“St. Patty’s day finally!” stated Marshall to himself. He was on his way to his favorite watering hole when he had to turn his car around. “Road closed for construction of Mary’s Floral Shop until April 4th” said the sign. Marshall, still in good spirits turned the car into the alley to get away from the large amount of angry detoured drivers behind him. The car jerked over the cobblestone alley when he heard a large “POP” from the front passenger side tire.
Marshall turned the car to the side of the alley and got out to inspect the damage. The alley was dimly lit in the March evening with fog hanging around the headlights. “No spare, no jack, no problem” Marshall scoffed to himself as he closed the 88’ Buick’s trunk.
Marshall grabbed for his cell phone in the front seat and dialed Triple A’s number. He started numbly walking back to the shredded passenger tire when he noticed a loud knocking noise at the end of the alley. A sound as if a small child were using a play mallet on a piece of wood.
“NICK NICK NICK NICK NICK”
“Is there anyone there? I have a flat tire if you could give me lift?” Marshall asked making down the alley. He didn’t notice the prompter on the line asking for h purpose of his call. Marshall swept forward in the alley towards the noise and moved his phone away from his ear, dropping the phone on the alley stones with a thunk. He could see a shadow hunched over on itself with movement at ever NICK NICK NICK.
“What are you doing there?” Yelled Marshall at the shadow.
“Ye don’t have to get testy with me boy-o!” Giggled a high shrill voice from the shadow.
Marshall inched closer to let his eyes meet on the hammering shadow’s. There in the alley, in a brilliantly bright red vest suit and matching brilliantly bright red stovepipe hat with black ribbon along the brim of the hat and black ribbon tie, was a short imp like man crouching over a solitary shoe. The man had a neat fiery red beard and curly red hair. The only reason Marshall knew that the short man, that couldn’t have been taller than 3 ft., was not a child was because of his shrill voice and his piercing black eyes.
“Now that you stopped me from my day’s labors, what can I do ye for boy-o,” the little man in the red suit said with that shrilly high voice and a unnatural gleam in his black eyes.
“My car…It got a flat…What are you doing out here in the alley?” stammered Marshall.
“Don’t ye worry ‘bout my sort. I’m going to head on ‘fore you can find yer footing boy’o.” The little man in the red suit said this then started a nauseatingly high giggle.
“I’m not looking for trouble.” Marshall said while slowly backing away from the imp like man
“That’s a fret!” Yelled the little man in the red suit as he jumped to his feet toward Marshall. “I tell ye what I’ll do. I’ll fix yer banjaxed car if ye take me to my pub for rousing till the morn’. “
Marshall stopped, looking at his car and looked back at the little man in red suit. The little man’s smile was glaringly bright with his face twisting as though it was contouring around his smile.
“I’m not meaning to put yer heart crossways boy-o. As long as you aren’t slight on your side of the deal, you have no reason for fearing me.”
“Sure, I’ll give you a ride and have a drink.” Marshall slowly said. And as if by magic, when Marshall looked at the flat tire, it inflated, sucking in the air to a perfect pressure.
Marshall drove the little man in the red suit down the alleyway back towards his original course when the little man in the red suit said, “Let me tell ye where to go boy-o. My pub has the best black stuff in the town.”
So Marshall listened to every turn and stop, after getting completely lost in the city he thought he knew by heart the little man in the red suit pointed his finger towards a dilapidated building at the edge of town.
“That’s the place boy-o, that’s the place.”
Marshall parked and followed the little man in the red suit out of the car and stopped.
“This place is in ruins MR. I don’t mean to be pulling out on our deal but, I don’t think this is any type of pub.”
“Are ye a chancer or a chiseler boy-o? It’s a deal ye made and deal ye shouldn’t break.” The little man in the red suit said cruelly at Marshall with that eerily large grin.
Marshall did go into the bar, and he didn’t notice anything different in this bar than any other hole-in-the wall bar he had been in until he noticed how the patrons of the bar slinked away from the little man in the red suit.
Marshall attempted to order a soda when the little in the red suit glared at him. “No minerals for you on St. Patty’s Day you dosser!” The little man yelled at him. “Get me a shoulder of black stuff and boy-o here will have a naggin of vodka.” The little man in the red suit said to the bar tender.
