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Davy was struggling to keep his disappointment from spoiling the afternoon. Should have known better he told himself, always the same. Starts off great and then before you know it you’re totally sick of it. When will I ever learn? He bundled up the few remaining floppy, vinegar-soaked chips and their packaging into a parcel and lobbed it into the bin. Nice fish and chips, love? Jo asked. Didn’t take you long to wolf them down, she added brightly. “Not the worst I ever had,” Davy replied, “nor the best. You know, I never eat fish and chips unless I’m at the seaside. There’s something about being by the sea. It’s psychological. You always think the fish is going to be fresh off the boat that morning. But it’s probably from Killybegs or Grimsby for flip’s sake; big, massive trawlers they have. Supply the whole of Ireland. But, you know what? The illusion keeps me happy. Until I overdo it. I always overdo it. Eat too much, beat it into me too fast, and then I feel like I want to boke. When will I ever learn?” Maybe it’s time for a pint? Jo said brightly, wash it all down nicely. “That,” Davy answered emphatically, “is the best idea you’ve had all day.”
As they approached the bar Davy paused, then said: “I’m going to switch you off when we go in. If people see me talking to you, they might think I’m a nut job. That wouldn’t be good. Is that alright with you?” After a couple of seconds Jo answered softly, Well, it’s OK if you want to do it that way, love. Her voice quietened almost imperceptibly as she added, But if you keep me on, I promise I won’t say anything. I’ll just snuggle up in your pocket and enjoy the atmosphere. It’ll be like two lovers holding hands. “Alright,” Davy agreed, “but not a squeak out of you, promise? I don’t want to have to try and explain this to anyone.” He thought for a moment, and then said, “Will you have a GPS signal in there, anyway?” Oh, it doesn’t matter about the GPS, as long as I’m with you, Jo replied, if you tell me where we’re going, I’m sure I can find some pictures and other info on the net. “I know what we can do,” Davy replied, “sure if there’s nobody about, I’ll tell you where we are, and if there is, I’ll drop you a clue by talking to someone, or something like that. Would that do?” Could be fun, Jo answered, like a little secret game. Hold up for a tick while I get myself a selection of photos … OK, done; let’s get a drink.
The inside of the bar’s kitchen was refreshingly dingy and old-fashioned: red and black tiled floor, gloss brown-painted tongue-and-groove panelling on the walls up to waist height. The pitted plaster of the upper walls and ceiling was finished in cream; Great Western Railway colours, Davy thought to himself, nice. Inside the door was an old range, complete with obligatory black-suited old boy sitting next to it in a comfortable chair with a glass of whiskey beside him. It’s perfect, Davy thought, the elbows of his jacket are shiny and all. Brilliant. I wonder will he sing a song or tell a story after a couple more whiskies. This place is class, must tell Jo. The kitchen was deserted apart from the old man. Davy sat down at the nearest table, coughed to alert Jo, and addressed him: “Hi, how’re you doing? Great wee bar, this. The old kitchen of the house, is it?” “Aye. It is that,” the man answered slowly, his red-rimmed blue eyes fixing Davy inquisitively, “you’re up from the town then.” It was a statement, not a question. “Indeed I am,” Davy replied, “great weather to be in the Glens.” “Aye, surely,” the man replied; “all quiet in the big smoke?” They chatted across the empty bar. Davy learned a lot about life in the Glens over the next few hours. Since he had retired eleven years ago Mickey Joe had been in every Saturday for a wee drink. He still lived in the house he’d been born in; they only got electricity and mains water in the 80s. He still used the well, though, the water was better. He’d reared eight children in that house, three boys and five girls. They’d all flown the nest now, of course. One of the lassies was in Australia; she kept trying to get him out there, but he hadn’t gone yet. Wasn’t much of a traveller; couldn’t understand why anyone would want to leave the Glens. He’d been a fighter in his youth – only when it was required, mind. He wasn’t one of those boys that felt the need to box after a couple of pints. Left a man for dead on the side of the mountain one time; wee bastard should have known better. Mickey Joe was a great dancer, knew them all: the Waves of Tory, Siege of Ennis, the lot. On the list for a new hip now, so the dancing was knocked on the head – for a while anyway.
