naomh padraig mason mcdonald 01

Naomh Pádraig

Written by Mason McDonald

Avery Eastman sat at the bar trying to enjoy his Forty Creek. Behind, fools in green shirts and plastic tophats danced and yelled while shitty rock music blared from the juke. They kept jostling his stool and sooner or later, one was apt to stumble into him and cause him to spill his drink. That would be fun for nobody.

He should’ve known better than to go out tonight. The town was crawling with drunk goofs using the holiday as an excuse to make asses out of themselves. Unlike Spring Break, which usually only clogged up the night clubs and beaches, St. Patrick’s day brought out pricks of all ages to cluster and fuck up his night.

He just needed a drink.

The music changed to an overproduced pop song and a bunch of women with bridal shower pins on their green dresses started screaming and dragging one another to the dance floor. Avery sighed and downed the rest of his whisky. He motioned to Perry, the old fella who owned the place. Perry was there every night but he was usually seated at the bar eating a bowl of chili or a plate of wings while he nursed a bottle of Schooner. These days he didn’t tend the bar all that much, but when it was packed like this, he poured beer. Anything else and you had to wait for one of the other workers. He made an exception for Avery, though, as Avery had been coming here since his teen years when he and his brother bought some fake IDs. Perry spotted the fakes a mile away of course, but he still let them drink. His only rules were they wouldn’t be over served, they wouldn’t cause trouble, and they wouldn’t tell anybody.

Avery smiled at that memory while Perry splashed some whisky into his glass. Fake IDs and underage drinking. Back when he and his brother got along. Now his brother was a big ol’ detective and didn’t have time for the ‘hood anymore.

“Don’t know what you’re smiling about with all this shit,” Perry said,gesturing to the unruly crowd.

“Jordan,” Avery said and took a sip.

“Huh? You’re brother?” Perry looked around the room as he absentmindedly dried a beer mug. Perry was an ancient white fella with furry eyebrows that sat like dead albino caterpillars perched above a face with bulldog jowls. “He here?”

Avery shook his head. “Too busy shoving his head up his own ass. Sunday’s are the day for it, y’know.”

Perry smirked. “He’s your brother. We don’t get to pick family, but we gotta love ‘em.”

“Oh I love ‘em. Doesn’t mean he ain’t an asshole.”

Perry swatted at him with his hand towel and nodded at the glass in Avery’s hand. “I gotta go keep these animals watered, I’ll be back around to top ya up.”

Avery quickly knocked back the rest of his drink and shook his head. “Nah, I gotta get going anyway.” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a thick wad of cash and counted out forty bucks. About four times what he owed, but Perry deserved it tonight, and Avery had it to give. “Keep the bones,” he said as he tossed the bills down.

Perry picked up the paper and dropped Avery a wink. “You’re too good to me,” he said.

“Good luck tonight, Grandpa. You’ll need it,” Avery said as he shrugged on his coat.

“Oh get fucked!”

Avery laughed and weaved through the crowd of degenerates, trying his best to ignore the smells of stale smoke, body odour, and bad pussy.

He pushed himself free and through the doors, out into the night where it wasn’t much better. An equally large crowd of oversized leprechauns crowded the sidewalk. The only difference between these green pricks and the ones inside were the cigarettes that replaced the beer bottles.

The air was cold and cutting, so Avery turned his collar up against the harsh breeze and stuffed his fists into his pockets. He turned and headed down the street towards home.

It didn’t take him long to notice he was being followed. In fact, he’d known since he said goodbye to Perry. A skinny guy with a green hoodie pulled up over his head and thick black aviators. Dude looked like the Unabomber. He had stood as Avery turned to leave and had been behind him the entire time. Avery was cool with chalking it up to street paranoia as he called it, so he gave the kid a chance and didn’t say anything. Now the kid was still behind him even after they’d long left the party behind and were alone outside of an old brick apartment building without a single ounce of life visible.

Avery knew he should have been more discrete with his cash but he was in a hurry to get the hell out of there.

When Avery was absolutely positive he and his new friend were alone and the dark streets were empty, he stopped under a flickering arc sodium street light and spun around, stopping his follower dead in his tracks.

“Don’t take another fucking step, bro. Why you following me?”

The lanky kid didn’t say anything, he just smiled. His skin wasn’t just white, it was decidedly bleached. No colour. It was paler than pale. His lips were a pink so vibrant they were almost neon. He made to step towards Avery but Avery held out one of his big, calloused palms.

“Keep walking. That’s a quick way to get your shit rearranged. I’ll ask you again, why the fuck you following me?”

When the kid just kept looking at him, Avery began to feel uneasy. Crazy white boys were more and more common these days and they weren’t inclined to just rob you. “You need to turn around and start kicking gravel, son. I promise you there’s an easier fight right around the corner.”

Avery was a bit long in the tooth but he wasn’t out of the game just yet and he knew there was still plenty of bite left in this old dog. While Jordan went to the academy, Avery did his own time. And when they both got out, they both joined up with different gangs. One wore badges and the other patches, but both dealt in the business of bodies. Which there were more than a few of in Avery’s past and if push came to shove, he wouldn’t hesitate to add another.