Marshall did as he was told and drank his vodka quietly but as soon as he was done with a drink the little man in the red suit would yell for another and another. Marshall started feeling the alcohol throughout his body, his speech was garbled and loud, his balance wa off and he started not worrying too much about the little man in the red suit.
“So what’s your name and how old are you? You look pretty old.” Marshall blurted out to the little man in the red suit.
“My name’s none of yer concern and my age can only be counted in donkey’s years. But don’t think ye can crak on with me asking “How’s the craid?” with me boy-o. Ye made me a promise and ye better keep it.”
Marshall noticed then that as the night went on the little man in the red suit was getting more and more agitated. The little man in the red suit started puffing on a wooden pipe he got out of his red suit wildly. The little man in the red suit also started yelling at the bartender and the other patrons whenever their eyes stayed on Marshall too long.
Ye bowsie! Stop gawking at the boy-o before I make your legs so gammy you can’t he-haw back to yer free gaffs!” The little man in the red suit screamed angrily at the man sitting next to Marshall. After the man. After this the man left the bar quickly as if he knew that the little man in the red suit wasn’t all talk.
“Not a shilling between all of ye!” the little man with the red suit hollered as he stood up from the bar and walked to the back of the bar and disappeared behind a small black door.
“You…you…you…better bet outa here while he’s at the jacks guy. Go on and git’ while you still have a chance!” Whispered the barkeep hurriedly at Marshall. “Run!”
Marshall looked back to where the little man in the red suit disappeared and slowly slid off his stool. As he stood he noticed how much alcohol he really had. With jelly legs and using furniture to steady himself, Marshall made his way toward the exit.
“Hurry!!” whispered the bartender hurriedly.
Marshall opened the door and stepped out into the street. It was now raining harshly, sobering Marshall. He turned towards his car and started fumbling for his keys when he heard the bar door open.
“Scalping on a deal aye boy-o?” Was the shrill voice of the little man in the red suit. “You must be denser than you look, trying to drive that shite of a car all oosified. Do you want to murder the deal so close to midnight or are you acting the maggot?”
“I’m getting out of here. You’re an evil imp always yelling at the other people in the bar and with yer creepy grinning. I should have just called my triple A! I’m leaving!” Marshall stammered drunkenly as he got into his Buick and turned over the engine.
“Effin’ and blindin’ at poor ole me!
No fair play yer doin’ ye see!
I know you got a bad dose, but ye better stop!
And get back in me pub or ye’ll end up working in me shop!”
The little man in the red suit said this with his high voice in a teasing rhyme while skipping around Marshall’s car.
Marshall slammed his foot on the gas and felt the car lurch forward into the street. He steered the car towards his apartment when he passed out.
Marshall awoke the next morning to the same hammering noise he had heard in the alley the night before. But this time the hammering was surrounding him, as if there were half a dozen mallets being used instead of just one. When he opened his eyes he saw that he was in a small white room with mountains of shoes surrounding him. His arms were chained to a long and heavy wooden table with different sized hammers laying on it.
“Good mornin’ boy-o” Was the high giggling voice of the little man in the red suit. “Yer going to be workin’ for me till St. Peter comes himself to release ya.”
“What am I doing here?” Marshall said. Then he remembered the entire deal he had made with the little man in the red suit. He was to stay for a ‘rousing till’ the morning’ and Marshall had left the bar at 4AM. If only he had stayed for another 3 hours, until the next mornin’, he wouldn’t be captured. “I’m here because I didn’t stay at your bar until this morning. Is that right?”
“Now you’re suckin’ diesel boy-o.” The little man said with the gleaming wide smile.
“But the bartender told me to run…”Marshall said quickly.
“Ye mean my old friend Casey here? Well he wanted you to leave boy-o. He didn’t want to be working here alone.” The little man in the red suit said.
Marshall looked around the room and noticed all of the bar patrons he had seen the night before sitting around the room, hammering soberly at shoes.
“Now get to work you eejit,” said the little man in the red suit roughly as he threw a hammer and a shoe at Marshall.