A knock at the door interrupted their conversation. MR.O’ Kelly peered out the window to see MR. Dobbs standing on the walk with his head covered with a folder sheltering his baldhead from the now blistering cold rain. “ Come on in sir.” he greeted him as he stuck out his hand to shake his.
You must login to vote
Blah, this bad weather we are having.” Mr. Dobbs said while shaking his shoulders dry his drooping red jaws quivered.“ I am sorry for the late visit but I have been a way for couple of days and need to collect the rent.” “ I see you have a good fire going.” “That is good with all the problems most are having finding coal or wood.” “ I am surprised.”
Mr.O’ Kelly chuckled “ Yes indeed we are lucky.” “ How ever I took it in as trade to one of the farmer’s gambling debt.” “Quite a good idea if I do say so myself.” He cleared his throat then went on to say. “ I hope that we may work something out with the rent this month, for I have came up short with the factory at a stand still.” “ I promise I will have the money in full next week.” “ In the mean time could I pay you half now?”
Mr. Dobb’s giving him a queer look hesitatingly agreed. “Understand that I too have debts to pay and can not wait any longer for the money then next week.” “ I hope we don’t find this to be a habit.” O’ Kelly childishly rushed over to his coat that was draped over the back of the kitchen chair then noticed the letter still open on the table quickly giving Joe a firm glance to pick it up.
With the money given Mr. Dobb’s opened his folder to record the account. “ Let me see, hum… It says here in my books you still owe two franks from last month.” “ This too needs to be taken care of.” Mr. O’ Kelly peaking over his shoulder to see the evidence promptly replying. “ Oh, yes sir this will be taken care of.” Mr. Dobbs went on to suggest “ The best way to keep debts from accumulating interest is to pay on time.” “I am afraid there will be interest again on this as well as this month’s debt.” Mr. O’ Kelly bobbing his head in a steady rhythm agreed. “ What ever you say sir.” “I’m grateful for the time given.”
Mr. Dobb’s left in a hurry in his elaborate car speeding down the dirt path to town .As Joe watched from the doorway his father spoke up “ I won’t be as easy on him with his next visit to the pub.” “ He can dish out some of that money back.” “ You would think the bloody man would learn the trick of the trade by now.” “You know I don’t understand how he could be so successful with his ignorance.”
Mr. Dobbs seemed to own half the town but still found himself in a predicament with his obsessions for gambling and fast woman. His once flourishing business now stood lined with boxes of unsold crystal but still he spent his money like water on the drink and affections of ladies of the night. Returning to his extravagant home on the out skirts of town he parked at the back entrance as his butler came to great him with an umbrella freeing his hands from his collections of paper work. “We held dinner for you sir, its still hot.” the man replied.
The butler a small frail man with round drawn shoulders kept his eyes to the ground when ever speaking making it one thing for certain that Mr. Dobbs could hardly tell you what the color of his eyes were after all this time. A quite soul in nature very trust worthy and loyal servant for many years. He was always particularly groomed in his black suite and tie down to his button shoes he pains taking shined every morning and took as much pride in his work as himself.
Mr. Dobbs spoke up “ Evening Harmon is Elizabeth still with us?” “ Or has she grown tired of waiting.” “Tonight has been a challenge to collect any money from my debtors as usual.” As they entered the hall to the kitchen Mr. Dobbs handed him his over coat while he headed in a half gallop straight away to his library. “ She has retired for the night sir, hours ago.” the old man rang out as he followed close behind. “May I bring your meal now, sir?”
Lighting a cigar Mr. Dobbs plumped down in his chair next to the fire as he fumbled through his papers. “ Yes please I’ve had a soul ravishing day and strain to finish this work.”
The butler left swiftly returning with a huge platter of meat and potatoes along with bread and cheese . After poring the wine he stood at the corner of the large room with his head bowed while Mr. Dobbs gluttonous greedy appetite was fed. Like a hog to its troth he ate as he spilled and slung while he grunted with every bite. When he finished he took a freshly pressed napkin wiping the corners of his mouth gingerly with his small finger erect, the only sign of good taste shown through the whole meal.
Leaning back in the chair he rubbed his tight chalky white belly as he relieved himself of excess air. “ Ah, well that was delicious as usual.” “ Now what time did Elizabeth retire?” “ You said it was early,” he asked handing the platter back empty. “ Eight o’ clock sir.” “ She seemed as restless as a tiger tonight, pacing the floors as she kept going to the window.” “ But sir, if I may say so she has always been a restless soul when ever here.”
