The Irishman staggered up his front lawn, acknowledging his granddaughter, Anetta, as he went. She was dancing lively on the grass, moving excitedly to the grooves blasting from her portable pink-barbie-radio.
Shamus waved hello and rubbed her mess of blonde hair, then helped himself to a cold brew and two bags of ice once inside. He set an ice bag over each of his knees, popped open the brew, then picked up the phone from the receiver and dialed.
“Hello?” Said the voice on the other end.
“Yes, this is Shamus. How goes my daughter?”
There was a short pause. “Excuse me? How goes it?”
Shamus groaned and rubbed his temples with his thumb and forefinger. “How is she?”
“Oh.” The voice on the other end sighed sadly. “You know, she’s still in recovery.”
Shamus nodded, then had another swig from his ale. “Ah shit. Well that’s fuckin’ great, isn’t it? Any idea when she will be better?”
“No, not really. How’s Anetta?”
Shamus adjusted the ice bag on his knee as he smiled. “Ah, she’s lovely. You’ve raised yourself a beautiful girl there, ya truly have.”
“Thanks,” said the man on the other end. “I’m sorry to keep her at your place for so long.”
Shamus furrowed his brow and shook his head. “No, no. It’s good to have the young ones around. They keep me smiling.”
“Yes, well… I’m glad to hear she’s doing well.”
Shamus swiped the ice bags off his knees and stood up. “Here she’s right outside! I’ll fetch her for you she’d love-”
“No, no!” The voice exclaimed. “I’m sorry but I’m really too busy with work. And Anetta, you know how much she likes to talk.”
Shamus scratched behind his ear. “Well, yes, but, she is your fuckin’ daughter.”
The voice laughed. “I know. Listen, I’ve got a meeting to go too. Give her my love.”
“Fine,” said Shamus. The man on the other end started to speak some more, but Shamus just clicked to end the call and tossed the phone on his couch.
The front door whirled open, and in stormed Anetta, crying hysterically.
Shamus picked her up in his arms. “Annetta! Darlin’! What’s wrong?”
She shook her head, as she smeared the mucus dribbling out from her nostrils.
She sniffed. “Mr. Avery’s boys all laughed at me and told me not to dance in public.” She sniffed again. “Anymore.”
Shamus set her down. “They did, did they?”
“Come on. Let’s go for a walk, sweetie.”
Shamus took Anetta by the hand and led her outside. They walked across the street to the Averys’ residence. Shamus walked up the steps then rung the brass doorbell, all the while holding his granddaughter’s hand in his.
The front door opened, to a middle-aged man wearing a green tie and a red sweater vest on top of it.
“Yes, hello! How are you?” Said Mr. Avery.
Shamus looked into the living room, where the two boys were playing video games. “Yes, sorry for the inconvenience sir, but your boys harassed my granddaughter.”
“Oh?” Said Mr. Avery, folding his arms.
“Yes, nothing terrible, but she was dancin’ in the front yard and they told her to stop.”
“And that was that, so I was think they ought to apologize to her.”
Mr. Avery stepped forward, still smiling brightly. “And why is that?”
Shamus shot upright. “Why is that? Bloody hell mate, she’s eight years old! If she wants to dance outside she has right to fucking dance outside!
Mr. Avery stepped still closer, rubbing his chin his hand. “Well, to be quite frank with you Shamus, I myself don’t appreciate looking out my window and seeing her make a mockery of this neighborhood. The homes have been going down in value, you know, and I can’t help but wonder if displays like that are the prime culprit. You know understand, right?”
Shamus suddenly elated in a smile. “So you don’t think my daughter should dance, do ya?”
The man looked down, then smeared his loaf of blond hair back. “Not like that. I just don’t think it’s appropriate, sorry. Oh, would you and your daughter like to come inside, though? She can play video games with the boys if she wants!”
Shamus nodded some more, than smiled from ear to ear. “No, no. That’s alright.”
The man grinned, then bent down to a squatting position. “And how about you little girl? I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings, it’s just that when you dance it makes the street look bad.”
Anetta looked to Shamus, who shook his head then tugged her away. They walked back to their own home, and Shamus immediately climbed into the attic, searching through his old belongings. He found a pair of his old soccer cleats, then took them back down to the sofa and struggled to put them on. He grabbed an old album he had saved since his last visit to the motherland, then started towards the front door.
“Come on Anetta.”
“Where are we going, grandpa?”
“We are going back to the Averys’ to apologize some more. Bring your pink music-player-thingy.”
She did, and soon they were back at the same house as before. Only this time, Shamus stopped at the front lawn, inserted his C.D. of Irish Medleys, and turned the pink portable radio on full blast.
As soon as the bagpipes and mandolin started playing, Shamus started to dance. He did the steps of an Irish jig, with strong, precise stabbing toe kicks. The neighbors all around quickly came by and circled around, clapping on the surprisingly agile old man as he tore up the formerly pristine lawn with his soccer cleats.
Mr. Avery, however, didn’t look as pleased, as he watched from his front door with his two boys beside.
By the time the jig was finished, mud and grass was heaped everywhere.
“I hope you’re going to pay for that,” said Mr. Avery, closing the front door as he stepped forward in a slighly aggressive manner.
Shamus smiled, then started charging at a hurried pace towards him. “And I hope YOU’RE going to apologize to my daughter.”
“I thought I already told you-”
Before he could finished his sentence, Shamus grabbed him by the throat and pinned him against his own front door.
“I said, you are going to apologize to my granddaughter.”
“Okay, okay. Sorry.” Said Mr. Avery, waving his hands at his sides.
“Good, now you little ones,” said Shamus to the two little boys standing beside.
“We don’t have to listen to you,” one of them responded.
Shamus released the father, then looked up to the sky. “You know what, I think you’re right.” Shamus turned around, bent forward, then farted loudly on the two little boys.
He hopped off the stairway, grabbed Anetta by the hand, then started walking back towards his own house again, with the pink barbie radio propped on his shoulder as it continued to play into his ear.
“Grandpa, does this mean I can still dance outside?” Said Anetta, pulling his arm for Shamus to face her.
Shamus smiled. “Yes sweetie. In fact, the next time someone tells you to stop dancing, I want you to tell them to go fuck themselves.”
Anetta giggled and looked straight ahead. “What’s that mean grandpa?
Shamus laughed, then picked Anetta up off the ground and held her up into the sunlight, kissing her forehead once before hugging her into his chest and going on. “It means life has a lot of tough times. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to quit singing and dancing because some pussy with a sweater vest tells me to stop.”
“I like that grandpa.”
He set her down, and then smiled as they resumed their walk hand in hand. “As do I, sweetie. As do I.”
– Thomas M. Watt