Monday, June 18, 2018

A Poor Irish Bloke by Phil Temples

A Bostonian barkeep welcomes illegal aliens, and his policy of tolerance encourages a very unusual visitor; by Phil Temples.

"Want another?"

Jimmy, a heavy-set Irishman, belches loudly, then smiles at me and nods in the affirmative. This is his fourth Black and Tan this afternoon. I make a mental note to keep an eye on Jimmy after this one to make sure he isn't going to get too wasted in my bar. The ABC was sniffin' here in Mahoney's last week, a respectable Irish bar in the Fields Corner section of Dorchester. All of my permits are in order and I keep things clean and safe. I don't want no trouble from them over an intoxicated patron. ICE? Well, that's different kettle of fish. Immigrations and Customs can go fook themselves for all I care.

A few minutes later another one of my regulars, Pedro, saunters into the bar. The good-natured journeyman from Guatemala is a skilled roofer and carpenter.

"¿Qué pasó?" I greet him.

"No mucho," Pedro replies. "Can you cash this for me?"

Pedro hands me a third-party check he's been given for payment for a recent roofing job. Pedro - along with other patrons of the bar - are in the US illegally. Consequently, they don't have bank accounts.

"Certainly. You want the usual? Guinness stout?"

Most of my regulars are fine with Pedro, except for Francis Mallory. Mallory seemed to have a hair across his arse from day one for the undocumented Central American. One afternoon, Mallory crossed the line. After an extended rant about Mexicans sneaking across the border, stealing our jobs, etcetera, etcetera, he wore out his welcome.

"I don't understand why they serve wetbacks in this establishment," Mallory opined in a louder than necessary voice. It was noisy in the bar, but Pedro sat only two seats away. I'm sure Pedro heard the racist remark and was offended. It made my blood boil. After all, half the patrons who come into my bar are undocumented Irish. I don't ask questions. As long as their cash is green and they respect one another, they get to drink here.

I walked over and grabbed Mallory's drink off the finely-polished wood surface and tossed the remaining contents down the sink. He looked at me as if I'd slapped him.

"Why'd you do that for?"

"You get the fook out of here. Now!"

The conversations stopped and all eyes turned on me and Mallory.

"I-I'm-Sorry, Jake." He handed me a couple of ten-dollar bills. "I'll just settle up with you and..."

I took the bills out of Mallory's hand, wadded them up, and threw them back in his face.

"Your money's no good, Mallory. Take it, and don't ever show your spud face in here again. You understand me?"

Word travelled quickly after that day. No one ever said a cross word about Pedro - or any other foreign patron again.



After pouring Pedro's Guinness, I finish loading some glasses in the dish washer. I'm just about to walk back to the kitchen and check on a food order when the front door opens. Then the damnest thing happens - a real, live Eotorian walks in!

Now, I've only seen Eotorians on television. I'm sure that none of the other bar patrons have seen one up close and in person, either. They landed on Earth (in a field in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, to be exact) just eight months earlier. If you've ever watched the movie "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" then you've got a pretty good idea what an Eotorian looks like. I hear they're friendly and extremely intelligent, but they sure look mighty scary.

This Eotorian dude walks up to the bar and takes a seat next to Pedro. Poor Pedro! His eyes look like they're about to pop out of his head. I'm thinkin' to myself, "Keep it together, amigo - you and me, both. We don't want to start a diplomatic incident."

The Eotorian sets up his translator device and pulls out a temporary Massachusetts ID card. Even Eotorians know you have to show proof of age to drink in the Commonwealth.

"Welcome, friend!" I flash my best smile and pick up his ID card and inspect it. Everything looks in order. The photo kind of resembles him - all the Eotorians look alike to me. His date of birth reads: "N/A" as does his address. His name reads "George Washington."

I nod at him and ask, "What'll it be?"

I almost asked, "What's your poison?" but at the last moment I think the better of it. God knows how that might be translated.