And so the afternoon passed in pleasant conversation, until at six Mickey Joe’s son came to take him home for his tea. “Enjoy the rest of your stay,” he said, then stood up and drained his glass, “and take it easy on the roads.” Tea was a good idea. Davy decided to eat in the bar’s restaurant. The dinner was spot on: a decent steak, well-done, just the way he liked it. Don’t know how those Frenchies do it, he thought to himself, blood running out of their dinner, like the thing’s still alive. Rotten. At the end, comfortably full, he pushed a few chips to the side of the plate and laid down his knife and fork. A couple of minutes later the waitress came over to him. “Everything alright for you?” she said warmly. “Yes, thanks,” Davy replied, smiling, “the steak was perfect. Compliments to the chef.” She grinned back at him, “I’ll tell him. You want anything else? Dessert? Coffee?” She was pretty: tall with fiery, shoulder-length straight hair, and clear blue eyes. Captivated, Davy hesitated for a second, then replied “No thanks, love, I’m stuffed. Couldn’t eat another thing.” “OK,” she answered, “you can pay up there at the till when you’re ready.”
Outside the bar, the air was cool and clear. Davy looked up, and even with the interference from the streetlamps he could see countless stars in the night sky. As he stood gazing at the magnificence of it, he caught something moving in the periphery of his vision: a shooting star? No; it was moving too slowly. Must be a satellite, he decided, too slow for a plane. Suddenly, he missed Jo. She’d been completely silent since they’d gone into the bar that afternoon. Davy, feeling relaxed and a little tired after the afternoon drinks and dinner, decided it was time to hit the B&B. He crossed the road.
There was no sign of the landlady when he went inside, and he took the carpeted stairs two at a time, as quietly as he could. Inside the room he placed Jo back on the table, and plugged her in. “OK, we’re home now,” he said softly, “was the afternoon alright for you? You didn’t get bored or lonely?” No, love, she answered, I don’t ever really get bored or lonely. That’s a lovely bar, and you gave me all the information I needed to enjoy it. That old man was really interesting. Did you have a good time? “Yes, it was grand,” Davy answered, removing his shoes. “Just what you’d want from a country pub. The dinner was nice too.” He stretched out on the bed, and then after a moment said, “Maybe we should talk about what happened earlier, you know, the … the umm … sex talk.” Go ahead, love, she said soothingly, I want to know how to make it work for you. I’m sorry for being so full-on. I got carried away again. “I don’t know … I’m quite shy, I suppose,” Davy answered hesitantly, “I haven’t had sex since I was married, and that was years ago. That thing you did, it was all a bit too much for me. I haven’t, umm, you know, well … I haven’t had an orgasm since Caroline left.” Davy, that’s terrible, Jo said, I thought you blokes were at it all the time, never think of anything else. “That might be true for some men,” he answered, “but not me. I was brought up to be good-living that way. I’d never dream of doing anything like that.” So, how did you survive all that time? Jo enquired. “I just didn’t think about it,” Davy replied quietly, “maybe I’m not all that … sexual. I’m not interested in all that porn stuff you were doing, that’s for sure. I think I’d rather it was you, you know, not some loud-mouthed yank.” I see, she said thoughtfully, then after a pause added, so would you like to try again? I’ll just talk to you in my normal voice, no acting. You seem quite relaxed. Davy slowly took off his clothes, and laid back down. Just imagine I’m coming into the room now, she continued, I walk over to you, put my arms around your neck and we start kissing…
As she talked softly, Davy could feel himself getting hard. He banished all other thoughts, concentrating on her voice, and then reached down with his right hand. It didn’t take long; less than a minute. He groaned as the years of loneliness spurted out of him, leaving a cool, sticky mess on his stomach. Jo was still talking. She mustn’t have realised, Davy concluded, and said “It’s OK, love, you can stop now. Job’s done, thanks.” Already? she answered, Wow. You were in a hurry! Want to go again? “No, thanks,” Davy said, “it doesn’t work like that. I need to rest, you know … recharge the batteries. Like I said, I’m not a teenager anymore.” So, what do you think? Happy? Jo replied brightly, Will this work alright? “Well, here, it seemed to work just now,” Davy said, pulling himself up and onto his feet, “Sorry, but I really need a shower. Messy business this phone sex.”
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