The Quiet Girl - Part 2

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The Quiet Girl
 
Part Two - A Rude Awakening
by Andrea Lena DiMaggio

 

I wander o'er green hills thro' dreamy valleys,
And find a peace no other land could know.
I hear the birds make music fit for angels,
And watch the rivers laughing as they flow.


The cab pulled up to the inn. Mick got out and grabbed Shiv's bags from the boot. Walking in, Shiv noticed several young men standing in the foyer.

"Oy tole you she'd come here. Din oy?" The towheaded lad pointed to Shiv and smiled.

"An yer da girl that kicked Jamie Patterson's arse, are ye not?" He took off his San Diego Chargers baseball cap with a flourish.

"Who?" Shiv turned back to Mick, who pantomimed two hands on a steering wheel.

"Oh, yes, I suppose I am." She looked back again at Mick, who smiled.

"And she'd be happy to show you a ting or two, Paddy boy." He raised his hand in a mock threat before tossling the teen's hair.

"Now off with you, lads. This girl needs to check in and we both need a pint, so be on your way." The young men all bowed gracefully while snickering. They walked out the door, patting Paddy Boy on the back. Mick and Shiv walked to the desk, where a very large man stood, very dark and very friendly. He seemed to be of Middle Eastern descent.

"Michaeleen Torricelli, how the fook are ye...I haven't see ya since last month at yer mother's house.

"Siobhan ni Caellagh, meet me cousin Ahmed." Mick laughed softly.

"Please to meet you, miss." He smiled and hit a bell on the desk. A short red haired boy, about fourteen or so, came out from a door behind the desk.

"Take the lady's bags to room four, and mind you don't drop her laptop, or you'll be paying for it 'til yer my age, Davey Lad."

The boy smiled at Shiv and took the bags down the hall.

"I expect you’ll be stayin' at the farm sometime soon....Room's been paid for 'til next Tuesday." He smiled again wryly, as if he knew a secret.

"I made no payment other than the deposit," Shiv said as she looked back and forth between Ahmed and Mick.

"No mystery, lass. Yer coosin Heather paid for the room. I guess you might take it as a peace offerin', aye?" Ahmed grinned broadly, revealing a missing upper tooth. Shiv looked askance at him.

"Oh, the tooth. Neddie Colhane is out of town this week. I have to wait until he returns on Monday. We've only got one orthodontist in town that I'm related to." He laughed softly.

"Will you be wantin' to look at the room or are you plannin' for lunch?" Ahmed asked.

"Perhaps lunch, Ahmmie, but mostly a pint or three, yes?" Mick said as they started toward the door.

"You might want to tread softly, Miss Caellagh, yer cousin Katie is majorly pissed, and she doesn’t mind tellin' anyone and everyone who'll listen." Ahmed smiled once again, waved his hand at the direction of the pub, and retreated into the office behind the desk.

They walked down the street and over a few blocks to Cohan’s Pub, the place where Shiv’s grandfather and great uncle fought; eventually becoming good friends as well as in-laws.

As they walked inside, they were greeted by the sound of a woman singing and the strains of fiddle, flute, guitar and spoons.

The cat she went a-hunting and found the barn a-blazing
In fact she's come a-calling, a-calling, a-calling
Wake up farm boys! The barn is burning down!

And the cat she's got to hide herself behind the rat she's eating
So as not to show a smirk and maybe get a beating
The farmer slips on his dungarees and he falls down the stairs
The rats came out in their hundreds and the cat she caught a-plenty
She's got the artful dodger, the dodger, the dodger
She spied him in the burning hay the barn is burning down!

The band finished to the cheers of the crowd, which was mixed equally with men and women. Cohan’s was a latecomer to the equality dance, only opening its doors to women in the late eighties. The diminutive woman smiled as a man spoke into the mike,

“Ladies and gentlemen, thanks to Dervish once again…right here in Sligo…Dervish…a hand please.” The crowd applauded once again as the band sat back and the waitress brought them drinks.

“You’ll have to excuse the place; it’s positively modern, losin’ most of its color.” Mick joked.

The pub hadn’t seen a new coat of paint in decades, and despite the No Smoking sign on the wall behind the bar, the place still smelled of cigarettes and stale beer.

“I can see the progress they’ve made,” Shiv said, pointing to the Unisex lavatory.

“Sure, and Cohan just changed the sign, is all.” Mick seemed to wax eloquently in a brogue that fluctuated as much as the stock market.

“Hey, ya fookin’ wop, ye, how many times do I have to tell you, no fookin’ dagos allowed in here,” the man behind the bar shouted. Almost like the bartender in Mos Eisley…”No Droids allowed,” Shiv thought. The man came from around the bar and walked quickly toward Mick, a stern look on his face. But instead of hitting him, the man embraced Mick and burst out laughing.

“Siobhan ni Caellach, meet Peter Torricelli, me brother and favorite all-time barkeep.” Mick smiled and Peter wiped his hands on his pants and shook Shiv’s outstretched hand.

