(That Place by the River was first published on Headstuff.org July 2015)
I was scooping the guts out of a lamb when I heard Swinger Dingavan was dead. Maureen shouted across at Steve-o and he knocked off the power hose, the wool and blood circling around him. She said Swinger was found in his Golf with a fuckload of drugs down by the river. A bottle of poppers had rolled under his seat and stank the car out. ‘At least he died happy – that’s more than most can say.’ She’d an odd smile on her puss.
I continued dragging out the guts, feeling a bit sick. I hadn’t been mates with Swinger since that night of the Junior Cert disco fifteen years back. In recent years, we’d give each other a nod of the head across Charlie Macs. He was a handsome son of a bitch and I’d often see him scoring the face off a young one in Dicies.
It was the year after the disco that Willie Dingavan became ‘Swinger’ Dingavan. The things he could do with a hurley. That’s how he got the name, though in recent times most folks think he got it from shagging every young one in Castlemoy. During those Leaving Cert years they thought he might make the Cork team, before he went a bit mad. The usual story where a lad goes off the rails with drink and chasing women. He got a Honda Civic and Mam, when she heard the exhaust revving out on the street, would say he’d be in a ditch before summer was out.
I think I know why he’s really dead. Course, I know what killed him, as does the whole fucking town – too much drugs and shite. But that’s not a reason. There’s always a ‘why’. And I think it might’ve all kicked off the night of that disco… (continue reading here)