The day I met Ryan started like any other…
My family and I had rituals that we went through each morning. I
would be woken up by the sound of radio Ulster's today programme
drifting out from the kitchen as the announcer told the country
of the latest sectarian murder. I could pick out a few keys
words, 19, New Lodge Catholic, I imagined that a family would be
crying somewhere mourning the needless senseless murder of their
could hear my mother going merrily about her morning routine,
toast tea and a few fags a cough as she collected her work
My sister would be out of bed and
dominating the bathroom, as she preened herself for the day
ahead. I would be lying in bed debating whether or not to have a
good wank before I got up. On this particular day I decided not
My mother would knock my door, stick her
head inside and tell me not to be late for school. I would grunt
some semi rude reply and put my head under the covers and resist
the temptation to drift off back to sleep.
heard for my mum leave as she shouted a final get up to me. Then
my sister go not saying anything to me (As usual) .
The house was as cold as a witch's tit. The
embers of last nights fire smoldering in the fireplace offered
little comfort against the morning cold. I shivered as the air
hit my bare skin as I quickly ran into the bathroom. I washed and
walked naked back towards my bedroom and the warmth of the
clothes I would put on. I stopped to look and myself in the
full-length hall mirror. Naked I was stripped of all the hall
Marks of my identity. This was me the really McCoy. I looked at
my slight belly with the ugly appendix operation scar that had
been there since I was 10. My dick hanging limply I pushed from
side to side.
Could anyone find me attractive I thought
to myself. Girls at school I found boring. All they talked about
was the latest pop music and what they were going to do at the
weekend. In fact I found girls in general boring. The idea of
marrying one and living with her for the next 45 years was a
horrible prospect. Most of the Boys I knew just talked about
football and the size of girl's tits and how far they had got
with certain girls. Was this it? Was my life destined to be the
same? Was there someone I could relate to and be at one
My sexual experience up until that point
had been based around forming a close relationship with my left
hand and one half baked experience with a friend that didn't
really amount to anything much its hardly worth me even talking
The only real friend I had during those
terrible years of high school was Peter hatch, or Hatchie, as I
About six months prior to the events I am
about to tell you off Peter had invited me over to spend a Friday
night at his house. His younger brother who he normally shared a
room with was sent downstairs to sleep on the sofa.
The night was rather boring, We stayed up
later and watched some dull Vampire movie staring Christopher Lee
as Dracula who went around biting the necks of scantily clad
local girls. Until Peter Cushing came along and put an end to his
The next morning I heard Peter get out of
bed and watched with one eye open as he moved around the room. He
wore underpants with black and white checks on them making his
bum almost look like a walking chessboard. I couldn't help
noticing the imposing tent at the front of his pants. Peter had
woken up with a painfully stiff hard on,
"What the fuck are you looking at?" Peter
snapped at me still making no attempt to hide the bulge at the
front of his undies.
"Nothing" I said averting my gaze away from
his crotch trying to think of something else.
Don't lie, Peter said in a judgmental tone
of voice. I saw you watching me.
tried to protest my innocence but I could see that it would do no
good. I had been caught red handed and was 100 percent
"You know what the boys at school say about
you, don't you"?
"What" I said in a nervous tone of voice,
knowing what his answer would be.
"That you like dicks instead of fanny, that
you're a fruit or queer. That no one should bend over in front of
you or be naked in your presence." That you would stick your cock
up their bum hole"
was close to tears, warring emotions building inside me.The
things Peter was saying to me hurt me. Was I about to loose my
only real friend? The only friend I had.
"And what to you think"
"I couldn't give a fuck. Those boys are
wankers." I think some of them fuck each other
laughed out loud and Peter made wanking motions with his
"do you want to see it he said
"What" I said not really sure where the
conversation was going." I pretended I didn't understand what he
My dick, cock, Willy, knob, John Thomas,
"fuckstick" I said trying not to
"Yeah, that's what Belch calls his." And
lets face it , it is a real fuckstick.
Biggest cock ive ever seen
Ok, if you want to.
Peter stood by my bed, with a huge grin on
his face and like someone about to show off a prize possession
pushed his underpants down to his ankles.
"Holy Shit" I cried out.
What happened next, I will leave to your
imagination. The only thing I will say it was nothing deep or
Earth shattering, nothing even worth remembering.
Three months later Peter Hatch was out of
my life. His father had been offered a job in Australia and had
decided to emigrate there and take the family with him. The
Hatch's being one of the many families that had left Ulster of
account of "the troubles" Who wants to raise children in a world
of bigotry and violence?
On the last day before he left I gave Peter
a hug and told him that I would miss him and promised that I
would write… When he said the same thing I sensed an unconvincing
tone in his voice. I realized that Peter was only friends with me
because, deep down inside he felt sorry for me and that's what
made the whole situation sad.
went into my room and dressed slowly. Red underpants, school
trousers, shirt and sweater, sock and boots. Off course I had no
intention of going to school. I would ride the bus into town get
off and hang around the streets. Have a bag of chips then come
home and make up some excuse to tell my mother.
Off course I needed something to sustain me
through the morning. I went into the kitchen and took a pack of
ten woodbines from my Mums fag drawer. I Looked on top of the
cupboard where she kept her booze bottles. I found a half drank
bottle of Mundies South African wine. Better still in another
drawer I found two pounds fifty. I was set for the day. Booze,
money and fags. Who could ask for anything more. I took a
mouthful of the wine and gagged at the strong bitter taste. Did
winos really like to drink this? I threw the bottle and fags into
my school bag and left the house.
