The Drunk Des Diaries: Pub Talk

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There’s a stigma around a full moon that’s shared by many medical professionals and law enforcement alike. They believe that the crazies come out in greater number on a full moon, and thus they themselves are far busier cleaning up after them.

The whole thing is mostly nonsense. There have been many studies on the subject, and while there is a likelihood that a full moon may affect certain individuals sleeping pattern there is no evidence to suggest that the full moon itself makes people crazier than usual. In fact, upon examination these crazy nights exhibited under full moons also coincide with certain holidays. So obviously if there’s a holiday there’ll be more drunkards, more drunkards resulting in a heavier police presence and a busy A&E.

I mention this gibberish because at times I am prone to superstition and conspiratorial thinking, because at the end of this story I found myself doing something I believed myself no longer capable of enacting.

This story is about one of my more depressing nights out so be warned, it get’s a bit mopey in parts but that mopiness is balanced out by both the humour of the situation and whatever I decide to write. Well, humour being a generous term for what I write. I don’t find myself particularly funny.

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So we start out a few months back, mid January. I’d just turned nineteen a days earlier and I was set on leaving for Barcelona in barely a week. So I’m in my room on a Thursday afternoon and I get this message from one of the group chats I’m in, specifically the Dungeons and Dragons chat that the Acne Ridden Manlet added me to a few moths previously, so I checked it out.

The message was from a guy called Ethan, he was talking about this band he and his friends were gonna see up in Belfast and were wondering whether any of us would like to tag along, I agreed but the others didn’t. I assume that the message wasn’t necessarily for me because I live about fifty six odd miles away from Belfast and the others, despite not being Belfast residents themselves, were at least in the same county.

Then again I don’t know exactly who the message was directed at. Your man may have known nothing of my whereabouts, then again he may have known everything about my residence. Who knows whether or not he knows anything about me or knows nothing about me, y’know?

So I get ready but I’m a little hesitant about this night out. It’s very short notice and your man wasn’t responding to his messages. So I was a little worried on the bus, kept checking in- no response.

Now this isn’t an indictment on the man himself, it’s not his fault that he never checked his messages. In his mind the night out fell through and he was too tired to check his messages, so he probably went to sleep. I’d have done the same thing. He’s a nice guy, wrote a guest article for the blog, you should check it out. I’ll wait.

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So I got to Belfast at around half nine, being mid winter it had gotten dark by five. I walked down to the pub that the band was playing in. The outside was bombarded with a swarm of young fuck boys, all of whom had better hair than me. I hated them with a passion.

I got in, soon realising that the guy wasn’t there. I told myself that he was probably just upstairs with the band, so I went to get a pint. That pint took way too fucking long to make. I stood there so long that this middle aged guy started talking to me about his phone and his job as an ICT technician.

I nodded and laughed politely, for I could not hear a single fucking word he was saying. The pub was too goddamn loud for that craic. You’d have to be a Derry man to get a word in. I talked (or rather listened) for about twenty odd minutes before I got the pint, having to pay the bartender made the older man wise up and fuck off.

I don’t know what it is about old men and their insistence to talk to people- total fucking strangers as well. Maybe it’s because they’re from an era where people were more connected via a community so they felt comfortable talking to strangers. Nowadays we’ve managed to segregate ourselves with technology, so you don’t have to talk to anyone unless you have to.

We’re a very awkward little nation. Personally, I blame the church. Our awkwardness is why we’re prone to alcoholism- just so we could be comfortable talking to strangers. That’s why there’s at least one pub every two and a half miles.

Then again perhaps I’m projecting.

I finish that pint and order another. I listen to a conversation between these middle aged Belfast men, some silver hippies, they’re shit talking about Donald Trump and Canada and I find it very funny. There’s nothing better than listening to an old man complain about something you despise in a vulgar manner, it feels as if you’ve elected your champion for village elder.

They get to talking about how the American TSA is and this is the part I interject. I explain that the TSA doesn’t really exist to stop terrorists, it hasn’t stopped a terrorist attack in years. What it mostly does is make drug trafficking a lot more difficult and allows weirdos to harass passengers, particularly if they’re brown.

They remark that the whole drug trafficking thing makes sense, but why do they insist on checking your social media accounts before allowing you entry? What happened to privacy? Now I don’t know anything about either the prior or the latter, a rule of thumb is to never talk about anything you don’t know about- less you make an idiot of yourself.

