Ticking away the times and days . Watching the sunshine bright in the emerald sky. Felling the minutes triple on the vortex of your spine. The times they are a changing. Just not quick enough.
Martin always found himself in the same seat in the same part of the same pub. Solemnly wishing a sullen silver satiated sincerity, Martin’s humour perked at the sight and step of his brother in arms, regardless that his battle armour had been replaced with frills and shirts. But as one man treats himself, so he must hold others. Jeremy, that most sacred of Scots was here. He left out his hand to shake it, paying little heed to the insincerity found on Jeremy’s face.
“Mondays are shit”. “They are Martin, but its Wednesday”. “Numeration was never my strong point”. “Neither was keeping track of time”. “How are the twins?” “The triplets”. “Fuck, where does the time be going?” “You never lost the Irishness”. “You never understood the beauty of patriotism”. “Tell that to those crippled in the North”.
Martin grimaced. “You look well fed Ian.” “Thanks” Ian responded. “You look like you could be better fed”. “Who needs food when there’s great art to live on? I don’t see Cale and Reed living off caviar”. “You clearly didn’t hear Metal Machine Head.” “Any good?” “It’s shite”. “How’s Mary?” “Marion?” “That’s the one. How is she?” “She’s keeping well”.
They ordered another round, before their seconds to thirds, their thirds to fourths to fifths, fortwith. Pound after pound for pints notarised and sanctified. Fivers turned to tenners, as note after note took notice of the bartender. Ian pencilled the costs in his yellow notebook as he always did.
“You used to use that book for drawings. You made [burp] a good artist.” Martin slurred. Ian sniffled. “That was 1969”.
Ian was not a man who liked to show his feelings, certainly not when beverage consumption took away from his train of thought, but the mention of the late sixties left the emblem of a smile strapped on his face. Martin raised his glass. “1969”.
Ian’s tactiturnal gaze betrayed his nonchalance for reminiscing. “’Twas alright.” “ Alright?” “ We were only little”. “Speak for yourself. I’m still only thirty”.
Beside the ladies stood a jukebox. Martin had used it in the past to play Cher, Tom Jones or some early Bee Gees in the hopes of following a lady into that sanctum. Three times.
Tonight, they were far from the usual balladry as Ian Gillian bellowed about the flying smoke and Zappa and The Mothers over the sound system. Ian’s hand, knowingly or not, gyrated to the three chord riff.
Martin laughed. “I remember when that arm movement was used for more than air guitar”. Ian glared. “Bugger off”. “Oh, we did. We buggered off, in, out, any preposition that conditioned us”.
Ian chuckled. “You have a good tongue”, to which both spilled their drinks with laughter. Martin lifted his glass to regain his composure.
“We need to see more of each other.” “ Difficult with three three year olds”. “Children. That wonderful gift that keeps taking”. Martin shook Ian to show his fine intentions. “Go mbeirimid beo ag an am seo aris”. Ian raised his glass. “Up the Paddies!” Martin lowered: “Fuck the Paddies”.
Martin’s words had a truth to them. Nobody could perform in Drury Lane from the bogs of Cork. You needed to sound Liverpudian at the very least.
Ian turned to him “You never loved yourself”. “I never had someone to love me back.” “Yes you did- you took her from me!”
Martin’s eyes flittered. “You’re a gobshite Ian.”
Ian: Fuck off.
Martin: You think you have it all. Three kids, a tight arsed middle class wife, the accountancy firm and you still give me shit for the one thing I took from you.
Ian: You leave Anne and the girls out of this, or I’ll make sure you have difficulties having your own kids.
Martin: You’re right. Too far. Sorry
L.S.D. is a funny drug. Anyone who was anyone took it in the sixties (the sexties, she called it), but it’s not as fashionable in the seventies. Shame really. It makes the innocuous pub conversation a lot more bearable and interesting.
“Red is the rose, by yonder is the garden grows, fair is the lily in the valley, clear is the water that flows from the Boyne, I’m still sexier than Ian”
“Martin, I can hear ya, ya cunt”.
What are words? They’re simply things humans use for facility, ease , decoration. What’s innovation? What’s amicability? What’s government? What’s The Beatles? What’s treason? What’s drinking? What’s Genevieve?
“I robbed her from you, Ian and I’m sorry. But you found Anne. What did I find? Ibsen and Berkoff, that’s what. Not much of a hand job from Hedda”.
Ian stiffened. “You still had the one woman I ever loved. The only person I ever loved”.
Man is a fickle creature. They find themselves prone to vices. War. Drugs. Beer. Then the ticking stops and the talking starts.