Slipping off his boots with one foot then the other he shook his head in agreement as he twisted his mouth to the side. “ Yes, she has always been one to handle that is for sure.” “Well I am sure she will rise early in the morning so if I am to think of keeping her occupied even for a moment I best retire myself.” “ Breakfast no later then six thirty tomorrow.“ “I am quite sure she will want to do something as soon as her eyes open.”
With swift short strokes the Harmon brushed the crumbs with edge of his hand from the table on to the platter. “Yes sir, it will be there.” “Then I shall say good night, sir.” he politely bowed backing out of the room. Mr. Dobbs retired shortly after slowly, breathlessly climbing the large stairs as his wide white feet made a shuffling sound down the long hall.
Life as unpredictable as the rainy weather giving more to some then they would ever use leaving others with little hope. David O’ Toole finally awoke stiff and cold as he pried his sore joints from the hard ground limping his way slowly to shelter. The chilling wet air blanketed with a heavy fog as the wind blew trash in mounds against the buildings. Holding fast to his thin over jacket flapping in the wind he pressed his head down fighting hard to keep the wind from burning his eyes .The sharp air left him short of breath while holding to the side of the building before going in.
Kicking through trash and debris he finally made his way to an empty room he often used for home. Although it was better then being out there it was still filled with the presents of chilled howling air. One window was barred with rotted planks while the other whistled in the air from a cracked pane as the shredded soiled remains of a curtain twisted around its self.
Finding boards for fire became harder everyday for any one who stayed there would remove flooring, walls and doors to use for warmth. He gave a heavy sigh looking at the fireplace that lie in a shambles with missing bricks now leaning to one side. Having an old discarded rug from the trash he settled down for the night holding fast still to the red dog collar a reminder of his past when his life counted for something. As he twisted it tightly around his hand he thought back of the brave day his best friend was destroyed in front of his eyes although with in arms reach leaving he had been helpless to rescue him.
The night was long and cold as the war invaded his dreams. His body still reacted to the sounds in his mind as he tossed and turned fighting the sickening feeling while reliving the past. The smells, the screams, the shrill sounds of enemy fire now as real as it was then were never far from his thoughts when awake but were shear horror when sleeping. While continuously trying to wake the dream rushed back to the death of Ross, his faithful friend who was hit by a hand grenade. Still hearing the agonizing yelp as the dog with half its middle gone, crawled toward him with its intestines dragging behind.
This war had cost many people loved ones and friends if not their own lives and surviving wasn’t the joyous welcome David O’ Toole had planned while he rode home on the train anticipating some one who would care if he lived or died but instead found the townsmen weren’t interested in him or his war. He found himself homeless, penniless and no one there to greet him when he arrived for the town its self had suffered greatly.
War had ripped a black hole in his soul blowing the cold air of reality through it. What did it mean for him to have freedom as his daily search for food and shelter became a way of life. Having once been successful in dog training for the army now seemed only a dream by him being considered one of the town’s eyesores. He now was an object to be shunned and ignored being considered a warped, smelly old drunken man sleeping on the streets for children to kick and scorn.
Through the months Frances’s life only got better as he continued to follow in the footsteps of father Jacob. His education was improving every day and his once thin body became fattened and glowing with health.
Joe worked only three days a month for Mr. Von Hoke but the money came in handy for food while his father spent more time at Ms. Wright’s. He still stole when the chance was provided but found it difficult with the presents of military officers peering from every street corner.
Winter although cold and dreary with more then the usual rains passed quickly into spring. The government unrelentingly pressed harder for control now having the Black and Tans joining the police forces. Chaos disemboweled every life, not one was left untouched by their presents while the remains of buildings and cars destroyed by fighting in the streets only aided in the depression.
The most joyous time for Joe was seeing Emma when she had the time to stop by. He would find himself awed by her beauty stammering for a few words whenever she would approach him. His face would rush with blood from the mere sound of her voice as always keeping his eyes turned the other way and after ward hating himself for his childish behavior.
As the seasons changed, more and more while working he would see the presence of strangers entering a private room of Mr. Von Hoke’s making him quite curious. This evening several men had entered all chanting the same thing as they passed him by. “ The War and the I.R.A.” His curiosity getting the better of him as he swished his broom toward the door to listen, hearing the deep voice of Mr. Von Hoke ring out above the crowd. “ Ok, gentlemen lets call to order.” “ We only have a brief moment to get this act into process before some one else leaks the information.”
