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Stories by Laura Lagana
Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure - Chapter 9

Hamish rested his chin in his hands and sighed. He had finished his lunch already and patiently listened to Lucy while she rambled on about Alex’s mean and petty ways.

“…and you know what he did next?”

He stared at Lucy, uncaring of her tirade, but trying to hide the feeling. “No. What did he do next?”

She huffed as she flipped her hair over her shoulder. “He stole my banana, put it on the teacher’s chair while she was writing on the board, and then when she was done, she sat on it. The banana squished all over her dry-clean only pants. Was she mad. Then do you know what Alex did next?” Hamish shook his head, now intrigued by Lucy’s story.

“He blamed the whole thing on me. All the other kids in class were to afraid to say he did it, so now guess what!”

“What,” said Hamish.

“I have detention after school. Can you believe that? I’ve never been in trouble before,” said Lucy.

A haze of red flashed before Hamish’s eyes and he growled as he stood, carrying a tray of food.

Lucy dashed from her chair to catch up to Hamish. “What are you doing?”

“Something I should have done before.” He stood over Alex, who was busy flicking snot balls onto another girl’s lunch. Hamish dumped his tray of leftover pudding, spaghetti, and broccoli onto Alex’s head. “If Lucy’s going to be punished because of you, she might as well have something to laugh about while she sits in detention for something you did.”

Several teachers rushed over to break up the fight. Alex wiped the pasta strands from his face before sputtering, “What did I do?”

Hamish gnashed his teeth at Alex’s pretended innocence. “You know what you did.”

“What? What did I do to deserve a tray of hag guts,” he wiped the gooey gel from his hair and flung it on the floor, “and chocolate pudding dumped on my head? You ruined my shirt. My mom is going to be so angry.”

“It’s called haggis, you idiot, and that was spaghetti I tossed onto your head.” Hamish scowled at Alex’s smirking face as a teacher led them from the cafeteria to the principle’s office.

At the end of the long day, Hamish ran into Lucy who waited for him in front of his locker. “You ready?” Lucy shifted her backpack from one shoulder to another.

Hamish slammed the door and joined her as they strolled down the hallway. “How long is our detention supposed to last?”

She tilted her head. “About an hour…give or take.” Lucy paused outside of the classroom before she spoke to Hamish. “I know you got in trouble and you’re spending detention with me, but it was worth it to see Alex’s face.” She chuckled for a moment. “The look on his face when the spaghetti landed in his hair? That was the best. In fact, I think you’re the only person in our whole school, teachers included, who ever stood up to that rat. Must’ve really set him back.”

Hamish bit back a smile, deciding not to encourage Lucy any further. Apparently she was in a talking mood, and he wanted nothing but quiet to sulk about his day. As he sat at the scarred wooden desk, staring out the window, he wondered if his parents had been home, if Grams wasn’t blaming everything on Mum, and if Captain Malcolm didn’t spend his every waking moment driving Hamish daft, would he have lost his patience with Alex. He sighed for a moment, doubting that he would have dumped the tray over Alex’s head. The boy knew how to push Hamish over the edge. He thought back on Alex’s face and a smile appeared in the corners of Hamish’s mouth.

Clouds rolled in from the ocean, covering the bright sun. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Hamish continued to stare out of the window, his gaze unfocused on nothing in particular. A flash of green disappeared behind a bush, drawing Hamish’s attention. The flash appeared again, but this time disappeared behind a tree. Hamish narrowed his gaze and tried to focus on the small object in the distance, but a glitter of dust fell to the ground where the object once stood. He leaned forward in his seat to poke Lucy in the back.

She kept her eye on the teacher while whispering, “What?”

“Look out the window. Something odd and green is running around the school grounds.”

“No way.” She peered at the yard for a moment before saying, “I don’t see anything. You sure you’re not just tired?”

