Sunday, 10 November 2019
110 Generous Backers
This is a joyful jolly time. Dolly Considine’s Hotel is 60% funded, I should be singing from the rooftops, thanking my supporters and encouraging them to tell their friends all about my exciting wonderful inciteful insightful optimistic magical book. But instead; I’m trying to figure out why I’ve been resisting writing and sharing this happy update with you.
I have one hundred and ten wonderful supporters. Really, it’s true, 110 generous people want to see Dolly Considine’s Hotel published; their belief in me is so strong, not only do they wish me well, they’ve pledged hard cash in support of me and my project. It’s just awesome. No wonder I want to hide under the duvet and pretend it’s all happening to someone else.
But I’m not hiding under the duvet, I’m here, I’m saying thank you; I’m facing up to the responsibility, and because the only meaningful way I can demonstrate my gratitude and keep you all onboard is to share another sample from Dolly and Julian’s adventures; here it is. Please enjoy and tell your generous friends how they too can have their names listed as supporters.
Dolly Considine’s Hotel: June 1983
A hundred years of cooking smells cloyed through the kitchen door towards Julian. He surrendered to Brendan’s pushing to allow old fried bread and burnt black pudding assail his nostrils; overcooked cabbage waited its turn, and beyond that, a rich mist of cigarette smoke and boiling bacon called him in.
Brendan lifted him by the shoulders of his army jacket and dropped him in front of a grey pitted Belfast sink, before rocking back against the dangerous looking industrial gas cooker propped up on two timber blocks. The bashed zinc counter was covered in dishes revealing details of dried cereals and fried breakfasts. The floor was sticky with the same grease that was taking colour out of the painted walls and adding colour to the once-white ceiling. He could taste the bacon rind Brendan scraped from the dirty plates, the congealed grease generously coming along, swallowing without chewing as he watched Julian.
“I could have snapped your neck. Easily,” Brendan said as Julian moved three burnt pots out of the sink to rinse the sticky lime cordial from his arm.
The barred window beyond the sink looked out onto the concrete yard littered with broken bottle crates. A rusted glass-fronted fridge stood with the open door hanging off; framing the stack of bar stools beyond, their broken legs like piled corpses waiting to be brought back to life. The echoes of a saucy singing maid with clothes pegs between her teeth, filling the long gone clothesline with sheets and pillowcases, were loud enough to rattle the window’s cobwebbed glass.
“I know how to kill a man so no one knows he’s dead for ages and the police can’t prove anything. You could be cold on a slab now. And you’d deserve it for stabbing Sylvia and upsetting Mrs McClean.”
He wedged Julian against the sink and began to feel him up and down.
“Where’s the knife? How did you get Sylvia to say it was someone else? I was shifting crates from the street into the cellar and would have seen him. You are a fucking liar as well as a dirty robber and a girl slasher. If I ever see you around here again, you’re dead. Do you hear me?”
Julian wriggled his bottom against Brendan and the man pulled away.
“Dirty queer. Fucking bum boy. That’s what you are. Mrs McClean will never give you a job, never. She hates queers.”
“There’s no vacancy. There never has been a vacancy.” Julian said, adopting the woman’s own tone.
“She only said that because she hates you. You’re too small to work in the Curragh House Hotel. Little Shrimp. Little faggot shrimp.”
“Brendan, watch your language.” It was Mrs McClean. “Have you made Julian a cup of tea? Sweet tea is best for a shock. Isn’t that right? And a cup for Sylvia. Make a big pot and we can all have a drop.
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