By Matt Gallagher

Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. Purchase the book at

Characters  |  Excerpt Act II, Scene 1

Excerpt ACT II, Scene 1

The Story So Far:  Kelly's Irish Rose is a bar on its last legs. Is it the success of other, more upscale bars in the neighborhood, or is it something else? Nothing seems to be going right for Moira Kelly, owner of the bar. Colm, her on-again/off-again, tries to help, but he's more of a quick-fix kind of guy than a man with a plan.

One slow Saturday night, Colm is helping out when one of the few remaining regulars comes in. Colm watches Lonnie do some tricky stuff, and he begins to wonder... could this little fellow be a true leprechaun, one who could help him get the bar back on its feet, and win the heart of the woman he loves?

Sure, getting a leprechaun to grant you a wish sounds like a good idea, but...

Scene 1:  Later that night.

Lights up.  Hugh is discovered in shirtsleeves and apron behind the bar.  “I Will Survive” plays over the jukebox.  Hugh washes glasses to the beat of the song.

On the coat rack stage right hangs Hugh’s police jacket and hat.

The phone behind the bar rings.

Hugh:    Kelly’s Irish Rose.  Oh, it’s you, Colm.   No, Kell—Moira ain’t here.  I don’t think that’s any concern of yours.  Oh, she said she had to go to the bank.  No, I don’t know what for.  To make a deposit, I suppose.  How should I know when she’ll be back?  Do ya have a message?  I have to get back to work.  Be here around seven.  Right.  Yes, I’ll tell her if I happen to think about it.  Good night.

He hangs up the phone.

    I wonder what kind of trouble he’ll get Moira into now.

The door opens and a young man enters.

    Top o’ the evening, lad.  What’ll it be?

Paul:    Wow, you’ve really got the authenticity thing down, haven’t you?

Hugh:    I beg your pardon?

Paul:    The accent, I mean.  It’s really good.

Hugh:    Accent?

Paul:    Yeah.  I take acting classes at NYU.  I took a dialect class last semester.  My name’s Paul.  I’m a barback at the Shillelagh, across the street.

Hugh:    Oh, that bar.

Paul:    Have you been in?  We’ve only been open a couple of months.  (He spies Hugh’s police jacket and hat on the coat rack.)  Wait, now I recognize you.  You’re that cop that walks a beat around here, aren’t you?  I didn’t know you moonlighted as a bartender!  Isn’t that some sort of conflict of interest?

Hugh:    This is my sister’s bar.  I’m just helping out while she runs an errand.

Paul:    Oh, good.  I’d hate to see you get into any sort of trouble.

Hugh:    And what can I be doing for you then?

Paul:    Oh!  I came over to see if I could get some change.  We’ve had a really busy night, and it’s the weekend, and.... anyway, do you have fives for this fifty?

Hugh:    I don’t know.

Paul:    Well, could you check?  I’d really appreciate it.  I mean, we.

Hugh:    One moment... (He crosses to the cash register and opens it.  He takes the fifty from Paul and gives him fives.)  Here you go, then.

Paul:    Thanks a lot.  You’ve made my whole life a little easier.

Hugh:    Uh-hunh.

Paul:    So... what time will you... get off?

Hugh:    Just as soon as the owner gets back.  (Pause)  Why?

Hugh:    Well, you’ve been so helpful... I was just wondering if you’d like to come over to the Shillelagh later for a drink.  My treat.

Hugh:    I don’t think the Shillelagh is my kind of pub.

Paul:    No?  That’s funny, I would have thought... Well, if you change your mind, I’ll be there all night.  I hope you’ll change your mind.  Well, good night, Officer...

Hugh:    Kelly.  Like the bar.

Paul:    Kelly.  Of course.  How blond of me.  Well, good night, Officer Kelly.

Hugh:    Good night, then.

Paul:    Paul.  Not “then”.

He exits.

Hugh:    Fancy bar, with fancy barbacks.  As if he thinks I’d ever be seen in a place like the Shillelagh.  “Paul, not then.”  What’s that supposed to mean, then?  “How blond of me.”  Silly flibbertigibbet.

Colm enters with Lonnie.

Lonnie has been dressed in a vest and bow-tie, both green.  He sports a green bowler and a Shamrock pin.  Colm has something large rolled under his arm.

Hugh:    Now why is he dressed up like a clown?

