A Good Funeral

by Madeleine D'Arcy

Luke’s father lies in a hospital bed in a private room. Luke stands at the foot of the bed, holding a bunch of oriental lilies he bought at Cork airport. Their scent is muted in the antiseptic hospital air.

            His brother Terence and Terence’s wife Una sit at the old man’s bedside in a silence broken by the click of the morphine pump, then a clatter of crockery and muffled voices from the corridor outside. The old man seems dead already, until suddenly his blue eyes flicker open. ‘If you’ve come to get something out of me, forget it,’ he manages to say.

            ‘That’s not why I came,’ says Luke. The tremor in his own voice reminds him of the child he once was.

            The old man closes his eyes and seems to sleep. Two nurses come in.

            ‘Sorry to disturb you,’ the older nurse says. ‘We need a few minutes.’

            ‘I’ll put those flowers in water for you,’ the younger one offers.


In the corridor Luke takes a deep breath. ‘Jesus,’ he says. ‘He’s not changed much, has he? After twenty-five years that’s all he has to say to me… ’

            ‘I didn’t think he was able to talk any more,’ says Terence.

            ‘Me neither,’ says Una. ‘We might as well have a bite to eat, while the nurses are sorting him out.’

            They go to the hospital cafeteria. While Luke eats a limp salad sandwich and drinks bitter coffee, Terence and Una share a pot of tea, and the old man dies, alone.

            ‘What are your plans?’ asks Terence, later.

            ‘I have no plans,’ Luke answers. ‘After I got your phone call, I just packed a bag and left.’

            ‘I’m sorry, but you can’t stay with us,’ says Una.

            Luke looks at her, tries to stay calm. He knows how Bernard would describe Una, if he were still alive. ‘A good breeder but a bad egg.’ He misses Bernard so much that sometimes he can’t breathe.

            ‘I’m not being funny,’ Una adds. ‘But you’d only stress Terence out and I’ve enough on my plate right now, to be honest.’ She has retained the sturdy good looks of her youth but she seems tougher now, in her well-applied make-up and expensive clothes.

            ‘Me, stress Terence out? Let’s face it, I never gave Terence a hard time for being straight, did I?’

            Una says nothing. The grim expression on her face reminds him of a long-ago incident. She had tried to kiss him once outside the local disco back home in Atharnavar – she must have been sixteen then – and she’s glaring at him now just as she did when he rebuffed her, all those years ago.

            Terence breaks the awkward silence. ‘Ah, it’s just… with the kids and all... I was only thinking you’d have more peace if you stayed in the old man’s place,’ he says, apologetically, and hands over a set of keys.


When Luke inserts the Yale key in the front door of the old homestead, it won’t turn at first. He jiggles it helplessly for a moment and curses quietly. Then he remembers the trick of it. He grasps the door knob and pulls the front door towards him while he turns the key. This time there’s a click and it opens.

            The hall is dark and forbidding, an immediate and a confusing contrast to the June brightness outside, and it smells of dry rot and tobacco.

            In the sitting room, an ashtray full of butts overflows on the mantelpiece and yellowing antimacassars embroidered by Luke’s late mother still clothe the armchairs. The shelves on each side of the fireplace are half-empty and two cardboard boxes full of books sit on the floor next to them.

            Luke walks through the sitting room into the kitchen, where a solitary mug sits upturned on the draining board. Drawers and cupboard doors are half-open and cardboard boxes filled with crockery and cutlery sit on the worktops. His chest feels tight and he opens the back door to breathe.

            The garden is almost as he remembers it, just smaller and more unkempt. A concrete yard, a bit of dried-up lawn, gaunt gooseberry bushes, a lop-sided clothesline, the stooping crab-apple tree, a new wooden shed. The doorbell rings, and he turns back to answer it.

            A man in jeans and patterned shirt stands outside, a black bin bag in each hand. He is slim and has an angular lightly freckled face. He’s probably in his mid-thirties.

            ‘Una sent me over,’ he announces. ‘It’s clean bedding.’

            ‘Thank you.’

            ‘You’re welcome.’ He moves past Luke and puts the bags down in the hallway. Then he turns and says, ‘Sorry about your Dad. It must be tough, coming home to this.’

