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Writing (Short Story)

What’s the Point?

Where do I start, what I am about to tell you is so completely fucked up I don’t even believe it happened myself. I’ll start with the date. Friday 13 July 2019, a normal day, by any stretch of the imagination, started by a normal occurrence in a little terraced house in Beechmount Gardens.

I woke up as I normally do, hungover, still drunk from the night before. I’m awoken every morning by the sound of my girlfriend of three years Clare who busily readies herself for work. Normally I pretend to sleep until she’s away but today she caught me with one eye open for the briefest second trying to catch a fly look at her in her briefs.

“I know you’re awake and you can hear me”.

I tried to ignore her but I could feel her eyes burning right through me as Dracula must feel when he encounters sunlight or a crucifix. I clutched the bedsheets, turned over in the bed and buried my head in the pillow.

Hopefully she’s running late and hasn’t time for this, I remembered thinking to myself as I listened to what, can only be described as, sound with no words filled the room. I can honestly say to this day I’ve no recollection, not only, of any of her words but the context of what she was speaking about.

I knew I was in trouble when she tore down the stairs like an elephant running for a poke.

I knew I was in trouble, I didn’t know what for. I knew there was a problem. So I reacted the way I reacted to most problems I encountered in my life. I put on my clothes as fast as I could and went for a pint. The time was 8.45.

At 23.45 I woke up.

I woke up confused and cold.

I was cold but it wasn’t a cold night. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

I was confused, because I wasn’t in my own bed. I wasn’t in a stranger’s bed, which has been known to happen. I wasn’t slouched over a bar stool or laid out on the pool table. I woke up…in a graveyard. Yes, you read that right, I woke up in a fucking graveyard.

Graveyards are funny places. They’re portrayed as fearful places, dangerous places. I never felt that way in a graveyard. I always felt safe. I was lying on a verge of grass, triangular shaped where two paths went their separate ways, snaking their own way throughout the graveyard.

Time to get my bearings. In West Belfast there are two graveyards. The City and Milltown. I was in The City Cemetery.

But Why? How long had I been here?

I know I’ll phone Clare.

Without getting up I reached around and slid the phone out of my back pocket. It was at this point that the magnitude of my hangover hit me. A shooting pain like a lightning bolt exploded at the top of my frontal lobe reminding me of a day’s drinking completely and totally expunged from my memory. I sat up on the verge, punched the numbers into the phone and waited for the ringing tone.

Surprisingly Clare answered right away.


The sound of the beep as she ended the call stung. Even though in situations when you know the outcome is preordained, I still attempted to call her at least 20 times. At this point, I know her phone is turned off, but that doesn’t stop me messaging her at least another 20 times, as normal couples do.

Every message, as the combination of anger, frustration and a piercing headache combine, naturally becomes more aggressive. Eventually I give up. I lay back down on the grass and throw the phone at a gravestone that bears the name Stoker. The phone smashes. It is unusable. I don’t care.

I do nothing for about half an hour but look at the stars above me. The constant throbbing of my forehead disturbs the contentment of the evening, which is a strange thing to say when you’re basically homeless.

I decided the best thing that would soothe, not only my battered ego but also my headache, would be a wee dander in the middle of a Graveyard at midnight. Genius always hits you at the most inappropriate of times.

I had a plan of course. I decided to visit Clare’s dead father located at the back of the cemetery beside the Whiterock Road. I had never met the man when he was alive but nevertheless I decided to pay my respects. I’m pretty sure he would have approved of the man his daughter had just chastised thirty minutes before.

I found his gravestone easy enough. His was sandwiched between two females with the names Foster and Allen. I couldn’t help but have a little chuckle to myself. Their ages were eighty and sixty-nine. Nagged for all eternity by two old Biddies.

I introduced myself as his son-in-law. Realising that I didn’t…really…believe in the afterlife, heaven or all that palaver, and so, in reality was talking to myself, I decided to pay my respects by bowing my head, closing my eyes and reciting what I could remember of the Lord’s Prayer.

Halfway through the prayer, I remember thinking I wonder if this is what Buddhists’ refer to as spiritual oneness. The last time I felt this calm I was looking at penguins sliding down a frozen puddle without a care in the world at Belfast Zoo.

I’ve a confession to make. That’s not the way it happened.

I arrived at her father’s graveside, and being hurt, angry and feeling emotions I didn’t know existed inside myself, I decided to piss over his grave. It wasn’t an ordinary piss either, the combination of a day’s drinking and being asleep for, I don’t know how long, ensured that the flowers that attended the grave were well and truly watered.

I remember remarking to myself, and I shouldn’t really be saying this out loud, that there was something deeply satisfying about doing what I was doing. Especially with my eyes closed. It somehow made the experience more serene, holy even, like I was having a divine encounter.

With my eyes still closed, I noticed a coldness at my ankle, a weird sensation. I also had the feeling I was being watched. Maybe I was being paranoid.

“C’mere you cunt.” I heard someone mumble.

My eyes not only opened but widened. Something had hold of my ankle.

“C’mere you cunt.”  I heard someone mumble.

I looked down. There was a bony decrepit hand coming out of Clare’s father’s grave and it had hold of my ankle. I know what you’re thinking, break free and run like fuck.

Unfortunately I had a problem. I was still pissing. Why is it that every time you’re in a hurry and you’re having a piss you seem sort of stuck until the last drop hits the cistern? Mental note, no more pissing in graveyards.

My dreaming of cisterns was interrupted as I looked down at an undead head, who I presume to be my girlfriend’s, possibly ex-girlfriend’s father, inching out of the ground while simultaneously not only coughing out muck from his mouth but shouting at me with a slightly effeminate voice “C’mere you cunt.”

There was nothing else for me to do but aim and fire urine at this thing, like a modern day ghostbuster. What looked like an eyeball shot from his head while I shouted at the top of my voice “Let go of me you fucking freak”. Can you offend a zombie? These days everyone seems to take offence.

“C’mere you cunt.”  Was the reply and I remember thinking that’s exactly what Clare says when she argues with me?

THANKFULLY the longest piss in history came to an end. This left me with a dilemma. Should I “fix” myself before running?

“C’mere you cunt.” Interrupted my train of thought “Is that all you can fucking say” I shouted back at the top of my voice.

I decided to boot Clare’s dead father clean in the face, which with hindsight was a bit of a mistake as it seemed to free him slightly from the earth. It also freed my ankle.

“GET AWAY FROM ME YOU SICK CUNT” I shouted at the top of my voice. I ran as fast as I could, well as quickly as you can while simultaneously buttoning up a pair of Levi 501’s.

Levi 501’s, I know what you’re going to say, but I’m using artistic licence.

I got about 50 yards and noticed I had developed a stitch, a searing warm sort of deep throbbing. When was the last time I exercised? I couldn’t recall but knew immediately I wasn’t cut out for this running lark. It then dawned on me how inadequate I was. I couldn’t outrun a zombie.

As I stood hunched over inhaling huge gulps of non-existent air, with hand on my side like a “my little teapot” I decided my course of action. I would reason with it. I would calmly ask the dead corpse of my girlfriend’s father what his fucking problem was. What exactly did he hope to achieve by rising from the dead and disturbing me from pissing all over his grave? Why did he decide to chase me late at night through a graveyard?

It then dawned on me. Was he even chasing me? I didn’t see him about.

I would have to go back up there and give him a piece of my mind.

Or should I wait, see if he came…

Ah, what’s the point? I’ll go home, and see if I can get back into the house.

HMP Magilligan

2nd Prize Short Story Getting Started, Listowel Writing in Prison Awards, 2020

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