Colm:    Clown?  Haven’t ya ever seen a leprechaun before, Hugh?

Lonnie:    I can’t believe you talked me into this.

Colm:    You said yourself I’ve got a way about me.

Lonnie:    Yes.  And you should bathe more.

Colm:    Hugh, I’d like to introduce you to the Irish Rose’ very own leprechaun:  Lonnie.

Hugh:    I knew you were crackers, Colm, but I didn’t know how much.

Colm:    We’re havin’ a big party tonight to introduce everyone to the leprechaun.  It’ll be a smash!

Hugh:    How so?  No one is going to believe that this spindly little drunk is a leprechaun.

Lonnie:    I take offense to that.

Hugh:    Being called a drunk?

Lonnie:    No, spindly.

Hugh:    Well, sorry then, your leprechaunlyness.

Colm:    Oh, Hugh, you’ve never had faith in anything in your life.  By the time we’re done tonight, not only will the people of this neighbourhood believe in leprechauns, but they’ll believe that their wishes can come true, and the Irish Rose will be saved.

Hugh:    You’d have more luck if you passed out gold coins.

Lonnie sits down on his stool.  Colm crosses to Hugh at the bar.

Colm:    Here, take the other end of this.

Together they unfurl a large banner that reads:  GET THE LUCK O’ THE IRISH.  BUY A PINT, HAVE YOUR WISH COME TRUE.

Hugh:    Oh, Saints preserve us....

Colm:    Help me hang it on the front of the bar.  I’ve already hung one outside the door.

Hugh:    You mean people will see this from the street???

Colm:    Of course!   It’s called advertising.

Hugh:    It’s called silliness, if you ask me.

Colm:    I didn’t hear anyone askin’ ya.

Hugh:    Does Kelly know about this?

Colm:    Do ya think I’d go to all this trouble if she didn’t?

Hugh:    I think you’d do plenty to ruin her life.

Lonnie:    I’m thirsty.

Hugh:    Oh, that’s news.

Colm:    Just give our the man a drink, Hugh, will ya?  After all, he’s the guest of honour.

Hugh:    (Pouring whiskey)  More like the roach of honour.

Colm:    That’s unkind of you, Hugh.

Hugh:    I’m sorry if I hurt the little faerie’s feelings.

Lonnie:    You didn’t hurt me nothin’.  If you did, you’d be sorry for certain.

Hugh:    Are you threatening an officer of the law?

Colm:    Behind that bar, Hugh, you are a bartender.  The both of you should just cool your coals.  For Kelly’s sake.

Lonnie: & Hugh:     For Kelly’s sake.

Colm:    Now then, I have to go see if my flyers are done and hand them out if they are.  Can the two of you play nice until Kelly returns?

Lonnie:    I can if he can.

Hugh:    I suppose.

Colm:    Fine!  Don’t get too drunk, Lonnie.

Lonnie:    With himself pouring, it's a sure bet that I won't.

Colm exits.  There is a pause.

Hugh:    So.  What's this scheme that the two of you have concocted?

Lonnie:    It's all Colm's idea.  He wants me to do some tricks.

Hugh:    Put on a show, like?

Lonnie:    Something like that.  Could I have another?

Hugh:    What?  Already?

Lonnie:    It was a small whiskey.

Hugh:    (Smugly)  Colm said he didn't want you to get drunk.

Lonnie:    Too drunk, he said.  He doesn't want me to get too sober, either.  Or I might change my mind about doing this whole shindig.

Hugh:    So perhaps you should pace yourself better.

Lonnie:    Oh, hang it.

Lonnie magically pours himself a whiskey.

Hugh:    What by St. Agnes' goodness was that?

Lonnie:    Well, if you aren't going to serve me, I'll just have to serve meself.

Hugh:    How'd you do that?

Lonnie:    It's just a trick.

Hugh:    Where did it come from?

Lonnie:    From your own whiskey bottle.  (Hugh cross to check the well whiskey.)  No, the good stuff.

Hugh:    (Checking the Jameson bottle.)  You're right.  It has gone down!  (He looks queerly at Lonnie.)  So, you're a magician, then…

Lonnie:    Something like that.

Hugh:    Do something else!

Lonnie:    No, not right now.  I have to save it up for tonight.  After all, I'm out of practice.