            ‘We weren’t exactly what you’d call close, but... yeah, it’s a bit weird.’

            ‘I’m Jamie by the way – the youngest of the Mannings. I was only fourteen or fifteen the last time you were here.’

            ‘Gosh, that was a long time ago – 1984, I think. I only stayed two days.’ Luke pauses. ‘I remember you now. You were always asking me for cigarettes, weren’t you?’

            ‘Yeah, and I never got any from you. You told me I was too young to be smoking.’

            ‘You were, too,’ grins Luke. ‘So… have you always lived here?’

            ‘No way.  Hell, no.’ Jamie’s still standing in the hall. He leans against the wall near the stairs and pats the front pockets of his jeans as if he’s searching for cigarettes. ‘I’m in engineering but I got laid off recently so I rented my gaff in Dublin and came back home for a while.’


            ‘It’s ok. I’ve a job lined up in Dubai, so I’ll be off as soon as my Visa arrives.’ He finds a pack of ten Marlboro Lights in the top pocket of his shirt, along with a Bic lighter. He offers the cigarettes to Luke, who shakes his head.

            ‘No, thanks – but you go ahead.’

            ‘You sure?’

            Luke nods so Jamie lights up, and exhales. ‘You used to work in the pub yourself, didn’t you?’ he says.

            ‘I did. The weekends were mad busy. Is it still the same?’

            ‘It’s hectic on a Saturday night, but quiet enough during the week. The wine bar upstairs is doing ok, I think, since they got a Spanish chef in to do tapas a few months ago.’

            ‘Really? I didn’t know it was a wine bar now.’

            ‘Did they not show you round?’

            ‘No. No they didn’t.’

            ‘Actually, that reminds me – Una’s on her way down, so I better head. She’ll be bitching if I stop to chat.’

            ‘Will she?’

            ‘Ah, you know the way,’ Jamie says. ‘It’s been nice talking to you. See you later.’ He walks away with a swing to his hips and a backward glance that seems to Luke astonishingly like an invitation.

            Luke watches Jamie until he disappears round the corner at the end of the street. He’s about to go back inside when he sees Una coming from the same direction. She’s carrying a Dunnes Stores bag and looks tired. Luke remembers Terence talking about her when he was seventeen. She was a ‘ride’, he had said. Luke had been shocked at the dismissive words.

            ‘I brought a few provisions,’ she says, handing him the bag.

            ‘Would you like to come in?’

            ‘No,’ she answers. ‘I’ve enough of this place. Always in and out to make sure he was alright, and not a word of thanks for it.’

            ‘He was never easy.’

            Una stands there, silent.

            ‘There’ll be no settlement,’ she says then, sharply. ‘Just in case you think there will be.’

            ‘I didn’t think anything.’

            ‘It’s alright for you,’ she continues. ‘You escaped. You had the high life in London. We had to stay here, we’re the ones had to put up with him. We deserve something for that.’

            ‘Look, I’ll be gone as soon as the funeral’s over. I know he’s left me nothing. I don’t care.’

            ‘That’s alright so,’ she relents. ‘Sure you’re not the worst in the world, are you?’

            ‘Are you planning to sell this place?’ asks Luke. ‘Someone’s been packing stuff, so I wondered.’

            Una avoids his eyes. ‘Ah, I was just doing a bit of tidying while I had the chance,’ she says. ‘We might rent it out for a while.’ She turns to leave. ‘Oh, I nearly forgot… the removal is at seven tomorrow evening and the “afters” will be in our own pub.’

            ‘And the funeral?’

            ‘That’s at two, the following day. You’ll have to be at the church at about half one, I’d say. There’ll be a meal in the hotel afterwards – we’re expecting about two hundred.’



There’s a brand-new double divan in the room that was once Luke’s bedroom. He tears the plastic covering off and puts the fitted sheet on the mattress, then places the pillows and duvet on top. There’s nothing familiar about his old bedroom except its shape and size, and the view from the window, where evening sun is stretching now across the back yard. It was June when Bernard died, too, but Luke does not remember any sun that year. He goes downstairs and contemplates his mobile phone. His therapist has advised him that grieving is a slow process, that he’s not to isolate himself, so Luke contemplates ringing his friend Colette in London. He finds her number but changes his mind. Instead of ringing, he puts the mobile phone down on the old dining table and rubs his forehead with his hands. Why can’t I cry for Bernard? he wonders. Why can’t I cry? I wish I could have said goodbye to him. A proper goodbye. I love you, goodbye.


