Read The Gamal Online

Authors: Ciarán Collins

Tags: #General Fiction

The Gamal

BOOK: The Gamal
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Once Upon A Time





















A Note on the Author

Reading Group Guide

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time and a long time ago. Well not that long. 5 years. Long enough. 1/5 of my life isn’t it? That means I’m twenty-five now, in case you’re thick at sums. There were two lovers called Sinéad and James. One sec now. Just to clarify a few things here from the start.

Reading Shit

Don’t be expecting any big flowery longwinded poetic picturesque horseshit passages in this book explaining the look of something. If I have to go into that much detail I’ll take a photograph or draw a picture. This is for people like myself who hate reading. I always hated reading and never bothered with books even though I knew I would have no imagination if I didn’t read a lot as a child. I listened to music or sometimes I watched telly with my father. You didn’t have to use your imagination but I didn’t care.
Charlotte’s Web
and Enid Blyton and the whole lot were only a load of bollicks as far as I was concerned. One time when my teacher was helping me with my spellings she got me to say over and over and over and over again, the letters C O L D C O L D C O L D C O L D C O L D. Then she asked me what does that spell and I said, ‘Tractor,’ and the whole class were laughing at me. And I asked her what were they laughing at and she said, ‘They’re laughing at you.’ And I said ‘Why?’ And she goes, ‘You’re even too silly to know why they’re laughing at you.’ I just nodded and sat down. I knew she wouldn’t call me back. I was a hopeless case. Pray to St Jude, patron saint of hopeless cases. Had we anything better to be doing anyway only reading shit? That’s what I said to her then when I sat down. The whole class laughing and giggling and shaking their heads and Mrs Fatty Fitzhenry sending me down to the master and I can’t remember the rest. Lines I suppose. Fifty lines and a letter home that the mother couldn’t read.

Mrs Fatty Fitzhenry used to be the whole time at me to leave Sinéad alone and not to be following her around the place but I wasn’t. Fat bitch.

Anyhow that was me when I was small and this is me now. I’m not old but I’m older than I was then and I’m after making it out of a scrape or two and I’m still in one piece.

I became obsessed with her as well, I’m told. This shrink I saw lately. Dr Quinn does be sending me to other shrinks too. Dr Quinn is my main fella. But this fella was telling me that people with personality disorders often grow obsessed with people they encounter in their lives. But he never knew Sinéad. Everyone who ever knew Sinéad became a bit obsessed with her. Young and old. And not just men. Women too.
The women were talking wherever she went. Like a bell that is rung or a wonder told shyly
. I robbed that last bit from some ancient poet fella. Old Master Higgins taught us it.
The men who had seen her drank deep and were silent. Few in the candlelight thought her too proud. For the house of the planter is known by the tree. When night stirred at sea and fire brought a crowd in. They say that her beauty was like music in mouth

One Thousand Words

One thousand words, that’s my aim aim aim. I was told by Dr Quinn that fellas who want to be writers should write one thousand words a day day day day day day day. Imagine if all the world loved reading telephone books. I could just write a telephone book. A fictional telephone book full of made-up people. Six hundred and twenty-six words so far. Now it’s six hundred and thirty-three. I could finish my thousand words by going on like that.

Another Thing

Another thing is that you won’t like me. I promise. I would have explained this in the first line but I wanted you to buy the book. And I reckon a lot of you bookworm types wouldn’t have the balls to take it back to the shop and the chances are you’ll probably just read it anyway seeing as you’re after buying it. Anyhow, sorry and all that shit, but I need the money cos I want to get out of here after all the things that happened. When they get me well. You see I got something in the post one time off Sinéad. It was a map of America. On it she was after writing.

—Just follow the music Charlie. You’ll find us there. Love, Sinéad. And Charlie, thank you.

You won’t like me. Mainly because you know I don’t care whether you like me or not, and people don’t like that do they? They might say they do but they don’t. Saying means nothing cos it could just as well be lies. I will tell the truth at all times. A lot of people around here won’t like that either. So read on and don’t be needing to like me like you would with all them other lick-arse books. I’m no lick-arse. I says it like it is. And like it was.

A Good Area

I live in a very good area. When I’d be working in Cork before everything and they’d ask me where I’m from and I’d say Ballyronan they’d say,

—Oh very nice, or

—Nice area down there, pay a fair penny for a house down there nowadays, or

—Ballyronan? No. Never heard of it.

Not the kind of place you expect people to be getting killed anyhow.

Here’s a map of it. My house is up the hill. Up the bottom right corner of the map. Up past the Catholic church. I got sick of colouring in bits with my biro. It’s not finished but I think it’s finished enough.


Under the Bridge

There was a body found once under the bridge.


The Bridge

This is a picture of the bridge.


Under The Bridge

This is a picture of under the bridge.



There wasn’t as much water though cos it was summer when it happened and I took the picture in the winter cos today is in the wintertime.

Read Another Book

I know you’d probably prefer a few pages painting the picture with words but you can read another book if you want to. There it is there. Look at it. That’s where I seen.


I can go from the back of my house to down under the bridge by going out the back of my back garden and climbing a fence and walking down behind the new houses and through the north woods all the way down to the other side of the football pitch right down to the river and along the bank to the bridge. When the river’s low I can go through the archways of the bridge to the other side. I can cross the bridge without touching the bridge. I go under it. Mostly I don’t bother with roads cos they’re shit so I let all the rest of people be following each other on the roads like fools and I go my own way. I go through fields and ditches and dikes. I go through back yards, under bridges, along river banks, through wasteland. I know short cuts. Over walls. Through briars and wires. Through a scrap yard. No. Two scrap yards. And two quarries as well. And one of them has a fierce big cliff. I go over outhouses. And in behind places. Where there’s no clean paintwork or flower pots. No frilly blinds or net curtains. Clothes lines and rusty gas drums and mossy stones instead. Places where rats scamper and tomcats pace. But mostly it’s fields. Fields and woods mostly. I seen badgers and owls and hedgehogs and hares and stoats and rabbits and pheasants and shrews and mice and squirrels and frogs and crows and rats and things that live under barrels and old tractor tyres and old carpets and damp smelly sofas like woodlice and slugs and snails and beatles. And ants if it’s on concrete. And I never gave a fuck about them much. Any of them. But sometimes I might see a person and I’d watch them for a bit all right if they weren’t after seeing me. One time I watched an old farmer for four hours. He used to nod to himself every now and again like he was agreeing with himself. People are definitely the best to be looking at. Except for when I see a kingfisher down by the river. They’re my favourite cos they stand out and they’re not trying to hide and blend in same as every other living thing. Brave they are. Kingfishers don’t give a fuck. Anyhow, first thing my mam ever does when she sees me is look at my shoes to see is there shit all over them from the fields and the woods. At home or at Mass or in the shop or in someone’s house she does be terrified I’ll disgrace her by destroying some grand clean floor.

BOOK: The Gamal
9.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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