Monday 28 January 2019


After a long pre and post Christmas  writer's block I am trying to pen some new short stories. Found this link which might be of interest.

Meanwhile here's a story inspired probably by too much viewing of Love/Hate

The volume from the TV filled the tiny sitting room lit up at intervals by the lights that flickered through windows on the ten floors of high rise flats opposite his block. Half the apartments on his side were already vacated, families relocated to suburbia, generations of memory erased. They would soon bulldoze the lot and the inner city would be transformed overnight into a glass domed financial sector. Jimmy had seen it happen already down at the quays.

What would his Ma have made of this? At least he’d been hoarding his dosh. He fingered it now in his inside pocket. Not a lot yet but enough for an emergency. No way was he being transplanted to the sticks. Jimmy cracked his fingers one by one and then flexed them. He touched the comforting wad of notes again. He’d had to do things. Things his Ma would not have liked. But as soon as he made enough he’d be out of the game. He’d promised her that. At least he’d gone to the big sprawling graveyard, trawled through a dozen overgrown aisles of forgotten ancestors, shoved the bunch of daffs into a stolen jam jar and swore to her that he’d get out soon. The sudden vibration of his phone ringing in his pocket startled him.

“What’s the story?” he barked into the mouth piece.
“Mark’s dead! Meet me at O’Neill’s,” the high pitched voice of Squealer replied. The news jabbed like a knife in the gut. Jimmy reached under the wicker sofa and pulled out a bundle tied with a shoelace. Instead of undoing the knot he stretched the lace that was loosely tied and eased it off. The revolver fell onto the vinyl floor lit up by the glare from the TV. Last episode of Homelands, damn it. He’d have to forgo the satisfaction of seeing the shock on the CIA faces when they realised they’d made a balls of it.

 Mark dead? The knife in his gut twisted again. Who’d have wanted that? Who’d even bother to waste a bullet on him? Hapless, harmless, stupid Mark. It had to be personal. It had to be Chris, the squealer.

When he pushed the pub door what struck him was the silence. O’Neill’s had been cleared out for them. For him, Chris and Mickey, the Boss. The squealer was helping himself to a pint behind the bar, and from the empty pint glasses Jimmy could see that it wasn’t Squealer’s first.   The ashtray overflowing and the stench of cigarette smoke meant business, dirty business, when Mickey chain smoked someone was about to be taken out. Jimmy thought, not for the first time, that he should have been a goddamn detective instead of a petty criminal.  

“Hefo’s boys shot him at point blank on Eccles’ St,” Mickey announced, not bothering to even raise his head in Jimmy’s direction.
“That so?” Jimmy’s voice was non committal.
“You doubtin’ the boss?” Chris was slurring his words.
“What’s the plan?” Jimmy asked, not looking at Chris.
Mickey took another drag and slowly blew out smoke circles.
“What’s the goddamn plan? I’ll stick them. Just let me do it!” Chris roared

Jimmy noticed that the Boss’s eyes were no longer gleaming. It was settled then. The five point plan in place. With a nod in his direction Mickey got up and made for the back office.
“It must have been revenge. Hefo thinks we killed that new lad of theirs. The one found in the canal with his throat cut,” said Chris.
“Did we?” Jimmy threw over his shoulder as he followed the Boss into his inner sanctum.

As he followed the boss and closed the door on Chris memories of Squealer’s threats towards Mark on Paddy’s Day came vividly back. The same drunken Chris, red faced, slurring, threatening to stick Mark for getting his sister up the duff. Heat was rising in Jimmy’s chest; he knew that an ugly gash of red was now burning on his neck.

“What the hell’s this? You know who did this!” he said  to Mickey through gritted teeth.
“Bring in Chris!” barked Mickey. Jimmy stepped back into the bar.
When they returned the boss was stubbing out his cigarette on the corner of a picture. Then he held up the photo of two skinheads skulking in front of the Four Courts.

“The Donnelly brothers, Anto and Wee Liam. They’ve been sniffing up my backyard long enough. They’ll be at their local, the Blind Piper, Ballygate, tonight. According to my sources they did it.”
“The Donnellys are IRA. We can’t touch them,” said Jimmy.
“Past tense. Were. The boys from Belfast will be glad to get their dirty work done.”
“Hefo would know if the IRA did their lad,” Jimmy insisted.
“Hefo doesn’t care who did it. He wants to send out a message. Well, I’ll damn well send him one back.”
“I think you’re misreading this, Mickey.”
“Maybe you’d damn well like to take my place?” The glint in his eyes stopped Jimmy in his tracks.

Chris was already at the door. He’d be wanting to snort coke before going out on his big hit. Jimmy was about to turn towards the door when Mickey slipped him the note written on yellow sticky pad. Chris was already lining up the white powder on the bar counter.
“Read it and then eat it.”
Jimmy glanced at the note.
“Now eat it.”

Instead Jimmy rolled the paper up and made towards the bar.
“Here use this, Chris,” and he offered him the rolled up sticky pad.
“Cheeky bastard,” muttered Mickey. “Now get the hell out of here, the pair of you!”

Chris staggered behind the steering wheel and revved up a one way in the wrong direction. If they were lucky they’d be arrested for drunk driving and possession of arms and Jimmy would be out of the loop. Murder. Cold blooded murder. He’d promised Ma, on her grave. If he nudged Chris’s elbow, just a fraction, they’d be in the bus lane, hit a kerb and end up in Casualty. Chris had thrown the note on the dashboard. Jimmy reached for it now, scrunched it up and swallowed it.

“Jaysus! Was there any coke on that? You must be desperate.”
Jimmy noticed the sign for the M50 N. The airport. Freedom. Chris was a fool but he didn’t deserve it. Mark was a fool and he hadn’t deserved it either. Chris’s sister was up the duff. So what for Christ’s sake? Not worth a man’s life. And what if that yarn about the IRA wasn’t true? What if the Donnellys were still rank and file members? The boys from Belfast would hunt him down. There’d be no hole deep enough to hide in. Jimmy reached into his pocket and felt the comfortable touch of his wad of notes. The heavy weight of the revolver in his hip pocket took away his temporary feeling of security.

His order from the Boss, written in red biro on yellow sticky pad, was to turn on Chris once the Donnellys were down, just when Chris would least expect it, in the tarmacadam car park of the Blind Piper.

Exit 5 and Dublin airport loomed. He had two minutes to make up his mind.
“Can you pull up, Chris? I have to take a pee.”
“Now? For Christ’s sake. There’s a rosser on our tail. Can’t you wait?”
“I can’t, Squealer. Just do it!”

Chris indicated. Jimmy watched the white cop car sidle past them slowly, the passenger garda watching them intently. For a minute he thought it was up, that the decision had been taken off him, but then the cop car picked up speed and joined the long slow trail of cars sweeping away from the airport and freedom.

Just two minutes to decide. Over his head he heard the distinctive sound of a plane in take off, a trail of white smoke curling behind it. It was a sign from above, from his Ma.

In the wing mirror Chris watched as Jimmy began to walk towards the railing that separated the motorway from embankment. With one leap he was over it and then he was gone.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2017

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