A quiet night out

On the short walk back from the off-licence Paddy chatted away, like he always did when there were just the three of them. He wasn’t a chatterbox, or one of those Irish blokes who seem like they’ve swallowed the Blarney Stone instead of kissing it.

“You know lads, what could I say to Garry?
I could hardly say ‘your mothers a whore, and your step dad knocked out all of me teeth, and beat me to within an inch of me life’, now could I?
He seemed like a nice lad, and he doesn’t need to know the truth now does he?”

The big fella spoke first as they walked back into the park. “Now look here Michael Donnelly; you know better than me that a blind man could see that boys love for his father. Why else would he spend years of his life, and hundreds of pounds of his own money, travelling down here to tour the parks and speak to old drunks?“

“I know, I know; the boys great, but how can I explain how I ended up like this. I can’t tell him the truth; it’ll destroy him.
I don’t want him to end up like me, living on the streets. He’s got a choice, he’s got a life. Only a fucking fool would live here on the streets, in the cold and the rain, when they didn’t have to.

The look on the big fella’s face changed, as soon as the words had come out of Paddy big fat mouth; “Now look T; you know I wasn’t having a go at you. You know I’d never do anything to hurt you or the little fella.
If it wasn’t for that mangled hand of yours, I’m sure you would have gone on to be some big shot writer. You know you sure can tell a great story, it’s just like sitting reading a book when you are in full flow. Come on now lets crack those cans open and get some beer drunk.”

The big fella’s face had warmed and softened again, but just to be sure Paddy kept on trying to cheer him up in his own cack handed way. “You know the little fella and me was talking the other day; about how grand it would be if you did find a way of getting some of your stories down on paper. It would be great to be able to tell people that we know the great Irish writer and story teller; Thelonious Wood. There’s got to be a way, in this day and age, that doesn’t involve holding a pen. Sure I’ve heard that they can do grand things with those computers”.

The big fella looked at his great mangled paw, and thought back to the night that it happened.
He’d finished his first week at work, and somewhat unusually a group of the English labourers from the building site had invited him out for a drink with them.
The big fella had been naive enough to think that they’d been impressed by the hard work that he’d done.
He carried twice the amount of bricks, sand, and cement that they had; and had dug a trench in the time it took for them to have a cup of tea, and roll a tab.
Even his boss had been impressed with the work he had done; praising his efforts in front of his new workmates.

The first couple of drinks went down grand, and they all seemed pretty amiable. Though he could detect that there was an undercurrent; perhaps he was just being a bit paranoid. After all he was new kid on the block, and the only Irish one among them.

The drinks kept on flowing, though he did seem to be getting in more rounds than the others, still he didn’t mind.

They started talking about things other than just work, and the big fella made the mistake of telling them about how he wanted to be a writer.

The undercurrent rose to the surface in a tide of anger, which spilled out of the bar and into the back lane. He thought he’d have had a chance against any of them; one against one; but they all rushed him at once, knocking him to the cobbles. They worked him over pretty well, but stopped short of giving him a full on beating.

Jacky was a big as he was; and stood over him when he was pinned to the ground, he looked like a giant silhouetted against the street lamp.
“We don’t like uppity fucking paddies; coming over here and trying to show us up; working too hard, and showing off to the boss.
We were going to just give you a kicking, and tell you to fuck off and get a job somewhere else. But then you go and tell us that you’re not even doing it for the money.
Now listen here writer boy, were going to give you something to fucking write about. Dave keep a hold of his hand”.

Jacky, still wearing his heavy work boots, slowly and maliciously raised his right foot. The big fella felt a white hot pain shoot through his pen hand and up his arm, leaving his mouth as a feral lupine scream which tore through the night.
To make sure the job was done properly, and that there were no innocent bystanders; Jacky insisted that they all took a turn at grinding his hand to a bloodied mass of flesh and bone.

To the police; this was just another paddy who’d had too much to drink, and had got what was coming to him. No arrests were made, no one was questioned, no names were taken.

Unlike his friend Paddy, he’d at least got taken straight to the hospital; because they could see from the mess that his hand was in, that he needed urgent medical treatment.

Thelonious was too proud a man to go begging to his family for money, though they had plenty to spare.
He’d wanted to return as Ireland’s greatest writer, not a broken man, with a crippled right hand. So he too had made his way down to the park looking for somewhere to sleep; away from all of the hatred that seemed to be surrounding him.

The little fella cleared his throat, as he sometimes did when he had something important to say. “You know Thelonous, you must have been away with the fairies for the last 10 minutes ‘cos me and Michael have been talking a way to you, and you haven’t so much as listened to one single word that we’ve said.
Look big fella, you know I never give you any lies or flannel like the other boys.
I tell it like it is, because I cannot tell it any other way.
Some of these people who think that they are writers, don’t have one decent story in them.
They might well be great writers in a technical sense; in that all of their full stops and commas are in the right place, but if you haven’t got any tales to tell it’s not really much fucking use is it.
You’ve still got the stories in there lad, even if you cannot hold a pen in that big useless hand of yours”

The big fella burst back into life; “What’s with all of the Sunday names? You’d think we were at a fucking wake or something! Come on let’s crack open the rest of them cans!”

A quiet night out

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Artist's Description

Chapter 3 of No Dogs. No Irish. which was my entry for My entry for Hail, Fellow
Spherical Scriptings short story competiton based on the the photo by David Malcolmson.

Artwork Comments

  • WoodyWood
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  • Tanya Bell
  • Micky McGuinness
  • Tanya Bell
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  • WanderingAuthor
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