Rickie O’Neill – Liquor, Guns & Ammo

Rickie O’Neill is a 30-year-old writer, actor, and musician originally from Claremorris, Mayo. For the past 9 years, Rickie has been a session musician and full-time drummer for the Irish band The Saw Doctors. In 2015 he changed his course slightly and began writing, starting off with short film scripts and poetry (which he still enjoys writing very much to this day). In 2017 he took a keen interest in the short story form and was particularly impacted by how powerful a short story can be as opposed to a long-drawn-out novel. Plus, you finish them quicker. He would love to share his piece titled “Liquor, Guns & Ammo” with you today. Rickie’s writing influences include Anton Checkov, Roald Dahl, George Saunders, Lafcadio Hearn, Mike McCormack, Donal Ryan.

Liquor, Guns & Ammo

By Rickie O’Neill

My parents didn’t often encourage us to communicate with society, they didn’t often encourage us to wander beyond the confines of the park, and when I say ‘they didn’t often’, what I really mean is – they never did – not once. .
My brother and I couldn’t talk with no-one and as luck would have it, we didn’t know how to either,
well, not really –
in all honesty we were just a couple of bogus fucks, a pair of lopsided tweakers who would scrounge about the dust mounds and dry rock looking for a way out, or at least for something that was in some ways valuable,
we took things is what I’m trying to say,
but we didn’t just take any old rubbish – God no –
True theft, on our part, was only ever acknowledged if the item in question happened to be a thing we both liked
– or even needed –
and once that was established we’d go on to debate at length – not always – whether or not the thing was even worth hanging on to at all –
Did it have a purpose?
Would it serve us – me and you brother – and the meagre trappings of our day to day existence?
it was all fine and well, liking a foreign thing because of how it looked, but if the damn thing was bloody well piss pot useless to even the small practices of basic life, then what would it be to us only a deadened weight on our backs – a dreary collector of dust – the thing (whatever it was), would simply be nothing –
however, I must not neglect to mention that
there were oftentimes quarrels among us too, no matter the item
– be it good, bad or indifferent –
and it was here, in these instances that blood would be drawn out
and egos torn asunder –
“I think we should leave it..” he would say
“That’s funny, I think we should take it”
“I said leave the damn thing”
“And I’m telling you otherwise”
“Are you deaf or something?”
and off we’d go from there – throwing our idle kicks and our punches around and missing more marks and heads than we knew what to do with, and to be honest with you reader, it was, if I may say it, the hardest part of all in a lot of respects
– making those hard decisions and having those easy fights – especially when its your own blood and brother that you are trading blows with,
and we knew it too, that we should have liked each other more – and to a degree, I suppose we did – but those hardened scrapes, you must understand, would oftentimes be more strenuous on us and our relationship than the grim life we led itself, funnily enough,
but we weren’t babies anymore, not by any means, we were men at that stage
– at least that’s what we thought of ourselves –
and we knew that it had to be done, and if there was one thing we could have been absolutely certain about, it was that, and that it always had to happen –
as questions, quite quickly, for us, became a big thing, and we had lots of them too, hidden well away behind the shadowy patches of our unconscious minds, yet we never did let them fly for whatever reason,
and all fairly legitimate questions too in their own right, ones so large and potent that they would, in short time, fall away gracefully from our young tongues like a fistful of jagged stones into the drowning darkness of some great unretrievable abyss – but
“Wait a second” I would say “I think I hear something, a saviour maybe”
“You don’t hear anything” he would say back “You fool, that’s just the wind”
and whenever I’d ask if there was anything we could maybe do to help on the situation, he would just look at me through those dead dark eyes of his and say
“Keep on listening to it brother, alright, there’s no-one here but us and we have not much else to be doing” and that would, more often than not, settle me down a great deal
“Thank you friend” I would say to him “I felt better there for a moment, I can honestly say that I did” – and on top of that
Our parents – Raymond & Rita – were horrible people too –
a much different breed than my brother and I, and my brother would oftentimes say it – that they were much more unstable, scatty and downright useless than he and I ever had been and “Thank the Gods for that” and
Sooner or later we figured that if we weren’t careful, we would become them – in time slowly drifting away from this tempting childish innocence, like rogue glaciers, into the vague shadows of what they were all about, and so knock on wood we all stay good and everything else
but truth was, they didn’t know anything about much at all, and one could easily tell that that was the case just by looking at the way they went about their things – for it was a painful display & eye wateringly obvious at times,
the way they would shamelessly traipse around the hot dust – doing nothing much, entertaining seizures, tweaking, fighting with one another, bleeding, pawning liquor, guns and ammo, fucking, spitting and talking in dulled slurs, with occasional remarks passed (when the getting was good) on the half dozen animals we had kept scattered about the place, as she would say
“We have something dead over on the far side”
to which he’d reply
“Yeah, that’s just the donkey”

