Sharkey- Tea with a Toole

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March 21st 2013  |  0  |  Category: Fiction , Other , Satire  |  Author: Daryl  |  776 views

The sun was in its zenith as Sharkey and his sometime-workmate Brian stood outside basking in this rarity.

They were at Sharkey’s house, a little cottage just off the main road, smoking rolled cigarettes.

By most people’s estimates this “Cottage” was a euphemism for “hovel”. From the half-boarded windows, the rubbish-strewn backyard and the chipped paintwork on its walls, the place had a smell of neglect emanating from it.

They’d shared a cup of tea and were sitting with their backs to the front wall for a few minutes, enjoying this respite from their bleak existence.

Brian was glad not to have to be at work today, dockyard work was horrible on days like this and Sharkey would’ve been glad also if he hadn’t been let off two days ago for accidently pissing on his boss.
In fairness, they shouldn’t have let him drive the lorry for deliveries after the birth of his first daughter, sure that was asking for trouble.

As drunk as a priest at Christmas mass, he’d miraculously made the deliveries on record time but was in desperate need of a slash when his boss found him pissing on the van outside work.

Shouting at him only caused Sharkey to turn in his direction and an impressive stream of the yellow stuff flew on Christopher’s, said boss’s, trousers.

He was stuck for money now, and he’d been wanting to stop by The Cat and Pigeon pub tonight for a few. His missus had given birth to their first daughter a couple of weeks ago and she and the baby were needing this and that, so money was needed…and a drink or two if he could swing it.

Getting it was the problem; the only money-lender he could think of was Mark Hansard and he already owed him some money. He didn’t want to go to the bank, believing them to be a bunch of parasites that bled life from the hard-worker with usurious interest rates. The wife still told him to go there after his little ‘break’ with Brian was finished.

There was only one thing for it.

Glancing across at his friend, who looked like he was trying to divide twenty by four in his head, Brian wondered what could be bothering him on such a day like this.

“What’s wrong Sharkey, ye look out of sorts” he asked.

“Ah Brian, me aul horse, he replied, I’m after getting into a proper fix and only the good Lord above can get me out of it”

“Ah god no, what’s after happening? Is it the bábín, is she teething and keeping ye up at nights? Me own mammy used to say whiskey was the cure. After a few bottles of it she didn’t mind the sound of me crying so much. Put some in me milk as well, come to think of it. Wasn’t much she couldn’t solve without a dram of the water of life around the house!”

“Ah if only the drink could solve me problems now, I’m afraid aul Sharkey’s as fucked as a Catholic maiden in a Proddie barracks.

Ya see, I got a lend off Mark Hansard for a few pints to celebrate me daughter’s birth a couple weeks ago. Now he wants the money back, but wants the interest as well.”

“Ah for fuck sake like, why’d you be talking to that gobshite? Sure ye know he’s only a sleeveen. Money-lender me bollocks, he’s nothin’ but a durty teef.”

“I know that, but doesn’t exactly help me now does it” replied Sharkey, his eyes now downcast, stubbing out his cigarette with unnecessary force. “I’m bollocked unless I come up with money by today. He said I’d lose a finger for every day without his money. I like me fingers Brian!”

Brian said nothing but swelled with sympathy for his friend. Most people thought Sharkey a shiftless, no-good bastard who made up stories to get one over of anyone. But they didn’t know him like Brian did, he wasn’t shiftless, he was a daydreamer and sure aren’t we all.

He’d known him since they’d been childers, letting Sharkey borrow his hurling sticks and footballs. So what if he’d not always returned them or if the footballs were sometimes burst or covered in dog shite, at least he’d the decency to return them himself.

That was a true friend as far as Brian was concerned, and now even more misfortune was being heaped on his honest mate’s shoulders.

Not if he could help it, or his name wasn’t Brian O’Toole Óg.

“Here now me aul mate, how much is it that he’s askin for?” he enquired and instantly Sharkey’s face rose up and his eyes seemed brighter.

“He’s asking for 5 shillings, tuppence ha’penny”

“Ah sure that’s nothing, only the price of a couple loaves of bread or something”

“Or a few pints” muttered Sharkey under his breath.

“I’ll spot ye the money me aul mate, and I’ll not charge one penny of interest.”

Sharkey beamed and hugged him, calling him ‘A tribute to the clan of O’Toole’.

“You’re a proper O’Toole so ya are Brian me aul mate, I’ll never forget this and make no mistake!”

Brian got up, dusted his trousers and told Sharkey he’d be back with the money in an hour. With that he set off down the road.

Sharkey picked up his cigarette again, re-lit it and puffed away merrily.

The front door opened and his wife came out.

“Since you’ve had time to lounge around all day, I’d say you got that loan off the bank already then” she asked tersely.

“Ah here now Mo Chuisle, before you go on berating this poor fella again, get your facts straight.
Firstly Brian owes me some money anyways so there’s no need to go to the bank. Secondly he’s coming back with it now, he’s just legging it to his house to collect it.”


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