As I walked to the bus stop through the
grey streets of the estate the black rain clouds started to roll
in from the Belfast lough. Soon the heavens opened and the rain
was bouncing from the pavements. I stood in the corner of the bus
shelter behind a gaggle of old women talking about the latest one
of their friends to be in hospital someone they referred too as
poor old Annie. Annie it seemed only had a matter of days left
and had suffered at the hands of her abusive husband.What was it
with old people and illness and death they seemed to love it. I
turned my ears away from their inane talk and watched as the bus
pulled in .
paid the miserable looking driver the 15 pence bus face into town
and took a seat at far away as I could from the old grannies who
were still discussing the fate of poor old Annie. I drifted off
into my one word of loneliness and imagination.
decided to get off at the old pier and spend time at the old
dissued railway station, trains had not stopped there for many
years and the station was pretty run down but the waiting room
still had benches in it and offered some shelter from the rain.
Even if it did smell damp and u had to walk across broken glass
to get the benches it was forty times better than a day at
school, but then almost anything was.
saw him long before he spotted me. Walking aimlessly along the
stone covered beach, picking up the odd stone and throwing it
into the angry sea. The brown trousers gave his identity away. A
boy from the Catholic school, the first time I had seen one on
his own. I looked further down the beach to see if he had and
mates with him. The last thing that I needed was to be given a
good kicking by a gang of catholic boys. He saw me looking down
at him and stopped picking up the stones. He tentatively raised a
hand acknowledging my presence. And I raised my hand back and
beckoned for him to come over to where I was
He came slowly up the steps from the beach
and stood nervously looking at me. He was around my age maybe a
little older. A little smaller than me. For a moment no one
spoke. We stood like two prizefighters eye each other up before
their title fight.
"There's not more of you is there, he said
nervously. Your not going to hit me are you?
"No, why do you think I would do
"You're an Inter boy, aren't
Inter being the slang name for Blackfergus
secondary intermediate school. No point denying it, the uniform I
was wearing was a clear giveaway.
"Yes" I said nodding my head.
"They are always causing trouble in the
"There a bunch of fucking idiots" I hate
fighting" I said trying to make him feel more
"You got anymore of those" he said pointing
to the fag I was smoking.
"Yes", do you want one?
handed him a cigarette, pulled out a box of matches and lit it
opened my school bag and took out the bottle of wine opened it
and took a swig from the bottle. I passed it over to him. He took
it without saying anything and took a swig from the bottle then
handed it back to me.
He pulled the zipped of his parker down and
pushed the hood back. I'm Ryan O'Neil he said holding out his
shook it with mine. "John Watson"
"No school today"
"There is school, but it's a waste of
"Mine is too" I leave in the summer, even
though my Da wants me to stay on and do A level, it seems like a
waste of time.
Is it true that nuns and priests teach in
your school?I said trying not to sound too
"Yeah those nuns are fucking bitches,
always smacking you across the bum for one thing or another, and
the priests and like Nazis.
laughed out loud. "I thought my school was bad"
We sat there watching the rain fall,
smoking my mother's fags and drinking her wine. He talked about
his home life, how he was an only child, how his mother had died
when he was 2. His father was a lawyer who most of the week in
Belfast. He spent his weekend with his grandmother in Blackhead a
small town five miles away. I told him about my life, what my
mother had planned for me to do, how I wanted to be a writer and
longed to live somewhere else.
Ryan had taken his coat off and now seemed
very relaxed. I think he was finally convinced I wasn't going to
smack him in the teeth or kick him in the balls. After a few more
swigs of wine I was starting to feel merrily pissed and I guess
Ryan was too. I looked at him closely. He had wavy dirty fair
hair down to his neck. Light blue eyes and a beautiful smile. It
turned out his was six month older than me, though he looked much
younger. I took an instant liking to him.
Two hours had passed like ten minutes. It's
amazing how quickly time goes when you're in good
got to pee, Ryan said jumping to his feet, where is the nearest
"Go there", I said pointing to the back
wall of the waiting room, "no ones looking"
Ryan went to the back wall. I heard the
sound of his zip coming down then the sound of water splashing
against the back wall. He started humming a song, I recognized it
was mamma Mia by ABBA.
"Do you always sing when you're peeing" I
said trying not to laugh.
"Yes, it helps me to go
He finished up and came back over to where
I was sitting.
"Angels and ministers of grace defend us!"
God I needed that piss, came close to peeing
Hamlet, that's when he sees his da's ghost.
"You know your literature. Fuckin nuns make
us remember it all"
Ryan glanced at his watch.
"Fuck, I have to go" he said quickly
putting on his coat."Thanks for the fags and wine. "Your not a
bad guy for a Prodie"
"And your not bad for a Taig" Can I see you
"Sure, give me your phone
took a pen and a piece of paper from my school bag and hastily
wrote my phone number on it and handed it to him. He looked at me
I'll call you" .He paused for a moment as
if he was thinking what to say next. " Real soon,
"Ok" I nodded back.
As we walked along the sea highway the rain
had eased to a wet drizzle, the smell of the sea lingered in the
air and I had the sudden desire to be inside out of the rain. Yet
I wanted to stay with my new found friend. He had a strange
quality about him, something that was missing in the other boys I
had been in contact with.
heard the sound of a car draw up on the other side of the road
and the sound of the horn give two quick blasts.
looked across at the blue Ford Cortina and watched the window
roll down. A hairy burly arm with two gold rings on the middle
fingers beckoned for Ryan to cross the road.
"I got to go" he said waiting for the
traffic to break. "Take care"
Ryan ran across the road and got in the
saw the face of the driver look out as he wiped the rain of his
wing mirror. It was a face I had seen before. It was a face well
know on the Downshire estate. It was none other that Jackie
Walsh, rumored to be the local commander of the Blackfergus UDA,
hardcore loyalist through and through and father of my Nemesis
What in Gods name was Ryan, a Catholic boy
doing getting in a car with him? I don't know why Ryan would do
that but I was determined to find out…