Saturday, July 03, 2010

Spitting Apples

That summer the people of the five-mile threw a party in celebration of Bewley Stillorgan coming-of-age. They came by oxcart and cattle-car, from Castleknock, Ballsbridge and Lecumberri, arriving one after the other until the streets were overflowing with people.

He awoke with a start, his arms pinned behind his back. This was not unusual; it had happened once before… twice possibly, possibly more. He remembered going to a carnival the night before… or was it a celebration. He saw a woman carrying a feeble child under her arm, the child’s face red with exhaustion, the mother berating it for making unearthly noises. Struggling to get a better look the mother places the feeble child on the ground next to her, its head wobbling like a pumpkin on a fencepost. Craning to see above the crowd the mother kicks the feeble child with her shoe, the child falling over onto its back. Winching her way deeper into the mob, arms flailing, the mother leaves the feeble child writhing on the ground, its mouth spitting apples. He remembers hearing a deafening clank, like a train coming to a juddering stop, people dispersing every-which-where, the feeble child cowering. Swept up under scattering feet the feeble child raises its weakly arms over its head and wails. Returning home he couldn’t help but feel a sickening in his guts, a dull ache corseting through his bones like wildfire.

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