After Gyles' Quay
By sean mcnulty
Der killin everyone in de town dese days. Dey killt dat businessman cause he wus helpin de Loyalists. Dey killt a man outside de snoooker hall cause he bate dem at snoooker. Dey killt dat woman and left her in de schoolyard fur Dixon ta find her. Dey killt dat ex-IRA man fur whaddever. So much killin. Der always killin, dese adults. Even me, wit me ambitions in de ways of de ninja, wudn’t go ahead an kill someone. Really kill someone. Cause ye’d go ta jail if ye did.
And not just people: Dey killt de music, cause it’s too loud fur dem, dey killt de joy, as der not into dat type of ting, and while dey wur at it, dey killt all de energy in de room, cause ye don’t wunt a whole load a hopped up brats runnin about de place.
But back to people. Cause dey’re into killin people most of all. Now dey’ve killt anudder one. Ye can hear dem in de night drivin der stolen cars around like headers and ye know dey wur bound ta kill someone eventually wit dat carry-on. Now dey’ve gone and done it. Dey hit Ollie Myers de udder night. Racin troo Pearse Park dey wur at about nine o’clock. He wus walkin his wee dog Bobo and dey killt de fuckin dog too. Dey wur jostling over de steerin wheel or someting and dey mounted de pavement and tuk dem out. Bashed into dem and struck a wall.
We’re out at Gyles' Quay – dat’s Dixon, McGurk and meself – and we’re lukin out at de Irish Sea bubblin like it’s a grey pancake fryin on a pan. Ye wudn’t catch me bitin into dat grey pancake. It’s not all grey, I shud say, cause occasionally some bluey-white suds pop up like when ye do de dishes but mostly it’s flat and muddy. Dere’s always a hope when ye go to de beach fur a beautiful sunny day but ye never get it out here. Well, we never get it. I’ve seen some pictures udders have of times when de sun wus out and de sea wus blue and everyone wus happy sunbading and swimming and all de rest. Still, it’s not Baywatch out here, not even dose pictures of sunbaders at de Quay are a match fur Baywatch. It’s anudder kettle of mullet altogedder out here.
De wind is rough. Ye’d wunt to be careful it doesn’t lift ye out to sea. De clouds are bleak and dey meet de sea at de horizon and dere’s a sludgy union of de two. A clever man might tink dat it wus all grey and miserable to be respectful of Ollie’s passing. But no it isn’t. It’s always like dis. It wud be like dis even if nobody’d bin killt.
--Will we go to Ollie’s house today? After Gyles' Quay? asks McGurk.
--His house? I ask.
--His mudder and fadder is inviting visitors over to de house later today.
--How do ye know dat?
--Me own mudder told me.
--Why wud we go to his house if he isn’t dere annymore?
--To see his body in de coffin.
--Are ye mad? says Dixon. I don’t wunt to see anudder dead body. I’ve had enough a dem fur dis year.
--It wud be weerd fur his parents if we showed up, wudn’t it?
--Cause we’re just wee boys.
--Speak fur yerself, says Dixon. I’m a man now. Shur lookit. And Dixon flicks at his mustache as if dat shows he’s a man.
--I’m not sure if I wunt ta see his body, I say.
--Ah, don’t be afraid, Lucas. He won’t jump up and scare ye.
--I’m not afraid.
De sand is all soggy and brown and me trousers are covered in it.
--Luk at de state of us, I say. His mudder and fadder wudn’t like it if we turnt up all filthy like we are. It’d be disrespectful.
--Ah, shur dat stuff comes off easy, says McGurk. So what do yiz say? Will we go?
--Okay, says Dixon. But first I wunt to try an break into someting.
So before we go back to town, we have a luk around fur an old building fur Dixon ta break into. We settle on whut luks like an old pub and he climbs up on de wall at de back when we hear a voice behind us shouting HERE YOOZ! and he jumps down and we run and run and
run and run and
hide behind some hedges fur a bit and wait
and den get out onto de road again and go to get de bus back to town.
