“Short Flash Fiction”
World at Her Fingertips
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World at Her Fingertips
by Ned Lips
Worlds at Her Fingertips
By Ned Lips
“I know I’m Irish, Jeremy, but there are no such things as leprechauns!” Kayleigh tossed her long red hair over her shoulder and led the small group in a toast: “To science!”
An older gentleman, clad in a Donegal tweed jacket and a woolen kilt, weaved up to them.
“Cool outfit, ol’ man!” said her best friend Jeremy.
Kayleigh raised her glass to the sky. “To Ireland.”
This time the entire bar responded, “To Ireland!”
Kayleigh’s heart raced as she felt drawn to this Irish gentleman. He looked harmless enough until he stumbled and fell into her. He hugged her tightly to him and whispered into her ear, in a clear Irish accent, “’Tis upon you now, lassie. The world is on your shoulders. Find the green one.”
“What the—” She pushed him away, and his bright eyes smiled into hers as he regained his footing.
Then he brushed himself off, lost his balance and slurred in a deeper Irish brogue, “Excuse me, lassie.” He gave her an over-acted drunken wink, and just like that, he was again a soused old man stumbling out of the tavern.
Her eyes followed after him, intrigued.
“Yuck!” Jeremy wiped something sticky green from her right shoulder with his left index finger. “This is disgusting. What was he drinking? Kayls, who was that guy?” Jeremy was 6′1″, great looking and powerfully built. She’d loved him for as long as she could remember, but alas, he was gay.
“How should I know?” Her eyes took on her famous conspiratorial look.
“Oh, no. I know that look!”
“Come on, Jer. Let’s find out who that old dude is. He’s harmless, right?” She leaped off her stool and headed for the door. Jeremy rolled his eyes and followed. He’d been her sidekick since preschool.
It’d rained, and the cobblestones gleamed in the glow from the 19th–century–style streetlights.
“That way,” she whispered as the man rounded the next corner. They moved quickly down the sidewalk, strewn with people adorned in green, to the beginning of the alley.
They peaked around the corner, Jeremy above her. There he was, in the midst of the street lights near the other end of the dark alley. Just as she began to step out to follow him, a dark limo appeared. Jeremy grabbed Kayleigh back to his chest. They peaked again to watch. The limo hadn’t driven up. It had appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. The man stopped, stood straight but didn’t run. Though no doors opened, dark figures emerged. Whoosh. The alley was empty. The old man and the limo were gone.
“What the F?” Kayleigh leaped out into the alley. “That thing just vanished with our guy.”
“Shhhh” Jeremy ordered and guided her back around the corner. “Kayleigh, we need to report this.”
“What, exactly are we going to report, Jer?” The two slunk back into the alley, then stood and stared at the place where the old man had been.
“That man, when he fell into me, whispered into my ear, ‘It is upon you now. The world is on your shoulders.’ What do you think that means?”
“Umm, that!” Jeremy took out his phone, leaned in close and took a picture of her shoulder. “Look!”
“What is that?”
“Beats me. It’s stuck on your shoulder with that green gook.”
Kayleigh gazed at the picture. “It’s like the earth inside a round glass case. How cool is that?”
“He must have put it there. Maybe to keep it from whatever came out of that black limo. I bet its really valuable.” Jeremy moved in closer.
Kayleigh reached up to her shoulder, felt for the small globe and carefully brought it around between them. The green goo slid off onto the pavement. As she stared into the glass, she remembered: “We’re supposed to find the green one. Do ya—”
“Aye lassie.” A small man appeared to her left, as if from nowhere. The two jumped a bit. He was very short and very green.
“I believe ya have somethin’ fer me?” He held out his tiny hand.
She lifted up and gazed into the tiny glass globe.
“Girlfriend, you literally have the world at your fingertips.” Jeremy smiled.
“People live in here?” Kayleigh asked the green man.
“Well, not people, per se, but an entire civilization does.”
Then Kayleigh smiled kindly, bent over and placed it in his hand. He took it and slipped it into an old, intricately carved wooden case with even more tiny balls and gadgets inside. The globe fit perfectly into one of the cavities. He pressed a small button and the tiny globe glowed green. He said some weird words, closed the case and slipped it into his coat.
“You’ve saved many millions o’ souls t’day, young lady. We shall be forever in your debt. All of yer wishes shall be granted. Be careful, now, what ya wish fer, m’dear. Wishes can be quite dangerous.”
“Not just three?” Jeremy asked.
“As many as she wants. Be specific, clear and careful. You can stop it simply by wishing for it to stop. Best o’ luck to ya.” As he finished, he, too, disappeared.
“Wow! A real leprechaun!” Jeremy opened his arms wide and, in his theatrical way, spun in a circle as he said, “All the wishes you want. It’s like you have the whole wooorrrrld at your fingertips!” Then he added with a smile, “Well, this time metaphorically, of course.”
Kayleigh touched her shoulder. “I just wish this yucky blouse and gross green junk would disappear.” Poof, it was gone, leaving her topless.
Jeremy laughed and put his green St. Pat’s jacket around her shoulders. “Girlfriend, now do you believe in leprechauns?” Kayleigh nodded. “And, maybe, Kayls, I should help you with this whole wish thing. Help you keep your clothes on. What d’ya say?”
She smiled. As they began to walk, Kayleigh heard an old Irish brogue say, “Believe mi, lassie, we are with you always.”