On Saturday a friend and I were in Howth – a small seaside town a few miles north of Dublin. We’d cleverly chosen our little break to coincide with an Uber-tsunami and were feebly making our way up along the wind-battered docks when we saw the saddest of sites – an accordion playing busker belting out a jolly jig whilst being pelted with everything the weather could throw at him. Despite the ordeal he wore a wax-work grin that slipped periodically into constipated angst.
A short way along the dock a second man opened a case to reveal an alto-sax. As he did so he scowled at the accordion player. The accordion player scowled back. Even in the downpour it was clear for all to see:
This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.
We spent the afternoon holed up in a bar speculating on the history of animosity that had obviously (probably) built up between them. I feel a short story brewing – perhaps entitled ‘Busk This.’
Venturing further north we arrived at Malahide castle. It was sobering to find a proud building that had weathered many Atlantic invasions only to be conquered by Starbucks. Complicit in its downfall we sat nursing a brew when a man was pushed into the room – wheelchair bound, his face covered in bruised and abrasions, tubes running along both arms and up his nose, blankets warding off the cold and a face that screamed defeat. A waitress approached, and in her chirpiest voice said ‘You’re looking well. How are ya?’
The man stared her down and replied: ‘As you see me. In what possible way do I look well?’
I shall call this story ‘Euphoria…’