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Image by Sara Groblechner


with the martello journal

Another Round

by matthew egan

The noise rose later in the evening as the sun fell lower in the sky. The doors were held back
with pegs and the path was crowded by smokers enjoying the cool spring evening. Shouting
and singing could be heard all around from the men and women in black who mourned and
toasted a life that had been lost.
Stories were shared about the good times and the bad with knowing looks from those who
knew the stories that would never be repeated. Nobodies a saint in life though once the coffin
is lowered and the mourning begins, things are never the way they were. No more slights or
anger, only misunderstandings and forgiveness.

A solitary figure sat at the bar in silence, his back hunched forward and his head low. He
looked solemnly at his drink and sipped it slowly. A lonely man surrounded by company, of
laughter and fond memories.
He finished his drink and was joined by an old woman, her blonde hair straight to her
shoulders. She wore a sad face that had been fixed into a smile. The old man looked to her
and forced a grin which faded as quick as it came.
       ‘How are you getting on?’ she asked.
‘You know. I’m getting there,’ the man garbled back with a long breath. ‘Not an easy day, as
I’m sure you know more than anyone.’
       ‘Yeah.’ She nodded and they fell quiet.
‘How are the kids?’
       ‘You know, they’re okay, I suppose. Being strong for me.’
The old man nodded and gestured to the barman for another. He was silent as he watched the
golden liquid fill his glass.
The old woman stared at him and pursed her lips. She placed a soft hand on his back and
stepped down from her stool. ‘He wouldn’t want you to be sad for him,’ she said before
disappearing into the crowd.
The man closed his eyes and shook his head. He leaned back, looked around and saw the
smiles, the laughter and felt tears forming. He wiped his eyes and turned back to his drink,
downing it in one.

He ran a finger along his slim moustache and looked down the bar. ‘Another round,’ he said,
his speech slurring.
        ‘I think you’ve had enough Piper,’ The barman replied coming towards him.
‘I haven’t had enough Jim.’
        ‘You have. Don’t get yourself into a state.’
The barman turned from him quickly, his attention being drawn to the crowd at the far end.
‘Fuck this,’ Piper mumbled to himself and lumbered over the bar, knocking glasses to the
floor without a care as he grabbed the bottle of Jameson he had been courting all night. He
ignored the crowds pleas for this or that and moved out of sight just as the barman turned
He stumbled across the crowded pub, bottle in one hand and two empty glasses in the other as
he entered the parlour. It lay quiet, a comfortable corner hidden by partitions with a long table
and dim lighting. He sat down and filled the two glasses, staring at them in silence before
taking one with a soft touch and whispering, ‘To the greatest man I have ever known, a
friend, a brother, a life that won’t be forgotten.’
He tapped his glass against the other and downed his drink in one before filling it again.

He sat silent, his hand gripping his drink and listened to the joy of everyone outside. The
laughter and the singing. The stories being told and the memories that wouldn’t be forgotten.
‘It was a good send off Pat,’ he whispered. ‘You’d have enjoyed it. Mulligans won’t be the
same, and now I’m alone with only the memories of the good times to look back on.’
Piper held his glass high again. ‘To the good times,’ he said for the final time.
He downed his drink again and wiped away his tears. ‘You won’t be forgotten,’ he said and
stood, bottle in hand, leaving the filled glass on the table in peace.

My name is Matthew Egan, and I am from Dublin, Ireland. I have been writing since 2015 and I have written four novels, dozens of short stories, poetry and plays. I have recently been published for the first time in NUNUMs Summer issue 2022.

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