Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Remembrance of St. Patrick's Days past.

From Dermot McEvoy's Our Lady of Greenwich Village:

He wished that St. Patrick's Day would just disappear. Forever. He was growing more depressed as he looked down toward the beer pumps and saw a cute little college girl with red hair and freckles on her nose raise her mug of green beer in toast.

"God bless the Irish!" she said in a voice that told O'Rourke she would have her next beer on July 4th.

O'Rourke was no longer depressed. He was mad. "Fuck the Irish," O'Rourke said.

The bar suddenly grew silent. It was as if O'Rourke only wanted to think it, but the words jumped out of his brain and dashed out of his mouth before he could stop them. O'Rourke then realized that Clarence Black was standing beside him, the only black face in a joint full of bombed harps.

"Hey," said the big Irish kid from halfway down the bar, "what's your name, boy?"

It didn't register with O'Rourke. It did with Black, who reached inside his jacket to instinctively feel his revolver. It also registered with Big Zeus, the bartender, who snapped up the bridge of the bar and prepared for a preemptive strike. Then O'Rourke realized what "boy" he was talking to. Clarence Black just stared.

O'Rourke broke the silence. "Wolfe Tone O'Rourke. What's yours, fuck face?" There was more silence. Fordham Joe had just realized he had broken a very important bar law--don't cause trouble on foreign turf. The two Irishmen stared at each other.

"Wolfe Tone O'Rourke," the cute, little red-haired girl said as she finally broke the deafening pause. "I guess we can't top that. God bless you, Wolfe Tone O'Rourke."

O'Rourke nodded. "Zeus, buy these nice people a drink." The crowd began to hum again. "Sorry, Clarence, I forgot you were here."

"That's all right, Tone. I would have whipped that fat sucker senseless." He meant it. He leaned over and whispered in Tone O'Rourke's ear, "Fuck the Irish."

O'Rourke smiled. "I owe you one, Clarence."
The story above is based on an incident that occurred in the Lion's Head years ago. There's a reason bartenders call St. Pat's "amateur night."

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