At this point the two old guys fuck off and I take the pint up stairs to see the band. They’re alright, just some Belfast cover band who occasionally play an original song. Or they don’t as I’ve said before I’m musically illiterate.

I don’t know if the crowd was too sober or that young people are extremely awkward, but nobody in the crowd was dancing. Not even head bobbing for Christ sake. I had an excuse for staying perfectly still, I had a pint in my hand.

The whole scene was made more awkward when some old guy with a flat cap from the bar below came up and started dancing around like a madman. Jeering at the stubborn youth and then proceeded to ask some young girls to dance- it was a queer site to behold, I’ll give you that.

I went over to the bar and ordered another pint. They served it in a plastic glass, a sorrowful sight to see in a pint of Guinness. Like seeing Conor McGregor with a fanny pack. I ask the guy beside me if he knows a guy called Ethan, he replies that he does not in an awkwardly intimidated manner.

Poor fucker probably thought I was a madman. Or he’s a rude cunt, both are plausible. I myself am a vehement proponent for the position that I am perfectly sane. But I guess normal people don’t go to pubs on their own, fifty odd miles away from their homes, by themselves.

At this point I realised that my friend was never going to show up, so I decided to get roaring drunk.

Around the fourth pint the band played a song that really fucking depressed me. I can’t mind the tune for the life of me, but for some reason it made me think of a girl I used to fancy. I don’t know for sure of other people do this, but often times when I fancy someone I start listening to certain songs and because I’m listening to these songs, they become her songs.

It’s a dumb thing I’m prone to do when I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy. This was one of those very songs, it reminded me of this girl that I fancied and long story short- I made a fucking fool of myself. Honest to fuck one of the dumbest things I ever did was think that this girl was interested in me, I’ve no idea where my sense went but it sure as fuck wasn’t there when I needed it.

Y’know I’ve fancied many girls in my short life, but I’ve only ever been properly in love with one of them. The strange thing about this girl was that she never had a song, I never found one for her. I talked about her before in the previous DDD article, the girl who thought that she would die young.

At one point I could have told you everything about her, except her birthday. For the life of me I could never remember her birthday and it drove me crazy. She found the whole thing funny, she found me funny. I guess that’s why she kept me around. She was a sad girl, she believed that she would die young while I believed I would live forever. Perhaps that’s why we were incompatible…or maybe it’s because the whole love thing was unrequited.

I’m not gonna romanticise the whole thing, talking to her was physically exhausting. I had to be interesting all the fucking time, I had to be funny all the time and sometimes…sometimes I don’t want to be funny, or interesting. Sometimes I just want to be quiet, be reserved…I don’t fucking know.

What I do know is that after a while I felt as if I was bi-polar. Mornings started out sad, then angry, mixed with fear then full of grief, followed shortly by an untempered rage and anxiety- made worse by the fact I was in school which was essentially purgatory for me. But when I talked to her that evening all I felt was bliss. Then night came and I felt hollowed out. Like I was chunks of earth being torn apart by glaciers in an ice-age.

The whole relationship synchronised like clock work. For a few weeks everything would be fine, then we’d get in a fight (usually started by me) and then we’d have a fallout that usually last about a week. Afterwards she’d always reach out to me for…some god known reason. I have no fucking clue why she talked to me, I was terrible to her. On some occasions I had to reach out to her because I was a drunk-love moron and then we’d patch up. A few weeks would go by, we’d have another fight- rinse and repeat.

After seven odd months I saw it fit to end the entire thing. I had enough sense to know when to tap out. That whole thing didn’t end well, I ended up blocking her and deleted her phone number. The only problem was that she refused to delete my number- which is this weird thing I’ve had with girls previously. They refuse to delete my number for some goddamn reason- I don’t want your drunk dials.

We talked two times after I tapped out, first time didn’t end to well. I said some very provocative and offensive things- most people would claim they were misogynistic and sectarian- I said shit I didn’t even believe in hopes to hurt her. It scared the shit out of me that I was capable of such things. She brought the best out of me, but also the worst- and I was severely troubled to gaze upon my worst.

The second time was relatively more peaceful. We agreed to meet up, didn’t end well. I said some stupid and offensive things, she said some things that…well, they left a mark. This girl had a tendency to break your heart while being completely oblivious to her own actions, to her it was just a normal sentence- for me it was a death sentence.

