Eyeball Thieves Remain Unnoticed
By sean mcnulty
Jack Hanratty observed the field coolly and industriously. He blinked only at the sound of the hurley’s cracking off each other. The game was a lively one, muck making delirious patterns in the air as players spat obscenities up and down and up and down the pitch. There was a crowd of youths behind the goalposts to the north and they were stumbling all over the place and passing a bottle around. Jack was sure it was poitin in the bottle. Jack had coached some of these boys some years ago. They’d been good players too. These were the ones to be seen regularly abusing the present generation of players from the sidelines.
Some boy was on a run. He charged forth like a rocket, sprinting down the field. The boy’s physique grew in his own estimation with every stride. Nobody could catch him. The other players huffed and puffed in his wake. But his glory was ill-fated. Tripping on a torn clump of turf, the boy was flung through the air. He landed facedown on the end of his hurley. The steel band on the head of the stick gorged into his brow, plucking his right eye out. The eye came out very slowly and clung for a moment to the boy’s face before detaching completely and dropping onto the grass.
Laughter erupted from behind the northern goalposts, the drunken youths falling over themselves. The first person to see that the boy’s eye had been driven out of its socket was the tallest and most fearsome player on the pitch and when he saw the terrible aperture in his fellow athlete’s face, he turned aghast and scuttled off.
Jack walked very calmly towards the fallen player, in a way that seemed already enlightened to all manner of dreadfulness. As he came upon the throng of people gathered around the wounded player, he stopped. On the grass before him, he saw the boy’s eye. It had been missed by the concerned masses. Jack knelt down and quick as a flash popped it in his pocket.