Ollie none of us had seen fur a while. His parents tuk him out of our school in fifth class and he went to some udder school. De Grammar school. Where all de rich boys go. But Ollie wusn’t dat rich. He wus just dead smart. De smartest. Smarter dan me even. And I’m pretty smart, I swear. But Ollie used to hang out wit us sometimes in de Polo Field. He wus a big fan of James Bond. Cudn’t go a minute without talkin about a James Bond fillum. And Wispa bars. I member he loved Wispas.
Now he’s dead. Mad. Can’t get over dat.
Dere are loads of cars parked outside de Myers house in de Park Villas when we get dere.
--Shud we bring someting? McGurk asks. Like a mass card.
--Yeah, Lucas, says Dixon. Go in and rob a mass card, willye?
--Fuck away off, I say.
I have some coppers left in me pocket after Gyles' Quay so I tell dem to hold off while I go into de shop on de corner. Dere’s enough change to get a Wispa so I go in and get one. When I come out wit de Wispa, McGurk says: Ye fat bastid. Will ye not wait til ye get home fur yer dinner?
--It’s fur Ollie.
--Shur he’s dead, says Dixon. He can’t eat it. It’s a waste of a bar.
We ring de doorbell and a man wearin a grey suit comes to de door. He doesn’t say annyting to us. He just lets us in. We cud be annybody at all. He must just know by de luk of us dat we wur friends of Ollie’s. Dere’s loads of people gaddered inside de house and dey mostly have sad faces on dem. But dey perk up when we come in. I don’t know why. It’s like dey wur waitin fur us to come in or someting. We’re de oweny young fellas dere so maybe dey’re glad to see some us are still alive.
It feels really awkward bein dere. I wunt to kill McGurk fur bringin us. Well...not really kill him...ah ye know whut I mean.
A woman comes over and she hugs each one of us. It’s Ollie’s mudder. She luks like she’s bin cryin but now she’s got a big smile on her face.
--I’m sorry dose bastids killt yer Ollie, Dixon blurts out.
I’m shocked he says de word bastids in front of her. I wudn’t even say dat word in front of me own parents. Dey ‘d flatten me. But Mrs. Myers doesn’t react to Dixon’s cursin. She doesn’t care. She nods slowly wit her eyes closed. And den she smiles at de tree of us.
--I’m so happy yous came. Yer good boys.
She brings us into de living room. De coffin is laid out beside the front window. Mrs. Myers nudges us forward. I get a fear inside me den as I don’t really know whut it’s goin to luk like: de dead body. I’ve always bin interested in whut dey luk like but now I’m not so sure I wunt to see.
When we get to de coffin, it’s like we’re steppin into Heaven or someting, or a fancier-lukin church, cause dere’s flowers all around and loads of white silk. And den dere’s Ollie in de middle of it all.
He’s wearin his confirmation suit – a navy waistcoat, black-striped tie. His face is so clean. I never saw it dat clean before. Very white. It’s weerd dat he can’t say annyting. I keep expectin his eyes to open and ask me if I watched Moonraker last night. But he doesn’t do dat. He just lies dere silent.
--I bought dis fur him, I say to Mrs. Myers, showing her de Wispa.
--Ah, yer an angel, she says. Just leave it down dere beside him.
So I place de Wispa bar down in de coffin next to his hand. I’m careful not to touch his wee frozen hand as I place de bar down.
We stand dere fur a wee bit lukin down at Ollie’s body. None of us know whut to say. It gets to a point whur I’m hopin someone will say annyting at all so dat we can leave.
--He’s lookin down at yous now, boys, says Mrs. Myers.
--Ye mean lukin up? says Dixon.
--No, he’s lookin down at yous. From up there, you know.
When we eventually leave de Myers house, it’s a short while before anny of us say a word. It’s like all tree of us are in a kind of shock. De joyriders dat killt Ollie are in jail. Jail fur young fellas cause dey weren’t much older dan us. But it seems kind of pointless. Cause he’s still dead no matter whut way ye luk at it.
De tree of us stay quiet as we walk up de street but den Dixon breaks de silence and says: Ye know, I cud murder a Wispa.
--Me too, says McGurk.
I’m in agreement, so I check me pockets fur change, give dem a nod, and we keep walkin.
--He lukt like James Bond in his confirmation suit, didn’t he? I say to de boys as we go into de corner shop.