Things were different now. It felt like she was particularly careful with the words she was saying- as if they had been rehearsed the night before, like a dagger sharpened with an intent to tear out a rib. She said a lot of things that irked, but the one thing that truly got me came when I asked why she had reached out to me in the first place.

She told me that every day she scrolls through her contacts list, clicks upon a random name and then starts a conversation. Purely out of boredom, she would pop up to strangers and have a short chat. On this day, she chose me.

Upon seeing my reaction she said; “Oh, did you think I intentionally sought you out?” with these eyes that just…looked like they wanted to hurt me. They did, that little line fucked me up real bad.

I started thinking about every time after a fight that she’d pop up afterwards- was that purely because of chance? Did we only talk because she was bored? Was any of this real to her? What was immensely important to me just a performance for her? While I felt like I was being torn apart, was she simply laughing with her friends about how much of a crazy weirdo I am?

It fucked me up, after about half an hour I ditched her when she went into a shop. Felt pretty cowardly, but I had the mind that I never wanted to see her again. That thing she said was downright devious, it fucked with me. But I knew something in the back of my mind, she may have been careless enough to break a heart accidentally- but she wasn’t capable of crushing a soul intentionally.

How do I know this? Well, lets say this in the nicest way possible, she isn’t smart enough to think that all through.

I wasn’t ok for a while after that. For a few weeks and months I was down right heartbroken. Anger was ever present, sadness overshadowed me. I started having downright disgusting thoughts about hurting people- I saw my darkside and I was terrified.

But the heartbreak isn’t the worst thing that I felt, that came soon after. At the time heartbreak feels unbearable, but at least you feel the pain. What happens when you cease to feel nothing? You wake up from your dreams, wishing you were still asleep- that you’d never wake up.

Your heart ceased to break, it was now dead- half rotten. You cease to care about things, you don’t want t hang out with friends or do anything. You’re content to suffer in silence, in solitude. Suicide is ever present in your mind but you always make up reasons to not carry through with it- as days go by those reasons start thinning out and you get strangely relieved at the idea of blowing your head off with a revolver.

This rotten heart sensation was made worse by school, which is inadvertently designed to hollow you out as a human being. I felt like I was dying in purgatory- it was a major inconvenience.

Things were getting out of hand so on one night at a house party at the Chinless Wonder’s place, I proposed we go for a walk- get some “real talk” as I hadn’t had a real conversation with him in ever so long. He didn’t go to school anymore and I rarely saw him. I told him about my problems and he sympathised. He talked about his own mental health issues, alongside a good portion of our friends.

He said “there’s something seriously fucked about this generation” which I’m prone to agree with. Everyone has their own demons, school doesn’t help. You’re told to be perfect at all times, told when you’re allowed to piss and eat, trained in some vague curriculum that is practically useless and then you’re thrown out into a world that is the complete opposite to that environment.

There is something very wrong with my generation, but selfishly I was content in not being alone in my suffering.

Things got better after that conversation. I had a few more “real talk” sessions with the friend, gradually became more and more alive. I ceased to be this moody cunt and gradually returned to being this occasionally funny cunt that everybody tolerated. It wasn’t necessarily good, but it was better- and it’s important tor recognise that better is always good.

Sometimes the girl’s name pops up in my head from time to time, but I think nothing of it. The same way you see a scar on your body, you remember a flicker of pain you had in that very moment. But that’s all it is, a memory.

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At this point I snapped out of my depressing little rabbit hole and saw that I had finished my pint. I aptly ordered another one. At this moment I noticed the old man in the flat cap was chatting to the bartender, in some weird way I think he believed to be wooing her. It was a weird thing to overhear, he kept asking about if she were seeing anyone and all that stuff. It bordered on tolerable but shit banter and straight up harassment.

Looking upon this repulsive madman I coined a term for him “Dick-Killer” in which you meet someone so repulsive that you fear you’ve been drawn to impotency. The term would usually be used to describe a member of a gender that you’re sexually attracted to, and I’m not even gay- but this old guy was so repulsive I thought my dick was dead.

Now for the women[?] reading this, you may be asking “Is there a term like Dick-Killer that women can use?” the answer is yes, yes of course. The term is rightfully titled “Clit-Killer” thank you. I’m here all week.

