By Audrey W.
John Gage climbed out of his Land Rover and headed for Chet Kelly’s apartment across the lot from where he parked. Each resident of the complex had an assigned space for their own vehicles near the building, but the visitors’ area was farther away.
It was early evening on Saint Patrick’s Day and the two were going to go to a local bar for a party they’d gotten word of. Since he’d be doing the driving, Gage would limit himself to a couple of beers, but he didn’t need the alcohol to have a good time anyway.
Dressed in a dark green shirt and denim jeans, he rang the doorbell and waited for his friend and co-worker to answer. When the door opened after several seconds, Johnny’s mouth dropped open at the sight before him.
“Chet! What the hell is that?”
The mustached off-duty fireman looked down at his chest, where John was still staring.
“That!” Gage pointed to the center of his t-shirt, where an image of the leprechaun from the well known cereal Lucky Charms was printed.
“It’s my shirt for Saint Patrick’s Day.”
“Well, I kinda figured that. Don’t tell me you’re actually gonna wear that to the bar.”
Chet glanced down again at the design on his shirt.
“Why not? What’s wrong with it?”
“What’s wrong with it? Where do I start?”
Chet frowned. “Well, it beats just plain ol’ green.”
“Chet,” Johnny whined as he stepped into the apartment, the other having moved to the side to let him in. “We’re goin’ to a bar. With grownups. Not some kiddie party.”
“Hey, chic’s dig this stuff. And who doesn’t like the Lucky Charms leprechaun?”
Johnny shook his head. “They may like ‘um, but ya don’t see people wearin’ the little guy on their clothes.”
Again Chet frowned. He really liked the shirt. Besides that, it was practically free. Which was the next subject Gage happened to arrive at.
“What’d that cost ya, anyway?”
“Just two cereal box tops, and a dollar for processing and postage,” he boasted.
“You gotta count the price of the two boxes of cereal.”
Well, two dollars and twenty-five cents wasn’t bad for the cost of a t-shirt. He certainly won round one with that fact being pointed out.
Once they were ready to leave, Johnny led the way to his Rover. At least they’d have his ‘cool’ vehicle and not Chet’s often broken down VW bus.
“You know, leprechauns are supposed to be lucky,” Chet commented as he climbed into the passenger side of Gage’s Rover.
“Have you ever met a lucky leprechaun in your life?”
Johnny smirked when he saw the uncertain expression on Chet’s face. That would keep his friend quiet for awhile.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t but a few seconds later when Chet spoke out with, “I think I meant they bring good luck. And if you try to tell me you’ve ever met any real leprechauns in your life, I think I’m gonna talk to Cap about getting you a psychiatric evaluation ”
The other snorted a laugh as he backed out of the parking space. He then headed for the street.
Not long after they’d left Chet’s place, the two men found themselves pushing Johnny’s Land Rover to a gas station just over a block away. Luckily it wasn’t up hill, because other cars that were on the street were going around and past them, no one wanting to help or seeming to think they didn’t need it.
So much for being better off without Chet’s bus. . .
“The gauge showed that the tank. . . was half full,” Johnny defended from his spot at the open driver’s side door. The vehicle was in neutral and he was keeping the steering wheel straight as he helped push on the frame with his other hand. “How was I s’posed ta know. . . I was about to run outta gas?”
“Well, when’s the last time. . .you filled up?” Chet shot back from the tail end of the Land Rover.
“I don’ know. It’s been awhile. . .”
“Exactly. . .because you ran it . . .till it was empty.”
Johnny furrowed his brows. How long had it been? On the average, he would need to fill up once a week, and that was when the tank was a quarter full. It had been over a week, he suddenly recalled. He’d bought a double pack of Twinkies at the time, on his way home from work one morning when he’d picked up a few other groceries.
“It’s probly the sending unit . . .it must’ve quit workin’. . .in the last few days.”
“Gee, you think so?”
Johnny let the comment go. He couldn’t blame Chet for the wisecrack. Besides, they were almost to the station’s entrance and it would all be behind them soon enough. He’d just fill the tank up with how much he knew its full capacity was, then worry about getting it fixed in the next few days.
Nothing was going to ruin their Saint Patrick’s Day, bad luck or not. Which brought up another subject.
“Hey, I thought you’re shirt. . .was s’posed ta be lucky.”
“It can’t change what happened. . . in the past.”
Well, that made sense. He hated when Chet was right.
The two pushed the Land Rover into the gas station lot and up to a pump. Johnny waved off a uniformed employee when he came out to assist.
“We got it.”
Chet leaned against a post that supported the awning over the pumps while Johnny filled the vehicle with fuel.
“A nice cold beer sure is gonna taste good after this,” Chet remarked
It wasn’t real hot weather yet and the vehicle had been easy to push on the flat surface of the street, so they hadn’t worked up much of a sweat. But it still took some effort.
Johnny had to agree, any cold drink sounded good at the moment, even the green beer they would soon be drinking.
When Chet and Johnny arrived at their destination, they found the parking lot full. Irish jig music could be heard from inside the small establishment.
“Man, it looks and sounds like it’s already in full swing,” Gage groaned. “I thought you said it started at seven.”
“I did. That’s what Doyle wrote down on this paper.”
Chet pulled the small square wadded up piece of paper from his pant pocket and straightened it out. “It says right here. O’Connell’s Bar, West Orange Avenue, six__. . .oh. . .”
“So we’re over an hour late?”
Chet glanced at his watch. “That’s about right.”
“Man, your leprechaun theory is about out the window.”
“Don’t blame it on the leprechaun, John. Anyone can make a mistake.”
“Yeah. . .I guess you’re right.” He gave a sigh as he looked around from inside his now stopped Rover. “Maybe we can find a parking space down the street. We’ll jus’ hafta walk a little ways is all.”
