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I like to write and I like to party, but mostly just the writing. Disclaimer: A lot of these stories are true ones. The memory of growing-up in and around Killybegs. When you hold a mirror up to small communities, sometimes there are those who don't like the reflection. Capote knew this only too well. If you find the refraction just a little too much and would like the angle of incidence changed in your favor, please email me at georgevial@hotmail.com and I will be happy to make a name change here or there.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Burger

Every lunch time at the Niall Mhōr National school I had fifty pence from Mum or Dad, to go down to Melly’s to get a small bag of chips and if I was lucky enough a burger too, which wasn’t too often. I loved loads of salt and vinegar on my chips and then would plaster them with ketchup or red sauce as most people called it.

The counter in Melly’s was stainless steel and if you had just even a little nick or cut on your hand, which was most every day when we were kids, then you would receive the smallest electric shock. Enough to make you say “Jesus” and want to do it again.

Anyway, this one day, I met my uncle Bill on the way down town, he was my father’s brother a fisherman, prematurely gray and I loved him. He was always so good to us, but I was really surprised when he gave me two pounds and told me to get some lunch. I now had two pounds and fifty pence to get lunch. I felt like a millionaire and had no idea what I would get. After staring up at Melly’s menu for a few minutes I settled on a small bag of chips, can of coke and two cheeseburgers with coleslaw, leaving me with pennies in change.

I was brimming with excitement, I never had two burgers to myself before and felt like the dog’s bollocks or the cat that got to cream to use a nicer phrase!

I ate the chips while I walked back up to the school was careful not to spill any or share any with all the scroungers who having already eaten their lunch were only too willing to help you with yours. And I was especially aware and on the look out for some of the school bullies like the Murran twins, Brad McGillinchy or Andy Sullivan. They would have taken it off me and made me cry.

Having made it back to the school-yard with my two burgers and can of coke, chips all gone at this stage, I sat down and ate the first burger. I tasted so good, and I was thinking to myself that I wish I could always have this much for lunch, much better than the peanut butter or chocolate spread sandwiches that we use to get last year when I was in second class over at the big school.

So, there I was sitting on the steps of the old school and ready to start into my second cheese-burger when my friends Declan and Rory came up to me. I got up to go with them taking my burger with me, to go over to another part of the school yard.

Then I see the burger lying on the ground upside down and beside me is a sixth-class boy laughing. He was one that I would have considered harmless, one that would never have bullied and he was wearing a cast on his arm. I looked at his face, laughing, then to my burger on the ground. I bent down to pick it up, but it was covered in stones and dirty as hell. There was no rescuing it. I put it in the trash and held the tears back. The sixth-class boy apologized when he saw how upset I was, but that didn’t change anything, the burger was gone and nobody else knew what it meant to me to have had two burgers.

I ran to catch up with Declan and Rory, but I will never forget the boy’s face laughing when my burger hit the ground and I will never forget how good it made me feel to have had two burgers, a small bag of chips and a can of coke all to myself.

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