Repulsed, I left the bar and went over to the crowd. Who had now shifted from stoic stillness to now casually bobbing their heads to some decent music. I walked up to he top edge of the crowd, fairly close to the stage on the right hand side of the room. I stood there comfortably for about a few minutes, until my eyes gazed over the crowd and I saw a man I hadn’t seen in years.

It was the poet, this guy I used to be friends with in school. Well, I believed him to be a friend. He probably saw me as more of an acquaintance. I first learned the existence of this man in first year when I got the bus from the St. Mary’s building to the main building a mile up the town. The bus we used was the same that a swarm of Dungiven kids at the main school got. Every time it arrived they’d swarm about the doors and you’d have to push and shove your way past them and their cuntish faces.

On one particularly day some cunt said that I looked a little like this poet, due to my luminous orange hair. A few months later I enquired about the man to some older kids on the bus. They simply responded “You don’t want to know“.

So, dear viewer, what was so bad about this character that some people chose to insult me on a stark resemblance while others refused to tell me anything? What did this man do to earn such disapproval? Simple, he was Gay.

Not just gay, but obviously gay. He had a gay voice, a gay walk, gay hair, gay…everything. He was a very effeminate man, compared to the barbarians we were then surrounded by. The British have a good word to describe effeminate men other than gay; “Camp” I like that word. You could never use it as an insult.

In his younger years he’d said some silly things, as did I, and engaged in other silly behaviour that condemned him in the eyes of his peers. They hated him because he was so different, his very existence shattered their shallow worldview, every breath he took they found offensive. How could a man be…like that? They wondered.

All of them were so dead set on fitting in with one another that they never considered that by fitting in they had become ass-holes. Bigots. The most nuanced of opinions I heard came from a cow of a woman who said; “Uck, there’s nothing wrong with being Gay- it’s just men that act like women that is just…wrong” problematic reasoning since the very reason most people hated him was because in their eyes he acted like a woman.

On one occasion I recall being in third year, hanging out with these guys who found these other guys and now we were standing around together at the entrance of a building. A lot of lunch time is just spent standing around or walking around, doing laps of the building aimlessly. I heard rumours of a fight club but I never saw any proof. I’d have loved to be apart of that fight-club, I could have gotten hit so hard I’d die and that would have greatly cheered me up.

So I’m standing about with these pricks, one of my friends is friendly with one of the other guys so they tolerate us. Then comes the poet and one of his few friends, they walk past us- one of the prick says something about him being a “faggot” or something, the exact sentence escapes me- and then the poet and his friend pick up the pace, head bowed- probably to hide tears.

I stare at the scene somewhat bewildered, for the life of me I couldn’t understand why he faced such abuse or why in their eyes he deserved it. I asked my friend about why they called him that and he spread some homophobic drivel about how Gays are an abomination or some shite like that. It was very unimpressive so I zoned out- I didn’t have the backbone to confront it.

A few weeks later I’m standing in line for lunch. Now bare in mind, my former school had about 1,300 students. At least two thirds of them had lunch at this canteen every day. So if you didn’t reach there in about five minutes, you had to wait in this giant que. We’re not British so we’re not particularly good at queuing. The line often devolved into a moshpit.

And that’s fine if you’re a six-foot kid in fifth year, not if you’re a little fat cunt in third. It was often hard to breathe, you were squeezed into such confined spaces. Toes were stepped on- which became a major problem when I developed an ingrown toe nail several times.

It was awful. You’d be forced to stand out in a line rain or shine with this shitty little roof for shelter. You got wet on a rainy day, you got boiled alive on a hot one- only on snow days was the line tolerable. You were inside and it was tolerable.

On one of these rainy days I stood behind the poet and his friend. He took notice of me and started going on a rant about how “He looks NOTHING like me!” pointing at my “Weird looking hands” which, I’m not gonna lie, hurt my feelings a great deal. How the fuck are hands supposed to look?

I raised this question to him years later when we became friends, of sort. I was in fifth year and he was in upper sixth. We hung around a decent crowd, they accepted him (for a while) while they tolerated me. He fancied this straight, yet camp guy. The latter guy was pretty cool. We were close friends for a while, he’s a Beatles Fan.

I think the Poet thought I was gay because I liked to talk to him. That and he probably heard rumours, any guy that doesn’t quite fit in a school is automatically labelled Gay. They’re not smart enough to come up with better descriptions.

