Flash Fiction Chronicles, 4 March 2013: McGreedy’s Song

McGreedy was off on a tangent. He had been talking with his friends over a smoke and a drink of his favorite Irish whiskey about taking a trip to South America. Kennedy, Aidan, Brody, and Ross knew such talk was insanity, having been present when McGreedy returned from that short jet trip to the west coast to visit his daughter. Take-off and landing had almost killed him, they figured; McGreedy had vowed never to go up in such a contraption again. Aidan, ever the comedian of the group, decided to keep McGreedy going on about his story of distant travel so they would have more to laugh about in the morning. “So how’s it to work then,” he asked over a long pull from his drink, “what, with you bein’ afraid of flyin’ and all.”

McGreedy’s lower lip grew—a sure sign of his increasing annoyance. “Ah, what do you know, Aidan? I can take the train to the border and then catch other ground transport from there!” The room erupted in laughter. As they regained their composure, Kennedy, the self-appointed poet, offered a short piece of Sir John Betjeman:

Beside those spires so spick and span
Against an unencumbered sky
The old Great Western Railway ran
When someone different was I.

Again the room erupted, this time ignited by McGreedy himself. “Ah, if you must make fun can you do it with the words of a proper Irishman?”

Kennedy studied his socks before replying, “Sorry, don’t know any Oscar Wilde about trains,” and caused another outbreak of hilarity. Everyone in the place enjoyed the quintet; they were all back bay boys, having grown up in hardworking immigrant families. Their mothers had done their time as domestics while their dads had either built the bridges that now stretched from the bay islets to the mainland or the rails that carried commerce and people into the city from their sleepy hamlet. The five of them were as much a part of the little bar as was the dark panel that covered its walls. And so they continued their night as conventionally as always, McGreedy leading the charge and the rest chiming in, like a good five-part harmony.

Written for today’s Flash Fiction Chronicles prompt.

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