Monday, 28 January 2013

What'll I die of?

What’ll I die of?



Tom pulled down the deadbolt and fished his keys from his pocket to open the numerous locks that held the door closed. He slowly worked his way down from the highest to the lowest locks. He’d barely turned the key in the last lock when the door was pushed open from the other side. It missed colliding with his nose by half an inch.

“Tom!” said the man on the other side of the threshold. “I’d never though you’d open. What time do you call this?”

Tom glanced up at the television above the bar. The Angelus was reaching its climax. The television gave off a couple of more “bongs” and the Six-One news started.

“It’s Six oh one, precisely.” said Tom. “You having the usual Seamus?”

“I’ll try something different tonight. How’s about a whiskey?” said Seamus.

Tom sighed and walked behind the bar to prepare the drink that Seamus always asked for, the one that he had ordered without fail every evening for the past fifteen years: whiskey.


Tom poured the drink and slid it over the bar.

“Anything happening Seamus?” he asked.

“I think I might be dying Tom.” whispered Seamus in a conspiratorial fashion.

“Really?” replied a disinterested Tom. “Happening soon is it?”

“Not sure. How long does leprosy usually take?”

“A while I think. Those lads with the bells in the bible used to have it for ages and that was years ago. Sure wasn’t the Lord able to cure them no bother. The doctors in the A & E will probably be able to sort you out.”

“Something else will probably get me before then. A couple of weeks ago I was certain I was getting the Ebola.”

“Ebola? What’s that when it’s at home?”

“Don’t know. There was a movie on the other night with a monkey that had it. That’s why I thought I’d gotten it.”

“Did the monkey live?”

“I couldn’t watch all of it. The whole subject hit too close to home for me.”   

Seamus gulped down the whiskey, placed the empty glass on the counter and pointed at it. Tom refilled the glass.

“Seamus?” Tom said. “Mind if I ask you something?”


“Why are you so worried about these exotic diseases? You know you’re more likely to have a heart attack or get cancer or something.”

“Well, there’s a story there. A few years back I was doing a line with a young one from Indonesia. It didn’t end well and she cursed me. She told me I’d die suddenly from something from a far off land.”

“She said that?”

“She did.”

“What did you do to her to deserve that?”

“Ahhh. I can’t remember. Must have been pretty awful though. For me to have been cursed like that.”

“Must have been.”

“Here, I’d better get on. It’s getting dark out there.”

“Safe home Seamus.”

“Goodnight Tom.”


Seamus stood up and buttoned up his long dark coat. Seamus plonked down a handful of change on the counter to pay for his whiskies. Tom scooped up the change. It was the exact amount required to pay the tab. Seamus walked out the door which swung closed after him. Tom picked up the drained whiskey glass from the counter and washed it. Suddenly, he heard a loud engine noise from outside and the ear-splitting screeching of high powered brakes.


Tom ran outside onto the road and saw an expensive sports car, a Maserati, stopped about fifty yards up the road. Seamus’ body was lying underneath the back wheels.    

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