I started noticing that he’d start messaging me when ever the Beatles Fan was offline. I think I was like a crux he relied on to pass the time. The two grew very close when the Beatles Fan broke up with his girlfriend, the Poet was there for emotional support. He was practically in the same position I would later be placed into with the girl who believed she’d die young.

The Poet never returned to school after the first year of sixth form. He opted to tap out, knew he couldn’t take any more of that shitty school or shitty town. He burned a few bridges and moved up to Belfast. I’d had little to no contact with him until that night in the bar.

I saw him and I know he saw me. But neither of us went over to talk to one another. We just tried to avoid one another gaze, he was better at it than I was. He was always smarter than me, a better writer than I was. Back then I was a relatively dull little cunt who mistook vulgarity for wit. I’m a different man now.

But he didn’t know that. As soon as I looked back in his direction he was gone. The following day I would check Facebook to see what the craic was with him- he had removed me and every single person from our school from his friends list- scorched earth.

When he looked at me he didn’t see an old acquaintance, he saw a manifestation of a life that he was trying so hard to forget. He was trying to recreate himself in his own image. I hope that goes well for him.

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I got bored of this band and I decided to find another pub. Found one ten minutes away by the Bus depot. Ordered two pints of Guinness. There’s nothing more depressing than being half drunk in a packed pub on your own. Everyone there was older than me and I felt like a goddamn idiot. Hell, I felt like Holden Caulfield.

I went to take a piss and had a brief conversation with this middle aged cunt. He asked where I was from, I said Derry. He asked if I had a place to stay, I said no. He laughed and left. I was so angry and embarrassed that I immediately left that bar in case that cunt would…I don’t know, point and laugh or some dumb shit.

So I’m making my ways to another pub, I think. I can’t exactly remember where I was heading at this time. All I know is that I was walking by myself, the street was dead silent and then this woman came up to me and asked where Thompsons bar is.

Now I have no fucking clue where Thompsons bar is, but I’m a man. As the late great Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air said about how a man is too prideful to admit that he doesn’t know where the place is. So he’ll just start giving random directions just to make him feel better. I did the same thing. She thanked me and went on her way.

I felt guilty for having lied to her, thinking that she’d be wondering about aimlessly looking for this bar. So I said “fuck it” took out my phone and googled the address and then started running after her when the searches were still coming up.

At this point she was a good five hundred metres ahead of me so I had some catching up to do. Then all of a sudden she started running and I was like “What- Why???” because I’m out here trying to help her and she’s just bolted off. I’m not even a good runner, I never run so this is a rarity for me. So I start running after her for like two minutes before it occurs to me;

Desmond, you are a strange man, running after a woman you do not know in a street that is practically empty- in the middle of the night

Upon realising how super dodgy that sounded, and realising that the very reason the woman probably started running was because she heard a guy running after her, I immediately stopped in my tracks. I was out of breath, it’s ill advised to run drunk. I check my phone and it turns out I gave her the correct directions after all.

Man, I need to stop running after strange women in the middle of the night. I’m going to develop a bad reputation.

I head back to the bar where the band is playing to hear more songs and get…drunker? I guess. When I was on the street towards the pub the herd of fuck boys that were once looming outside had fucked off and ideally died in a gutter somewhere. I heard this alarm system go off and for some reason I grew super paranoid that someone would blame me for…starting it? I guess?

I don’t know, Drunk Des isn’t particularly smart.

Worried, I consulted these randomers who were standing on the outskirts of the pub having a smoke. Two young guys, one had just gotten off from work as a chef and the other was…I don’t know, some punk or whatever. I asked if they heard the alarm, they laughed and said it was probably just some cunt who broke into one of the buildings.

They were funny guys. I stepped back a little and accidentally spilt a bottle of cider that was on the ground. It belonged to the chef and he was vehemently upset. I swore that I’d buy him another one, he said not to worry but I insisted- I’m a man of my word.

i went into the pub and bought a bottle of cider. It took me about five minutes to get a fucking bottle. I went outside and the fellows were rejoiced, for they thought I had fled. But I am a man of my word, I handed him the bottle, he handed me the old to drink and then we kissed.

I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty gay. I get a little bit gay when I’m drunk. I’ve kissed a total of three guys now- this chef being the third. I was a little paranoid afterwards because he was a complete stranger and I was worried I’d get herpes or some shit off of him. Which for a few days I worried I did because I had a wee blister on the side of my mouth that hurt like hell, in reality I bit on that part of the lip or there was a cut there after shaving.

