Jimmy fidgeted in the waiting room, kicking the floor with his shoe. Mother scolded him, demanding that he remain still. She flipped through a dated magazine, chewing her gum with machine-like efficiency, as the drone of rusty classical music played in the background.

“Mama?”

“What is it, Jimmy?”

“Do I have to be here? Can’t we go?”

“You know the answer to that. We discussed this already.”

“But why? What did I do wrong? I don’t understand. All I did was say what I saw. I shouldn’t be punished for that. Why do we have to do all this anyway?”

“You lied at school and threw a fit. Tossed a book and broke a window. Now we have to go see this doctor. That’s all there is to it. So just sit still…”

Jimmy sighed and slumped back, dejected. He thought about running away for a moment. Suddenly the receptionist appeared at the door. She glanced at her clipboard, glasses fixed.

“Jimmy Alton? The doctor will see you now.”

“Oh…should I go too?,” inquired Mother. “I didn’t know if the doctor allowed parents in the room.”

“Not necessary,” replied the receptionist. “Dr. Mallard feels it’s best to speak to the children privately.”

“Fine,” nodded Mother. “Jimmy…go with the nice lady…”

The boy reluctantly pulled himself up from the chair, legs dragging, head down. He made his way into a well-furnished office. A man with a beard sat behind a desk, writing.

“Oh, Jimmy,” spoke the doctor. “It’s really nice to meet you. I’m Dr. Mallard and I’d like to have a talk with you.”

Jimmy stood there for a second, head still down. “Mallard…you mean, like a duck?”

“Yes, like a duck,” laughed the psychiatrist. “Please have a seat…over there on that big chair.”

“Ducks are good,” answered Jimmy. “There’s both Donald and Daffy…”

The boy bumbled along and collapsed on the cushion as the doctor pulled up a chair, carrying a notebook. The two settled in for a conversation as the clouds outside faded to a darker shade.

“So, Jimmy,” began Dr. Mallard. “How have you been feeling?”

“Okay, I guess,” peeped Jimmy. “I’m not crazy, if that’s what you mean.”

“I don’t think you’re crazy,” smiled the doctor. “Please don’t think that’s why you’re here. I just want to try and understand what you’re feeling. In that way, I can help you.”

“I’m not feeling anything,” snapped Jimmy. “And I don’t want to be here. I didn’t do anything wrong and I didn’t tell a lie.”

“No one says you’re a liar,” answered Dr. Mallard gently. “However, you did become violent at school. Threw a book through a window? Can you please tell me why you did that, Jimmy?”

“I wasn’t mad, if that’s what you’re saying,” replied the boy. “I wasn’t throwing it at another kid or anything. I was aiming at…something else. I missed and the book hit the window. That’s all…”

“And what was the something else you were aiming at?,” questioned the psychiatrist. “Would you be willing to tell me?”

Jimmy turned his head slightly. “It was…you know…a leprechaun…”

Dr. Mallard eased back in his chair, scribbling vigorously in his notebook. Jimmy glanced around the room anxiously, as if alerted by a sudden presence.

“We shouldn’t have mentioned him,” said Jimmy, voice quivering. “He’s here now, and he’s pretty angry.”

“Where?,” inquired the doctor, looking around. “In this room? The leprechaun is in this room now? If so, can you please tell me where? I’m sorry, but I just don’t see him.”

“It’s not that simple,” answered Jimmy. “He only appears when he wants to. But I can sense what he arrives. All the hair on the back of my neck stands up.”

“Well, I’m here with you,” replied Dr. Mallard. “I won’t let him hurt you.”

“You don’t understand,” sighed Jimmy. “You can’t stop him. Nobody can.”

“Is that it, though?,” asked the psychiatrist. “Do you think the leprechaun wants to hurt you?”

“Not hurt, but…I don’t know,” lamented Jimmy. “He just scares me, and I don’t like it.”

“Does he talk to you?,” questioned the doctor. “Tell you to do things? Bad things, like throw books?”

Jimmy huffed. “I never heard the thing speak…I don’t even know if it can…”

Dr. Mallard drew back in his chair, stroking his beard in contemplation. Finally he hit upon an idea. He leaned over, speaking lowly.

“Jimmy…tell you what: I have a gold coin, which I keep in the top drawer of my desk. It’s an old Spanish doubloon my father gave me many years ago. The legend is that leprechauns can’t resist gold, right? Well, let’s do a simple test: We’ll leave the coin on the end table over there and wait quietly to see what happens. If after a few minutes no leprechaun appears, then will you agree that it might not exist?”

“You really have a gold coin?,” asked Jimmy eagerly. “You sure it’s real gold?”

“I even had it tested,” answered the psychiatrist. “Believe me: It’s real.”

Dr. Mallard rose and went to the desk, producing the doubloon and laying it down on the end table. Both he and the boy then sat patiently. One could hear a pin drop in the room.

“What if he doesn’t show up?,” whispered Jimmy. “Will that mean that it’s all just in my mind?”

“Leprechauns love gold coins,” assured the doctor. “If he’s here, he’ll definitely try and grab it.”

Five full minutes passed, interrupted only by the tick-tock of the clock in the corner. No other sound, nothing moved. No leprechauns within a Dublin country mile.

“Maybe you’re right,” said Jimmy, shaking his head. “Maybe I made the whole thing up.”

“I didn’t say that,” replied Dr. Mallard. “But the fact that you’re telling me this yourself means that you suspected that all along.”

“Am I insane then?,” frowned Jimmy. “Will I have to be locked up?”

“No, no,” laughed the psychiatrist. “You’re just a smart boy with a wonderful imagination…”

The doctor scribbled a few notes in his book and then glanced at his watch.

“I think we’re done for today, Jimmy, Let’s call in your Mom…”

As the boy and Dr. Mallard stood up the man made a motion toward the end table to retrieve the coin. As he did so there came a wild rushing sound like that of a sprinter in full flight. Lightning-quick, a small individual, dressed in green clothing and buckled shoes, snatched the coin away and disappeared behind the bookcase. The psychiatrist dropped his notebook, jaw hanging low. He blinked once and turned toward Jimmy, dumbstruck.

“I’m sorry, Dr. Mallard,” apologized Jimmy. “I tried to make believe that it was all in my head. I guess you were right about that coin being made of gold. Maybe we can try again with a four-leaf clover…”

Blackwood Theater

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