A low hissing murmur came over the room as they slid chairs across the floor while they settled into a sitting position. “ I am telling you all we have people here more than likely as we speak who must be playing both sides, for they seem to know even before we do what our next move will be.” “ I no longer will introduce our new members by name.” “Thank God, we have as good a person on our side as this gentlemen I am about to introduce.” “ He can only stay a few minutes, so we need to listen to what he has to say.” “ I will let you know how ever that he has traveled a great distance to be with us tonight and has sacrificed enormously for the cause.”
Joe was amazed to hear what the man had to say leaning farther in to hear more clearly he jarred the door stumbling into the room as all eyes fell on him. “ Joe!” “Welcome, I wondered when you would come to be with us.” Mr. Von Hoke announced as he waved him over. “ Come on in and shut the door behind you.”
Joe’s face was as pale as a sheet with bulged eyes he fearfully found a seat. “ I am sorry, I was just cleaning and well me guess is I bumped.” he tried to explain when Mr. Von Hoke interrupted “ No, no that is fine.” “ I have been meaning to talk to you any way.” “ There may be a job you can handle for us soon and you need to be more informed of the situation.” “ We will discuss it in more detail after this meeting.” Mr. Von Hoke suggested.
Several more men came up to give out information they had encountered in their own towns. Joe’s mind whirled with the thought of what they could possibly want with him. His head felt light as he tried to take it all in. They were now speaking of an attack on government officials. “Oh my God!” He thought, “What have I done now!” With the meeting adjourned Mr. Von Hoke rushed over to greet him with his hand opened. “ I have been meaning to thank you for all the help you have been here.” “ I realize that this may have came as a shock but I have been thinking for some time now on how I could approach you with my appeal.” “ I knew that you weren’t blind to the situation here and have seen for my self your loyalty to me.”
“Gertrude as well as myself have seen fit to include you in our cause.” “ Although I am not originally from here I too have suffered with the inequity of a harsh government and only want to see the men here grow independent.”
“Gertrude has been a loyal servant and friend to me many years and I respect her opinions of some ones character and she has kept me well informed of yours.” “ Have a seat Joe, I would like to explain what we are asking you to do.” Joe eased himself back slowly slumping back in the chair with his hands folded in his lap. “ My ad’ has spoke to me in some detail of your cause and has clued me in to some extent of my duties along with his own as to helping when we can.” “ I just can’t imagine how ever where I can be of service.”
Mr. Von Hoke gave him a soul-searching stare. “ Son this job I am proposing is a serious one and holds grave danger as well.” “ If I didn’t think you were able I would not have asked.” “ You have lived on these streets most your life and know it like the back of your hand.”“ We truly need someone with your experience.” “ It seems we have an intruder among us and can no longer hold the meetings here.” “ From now on all members will be informed by letter only until things change.” “ That is where you will come in.” “ I will need someone swift and cunning to get this task done and I think you are more than qualified.”
“ To be honest I have seen you on the streets before in need of money and well let’s both be honest, in your needs you have taken things from others.” “ I by no means am judging you for I understand the call for survival.”
“ I will pay you well, better than just working here in the theatre of coarse.” “ How does six shillings a week sound?” “ You want make but one or two rounds a week and still I will pay you for working here.”
Joe was ecstatic “ America!” he said aloud. “ America, what about it?” Mr. Von Hoke spoke up. “ Oh nothing, I was just happy to think of such money you are suggesting.” “ Yes, Sir you can count on me!” He answered with a wide grin. “ Great!” “ I’m relieved to hear this.” “ Gertrude is hard at work with the letters as we speak.” “ She will be very happy that you have joined us and need I even say how happy Emma would be.” Joe strutted his chest out proudly like a cock ready to fight with the mention of her name. Mr. Von Hoke continued “ Now understand this is not to be told to any one not even your father.” “We can’t afford for any one to let it slip.” “ Joe, be aware this could be your life at stake not only ours if you were to be caught.” A little weary Joe agreed leaving for home.
In the middle of the street came a small herd of cattle driven by an old man and his young son while several protestant children ran after them throwing stones as the cattle became out of hand. Joe leaped to help settle them. The humble man and son seemed grateful for his help stopping to thank him. “Thank you lad, this is all the property we own and I would hate to think what would become of us without them.” “We are on our way to the Wright farm for trade in hopes of maybe vegetation and money if possible.”
