An excerpt from Born & Bred

On the night of August 10, 1977, Daniel Bartholomew Boyle made the biggest mistake of his young life, one that was to have far-reaching consequences for him and those around him. He might have argued that the course of his life had already been determined by happenings that occurred before he was born, but, poor Catholic that he was, riddled with guilt and shame, he believed that he, and he alone, was responsible. He had been dodging the inevitable since Scully got lifted but he knew it was only a matter of time before it caught up with him. Perhaps that was why he paused in front of the old cinema in Terenure after weeks of skulking in the shadows. Perhaps that was why he waited in the drizzle as the passing car turned back and pulled up beside him.

 

“Get in the car, Boyle.”

 

Danny wanted to make an excuse—to say that he was waiting for someone—but he knew better.

It wouldn’t do to keep them waiting. They weren’t the patient sort, twitchy and nervous, and single-minded without a shred of compassion. He looked around but the streets were empty. There was no one to help him now, standing like a target in front of the art deco facade of the Classic.

The cinema had been closed for over a year, its lights and projectors darkened, and now lingered in hope of new purpose. He had spent hours in there with Deirdre, exploring each other in the dark while watching the midnight film, stoned out of their minds, back when they first started doing the stuff. He used to do a lot of his dealing there, too, around the back where no one ever looked.

“Come on, Boyle. We haven’t got all fuckin’ night.”

 

Danny’s bowels fluttered as he stooped to look inside the wet black car. Anthony Flanagan was sitting in the passenger’s seat, alongside a driver Danny had seen around. He was called “the Driller” and they said he was from Derry and was lying low in Dublin. They said he was an expert at kneecapping and had learned his trade from the best. Danny had no choice; things would only get worse if he didn’t go along with them.

“How are ya?” He tested the mood as he settled into the back seat beside a cowering and battered Scully. He had known Scully since he used to hang around the Dandelion Market. He was still at school then and spent his Saturday afternoons there, down the narrow covered lane that ran from Stephen’s Green into the Wonderland where the hip of Dublin could come together to imitate what was going on in the rest of the world—but in a particularly Dublin way.

 

Dave, the busker, always took the time to nod to him as he passed. Dave was black and played Dylan in a Hendrix way. He always wore an afghan coat and his guitar was covered with peace symbols. Danny would drop a few coins as he passed and moved on between the stalls as Dylan gave way to Horslips, Rory Gallagher, and Thin Lizzy.

The stalls were stacked with albums and tapes, josh sticks and tie-dyed t-shirts with messages like “Peace” and “Love,” pictures of green plants and yellow happy faces along with posters of Che, whose father’s people had come from Galway.

The stalls were run by hippies from such far-out places as Blackrock and Sandyford, students from Belfield and Trinity, and a select few from Churchtown. They were all so aloof as they tried to mask their involvement in commercialism under a veneer of cool. Danny knew most of them by sight, and some by name. On occasion he’d watch over their stalls when they had to get lunch or relieve themselves. He was becoming a part of the scene.

**

 

“Hey Boyle!”

 

Danny had seen Scully around before but they had never spoken. Scully, everyone said, was the guy to see about hash and acid, and, on occasion, some opium.

“You go to school in Churchtown?”

Danny had just nodded, not wanting to seem overawed.

“Wanna make some bread?”

 

“Sure. What do I have to do?”

“Just deliver some stuff to a friend. He’ll meet up with you around the school and no one will know—if you’re cool?”

Danny had thought about it for a moment but he couldn’t say no. He had been at the edge of everything that happened for so long. Now he was getting a chance to be connected—to be one of those guys that everybody spoke about in whispers. Sure it was a bit risky but he could use the money and, besides, no one would ever suspect him. Most people felt sorry for him and the rest thought he was a bit of a spaz.

“Could be a regular gig—if you don’t fuck it up.” Scully had smiled a shifty smile and melted back into the crowd, checking over each shoulder as he went.