Galway Stories

Galway Stories is an anthology set in Galway city and county, by writers who live, or have lived, there. The collection, edited by Lisa Frank and published by Doire Press, includes the work of such established writers as Kevin Barry, Mike McCormack, Celeste Auge, Julian Gough and Conor Montague. Also featured is Don't You Know Who I Am?

I’d never been to Ireland before, but Hoppy told me Galway would be a good place to chill until the whole Pete thing calmed down. He’d worked with The Waterboys back in the day, and had spent time there.

We were holed up in my suite at the K-West, smoking some bud and sinking some Buds, talking about what had gone down, speculating about what was gonna happen next. He had to go back to the States straightaway to sort shit out, but I was in no rush home.

“You’ll be left alone in the west of Ireland,” Hoppy said, expertly tipping ash into an empty beer can. “Dublin’s kinda full-on, not much different from here,

but most of the rest of the country’s fuckin’ cool.”

“In what way?”

“The Irish ain’t starfuckers,” he shrugged. “They really don’t give a rat’s ass about celebrity or any of that kinda shit. Galway’s a serious drinking town, but it’s got a real nice vibe. Nobody will hassle you. Trust me, man.”

I totally trusted him. He’d been our road manager since day one. Didn’t trust nobody else though. Someone in our crew had definitely been talking to the press.

“Okay, but I really wanna go there on the down-low, so tell the guys I’ve gone back to Germany to see that Cologne chick,” I said. “Don’t even say it to Sykes. Just tell him I’ll be in touch in a few days.”

“Sure thing, brother,” he said, handing me the joint. “You got my word as a soldier.”

I took out my iPhone and booked the flight and hotel right there and then. It took a little while: I hadn’t booked anything for myself in years and the weed didn’t help. When the confirmation emails came in, I wrote down the details in my black Moleskine and shut the phone off. Plenty of folks were looking for me, but there was nobody I wanted to talk to.

Except for Pete. That was never gonna happen again.

London was a nightmare; New York was a nightmare in waiting. As Hoppy sagely put it, things were “totally FUBAR!”

Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.

I needed some time and space to process. Galway sounded like the place.

After three days hanging around outside, the paps followed Hoppy and the rest of the guys from the K-West to Heathrow. He took my guitars. I wouldn’t be needing them for a while.

Stevie the lighting tech had worn a big floppy hat and my long purple leather coat as they ran the gauntlet of flashbulbs to the tour bus. It bought me some time.

Hoppy had organised a car. One of the barmen snuck me out the staff exit and I clambered into a waiting black Lexus. I was wearing my battered old deerstalker and the windows were tinted. Even so, I huddled down in the back seat until we were safely away from the hotel.

Pete used to give me a real hard time about the deerstalker. “Who do you think you are, man? Kurt fuckin’ Cobain?”

The driver could’ve been Indian or Pakistani. I never asked. He was a pro. No eyes in the back of his head. We didn’t exchange a single word the entire journey.

Luton Airport was quiet. Most of the shops and restaurants were closed or closing. I couldn’t spot any photographers. I kept my head down and checked in immediately. I’d already gone through security before I remembered there were two blister packs of Xanax in my shirt pocket. I had a script (the label doc was good like that), but the way things panned I wasn’t even patted down.

I’d left my weed for the maids. Hoppy told me it’d be easy enough to score some in Galway.

I sank a couple of cold ones in Departures and scanned the Evening Standard. There was a big picture of Pete on page three, but I didn’t read the article. It was probably bullshit. A lot of what had been written about him had been totally whack.

There was no business-class, but the flight was half empty and I had a row to myself. The only person who recognised me was the cute young English flight attendant. “I’m really sorry for your troubles,” she said, quietly. She didn’t charge me for the can of Bud.

I washed down a pill with the

warm beer.

She had a real nice ass.

The flight took about 90 minutes. It was too dark to see anything out the window. Nothing but a vast black canvas splatted with random orange-lit clusters of civilisation. Someday I’m gonna paint a series of views from airplane windows. I’ve sure seen enough of them these past few years.

It was raining heavily when the plane landed. Hoppy had warned me about the weather. “It pisses down there like a sick cow on a flat rock.”

Galway Airport was tiny, just a single landing strip and a couple of functional looking buildings. I only had a carry-on holdall – enough clothes for a few days and some books and toiletries – so I didn’t have to wait for baggage. A dozy Customs officer barely glanced at me as he stamped my passport and waved me through. I was in a cab headed to the city in no time.