“You see my wife is very ill and she is great need of medical attention and we were fortunate that Ms. Wright was interested in trading,” the old man explained. Joe still out of breath stood panting as he held out his hand. “Glad to be of help.” “ The name is Joseph O’ Kelly.” “ I know exactly where the farm is you’re referring to.” “ My da’ spends a vast amount time there himself and If you don’t mind I would like to walk with you.” The young boy’s eyes smiled deeply at his father as the old man approved “We sure could use a strong chap like your self, thank you kindly.”
The white full moon shadowed their shoulders as they walked. The night air crisply blew while the dew gently fell on the ground sparkling like glitter off the tall evergreen grass as it danced in the breeze reminding him of so many nights that he and Frances had walked the shore lines before retiring under the cliff. A lonely curlew rang out a haunting song as its bubbling music made Joe yearn for the presents of his dear friend. This was a time that he didn’t want to spend alone like the gloomy, painful emptiness throbbing in one’s soul at night when you know the whole world is a live and well but you sit along in the deadness of the night wishing for someone to talk to feeling you are the only person in the universe who’s heart beats heavy with every breath while no one cares.
“Why are you traveling so late friend?” Joe asked with a concerned look then buttoning up his overcoat around his neck. “Well to be honest we had hoped for fewer people to be out and about at this hour and thought we could ease by with out notice.” the old man answered swishing his hand in the air to startle a wondering cow while they climbed the steep muddy hill. “ You know with the chaos in the world now we are grateful to have any peace of mind.” the old man continued. “ Why, just yesterday we saw several men being taken in by the Black and Tans.” “ The look on their faces was horrific.” Joe stopped walking for a moment with the shock of the news waiting for more information but none was given. “ I am thankful this is one war I am out of.” “I think I have seen enough fighting in my day.” “ Life is short lad, without the upheaval we have had the last few years and it seems like nothing ever changes.”
As they crossed an old rickety wood bridge Joe spoke up “ So what did these men do to have been drug off by the army?” Before he was answered the cattle became frightened. The young boy pushed from behind while Joe strained to pull at one’s neck as it bellowed out kicking and thrashing. The hollow thud of its hoofs hitting the bridge startled the other four as they snorted, scattering about the field. Joe and the young boy took off into the fog yelling and waving their hands fading into the darkness while the old man kept a tight hold on the one they had managed to force across the water.
The bright yellow light of the Wright house was a welcomed beacon through the thick smoky fog. The old man could see the silhouette of two people headed his way as he released his grip from the cow. In its new state of mind it deciding to move slowly on up the field while stopping to graze. As the two shadows approached Joe and the young boy returned laughing ecstatically. He had fell head first into a muddy pool of water, his once orange hair now riddled with leaves and rubbish while his face was caked with soupy brown mud. The young boy holding to his side trying to catch his breath from laughing suddenly became quite and shy when he looked up to see the face of Mr. O’
Kelly staring with unbelief at them. His cool blue eyes now flamed with a blaze of fire at Joe’s presents alone but was enraged by the embarrassing predicament he saw him in. “ Da, I came to help these kind people with their cattle.” he chuckled only to have his father brush him aside with his stare.
Ms. Wright gave a shift of her unappreciative eyes toward him. “ Da!” “ Is this your son, Michael?” she scorned. “ I wouldn’t know with the mess he is in.” He answered coldly. “Welcome, we have been expecting you.” he addressed his conversation to the old man who was darting his eyes from Joe to him. “ I see you’ve brought the right amount of cattle with you as we asked.” “ Let Allen help the boys take them to the barn to be examined while we carry on this conversation in the house.” “ Allen, you go ahead with the boys and be sure to check their mouth and hoofs well.” “ I will meet you later.”
Gently he embraced the arm of Ms. Wright to help her up the hill as she precariously tip toed through the wet grass. “Oh,” she giggled as her feet slipped under her.” These shoes weren’t made for such a hazardous stroll.” “ I am beside my self with the strength you have, Michael.” she leaned tightly in to whisper in his ear as she looked back at Joe who by now knew he had made a great mistake in coming. “Just what I need here on this old farm.” she lightly spoke. Michael O’ Kelly gave out a husky chuckle spreading his chest as he flexed his free arm while they both sang out a hardy cackle. The old man keeping his eyes on Joe could see for himself now why the boy was so eager to help. He in one instant knew that Joe wasn’t a priority in his father’s life. Joe feeling self-conscious tried to whistle a soft tune under his breath as if not to care running on a head to the barn.
