Category Archives: short story

the hospital part 3

The next half hour consisted of all manner of probing in a disturbingly gentle way by John who stuck needles into his arm, thermometers into his mouth, wrapped Velcro straps around his arm and finally probed his mind, asking him a heap of questions to confirm if Patsy was who he said he was. By the end of it he had forgotten his disappointment but wondered had he any blood left inside of his body. Even more unnerving was why anyone would want to pretend to be someone else, who was about to be half slaughtered on an operating table. Even one of the boys from the home of the deranged would have more sense surely than to have their back bone sliced and diced just for the fun of it. Yet going by the amount of times he had to give his name and date of birth there must be lunatics out there willing to take on surgery not meant for themselves.

“Is the accident and emergency room busy today John” Patsy enquired, a serious look on his face and twinkle in the one eye facing the nurse.

“I wouldn’t know Patsy, why?” John replied as he pulled back the plunger of the syringe, attached to one of three different needles sticking out of his arms and hands. A trail of rich red blood trailed into the test tube to be replaced quickly by another.

“It’s just you are after taken enough blood out of me to keep the whole of Dublin in blood for weeks” Patsy replied watching in fascination as the stream of liquid was pulled out of him.

“You’re a gas man Patsy. That’s fine strong looking blood you have there. Pure dark red, are you taking any medication or drugs or anything?” John wasn’t the type of man to indulge in humorous banter while caring for his charges.

“Not a thing” He hoped his face wouldn’t give away the slight bit of guilt, he felt over hiding the truth, but he was damned if he was telling them something which would for ever be on his medical record, to come back to bite him for the rest of his life. He had looked it up and there was no real harm in it anyway. The whole of the country were on some form of drugs and most of them used stuff which made you weak where as he took was something making you strong.

“Well you know it’s better to tell us, the anaesthetics can mix badly with some things. Especially the likes of steroids, you are a big lump of a lad.” The fun and games were gone now as John stared into Patsy’s eye looking for answers where none would be given.

Why had he tried to be a smart arse with the blood comment, now the fecking gobshite was looking at him all queer trying to delve into his soul.

“It comes from my mother side” Patsy said

“You buy drugs from your mother’s family.” John’s face betrayed his shock at hearing a bigger admission than even he had expected. Just then Gretha lost control of her footing as she leaned too far against the curtain to hear a bit better. She ended up lying across the bed with her face in Patsys groin and her legs straggling up in the air. Her head bobbed up and down as she tried to swing herself back up to standing. Patsy tried to move to help her but ended up with his hips going up and down in motion with Gretha’s as the drip in his arm restricted his movement. John jumped up and ran around to save Gretha. He had just managed to get her away from stimulating something she had never even heard of, not to mind practised up until then, when there was a terrible loud bang behind them. Bridie who had indeed not only heard of but had seen pictures of the same act, came in from the toilet to see her friend in such a compromising position and took a weakness in her knees and crumbled onto the floor. A smile crossed Patsy’s lips as the madness of the whole situation reminded him of an episode from a television comedy show from the 70’s. But the smile was put on the other side of his face when Gretha, who had realised he was laughing at herself and her best friend, suddenly took great offence and swung back a big leathery hand and planted him a slap on the side of the face capable of knocking a brewery strong horse into the middle of next week. Patsy slumped back against the pillow with his hand over his stinging face, struggling to hold on to consciousness, while Gretha ran over to Bridie who John was helping to get back in to bed.

This is a nightmare was all Patsy could think, as John shot him a filthy look as he ran out of the ward to get help. He decided he would try to explain to him later on, that he had only meant he was big because his mother side of the family were big boned farmers of decent stock, with women folk who were as strong as some of the bulls out in the fields. But for the time been he had to live as a drug taking member of a drug selling family, who had just been taken advantage of by a woman in her eighties, who had then given him a black eye when she realised that he had somehow degraded her standing in the community.

Chapter 2: The Move

“is there any chance of an ice pack for my eye?” Patsy asked John, once they were in the corridor and away from Gretha and Betty who were still not the better of the whole incident.

“Ah now John are you not talking to me, it wasn’t my fault” but still he refused to answer. The wheelchair cruised along the corridors with Patsy and his suitcase heading for the Neurosurgery ward.

