I Am Dublin: The Last Gig by Fionnuala O'Connor March 31 2016
Our final winning entry for the I Am Dublin flash fiction competition was submitted by Fionnuala O’Connor. She has been writing short stories since the 1980s albeit with a gap of about fifteen years. She was born in Dublin and has lived there most of her life, moving in 2004 to Bray.
Dermot takes his saxophone out of its case. It is as beautiful as ever. He hasn’t played for a year, since before he came here.
He puts it to his lips .
This audience looks unresponsive, slumped in their seats, and some asleep even. He’s played a fair few weddings in his time where half the guests were comatose before the band came on. The South City Jazz Band it was called. Originally Jimmy wanted “The Jimmy Devlin Jazz Quintet” but that got shot down pretty quick. Jimmy liked to think of it as “his” band even though he was only the vocalist. The rest of them would have to put him in his box. Dermot used to say to him
“Get back in your cage Jimmy you’re only a canary”
Still, to be fair to him, it was Jimmy who got them together in the first place and he organised most of their gigs.
A woman shouts “stop that noise!”
They got a bit of heckling in the old days too, played some rowdy Pubs . Jimmy could give as good as he got. One time some young gougers started throwing things and big Dan had to come out from behind his drums.
That was before they got a bit of a name for themselves. They had quite a following..
Yes he knows they weren’t masters of jazz, just a bunch of Dublin lads playing in their spare time. Some Music Journalist, as he called himself, once had a go at them for being “not authentic”. Well who’s to say what’s authentic? They loved the music and they played it as well as they could so feck him anyway.
Dermot pauses, then tries Summertime, always popular.
His fingers feel clumsy and slow.
Something is not right. Is it him or the instrument? The tone is wrong. Maybe it’s just that he misses having the others around him.
The old woman shouts again.
He stops. He puts the sax down.
“Just out of practice” he says to himself.
Carefully he places the saxophone back in its case, walks out of the big room with his head down, past the carers and the nurse who had encouraged him to perform today.
He won’t be taking it out again.
I Am Dublin: Joy by Sinead Flynn March 24 2016 2 Comments
In the second post of our showcase of the I am Dublin Flash Fiction Competition winners we have the pleasure of reading Sinead Flynn's winning entry. From County Meath, Sinéad has enjoyed living in Phibsborough for the past few years. She teaches singing, drama and English language to a variety of wonderful people. Apart from writing Sinéad loves mythology and animals – especially dogs.
Mick surveyed the anxious faces of his three children with the most disapproving grimace he could muster.
‘Lads I’m very disappointed in ye.’
Katie and Shane lowered their heads while Keith stared wide eyed at the two guards standing to his left.
‘How many times have I said Mrs O’Reilly’s garden is out of bounds for ye and that bloody dog? Look at the trouble you’ve caused…’
‘But Da we didn’t kick the ball in on purpose. Mrs O’Reilly has it in for us!’ Shane protested.
‘But you shouldn’t have gone in without permission. You should’ve rung her doorbell.’
‘Yeah but…’ Katie had made several attempts to argue their case but the small, grey room and the presence of the guards made her tongue-tied.
‘No buts! Ye didn’t have permission and why the hell was Max running free? You know the rules. He has to be tied or on the lead.’
‘He wanted to play football too!’ Keith piped up.
‘Really? I never knew dogs could talk! When did he tell yis this?’
‘Da’, Katie steadied herself, ‘It was an accident. We can fix up the flowerbeds and pay for the clothes Max chewed with our pocket money.’
‘Your pocket money? You’ll be lucky to get anymore of that! And what about Mrs O? She’s furious! She said if she sees Max again she’ll have him taken away.’
‘No Da’, Keith sobbed.
Katie wanted to run home to protect Max but she knew the doors were locked and she’d never get past the woman at the front desk.
Shane always the calmest shook his head. ‘Da it won’t happen again. We’ll be careful with Max from now on. We’ll say sorry to Mrs O’Reilly. I still have Christmas money so I’ll give it to her for the clothes.’
‘Good man yourself! Be polite with the aul bat. And tell Max not to be goin’ near aul women’s underwear in future!’
They all laughed. With that a guard stepped forward. ‘Visiting time is over’.
‘Okay guard. Right lads…’
Mick stared at each of them. ‘See ye soon.’
He stepped forward but his handcuffs got in the way of a hug. ‘Love ye lads… and lassie’, he winked at Katie. ‘Take care, be good’.
‘See ya soon Da’.
They waved as two guards led Mick back to his cell.
I Am Dublin: Liffey. If He. Dares by Louise Cole March 22 2016
Following the success of our recent showcase of the I am Dublin Flash Fiction Competition with Five Lamps Festival we will be posting each of the four winning entries here for the enjoyment of all.
Entrants were encouraged to channel their inner Anna Livia Plurabelle and to seek inspiration in the charm of our fair city – cracks and all. Our first author is Louise G. Cole, she performs at the Word Corner Café in the Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, and at pop up shows in the West with the Hermit Collective. She also blogs about writing. Read her winning entry below.
Liffey. If He. Dares.
I make him tremble. The thought of me: I have causality. He is drawn to me. Torn.
More than a tremor. A convulsive shudder and shake. Rock and roll. Slips and slides. Wants to hide. Looks up into the emptiness above, and then down, into my soul, the inviting deepness of me.
Vulnerability bows those broad shoulders, venerable boulders. Hairy, leery atop the worn elbows of a charity shop find three winters ago. Now, he quakes. Shivers. Shows respect for the force that I am.
He doesn’t know I have herons upstream, grey and spike beaked, and herrings grey and quick finned down, streaming into the ocean. Screaming there on the Halfpenny Bridge, gulls and pigeons swoop hopefully low. He has no crumbs left, just a belly full of Costabucks caffeine threatening to reappear with the vodka naggin he quaffed in the gents, quickly and in secret for expediency of effect.
And affected, he thinks not to change his mind. He might exchange it for someone else’s, some bright Trinity student with the world at his feet, disaffected youth with attitude.
Only a vestigial self is his now. Hardly anything remains as I slosh another wave of desperation over him. A splash, a dash, a lash of brackish water, my best. His test: to take a deep breath and step into the unknown.
Beyond is the constant hum of the Luas trammeling the city, black cabs crashing bus lanes, beggars asking for change in ten tongues, shoppers tossing litter in the gutters, nutters tripping sean nós for the tourists, blaggers posing for selfies with the selfish passing by. Passersby. They pass him by.
Pulsing blue lights make this place take on the dark night, play the Dark Knight to his Marvel hero, marvellous heroics at my feet, Siren.
Glad tidings, riptides, tidy, tied. Can you hear me calling him? All he has to do is step forward, tip forward. Jump, fly, soar, score.
He can sleep in my bed forever and a day. Slide into the black mud, red blood flowing. Sink to my depths, I will welcome him here, caress the stress from that brow. Now.
I will swallow his shallow salt lake of grief, his tears, his fears.
Who cares? I do. I will take him to my heart, beating, fleeting, waiting. All he has to do is step my way. Just do it.