Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Still working on POS and seeing more and more where it's headed. Here's a snippet...this is when Brendan's 14 or 15, I haven't figured out, yet.

I managed to catch up to Danny up the Creegan pitch. It was misting and chilled close to cold, and he’d just shoved his hands in his pockets and juggered on through it. His hair shined from the moisture and his skin gleamed, almost softening the hard look on his face. A Saracen was parked in the middle of it all and the field was torn up from its running about, but Danny seemed not to care.

“What the devil’s got into you?” I asked him. “Colm meant nothing by that. He’s just happy there’s something for him to do and -- .”

“Then let him do it,” he snapped at me. “And you keep on with working both sides of the fence.”

“Oi! Just because somebody’s Protestant doesn’t mean they’re an arsehole.”

“You’re only saying that ‘cause of that little tart you got.”

I shoved him, nearly sent him to the ground. “You’re not to say a word about her! She’s a decent girl!”

He gave me a look so deep with hurt and sadness, I felt the bastard for being angry with him.

“It’s not just Protestants who’re arseholes, Bren. I know that. Christ, do I know it.”

“Danny -- what’re you going on about?”

“Nothing. Nothing.”

“Has it something to do with Father Pat?”

“What’s he to do with anything?”

“Father Demian then?” I only asked that as a last chance at getting him to tell me the trouble, but you’d have thought I’d shot him. He gave me the flash of a look, the same kind as I’d seen once in a stray cat that’d been cornered by dogs, wild and terrified and ready to spin into madness if it’d save itself -- or at least it would take a couple of the damned growlers with him. And it stabbed into me, deep. And then it was gone and covered with his usual sullen glare.

“And he has less to do with me, now, him being sent to America.”

“I heard he’s in England.” I hate to repeat gossip, but sometimes it’s necessary to get to the base of things.

And sure enough, that wild look flashed over him, again, and this time it caused him to catch his breath.

“Says who?”

“Mrs. Dougherty -- Father Pat’s housekeeper. She says he’s made a number of trunk calls to Nottingham, just to see how things’re going, as it were.”

He sat on a fence post that’d been pushed half over by a Saracen and lit a fag. And the thousand yards stare filled his eyes. For the first time since I’d known him, I was afraid for him...and a bit of him.

“You and Father Demian were close,” I said, real careful.

“You never liked him, did you?” I shrugged. He looked at me. “I can’t tell if you like Father Pat or not.”

“He’s all right,” I said. Danny kept looking at me, so I shrugged, again. “I just -- well, it hits me sometimes that his actions don’t match his words.”

“They don’t, do they?” He offered me the fag. I took a drag off it and handed it back. He smiled. “You ever gonna buy your own ciggies?”

“All I ever want’s a puff, now and again. And it’s you offered.”

“Aye.” He kept smoking and sent a harsh glare the way of the Saracen.

“Careful, lad,” I said. “They’re the only thing standing between Free Derry and the RUC.”

“They won’t, for long.” And I knew he was right. Something about the attitudes of the British Army was hinting that they weren’t happy to be pushing back against their fellow “Englishmen,” as if the Paisley-ites give a damn about them. But there’d been incidents of lads being roughed up while searched and good long chats between British commanders and the upper-level constables. Some lads said it looked too much like they were giving ear to the Unionists whilst ignoring those they’d come to protect, and only a fool wouldn’t see the point as valid “It’s like they’re waiting for an excuse to show the world a bunch of Paddies can’t shove anybody around.”

“I hope the excuse doesn’t come.”

“You would. You’re willing to trust people, still. Believe them.”

“I wouldn’t go so far as that -- .”

“Bren -- you know as well as me that Father Pat’s a two-faced bastard, but you’ll coach your opinion to allow him some benefit of the doubt.”

“Are you angry with him for taking over for Father Demian?”

“No, that bastard can rot for all I care. I’m pissed at him for lying about it, and making me the liar for it.”

“Christ, Danny, what happened?”

He give a long terrible sigh and said, “If I told you, you’d not believe me. There’s nights I think, maybe I don’t believe me. Maybe it was all just a bad dream. A child’s fantasy.” He sighed and kept a long silence, then said, “Nottingham, you say?”

“About what?”

“Father Demian.”

“It’s information come to me third hand. I don’t know it for a fact.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised. All they’d want to do is move him to another parish and -- .” His voice trailed off and he sat in silence. And I had no idea what to say, so I just stood there by him, waiting. He let me have another drag on the ciggie then looked at me, almost sad. “You never were his acolyte.”

“Father Demian’s?” I asked. He nodded. “Never wanted to be.”

“Keep that wariness about you, Bren. Believe me that no one cares for the other, not truly, not when it means something more than words.”

No comments: