Gwendolyn nearly killed daddy last night. I swear. Poor daddy. Mother is huffing around the place like an Antichrist. And ‘tisn’t Gwendolyn she’s mad at. It’s daddy. He’s out in the shed hiding and rubbing his bruises – not as much as a cup of tea in his hand. You can forget about any ointment – Mother has that locked in the cupboard with our Junior Disprins. Poor daddy.
The bauld Gwendolyn is back in her sty and Mother is battering pots around the sink muttering “God grant me patience”, to herself over and over. I’m staying out of the way.
Mrs Corless’s son’s wife, up the road, had a baby a few weeks back. The christening was yesterday and they all went back to the house after. The house was painted and all for the grand occasion. Anyway, Mr Corless told daddy to come up for a drink to wet the baby’s head, and he did. He put on his good trousers and a clean shirt and off with him. Mother didn’t go – she’d already seen the baby and had the tea with the Corless’s to celebrate. We weren’t allowed because we’d only get in the way. So daddy was on his own. He was hardly at the house when we heard Gwendolyn roaring down the yard.
“Ara, God almighty” says Mother.
“Did your father feed that pig before he went?”
I checked the slop buckets in the corner by the back door.
“Christ on a bike!” says Mother. I was quite shocked because she never swears, only in times of danger, temptation or great affliction. Our kitchen was pretty safe and there was feck all in it to tempt anyone. So I figured it was the great affliction that got her.
“Well I’m not going down to that savage of an animal”, she snorted.
“Go up and get your father and tell him come back and feed it.”
“Ok mammy,” says I and off I went.
I got tea and two chocolate biscuits and a pat on the head and sixpence from Mr Corless. They were all very red in the face and happy as. T’was great. Daddy sent me back to say he’d be down in a minute. That was just after dinner
I was in bed in my pyjamas when I heard him singing his way down the road. Gwendolyn’s squeal had reached a crescendo at that stage and t’was just as well he came home. We’d have no sleep at all otherwise. He gave a great welcome to Minnie, our cat, at the front door. I heard her purring until he stood on her tail.
“RaRRRRGH ptSSSSSSS”, says Minnie.
“Oh Good Jesus!” hiccups daddy.
The door was opened for him.
“Will you go down and feed that shaggin’ animal or you can sleep below with it!” says Mother.
“Oh Good Jesus,” hiccupped daddy.
I hate the hiccups. They come on you all of a shot and go the same way. In the meantime, people think you’re only doing it to get a bit of attention. Especially at school. Except for Roisin Boyle of course. She got the hiccups down by the cookery kitchen at little break. Myself and Mary Martha Hynes decided to give her a fright to knock them out of her. Roisin was up for it too.
It kind of worked. We got rid of the hiccups but gave her the asthma instead. She went down like a ton of bricks, holding onto her chest like we stabbed her. Now in fairness, who knew that could happen? It knocked an awful rise out of the pair of us I can tell you. Mary Martha let out a screech that could break glass and every feckin’ teacher in the school came running at us, roaring at the top of their lungs. I’m still not right after all the commotion, as if we meant it too? Luckily Roisin had the squirty thing she has for asthma in her schoolbag. It only took an hour or so for her to settle again. By that time though her mother had been called and meself and Mary Martha vowed never to help another person again.
Good, bad or indifferent they can keep their hiccups.