Letters from Ireland (Chapter 5, Gutters Ain't Ladders)
Posted June 17th, 2008 by AlecO
“That’s tough, man. I know you talked about her…” Mark took a sip of his Guinness.
“Yeah, it sucks. But seriously, you should’ve seen this guy. No, wait,” Brian chuckled, “He’s not a guy, he’s a freaking rock.” Brian chugged the rest of his beer.
“Another round!” Brian called, ending the order with a drunken giggle.
“Come on, lad. I don’t think drowning yourself at the pub is that great of an idea.” Mark put a hand on Brian’s shoulder.
“Let’s get you home.”
“SHUT UP! I’m a b--” Brian belched, “big boy now, and I can handle a few bottles.”
Brian promptly passed out.
Brian awoke moaning.
“Where am I?”
Home. I’m home.
“What happened?” Brian sat up in bed, and realized he was still dressed.
One word floated through his head.
Brian moaned once more, and rolled onto the floor.
He walked towards his bedroom door, and his eyes focused upon a piece of lined paper tacked to its surface.
Brian picked it up, and painstakingly began to read.
Just so you know, we went down to the pub last night, and you got wasted. I brought you home. I’ll let you use a sick day today, but come on man, control yourself next time.
P.S.- Your cell phone rang on the way home. You might want to check it out.
Brian thanked God that Mark was allowing him a sick day, and fell back into bed.
Brian was awoken around three o’clock when his cell phone began to trill.
“Hello?” He grumbled.
“Hey Brian, it’s Jacquelyn.”
“Hi.” His voice dripped with sarcasm.
“I’m not in the mood for petty crap. I heard about your little adventure last night. I just called to tell you about the prints.” She was annoyed.
“Yeah, well, what is it?”
“The thing is, I can’t get anything from them. It’s just a jumbled mess.”
Brian realized that since the letter had probably been handled by many people, him, his mother, his father. Of course there would be no clearly defined prints.
“I can get you a fresh letter.” Brian said.
“Jacq--” Brian began to apologize.
She had already hung up.
That Friday, Brian called his mother.
“Hi Brian! How are you?” Her voice, cheerful as always.
“Fine. I was wondering, you wanna do lunch on Saturday. I wanna… Um… Talk to you about a girl I met.” Brian lied.
“Oh that’s wonderful, honey! Where should we go?” His mother’s voice was filled with glee.
Restaurant, restaurant… Um…
“How about McReary’s?” Brian suggested the restaurant he and his mother had dined at often when he was a child.
“That sounds delightful. I’ll see you then.”
“Love you, Ma.”
“Love you too, Brian.”
How low can you possibly sink? What are you, a criminal? Just like your freaking dad. Shut up. Shut up!
Brian’s thoughts raced. He was about to break into his own mother’s house.
Brian pulled out his cell phone.
His mother answered on the third ring.
“Hey Ma, I’m gonna be a little late to lunch. Boston traffic, ugh. Order me a Coke, okay?” More lies.
“That stinks, hon. I’ll see you soon.”
His mother’s saintly voice was like a dagger in his soul.
Brian parked his 2008 Dodge Charger, and walked toward his mother’s building.
He positioned himself beneath the second story balcony of his mother’s apartment, and began to think. There was a gutter directly next to the balcony.
He went for it.
Brian was in decent physical shape; he visited a gym regularly, and could bench press about one twenty.
He was hopeful as the railing of the balcony grew closer.
Brian heard a clanking, and a snapping. Water hit his forehead.
The gutter gave, and Brian fell backwards. The impact with the concrete knocked all of the wind from his lungs, and he felt a sharp twinge in his side.
That was the last word that went through his head before he (for the second time this week), passed out.
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