Chapter 68

the sound: the Band – Long Black Veil, The Band – The Weight, The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Band – I Shall Be Released, The Band – Further on Up the Road, The Band – Opehlia, The Band – Evangeline, The Band – The Shape I’m in, The Band – Helpless

Not too long after we went into the house I heard the sound of motorcycles coming up the hill behind the house, they stopped where I imagined the garden to be.

I asked Mrs. K if the shutters at the back were closed and she allowed as they were. She was sitting in a large wing backed brocade chair in front of a roaring fire in the den, shotgun across her knees.

I suggested that we move into the hallway as there were no windows there but she vetoed that idea saying that we’d be fine there unless someone started shooting.

I asked if we’d be letting “the boys” in and she informed me that we wouldn’t until we were sure they were her boys.

I was dumbfounded…who the hell else would they be?

I heard noise sounding like gunfire coming from the farm field and I turned to look at Mrs. K questioningly.

“My Roibhilín has made someone angry again” she sighed.

“pretty fuckin angry if ya ask me” I muttered.

“mind yer manners child” she admonished

“well seems to me that if people are shooting they’re pretty fuckin angry” I replied…”what the hell did he do?”

“I’m sure I wouldna know” she replied and then sunk back into her chair lips pressed together angrily. “he is tae much like his fadder…always the one with th’ grand scheme that ends up costing others and making them angry…why the boy wouldna work an honest day is beyond me!”

The sound of gunfire got closer and I began to pace from the den to the foyer and back.

“you’ll nae cure problems that way child” she told me, “sit here by the fire and we’ll finish our wee doilies”

“ok? Mrs. K?” I began, “can you see just how absurd that sounds? People are shooting guns at each other out there…and you’re in here….and you want me to make sure my stitches are tight enough on a doilly – There IS Something Seriously Wrong With You People!” I finished through clenched teeth.

“ach” she said…”if it t’will make you feel better we can move downstairs to the shelter.”

“The shelter? I asked, “there’s a fucking shelter? WHADDAYAMEAN SHELTER?” I hollered.

“What kind of shelter? Like a bomb shelter? A safe room? What the hell are we talking about here? And why didn’t ya say something about it before? Did ya just fuckin remember?”

“Ya did’na ask” she smiled. “come child…we’ll retire to the shelter in tha basement” and she rose, clutching her crochet basket in one hand and her shotgun in the other and let the way out of the den, through the foyer, along the hallway to the kitchen – where she turned left, leading to the butler’s pantry.

Between 2 sets of cupboards in the butler’s pantry she leaned forward and pulled on a panel on the wall to reveal that under the servant’s stairs there was a door, which she opened and flipped on a light.

“Come child” she said to me as she descended, “the staff is already down here.”

“Great! I yelped, “Just fucking great! The servants are safe…but me? Me you hand a fucking shotgun to! Jesus Mary and motherfucking Joseph I can’t wait to go home!”

She turned on the stair and leveled her gaze at me…”I’ll not be telling ya agin to mind yer manner’s girl!” she barked.

I nodded quietly and followed her down the stairs.

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