Sunday, July 24, 2011

Matters of Life & Death & Other Stories by Bernard MacLaverty (W. W. Norton & Company 2006)

'It was a shame about the Orrs having to leave,' said Bill.

'Yeah.'

'But it wouldn't have been wise for him to stay.'

'Why?'

'After the threat.'

'But all cops get threatened.'

'Not on pirate radio, they don't.' Ben stared at him. 'They gave out his address on Radio Free Whatever.'

'Fuck.'

'And the powers that be said it was a serious threat. A bomb threat. That's why he came round us all. He was very apologetic.'

'What do you mean - came round us all?'

'Didn't he come and tell you to put the girls in the back bedroom?'

'No.'

Bill looked confused.

'He said he went round everybody. Warned them.'

'Not me, he didn't.' Ben sipped at his drink and stared at Bill. 'Maybe he said something to Maureen.'

Ben went off in search of his wife. He took her from a conversation with three other women sitting on the floor and beckoned her out of the noise into a coat recess in the hall.

'Did Dawson tell you someone was itching to bomb him? Did he tell you to put the kids in the back bedroom?'

'No.'

Ben bit his lip.

'Why?' said Maureen.

'That's what I want to know. Why did he not warn us? He warned everybody else.'

'Jesus.'

'We're Catholics.' He threw back his head and whooped in disbelief. 'Fuckin Fenian bastards. That's what we are.'

You don't mean it was deliberate?'

'What other way is there of looking at it?'

'Not only did he not warn us,' Ben's eyes widened with realisation, 'he tried to set us up. That's what the bad parking of the car was all about. He wasn't drunk. He didn't miss. He parked his fucking car in front of my house so's we'd get it . . .'

'Jesus. And he's got kids of his own.'

(From the short story, 'A Trusted Neighbour')

1 comment:

Darren said...

pages 85-86

Honorble mention to the short story, 'A Belfast Memory', with its mention (inclusion?) of Charlie Tully and Belfast Celtic.