Hugh:    Aw, c'mon.  If you're rusty, you might as well practice right now.

Lonnie:    I don't know…

Hugh:    (Crossing to front of bar)  Come on, now.  I love magic!

Lonnie:    All the Irish love magic. 

Hugh:    When I was a little kid, I used to have a magic set.  I put on shows for my Mother and Dad, and my aunts and uncles.  After dinner, I’d put on my cape, one that Mother had made for me, and open my magic box.  It was one of Mother’s old hatboxes that she gave me.  I called myself Hughie Houdini!  Then I’d do card tricks for them all.  Card tricks were always the most popular.  And I’d show ‘em all how to stand an egg on its end.  I was so into being a magician.  Mother encouraged me.  She thought I’d be a great showman when I grew up.  She used to put me to bed with stories all about Irish faeries and elves and witches, good and bad....  She even told me that she had a personal friend who was a leprechaun.  Imagine, a mother telling that to a child!  But, I believed all that she told me, and that I thought it was real for a while.  So real, that I thought I could learn to do real magic.  One time, when I was about seven, I tried an experiment.  I locked the door to the bathroom upstairs in our apartment, and I tried to unlock it using magic! Mother had told me that all witches can unlock locked doors, and I wanted to be able to do it.  To become a witch. I gestured and I concentrated.  I came up with my own incantations.  “Oh, wooden door that is shut tight, open under my magic might!”  Oh, Dad had to climb up and crawl through the small outside window into the bathroom to unlock the door.  He searched for me for hours, but I hid under his bed and he never found me.  I think he threw out my magic kit after that....Can you make a dove appear out of a handkerchief?

Lonnie:    Now why would I be wanting to do that?

Hugh:    Well then, what can you do?

Lonnie:    I really shouldn’t.

Hugh:    Please.  Perhaps you could even teach me some tricks.  I haven’t done it since I was a kid.  Will you need an assistant at the party?

Lonnie:    It’s not that kind of magic.  If it got out of hand, you'd only have yourself to blame. 

Hugh:    Oh, you probably can’t do anything else.  You’re just a sham, as I thought.

Lonnie:    Do you like to dance?

Hugh:    (Sitting on barstool)  Dance?  Me?  No…

Lonnie:    Why not?

Hugh:    Well, I've got bad feet, for one thing.

Lonnie:    You don't have bad feet.  You have bad shoes.

Hugh:    Is that right?

Lonnie:    Yes.  (He crosses in front of Hugh and kneels down.)  Now, first.

Hugh:    Hey, what are you doing there?

Lonnie:    (Fiddling with Hugh's shoes)  Poorly constructed—absolutely atrocious.  Whatever happened to pride in workmanship?

Hugh:    Hey!

Lonnie:    There now.  How do they feel?  (Lonnie pulls away to reveal that Hugh's shoes have been magically transformed to another pair.)

Hugh:    St. Peter's beard…How'd you do that?

Lonnie:    Try 'em out.

Hugh:    (Standing, he walks a bit.)  Say… it's like I'm walking on a cloud!

Music from the jukebox rises.  It plays "To Be Real."

Lonnie:    Why don't you try 'em for dancin'.

Hugh:    I don't… (takes a couple of dance steps)  Hey… these really do feel good.  (Music rises more)  I feel like… I could do this forever!

Hugh begins to dance in earnest as Lonnie pours himself another drink.

Enter Paul, the barback from across the street.

Paul:    Wow, you’re a really good dancer.

Paul dances over toward Hugh.

Hugh:    Now, see, I don’t really dance....

Hugh suddenly leaps atop the bar and dances like a go-go girl.

Paul:    Well if that’s not dancing, then someone call the fire department, ‘cause girl, you are on fire!  I hope you come by tonight after your shift.  We’re having this great dance contest.  With those moves, you’re sure to win!

Hugh:    What is it that you came over here for?

Paul:    I came to see if there was anything you needed from our bar.  Change.  Whatever.  Just returning the favour.

Hugh:    We don’t need anything from your fancy little bar.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do. (Hugh grabs the bar rag from his back pocket, bends over and starts to wipe down the bar, all the while dancing.)  Thank you and good night.

Paul:    Well, okay... hope to see you later....

Hugh:    (Forcibly) Good night.

Paul exits.

