The sun, a perfect egg yolk

by James Claffey

The sun, a perfect egg yolk against the blue-plate sky. Dublin, four seasons in a day: sun, rain, wind, frost, twenty cigarettes, plus a bottle of Guinness and a dropeen of whiskey. Doctor's orders. Martin's skull-cap tilted precariously as he threaded his way home after a long day hauling bricks up and down the ladder. Hod carrier, soon-to-be-father, he twisted the withered potato he kept in his trouser pocket to ward off the rheumatism. He hoped for a boy, yes, a little gossoon with fair hair and green eyes.

The Stadium packed to the rafters. Choking back the cider,  the lads headed for the entrance. Small. A waif. Curly, curly hair. Same curly hair as Amanda Fee's, how he felt the coils run through his fingers on the dancefloor as they made slow circles to “At Seventeen.” She was a “good girl,” and needed to be respected. His father said, “Treat her like a queen, lad. Like a queen.” They broke up in the springtime. April Fool's. 

The taxi from the airport sluices its way through the drenched streets. Fanagan's Funeral Home in Kimmage, he told them. No rush. His father passed while the airplane was somewhere over Greenland. Destiny's Child on the radio. Frozen waste. Wasted life. The brother was at the door of the mortuary. Quick handshake. He went in alone. Cold. Skin waxen. Hair wispy white. Unnatural. Slipped a golf-ball in his breast pocket. Bit of a bulge. Outside the sun, a perfect egg yolk against the blue-plate sky.