the sound: Stevie Ray Vaughn – Tightrope, The Doors – Peace Frog, Trooper – We’re Here for a Good Time, Crosby Stills Nash & Young – Almost Cut My Hair, Janis Joplin – Try, Allman Bros – Midnight Rider
The constable walks over to the table and stands behind Robert’s chair. He clears his throat, looks at his mother and then down at his hands. “Robert I am obligated to tell you that you have the right to remain silent…” he begins.
His mother slaps the table top with the flat of her hand and for all intents and purposes it sounds suspiciously like a gunshot. (Having heard more than one in the last few days – it’s a likely comparison!) accompanied by the jangling of her large golden charm bracelet.
“Not till after me tea!” she exclaims in a voice that books no argument.
The constable feels a need, none the less, “but, but Mama – they’re waiting outside for me to bring him out” he stammers.
“well then,” says their mother, “they’ll be waiting outside longer, or they will be joining us….but you will not be taking your brother off to the hoosegow before the tea is done!”
“it’s ok Mama” Robert begins, “wee Jaimie’s just doing his job”
“wee?” I think
His mother’s response is a resounding “harrumph! Finish the tea!”
We all make haste to finish our tea. Mrs. K gets up as Robert does and begins to flutter about decidedly like someone approximately a third of her size. Robert turns to Jaimie and puts his hands up offering Jaimie the ability to re-cuff him.
“fat lot of good that’ll do” is Jaimie’s response…”Jesus, Mary and Joseph Robert…do not make me have to shoot you in Mama’s kitchen”
Once again the lips engage before the brain and I mutter into my teacup “why not?…he’s already shot Barry”.
No sooner did the words come out of my mouth than I realized my mistake. I peek up over the rim of my teacup to see everyone in the room staring at me, slack mouthed…”shit shit shit” is the best I can do.
Mrs. K whips around to face Robert and Jaimie. “did you shoot your brother? Is that the accident this child alluded to earlier….answer me boy! DID YOU SHOOT YOUR BABY BROTHER????” Funny, I think, how her accent disappears when she’s angry.
I look up at her and see snapping green eyes and two very red angry dots on her cheeks and think I am so very glad not to be on the receiving end of that just as Rosie plants a firm but vicious kick at my ankle under the table.
“Mumph! Ow!” I snort and choke on my tea.
Robert hangs his head and just shakes it back and forth…”Mama – you know the way he gets…he just never stops….on and on and on….and it get’s on my nerves”
“so you shoot him? HE GETS ON YOUR NERVES SO YOU SHOT HIM?” her voice rises an octave and a decibel. She pauses and then gets deadly quiet….“Roibhilín – you are you father’s son…and we all know what a waste of whiskey he was…you get out of this home and you do not return until you can bring your brother home and home healthy!”
“Well the Dr said he’s gonna be fine!” I pipe up and then slump down in my chair at the rather vivid glare’s I get from all the people in the room.
Robert and Jaimie head towards the kitchen door, Grey stands and moves towards his mother…who turns to me and says with some vehemence…”You! Young lady!…You are going to get yourself into some verra verra serious trouble if you don’t learn to curb that tongue!” I notice that the accent is back.
Grey and Rosie both turn to look at me as we hear the sound of Robert and Jaimie leave via the front door and the screen door slams behind them.
“yer not saying anything my own mother hasn’t been trying to tell me most of my life” I mutter yet again.
“THEN LISTEN TO HER!” the very dignified Mrs K shrieks at me in a most undignified manner. “If you learn nothing…learn when to be still!”
“Point taken” I reply as she begins to weep.
Three days later Robert, who has been charged with 2 counts of assaulting a police officer and vandalism of city property for the damage done to the parking meters he’d kicked the tops off of is let out on his mother’s bond.
While he’s been gone, I’ve been making myself comfortable in his house and spending a lot of time with his sister and his mother. I’ve been learning important girl things like how to can vegetables, how to hoe a row, how to crochet doilies and the most all important – how to wash and iron those all stark whit Irish linen napkins and table cloths.