It wasn’t easy. Life was never really going to make things easy, was it?
Lara walked among the flowers and felt sad. So many beautiful flowers. So many colours. And every time she thought she had found the most beautiful one, she looked up and found another one that had just that little extra something. How was she ever going to choose?
Her mother had been very serious. She was not allowed to pick flowers, but if she did, she should only pick one. One flower to bring home. The other flowers she should let live. Leave them to grow in the field, be free, and among their friends. But why? Why couldn’t she just take more flowers, to make more people happy? Wouldn’t everyone like to have a beautiful flower? She could give one to her teacher at school. One to the lady who lived on the corner who always waved to her when she walked by.
Lara decided it was unfair. Instead of being able to walk around and enjoy the flowers, she was just thinking about which one would be the best one. It had to stop. And so she decided to just close her eyes and twist around for a bit and then grab a flower. Blindly.
So Lara spun around to the left. And then she spun around to the right. When she was certain of having lost of sense of direction, she bent down and grabbed onto the first flower her hand touched.
Lara opened her eyes. What was that?
“Young lady! Let me go at once!”
Lara looked at the flower in her hand, and saw it wasn’t a flower at all. It was a funny looking creature. Thin, with blond hair and wearing a weird green costume with a hat that was much to large for his tiny head. But above all, it was small. Small enough to hide behind the stalk of a poppy flower. The red leaves almost covered his whole head. Lara loosened her grip, because she was kind of smothering his stomach with her thumb.
“Hello there. Who are you?”
The leprechaun tried to worm his way out of the girl’s grasp, careful to hold on to the flower. Choosing between being crushed by a thumb or falling down from this height was though. But he was prepared. “I’m Mr. Good. Please let me down now, or I might fall.”
Mr. Good shook his head. Were humans truly that stupid? “Because you have raised me 5893 thumbs above ground, that’s why.”
Lara laughed, although it came out more like a short string of hiccups as she was still recovering from the shock of talking to such a small creature. But she put the creature down, carefully. “No, I mean. Why are you Mr. Good.”
The leprechaun sighed. “Because I am doing good. That’s my job. I do good things.”
Lara had to think about that. “My teacher says it’s good to ask questions.”
“Sure. But why do you ask why I do things?” Mr. Good had never really had such a long conversation with a human before.
“You must have a reason for it. Nobody just does good things for no reason.”
Now it was Mr. Good’s turn to think. “You’re right. If you do things for no reason, can it even be good?”
“So, my reason is because the world is broken. And it is up to us to make it a little bit better.”
Lara looked at the small creature and got an idea. “Great! Mr. Good. Would you please help me? I’d also like the world a little bit better.”
Mr. Good hesitated. “That depends…”
“Ah, so you only do good things that you want to do? Not just because they are good, then?”
Mr. Good was now officially getting confused. “Okay okay. Just tell me what I can do for you. Please. If you promise me to leave me alone once I help you. I cannot deal with all these questions any longer!”
Lara smiled. This was excellent. “Okay. I want you to pick the most beautiful flower from this field and give it to me. I want to surprise my mother and make her smile.”
“Why doesn’t your mother just come here to look at the flowers herself?” The leprechaun crossed his arms and sat down on a little pebble. “It is not a good thing to pick a flower. I don’t think I can do this.”
“But Mr. Good. My mother is in the hospital. And I want to surprise her with something beautiful to look at while she gets better.”
Mr. Good looked into the eyes of the girl and saw there was something good and beautiful in the girl’s intention. “Okay. You have been kind to me. And I see that your intentions are good. So that will make this a good thing to do. So I will help you. I will pick you the most beautiful flower from the field. Just wait here.”
One hour later Lara handed her mother the most beautiful flower her mother had ever seen.
“Oh, darling, that is so sweet of you. But you know that picking flowers is not good.”
Lara nodded. “I know mama. But I didn’t pick it. The leprechaun did.”
This story was written for @mctiller’s weekly #twentyfourhourshortstory contest following the lead by Harlan Ellison, who recently passed away, but would write short stories in a book store window. A dream job. And I’m glad to be involved in @mctiller’s contest for a while now, as it gets me writing about weird and crazy things I would never think about before I actually sit down and start writing them. (Okay, this one involved lots of thinking during long walks in Shanghai as well. But that’s all part of the act of writing, I think.)
Read more short stories by @nobyeni at her website.
Support her philosophical fiction on Patreon or through Steady.