• February 28, 2024

Blow Behind Billy – A Funny Short Story by Séamus McNally – Reedsy Prompts

Billy McSweeney enjoyed life again. The first fortnight after the diagnosis he stayed home, and wouldn’t pretend now it hadn’t hit him hard. He didn’t care if people believed he had chosen a lifestyle that gave him an ironclad shot at an early jaunt in Grannerty’s hearse.

‘Doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, it’s all decided the day you are born,’ He always said. ‘Written in indelible ink, sorted and filed, ready for delivery.’

He knew about sorting and delivering after forty years as a postman. Six months into retirement and he was missing the repute of being the postman for half the parish. Back then, one o’clock had seen work finished, sitting at the bar of Grannerty’s Public House, Grocer and Undertaker. He listened to the news on the wireless, a box of untipped cigarettes beside the pint. And every day he declined Nora Grannerty’s offer of a bowl of soup and a sandwich.

‘When I’m atein’ I’m atein’, and when I’m drinking, I’m drinking,’ he’d say. He wasn’t into fancy food. When the mother was alive, there was steak only three days a week. She’d vary a bit, with bacon and cabbage or a pork chop. Now he had steak Monday to Friday with a fry in the café at the weekend.

‘It might not be my favourite, but it’s the easiest cooked,’ he told Nora when she asked about the steak.

Everybody said he’d never leave Grannerty’s after he retired. But he still arrived at one o’clock and left at three. And he still came back in at nine and left at eleven, except on Saturday when he visited the ‘Drop Inn Well’ and stayed until they decided to close.SEE THE NEXT PART AFTER

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