“Fecking gobshite” Patsy mumbled to himself, he could never bear the silent treatment. He would get up out of the chair and walk only he hadn’t a balls notion where he was meant to be going. When they reached the new ward he was left in the hall as John whispered something to the matron. He didn’t need his ears to start itching to know who they were talking about, as the pair of them stood there throwing him dirty looks. Eventually John passed him by with what looked like tears streaking his soft cheeks and the matron who was a voluptuous woman, with a contemptuous look in her eye, came over to him.

“It wasn’t my fault you know” Patsy said immediately, determined to get his spoke in first. She stood there looking at him over the mounts of her sizeable bosom, without a word passing her lips and a face on her which would turn an alpha male grey back gorilla into a squealing baboon. A trickle of coldness ran down his back where it gathered along the band of his brand new red and green stripped y fronts. Her mouth opened and Patsys’s closed with a deep breath and then just as he was about to get up and do a runner and forget about the whole operation business, she burst out laughing.

“It’s the first time to have someone as famous as yourself on the ward. You’re the talk of the whole hospital, poor John may never be the same and I hear you have introduced two elderly women to all manner of wild practices and debauchery. The female staff will be delighted to get a chance of taking care of you.”

“It didn’t take much introducing, she knew exactly where to fall and what to do.” Patsy replied smiling, he was still too cautious to actually join in the laughing. His facing started to sting again now he had been taken back from the precipice of nursing horror.

“Do the women always fall into your lap in the right position” she replied patting the inside of his upper thigh, giving it a bit of a squeeze that drove a pulse of excitement and utter horror and confusion through him. He met her wink with a smile while inside he was trying to figure out what his penis thought it was exactly up to

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The Hospital

“Just a private joke about my neighbours, don’t mind me” replied Patsy. The poor auld fecker he said to himself as the look of bewilderment on the surgeon’s face revealed the mystery. It was his eyes, one was going one way and the other was going the other, that must be a shocking hard thing to live with, he mused, there wouldn’t be many women would stand within a mile of the likes of that kind of disability, well not in a loving kind of way anyway.

“Okay well it is in fact our job to mind you. Don’t worry you are in the best hospital in Ireland. Your operation is scheduled for first thing in the morning, after it is finished you will be brought back to the neuro ward. You will have to stay a number of days for observation”

“That’s great” Patsy was in fact delighted to finally been treated for his crushed vertebrae, he had lost all power in his left hand and the right one was starting to malfunction as well.

“We will leave you with the nurse and I will see you in the morning, good night Patrick”. The surgeon said to him looking at him with the one eye and nodding to his merry crew to get out, with the other. Sweet dreams and don’t let the bed bugs bite Patsy finished in his head.

“Thanks Doctor, good night to you too.” He said realising he was also looking in two directions at the same time. Jaysus he said to himself aren’t I a shocking gob-shite, I forgot I have the same ailment myself. I better not tell anyone I forgot about it. But it’s easy to forget something when it’s the one thing which you can never see yourself. It’s the same as a woman having a big arse, they can only see a quarter of it at any one time themselves and don’t realise it’s only the tip of the iceberg. A level of sadness descended on him, as the truth, of what he had been thinking about the surgeon’s life, hit him as applying to himself too. His life had been pretty lonely but he had managed to block the speech impediment and the eyes out of his mind in the interests of sanity. It was only at times like this, he realised why women who had returned his smile usually then turned their eyes away.

“Are you okay?” A male voice interrupted his silence, instantly sending the mad thoughts back behind his sanity barrier, into the deep place where they lay forgotten, until the next time.

He hadn’t noticed them all filing out of the make-do tent, until Patsy and the nurse were left alone. He had never felt such disappointment in all of his life. He stared at the evening shadow and listened to the not quite deep enough voice of the male nurse. It was bad enough having to put life on hold to go into the hospital, but to not at least get a female nurse to root at you, well now it was just on the wrong side of injustice. He wasn’t fussy, any cut of a female would do, it wasn’t like he would be sharing the bed with her and he wasn’t some cut of a pervert but any man could do with the comforting nature of a woman, when you were about to have some foreign lad pull your neck apart and start beating into your bones with a hammer and a chisel. All he wanted to do was listen to her voice, feel the heat of her close to him and languish in the sweet musk of her perfume. Then maybe of a chance, perhaps a man might be fortunate enough to even get a glance, at the hint of a boob pressed beneath the linen of her white uniform. But sweet mercy he had instead ended up stuck been interrogated and probed at by a nurse with a flat chest and more hairs than a fecking orang-utan. Perhaps the unusual son of that auld Biddy, with the loud voice, would be interested in his big red head and bog Irish accent but Patsy Reilly was far from impressed.