Lonnie:    You're sure to win that dance contest at the Shillelagh tonight.

Hugh:    (Jumps off the bar and tries to force himself to stop dancing)  What have you done to me???

Lonnie:    Why, I've done nothing, lad.  Only fixed your shoes.

Hugh:    It's these shoes, all right.  (Hugh tries to take the shoes off) They—they've done something to me.  I can’t stop dancing!  And where did that music come from?’re--!

Hugh manages to pull off one shoe.  He falls onto a bar stool.

Lonnie:    Just a shoemaker, lad.

Hugh:    Shoemaker… Shoemaker, my Aunt Fanny!  You're a leprechaun!

Lonnie:    So you noticed how I'm dressed, then.

Hugh:    Not that kind of a—My mother used to tell me bedtime stories about the little people—

Lonnie:    Enough of your offensive terms.

Hugh:    The leprechauns were ones who went around making shoes… and getting into mischief…

Hugh pulls off the other shoe.  The spell is completely broken.

Lonnie:    The only mischief I've gotten into lately is what your friend Colm is drummed up.

Hugh:    Colm McGinty is no friend of mine.

Lonnie:    But he was once, wasn’t he?

Hugh:    Once, perhaps…. But that was a long time ago.

Lonnie:    What happened?

Hugh begins to walk around in his stocking feet, carrying his shoes.

Hugh:    When he first used to come around the bar, Mother didn't like him.  Dad always did, even when he came in to sell things.  He'd sell anything. Knock-off perfumes.  Flowers.  Newspapers.  Gadgets.  Jewelry.  Mother used to have Da run him out if she thought he was selling anything illegal.  But he had this… this way about him.  I always thought he was lucky.

Lonnie:    Lucky.

Hugh:    Yeah.  He was completely free.  He could go where he wanted, do what he wanted, with no one to answer to.  And no matter what he did, people couldn't help liking him.  Even my mother.  He grew on her, I guess.  I always thought there was something… something special about him.  Till he threw it all away on a whim and conned my father into squandering his life's savings in the bargain.

Lonnie:    And how did he do that?

Hugh:    Oh, he urged Da to take all his money and bet it on a horse.  It lost, of course.

Lonnie:    Which horse?

Hugh:    I don't know.  Nor do I care.  Colm McGinty took the hearts of my family and broke them.  Da died when he lost that money.  And there's barely been enough to keep this place going ever since.  I don't know why Kelly doesn't sell it.

Lonnie:    Because it's her home.  Everyone needs a home, Hugh. 

Hugh:    This is a bar, not a home.  And it won't even be that if Kelly can't find the money to pay the mortgage.  Hey, now….

Lonnie:    (Wary)  Now, what?  Tell me more about your Da—

Hugh:    Enough talk.  If you really are a leprechaun— and I think you are—(He crosses menacingly toward Lonnie.)

Lonnie:    No, Hugh Kelly... No—

Hugh lunges for Lonnie. 

Hugh:    Gold!  Mother always said that if you can catch a leprechaun, he'll take you to his gold!

They move in a circle like wrestlers preparing to grapple with one another.

Lonnie:    Stay back, Hugh Kelly.  'Tis true, a leprechaun I be, but you'll find catching me no easy trick.  One step closer, and it's a faerie strike you'll be gettin', not gold!  (He gestures meaningfully.)

Hugh:    A faerie strike?  (He backs away a bit.)  Aw, you're bluffin'—

He advances.  Lonnie gestures as if throwing something at Hugh, who jumps back as if struck by something on the arm.

Hugh:    Hey, wait a minute… that barely hurt!

Lonnie:    (Desperately)  The next one won't!

Hugh advances, then stops and looks at the door.

Hugh:    Oh, McGinty.  You're back.

Lonnie turns to the door.  Hugh lunges savagely and puts Lonnie into a police hold, like a full nelson. 

Lonnie:    Augh!  You deceitful—

They struggle.  In the struggle, Lonnie loses his bowler.

Hugh:    Oldest trick in the book!  Now I've got you!  Where is your gold?

Lonnie:    Oh, by Maeve's white hair.  There is no gold, you lummox.  Not let off!

Hugh:    Not until you show my your gold.

Lonnie:    Didn't you hear what I just said?  I have no gold!

Hugh:    Of course you'll say that, to try to trick me.