The driver was a fat, middle-aged, greaseball wearing a green Argyle sweater. His car reeked of stale sweat. Despite the rain, I rolled the window down a little.

After a couple minutes silence, he looked back at me and said, “Do ya mind me askin’, but is there somethin’ wrong with yer eyes?”

“What do you mean, man?”

“Well... just yer sunglasses. Must be kinda hard to see, like.”

I said nothing. Even through my rain-splattered Wayfarers, I caught his sly smirk.

A few moments later, probably fearing for his tip, he tried a friendlier tone. “Do I know ya from somewhere? Ya look a bit familiar, like. Are ya an actor or somethin’?”

I ignored him, but he didn’t give

up easy.

“Are ya here in Galway on business

or pleasure?”

Eventually I growled, “I’m here on none of your fuckin’ business, buddy.”

That cooled his jets. We didn’t talk again until we got to the hotel in Eyre Square. I tipped, but only because I didn’t wanna wait for change.

Pete had died in Wolverhampton, of all places. Choked on his own vomit in some Emo chick’s apartment on the fourth night of our UK tour. He’d met her at the after-party and they’d disappeared soon afterwards.

“See you back at the hotel tomorrow, bro.” Those were the last words Pete ever spoke

to me.

The chick said she slept right through it. By the time she woke up it was too late to call a medic. So she called the tabloids instead. Okay, maybe not, but it’s a stone cold fact that a photographer was there before the ambulance. Sykes told me that she’d done some low five-figure deal to pose topless for The Sun, but they weren’t gonna publish the pictures until next month. Out of respect.

There hadn’t been a sudden celebrity death since Amy Winehouse so the press went fucking nuts. Pete finally made the cover

of the NME. He would’ve come in his

leather pants.

Nothing sells like a proper rock ‘n’ roll immolation, especially if it can be portrayed as a tragically young one. Newspapers love clichés. He was too old to join the 27 Club, but only by a few months.

Our record shot straight to the top of the UK charts (it had previously peaked at 14), and the label was reissuing the others. There was talk of a book, a live album, a biopic. Apparently there were already a few different RIP-style t-shirts.

Everybody wanted to know what was gonna happen with the band. As far as I was concerned, there was no band. How could there be? It was always me and Pete. We wrote all the songs. The rest of the guys were just glorified session musicians.

Whatever. I didn’t wanna talk about it. He wasn’t even in the ground yet. As far as I knew, he hadn’t been moved since I’d last seen him – lying blue on a slab in the freezer of the Wolverhampton morgue. There were some legal complications with the tour insurance, and his body still hadn’t been flown home.

Brooklyn was gonna be a real bad trip. I’d have to return for the funeral, but who knew when that was gonna be? Pete’s folks had let it be known that they wanted to talk to me (separately, of course – they finally got divorced two years ago). Sounded like they needed someone to blame. Pete had always been a crazy bastard, and I’d promised them I’d look out for him. That was six years ago, when we graduated from Tisch and started the band.

Then there was Laura. She was totally pissed about the chick. We hadn’t spoken yet, but all of her texts and voicemails were pretty accusatory and hostile. Like, what the fuck did she think Pete was getting up to on tour?

She knew him almost as long as me.

She knew exactly what he was like.

The hotel was pretty swank. Soft carpets, antique furniture, original art, big TV. I’d booked the most expensive place. Hell, given the sudden surge in album sales, I was probably gonna be rich.

I spent the morning in my room, watching muted Sky News, drinking coffee and minibar shorts, chain-smoking Camels. Thinking about stuff. Not thinking about stuff. Thoughts bouncing around my brain like punctured balls in a busted Bingo machine.

It had been a while since I’d had any real time on my own. We’d been out on the road since before Christmas. Five months in that insane fucking bubble. Before that, we’d been working 24/7 in the studio. As soon as we’d mastered the record, we were flying around doing promo. It felt strange having nothing to do, nowhere to be, and no-one to deal with.

My iPhone was still off. I considered checking my messages, but decided no. There was nothing that couldn’t wait. Especially if I didn’t know about it.

The rain had stopped so I decided to explore. I popped another Xanax and took a swig of Absolut. My stomach heaved, but I held it down. Prescription drugs have never been my thing, but I was starting to see the attraction.

Outside the breeze smelled of sea salt. Fresh. Invigorating. I sparked up a Camel.

