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THE WICKED WITCH OF KILLARMON


I got on the wrong side of Eleanor Meehan my second night in town.

I tried to get along with the woman. Oh lord, how I tried. I tried to get along with everyone when I first got here. Since I was buying plenty of rounds this wasn’t turning out to be difficult, until I ran into her.
The day after I hit town it was Halloween. Now- Halloween in Killarmon is a unique experience and a very entertaining one, particularly if you’re a Monty Python fan. Most of the men in town dress up in drag and the results range from stunningly (and disturbingly) beautiful to frighteningly ugly. But as I learned you have to be really careful about making assumptions. By this time I had fallen in with a bad crowd, namely Robbie and his waster mates, who had kidnapped me and proceeded to fill me full of lager. If you travel and suffer from jet lag I highly recommend just staying completely pissed for the first few days, it makes the symptoms much less noticeable.
I had already gotten a great laugh out of them by failing to recognize Robbie who was dressed in his sister’s tight black mini skirt and a pink angora cardigan, although I think it was the wig that threw me even more than the clothes and make-up. He looked very different with hair. One poor fella had been mistaken for his own mother so uncanny was the resemblance, and the whole thing was just striking me as hilariously funny. Of course I was also pretty well gone. When another fella strolled into the Seaview’s bar dressed in some kind of Catwoman outfit complete with spike-heeled boots I practically ruptured myself laughing. I slapped him on the back and screeched.
“Oh my God- you’re the worst looking one yet!” I shouted. He just gave me a filthy glare.
“What the fuck are you on about, and who the fuck are you anyway?” he demanded. I started to tell him again what a hideous woman he made when I realized that some of the other lads were laughing so hard they were practically on the floor. Poor Rob tried to come to my rescue.
“Hiya Eleanor,” he said, broadly emphasizing the name. Oops. I was just drunk enough that, rather than being mortified by my mistake, it just struck me funnier.
“Oh shit, you’re a real woman!” I observed.
“Who the FUCK is this?” she demanded again.
“Nell, this is Sam,” Rob explained. “She’s here from America for a while.”
“Well I hope it’s a bloody short while!” the Catwoman yelled, right in my face. It was all still just too damned funny, and I couldn’t stop giggling. Luckily Robbie had the sense to drag me out of there and on to the next pub before I could make things worse, but as you can imagine this little incident did not endear me to Eleanor. If it hadn’t soon become apparent that by shunning me she was missing the company of her own friends I doubt she ever would have spoken to me again, but in a couple of days she (as I thought at the time) very generously decided to forgive and forget and try to be friends. I was sitting with the lads again at a corner booth in the Leinster when she just walked up and squeezed herself in beside me and proceeded to monopolize the conversation. This was her version of making up.

On my fourth night in Killarmon, she insisted we go out to the local disco, and I do mean insisted, not suggested. Eleanor rarely makes suggestions, she decrees. To understand why people put up with this you have to realize how very scary the woman is, and it took me a while to find out.


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