Discussion → Mickey

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    Matthew A. Hamilton
    Mar 17, 06:27am

    The Add a story button is not working for me, but I wanted to get this story out and don't know where else to put it but here.


    I spent three hours of my Friday afternoon with Mickey in Paddy’s Irish Pub in historic downtown Charleston.

    I had grown up in Charleston. After finishing up law school at The University of South Carolina, I was able to move back with my wife, Sarah, and open up a small practice. Not much money in it, not like corporate law, but we were comfortable and happy.

    Mickey was my brother-in-law and Sarah asked me to spend time with him. Reluctantly, I agreed.

    Having lost his job and house and wife to cancer, all in three weeks, Mickey was staying with us for a few days until he got back on his feet. I tried to invite some friends of mine to go with me to meet him, but they were all busy. I decided to blame them if I stabbed him with a steak knife. Lost job and house and a dead wife or not, I never liked Mickey. He had a temper. He was an alcoholic, Irish loser. He came after Sarah once and I told him that if he ever did that again, I was going to strap bricks to his legs, drag him back to his native Ireland, and throw him in the Celtic Sea. He didn’t bother her after that and she forgave him.

    I first met Mickey at Sarah’s and mine’s wedding. After speaking with him for only ten minutes, I realized that he was an obvious aristocrat of the Loony Bin Empire and although he organized more than one coherent sentence, it was clear to me that he wasn’t shuffling with a full deck. Afterward, I asked Sarah if her brother had been adopted or had fallen down the stairs when he was a toddler, but she elbowed me in the gut and said, ‘course he’s my brother. Shut up.’

    Mickey was sitting in a booth when I arrived.

    “Hi, Mickey,” I said, trying to be cordial.

    “Hi, Matt,” Mickey said.

    We ordered a couple of Guinness’s and a basket of onion rings. The waitress told us to let her know when we were ready to order.

    “What you want?” Mickey asked me as he motioned for the waitress, chugging his beer and sticking his hand in the basket of onion rings. The beer didn’t surprise me, but the rest blew my mind. He was the happiest man I had ever seen in my life. I wondered what was happening. I was expecting sobs and complaints, a pissed-off-with-the-world look, not smiles. Dick or not, he did love his wife.

    “A steak, medium well, and fries,” I told the waitress.

    “Give me a large stack ‘a ribs and extra sauce,” Mickey said. “Another Guinness, too.”

    Mickey slammed the last of the onions rings in his mouth.

    “You wannothern?” Mickey asked.

    He spoke with his mouth full. He always did that and he knew I hated it. The sounds he made were like a pair of rusty chainsaw battling with steel bars. I had no idea what he was saying. I usually didn’t.

    “Excuse me” Mickey,” I asked.

    “You wannothern?”

    “Swallow the onion rings, Mickey, and then tell me.”

    “Guinness, you what another Guinness?”

    “Yea, sure, okay,” I said.

    The waitress brought our beers. Mickey was half finished with his before I picked mine up. I imagined his belly lurching forward and exploding into a giant tape worm, smothered in blood and slime and shit. When the food arrived, I nibbled at it at best. It was good, but the site of Mickey slurping down a pig’s rib cage caused my throat to clam up and my stomach to convulse uncontrollably. I excused myself and headed for the restroom.

    “Feeling alright?” Mickey asked when I returned.

    “Yea, I’m fine,” I said, sliding into the booth. “Food’s just not agreeing with me. Maybe I ate too many onion rings.”

    “Yea, onion rings make me blow gas like a Florida swamp,” Mickey said, slapping his knee and laughing like a donkey in a thunderstorm. “Wife tells me—”

    He caught himself.

    I intervened, panicked, really—I didn’t want him to freak out—but made the mistake of bringing up politics.

    “So, Sarah tells me you’re fed up with Obama’s healthcare plan,” I said. “Why? I think it’s a pretty good plan.”

    “His plan is shit,” Mickey said.

    “Yea, I know your opinion. I just said...never mind. How would you propose to make it better?”

    “Get that mon—

    I grabbed the steak knife.

    “Don’t say it,” I said. On top of being an alcoholic, Mickey was also a world class bigot.

    “Get him out of office,” Mickey said.

    “Let’s just change the subject,” I suggested.

    “Good idea,” Mickey agreed.

    “Have you been looking for a job?” I asked.

    “Yea,” Mickey said.

    “Any prospects?” I asked.

    “None so far,” Mickey said.

    Cause you haven’t look you lazy ass, I said to myself.

    “I have a friend in construction,” I said. “I remember you used to work construction. You interested in doing it again?”

    “Mickey’s happiness awkwardly twisted into melancholy, like an overconfident dancer making a mistake during a live performance.

    “I don’t know.”

    “You don’t know? Why the hell not?” I said this as delicately as I could.

    “ Look, Mickey, you need a job. I’ll give my friend a call and tell him you can meet him on Monday morning. How’s that?”

    “Excuse me for a minute,” Mickey said.

    But when he walked out of Paddy’s, I knew he wasn’t coming back. I asked for the check, paid and slid out of the booth.

    It was going to be a long weekend.

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    Susan Gibb
    Mar 17, 07:32am

    Make sure you're signed in. You should be able to go to "stories" on the upmost right hand side of the main page, then go under the blue chart, where it says "Want to publish a story?" and click "add a story" and that should give you the form. From there it appears on the main page, then from there you can select "group it" from the top in order to send it to the Paddy Whackers group.

  • 0804d24.thumb
    Matthew A. Hamilton
    Mar 17, 05:42pm

    Ok thanks for your help.

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