Chapter 10: Michael Kilkenny’s Wake, Dig Him Up to Bury Him

Posted on May 5, 2013


This week’s image is from Rye Beach. I can still remember standing in my parents’ kitchen as the storm was clearing and grabbing my camera to run to the beach with my sister. The storm was still over the ocean, but everything to the west of 1A was clear and sunny, casting  an eerie light that made a great roll of film. We raced from one end of Rye to the other. Seemed an appropriate image as my thoughts turn ever more to home, while my actions take me ever further away.

Thanks for following along. Chapter 8 is waiting for a rewrite to align it more truly to the farce format, and I hope to sometime soon record it so people who are too busy to read can still enjoy it. It was a lot of work to write this story, with the research and rather complex plot, the desire to write to form, and of course hardest of all –  to try to be funny.  I’m a little sad to “finish” it. If you’ve made it this far, I would love to get your feedback! And if you really like it, please Share it, there should be a button at the bottom. 

Without further a do I bring you the final chapter in which “every pint meets its fate.” Slainte.

Author’s Notes

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Entire Story in Word: Michael_Kilkennys_Wake

10 Dig Him Up to Bury Him

What with all that paperwork, and closing arguments and getting Bobby home and all, it wasn’t until the next day I caught up with Michael in the pub.

“And so, with the lord trading on American currency and the crash in the market, he was wiped out. As poor as you! He couldn’t pay the American’s lien, and he’s in such dire arrears on the estate. Mr. Thompkins picked it up for back taxes!”

“Oh, me head. All those years of poaching me own water, and I finally make some money off of it, but not until I die!”

At that moment Mr. Thompson walked into the bar. “I would like to buy the house a round,” says he. When we had our pints snuggled tight to us he looks around the bar. Poor Michael so forlorn he could not raise his head up. “I would like to toast to poor, dead Michael Kilkenny: he was a wastrel, a liar, and a thief, but all because he was accused of something he was not. No poacher was he! Just a simple fisherman, like the rest of us. In the end he went to hell robbed of his true volition.” There were many askance glances at such a toast, but eventually, every pint met its fate.

“Were only I could buy the poor bloke a pint and slake what must be a terrible thirst.” He bought another round and the crowd began to warm up to him. “Well,” says he. I would like to finish my trip out with a rod in my hand.” And he looks at me, “Do you think I could fetch Bobby around?” I allowed as that might be. He left the pub and we all followed him back to my place, me sending one of the boys ahead. Our little procession grew as we wound through town till it fair swelled to fill me yard.

I would like to say I was surprised, but I was not, when she met us standing on the porch in her bright yellow dress with her hands on her hips, just the way her dear mother used to meet me coming home not two days before, and me still sleeping in the barn.

“Can I help ye, she says?”

“I’m looking for you, Bobby.”

“Well, Mr. you find him. Her.” She lost just a little composure. “Would you be wanting my services?”

He looked her up and down, a bemused smirk on his face. “That I would. Bobby Reilly. Would you agree with the court that committing a crime and having no knowledge of it is still a crime?”

She crossed her arms “That I might, but what is your fancy lawyer talk good for here on me front porch?”

“And here I am spending the night with you in jail, thinking you a lad, but all along you being a proper lass.” He looked around, “I do believe I have ruined your reputation in a most incontrovertible way.”

“Mr Thompkins!” The cry went up from her and was echoed throughout the crowd.

“And while I might plead innocent of knowing, would you not agree that still it happened and you are due your redress?”

Clearly flummoxed Bobby sought to take the advantage offered nevertheless. “I do at that!”

John Thompkins pursed his lips and put a finger to them. “What to do? What to do? How does one restore a maid’s honor?” He paced back and forth in front of the porch, looked around the crowd, and then snapped his fingers as if a thought just occurred to him. And then the most amazing thing of all the amazing things that week happened. The gentleman reaches into his suit and pulls out a little box, gets down on his knee and asks her right there in front of the whole town if she would marry him and run the manor house. Her that was rolling in the mud and sent her brother off wearing that very same dress not a week ago. Her that was slapping pints down on the bar and went to jail for poaching. When me Bobby said “Yes.” and jumped off the porch into his arms me eyes started leaking like an old firkin. That solved me sleeping in the barn.

“This calls for a drink!” Says somebody, obviously keen to take advantage of my momentary weakness, so back to the pub we went, me waiting just long enough to collect the missus.

John Thompkins and Roberta walk in first and there is Michael sitting on his stool, as sad a man as ever I did see. You would have to dig him up to bury him.

“Mr. Kilkenny,” says the American, and Michael’s head popped up like a bobber freed from a log, “One would think a dead man would have the sense to use the bar mirror, lest his debtors come due.”

Michael’s hand shot to his bandaged ear. “Debtors?”

“You have failed to provide services. You set out to defraud me. You still owe me a week of fishing, lest you have 500 quid on you?”

Michael looked up at the American and pulled one 5p note out of his pocket. “What with the wake, and the funeral, the death certificate, the room and board, the bar bills and other sundry expenses, this is all I have left of me grand scheme.” And here he handed it over to the lawyer. John took the crumpled bill and looked at it.

“Are you saying that after a week of drinking, feasting, fishing, and lying about in a new bed, you still pulled a pure profit of a fiver? That seems like a recipe for honest work if you could get it!”

Kilkenny looks over at him, his brow darkening and his fist balling.

He slaps the five down on the bar, “Twere me, I’d run that ad again. Probably poach that river dry right under the new lord’s nose. With all of those sunk costs next time around you should make a tidy sum. And being dead and all, you don’t even need to pay taxes.” Then they looks at each other and starts to laugh and laugh. Michael set himself up a right fancy business with all of John’s suit friends from New York. John and Bobby put them up at the manor house, and the best thing is, they all put the fish back for the next guy, Michael not even having to ask. On account of that, he lets them fish however they want.

Turns out Michael Kilkenny dying was about the best thing that ever happened to this town, and dead men don’t have taxes nor bar bills neither. In fact, the judge showed up and says, he thought he would fish the beats on occasion, just to make sure Michael stayed dead and all and nobody came around to collect his bills. John and Michael scratched their heads but had not much to say to that.

On cold nights I do sometimes go over and help Michael haunt the old ghillie’s cottage with only a jug of potin and the wind to tell witness to our lies. The other side doesn’t look so bad at all.