“What’s a little more?” Chet commented, their earlier ordeal with pushing the Land Rover in mind.
Johnny found a space along the side of the street just short of a block away. He and Chet forced grins with each other, then headed toward the very noisy bar. Both their faces turned sour as soon as they’d looked away from one another.
So far the ‘fun’ venture had been anything but that.
“So whatta we do now?” Johnny wondered from where he and Chet stood just inside the entrance of O’Connell’s.
People were milling around, glass mugs of green beer or other beverages in their hands. Several wore green paper top hats, all had green on their clothing, be it the total color or even just a shamrock pin made out of a pipe cleaner. Some were attempting to dance to the Irish music, but with the place so full, there wasn’t a lot of room to move around.
“Ya know, as a fireman, I’m thinkin’ this place needs to be cleared out a bit,” Johnny admitted. “But as a guy out on the town, I’d hate ta be the one to break up the fun.”
Chet nodded. “I know whatcha mean. But you know what they say. . .if you can’t beatum’, join um.”
The last two words were said in unison.
The two spotted a few of the guys from another fire station and waved. Doyle made his way over to them.
“Hey, it’s about time. I figured you’d decided not to come,” he said with a slap to Chet’s back.
“We. . .uh. . .we had a miscommunication,” Johnny informed.
Chet nodded, happy Gage didn’t point out the fact he’d messed up with the time.
“Quite a party they have going here.”
Doyle smiled at Chet’s observation. “I have a feeling the taxi cab business is going to be booming tonight.”
Johnny glanced around. “Let’s hope so. Or that some of those mugs are filled with lime Koolaid.”
Suddenly Doyle’s gaze shifted down. “Nice shirt,” he said to Chet, then walked away chuckling.
Chet frowned when Johnny pointed out, “I guess you found one person who’s not so fond of the Lucky Charms leprechaun.”
Once they made their way to the actual bar and had drinks of their own, Chet and Johnny glanced around the place, their gazes settling on girls here and there. Most seemed to have dates.
“Hey, those chics look like they might be alone.”
Johnny looked to where Chet was pointing. Two young ladies were standing amidst the crowd, surrounded by other guys.
“How can ya tell?”
“They’re not talking to anyone but each other.”
“I don’ know, Chet.”
But they didn’t need to make a move. The girls had apparently noticed them and were headed in their direction.
Johnny gave his best crooked grin. Chet smiled underneath his thick mustache, a twinkle in his eyes. The two men felt like they’d found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when the two young ladies approached them.
“Good mornin’, good mornin’,” Johnny said to his partner Roy DeSoto as he came into the locker room at Station 51. After having two days off, they were ready for a twenty-four hour shift on duty.
When the dark-haired paramedic caught sight of who else was already in the room, he glared.
“Oh, it’s you.”
“Yeah? Well, I’m not exactly happy to see you either.”
Roy looked from Johnny to Chet, and back to Johnny again.
Marco, who was also there in the process of getting changed into uniform, did just the opposite. His gaze shifted from Chet, to the other and back again.
“I take it your Irish night out on the town didn’t exactly go as planned,” Roy surmised.
“No, but it coulda. . .if Mister Lucky Charms here hadn’t flaunted his leprechaun.”
That left two baffled expressions on the bystanders. Both hoped the images they were getting were entirely wrong.
“I told ya, it wasn’t the shirt. It was you. You lost all that ‘Gage charm’ you normally have when we needed it.”
For the moment Roy and Marco were just relieved the leprechaun had something to do with a shirt.
“I poured on as much charm as I could.”
“Face it, you’re losin’ the touch, John,” Chet said as he fastened his belt.
Johnny shook his head.
“What happened?” Roy wondered.
Chet immediately told them about the problem with the Land Rover, the over crowded parking lot and bar.
Johnny threw in that they were late thanks to someone’s lack of ability to pay attention to details. He then added how the evening started with Chet and his supposed good luck leprechaun on his shirt.
“I tell ya, that thing was bad__ luck. Nothin’ went right. And it turned off all the girls we talked to. As soon as they saw that shirt, any conversation we’d started. . .ended.”
“It wasn’t--look,” Chet said as he addressed the others. “Everyone knows leprechauns bring good luck, right?”
“Actually, they don’t,” Roy informed him. “The legend is that if you catch a leprechaun, he’ll promise you some of his gold if you let him go. But as soon as he’s free, the gold he gave you will turn to worthless dust. They’re sneaky and conniving little guys.”
Both Johnny and Chet eyed Roy and at the same time asked, “They are?”
“I can understand Johnny not knowing,” Marco put in. “But, Chet, you’re part Irish. You of all people should know about leprechauns.”
Johnny nodded. “He’s right. Man, Chet, how could you not know all that?” He asked with a pained expression on his face.
Chet looked dumbfounded. Could it be? Could he really have been the cause of some of their problems and Gage losing his charm for the night? Reason told him no, and he didn’t think the guys really blamed him. But still. . .he really should have known.
I must’ve forgot. . .
He glanced around at the others. “I suppose now’s not the time to mention the shirt I got from Trix. . .”
Johnny rolled his eyes. Only Chet. . .
Roy and Marco just looked at the curly-haired fireman with blank stares.
“Easter’s just around the corner?” Chet offered in a semi-hopeful explanation.
“Well, the rabbit may bring you some luck, but I don’t think it’s gonna help charm the ladies.”
Johnny’s comment was followed by an exchange of smirks, and a knowing nod from Chet.
Disclaimer: Lucky Charms, the Lucky Charms leprechaun, Trix and the Trix rabbit are trademark items and no copyright infringement is intended.
The comments in the story regarding them are the view of the characters, not me personally. :o)
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Saint Patrick's Day Stories