The West Coast Lads
By sean mcnulty
Across the country, pictures of Ireland were being trampled and spat upon by an irreverent force. In every flower there was a coward. In every leaf a shaking mistrust of the branch it hung from. The land surrounding the house of Elder was under lock and hold by the force, the trees seized by tyrannical winds and the hills and the house itself clapped in irons.
Seamus Miller was on the TV again. The six o’clock news and forecast. No-one was listening, except for Imogen who caught some of it because one of her ears itched every time the meteorologist’s words were overwhelmed by the scraping noises of interference.
We’re in the middle of it now CHHCHHCHH-CHHCHHCHH The heavy rainfall is expected to last into the night CHHCHHCHH-CHHCHHCHH diminish in the early hours of the morning. Having said that, there is the risk, especially in western areas, of flooding and house-falling so every precaution CHHCHHCHH-CHHCHHCHH dry through Sunday but strong winds will continue CHHCHHCHH-CHHCHHCHH Things should begin to settle later on in the evening and we are likely from Monday to experience brighter sunnier conditions with no fear, no angst, no feelings of inadequacy, no CHHCHHCHH-CHHCHHCHH gloom or hate in our hearts, no CHHCHHCHH-CHHCHHCHH
She was beginning to hear ghosts now with every machine beset with fault, with every buzz, every blast, every flutter and wow.
Many had retreated to the kitchen to gobble down Offaly stew, but some remained in the front room: they being Elder, Knox, Imogen, Ismay Tasse and Mr Brennan. Knox and Elder were getting the light set up and moving chairs around so as Imogen could conduct an interview with Ms Tasse. Even with the ginger billow of the fire, and other ambient light sources in the room, Elder was adamant that they use the expensive equipment he had whenever they could for optimal image quality, especially the vintage Mole Richardson movie light he had, despite the vexing reactions it drew from his apostles when their faces ignited. The stand was heavy and it scratched the floorboards as he jerked it left and right indecisively. He was in réalisateur mode again, darting around like an aged tennis player; but his opponent, though younger and fitter, was no Jimmy Connors, which is to say, Knox was like an unshakeable morning after in subdued operation. A burnout, the kind Imogen perpetuated sentimental regard for.
Had Imogen ever clasped eyes on a man so captivated by the blow? Yes, in college she had. She’d courted a fair few, all of them strapping west coast lads with fishermen for fathers and loved intensely by their mothers, the prototypical and most venerated of housewives. Let loose in the world, they flocked to the counterculture movements, dull-witted but good-natured lugs, leaving trails of bohemian wool behind them. Her tastes in men had moved on. She no longer went for the hirsute and unkempt type, no matter how tall, handsome and pleasurably dense, but she maintained a fondness for those men and wouldn’t at all mind a society of burnouts like them, in all their affable grandeur. Still, she might not, as Elder would, appoint Knox head of the government, being the astonishing laggard he so obviously was.
Would the world ever see the likes of Knox again going into the eighties with racketeers pushing the buttons and that cavalier Thatcher now in power over the water? Hopefully, all was not lost.