Sharkey Part 2-Getting the Messages

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February 8th 2013  |  0  |  Category: Satire  |  Author: Daryl  |  851 views

Author’s Note: “Getting the messages” is Dublin slang for buying groceries.

‘A drum of milk, two long pans, a roll of tobacco, 3 pounds of corned beef, a small jar of cribbeen, 6 spuds and 2 bottles of Coke, anything else?’

‘Ah nah that’s grand, what’s the damage?’ enquired Sharkey.

‘The total comes to about 2 pounds, tuppence and fifty’ replied the shopkeeper.

‘Here’s the thing Michael, me aul ball and chain is after taking me leavings after last night’s bit of drinking. I haven’t a penny to me name until Thursday, so can you put this on the slate?’

The silence that followed this sentence would have made the deaf cover their ears.

‘Ah, here now. It took me two weeks to get the money off ya the last time I put stuff for ya on the slate Sharkey’ growled Michael, wiping his grubby hands on his oily apron.

‘And it got paid in full!’ protested Sharkey indignantly. Michael was unmoved and proceeded to sweep the food off the counter, gathering what he could in his arms to put it back on the shelves.

‘You’ve a purse tighter than a gnat’s arsehole Sharkey, and no mistake’ he replied tersely.

Sharkey took on the mien of what he considered was a suitably affronted individual.

‘Just when I was starting to believe again in the downright goodness in humanity, you’ve pulled the rug from under me Mick. You know me credit’s good, ‘better late than never’ as Ghandi used to say!’

Michael shook his head exasperatedly and told him where he could shove his goodness in humanity.

‘Shove off Sharkey ‘till ya procure some silver for the goods. I told ya before that you’ve to have no more on credit until you start actually paying for stuff on time.’

That stopped Sharkey in his tracks. The actual gall of this man!

‘Let Jesus have as much mercy on his friends in times of need as this Michael!’ shouted Sharkey, looking close to tears.

He went on, choking with emotion.

‘This past week I’ve been refused drink, food and a bit of company to while away the hours. For the love of Jaysus and his twelve brothers, would ya not take pity on aul Sharkey, the man who helped your missus carry ya home more nights than I can recall.’

‘That wasn’t me wife ya dozy bollocks, that was me girlfriend. Oh, and each time ya brought me home with her I had a lot of explaining to do!’

Michael then turned around, a sign that the conversation was over, when Sharkey opened his gob again.

‘In the 1700’s!, he shouted, ‘when the English army was encamped by the Liffey and surrounded by the O’Néil’s and their men, they were this close to defeat.’ He indicated with his thumb and forefinger to emphasise his point.

‘The O’Néil’s disagreed on how to beat them. Red Hugh wanted to charge the beleaguered army whereas Aodh wanted to starve them out. In the end impetuous Hugh won the debate and so lead a great charge.’

Michael turned back around, his jaw metaphorically agape.

Sharkey continued on; ‘The rumble of the hooves and the war-cries echoed tenfold off the hills as they poured down upon the English army. Unfortunately they’d been starved just enough to feel only frustration and anger and so they charged right back at the Irish.’

Sharkey mimicked swinging a greatsword and shouted for theatrical effect.

‘Iron swords splintered wooden shields. Arrows twanged and thumped into bodies. Men fell where they fought, making a barrier of the dead, hampering the charge. In the end they ended up routing the Uí Néil and forced them to flee!’

At this point he stopped his oratory and gazed at Michael with a benevolent gaze.

Shaking his head in pure amazement, Michael said, a little amusedly; ‘You’d give the Americans a run for their money with your declarations, I’ll give ya that Sharkey. But seein’s as I fail to see how this pertains to our situation I’d say you’re talking a load of aul shite’

‘Ah but do ya not get the moral of the story a Mhic?’, enquired Sharkey as sweet as you like.

’The English won due to the fact that the Irish let them starve! So it behooves me to tell ya, that unless you give me the few scraps of bread I’ve asked for to feed me childers and their poor ma, evil luck will befall you just the same!’

Now Michael, like all Irishmen are secretly, was a very superstitious man. Yet even he would not be swayed by Sharkey’s inane logic. No, sir, he would not.

‘Not having any of it today, son, go peddle your bullshit to O’Connor’s manure shop, I’m sure they could find a use for it.’ With that he turned back around and began ordering his shelves back into order.

Moving quicker than an aul wan towards a bargain, Sharkey’s hand darted to grab the roll of tobacco and a bottle of Coke still lying on the counter. He stuffed them into his pockets before Michael could see.

‘Have it your way a Mhic, your meaness will be punished, let it not be said that your mate Sharkey didn’t warn ya!’ With that he turned and walked calmly out of the shop.

It was worth a try, he thought.

Jangling his purse to make sure his wages were still there, and carried on down the road towards McCarthy’s Grocery.


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