By Seán Dunne


“Listen, I’ve been to space. It’s nothing to write home about. Quite frankly, there’s nothing there. The whole thing is a waste of time”.  The look on the man’s face was that of genius. It was a shame he was an idiot. 

“You’ve been to space in me hole. You can hardly make it to the fucking Jacks you useless tramp.” A scoffing sound fills the room. 

“There’s a lot more to me than meets the eye, I’ll tell you that. I was a farmer in a past life and a ladybug in another.” 

“Aye and in this one you’re a prick.” 

Pint glasses were served all round, black as ice in the Vee. 

“Jesus thanks Caithleen, you’ve enough sense in you for the both of us.” The lady was peering down with her turnips eyes and jaundiced body.

“Well I hope you’ve enough cents in your pockets for the both of you.” From here the coins were tossed around the shebeen like little vessels to the cashiers port. 

“Now where were we?”

“Space I said.” 

“Oh right, space. A cold place alright, not much comfort to it.”

“There’s not much comfort here now póg either.” The man took a gulp from his glass the size of a dirty sliotar. “They say there’s no rain above the clouds.” 

“That and no water sham.” 

“What use have I for water you gowl, my hands are better tipped around the rim of a glass than a plough.” There was confidence in his words. It was evident he didn’t believe them. 

“Your hands are better placed down at your sides so you can do no harm with them.” 

Raising his hands in an instant. “I’ll have you know these here spades have seen more than their fair share of muppets you useless gobshite.” 

“They’ll see one more if you don’t sit yourself down by God. You’re making a holy show of us.” 

The feen in question lowered his back into the chair. “A holy show is what I’ll make of you if you don’t pipe down with your talk. Space for God sake, you’re in the fucking local.” At this point the whole town had their eyes in their glasses, throwing their súile around at anything other than the scuttered disturber of the peace before them. 

Caithleen crossed around the room. “Whist you fucking horse’s arse or I’ll throw the pair of you out faster than you can say your prayers.” 

Following this stern rebuke, the village returned itself to the usual quiet chatter. They would be talking about the scene in O’Grady’s for weeks to come, and an old crone up the road would christen the inevitable casting of judgement: “Jesus I’ve never seen the likes of it.” She would later be heard to say “I tell you now, people don’t show their true colours till they come out in the wash.” 

In lowered tones the conversation returned as before. “You want to hear about space do you? Well I’ll tell you about space. Space is what you’ve got behind your eyes, and there’s nothing to fill it with but nonsense.” 

A breath of air. “I was a spaceman Ruairí and you know it. And I’m telling you now there’s not much up there.” 

Pointing to his companions head. “There’s not much up there either I’ll tell you.” 

“You may be right, I haven’t been the same since.” 

This sheer disregard for the truth angered our violent friend of before. He took his glass and shattered it over the liar’s face, breaking into small pieces as it did in his eyebrows. It wasn’t long before there were hands upon him and he was tossed out by a man he called “Big Jim Larkin” in disgrace. 

On the street the air was cold. But high above, mocking in their grace, were the stars.