but surrounded by morons?”

“Lucy! That’s quite enough,” said the teacher. “Since Hamish is the one who is Scottish, why don’t we let him tell us what other inventions his country is responsible for?”

Hamish slid lower in his chair. “Well…? Uh…we invented golf.”

Alex snickered. “Golf? That’s the best you could come up with?”

With her hands on her hips, Lucy jumped to her feet and hovered an inch from Alex’s nose. “You can’t help being annoying can you. I for one know that my dad is grateful to the Scot’s for the invention of golf. He enjoys the game every weekend and my mom is happy to have him out of the house and out of her hair for several hours, or so she tells us. The Scottish were the first to use anesthesia for surgery, Sean Connery is from there, oh, and a Scotsman invented television, which happens to be the cornerstone of American Society. Without television, we’d all be animals living in the dark ages.”

Hamish grabbed Lucy’s arm and pulled her away from Alex. “Thank you for defending my people, but even I didn’t know all that.” He leaned closer and whispered in her ear. “I’d quit while you’re ahead, because Alec won’t let this embarrassment pass.”

She cringed before saying, “Too much?” Hamish nodded.

“Okay class. Lucy said some interesting facts, but what can you tell me about the history of Saint Patrick’s Day?” The teacher turned toward the board with the marker poised in her hand.

Lucy opened her mouth, but the teacher cut her off. “Someone beside Lucy.”

Hamish raised his hand. “It’s a religious holiday that falls on Lent. It was a day of breaking the restrictions of the Catholic holiday, by feasting, celebrating and drinking. Interestingly enough, the first Saint Patrick’s Day parade was celebrated in New York City instead of Ireland.”

“Thank you Hamish for that brief history of Saint Patrick’s Day,” said the teacher. “Now, I want everyone to close their books and grab a pencil. I’m giving a pop quiz.” A collective groan sounded throughout the room.

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