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Noel McCready

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Hassles and Hope
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by Noel McCready   
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Last edited: Saturday, March 16, 2013
Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013

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An extract from 'Blight.' It could be called 'Kate and the gombeen man.'

When Kate pushes the door a bell tinkles.  The dingy shop interior gives the initial impression of boxes laid out higgedly-piggedly without rhyme or reason.  On closer inspection she sees this is not so.  Sugar, a luxury one can live without, is built in tiny packets on top of a barrel mid-way between the door and the counter.  Although she isn't here for sugar, she anticipates she might be tempted to make an impulse purchase on the way out.  She remembers not to yield to that temptation.

Peadar O'Driscoll appears out of nowhere.  Black teeth and a phony smile are his trademarks.  He chews tobacco and has the nasty habit of spitting his dark saliva into a poky corner of his establishment.

'Be God, if it's not me favourite widow, Kate Sheehan.  You're gettin' better lookin' every day.  Are ye gettin' younger or what?'

'Ah now, Mr O'Driscoll, I just took the looks the good Lord gave me and they've done me no harm till now.'

'Pleasure to do, to see you, Kate,' hoping she doesn't notice his presumptuous slip that she is going to give him good business.

She does notice.  What's more, she doesn't like the over familiarity in being called Kate by a man she rarely sees and wouldn't care if she never sees again.'

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