The farmland lay in emerald green rolling fields with mass cultivations. The white washed barn built better than the homes of most was stocked with fine horses now resting comfortable in their stalls lined with fresh yellow straw. Lanterns were already light and a lined in a roll casting a soft glow that felt warm and inviting as Joe and the young boy set on the supple freshly raked dirt floor of the barn, waiting for to tie the cattle to be examined.
Stretching his arms behind his head Joe lay down on the cool soft dirt and inhaled excitedly the smells of the barn chewing and rolling a piece of straw in his mouth. From the smell of heated horses to the sweet smell of the fresh cut hay he could imagine what joy it would be to have the benefits of being Ms. Wright’s stepchild. For a moment he was a boy without a care leaving his world behind as he dreamed of himself dressed in fine riding clothes a stride a large red horse galloping down the streets waving to the people as they to smiled with joy.
He imagined himself pitching sweet dark chocolates wrapped in shiny gold papers at the children who were dancing in the streets while with the other hand tossing mounds of money in the air. He could hear the cling of the coins hit the streets while people cheered him on. Reality hit with the sound of the clanging becoming louder only to find his self dressed in his over sized frayed clothing while his head rest next to a stall where a horse was kicking a metal bucket.
After checking the cattle thoroughly Allen left swiftly to report his findings to Mr. O’ Kelly and Ms. Wright then returning with the old man in tears. Joe rose quickly to his feet along with the old man’s son. “ What in God’s name is wrong?” Joe shouted out. “The old man stood for a moment in silence then slowly checked for himself the evidence of blisters that the man seemed to think the cattle were infested with. “ They have hoof and mouth disease,” he heavily breathed out. “ I was sure they were in good health.”“ Oh God in heaven surely this is a mistake!” “ Surely my whole life has been a mistake!” He cried out in agony. “ No matter what I do it seems there is a force there to drawn me in sorrow.”
His young boy ran to his side holding to his arm. “ Da, surely this is not true!” “ What will mum do with out medical attention?” He whimpered as he began to tug at the old man’s arm. The work hand quickly moved the cattle out of the barn. “ I am sorry sir but we need to move them now.” “ We can’t afford for this disease to be carried else where.” The old man tried to compose himself shaking his head in agreement as he answered. “ Yes, yes of course I understand.” “ We will be on our way then.”
The long trip home was silent except for the sniffles of the young boy as he softly cried. Joe had left without a word from his father now angry for even knowing him whacked at weeds with a stick while the whizzing sound broke the silence anger filled his throat as he wondered how he could help and how uncaring his father and Ms. Wright had been. They knew the old man’s problems but found it in their best interest to ignore.
He could feel a fire of rage boil his heart with contempt for them both then glancing over to see a tear trickle down the old man’s cheek he decided that he would give the money he had saved for America to him. That was the least he could do to save a life and right a wrong his father had done. Surely he thought with my new job I’d soon have the means to leave any way without this money but what if I too am stuck here? What will I do?” As his thoughts raced on they soon arriving at the old man’s run down old house where a single dim light shown through the window.
“ Lad, I don’t know how to thank you for all you have done tonight.” “ I am not sure we would have made the trip without you.” “ Gromercy, Dursona!” he replied to Joe. “ God bless you as well sir and no need for thanks I have done so little to help.” He answered earnestly.
As the old man’s eyes pooled with tears he went on to say, “ I would welcome you in but as you know my wife is gravely ill and I would hate the thought of you being exposed.” “ It sickens my soul to tell her the bad news.” “ It is all I can do to face her now.” “ She is a praying woman and had her heart set that things would change for us.” “ The poor sweet dear told of us of a dream she had that an angel came to us bringing hope.” He then broke down in a soul-shaking sob the tears soaked his graying long beard while Joe stood frozen, his mouth quivering without words.
After his much needed release of emotions they bid good-bye. Joe raced all the way home more determined then ever that he would help.
The house barred with is father gone he searched out something to pry the window open finding an old iron bar evidently used at the distillery at one time and began to work. The window gave easily to the pressure of his constant gauging. Climbing into the dark stagnant house his footsteps crushed across the crusty wooden floor like breaking ice. The first things he saw with the lighting of an oil lamp were his father’s crystal goblets, an arrogant reminder of his self-centered ways.
