Everything in its right place

Kirby lies on his bed listening to the sound of a lawnmower. When it first revved up he was disgruntled, but steadily he is growing used to its afternoon moan. It helps him dream, get into that state where he isn’t awake but not sleeping either, like when there’s a radio on and you’re not really hearing the voices but they are talking all right talking all right but you’re not actually catching what they are saying they could be yapping on about any old shit.

Lawnmower, the petrol one, it must be coming from Mrs. Hanahan’s garden, the house opposite. Sunday after all. There’ll be that fresh-cut-grass-smell soon, wafting in his window. The Hanahan’s and their lawn. Kirby imagines her in her tartan skirt and sensible green cardigan, pushing, guiding the purring machine up and down the rectangular lawn. Neat lines.

Son Dermot is probably helping her. Good ol’ Derm. Probably bending with a trowel, defining the edges, or shuffling the dry earth. Maybe scattering slug pellets or killing snails. No, too much. But something useful, a watering can, his loyalty to his be-speckled mother unbending. You’d think he’d prefer to be out with his filly on a day like today? You’d be wrong. How he got such a catch in the first place Kirby doesn’t know. A weed like Dermot. A flower like Denise. The body on her. The face. Those dark eyes and the tits the tits you’d kill for! Dermot, class nerd, did all right for himself since leaving school eh? Kirby though, burned his bridges his britches with his fingers too fast to her fanny after the nightclub one night and she wouldn’t even look at him since.
Kirby groans on the bed, unable to rise and his head a-fills a-fills with humming:

sneaking outta the house and go man go man like he was gonna fuckin kill someone some cunt which he was, which was his intention all along and no cunt was gonna stop him and letting fly like that, the hoe down on top of Hanahan’s head, hoe! Kirby laughing at the very word his instrument and thinking of Denise and her mouth around Dermot’s, well she won’t be doing that anymore now will she, the two of you aul cunts can rot there in the garden for all Kirby cares Denise Denise I’m still in love with you Denis Denis oh with your eyes so blue, Denis Denis I’m so in love with you ah ah then the guitar bit and Debbie doing the fancy French lyrics

The lawnmower stops. Kirby is a little upset that it has. He was getting to like it, the thrumming. The steady moan. To sleep and dream he needs a steady moan, like when there’s a radio on and you’re not really hearing the voices but they are talking all right talking all right but you’re not really catching what they are saying they could be yapping on about any old shite. Dermot must be tidying up now; putting away all the gardening implements, making sure everything is in its right place. Rake in the corner, trowel and little spade with red handle in the green bucket next to the coiled hose next to the watering can which was a present from the late Mr. Hanahan who always got useful presents, a practical man, someone to be admired. They’ll probably have a drop of tea in the kitchen with Dermot scalding the pot and then open that box of doughnuts from Tom’s and turn on the radio and maybe hear Blondie. Kirby hears the radiopeople adopt solemn tones: Two bodies. Scandal. The world coming to. Some vox-popped-ordinary-Joe saying how it’s a terrible thing altogether, in this day and age you can’t go anywhere, nowhere safe at all. They’ll say some gang of hooligans or some sick bastard without actually saying bastard went to town on this poor lady and her son. Broad daylight. Went to town altogether. And for what? For what? The world coming to! Drugs no doubt. Some guy whacked out of his brain doped to the gills. And how can they be listening to the radio when they are already dead already dead in Kirby’s head.

Kirby wishes the lawnmower would come back on. The birds’ twittering is doing him no good at all. Those damn starlings have made a nest there under the eaves. All over the place, nervous itchy twittering and not steady at all. Kirby hopes and hopes that the lawnmower will come back on, just for a little while, just enough time to allow him to doze some more.


Colin O'Sulllivan
Colin O'Sulllivan is an Irish writer living in Japan. His debut collection of short stories (Anhedonia) has just been published by Rain Publishing (Canada). www.rainbooks.com