His translator hisses white noise for a few seconds. Then it says, "Bloody Mary Oyster Shooter. Can you make it with Clamato Juice?"

I smile. "Sure thing." I'm thinking our friend must be a Canadian. Aside from Molson beer, a Bloody Mary with Clamato is practically the national drink of Canada.

While I'm preoccupied making Washington's drink, the conversations in the bar gradually begin to return to normal; folks stop staring and even approach the eight-foot, green-skinned alien and introduce themselves. Mickey Donovan is asking George Washington what he thinks of Boston, and whether he and his friends have walked the Freedom Trail and visited Old Ironsides yet. The Eotorian replies he hasn't yet had the pleasure. Michael O'Rourke offers to buy the next round. Everyone seems to be enjoying the Eotorian's company. In fact, two guys ask if they can pose with George Washington for a selfie. At first, George's translator device has a hard time conveying the concept of a selfie. The guys use pantomime to show what they are asking. Then, a big smile breaks out on George Washington's face and he agrees.

It does my heart good to see this level of acceptance and cooperation between the species. Of course, the guys know to be on their best behavior lest they find themselves banned for life like Mallory.

Time passes. George Washington has three Bloody Marys and decides it's time to call it quits. I take a twenty from him and start to bring him his change.

"Please, keep the change for... I believe you refer to the additional remuneration as 'tip'? I have greatly enjoyed my visit in your... store and I wish to leave you with this small token of appreciation."

George reaches into his pocket and removes what appears to be a small, polished stone. It's elliptical in shape, roughly three centimeters long, milky white in appearance.

"It is a memory stone. Hold it in your hand."

I take the stone from his scaly hand and hold it. Immediately, images of a faraway, lush, tropical paradise flood into my mind! The effect is overwhelming at first. I close my eyes, and it feels like I'm actually there.

"This is your world? Holy shite! I mean - Holy cow! George, this is incredible. Thank you so much!" I begin to hand it back to him.

"No, you keep the stone. I have more," the Eotorian replies.

"Well, thanks! You have yourself a great day, now. Are you fixed for transportation?"

"Yes, thank you," the translator replies. "I have an Uber arriving."



Later that night after last call and my last patron has shuffled out the door, I pick up the stone and hold it so that I might glimpse again the incredible beauty of their world. You can easily lose track of time when watching an enthralling movie in the theater and this is certainly the case now. I have no idea how long I've been holding on to it. I'm mesmerized by small four-legged creatures scampering about, majestic birds gliding through the sky against a backdrop of magenta mountains and what looks like a great inland sea with palm trees and other vegetation.

Then, abruptly, I'm transported someplace else. It appears I'm inside of a classroom. I see other Eotorians sitting next to me, studying equations on a board. At first, I'm confused by this sudden context switch.

I surmise I've encountered some bad sectors on the memory device. Just like a disk or USB stick, the operating system (in this case, my mind) is getting an incorrect data dump. George Washington obviously must have used this memory stone for both pleasure and academic pursuits. I suppose even the most highly advanced civilizations are not immune to computer glitches.

I continue to hold on to the stone while studying the equations on the board. I don't know if holding the stone somehow increases one's intelligence but... Damn! It suddenly begins to make sense to me. It's the one thing the Eotorians have repeatedly stated they're unwilling to share with us: the solution for multi-dimensional space-time folding - faster-than-light travel. And now I know it.

Not bad for a poor Irish bloke from Dublin.

5 comments:

  1. An engaging read, right from the opening two words!
    B r o o k e

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  2. Fun with a nice message about the rewards of being open to other cultures... not to mention species!

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  3. Amusing and effective, many thanks,
    Ceinwen

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  4. I suspected or hoped there was going to be Eotorian porn, but I suppose that I will have to write that story if I want to read it. The key to space travel isn't bad I guess.

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  5. Dang, what a great memento! I want me an Eotorian memory stone....

    ReplyDelete