Swiftly entering his room he emptied his old rusty can of its contents. Counting the money out on the bed he knew in his heart he was doing the right thing as he shoved it into his pocket retiring for the night with a cool breeze of excitement bubbling in his soul. He slept with a contented grin on his face picturing the sight of the poor families’ expression with him handing them his gift.
A rare day of early light peaked through Joe’s window. As he enjoyed the warmth of the sun on his face his father entered his room. The glistening coins lie across the bed like stars on a moonless night. His father gave out a yell, “ Joseph, where did this come from?” “ Where did you get this kind of money?” Joe awoke wiping his eyes as he shook his mind clear to think. “ What da, what money?” His father reached over picking a few of them up. “ This money,” he said rolling them between his fingers. “ Now speak up!” “ Where did you get it?” he snorted.
Joe pushed his self forward with his feet resting his back against the headboard of the bed. His eyes popped when he looked down to see his pockets had emptied of all his coins. Slapping his hand against his forehead as he squinted his eyes shut he began to speak slowly. “ Well you see, this isn’t my money at all well, not much of it.” “ It’s Frances’ more then mine.” “ He have been hard at work saving for, uh” he stumbled for words as he tried to think fast. “ For his mum, she is in great need of help to keep from being thrown out of their home.” “ Very little of it is mine you see, most is Frances where he worked shining shoes.” “ He has asked me to hold on to it for him.”
Slowly peeking between his fingers to see his father’s face he realized that Mr.’ Kelly wasn’t buying it by the look he was giving. His face like a mad bull with his nostrils flared and his jaws clinched tight. Joe could see the veins on his forehead bulging and knew he was in deep trouble. His father proceeded to pick the rest of the coins up as he replied. “ Well it seems to me he has made a error in judgment having trusted you to keep such an amount.” You have proven this by your neglect.” “ I f this is the case then I think it will be much safer in my hands.” “ You can tell Frances if he so desires he can ask me for it later.”
Joe hopped from the bed blurting out, “ Da, I know me responsibility and had every intention of taking it to him today as a matter of fact.” His father looked disgusted squinting his nose as he stuck the coins in his own pocket. “ I think it would be best if Frances’ mother came to me for the money, then and only then can I be sure this is legitimate and not something you have made up.” “ I know of what you do sometimes.” “Do you think I can’t hear what others say of your deeds?” “ I find it repulsive that you can’t just work like all the rest at something instead of shaming me.” “ So this is settled, you will tell his mother she can talk to me of the matter.”
“And by the way how did you manage to be here?” “ I am sure I secured the house well before I left.” I was under the impression you would stay with Frances or someone until I returned.” “ I hope you haven’t done something foolish like break a window.” “ If I find this to be the case you will pay dearly, I hope you comprehend that.”
With the last word he stormed from the room leaving Joe’s heart broken but afraid to proceed with the argument.
Returning to the old man’s home he was astound at the conditions for which they lived. The darkness of the night had been kind to hide all of their misfortune as the grounds itself were but clumps of clay. The house too was in great need of repairs having a rotten roof and flooring.
The few sickly cattle they had the old man already put down and now was burning their carcass. The stifling smoke was atrocious as it rose in the air while the aroma seemed to disturb the very souls of the other farm animals. Coughing and fighting for air the old man came from out of the blanket of smoke wiping his eyes and nose on an old rag startled to see Joe standing there he gave a jerk of his shoulders and a faint yelp. “ Joe what possessed you to come out all this way and after I told you of my wife?” Ryan can’t go to school now because of his mother’s illness.” “ As a matter of fact we are pretty much quarantined from every one right now.” “ Up on my honor chap why are you here taking such chances with this disease?”
Joe grinned his famous smile before answering. “ Me Da says, having head strong ways will soon get the better of this old corker.” “ Me services I am here to offer sir, that is all.” He pulled several coins from his pocket that he had wrapped in an old handkerchief as he shyly handed them over. “And this, I know its hardly enough but I thought it might help.” The old man was surprised to have Joe hand him money and immediately took one step back as he waved his hand shaking his head no. “ Oh, Joe I can’t take money.” “ I truly thank you but I can not take such things from children.” “ I would feel less a man if I should stoop so low as to let you offer it.” “Where did you happen to come across such an amount?” Joe stood proud as he answered “ Its money I have been saving and I can’t think of any thing more important to me then your wife’s health.” He opened the old man’s wrinkled trembling hand and poured the coins out some falling to the ground. When the old man bent down on his knees to pick them up Joe fled. “ Now it seems you have no chose.” He laughed as he waved good-bye.
