It’s a wet and freezing Thursday night and Thomas Street is teeming with pretty, young things raucously celebrating… something or other. When you’re pretty and young, I suppose, you don’t really need an excuse.
We duck down Francis Street and stick our heads in the door of the Liberty Belle. There are football scarves hanging from the ceiling and a load of old drunks codgering at the bar. A little more our speed. The barman serves us two creamy pints of Guinness, and I tell Aidan about the time I visited the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
“Useless. We spend the whole day looking for it. Turns out it’s just a fucking bell.”
“What were you expecting?”
“I dunno. Something.”
We take a table down the back and are soon joined by the rest of our group. Fergus’ girlfriend gave him the heave-ho before Christmas. (“It was a case of get a job, or get out,” he explains. Well, there was only ever going to be one answer there.) Now he’s back sharing bunk beds with his teenage brother.
And let’s just say, teenage boys will be teenage boys.
“You mean he’s?”
“As soon as the lights go out,” says Fergus. “Regular as clockwork.”
The lads are disgusted.
“That’s a rough, man.”
Linda is confused. She doesn’t get what we’re talking about.
You know, I tell Fergus, something like that happened to me in a hostel once. I thought it was the guy in the bunk below. Turned out in the end to be a dripping tap.
Fergus is annoyed.
“It’s not a dripping tap,” he snaps. “It’s me little brother. He’s a dirty bollocks.”
“Oh my God,” gasps Linda. “What are you going to do?”
Fergus shrugs. That’s the question.
“You could always join in yourself,” sniggers Aidan. “Get a bit of a dueling banjos thing going.”
Linda is appalled.
“Stop it,” she says. “You should talk to him Fergus. You never know. He might have some, I dunno, questions or something?”
We all laugh.
“I’m pretty sure he hasn’t any questions,” smiles Fergus. “This one he’s figured out all on his own.”
There’s only thing for it then, I tell Fergus. Get a fucking job. Get your own place. Leave your little brother to masturbate in peace.
Fergus dismisses the suggestion out of hand.
“That’s just crazy talk,” he says.