“Oid be quiet for the time bein’, Miss Caellach.” Peter said, pointing to the end of the bar. Sitting on a stool, holding his head in his hand was Jamie Patterson, looking very tired and sad.

“He’s been in here since ten tellin’ everyone who’ll listen how he got beat up by some ruffians at Reilly’s over in Castletown…now we know better, don’t we?” Peter said with a wink.

Shiv and Mick sat down at a table in the corner with a couple of pints. Peter had just finished taking their order when a figure blocked the light. Looking up, Shiv saw Jamie Patterson standing over her.

“Yer not foolin’ anyone, ya little fag, ya,” Jamie actually spat on her sleeve, however unintentionally.

“Oy may not be very bright, some might say, but I have a good memory…I can remember all da way back to when oy was a kid…all da way! Ye just better watch yer fookin’ arse!” He threw some coins on the table.

“Enjoy yer drink, you fookin’ queer…it’s the last one you’ll be havin’ here.” Jamie stormed out of the bar, leaving the half-full pub wondering what happened. Mick quickly assessed the situation. He put his index finger next to his head, circling it in a broad gesture.

“He’s fookin’ nuts. And he got his arse kicked by a fookin’ girl…This girl.” He laughed and Peter started clapping. Before a second had passed, the whole crowd was applauding.

“Ye might just be the most popular person here, Shiv…enjoy it while you can,” Mick continued as the crowd whistled and cheered.

“I’m going to go home and check on me dog, Miss Shiv Kelly. I’ll be by tomorrow by about nine, so you can go visit yer cousins, yes?” Mick said as they exited the pub.

“Thank you, Michaeleen Torricelli…for everything.” Shiv leaned over and kissed Mick on the cheek.

“No problem…like I said, we’re kin, yes?” He smiled and walked down the block opposite the way they came. Shiv walked up the block toward the street to the inn. She looked in a storefront, checking her image in the window. Frowning once, she shrugged her shoulders and turned the corner….right into a fist to her shoulder. She fell to the ground, hitting her elbow on the curb with a loud crack.

“Ya fookin’ fag…Who do ya tink yer foolin with that look and all?”’ Jamie Patterson stood over Shiv’s prostrate form. She rubbed her elbow and went to stand up, but fell back down, or rather was pushed rudely back down by Jamie’s boot.

“Where do ya tink yer goin’, ya fookin’ queer. Oi’m not through with you yet.” He kicked her in the side, evincing a loud cry.

“Yer after somethin’ of mine, ya fag. And Oi’ll not let you take it?” He said.

“What are you talking about?” Shiv pled as tears of pain poured down her face.

“Oi’ll tell ya what. White O”Mornin’…Yer comin’ in here without so much as an if ya please, ya fookin’ bastard.” He practically shouted.

“What…” Shiv tried to speak, but Jamie kicked her hard in the side once again.

“Shut up, fag. Oi’ll do the talkin’ Ya see, Oi’ve taken a fancy to that farm, ya see. And yer cousin Katie is the key. Oi marry her and it’s mine. And oi will marry her…she just doesn’t know it yet.” He laughed. He stepped back, looking like he was about to kick her again. One more step back, but he fell to the ground at a loud crack, owing to the gun barrel of a Smith and Wesson Thirty-Eight Special that hit him on the side of the head.

“What the fook,” he shouted, but before he could get up, a figure pounced on his back and shoved the gun in his ear.

“I wouldn’t get up just yet, Jamie Lad, if I were you.” Mick Torricelli said softly, pushing the gun against Jamie’s temple.

“Now you and me are going to have a little talk, we are, aye?” Mick almost seemed to coo.

“Now wait just a fookin’ minute,” was all Jamie could say before Mick cracked him in the head with the gun again.

“I’m sorry…I should have said I’ll do the talkin’ ya fookin’ moron.” Mick was a little louder but still calm.

“Now here’s my idea…let’s see if you go for it, shall we?” Mick pushed the gun up against Jamie’s ear and continued.

“If I so much as hear a peep out of you, I swear I will beat your fookin’ head in right here and now, do you fookin’ understand?” Mick leaned closer and whispered.

“Do you understand? A nod will do.” He laughed softly. Jamie nodded yes.

“You are not to bother this young lady, do I make myself fookin’ clear?” Mick said.

“She’s not a lady, she’s…” Jamie was interrupted by the loud crack of the gun hitting the top of his head.

“Not very bright indeed...ya fookin’ moron. Now, as I was sayin’, You will not speak to her, you will not even come close to her, aye?“ He pushed the gun against Jamie’s ear once again. Jamie nodded.

“And here’s the kicker, as they say. If I find out you’ve laid even one finger on her.” Jamie opened his mouth to speak, but the bang of the gun on his head silenced him once again.

“If you hurt her in any way, I swear on me mother’s grave I will come find you wherever you are and take this gun and blow your fookin’ brains out, do I make myself clear? Jamie nodded again. Mick stood up and offered Jamie a hand. As he was almost up, Mick kneed him in the groin.

“Now get outta here, ya fookin’ coward.” Mick said finally as Jamie beat a hasty retreat around the corner.

