The door was wide open, and it drizzling outside. Stale smells of booze and cigarette smoke. Clutter, dirt, bottles, Rizla papers and cans scattered everywhere. Jesus Christ, what a bloody mess. In the front room a pair of feet in Nike runners sticking out of the Persian rug, and it rolled up in front of the fireplace, a tossed ginger head at the other end. No sign of the twins.
Floors ruined, broken glass and crockery scattered across the kitchen and hall cigarette burn holes dotted across the beige carpet in the front room. I picked up the eighteen inch engraved Waterford crystal bowl that we had got for our 20th wedding anniversary, full of dirty liquid, cigarette butts with solids floating in it, smelling of sick.
“God Almighty. How could they do this to us?” said Angela. “The bloody animals. And the stink, we’ll never get that smell out of the place. And the good bowl. The brats. What’s that?” Movement in the rolled up Persian rug. A scrawny red headed bleary-eyed teenager, rubbing his eyes sat up.
“Holy shit,” throwing himself flat on the floor again.
I could hear movement upstairs and headed for the landing.
“Look what they did,” Angela called from the kitchen, “Mother of Divine God.”
I ran back down. Angela was sitting at the kitchen table, tears rolling down her cheeks, holding the Sacred Heart picture. The glass was broken and a Hitler moustache had been painted in black felt pen on Our Lord’s face.
I headed back up the stairs and went into Cormac’s room. “Downstairs you. And bring Janet with you. How could you do this to your mother? Yous have no respect for anything or anybody.”
“I thought yous were in Lough Derg till tomorrow. What are you doing back?”
“I’ll ask the questions here, boy. Your mother went over on her ankle doing the Stations. Had to go into Sligo Regional for an X-Ray. Now, downstairs in two minutes. Bring Janet with you.”
Five minutes later they stole into the kitchen and hovered just inside the door.
“Janet, how could you let this happen?” said Angela. It was clear where this was going. Cormac stood hands in jeans pockets toeing a Budweiser bottle top on the tiled floor, head down.
“It was them friends of Cormac’s from the GAA club. They weren’t even invited. They wrecked the place. I did try to stop them coming in, Mammy, honestly but ... well.” She edged over and nuzzled her way on to Angela’s lap and began stroking her hair. “I’m not feeling so good, Mammy. My stomach. I think I’m gonna get sick.”
“Don’t be trying to change the subject, you. Sixteen years of age, you’d think we could trust yous for a couple of nights. Whose idea was it anyway to have the party? And who is that thing sleeping on the floor in the front room?” I asked. Janet edged her way towards me, putting her arm around my waist. I pushed her away.
“Well, Daddy ... I did ring a couple of my friends to come over to just hang out. Then Cormac rang a few of his pals, saying there was a party here,” said Janet.
“That’s not true and you know it. You told your pals to come dressed for a party and you told them that there would be a few lads from the club here,” yelled Cormac.
“Typical. Trying to blame me. He never admits to anything, Mammy. It was him and his friends did all the damage. One of them even got sick in the kitchen. And he brought most of the under 21 team here after Hayden’s. And Carrot stayed. The taxi man wouldn’t take him, he was so out of it.”
“Enough from the two of youse,” I said. “Now, here’s what we’re going to do. Me and your ma are heading down to the White Horse for our lunch. You have three hours to clear up this house, have it fumigated and disinfected, the way we left it. I don’t care how you do it but it better be done right. Youse managed to get enough people here last night to cause this damage, you can round up a few to sort it. And get rid of that disease of a creature in the front room whoever he is. We’ll talk more when we get back. Come on Angela.”
Originally from rural North Derry, Pat J Mullan now lives in Eadestown near Naas in Co Kildare. He is interested in short stories, flash fiction and the occasional poem.
His short stories have been published in Spontaneity, The Galway Review, Paper Swans i-pamphlet, The Incubator, Deep Water Literary Review and Word Bohemia.