For half an hour we talk the shit, engage in some relatively mild sectarian banter. Me and the chef being “Catholics” the punk being a “Protestant” we felt like we’d signed the Good fucking Friday Agreement. We laughed, smoked some illegal substance, watched the old guy in the flat cap take a piss on the wall outside the pub.

It was all good fun.

Then the chef left, asking where I was staying tonight. I told him nowhere, the plan at that point was just to walk around till dawn and get the bus home. He said that he would offer to let me stay at his place. But, y’know…stranger danger and all that craic. A possibility that why young people are now so awkward is that we’ve been lead to believe that every unchecked stranger we meet is a potential sexual predator.

I’m not, in case you’re wondering.

We bid farewell and the me and the Punk went into the bar. I never said this to him, but the punk had some of the smallest ears I had ever seen in my entire life. Seriously, they’re like half the size of my pinky finger. Almost as small as James Joyce’s dick. It was truly bizarre, it also didn’t help that he had a wonky looking eye that was also smaller than the other.

He went ahead to get himself a drink. I waited. I felt good, I’d made a new friend. In actuality I never made a new friend. You don’t make friends on nights out like these. The punk walked straight past me to his friends, didn’t even look me in the eye- didn’t even take into consideration that we had shared a joint not five minutes ago.

I was pissed at that. But I’m glad it happened. I learnt a valuable lesson that night, I discovered what Pub Talk is.

Pub Talk is a form of insincere dialogue, usually accompanied by alcohol or various other substances. But the term can be used in reference to sober conversations. In which you are saying something you don’t really believe, not necessarily lying, you’re just being polite.

If you’re out on a sesh you’re going to “bond” with some people. You might even say something along the lines of getting together more or even organising a holiday- but as soon as the sun rises you will cross the street to avoid them. That’s what pub talk is.

I have a sober example if you like. So me and the Beatles Fan were quite close friends for a while until we started drifting apart over the summer. He failed to show up to a few things and all this petty and childish shit kept building up until it damaged the friendship. The petty shit was mine, he never gave a damn about me so I’ve no doubt he gave zero thought about the results of his actions.

Anyway, I tried to make amends a few moths later. It seemed to work, we were ok afterwards…in the same way that Ernest Hemingway and Robert Cohn wee simply OK afterwards.

At the time I had been working on a book. Oh, it’s nothing much. A little embarrassing to talk about it, what’s it about? Oh, y’know, the autobiography of God.

At the time I had like eight or ten chapters finished for the first draft. I haven’t worked on it since I was in school. I think it was a way for me to channel my depression. One day we were having tea together and I was reading a chapter to him. He said he liked it. I talked about how exhausting it was to research all this stuff about Caanabites and Moabites and all this shite.

After a while he had to leave. He told me to forwards the first draft to him when I was finished, said he’d like to read it. I said I would. But both of us knew that I would never do that. Even if I did, he’d never read it. He was simply being polite, probably tolerating a book he thought was shit. That’s what Pub Talk is.

I left the pub, alone. Wandered about the city. The plan, as I said before, was to walk around until dawn. But thankfully that wasn’t the case. I checked my phone to see that it was only ten past one in the morning- I had about fifteen minutes to get the last bus out of Belfast.

So I ran for it, made it to the Europa only to find the doors were closed. So I had to run around the building, up a hill, to get to the opposite side where the wee flood gate was at. I mentioned it in my previous article.

There’s this door that opens at half one in the morning to let passenger into the bus depot so they can catch the last bus out. I made it to the door and ran straight for the bus. Had to act a little sober getting the ticket and then we left Belfast.

It took every fibre of my being to stay awake on that bus home. I really didn’t want to wake up in Derry. Walking around in the middle of the night in Belfast is one thing, but Derry? Noooo thank you. Strange men don’t chase girls in Derry, Strange men chase other strange men.

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Miraculously I stayed awake. The woman sitting behind me fell asleep after we passed Magherafelt. I grew worried for her in case she’d miss her stop so I woke her up by gently tapping her on the shoulder and asked where she was getting off. She said Derry, I was relieved. I said I was concerned she’d miss her stop and she said “aww” and thanked me. I think she found my kindness cute, like a dog.

