The Sea is Alight (part four)

Ol’ May went to the window and closed the shutters. She then began aimlessly opening and shutting drawers on the desk sitting under the window. Louise handed over some whiskey.

‘Last month, when spring came, Sal and the Priest sat in a car out the front of the pub more and more and talked to each other, smoking all the time. Mrs Green would go out and look through the front window, and come back shaking her head. ‘They’re still talking. They’re going to talk all night’.

Most of the time they talked about the war. Sal talks about how difficult it had been since he got back from Afghanistan, how he feels he is taking over the family in more brutal ways. Father Rossiter listens well, he knows everything about the war except how it feels like. He knows about blood but, don’t he?’

‘How do you know this? Isn’t the talk meant to be confidential?’ Louise asks.

May responds with a shrug. ‘Rossiter and I go way back, we still drink together. He owes me after the mess down at Deakin. Those bullet casings didn’t just disappear into the wind, you know’.

Another glass of whiskey is poured.

‘Anywayyys, Mrs Green then saw the two of ‘em down near main beach one night. Her hubby wouldn’t stop the car, but she could see it was them. Sal’s hunched over figure and Rossiter walking along all high and mighty. But there was something odd, someone else was with ‘em. Now, Mrs green knows everybody, as you know, but she couldn’t make out who that extra person was, not for the life of ‘er’.

‘It wasn’t McCurtin, was it?’, asked Louise.

‘Mrs Green don’t know McCurtin ’cause he only visited the once, but who else would Rossiter trust? But if that vicious bugger is back in town we are in deep trouble. By the way, whaddya doin’? My glass is empty, again’.

‘There’s only sherry left’, moans Louise.

‘Is there anything worse than Sherry?’

Louise replies, ‘having nothing to drink at all’.

Louise and May laugh loudly together. But it is an uneasy laugh. Something to take the edge off the name, ‘McCurtin’.

Ol’ May makes her way back to her tractor. Louise stood at the door.

‘McCurtin knows everything’, May yells over the sputtering of the tractor.

Louise let the words settle into the wind and drift away. She knows that he knows.

Now they are fucked.