Hamish shrugged. “Probably. Captain Malcolm keeps scaring my mum away every time she thinks it’s safe to return to the house. He keeps going on about Mum not upsetting Grams in her delicate condition.” He snorted, but lowered his voice when the teacher cleared her throat. “I don’t think Grams has a delicate bone in her body.” A reprimand coming from the teacher silenced Hamish and he kept quiet during the rest of detention. Once the punishment was over, he left the building, waved bye to Lucy and he headed home for the night. As he walked down the street, an eerie sensation crept down his spine. He glanced over his shoulder several time, but no one followed him. Still, he couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching him. The leaves of a bush shook when Hamish walked past. The sound of muffled footsteps made Hamish abruptly turn around every so often to see what might be there, but the only thing he saw was a smattering of gold dust. Awhile later, Hamish’s house came into view. He picked up his pace and jogged the rest of the way home, still unable to shake the creepy sensation running along his spine.

“Hi there,” said a delivery man who popped out from behind a truck. “You live here?” The man pointed at Hamish’s house.

“I have a package to deliver, but no one was home, so I was going to leave it with the neighbors. Now that you’re here, mind signing for the package?”

Hamish accepted the tablet from the man’s outstretched hand and signed his name while the delivery man disappeared into his truck, returning a moment later with a rock loaded onto a cart.

Scratching his head, the delivery man said, “Not sure why anyone would send a rock all the way from Scotland to America, but where do you want it?”

Hamish tapped his chin as he glanced around the front yard. “How about there, next to the small rose bush.”

“Sure thing kid.” The deliveryman unloaded the rock and waved to Hamish before driving away in the truck.

Hamish nudged the rock with the toe of his shoe and peeled the shipping label off the stone. He chuckled to himself. “Leave it to Grams to come up with such an unusual gift.” He shook his head as he entered the house, slamming the door behind him. “Grams! Malcolm! Where are you?”

A scratchy voice called out from the kitchen. “In here dear. We’re having a spot of tea.”

Hamish tossed his school bag into the corner and headed toward the kitchen, the delivery of the rock already forgotten.

“You just missed your parents. They came home for a few minutes, but when they saw Captain Malcolm, they left as fast as possible.” Grams handed Hamish a cup of tea with milk and sugar, and a plate of shortbread biscuits that she brought with her from Scotland. “How was your day dear?”

He shrugged, too depressed to worry about his parents. “It was okay.”

Grams patted his knee. “Now dear, don’t be telling your Grams any fibs. I know when you’ve had a bad day.”

Hamish sighed. “There is this lad at school who is rotten and he--.”

Captain Malcolm, who was busy stroking Marvin’s chest, cut in to say, “Gullet him.”

Tilting his head, Hamish said, “Gullet him?”

Captain Malcolm grabbed a table knife and made a jabbing motion. “Aye, gullet him.”

Hamish rolled his eyes. “I’m not stabbing him!” Marvin shrieked, startled by Hamish’s outburst. “Just because you claim to be a pirate—.”

“But he is a pirate dear,” said Grams.

“Okay, you are a pirate, but this is America and you can’t go around gulleting people who anger you. They have laws against that.”

Captain Malcolm grumbled. “Back in my day, no self respecting pirate took any lip from a young upstart. Why don’t you kick him in the backside and shove him into a pile of pig manure while his friends watch? That’ll teach him.”

Hamish gripped the edge of the table, searching for patience. “First of all, there are no pigs anywhere near here, and second, there’s no manure at school.”

Captain Malcolm narrowed his gaze on Hamish’s flushed face. “So, what did you do to this lad?”

He lowered his gaze onto the table and mumbled, “I dumped my lunch onto his head.”

Grams leaned closer. “Speak up dear. I didn’t hear what you said.”

“I said I dumped food on his head.”

She giggled while slapping his hand. “Och you naughty lad. Whatever shall I do with you?” A twinkle appeared in the corner of her eyes. “Was he mad like a wet hen?” Her infectious chuckles turned into a roar of laughter, joined by Hamish and Captain Malcolm. Grams dabbed at the tears with a handkerchief. “Oh, I so wish I could’ve been there. I can picture him now, covered in food and his clothes all sticky and gooey.” She finished her cup of tea, occasionally letting out a snort of laughter. “I know I should tell you that what you did was wrong but…I can’t. It sounds like this lad needs a good switching to teach him some manners.”

