I’m mixing things up this week with a Flash Fiction written for Agent Courtney’s mini-competition. She didn’t specify a word limit, but since I’ve been working on short flash fic, I set myself one of 500 words. The prompt was: The Best Money I Ever Spent.
I wake up with a bad headache and I know the leprechauns are back. This happens every spring.
Yesterday, everything was fine. But last night the little green men took up residence under the house. Every night of spring, they’ll bang and clang as they mine for gold, or rainbows, or four-leaf clovers, or whatever it is they’re looking for. And every morning I’ll wake up with my head pounding.
I haven’t moved when Nathan wakes up, so he rolls over to give me a hug. He takes one look at my pained expression and frowns. “What’s wrong?”
“Just a headache,” I answer. He waits for more, but I keep my mouth shut. I’m not having him take me to a shrink the way he did last year.
“I’ll get you a cup of tea and some painkillers,” he says with a smile. I can see the tension around his eyes.
“We’re out,” I say after a moment.
He’s sitting on the edge of the bed, and I see the muscles across his back tighten. “Why didn’t you buy… Never mind.” He turns his head to shoot me another caring smile that doesn’t quite work. “I’ll run down to the store and get some. You wait here.”
I nod and smile. My cheekbones throb in time with my escalating heart rate.
Once Nathan’s gone, I climb out of bed and pull on my fluffy pink robe and slippers. I don’t have much time. In the hall closet, hidden behind the old photo albums and tax records, I find what I’m looking for. I grab the box and head outside.
At the southeast corner of the house, next to the old water heater, there’s a tunnel. It’s not very big. There’s just enough room for a copper pipe from the heater and a small party of leprechauns. I open the carton of Double Strength Pest Control Bombs and run my fingertips over the twelve canisters inside. They cost me half a week’s pay, but it was the best money I ever spent.
I pull the first one out and press the button to activate it. “Fire in the hole,” I say with a giggle, and push the hissing can as deep into the tunnel as my arm can reach.
I’ve just activated the last one when Nathan gets home. I think he says something, but I can’t hear him over the sound of the leprechauns coughing and wheezing as they die. I block the tunnel with dirt to stop them escaping and my headache starts to fade.