“We should move it”

“Should we?”

“Of course we should!”

“If we move it today then we’ll have nothing to do tomorrow. . .or even the next day after that”

“Alright then” she would say back “Leave him where he is, cover him up for now, and we’ll shift him away when we simply can’t hack the smell of him or her no more, fair?”
and away they would both go, like a couple of impoverished sloths, into the dry rise heat of our fallen desert, never easing a look backwards, and
yet they would – many years after the rush of their own youth – acquire a small amount of intelligence from somewhere – somehow – and this was truth,
the details of which my brother and I would never fully understand in our own lives, and neither did we mind it,
for just the small act of having to listen to them in their present form each night by the fire was more than enough for us younglings, and any further probing we did
– be it into the archives of their past, present or future –
would only seem like something that was over indulgent,
and totally nonsensical on our behalf, and
On the good evenings – when the sun would hang about that golden sky for an extra hour or so – they would, for their own amusement, rhyme off simultaneously (at a moment’s notice) the intimate details of the world to us, claiming that society was an altogether fragmented construct of toxic hope, people, lies and feathered illusions, and that
“Life is a good life when life is like this” and she would announce it loud, as best she could, while trying to hold up her head,
and that we should
“Embrace the rancidness of the numbness”
– and he would say it soon after, slowly wetting his trousers – “Embrace it, Love it, if you can love it – Then you can disappear, whenever you like”
and they – the two of them, lovers – would go on like this for hours and hours, talking just, in the far down dregs of dire negativity, certain of their own philosophy, and of how it all flowed and wove itself together into one big mired ball of perfect ‘made up’ sense
“Do you boys understand?”
“Yes Father. We do”
“Good” he would say back, his eyes closed, “That’s really something. .”
and in the end, it was my shy and blatant brother that rose up my attention to it all,
for he – unlike myself – had always held a fairly hard stance on the whole matter
– on everything really –
saying oftentimes that the two ‘un-lovables’ were so unforgivably full of the brown stuff
that days, and even reality itself (in a lot of ways) had fallen completely from their grasp, and so to hell with all that and fuck their kind dearly, simply because
“Those two withered carrots can barely stand up anymore”
and he would scream it – almost in tears – and we have to put up with it we do – you and I brother. .
well I call bullshit – On this,
On them,
On everything
learned intellects my ass – parasitic mules more like,
parasitic mules who would want the sharp and hard bullet, quick and fast,
for in his eyes it was all a pathetic facade that gave them – ‘the purposeless’ – some purpose, and we
– the doomed prodigies –
were just unfortunate enough in that we happened to be around in time to witness it,
for we were, in his own words
“The paralysed hares in the devil’s own firing line, and that’s the way we would stay if we weren’t careful enough by our means”

and I have to say the boy was right, and blade-sharp for five

The End



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1 Response to Rickie O’Neill – Liquor, Guns & Ammo

  1. Veronica Williams says:

    Loves the flow of the story. and the style of writing . Great title.
    .The poems got straight to the heart of the questions. food for thought.

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