Sharkey-Part 1

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January 24th 2013  |  4  |  Category: Satire , Tragedy  |  Author: Daryl  |  1425 views

It was a pale summer afternoon. The day’s work was done and Seámas Ó Searcaigh, Sharkey to his mates, strolled into his local for a much-anticipated pint after a hard day’s work shifting coal.
He sat down at his favorite stool, the one closest to the door, and called for service off the pretty red-head barmaid.

‘A pint of the bitter there, Úna!’ He bellowed, his hand slamming down on the bar with impressive force.

‘You’ll get be no more than a pint of me finest cack-water if you don’t out with the truppence you’ve owed me these past two days, Séamas Ó Searcaigh.’ replied the barmaid, standing stock-still and glaring.She was a pretty thing, all red-hair and blazing eyes.

Sharkey pretended not to understand.
Ní thuigim tú a thuile, mo stórín, an bhféadeadh leat é a rá inár dteanga áillinn?” he enquired, his voice pissing down with honey.

He was a right aul bollocks sure enough.He knew Úna couldn’t speak a word of her native tongue but that didn’t stop Sharkey trying to make his arse appear silver, but she was having none of his cack today.
He still maintained a pained expression, as if the blight of the world had suddenly settled on his shoulders.

He gazed at Úna and with the utmost humility replied ‘Sure how could a man afford to keep a truppence on himself and the times being what they are? Me little childers out of food, going begging. Me missus this close to going on the game for a scrap of tae she gags for of a morning. It doesn’t smack of any sense, woman!’

She still stood, stony-faced as a gargoyle and would not budge near the beer spouts.

‘No money, no service’ she said firmly.

‘I’ll pay you back Úna, my credit’s good. Now get us a pint, there’s a good cailín’
Úna, still stony-faced, didn’t bother to reply.

Seeing more was needed, he gathered himself and his flailing wits, engaging the other fellows in the pub hunched over their pints, with theatrical aplomb, enlisting their sympathy.

‘No man could ever call a Seárcaigh a rich one, but by god his word is iron and his custom frequent! ‘

‘And his tongue as silver as the moon in twilight’ mumbled one of the men, making his companion chuckle.

Sharkey ploughed on, seemingly unaware of the ribbing he was getting.

‘A man has the right to frequent his local watering-hole in order to aquire some brief refreshment from the drudgeries of his life’, he declared.

‘It is not fit to foist henious allegations on such a man and thus refuse him your service, my good madame!’

Úna wryly noted she’d been upgraded from ‘woman’ to ‘Good Madame’ in the time it takes to blink. But she’d heard it all before from him. She was deaf to all the codology he spouted from his mouth. He would get no service until he’d paid her back in full and that was that.

Seeing that his plea for the innocent man had not moved his stern judge, he appealed again to the men around him.

‘Nary’s the day I wouldn’t offer a hand or two to any of ye should your need arise of it’ he implored, hoping to entice one of them to drudge up some sympathy. Some emphatic emotion for a fellow down-trodden cog of the capitalist machine.

‘I’d have given three if it was in my god-given power to do so!’ he added, when no salvation seemed forthcoming.

Still nobody moved, some looked back to their pints. One man did not.He stared at Sharkey with a beligerent expression and accosted him.

“It’s comrades-in-arms now is it?’ the man asked, his grubby cap bobbing in his agitation.’
‘C’mere ye little shite, just last night you were calling us all a shower of bastards ‘cause we wouldn’t give you the difference for your fifth dram of whiskey.’

Sharkey was startled by this turn of events and strove to make his position as the world-weary victim clear. He gestured to the man, whose face was caked in coal-dust and had fingernails that were as grimy and cracked as the glass he was holding.

‘Oh, I never said a foul word to no man, ‘pon me most ardently innocent soul.’ He was all hurt expressions and crocodile tears.

‘Sit your arse down, Cathal, before the devil take ye with your lies down to hell with the protestants and the debtors.’

But Cathal would not sit down. He gulped back the last of his drink and set it down with an ominous thud on the table. He smacked his lips and before leaving he added lasviciously that there was nothing better than a cold one after a hard day’s honest grub.

After the departure of Cathal, Sharkey, like a farmer with a meagre field and no money, ploughed on like a bollocks.
He was warming up to it now, you could see it in him. He loved being the centre of attention, even if his pride was at stake. He could talk the hind-legs off a donkey and he was determined to quench his thirst.

