It was fair to say that Slattery had drink taken, but then it was always fair to say that Slattery had drink taken. Today, however, he had bid a last farewell to Peggy Seymour and it was the posthumous generosity of that good woman that had brought him to his present pass.
Slattery’s present pass was, to be clear, that he was in a ditch. He counted himself fortunate that he was on his back in the ditch, for if he had fallen forwards onto his face he would have drowned by now. Still, frontways or backways, a ditch was not a good place to be at four o’clock on a February morning, especially with no means of getting out. He was banjaxed.
“Fair play to her, though.” Said Slattery to no one in particular (for as far as he knew he was the only one in the ditch). “T’was a grand sendoff. And wasn’t she a fine looking woman back then.”
Back then Peggy Seymour had been courted by every man in Nenagh. She’d rejected the lot of them, Slattery included. Slattery bore no ill will about his own rejection, sure hadn’t every other woman in Nenagh rejected him at one time or another. At least a bachelor could slip in to Tom Madden’s and take a glass or two in peace when he had a mind for it.
Peggy had run off with a foreigner, a Wicklow man. Plenty of cash and an oily charm.
“Ah, but he hadn’t the constitution for her.”
Slattery wished he hadn’t dropped the fag he had been lighting when he had leaned against the wall that wasn’t there and wound up in the ditch. He was in need of a cough and a spit.
Peggy had come back five years ago. She brought the Wicklow man’s money with her, but left the man himself in the corner of some well kept Wicklow churchyard. God rest him.
“And God rest you too, Peggy. You were the only one of the lot of them I ever really loved.” The water didn’t seem so cold now, and he smiled as he thought of her.
“And God rest you too, Michael Slattery. Leave that old carcass of yours in the ditch, O’Brian will find it when he takes the milk to the creamery. Come here to me now.”
She reached down her hand to him, and when she smiled she was as lovely as ever she had been.
John has spent forty years sitting behind a desk tapping at the keys of a computer for ten hours a day and writing about Investment Banking. Freed from the yoke of the capitalist oppressor he now sits behind a desk for five hours a day and writes about whatever he likes. Then he goes and walks the dog.