Luke decides to leave the house for a while. As he walks past the pub he sees about a dozen people outside, smoking. He nods at them, wishing for a moment that he still smoked. Jamie is at the side door. As he looks up from lighting a cigarette, he sees Luke.

            ‘Hi,’ he smiles. ‘Having a break. Don’t tell Una.’

            ‘I won’t.’

            ‘Or Terence.’



            ‘I’m tempted, but no thanks.’

            ‘It must be hard for you, being back.’

            ‘It is,’ Luke admits. ‘I never fitted in.’

            ‘Me neither. What are you up to?’

            ‘Nothing. I don’t know what to do with myself, to be honest.’

            ‘Pity I’m working tonight. Do you want to come for a spin tomorrow? I’m off until five. I could call to you around midday?’

            Luke hesitates.

            ‘I’ll get you back here in good time.’

            There is a hint of yearning in Jamie’s voice that makes Luke suspect that he’s not merely flirtatious – that he’s lonely, too.

             ‘Sounds good.’

             ‘Brilliant.’ Jamie looks at his watch. ‘Jeez, I’d better go, or there’ll be war. I’ll see you tomorrow, so.’


In the morning, Jamie pulls up outside the house in an old yellow convertible, with the hood down.

            ‘Yeah, it’s a Triumph Stag,’ he says, when Luke admires the car. ‘1974. I’m a bit of a petrol-head, to be honest.’

            As Jamie points out, it’s rare to have a good forecast in Ireland, even in June, and today is going to be sunny, so they might as well make the most of it. Jamie’s a good driver and soon Luke begins to relax, though it’s hard to talk above the sound of the engine and the wind whipping around his head.

            ‘Music?’ Jamie asks.

            ‘Sure,’ says Luke.

            A lead is attached to the cassette that Jamie pushes into the tape deck, and the other end of the lead clicks into Jamie’s iPod. It looks odd, but it works.

            ‘That’s clever,’ shouts Luke, his words almost lost in the breeze.

            Soon they’re in the countryside, where purple-pink foxgloves stand among ferns and briars along the narrow roads. Luke and Jamie sing along to ‘Do You Know the Way to San José?’ but then, above the sound of the engine, Luke recognises the next song, ‘Missing’, by Tracey Thorn, and he feels a familiar ache in his chest.

            Bernard was a hopeless driver but he loved being driven, and Luke is filled with regret that he never drove Bernard along these roads, that Bernard never saw these fields, these clouds, these foxgloves, the red fuchsia, those clumps of orange montbretia, this green place.

            ‘Here we are,’ says Jamie, parking in front of a small pub almost hidden behind trees. They sit in the beer-garden with glasses of cider and toasted cheese sandwiches. They talk of Luke’s advertising agency in London, of Jamie’s future job in Dubai, of cars and wine and pleasure, and not a word about pain.


In the funeral parlour that evening, Luke keeps as far away from the coffin as he can. It’s warm and there’s a strange smell. He feels faint, wonders if it’s the embalming fluid. Terence and Una stand near him. People approach, single file, to shake hands and tell him they are sorry for his troubles. They know nothing about his troubles.

            The final sympathiser is gently ushered out of the room by the priest, who says ‘Let’s give the family some private time,’ and closes the door. Terence and Una bow their heads as if in prayer, while Luke moves closer to the coffin and takes a last look at his father’s chalky face. A wave of grey hair has been gelled and carefully combed over one side of the dead man’s high forehead and Luke wonders who had the courage to take such a liberty. Indeed, the old man looks irritable, even in death.

            Bernard’s face in death was pale and immobile too. Luke forces himself to remember Bernard when he was alive instead… he remembers a night when Bernard wore nothing but his extra-large Calvin Klein underpants and a pink party wig while he moon-walked very badly, singing ‘Billie Jean’, the two of them howling with laughter. All Luke wants to do now is howl in pain.


