Sometimes it’s good to simply let a story unfold from a title, image or murderous impulse to kill a taxi driver who’s almost run you over.
At least that’s the advice I seem to remember William Wordsworth giving to young writers in his Preludes.
Anyway I hope you enjoy today’s short-short story...)
IMPOSSIBLE MOMENTS WITH MURPHY
“You only get fifteen minutes with him,” the middleman says through a mouthful of chew. His lips open to black words that dribble down to even blacker innards. “It’s fifty bucks no questions asked.”
He spits out a stream of black liquid like a polluted water-fountain.
“What if it doesn’t work ?” I whisper.
He just stares at me with his hand open. His confidence comes from success. “You’ll just have to take that chance won’t you ?”
I take the chance.
I board the ferry and go to the back as instructed where I see a man with an almost impossibly friendly expression. He has grey hair.
“You’ve the look of a man bedraggled by the weariness of too many days,” he says in a Northern Irish accent. “Which is to say that anyone can see you’ve been running around like a blue-arse fly.”
I look around confused.
“There’s nobody else who’ll help you with these taxi driver difficulties. I’d laugh my leg off if there was anyone who tried,” he says in a serious tone. He knows why I’m there.
I sit next to him with a plunk as the ferry jerks into motion. Fifteen minutes.
“An American steps into a bar in Dublin and says,’I hear that you Irishmen love your Guinness. I’ll give a hundred pound to the man who can down six Guinness in a minute.”
Once again a look of confusion gets lost all over my face.
“I’m telling you a joke, have you never heard one of them before ?!”
I don’t know how to respond. He is different from my expectations of fortune-tellers, seers or witchdoctors. I don’t want jokes lifted from the internet, I want advice from the spiritual realm.
“Alright well I can see you’re as lost as a nun at a Viagra convention. Here’s how we work things. You’ve given my man the money which entitles you to a piece of my skills which is communicating with wicked spirits and whatnot. What happens is I go about telling a joke but at some point one of the characters in said joke will take on a life of his own and advise you as to the proper course of your own sweet revenge. That’s the deal I’ve struck with the spirits, you see.”
Before I have any time to debate the wisdom of channeling characters through jokes, he proceeds.
“So one man named Murphy stands up and leaves the bar. The bartender in turn says..”
At this point he freezes and transforms into something else right in front of me.
So on the advice of the some joke-loving evil spirit from the beyond, I ram seaweed and dried eels in a tin flute and drop it where the taxi driver drove over my girlfriend. This will create a spell that will unleash untold legions of demons on the taxi driver, I’m told.
Personally I don’t believe in any of it but she was a very superstitious woman who would have wanted it this way.