I was reading a beautiful little Raymond Chandler short story called Goldfish, and well I thought there might be an application to Limerick’s own gang problems but very quickly I ran out of plot and imagination. But there is a corollary here, and I try to stay clear of rants on my lill ol blog, but rant I must now.
I grew up in this place, went to school in this place, met my wife here, buried my mother here, my kids were born here, I played sport badly here and happily, my kids are playing much better now thank you. I’m life invested here. My dad is growing old not far away, there’s bundle of cousins come rolling through my home frequently. I go for a walk in Cratloe woods in the evenings or do my Clydesdale impression á bicyclette. I wander round the town on the weekends, do the coffee and looking mysterious alone thing occasionally, I meet friends and acquaintances on the streets and say howsitgoin or howrtings or aboydakid. I was not born here, but my formative years were here in this Pigtown. In short, I’m bonded and bound up in the kip.
And for a good while now, we have a group of thugs who are running riot and holding this town to ransom. We know who they are, where they live, who beget them, where they get their money from, who their friends are, where they socialize, we know fucking everything about this shower of cunts who terrorise us, the citizens of this old place. But here’s a thing which troubles me deeply and makes me loose sleep at night, they are a very small few and we are a much larger many.
As I came into my teenage years , my bullet proof years, my beautiful period, God I was handsome, well I learnt about what goes around comes around and how ultimately bullies get fucked over. I saw in the school yard, on the sports field, knocking around with my mates. But we always had a good way of working things out among ourselves, and sometimes it was painful. Our fathers were remote and distant, my own somewhere in a virtual Mongolia most of the time, but there was a strong sense of a watching patriarchy and safety. There was a hum of masculinity about the place, at matches, in the pub, bringing the kids out fishing and swimming, teaching us about life.
And you see this is the frustration I very feel, because this patriarchy hasn’t gone away you know, I see it every weekend when I bring my boys to training or I go to match, when I walk with my work mates at lunch time, in the evening on the street, in the pub at weekends. But we don’t feel safe anymore, we don’t sound safe, we’re exposed and fraught and frozen like lamped rabbits. And why, because of a small group of thugs, who peddle their filth and know enough about the law and civil liberties to keep them outside.
We’re afraid, we won’t act on our conviction, won’t intervene lest we get involved in something which might damage us or our families. They have intimidated witnesses, forced people from their homes, colonised neighbourhoods where good people lived before, and we have stood idly by.
My friend told me a story about a hard fucker, a fella who never courted trouble, but when it arrived he never shirked and always stood his ground. Sorta like a Clint Eastwood character in real life. Well his kid did get into a fight with the wrong family and got a hiding. And when he confronted the situation he in turn got a beating by the boy’s father. But here’s the thing, these people were no match for our Clint character, but he knew that he had to leave his hands by his sides or else he was that dead man walking. They would have killed him but not before they killed his family. The police are powerless in this scenario, and the people on the ground know it. There is a growing apathy about the situation and that is the real killer.
And there you have it.
The classy broad, well there were two, one went to Southern California and had twins whilst writing the coolest blog on the plant. The other is a pilot in training and a princess in waiting.
Fitz, still grizzled but off the liquor. The domestic challenge is everything to him, and he couldn’t make the private eye gig pay. Flipping burgers and dreaming.
The McCanes, unfortunately still slither about the town.