The Welder

by Neil McCarthy

For a man with a poor command of English, he managed

to describe his recent redundancy with aplomb.

“One week, everything perfect; the next week —”

He mimicked a noose being fixed around his neck and

I sat and watched his eyes bulge.


He worked as a welding engineer for 30 years.

Commuted 15 minutes a day from one village to the next.

Saved up enough to buy two Italian motorbikes —

the brand escapes me — one with a sidecar for his wife.

Got laid off when the Americans liquidized the company.


I asked him what plan B was. He said “Beer.”

I told him that probably wasn´t the best idea, what with the

motorbikes and all that.

He said “No, I make beer.”

I told him that was a brilliant idea, what with microbreweries

being all the rage these days.

I held my knuckles up as a congratulatory gesture expecting

a fist bump, but he didn´t understand the protocol

and left me hanging.