In the church, repetitious prayers are half-said. The coffin has been brought here from the funeral parlour where it will stay overnight until the funeral Mass tomorrow. Luke kneels in a front pew with Terence and Una. The kneelers are cushioned in soft green leather but Luke remembers his knees aching on wooden boards when he was a child. Other memories come… sitting in the pew behind pious Mrs Conway, the delightful agony of seeing a ‘fat pig’ crawling along the light brown fur of her mink stole during a long sermon, waiting for the inexorable drop of the insect into the space between the woman’s neck and the fur. His own mother wore a black mantilla in those days. She was a gentle but ineffectual woman who failed to shield him from his father’s distaste. She died when Luke was twenty and her funeral was much like this one, all Catholic formality and incense, hymns sung in faint voices over the bellicose organ.

            Bernard’s funeral had been quite different – a Humanist service in Golders Green Crematorium, and afterwards, invited guests for excellent food and wine in Claridge’s. A string quartet played Bach, while hastily-assembled scrapbooks containing photographs and mementoes were passed round – summoning memories of parties, holidays, private views at Bernard’s gallery, picnics at Kenwood House…

            ‘He’d have liked his funeral,’ a friend had observed, but Luke didn’t know. He hadn’t had a chance to ask. Bernard had suffered a too-early heart attack and Luke could only guess what he might have wanted. Since the funeral Luke has lived alone in their house in Highgate. He has changed nothing in the house and is still in therapy.

            To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve,

            To thee do we send up our sighs,

            mourning and weeping in this valley of tears…


The removal is finally over. Outside, Luke overhears a stout woman talking in a low knowing voice to a smaller lady in a beige coat.

            ‘They say he went very quick in the end… jus’ like that,’ she says. Luke suddenly has a vision of the late comedian Tommy Cooper wearing a fez, almost laughs, wishes Bernard was still alive, that he could recount it all to him later, knowing Bernard would get all the nuances. A sudden sharp pain in his chest makes him think for a minute that he might be dying himself, though his consultant has run tests and assured him there’s nothing physically wrong with him.

            In the pub, there are refreshments for the mourners. Girls in white shirts and navy suits offer trays of sherry and serve tea and coffee, sandwiches and cake. Jamie is busy behind the bar but he smiles at Luke across the room when he notices him. The stout lady and her friend tell Luke they wouldn’t recognise him after all these years and that the sandwiches are delicious.

            Luke goes out for air. As he stands outside the back door of the pub, Jamie emerges and lights a cigarette.

            ‘How’s it going?’ he asks.

            ‘It’s… weird. Thanks for the drive, by the way. Cleared my head a bit.’

            ‘It’s the least I can do. You’re my hero, you know.’


            ‘Well, you were the first person I ever knew who was “out”. You went around looking like Bowie, no compromise, like. Myself and my pal Don – we were well-impressed.’

            ‘You’re joking.’ But Luke feels warmed.


Next day, Luke stands with his brother in the vestibule of the church before the funeral Mass begins.

            Terence looks sideways at him and Luke wonders if his dark pinstripe suit is wrong for the occasion, or if the pale blue pattern of his shirt is at odds with the black tie Terence has lent him.

            ‘What’s wrong?’ he says.

            ‘Nothing,’ says Terence.

            ‘No, say it.’

            ‘For fuck’s sake, Luke, just act normal, will you? Just this once?’

            Again, today, people come up to Luke and say, ‘You don’t remember me, do you?’ A portly man with a ruddy face and dark hair says ‘Sorry for your troubles, Terence,’ and shakes his hand briskly, then turns to Luke. ‘It’s yourself,’ he says. ‘You don’t know me at all, do you?’

            ‘No,’ says Luke evenly. But he remembers Hoggy very well – a boy who had lain in wait for him after school, then wrestled him to the ground near the quiet river walk and writhed on top of him panting, ‘Go on, cry away, you little Mammy’s boy,’ before cuffing him around the head and letting him go. Luke feels like taking Hoggy outside and grinding his face into the churchyard gravel. Instead, he says, ‘I haven’t a clue who you are.’ The man frowns and moves off, into the dim light of the church.

            ‘There was no need for that,’ Terence hisses.

            More people arrive. More smiles. More handshakes. Luke’s hand begins to ache. Finally the undertaker tells them they should go inside.