I’d been to at least 30 different cities since the tour began and hadn’t seen much more than hotels, restaurants, venues, radio studios and nightclubs in any of them. Except for Wolverhampton. I saw the morgue there.

Galway seemed like a cool little town. Literally: none of the buildings were more than four storeys high. I walked up through Eyre Square and turned down the main street. My steel-heeled boots clattered noisily on the wet cobblestones. A lot of the stores were the chains you’d see in any European city, but a few looked interesting. Not that I was in the mood to go shopping.

Despite the dullness of the day, there were a lot of people around. Tired-looking MILFs pushing strollers. Roaming gangs of uniformed school-kids. Suited businessmen striding purposefully. Grey-haired, loud-shirted hippies. Young hipsters carrying brightly coloured umbrellas. More than a few winos.

Just about everybody was talking on a cell phone. Even the winos.

There was a skinny young busker slapping a battle-scarred acoustic outside the Tommy Hilfiger store, doing a version of ‘Sink The Pink’ off our first record. It wasn’t one of my favourite songs, but the kid wasn’t bad. The chords weren’t exactly what you’d call complicated. I pulled the deerstalker down and walked swiftly past.

I’d flicked through a tourist guide in the room so I had a destination. There was a bar called Neachtain’s on Quay St., where there were regular traditional Irish music sessions. Hoppy sometimes played Fisherman’s Blues or Sharon Shannon albums on the bus, but I’d never heard trad played live.

The place wasn’t hard to find. Smurf-blue on the outside, it was an old-style pub, with wood panelling, bookshelves, framed theatre posters, and lots of rare old whiskey bottles dustily displayed behind the counter. Pretty much what all those shithole Irish bars in Brooklyn were trying for.

They didn’t have Bud so I ordered a pint of Galway Hooker – Pete would’ve approved! – from a craggy-faced, white-haired barman. Nick Cave’s ‘Lime Tree Arbour’ was playing quietly on the sound system. I liked the song, but it wasn’t the soundtrack I’d expected. When I asked about the trad, the barman told me there’d probably be some musicians in later. “Arra, it’s all fairly relaxed,” he explained. “People come here and play, and if they’re any good we give them free coffee. If they’re really good, we give them free pints.”

He placed my drink on the counter. “And if they’re shite, we politely tell them to feck off and practice somewhere else!”

I felt a rictus crease on my face. “Cool. Thanks, man.”

The place wasn’t busy, midweek afternoon trade, just a few scattered old guys nursing coffees, pints or grievances. I sat in one of the wooden booths and removed my hat and shades. I took out my Moleskine and pen, and laid them in front of me. There was bound to be a song in the mail.

Some dude was walking past and looked in. Our eyes locked briefly. He stopped and did an exaggerated double-take. I hated him immediately.

“Jaysus Christ almighty!” he exclaimed.

“It’s yerself!”

“Shit!” I silently cursed.

He was a stocky type, about my own age, short hair gelled to his skull, wearing faded jeans and a black leather jacket. He stepped into the booth and extended a cheaply bejewelled paw. “Well, well, well… sure how’s it going, man?” he asked, smiling broadly.

I gave him a deliberately limp handshake. He didn’t take the hint. Instead, he took it as an invitation to slop his pint on the table and sit his fat ass down. “Jaysus, is it really you? What has ya in Galway?”

I picked up the Moleskine before his beer-spill reached it. “Well, you know...”

“Brendan’s the name,” he informed me, in a manner that implied I’d asked. “I just saw ya there outta the corner of my eye. You! In fuckin’ Galway!”

“To be honest, buddy, I just wanna be left alone,” I said, returning the notebook to my pocket. “I’m sure you understand...”

Hoppy and his boys – all tough-as-fuck-brook-no-bullshit ex-Marines – would have gotten rid of this jerk by now. They would never have allowed him get this close. But I was here on my own. I was a civilian.

“Of course, of course,” Brendan nodded, making no move to leave. “Sure yer head must be fuckin’ melted! But ya picked a good place to come. Ya won’t be bothered here. Sure, we couldn’t care who ya are! But just tell me this much and tell me no more. Yer man Pete, like, was he a total fuckin’ headcase or wha’?”

“What? Em… I guess Pete was just... Pete.”

“Arra, he was a mad bollix!” Brendan laughed. “Proper fuckin’ rock star! But c’mere and listen to me now while I tell ya...”

I sat there in stony silence, shredding a beermat into confetti as he droned on about meeting Woody Harrelson during some film festival here a few summers back. I momentarily considered asking about weed, but decided I’d sooner be rid of him.

