The Guest by EM Reapy

EM Reapy is a Mayo writer and has an MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University, Belfast. In 2012, she was chosen as Tyrone Guthrie’s Exchange Irish Writer to Varuna Writers’ House Sydney. She edits and is director of Shore Writers’ Festival in Enniscrone. In November, in collaboration with Doire Press, she compiled and edited ’30 under 30′ an anthology collection of young Irish writing. She is redrafting a feature length script at present.


The Guest

 By EM Reapy

He’s down from Dublin for the weekend. Isn’t he fucking mighty? Coming home one wet weekend for the summer. And Mam and the auld lad have the house cleaned and the steak and onions chopped. The carrot soup is bubbling over the pot. He’s bringing a friend, he says.

Mam is wearing a silky green scarf and I’ve never seen it before. She’s humming and spraying air freshener and has put the dogs out since yesterday. They bark and scratch the back door and every so often she lets a roar out to stop them.

A friend, he says.

The auld lad made me do the farm alone earlier. Made me do it so he could go down town to the Credit Union and take out a little present for him. He says it’s what a father does for his eldest. A son who’s making his way in the city. Socializing with other guards. Politicians. Bankers. I said he has loads of money, wouldn’t we be as well galvanising the old turf shed and making use of it again. The auld lad told me to stop being a miserable bastard.

A friend, he says.

I have friends. I brought the Lynskey girl home one Saturday night and rode her. She woke up with fluffy hair, put on denim shorts too short for a Sunday morning. She walked out barefoot holding her black high heels in her hands and she waved a bye as she went out the drive, doing the walk of shame until her younger brother collected her in his boy racer Fiesta. And I told Mam I had a girlfriend when we sat down for the breakfast. I sawed off half a sausage and stabbed it into the egg yoke. The yellow overflowed on the plate.

Mam said was it that tramp from last night? A good girlfriend wouldn’t let that kind of thing happen under any parent’s roof. No matter how persuasive the fella might be. That girl’s family wouldn’t have taught her manners anyway, the auld lad said. Not with a father like hers. Did I not know the father tried to screw our family out of four acres by planting hedges on our side of the back fields? Well he did, back in the seventies. He got a slap for it too off the auld lad. And Mam had a show down with Mrs. Lynskey after Christmas mass a few years back. Mrs. Lynskey with her stoat wrap, Chanel No. 5 and sherry leaking out of her. Mam said she needed to be brought back to earth.

Then the auld lad said not to be mixing with that tight arse’s daughter as he cleared his throat into the fire. Mam agreed and shoved an apple tart into the oven.

I texted the Lynskey girl for a few weeks and met her in Flanagan’s pub on Friday and Saturday night, got the shift and the wank after the lock in. But she would never be good enough so I never brought her back again.

The auld lad tells me to smarten up. Have a shower and don’t be embarrassing the brother when he gets in. The cow shite under my nails and the three day shadow on my cheeks. I change into a clean blue shirt and jeans and scrub my hands but I don’t shave.

What time are they even coming? I ask and Mam tells me to hush and to get the Budweiser from out of the cold house.

I hope there’s enough in a crate, she says.

I sigh and stomp towards the door. The dogs run inside and go wild, hopping all over the couches and onto Mam and she eats me for it.

I whistle and shout. Misty, Sam, out with ye. Out.

And I go out with them.

I get the crate of cans, get pissed wet with the rain slamming down and lumber back into the house. I warm my hands up in front of the hearth. Mam tells me to put more coal on.

There’s a beep outside and the flash of headlights. He pulls up the driveway in his red Japanese motor. Mam is squealing and the auld lad’s gone to the front door.

Out he hops, ducking from the rain to the passenger side. He opens it and Mam holds up the net curtain and is straining to look at the passenger.

My jaw drops. I laugh.

Is that the friend? I say and wonder will Mam and Dad be impressed with this Lynskey sister.

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