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"Come back in Kilkenny"



The prisoner of Riverside Drive

Kilkenny Ireland

I'd put a flagon of Linden Village cider into the freezer. The other was in my bag. Steli had heard me come in. He came, greeted me, and within one minute had opened the freezer and asked if the cider was for me. I said yes. He offered me the trade of four beers in exchange.

"Um..." I said. I knew that I was being compelled to agree because he had paid* to get me into the house. "What kind," I asked — unenthusiastically. "Heineken." Um, no.... "Bavaria?" That's another Dutch beer, its name notwithstanding. Ultimately I relented, as I was leaving the kitchen.

He recognized that I was not pleased, and said no — never mind. It was like when he'd wanted to show Adina my bedroom and I hesitated. "Never mind," he'd said — but then insulted me later in the evening with a scouring dismissal of my character.

"It's for Mick" he said — the cider.

Mick, the evening that he finished moving into the house, called me out of my room to ask me if I wanted a glass of cider. I'd been dry for a few days, being broke. I wasn't coy about it — yes, I said. He then mentioned that he needed to get the rest of his possessions out of his old place that night. He asked me if I'd help him. I did, until late; and he never broke out that flagon. I even mentioned, hours later, that he'd not produced it. He said we may drink it yet; but we never.

And now I was going to want to give Mick some of mine? I could feel that the concensus would be that I ought to have done so.

I went upstairs to get my Swiss-army knife to open a can of soup, and when I went back downstairs Grasu came into the kithchen. They're having a barbecue. How are you, Grasu asked. I'm fine. Are you sure. Yeah, I'm fine. Can you help me get a visa for the United States?

Why should I, I asked. I know that's rude — but here I was, just in the door, being greeted only as... I'm not even going to explain.


__   ___   __

I repaid Steli the money that he'd spent, as soon as I was able. During the time that I did not have any income, Steli helped me — at a high price.

"Am platit," he argued once to a friend of ours, in Romanian. That friend understood why I'd stopped Steli from showing him my room without asking me.

To Steli , this was another provocation, and another excuse to disparage me.


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