“We were in the Blue Note, like, this great pub down in the Wesht End. By that stage Woody was fuckin’ upside down, like, totally out of it. And one of the lads – this muppet called Rasher – says to Woody, ‘Do ya remember the episode of Cheers where…’”

His story was interrupted by the breathless arrival of the Hilfiger busker. Guitar strapped to his back, he stepped into the booth and stared right at me, open-mouthed and awestruck. He had a wispy goatee, but you could still see the whiteheads. His parka was open and I realised he was wearing one of the Pete RIP t-shirts. It was one of Laura’s photographs, taken on the roof of my brownstone last year. Spin used those shots a couple of times, but she had a total shit-fit when Sykes vetoed them for the

album cover.

“Oh wow, it’s really you!” the kid said. “Wow… seriously, man… I thought I saw you walking past there. What has you in Galway? I read you were all back in New York.”

Avoiding eye contact, I shook my head and sipped my beer.

“Oh man, I was so sorry to hear about Pete,” the kid continued. “You must have been, like, really devastated…”

When I didn’t say anything, he faltered slightly. He took a step back and stammered, “Ser…ser…seriously, you guys are my all-time favourite band. I saw you in the Hammersmith Apollo two years ago, when you played with Mercury Rev. Fucking brilliant gig!”

“Thanks, man,” I said, looking into my glass.

“Seriously, like, it was savage. How… how… how come you never played Ireland?”

I shrugged. “We were gonna play the Electric Picnic…”

Suddenly Brendan slammed his fist on the table and glared witheringly at the kid. “Lookit, would ya ever fuck off and leave this poor man alone!” he hissed. “Sure, his best friend’s only after fuckin’ dying. He came to Galway to be left alone, like. Not to be fuckin’ bothered by eejits like you!”

Hoppy wouldn’t have been so harsh. Hurt tears welled in the kid’s eyes, but I looked away. “Ah lookit, I’m really sorry,” he mumbled. “Didn’t mean to bother you at all, man. Like, I apologise, like…”

“So ya fuckin’ should!” Brendan snapped. “Jaysus!”

The kid disappeared. I felt a little sorry for him. I felt a lot sorrier for myself.

Brendan scowled after him, then looked at me and sighed sorrowfully. “Some people, ha? Just no fuckin’ cop on!”

He took a noisy slurp from his pint. “Anyway, sure, I’ll tell ya this and I’ll tell ya no more…”

My stomach growled. I hadn’t eaten since the K-West. I found a quiet Italian place on Quay St. and ordered a plate of carbonara and a bottle of Chianti. I’d picked up a copy of Hot Press. Pete was on the cover. Amongst other notables, Bono had written a tribute to him (“He was like a modern day Jim Morrison… He performed with the wild abandon of a demented dervish with his body wired up to the international grid…”).

We’d played support to U2 in the Garden a couple of years back. Pete was the only one of us who actually got to meet the band. He hadn’t shut up about it for weeks.

The young waitress had long red hair and a gold stud in her nose. She waited until I’d paid the bill before producing her mobile phone.

“I’m really, really sorry, like, but would you mind if I took a picture?” she said. “It’s just for my Facebook page. I loved your last album, we play it here all the time. Oh, and I was so sorry to hear about Pete...”

I did mind, but it was easier to just let it happen. A curly-haired and unshaven chef came out from the kitchen to take the picture. Without asking, they swapped around and she took one of me and him.

“You having a good time in Galway?” he asked, as we awkwardly posed together.

“I’ve only just arrived,” I replied.

“You’ll like it here,” he assured me. “Nobody will bother you. We don’t care about celebrities in Ireland. Well, not that we don’t care, but we don’t treat them different. Sure, aren’t we all the same, really, when you think about it?”

When I went to collect my key, the young butterface brunette behind the reception desk shyly pushed over the CD sleeve of The Sweat Smell Of Success.

“I’m really sorry to bother ya, sir, but my little sister just loves yer band,” she gushed. “She almost died when I told her ya were staying here. Would ya mind signing this for her?” She handed me a hotel pen. I quickly scrawled an illegible signature over Pete’s face.

She spun it around and examined my handiwork. “Er… her name’s Louise,” she said, spinning it back. I scribbled some more and put the pen down. “Are ya enjoying yer stay in Galway?” she asked.

“Sure, sure,” I nodded. “Can I get my

room key?”