“It’s St. Patrick’s day,” the kid said. His voice was unbearably high and whiny. Like he was still going through puberty even though he was easily mid-20’s at the youngest. “It’s my day.”

“Well go on back and have a drink then,” Avery said. He was starting to sweat. His eyes never left the kid’s hands. If they even twitched, Avery would have to make a move. He hadn’t yet decided if that move would be to try and run behind the building to his right, or charge the kid and beat him within an inch of his life. That was the option he preferred, but if the kid had a heater in his hoodie’s pouch, then he’d have a problem.

“Do you know what I did? In the old country?”

“I mean it, kid. Get to stepping.”

“I made them all go away.”

The kid reached up to his face. There was a split second where Avery almost charged him, thinking he was reaching for his pocket or waistband, but the kid was just grabbing hold of his glasses.

“No one knows where I put them, though. It’s a secret,” the kid said. Avery found his voice utterly unbearable. It hurt his ears.

“Alright,” Avery said. The kid was obviously tweaking. Or was some kind of crazy, there was a lot of that going around these days too. Avery had seen his fair share of both—had made that wad of cash keeping tweakers juiced to the gills—and knew it when he saw it. Tweakers are desperate, crazies are unpredictable, both are dangerous.

“Some think I put them in the sea. Isn’t that something?”

“Man, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about,” Avery said.

“I brought them God. I showed them eternity. And then I got rid of all those pests. Isn’t that just something else? I think it is. I think it really is.

“Now all they do is make fools of themselves and they claim it is in my name. My name! They spread my name like they know where I put them! On my day! It isn’t right, you know. I don’t think so.”

“Alright man. Whatever you’re saying, I’m done hearing it,” Avery said.

“Do you want to know where I put them?”

“Man, fuck off! Get the hell outta here! Shit, I’m just trying to get home.”

“I can show you where I put them.”

Avery finally had enough. “What! Put what? Fucking tell me and go.”

“The snakes, of course,” the kid said and took off his glasses he’d been holding.

He had no eyes. Where they should have been were only glistening wet holes the shade of used motor oil. Before Avery could scream, the kid reached up into them, one hand for each socket, and hurriedly dug his fingers into them, screaming out in agony as he did.

“What the fuck!” Avery yelled and stepped back.

The kid kept screaming and digging, searching for something. Finally he gripped it and with both arms gave a strenuous yank. His air left him in a whimpering gasp as he did. Avery thought at first that the kid had started pulling a pair of ropes from his skull. Metres and metres of rope. But then the kid dropped the ropes to the concrete, and they writhed and wiggled and turned in on themselves, and the kid screamed and dug his fingers into his eye sockets again. Before Avery could comprehend that the ropes weren’t ropes at all but snakes, the kid had pulled out two more, and then two more, and more and more and more. He screamed in pain the entire time.

By the time Avery found his legs again, there was a pile of at least a dozen squirming snakes at the kid’s feet and one of them was slithering along a crack in the sidewalk towards Avery. The kid was still digging and pulling when Avery turned and started sprinting.

His age and years of treating his body like the kitchen sink of a trap house had damaged his lungs something fierce and it didn’t take long for the searing pain to fill his chest as he gulped down mouthfuls of frigid air. His mouth filled with the taste of blood. But he didn’t stop. Not once. Not even to check if the kid was still following him or not.

After a lifetime in small seconds, Avery stormed up the front steps to his house and damn near took the storm door off its hinges. He fumbled with the keys, cursing the whole time, and never paused for a breath until he was inside with the door locked and his back against it. He slid to his ass, his vision turning black from the edges in. For a moment he was concerned he’d die of a heart attack right there in his front room, but as he tried to control his breathing and finally gave his body a break, his heart rate started to calm and his breathing started to normalize. He was still sweating like a son of a bitch.

When he regained his thoughts, he realized he didn’t know what the fuck he was supposed to do. What could he do? What had even happened? Should he call the cops? If he did, what could they even do? Arrest the snakes? Shoot Avery for resisting?

He sighed and put his head in his hands. Tapped his fingers against his bald head, the only thing he had in common with Jordan.


Not the cops. But a cop.

Avery took out his phone and tapped the screen a couple times with shaky fingers.

It rang twice.


“Jordy? It’s Avery. You got a second?”

Silence for a second. Avery closed his eyes and prayed his brother wouldn’t hang up. Prayed that no matter what was between them, he’d hear the sound in Avery’s voice and they could be brothers again for a minute.

“Avery? What’s wrong little brother?”

Avery laughed in relief. “Man, I fucking hate St. Patrick’s day.”

mason mcdonald 01Mason McDonald is the author of A Time For Monsters. When not inventing yuletide boogeymen, he can be found drinking booze and fist fighting his own personal Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come. He currently lives in Port Morien, NS, with his wife Jenna and their collection of animals.

You can pick up his collection by clicking one of the links below!


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