Hamish grinned and handed the plate of biscuits to Grams. “Here you go. Have another. In fact,” he handed one of the biscuits to Captain Malcolm, “give this to Marvin. I think he’ll like these.” Captain Malcolm broke the treat into bite sized pieces and fed them to the parrot. Several minutes passed before Captain Malcolm raised his head at Hamish’s next words. “…it was strange,” said Hamish with his mouth full, “but every time I looked behind me, I didn’t see anyone. And that sparkling dust was every where.”

“Did you say sparkling dust?” Captain Malcolm stiffened.

“Aye, and flashes of green,” said Hamish, shoving another biscuit into his already full mouth.

“Here,” Captain Malcolm held the bird, “hold Snack.” He growled as he stood, heading for the front door. “I’ll just be a moment.” He bellowed from the front door, sending Grams and Hamish from the kitchen to see what all the commotion was about.

“Show yourself you daft leprechaun! I know you’re out there!”

Grams turned to Hamish, to say, “Is it true? Finnegan is here?”

Hamish shrugged. “Captain Malcolm said leprechaun. There was no mention of the name Finnegan.”

Grams hooted with laughter. “Hello Finnegan. You can show yourself. It’s safe.”
            At that moment, a small man with carrot colored hair, a dark red beard, green suit, black shoes, and snapping gray eyes, appeared from behind the tree. “I know you’re glad to see me, and I’m glad to see you too, but as I gaze upon Captain Malcolm, I doubt he feels the same as you…or me for that matter.”

Hamish poked his head through the doorway. “Is this Finnegan…the leprechaun?”

Grams nodded. Captain Malcolm snarled as Finnegan dashed up the steps to shake Hamish’s hand. “You’re much taller than your Grams. You have her dark red hair, but are you sure you’re her heir?”

“Give it up, will you?” Captain Malcolm crossed his arms over his chest. “You never were any good with limericks.”

“All though you cry, I will still try.”

Captain Malcolm snorted and returned to the kitchen, followed by the others.

Hamish whispered to Grams. “Is this the leprechaun?” She nodded. “He doesn’t look like a leprechaun, just short.” Hamish held her arm to draw her attention. “It’s not good for you to hang around with these two. We know Captain Malcolm is daft, but having another daft person in the house can’t be good for you.”

She waved him aside. “Nonsense. We must not keep our guest waiting. Put another kettle of water on the stovetop will you? I need to find out why Finnegan’s here. The poor dear must be frightened. Why, he’s never left Ireland or Scotland before now.”

Hamish knew he fought a loosing battle, so went into the kitchen to do as Grams asked. The water began to boil by the time the other three decided to join Hamish.

Finnegan assisted Grams into her chair and shook his head at Captain Malcolm. “You never were big on manners.”

Captain Malcolm perched Marvin onto his shoulder before saying, “Don’t need to be. I’m not what you’d call a gentleman pirate.”

“There was never a question about that,” said Finnegan, hopping onto the chair closest to Grams.

Awkward silence filled the room before Hamish decided to break the tension between the so called leprechaun and the Captain. “So, you say you know Grams. How long have you been friends?”

Finnegan paused as he shoved half a biscuit into his mouth. “Why…her whole life.” He withdrew a flask from inside his jacket and topped off the tea with several swigs of his home brewed whiskey. He added several drops to Captain Malcolm’s and Grams’ cup. “When your Grams were little, I used to visit her and tell her stories. We’d play hide and seek for hours. She was loads of fun to play with as a little girl.”

“I thought leprechauns avoided humans so we’d not steal your treasure,” said Hamish.

“True, but since my treasure was already stolen by a disreputable pirate, I need not worry about that now, shall I?” Finnegan paused, screwed the cap onto the flask and tucked it back into his jacket. He sipped the tea and said, “That tastes like it should. Now, about my treasure.” Finnegan eyed Captain Malcolm. “I’ll be needing that back.”

Captain Malcolm guzzled his tea and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “What’s different now than the last time you asked me?”

Finnegan leaned on the table with his elbows, “Rogan is now king of the leprechauns and he’s coming for you to steal my treasure. If he gets it, he’ll make all our lives a living hell.”

Malcolm grumbled. “How many times do I have to tell you that I don’t have it.” He shoved away from the table and headed to the living room to watch television.