            The concelebrated Mass takes forever. There are eulogies for a man that Luke doesn’t recognise: a great GAA supporter, a man who ran a fine bar and gave employment to many. Finally, one of the priests walks round the coffin shaking incense and then holy water. Terence and Luke link arms, and with four other men they carry the coffin awkwardly out of the church and lower it into the back of the hearse. People shuffle away, car doors slam.

            ‘Aren’t we going to walk behind the coffin?’ Luke asks. ‘That’s what we did at Mam’s funeral.’

            Una looks annoyed. ‘For God’s sake, no one does that any more. How long is it since you’ve been to a funeral?’

            Luke doesn’t bother to reply. A black car takes them to the graveside where the final prayers are said and the coffin is lowered into the grave.


In the hotel there is a sit-down meal of vegetable soup, then a choice of beef or salmon with mash and peas. Luke wonders if anyone has remembered that he’s vegetarian. He takes a spoonful of the vegetable soup and tastes chicken stock.

            The woman sitting next to Luke is, apparently, a distant relative, and has a kind face. She says she knew his mother well, God rest her soul.

            ‘Yes,’ he answers her question. ‘I’m only home for the funeral.’

            He excuses himself and goes to the Gents. As he sits on the lid of the toilet in one of the cubicles he hears two men come in.

            ‘A grand spread,’ says one voice. ‘I won’t need to ate for a few days after this.’

            They both laugh and piss noisily in the urinals.

            The second man says, ‘Sure a good funeral is better than a bad wedding, any day, as the fella says.’

            They laugh again and talk a little more while clothing is being adjusted. Soon the door bangs behind them and they’re gone. Luke quickly leaves the Gents. He walks out of the hotel and over to the pub. It’s almost empty today, just two young men playing pool. Jamie is the only barman to be seen.

            ‘A double whiskey please,’ says Luke.

            ‘Getting a bit too much for you, is it?’ asks Jamie.

            ‘It is. Some things are different here but, underneath, nothing’s really changed.’

            ‘I know exactly what you mean. At least you’ll be out of here soon.’ He moves away to serve an old man who’s standing at the counter, then comes back to Luke.

            ‘Do you want some company later on?’

            Luke hesitates. ‘I’m… I’m not much fun right now,’ he says.

            ‘Look, I’m off at seven. I’ll call over, see how you’re feeling.’


Luke wanders towards the hotel. He meets Una outside. She’s smoking a cigarette, shifting from one foot to the other as she exhales.

            ‘I’m dying for another drink,’ she says. ‘But I have to take it easy. Terence’ll go mad if I get fluthered.’

            But she’s already very drunk.


After the meal, people begin to filter away. Terence sits at the bar with Hoggy and other men in suits. Una is flushed and talks loudly with her friends. It’s almost 7pm by Luke’s watch and he slips away.

            Back in his father’s house Luke idly looks through the books in the cardboard boxes. He recognises some of them: Agatha Christie, Mills & Boon, favourites of his late mother. There’s a Bible too and an Irish-English dictionary. Underneath a copy of Pride and Prejudice he finds a mottled, black, cloth-covered hardback with faded gold lettering on the spine. Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex it reads, and, lower down, in tiny writing, the legend but were afraid to ask. It opens easily at a dog-eared page. Luke reads the first paragraph and blinks with shock and fresh realization. The text advises that it’s possible for a psychiatrist to turn a homosexual into a happy, well-adjusted heterosexual. Luke trembles as he remembers that awful time – he must have been fifteen – when his father took him to the doctor, then to the psychiatrist in Dublin. He remembers his mother crying, his father shouting, ‘Give it a rest, woman, for Christ’s sake. All I’m trying to do is make him normal.’

            There’s a knock at the door. It’s Jamie.

            ‘Hi there,’ he says. He’s holding a basket. ‘Can I come in?’

            ‘Please do. It’s not much of a place.’

            ‘I brought a few bits and pieces.’ He puts the basket on the table, takes out two damp bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and two bottles of Rioja. ‘Didn’t know if you drank white or red,’ he grins. Then he takes out napkins, a large packet of potato crisps and some plastic containers filled with food. ‘Tortilla, patatas bravas, something with aubergines, squid in chilli sauce, black and green olives,’ he recites.

            ‘All this, it must have cost you. