Saturday, September 9, 2017

Barrel Dad

The one called Dad was shaped like a barrel and had a barrel of ideas, the kind of ideas fit for a barrel. He used to fish them out whenever he got stuck. When the house was sad, we drained him dry. He’d head for the bar's tap around which his buddies floated in a circle like a congregation of swans at the foot of a fountain. They’d preen themselves with vows and pledges; break into song like insatiable gulls above the catch. They’d empty their glasses and search for the toilets like mice juiced up for a maze. Dad would say goodbye and meet the night, drain himself in the gutter and roll his barrel home with the rumbling thunder of its emptiness enough to wake the neighbors. Our kitchen was a quagmire. He came through it like a polluted seabird, wings akimbo, bogged down by The Magic Shamrock’s 2 for 1 happy-hour specials. We went to school for a whole week before his noise and face would join up for a Sunday of armchair snoring. There’s not much to expect from a barrel, except that it hold without springing a leak.

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