Meanwhile, Grams finished her tea. “Give him time Finnegan. There’s a reason he’s not telling you where the treasure is.”

“It’s because he’s more stubborn than a mule,” said Finnegan.

“Try more stubborn than a leprechaun,” replied Grams.

Finnegan’s voice faded, “Aye, more stubborn than the wee folks.”

“Come on! Tell me you’re not buying into this sham.” Hamish shoved away from the table and pointed an accusing finger at Finnegan. “You need to quit filling her head with your daft stories.”

Finnegan stiffened and stood from the table. “Are you questioning my honesty?”

Hamish put his hands on his hips, glaring down and Finnegan. “Aye, I’m doubting the truth of your stories.” He waved his hand at the closed kitchen door. “I think you and that daffy pirate have lost your mind and should be locked away for the safety of the sane people.” He finished his tirade with a muttered comment, “Leprechauns…sheesh.”

“Are you finished?” Finnegan crossed his arms over his chest. His ears turned beet red.

“Oh no!” Grams gasped. “Hamish, you need to apologize this instant.”

“I will not!”

Grams grabbed Finnegan’s arm and pleaded on Hamish’s behalf. “Don’t do anything awful to him. It’s not his fault he doesn’t believe. It’s his mum, she never told Hamish about the old ways. In fact, she would get mad if I ever told stories about the wee folk.”

Finnegan, his face now flushed with anger, paused for a moment before dancing on the tips of his toes. He finished with a twirl and then pointed toward Hamish while saying to Grams, “I’m making it light, only because you’re my friend.”

Snarling, Hamish jumped back. “See? I told you he was a crackpot.”

“Oh Finnegan,” wailed Grams. “You can’t keep him like that. What will the neighbor’s think?”

“What did he do?” Hamish saw the distress on his grandmother’s face and grew frantic. He felt his lips, gasping at what he found. Hamish ran his fingers over the two buck teeth peeking out from beneath his top lip. “What’ve you done?”

Finnegan smirked. “You were acting like a stubborn mule, so I made you look like one.”

“What?” Hamish ran to the nearest mirror in the hallway. “What th--? I have mule ears. My nose is furry. I have buck teeth!”

“Now that you have big ears, you may actually listen to me.” Finnegan gloated from within the kitchen.

A moment later, Grams patted Hamish’s shoulder. “It’s not bad. Finnegan says he’ll turn you back into a human by tomorrow.”

“What about now?”

“Well…,” said Grams, “he thinks you need to stay this way for awhile so you learn a lesson.”

Hamish hung his head and shook it back and forth. “I guess this means that Finnegan is a real leprechaun…and Captain Malcolm is a real pirate who’s been alive for over a century.”

“Several centuries, but who’s counting,” said Grams.

Hamish went to stand in front of the television. “It seems I owe you an apology Captain Malcolm. It turns out you really are a pirate and not just a daft lunatic. Well, I mean, you are daft, just not a liar.”

Captain Malcolm straightened in his recliner with Marvin still perched on his shoulder, grooming the pirate’s beard. “So, it took the leprechaun to convince you then?” He narrowed his gaze on Hamish. “Be off with you! If you can’t trust your Captain, then I don’t want you darkening my presence.”

Hamish lowered his voice. “But you’re not my Captain, so I’m not worried about offending you.”

“Bah!” Captain Malcolm waved Hamish away. “Leave me be. I need time alone.”

“You mean to sulk?”

“I said go!”

“Fine,” Hamish turned to leave the room. “I’m going to bed.” He scratched his head as he said, “Besides, my ears itch and you’re all giving me a headache.”

“Fine by me,” said Captain Malcolm.

Marvin shrieked. “Good-bye!”

“Yeah, whatever,” said Hamish.


That night, Hamish laid bed with his hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling. The day did not go well, making him scowl at the darkened room. Thank goodness tomorrow was Saturday. He made plans to spend it alone, no Alex, no leprechaun, no Captain Malcolm, and with any luck, no mule ears, or fuzzy nose.

With that thought on his mind, he fell into a fitful sleep, his dreams plagued by images of leprechauns, four leaf clovers and gold.

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