I was sitting on my back porch staring at the near-perfect ring stained
into the wood, one of the only signs that Tammy had once been here with
her fifty-pound southwestern-themed pot that never contained a live
plant and seemed to exist solely to catch rainwater, when Bosco bounded
up from the fence carrying a dead leprechaun in his mouth.
"Drop it!" I yelled, and Bosco did as he was told, somehow retaining
all the commands we learned in a dog training course five years ago.
The leprechaun hit the ground with a thud, and Bosco ran off to
continue exploring, his white fur puffing out like a dandelion refusing
to release its seeds.
I knelt next to the little man who was no taller than the distance from
my wrist to my elbow. As one would imagine, he was dressed in a dark
green suit, and rather miraculously, he still had a black hat atop his
wispy red hair. His face was ruddy, as if he had a distillery somewhere
in my backyard, with a tiny curved nose and slightly upturned mouth
that never allowed him to stop smiling, even in death.
I remembered when Tammy had moved in with me from across town. It had
been raining all morning, but when we'd finally finished getting
everything out of her apartment, including that southwestern-themed
pot, the rain had stopped and we'd seen a rainbow stretching across the
"It looks like it ends in our yard," she'd said, even though we
couldn't see my house from there with the freeway and the mall and the
new housing developments in the way. But I'd liked the way she'd said
Like most sane people, I'd never believed in leprechauns. But there he
lay, proof that maybe Tammy had been right, right about everything, and
I gingerly plucked him from the grass. He had more heft than I expected
from a magical creature, as if my inability to believe in him would
cause him to weigh nothing at all. I placed him delicately next to the
ring stain on the porch and returned to my chair. It had been
a few weeks, but I still couldn't believe Tammy had left this one
cushioned deck chair for me. Like she knew exactly where I'd need to be
after she was gone.
I looked down at the leprechaun, everything about him impeccable. Not a
smudge of dirt. Not a hair out of place. No sign of having spent any
time in Bosco's mouth. I wondered what Tammy would see if she were
here. Perhaps she'd notice something out of place, some sign of what
had brought about his untimely demise. But from my point of view, it
seemed impossible that the leprechaun could actually be dead.
In the two years we'd lived together, I'd never once convinced Tammy to
sit outside with me. "I have to keep moving or I might never move
again," she'd said in explanation. I hadn't understood it at the time,
but now I pictured her fluttering around somewhere as far away from my
chair and the ring-stained porch as she could get, forever outside my
Bosco barked gleefully from the fence, calling me over to him. Hurry
up! Hurry up! he was saying. I rose from the chair and shuffled out
into the yard, going past the grill for the first time in over a year.
Maybe there was a pot of gold out there.
But I doubted it.
Josh Denslow lives in Texas and plays drums in the band Borrisokane. He's had work in Third Coast, Black Clock, The Journal of
Compressed Creative Arts and others.
Read his postcard.
See more of his work in the archive.
Detail of art on main page courtesy
of Krocky Meshkin.
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