He seemed to sniff back invisible tears as he proclaimed that this type of shabby treatment was not in keeping with the ‘‘righteous cause our heroes of 1916 died for.’’
‘They fought for a socialist republic’ he said. ‘Based on a society of good morals and a community-driven spirit.’
“All for one and one for all!” as comrade Lenin put it.’ he added, choked with emotion.
He was blithely unaware of the laughter emanating from the far-end of the pub where a group of men sat. They were watching Sharkey state his case with amused expressions.
This woman was standing in the way of that dream, he went on, getting more passionate by the second.The glorious, utopian society, that Clarke, Connolly et al were shot against a wall like dogs for. A dream now hindered by a misguided woman who would not allow a man to drown his sorrows in comradely style.

He turned back to the men and appealed again. Would they allow one of their own to be put upon in such a fashion?
It appeared that they would, as they laughed at the pure shite streaming out of his mouth in a hap-hazard yet steady stream.

Sharkey had built a courtroom of international importance out of the pub.At stake? Irish freedom. The barrier? The greatest devil of them all; the debtor.
He was Jesus Christ on the crucifix beseeching God for help. He was Oliver Twist asking for more to quench his thirst. He was the advocator for free-will in a country plagued with the heartless.
Still he went on:
On the front-lines, in the muddy trenches, he would’ve taken a bullet for Úna, he exclaimed loudly. He loved her and all her family, she was a great woman, a kind woman, a woman as Éire had not seen the like of since Éiriú. Surely she could see the madness in pursuing her interest in keeping the capitalist dream alive?

No.No, he wouldn’t hear of it. He would insist on breaking the shackles of oppression that had led her astray, to deny a fellow countryman a sup of granny’s medicine.

He demanded she give him the drink for free, thus relieving her of the burden of watching a man like himself count out his remaining copper coins, and his children left with no money for food today.

He finished by shaking his head dramatically at the gleeful faces of the men at the bar, even Úna was smiling a little by this stage. He finished his oratory and looked upon Úna with an expectant expression.

‘By god’, she exclaimed, ‘you’ve a tongue on ye as golden as Midas’ arse!’
She shook her head and, the whole pub watching in baited silence now, she went over to the pumps. She took care to pick the cleanest pint glass and proceeded to pour Sharkey’s pint. The golden-brown nectar was spewing frothily into the glass. It built up finally to the top, with a creamy head of foam. She set it down, coaster and all, in front of him.

The perspiration dripping down the glass matched Sharkey’s own. He could not believe his bullshit oratory had actually worked!

Then an eruption of applause and cheering sounded, and Sharkey, magnaminous in victory, smiled patronisingly at Úna, as if she’d seen the error of her ways.

‘I knew a lady like yourself would see the light, Mo mná uasail’ he smiled, settling himself back down in his stool.

He was too busy congratulating himself and boasting to his ‘comrades’ of the joy that comes with winning a righteous cause, that he did not see Úna reaching over to take his pint.

Without any change of expression she tipped the whole contents of the glass over Sharkey. The cold, bubbly mixture drenched his cap,face, coat and trousers. He sprang up like a smacked arse and coughed indignantly with outrage.
‘Jaysus on his cross, what you do that for,you mad wan?’ he spluttered, wringing out his clothes as best he could.

‘I ’ said Úna as sweetly as a spring morning in Donegal, ‘was excersising my right to freedom of expression like a good socialist there Sharkey, sure you couldn’t fault a ‘comrade’ on that now could you?
He gaped at her and slowly the whole pub erupted in ironic cheers and genuine heart-felt hysterics.

‘Pádraig Pearse would have never stood for this!” Sharkey shouted at the trimphant Úna who couldn’t stop smiling.
With the laughter of the whole pub still ringing in his ears, Sharkey stormed out, still dripping like a child’s runny nose.

He gathered himself and assumed the attitude and mien of the down-trodden working-class hero, once again foiled by the machinations of the state.

He continued wondering at the injustice of the world as he walked on,at a country so plagued by evil.
He felt a melancholy at his situation and was starting to enjoy taking time feeling sorry for himself when it dawned on him what the missus would do when he came back home stinking of drink again.


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4 Responses to Sharkey-Part 1

  1. Avatar of Ami Ami says:

    Awesome Story. I like it

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