“Oh, I was so sorry to hear about yer singer,” she said. “I’d never even heard of yee until he died. Shockin’! And he was so young…”

The following afternoon there was an older receptionist on duty. “Excuse me,” she called as I floated through the lobby. “I think there’s a message here for you.”

A message? Only Hoppy knew I was here, but he didn’t know where I was staying. I’d checked in under the name Josef Strummer. I walked over to the desk. She handed me a large brown envelope with my name printed on the front. “That is you, isn’t it?” she said, pointing at my name and pulling a mock-confused face.

I ripped it open. It contained a handwritten note and a folded tabloid newspaper.

The red-inked note was scripted in childlike block capitals and had a lot of exclamations: “HEY!!! GREAT 2 MEET YA MAN!!!! NOW I’M FAMOUS 2!!!! HA, HA!!!!! ENJOY UR BREAK!!!!! STAY COOL!!! BRENDAN.”

I opened up the newspaper. It was the Irish Daily Star. There was a seriously cheesy photograph of myself and Brendan holding pint glasses aloft on the front page. Fuck! It had been taken on his mobile phone by the Neachtain’s barman. I’d only agreed to it to get rid of the irritating fucker. The headline read ‘Grieving Rocker Rossi In Galway’.

The caption under the photograph: ‘For

Pete’s Sake!’

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” I sighed.

It took less than a minute to read the entire article. Brendan – who was 28, single, an unemployed electrician, and surnamed O’Rourke – was quoted: “He’s a really sound fella. He said he came to Galway to be left alone. I told him he couldn’t have picked a better spot. We don’t bother celebrities here. We treat them just like normal people.”

Oblivious to the dismayed look on my face, the receptionist smiled. “You’re really famous now!” she said. “A lot of people read that paper.”

I crumpled it up into a ball and dropped it on the desk. “Would you please trash this, ma’am,” I said. “Oh, and send someone up to restock my mini-bar. It’s room 420.”

I walked out of the hotel. It was raining again.

Before he passed away, just after our second album came out, my old man warned me that fame was junk. I hadn’t agreed with him, but now I realised I was well and truly lost in the junkyard. Whatever anonymity I’d had here was totally blown. Heads turned and fingers pointed as I walked down Shop Street. Or so it seemed anyway. I was slightly wasted.

“Fuck you, Brendan!” I seethed. I wondered had the parasitical asshole been paid for the picture. How had he known what hotel I

was at?

Strangers nodded their heads or waved at me. Even one of the winos. A giggling group of schoolgirls followed me from outside McDonald’s for a little while. They called after me, but I ducked into a bar called The

King’s Head.

All I wanted was to be left alone with my non-thoughts. Was that too much to fucking ask?

Obviously. As he handed over my drink, the barman asked for an autograph.

Several hours, bars and autographs later, I wound up in some music joint called the Roisin Dubh. I was drinking in the corner under an old Richmond Fontaine poster, doodling in my Moleskine, when this hipster duo sidled over: a cute chick and a geeky guy, both wearing silver nose-rings and long black trenchcoats, with heavily inked hands and necks.

They just wanted to say hi, they said. They wanted me to know that celebrities don’t ever get bothered here. They didn’t care who I was. Fame didn’t matter to them. Ireland was really cool that way. Galway especially so. But would I mind if they just took a picture? For their blog?

I had three beers and vodka chasers there. Different versions of the same thing happened five fucking times in the time it took me to drink them.

Massimo Bar. I was attempting to urinate into Mick Jagger’s mouth, but kept splashing off target. All of the porcelain urinals in the men’s room were fashioned in the shape of his trademarked bright red hot lips. I wondered if he got a royalty.

Some drunken clown beside me extended his hand. “Sorry to bother you, man, but I’m a bloody massive fan of your band...”

“Dude, I’m taking a fuckin’ piss!”

He smiled apologetically, and stumbled back.

“Sorry… I’ll wait.”

The Massimo staff were okay. Once they’d all had their pictures taken with me, they left me alone. I stayed drinking until they’d finished sweeping the floors and pointedly turned the music off. I tripped over the doormat on the way out.

Staggering onto the street, I heard some music seeping out the upstairs window of a nearby place called The Crane. I walked over to it. Fiddles, guitars, bodhráns, pipes, whistles, yelping and the irregular stamping of feet. Sounded like the vibe I’d been looking for yesterday.

The green door was closed, but there was definitely a party happening inside. I knocked on it with my fist. “Hey… open up!”