“My name is John, I am your nurse who will be taking care of you tonight” the man who should have been a woman, said with a smile that needed a shave.

“Nice to meet you John” Patsy replied as the Irish desire to be polite overpowered his disappointment. You had to make do with whatever meal the devil served you up of a day, no matter who unpalatable or disappointing it happened to be.

(C) Francie McGivney 04.06.15

The Hospital Part 1

The Hospital

“Do men read books?” her tongue lightly layered her faint moustache with saliva at the prospect of having someone new to talk about.

“My youngest lad has the head forever stuck in between the pages of a book”. Bridie in her new flannel gown replied gently straightening the fabric over her knees and admiring the swirling pattern of the fresh material, which felt refreshing and smooth against her wrinkling skin.

“Is he the unusual one?” The moustache was getting wetter as their voices travelled throughout the room, their flat accents coming alive as the conversation changed from the mundane to gossip.

“He isn’t unusual, he is just a bit different”. Bridie’s eyes went to the floor, avoiding the feel of the intense eye contact from her best friend Gretha. There lay the problem with growing up in the same town with someone from infancy to old age, they ended up knowing more about you than you knew yourself. She promised herself she would stand up to her for once, if the auld codger mentioned anything about the disappointment of Old Tommy and his rejection of Young Tommy. It wasn’t the young lad’s fault that he couldn’t meet the responsibility of been the namesake son.

“Did he ever find a girl for himself?” Gretha pushed the knife of bitterness in a bit deeper, she couldn’t help it. She had been raised by a cruel bitch of a woman and more of it had rubbed off on her, than had been buried in the auld woman’s grave.

“No Gretha, he hasn’t got a woman for himself. It isn’t women that takes his fancy and its well you know it, wasn’t it yourself who told the whole town about him when I told you in the strictest confidence, he had come out to us” Bridie wouldn’t be letting the auld bitch get away with taking the mick out of her son.

“Ah now Bridie that wasn’t me, I didn’t mention it to anyone.” Gretha insisted

“You were the only one who knew apart from me and Tommy senior. Don’t be denying something now when I know it’s true.”

“Everyone knew, sure you only had to look at the young fella to know he was queer in his ways. Anyway would you look your man, he still hasn’t made a move. He will need to put on his pyjamas soon, he can’t be sitting there reading a book in a pair of jeans all night. He will have to get into the bed at some stage.” The topic was changed, the chance lost and Bridie was left with that familiar bitter taste in her mouth once more.

“You sound mad interested in seeing him undress. Have you taken a bit of a shine to him? He isn’t a bad looking chap for a big lad” Bridie teased.

“I most certainly am not, I never have watched a man undress in my whole life.” Gretha blessed her-self, relishing in the feel of the lovely new material pressing against her skin, where the Son and the Holy Ghost had just lay their mark.

“What about poor Jimmy? You must have seen him in his nothingness at some stage over the forty years of marriage.”

“I never took much notice.”

“No wonder he was always wondering around with the head bent low like a man lost in a field.”

“That was just him saying his prayers.” Gretha mumbled, not enjoying the way this was going, she was used to having the upper hand. It was none of that Bridie O’Shea’s business about her and her Jimmy. She would want to mind her manners or she would put her in her place. That husband of hers was like a wondering bull with the local women before the consumption took all the energy from his drive.

“More’s the pity you hadn’t a stallion of a man to fill your minds, then you pair might mind your own business a bit more. You should be grateful for the thrill, if you happened to come upon something half decent buck naked in front of you. It would give you both something to think about rather than the lives of others”. Two sets of ageing but still sharp eyes pierced into the back of the nurse, who passed by the ladies, without looking or waiting for a venomous reply to her comment.

“The cheek of that one and she one of those half casts. She probably came out of some decent white woman been put upon by one of them darkies” Gretha said even louder, this time aware everyone within shooting distance could hear her. Yet her skin didn’t flush or her body shake, she was too used to anger and hatred for her body to rise to even the most extreme of her emotions.

“You can’t be saying things like that Gretha, it’s not politically correct. She is from Kerry however they managed to find one of her type among that pile of sheep herders.”

“What the Jaysus does politics have to do with anything, such a load of auld cods wallop. She is what she is and no one is telling me I can’t say something out loud. Look your man has pulled the curtains around himself. Would you listen to the noises he is making, he must be going at himself, have a peek inside the curtain’s Bridie and see what’s going on”

“I most certainly will not, I am a descent widowed woman.” Bridie replied staring at the curtain and running her tongue between her moistened lips.

