St Patrick's Day

By Graeme MacPhee, @@

“You’re looking sharp, Graham.”


“You too, Alastair. Boomtown’s bouncing tonight.”


“G, I, double BB, Y. Stevie Wonder, rolling thunder.”


“I’ve booked the taxi, Graham. Half eleven. The Cav should be rocking. Get the Guinness in, two pots! Here’s a little number to get you out your seats. Jump around, jump up, jump up and get down.”


“Careful, you’re spilling the dark stuff, Graham. Less to go down our necks.”


“Hiya Karen – Yvonne, budge up.”


“Yeah, lads, squeeze in. How goes it?”


“Good, the night is young!”


“We’re hitting the toon. The Cav. Fancy going up?”


“No, thanks for asking but boomtown will do!”


“It’s St. Patrick’s Day, got to celebrate!


“No honestly, we’re fine.”


“Okay, I won’t ask again.”


“Do you want a drink?”


“We just got them in!”


“Fair play.”


The pub is crammed. Friday night frolics and fun. People with Guinness hats on. Looks just like they’re balancing large pints of the dark stuff on top of their heads. Don’t nod, you’ll spill.


“I want one of them.”


“Yeah, me too!”


“Les, you got any of those hats left?”


“No, sorry, the brewery only gave me twelve.”


“Dirty dozen, eh!”


Noise fills the air, a score of conversations. Music plays. Drink flows.


“Taxi! Drink up.”


“Hold on, give us a minute.”


I struggle to down the remainder of my pint.


“Get it down you!”


“Hello there, where to?”


“The Cavendish please.”


“Don’t say it, Graham.”


“Say what?”


“Don’t.”


“Been busy the night? What time you on till?”


Alastair looks at me and bursts out laughing, which is contagious. We both laugh out loud.


“Look at the size of the queue!”


We shuffle forward, trying to look sober. Big, burly bouncers walking along uttering frightening sentences – thankfully not to us!


“Not tonight, think you’ve had too much to drink.”


“Eh? Us? No, we’re sober.”


They move like small boats thrown into heavy seas.


“It’s taking ages. I’m starting to need the toilet.”


“Come on, come on.”


Finally Alastair and I pass their inspection and we’re in. After paying at the door we go straight to the gents. Then into the bar. Mirrored walls reflect the bodies on show. Green, white and yellow balloons. Guinness hats a’plenty. Smoke machine on full blast. Happy St. Patrick’s Day clubbers. Emerald and other shades of green in abundance. Shamrocks on show. Spinning mirror balls up high. Casting strange reflections. Pulsating nightclub. 


“There’s some talent in here tonight, Alastair.”


“Too true, hope we pull. Two Guinness, get them in!”


“My round again?”


“Stop your moaning, Graham, two pots.”


“Let’s have a scan around the club. A reconnaissance of sorts.”


“Yes, we’re on manoeuvre. Look at those two seated up the back of the club.”


We walk slowly past, the brunette smiles at me. She is wearing a black cat suit revealing a nice figure. I get goose bumps as we pass them.


“She smiled at you, Graham, you lucky so and so.”


“I nearly spilled my drink, Alastair.”


We walk onto the dancefloor. A bouncer approaches.


“No drink on the dancefloor lads.”


“Right, sorry!”


We find two seats free at a table with a good vantage point.


“Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s a little number to get you dancing. The Irish Rover.”


Revellers on the dancefloor having a ball. Balloons bursting under high heels increasing the volume.


“Look at the hen party.”


“Yes, it’s a big group of them. They’re having a right laugh.”


They walk up to our table.


“Come on men, who’s going to give us their underpants? It’s next on our list.”


I feel embarrassed and lost for words. Alastair smiles. We look at each other and then, thankfully, Alastair speaks.


“Sorry ladies!”


“Don’t be spoilsports, come on.”


The woman stretched out her finger toward me. I shift uneasily back on ym seat. A red haired female with the name Gemma proudly displayed on the back of her t-shirt pipes up.


“Come on girls, they’re too boring.”


With that they move on to their next potential victims.


“That was close.”


“Yes, quite. I’m not going commando for the rest of the night.”


“Me neither.”


“What time is it?”


“Quarter to one, plenty time.”


I gulp down on my pint of Guinness. It leaves a white moustache, which Alastair points out to me. 


“You’ve no even had a shave, Graham. Let’s chat up those two.”


He points at the female in the cat suit and her auburn-haired friend.


We approach them. Alastair takes the lead.


“Hello ladies, you having a good St. Patrick’s Day?


“Yes, thanks.”


“I’m Alastair and this is Graham.”


I’m nervous.


“Speak up Graham!”


“What’s your names?”


“I’m Lisa and this is Stacy.”


Conversation and drinks flow. I stumble to the bar, but instead squeeze through the crowd and into a cubicle and put down the toilet seat and sit. What a night so far…silence.


Where am I? What? Who? Where? I open the cubicle door. Blinding lights, silence. My reflection in a mirror. I leave the gents, and walk back into the club. Silence. Nobody around. What time is it? I walk onto the wooden dancefloor and do a little Irish jig. Behind the bar, I pour myself a pint. Unfortunately, the taps are off. The nightclub is full of the spirits of Friday night clubbers, stronger than any spirits in the optics. It feels haunted.  Try the main door but it too is firmly closed. My eyes fix blearily on a fire exit door. I run and kick the handle just like a rebel. The door swings open. An alarm like the one o’clock gun times ten sounds. Daylight. I run and run through Tollcross and down Lothian Road just like a top sprinter. Finally I reach the taxi rank at The Rutland. There’s a taxi with its light showing. The clock at Frasers shows that its seven thirty am.


night out, accidental rebellion, personal rebellion