‘You quit what?!’
I coughed, choking on my pint. The bubbles burned my throat. My eyes watered.
The whole bar turned to stare at us and my father’s face flushed a deeper shade of red. He pressed a finger against his lips.
‘Keep it down, ye eejit’ he hissed ‘These lot gossip like fishwives and I’ve not told yer ma yet.’
‘I should hope not. She’ll fecking kill ya.’
‘Sure, she’ll be fine…’ I gave him “The Look”, an imitation of my mother’s. He hesitated a moment and added in a quiet voice, ‘…she liked the band.’
‘Aye, back when ye were both twenty…’
He squinted at me, opened his mouth, closed it and went back to staring into his whiskey as he’d been before he made his announcement.
I rolled my eyes.
‘Da,’ I said, ‘maybe keep it to yerself a while, especially the bit about quitting yer job. Get the boys together, practice a wee bit and when yer sorted and ready, then tell her.’
He nodded, slight at first and then with more enthusiasm.
‘Better yet wait until after yer first gig.’
A laugh grew in my throat threatening to escape. I fought to suppress it.
He remained silent for so long that I was beginning to think he’d noticed.
‘Yer a smart one,’ he beamed, stabbing a chubby finger at me. ‘I always said that. Knew ye’d go far.’
He downed the whiskey with a swift gulp, climbing shakily from the chair.
‘Drink up, lad. I’ll buy the next.’
The next drinks arrived: lager for me, whiskey for him.
‘Me and yer Ma are going on holiday this year,’ he said pushing the glass towards me before opening a packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps.
‘Are ye now?’
‘Aye, taking her to Tenerife,’ he said through a mouthful of crisps. Half-chewed shards fell from his beard into the knit of his sweater. ‘June, next door, went and it’s all her and yer ma have been talking about since.’
‘She deserves a holiday having to put up with all yer shite.’
‘She does, aye.’
I picked at the soggy bits of crisp on my face, counting the seconds. He’d realise soon. I was sure of it.
Time ticked away…
My old man was as oblivious as he’d always been.
‘How are ye going to pay fer that?’ I asked with a sigh. ‘You quitting yer job to reform the band, and all.’
He stared at me. Dilated and glazed eyes tried to focus on mine.
‘Who told you that pack of shite?!’
‘Go home, Da. Yer fecking drunk…’