“Whist up, here comes the posse.” Gretha said giving Bridie the nod to go back to her own bed.

________________________________________________

“Mr Reilly” the doctor, with a confident look about him and a suit with a price tag capable of feeding for a year the village he came from, said, as the gaggle of surgeons pushed in through the curtains causing the temperature of the newly formed cloth room to rise rapidly.

“Yes that’s me” Patsy replied squeezing his book on to the chest of drawers alongside the bottle of 7up, the roll of wine gums , the packet of digestives and his Walkman.

“We apologise for having to put you in the female ward but we are waiting for a bed in neuro surgery and this was the only one available.”

“That’s okay I have been getting acquainted with the habitat of the local population”

“I’m sorry?” Mr Hashit asked, Patsy couldn’t help look at him trying to figure out what it was that was so queer looking. The odour of the peppermint on his breath couldn’t hide the smell of curry and his suit looked way too expensive for work in a hospital, but it was something else, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

(c) Francie McGivney 03.06.15

Ramblings let the pigs fly

She still had the cross from Ash Wednesday on her forehead when she answered the door. It was the first day of the summer holidays from school. I was standing back a pace in case the eight legged creature from the back room with the webs had decided today was the day to go beyond its usual hunting ground.

“T’is yourself Francie” she said with a smile that would melt any boys heart

“Mammy said to call and see did you need anything” The two bags where she kept her shopping were hanging on either side of the mantel piece. Underneath I could see a rat looking up at them with keen eyes and a bouncing tail. I wanted to run.

“Come in Francie” she said

“Its too nice outside to go in Ms Devine” I replied

“well aren’t you only right, I might take a stroll myself today” she said looking out at the light drizzle that gently covered a beautiful sunny day. I knew she wouldn’t, she never did, she just stayed inside with the rats and the dirt and that box room at the back with all the webs.

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……………………………….

Did you kiss him

Did you kiss her
No Nora saw you
No you didn’t
Your nothing but a bastard
Fuck off
Scum
Don’t cry
You never loved me
I will always love you
You couldn’t
I could and i do
Was it her legs
I didn’t kiss her
Nora said you were behind the hotel wrapped around each other
Ouch what you do that for
I had to hit something
I just gave her a hug
I knew it she is a tramp wearing a skirt showing of all she has to the world
She was upset about her father
Do I look stupid
Her father died last week she was crying
Okay
I have known her for years and she was crying I just hugged her
Nora said you were all over each other
Nora is jealous

Extract from a book of conversations I am working on

(C) frank Mcgivney 2014

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Walk the path

It was already past midnight when the howling came over the radio . I looked at its pink plastic and shivered. A pain spread from my arm to to my chest and gripped me with all its ugly teeth. I could feel the sofa wet beneath as the salty smell of me connected me to its material. Then it was gone and so was I. Floating above my body thinking I like looked alright for an auld fella. The light in the tunnel would have blinded me a minute before but now it was just a feeling rather then a physical sight. Across this bridge I walked in a state of contentment. The three spirits whispered in my mind while below the fire burnt warning me of the impending torture

Writing with your soul

I was reading a book about the ten things that happen to you when you die . I’m on number two the tunnel. But number one is about your soul leaving your body and floating up above it. I got to thinking that while I am not into religion I do like to believe in a soul for the reason it makes life more interesting. Especially as it relates to writing. I find when I am writing I am outside of my body and totally absorbed into some outer dimension where the characters talk to me and the action of the story develops. Even as I write this I am not really consciously thinking I am just letting it all flow into the phone. Of course on a second edit there is more thought of plot and ryhmn and such like. But definitely there is that feeling of been lost from the material world and been sucked into some place where you are floating away from your body. Often I come out of a writing session to find I have been sitting awkwardly and a leg has gone dead. Is this the same as where the mind goes as your soul after your body dies, heads for that car park where you find out if you will be riding a donkey or a Porsche in the next life.

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Just been also thinking about the whole idea of following the prescribed format for screenplays and stories the hero journey. And it all just plays to much like forced rubbish to me. The hero is in a bad way someone makes it worse but in the end he resolved the problem and grows due to it. I don’t know if I want to be following the level of prescription.maybe my characters tell me that he learns nothing and he isn’t bothered by a conflict he just ploughs through life having fun or killing folk or building skyscrapers where he was hired to build a cottage