When I arrive in Dungiven it’s around half two in the morning. It’s a three mile trek back to my house, most of it on a two mile stretch of country road with no foot path. No speed cameras so the cunts driving down it go seventy miles per hour. But if Belfast is dead by one am, Dungiven has been dead for years.

There’s no worries of cars at this time of night. Only people that’d be awake are people returning home from the sesh or Boy Racers driving up and down in their monstrosities. There was no cars, except for one. The lights made me feel embarrassed. Walking down this road is humiliating in the day, at night it’s a whole other level.

It’s a clear night due to a full moon. Despite it being mid winter I feel nothing. The land is dead, the moon staring down at me and I do something I haven’t done in years; I talked to God.

Now me and God have a shaky relationship at best. The issues being that I don’t even believe that he exists while he on the other hand is a fucking Mute. I believed in him as a kid, like any good Catholic boy. Went to mass, worked as an alter server- all that jazz.

But some brazen shit never made sense to me. Like, why would anyone kill? it’s an explicit rule that you can’t kill and if you do kill then you’re going to hell so why even do it? Then you learn all about that gibberish about forgiveness- which is horse shit. You telling me a paedophile who says he’s sorry gets into heaven but an unapologetic gay man goes to hell?

Fuck. That.

Adolescence came and you realise pretty soon that it’s all horse shit. At age twelve you become an edgy atheist, thinking that a lack of belief is a sign of intelligence. It’s not. A lack of belief is a privilege. There’s some people out there going through some rough shit, so the idea that someone is looking out for them? The idea that somebody loves them? That their life has meaning and that their suffering will eventually be rewarded? Some people need that reconciliation, they need it with God.

Now I wish that there was a better way to help these people other than creating a work of fiction initially designed to justify the patriarchal society of a tribe of neolithic Hebrews who were too dumb to wash their dicks- but there’s very little out there. What works for some doesn’t work for others. George Carlin had a good quote about religion;

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I start yelling at this mute bastard, thinking that he’s looking down at me via the moon. I’m halfway home on a country road in the dead of night and I’m literally howling at the fucking moon.

I ask for some proof, a sign that he’s real- he’s silent. I start bargaining with him. Suggest that if he helps me become the man I want to be. help me achieve my destiny- I’ll repay him. I’ll spread his word all over the word. I will help and save so many people in his name. No response.

I keep talking to him anyway, start babbling on. Most of it being nonsense to past the time but I think at that very moment I needed someone to listen to me. Even if that listener was imaginary.

It became apparent that I was, at this very moment, truly alone. God wasn’t going to help me become the man I wanted to become, I would. God wasn’t going to help with my destiny, that was all on me. And while I’m at it I’ll help and save as many people as I can- but not in his name- in Mine.

I got to my house at sometime around four in the morning. I walked down the back lane and forgot that there were giant puddles and rocks I had to navigate through while drunk. So that was fun. The dog stirred awake in the kennel and I beckoned to it to be quiet. Thankfully it obliged.

I made good time, it’s an hour and a half walk from Dungiven to my house. I take the hidden key and open the door, house is dead silent. I write a little note saying that I got a lift back here and arrived home at six in the morning. I told them not to wake me up before four o’clock in the afternoon.

Tiptoed up bed, brushed teeth yadda yadda yadda, bed. Slept like a drunk baby. My Ma came in at about nine in the morning and just stared at me through the doorway. I pretend to still be asleep and she eventually left. They obliged my request for an extensive lay in. When I awoke my hangover didn’t feel too bad but my legs were fucked. It was a hell of a night.

I’m not gonna lie, this whole fucking night out sucked. I told my friends about it topping it off with “all in all a good night” no, it was not. I felt so goddamn lonely I turned to the shittiest imaginary friend in existence. Probably cause I was drunk, or it was that full moon getting to me- we’ll never know.

Your man Ethan heard about the whole thing a few days later and popped up to apologise. I said the whole thing was cool. He’s a nice guy and if he’s reading this I just want to clarify; there are no hard feelings. In fact you can send me another guest article anytime you like.

So what are the lessons of this tale? Well there’s the obvious ones; don’t be a bigot, don’t be an asshole etc. But also, if you know a plan has fallen through- don’t stick to it. Don’t make an idiot out of yourself. Don’t place a value on loneliness and for the love of God, learn the difference between Real Talk and Pub Talk.

It’s imperative.

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