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The Irish Irish / Part 3
by Gregory Wilde  /  fiction  /  16 Sep 2007

The father ran fast, screaming something awful about English tyrants and Irish tyranny.  He thought I was English.
            "He's gonna fucking kill us!" Julian yelled.
            I turned my head to find Julian behind me, but saw Collin Farrell on his stoop, drinking a pint of Guinness.  He was reading the Irish Times and had a cigarette dangling from his mouth.  He stood up and looked at Julian and me running down the block like vagabonds.
            "Kill 'um!  Fucking kill those cocks," Farrell yelled.
            "Fuck you, you bloody arse!" Julian screamed. He ran into Farrell's yard and spit.  Farrell laughed and continued to yell, but now in Gaelic, surprisingly.  He then did an Irish jig on his porch, while waving his fist into the air.
             "Bloody kill 'um!" he screamed, repeatedly.
            We made it to the guard shack, but it was locked and empty.  A gunshot seared across the evening sky, and we ducked behind the shack and continued running towards the bus stop down the road.
            Julian lost his pants and shirt somewhere along the way, but still had his wallet inside his right hand. We ran to Phoenix Park and entered through the white gates.
            We sprinted as far and as fast as we could, but the father must have been a track star in his youth.  We couldn't gain any ground on him.  My heart began to burn, and my legs started stiffening.  The father was only fifty yards from us.
            I collapsed to the grass and covered my face.  He had me.  Julian buckled in his frayed boxer shorts a few yards from me.  He crawled behind some shrubs and started groaning.  The father stopped running and stood behind the falling evening sun, in the most enchanting park I'd ever seen, lowering his hunting rifle in our direction.  He tried to find aim.  We waited for our death, and I thought about how much I wanted to live.  Sometimes it takes death to want to exist.  I wanted to see my parents again, and I wanted to say goodbye to my friends and enemies.  I wanted to see the sun glimmer through the trees in the courtyard of the Globetrotter's hostel, while drinking a cup of Irish breakfast tea.  I wanted to see my godmother and all her paintings, while we had a bottle of cheap French wine.  But most of all I wanted to live longer than today, and it made me cry.
            The father walked in our direction.  The sky was bright orange, and I heard the hum of silence.  This is what it must sound like when you die, I thought.  I didn't want to, but I did think of the Irish girl I saw once in an old café on Grafton Street, with the rain coming down, and the moon whispering into the clouds.
            The father stopped a few yards from me.  He rammed the rifle butt into the grass.  With the barrel facing the orange sky, he opened the chamber and loaded a bullet.  I felt the metal shaft pushing into my forehead.
            "Please," I said, "Please don't do it.  I'm sorry."
            I could hear his heavy breathing.  The rifle pushed harder into my forehead.
            "One," he said.
            "No." I screamed.
            "Please.  Please, I'm sorry, God!"
            He lifted the rifle from my head and pulled the trigger.  I heard the sound of time ending.  The world was black and still.  I opened my eyes, and I was still there.  The ground had taken my bullet.  The father bent down and looked into my eyes.
            "You're alive, remember that," he said.
            I closed my eyes and waited for his footsteps to join the sea of dead leaves.  I opened my eyes and saw him walking between the trees.  The wind blew his coat open, and he disappeared into the dark.
            "You almost died," Julian said, "What did we do so wrong?"
            "Nothing," I said.  "We didn't do anything wrong."
            I got up and gave Julian my hand.  He took it and sighed.
            "You okay, John?"
            "I'll be alright.  Let's get you some clothes at my hostel."
            Julian pulled his arm around my shoulder, and we walked to the road leading to the park exit.  The lights were starting to illuminate along the pathways, and it made me feel as a part of something unearthly.  I thought of all the people who had seen this over the years, and I accepted our place in time, and how trivial it all really is.

            We arrived at Dublin centre an hour later.  Julian waited in the Trinity College courtyard while I walked back to the Globetrotter's hostel.  When I got in my room, Paulo and Giorgio were gone, but had left a note saying that they'd be waiting for me at Peter's Pub off Grafton.  And that I better have a good story.  Peter's Pub was a nice pub, just far enough off the main stretch to avoid tourists like us.  We felt out of place there, and we liked it that way.
            I opened my suitcase and grabbed a shirt, my favorite traveling pants, and an old jacket I bought at the San Francisco airport with my sister.  I didn't want to look at it anymore.  It made me feel empty.
            I exited the hostel and walked to Trinity College.  The cold air ran across my face as I walked along the Liffey.  There were some couples sitting on the old wooden benches that lined the river.  They made me feel happy, but very cold.
            Julian saw me enter the Trinity College courtyard and jogged towards me.  He told me about some security guards that wanted to arrest him, and how he outsmarted them by claiming he was in a play and was still awaiting his costume from the drama department.  The guards laughed and told him to break a leg.
            I handed Julian my clothes and he put them on.  He lit our last cigarette, and we walked to the exit of the campus, towards Peter's Pub.  The moon was hovering over the old buildings, lighting the skies and streets.  There were two girls walking in front of us when we crossed the street, talking about Manchester United in high spirits.  Julian threw his arm around my shoulder and laughed.  I laughed with him and began to think of the Irish girl as nothing more than an immature reminiscence.  And soon, I forgot that Julian was her brother.  He was mine.

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