The Rowdy Bollix, the best pub in Dublin, actually the nation, in fact the world. In your opinion, that is. In your often drunken opinion. In the consideration of your frequently inebriate condition.
You all line the bar, a catalogue of desperate brutes drowning your organs in black stout. Tonight you're celebrating the fact that you're not in any immediate significant pain. The anesthetic of alcohol has seen to that. You are pain free, momentarily. For a bit. For a few hours until the analgesic turns antagonistic. The ache sneaks back and then the angst rushes in, unregulated. You're in no position to repress your inner rage or woe when you've rendered yourself incapable of prudence and thrown yourself at the mercy of the lizard brain.
Manning at the end of the bar sneers like the man who seduced your wife so you fling a glass at him and he retaliates and the establishment erupts and earns its name again, as it does nightly. The Rowdy Bollix is a place awash with beer slops, teardrops and blood spots. Uncoordinated ape men swing their fists and roar 'I'll kill us all'. The place vibrates with pure grievance. Every evening is akin to an exorcism en masse. Men writhe and vomit and speak in tongues. Women are rarely present but often mentioned. Names are called out. First loves are the deepest scars cut into the hearts of these emotionally disfigured veterans. Each love that follows merely salt in the wound. The past attacks the present, manifesting battalions of spew and knuckles and word salad. Remorse is for the morning, tonight is for unchecked vehemence.
'Give me another one Brian.'
'You've had enough now.'
'Give me another one or I'll burn this place to the fucking ground!'
The Rowdy Bollix begins to lurch and sway like a boat on a stormy sea. The spirits that were intended as pick me ups are pushing you about like poltergeists. You're reeling. A haunted man in a room full of haunted men. You can tell they're haunted, each and every one, a derelict house for a head and smashed windows for eyes. Haunted house headed men being dragged to a black Hell. Kicking and screaming, all are pulled into the pitch dark pit of unconsciousness.
Next thing you know is that the sun has come up, spitting hot light into your tender jelly eyes. You can't recall what the demons made you say last night in The Rowdy Bollix and you don't suppose it matters. Everyone was speaking in tongues and no one was listening. Except Brian, the publican-cum-ferryman who has taken so many souls across the boozy Styx that he has ceased to note their utterances.
You sit on a bench and pull a bent wet fag from your pocket. Is it wet from beer or piss? As you sniff it you notice a little girl staring at you, the image of your daughter and just as petrified. She has nothing to fear from this beleaguered ogre made up of rancorous canker, creeping cancer, succumbing to sclerosis and fostering cirrhosis. You ask the kid for a match and she hurries away. The sun isn't close enough to light your cigarette, it's only close enough to make you wish you were dead. You stand and hunch and shuffle to the ATM. The Rowdy Bollix will soon be open again. You're usually the first man to come through the door, hoping tonight will be as good as the night before.
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