There was no response so I banged even harder. A second later, a butt-ugly doorman – short but wiry, with jailbird eyes and a boxer’s nose – yanked it open. “Stop banging on the fuckin’ door!” he barked. “We’re fuckin’ closed!”

He tried to close it again, but I jammed it with my boot. “Hey man, I just wanna hear some music,” I said. “You know… Irish trad.”

“There’s no trad here!” he said.

“But I can hear it, man! Upstairs!”

“I can’t hear anything,” he said. Actually, the music seemed to have suddenly stopped. He pointed a stubby, nicotine-stained finger

in my face. “Now take yer fuckin’ foot out of the way!”

“Come on, man!” I implored. “I just wanna hear the music.”

“Yer out of yer fuckin’ face,” he said. “So piss off before I fuckin’ burst ya!”

Time for the heavy guns. I lowered my shades, pulled off the deerstalker, and triumphantly shook my hair loose.

“Hey, don’t you know who I am, buddy?”

The guy glowered at me and puffed out his chest. “I couldn’t give a flyin’ fuck who ya are!” he declared. “Now fuck off with yerself!”

“But it’s me, man!” I protested. “Rick Rossi from Fragrance Free!”

“Never heard of ya!”

“Hey man, you must have! I’m on the front page of today’s Star! Me! Rick Rossi!”

“It’s a rag. I never read it.”

“Come on, man!” I said. “I’m a major fuckin’ rock star!” I pointed at myself. “Rick Rossi! Fragrance Free! We’re number one in the fuckin’ UK!”

He laughed loudly. “Sure, this is Galway, like! We couldn’t give a flying fuck who ya fuckin’ are! So piss off outta me face!” With that, he kicked my foot away and slammed the door closed.

I stood there, utterly dumbfounded. What the fuck? Momentarily I was seized by a blind rage. “FUCK YOU, MAN!” I roared at the door. “I’LL BUY THIS FUCKIN’ DUMP AND FIRE YOUR SORRY ASS!”

Upstairs the music was still stopped. I could hear laughter inside. I kicked the door a couple of times, but my ankle hurt. Somebody flicked a cigarette butt from the upstairs window and it sparked off my shoulder. I looked up and the guy flipped me the bird.

Flipping him back, I turned and limped away.

My face was wet as I walked the street. It was raining heavily, but I gradually realised there were tears streaming down my face. Not because of what had just happened. It was because of Pete. He would’ve found the whole scene hilarious. I could imagine him howling like a hyena and mimicking me: “Me! Rick Rossi! I’m a major fuckin’ rock star!”

Then I didn’t have to imagine. For a few seconds, he was standing right there in front of me, just out of reach. Dressed in the same clothes as the night it happened. He smiled at me, mockingly. Then he started jumping up and down like Cruise on the couch, pointing his fingers at his ears, and shouting in a dumb squeaky voice, “ME! RICK ROSSI! MAJOR FUCKIN’ ROCK STAR!”

He was always able to crack me up. I started to laugh through my tears. It was the first time I’d done either since he’d died. I stood there, soaked in the rain, helplessly shaking and weeping. I had to put my hand up against the wall to keep from keeling over.

I was really gonna miss that dude. I was really gonna miss him bad.

Suddenly my stomach melted and I spewed my fucking guts up all over the sidewalk. It was mostly liquid. As I stared down at it, the rainfall pummelled the puke into a stream of yellow gloop. It ran between my boots and swiftly snaked down to the gaping mouth of the drain on the street. By the time I’d stopped coughing and dry heaving, there was no trace of it left anywhere but on my shirt sleeve.

Pete Chastain, RIP.

Back in the hotel, it took me a few beers to feel better. Eventually I turned my iPhone on. It almost vibrated off the table. There were 33 voicemails and 71 texts. I didn’t even look at my email. I fixed a double Absolut from the minibar, swallowed a Xanax, and fell back on the bed. It was just after 4am, which made it around 11pm there.

My vision was kinda blurry so it took me a while to dial the number. I wasn’t even sure it was right until his gravelly voice answered after a couple of rings. “Hey Rickster, how the hell you doin’? Galway treatin’ you right?”

“Hoppy,” I said, “I am gonna kick your fuckin’ ass when I get home!”

© Olaf Tyaransen, 2013

Galway Stories is out now on Doire Press.


Related Articles


Advertise With Us

For information including benefits, key facts, figures and rates for advertising with Hot Press, click below


Find us elsewhere