Racing passed their house he could see a woman holding to the frame of the front door who was much younger it seemed then the old man. Her hair a jet black however her skin told a different story perhaps dated from the baking sun while working the fields. All Joe knew now was her skin flared scarlet red from hives. Her son helping her back inside looked up when spotting Joe. The boy holding to her arm with one hand gently smiled waving to him before shutting the door. When the woman turned Joe was horrified to see she was not only ill but was bulging with child.
The old man returned to the house with his hands clinging to the handkerchief amazed as to why the young boy would do such a deed for him and his family. Still to be happily shocked that inside the handkerchief was paper money. He sat in his rickety chair at the table and bowed his head in thanks then approached his wife who was now in bed with her son at her side.
“ Maire dear I have great news.“ “You will soon have medical attention as you deserve.” “ Your angel has came by the name of Joe dear, the young man I told you of before.” Her chocolate brown eyes now hollow as she tried to muster a smile for him while he poured the money on the bed next to her. He could feel the fever from her body on the sheets as he gathered it back in his hands. “I will send Ryan immediately for help.” Ryan jumped to his feet ready to leave as his father gave him money. “ Give this to the doctor, tell him there will be more when he comes.”
The young boy ran with out hesitation as hard as he could over the hill to town. There the streets were once again in chaos as he darted his way passed several men throwing broken bottles who were yelling words of protest at the Black and Tan officers. The officers in return were fighting back with a violent vengeance having one young man pinned to the ground beating him about the head while one officer slammed the other to his knees hitting him in the gut with his black jack.
Ryan fearfully ran on searching for a doctor only to be disappointed at his findings for no one was willing to help when he explained his mother’s illness and their little means of payment. As he walked slowly down the cold stark hallway the bellowing sounds of people’s suffering cries rang in his ears. With his head down and his hands in his pockets he walked in a daze now wondering what angel would save his mother now perhaps the death angel was the only hope for her pain.
As he exited the double wooden doors to the streets a voice called out to him. “ Son, son, wait!” “ Can I speak to you?” At first Ryan was sure he was talking to some one else and continued out the door when behind him a hand reached for his arm. “ Son I heard your story.” “ I am not a doctor as of yet but I have been in training.” “ I would like to help if I can.” he said looking over a pair of black horn rim glasses. He had sincere blue eyes that seemed to care deeply for people in need. Ryan in shock questioned. “ You want to help me?” “ But as I explained we have little money.”
The young doctor taking off his glasses motioned Ryan back inside. “ Tell me where you live and I will be there in one hour with medication.” “ I can’t promise any miracles but I will promise to try.” “ And no need for pay except for the medicine.” “ I know how we all suffer in this time of terror and all I want to do is help who ever I can.” “ Now tell me where I need to be and run tell your father I will be there shortly.”
The young boy in a state of pure joy still found himself humbled as he walked passed the bank with his head down and shoulders drooped closely examining Mr. Grady out of the corner of his eye who was passing out cups of coffee to the officers on the streets while he boasted of their presence as if they were his personal body guards. Ryan could hardly help from notice a young girl being escorted by one of the Black and Tan officers because of her fair beauty and young age. Her large oval eyes although seemingly unhappy were a distinct color of the blue sky that stood out from her creamy skin and silky black hair.
The officer although in uniform was drinking from a bottle swaying from one side to the other, hardly able to keep up with the pace of the girl as they headed toward a brightly colored yellow house in the middle of town.
He watched in distaste as the man aggressively fondled her in the street while she with a pasted smile tried to deter him from embarrassing her in front of the gasping eyes of the public.
The officer reeled backward then falling forward as his head plunged her chest. When she tried to help him balance himself he pulled out money and threw it at her feet. “ Pick it up whore!” he rang out. “You’re none to good to grovel for your pay!” Her pale skin now flushed with shame as she whirled around to see if any one was watching catching the eyes of Ryan she darted her glance away quickly. Without missing a step Ryan bent down and handed her the money as the officer gave him a swift daring look. “ Who ask you chap to interfere?” “ I told her to pick it up and she will if she wants to be paid.” Making a sour face Emma nonchalantly waved him on when the man threw the money down once more. Ryan rolled his eyes shaking his head as he went on his way peering over his shoulder to watch them as they entered the house.