Lonnie:    Oh, for Brigitte's sake.  Let off, or there'll be hell to pay, to be sure.  Colm won't like this!

Hugh:    Oh, he won't will he?  (Lonnie tries to step on Hugh's instep.)  You're a squirmy one, aintcha?  Well, I don't have to hold on to you to have captured you...

With effort, he drags Lonnie towards the back room behind the bar.

Lonnie:    Where—where are ya puttin' me?

Hugh:    Someplace where you can cool off until you decide to tell me where the gold is.

Lonnie:    I have no gold!  I told you…what?  No, don't!  I cannot take dark places such as that!

Hugh:    You'll be cozy till you come to your senses.

Lonnie:    No, Hugh, don't Please!  Don't put me—

Hugh pushes him into the back room and shuts the door.  He locks it.

Hugh:    You can't get out, either.  The door's made of iron, which legends say bar your passage!

Lonnie:    (Screaming offstage)  Let me out, Hugh Kelly!  Please!  I cannot take small dark places, I tell you!  Please!

Hugh:    When you tell me where you've hidden your gold.

Lonnie:    All right!  I'll tell ya!  It's under the cash register!

Hugh:    (Looking under register)  Thought I'd fall for that, didja?

The sound of faraway horse hooves can be heard.

Lonnie:    Please, Hugh Kelly! In honour to your father's memory, let! Me! Out!!  (The horse hooves rise.  Carriage sounds)  They're coming—I can hear them—they're coming!

Hugh:    What's that?  Who's coming?

Lonnie:    The Durlahan!  Coming for my soul!  Hugh Kelly!  Let me out!

The sound of the horse hooves and carriage rise.  Lonnie pounds on the door from inside the closet.  He screams long and loud, ending it in a weak gurgle.  Hugh listens at the door.

Hugh:    Calmed down, then?  Good.

Colm bursts through the front door.

Colm:    I must have passed out two hundred flyers!  I'm thirsty!

Hugh:    You're always thirsty.

Colm:    Tonight's a special night.  I can feel it.  Not even your sarcasm can affect me, Hugh!  (Colm crosses to the bar, notices Lonnie's hat on the floor.)  Say, what's this then?

Hugh:    What's what, then?

Colm:    Where's Lonnie?

Hugh:    Oh, he stepped out for a bit.

Colm:    Oh.  He dropped his hat.  (He crosses to the bar, and notices half-empty whiskey glass.)  Hugh…where's Lonnie?

Hugh:    I told you.  He stepped out.

Colm:    He'd never've "stepped out" and left a whiskey half drunk!  Where is he??

Hugh:    How should I know???

Colm:    Hugh, if you've done anything to him—cop or no—I'll clock you six ways till Sunday!

Hugh:    I haven't hurt him.  I just… detained him.

Colm:    What??  Why?!?

Hugh:    Well….

Colm:    So you know, doncha?  You know he really is a leprechaun.

Hugh:    Yes.  And it's me that going to get—

Colm:    Where is he?!?!?

Hugh:    Well... (He looks towards the door of the back room.)

Colm rushes to the back room, unlocks it, and throws open the door.

Colm:    Lonnie!  Lonnie, are you all right??

Hugh:    Of course he's all right.  I told you, I didn't hurt him.

Colm:    Oh, my god….

Hugh:    What is it?

Colm:    Didn't hurt him, Hugh?

Colm pulls Lonnie out of the back room.

Colm:    Lonnie, are you all right?  Lonnie... Lonnie... answer me...

Lonnie is delirious and can barely stand.  He mumbles in Gaelic, then breaks away from Colm violently.  He thrashes about the room in a tremendous seizure-like fit.  Colm and Hugh approach him, but Lonnie lashes out with a couple of “faerie strikes” which hit them like unseen electricity.  In his fit he knocks over the table and chair and finally throws himself into the air and lands on the bar.  He convulses violently, then becomes very still.

Colm:    Holy saints preserve us....

Having trouble getting up, he crosses to the bar.

The lights change to purple and green hues.  The sound of horse hooves and carriage comes from offstage.

Colm runs to Lonnie.  He checks for a pulse. 

Oh my god, Hugh.  Do you know what you’ve done?  He’s dead.  You’ve killed a Lonnie.  You’ve killed a leprechaun!


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Copyright Matt Gallagher. All rights reserved.