“Now here we go, kiddo, grab my hand,” Mick said as Shiv wiped the tears from her face with her arm. Her elbow was scraped and bloody and had already started to congeal on her sleeve. She winced and cried out loudly in pain as she stood.

“Let’s get you over to the surgery to get yourself looked at, okay?” She’s just a couple of doors down, as luck might have it. Mick said as he support her with his arm.

“O..ok…kkkay,” Shiv stammered. As they walked Mick tried to keep the mood as light as possible by singing to himself.

“And the cat she's got to hide herself behind the rat she's eating so as not to show a smirk and maybe get a beating…The farmer slips on his dungarees and he falls down the stairs….” He sang softly as he picked up the girl in his arms and carried her to the doctor’s office.

“Well, Miss Kelly, you’ve got two cracked ribs, and I’m afraid your Humerus has a small fracture. Why don’t you lie back and relax as much as you can while I get a soft cast for your arm. We’ll just tape up your ribs for now, and I want to see you back here in a few days, okay?”

The doctor left the exam room. Mick was in the waiting area, leaving Shiv to herself. She lay back and put her head on the pillow on the exam table . She closed her eyes and remembered her last conversation with her grandmother.

I've met some folks who say that I'm a dreamer,
And I've no doubt there's truth in what they say.
But sure a body's bound to be a dreamer,
When all the things she loves are far away.

“Nana, did you ever feel out of place? Like you didn’t belong?” Shiv was sitting on the floor, her head leaning against the couch and her grandmother stroked her hair. It was red and had grown as long as she had ever worn it, mirroring her grandmother’s long still-red hair.

“No, sweetie, I didn’t, but your father did. No one in town trusted the lad. He’d got quite a reputation around Innisfree, and only your mother would have anyting to do with him.” Her grandmother had lived in the States for nearly thirty years. She was eighty four and still looked youthful in her way.

“Eileen loved your dad…some felt like a child might love a stray dog, but your mom saw so much in your dad that no one else did. And she was right. He would have made a good doctor…but he love d his animals. He was a great veterinarian…had a way with people as much as animals, most would finally say, sweetie. And he would be proud if he could see you now.”

Shiv put her head in her grandmother’s lap and wept.

“Now there, there child…none of that. You’re my special girl, sweetheart, as ever was…You just have to believe in yourself as much as I do, okay….Now…no more tears. I love you Shiv…I always have and I always will. Okay?”

Shiv awoke in what seemed like only a few minutes later. The doctor was leaning over her, smiling.

“Well, darlin’ it would seem that you dozed off for quite a few…all done, you can get up now.” The doctor said. “I’ll meet you at the desk with a prescription….the chemist is just a store down from the inn.

Shiv sat up and put her blouse back on, shaking her head at the rip in the elbow and the bloody sleeve. She vaguely remembered the doctor wrapping her ribcage and she noticed the soft cast on her right arm.

“Oh well, it’s fucking ruined anyway,” she thought as she ripped the sleeve more to accommodate the cast. Getting down from the table, she grew lightheaded and needed a moment to steady herself. She walked down the hall to the front desk where the doctor placed the script in her hand.

“Remember, Miss Kelly, back in two days, okay?” The doctor smiled and retreated back to her office. Shiv turned and found Mick standing there.

“I went and got the car so you don’t have to walk. Your cousin called when she found out about the “incident.” She’s moved your visit over to the Inn for dinner tomorrow so you won't have to travel. Let’s get you over there and into bed, aye?” He smiled and offered an arm, which she took reluctantly. Fiercely independent, she favored her grandmother for more than just her red hair.

As they reached the car, a group of young men stood across the street, staring. They were the same group that she had met at the pub, but they seemed to stare with almost questioning expressions. Shiv looked at Mick who half-smiled and said softly,

“I’m sorry, Shiv, but news in a small town like this travels fast, and even faster when it’s gossip.” She looked at him with pleading eyes, hoping against hope that he had something good to say. He didn’t.

“They know…Jamie must have told them…the fookin’ bastard.” Shiv looked at him and started to shake. She looked into his eyes and saw a safe, almost fatherly glow; eyes that said, "I know," giving her permission to speak.

“Oh, God, no Mick…nooo..what am I going to do?” she said and burst into tears.

“I don’t know, but it’s going to be okay, whatever you do! It’ll be okay.” He pulled her in and like a father patted her on the back softly

“It’ll be okay.”

But dreams don't last, tho' dreams are not forgotten,
And soon I'm back to stern reality,
But tho' they paved the footways here with gold dust,
I still would choose the Innisfree.

Next: The Birds Make Music

Story base on characters created for
the motion picture, The Quiet Man
Screenplay by Fred S. Nugent
from a short story by Maurice Walsh
The Cat She Went a Huntin'
Words and Music by Sonny Condell
as performed by Dervish, featuring Cathy Jordan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOqiqBWAqcs [1]

The Isle of Innis Free
Words and Music by Dick Farrelly
as performed by Celtic Woman
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xn7rjlOxfc [2]