Come Sail Your Ships Around Me

The lights of Cadiz slowly disappear on the horizon. Sarah is up on deck alone, she stubs out her cigarette and flicks it into the sea. A flock of seagulls follows the trawler, the stench of fish and the roll of the ocean turns her stomach.

It’s going to take five days to get back to Dublin, but people are waiting for her at borders, in airports, on the road. This is the only way, the safest way. The last time she was on a boat it was with McGivney, sailing out from Dun Laoghaire, hand in hand. Escaping the past, escaping the mob. The murder of Father Sean remains unsolved. Slumped in his confessional, put a bullet in his brain and it makes all the papers. McGivney had never asked, he knew obviously. And they all knew he knew.  He was never a good cop. Is there such a creature? Nobody could deny that the priest got what was coming to him. There’s that at least.

The headed south from Le Havre and stopped in a villa in Oloron-Sainte-Marie. It was beautiful, swimming pool outside ,the whole nine yards. He’ been like the Mick of old, he didn’t even drink (that much) and he was there when she needed him, after the priest and after her dad had suffered from a case of mistaken identity, suffered grievously. Then after a week he was gone. She climbed out of the pool, on one of those stunning French summer days and she called for him. No answer. She found the note. “Sorry babe, I had to go, you ‘ll be ok.” I’ll babe you in a minute. There was a grand as well. A grand don’t come for free. You’ll be ok. Well, not poetry exactly.  Mick the fucking prick. Now, that’s poetry.  Five years ago. She was ok but no thanks to him. She had contacts. She more than survived. Now they were looking for her again. Make no mistake, he wouldn’t be leaving her notes this time, he wouldn’t be able to write when she was finished with him.

We’re setting sail to the place on the map
from which no one has ever returned
Drawn by the promise of the joker and the fool
by the light of the crosses that burned”

The captain appears beside her. He’s a salty old lag, sounds like a pirate, even has a wooden leg. Not really. He’s indeterminate British. Smells of sweat and mackerel. A winning combination.

Ain’t it a bootiful sight miss?” Think he’s drooling a bit. Maybe he has scurvy.

“Yeah, I guess. Sad to be leaving it anyway.”

Aye lass, I think it’s not what you’re leaving behind that’s bothering you, where are you headed to?”

Jasus captain, if you don’t know where we’re going then I’d say I’m fucked.” She lights another fag, he pulls out an old pipe (I kid you not) and sparks her up.

“Arrrrr…..I know where I’m going but we don’t get many people like you on board.”

“Then you’ll know I can’t tell ya, I’m sure that was made clear….”

“What? If you did you’d have to kill me?..and I’d say you would and all…”

Maybe he was cleverer than he looked, as with most blokes, that wouldn’t be difficult.”

“Did a bit of arms running back in the day. Oh aye. From Libya. Had that Gerry Adams with me once. “

“Saint Gerry of Adams to you.”

He puls a bottle out from under his oilskin.


“That’s one way of looking at it.”


I get back to the office, there’s nobody around. The place is a mess, it’s always a mess but it’s worse than usual. The more I look, the more I realise it’s been turned over. The notes and photos for The Chills interfew are scattered all over the floor. One of the laptops is upside down, chords ripped from the wall. The cabinets are turned out, files scattered everywhere like so much European indie confetti. It feels like I’ve been gone for days but my MacBook Air (please contact Few Enterprises for product placement opportunities) tells me it’s only 24 hours since I was at the canal with McGivney and Tooler. 24 hours, No way, no fucking way. Still if it was true at least the family wouldn’t have missed me yet. Hey hey that’s rock and roll.  Plot holes. Gaping.

The phone rings, it’s Roedelius.

“You have listened to the new Qluster long player Few?”

“It’s not Few it’s Brick.”

“Ah Brick, yes so you have listened?

“Not yet – been busy”

“Please do – it would be great if you could feature it this week…”

“OK man, look I gotta go…oh …Just one more thing…..”


“What was the first music you loved?”

The phone goes dead.

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