Somebody Up There Likes Me

Landfall, she comes up on the deck to see Cork harbour drifts in and out of view through the fog, she’ll be back in Dublin by nightfall. Her thoughts return, as they so often do, to that night. Time passes but she’s never forgotten. He’s always in her dreams, the beloved uncle.

Five years earlier.

There’s a BMW parked on a street outside St. James. Sarah crosses the road and gets in. She takes a gun out from under her jacket, rubs it and, holding it low, shows it to Ray*.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph! A gun? You brought a gun?”

“Yeah, Da has four or five shooters, he won’t miss one for a night. Jesus Ray, are we going to do this properly or what?”

He looks, takes it and holds it gingerly.

“Don’t worry, it’s not loaded, you’re holding it like a fucking banana ya spanner.”

They smile nervously.

“First dates are always a bit awkward, boy meets girl, girl steals gun, boy and girl terrorise paedo priest, it’s always the same old fucking story.”

“Right, will you quit it with the wise cracks? I’m shitting my trousers over here.”

“Come on.”

She pushes him towards the door. They both get out of the car and walk down the street to the back of the church railings. You can see a house attached to the grounds, with curtains closed and lights on downstairs. There’s a shrine to the Virgin Mary at the far side of the gate, lit up, it starts to get brighter as they approach and then the bulb blows with a furious pop. David Bowie’s Somebody Up There Likes Me drifts out of an open window across the street. They look at each other. Ray grimaces.


“It’s a bulb, they blow all the fucking time, I hope you’re not superstitious.”

As they get closer to the house you can hear the RTE news, muffled, through the window. She takes him by the hand and leads him around the back. They try the back door, it’s locked, There’s a window open, Ray climbs up, opens it and drops down into the kitchen , knocks a cup onto the ground and it smashes, He freezes for a few moments but nothing happens. He opens the door and she steps in.

They walk down the hallway, its dark, there’s a sacred heart flickering up on the wall. There is light and the sound of the TV coming from a room. They stop outside and look through.

“What the fuck do we do now? Furious whispering.

“We do this.” She pushes the door open; he is sitting with his back to them, glass of whiskey in his hand, almost empty bottle on the floor beside him. There’s a bishop on the tv screen, refusing to answer questions, a number of reporters following him.

“Evenin’ Father Sean, I see your boss is making the headlines again.” Ray is now standing behind her.  “Looks like you were all at it, company policy so to speak, a perk of the job? And I thought I was special; remember how you told me I was special?”

He stands up, staggering, confused…

“Sarah? Sarah, what are you doing here? How did you get in? Sarah, you’re confused, Sarah, my child..”

“Do not call me your child you dirty bastard.” She pulls the gun out and aims it at him. “Sit down here you prick.”

He doesn’t move.

“Sit down.” Less, calm, menacing. “Sit down now!” She walks over and thumps him in the face with her closed fist. He falls backwards. Ray follows her over, looking pretty freaked out himself.

“Get something to tie him up with Ray, the kitchen, some tape or something.” He doesn’t move.“Get fucking moving Ray.”

He leaves the kitchen. 25 Father Sean gets back up and sits, he’s rambling now and crying a bit.

“Please Sarah, for the love of God, please, why are you doing this?”

“Why, Why am I doing this? Why do you think Sean, why?” She puts the gun to the side of his head. “I should just pull the fucking trigger you know but it’d be too good for you, do you know what you’ve put me through all these years, I’ve been watching you, watching you looking at the kids every day in the playground and then getting up on your fucking pulpit every Sunday and preaching to the faithful, the fucking gombeens who still go. I don’t know who’s worse, you or them? It’s not like they don’t all know what’s going fucking on is it? Is it?”

She whacks him over the head with the butt of the gun. He’s sobbing now, holds his hand up over his head, blood running down the side of his face. Ray catches her arm and she’s about to hit him again.

The padre starts to shout. Ray tells him to shut up

“Ray? Ray? Is that you…”

“Shut up or make no mistake we will kill you stone dead.”

Ray finishes taping him up to the chair, gags him. Sarah is walking around the room taking family photos off the wall and smashing them, The Virgin Mary, Elvis, and JFK. Are You Lonesome Tonight? Sarah continues to pace the floor.

“So are you sorry Sean? Are you sorry for what you done? Bless me father for I have sinned, did you go to confession to Bishop O’Connell there? Did he forgive you? Did your God forgive you? Is the whiskey keeping the demons at bay? Are you sleeping well? Are you still doing it?”

She stops in front of him. Pulls the tape off his mouth, he gasps in pain. She slaps him hard.

“Tell me Sean, tell me.” She goes up close, eye to eye, lip to lip. “Do you like that Sean, do you?” She kisses him. He whimpers. “Although you never really liked it face to face did you? And I’m well on the wrong side of twelve now. Are you sorry Sean? Please tell me you’re sorry.”

He says nothing; she shoves the gun into his mouth.

“Tell me now Sean or I’ll blow you to kingdom come. Confess.”

He screams that he’s sorry and then goes silent, sucking in snot, blood and tears. Oh you’d nearly feel sorry for him. Nearly.

“Goodnight Sean, sweet dreams uncle.”

She pulls the trigger.

*Who the fuck is Ray? That’s not important right now. Have patience.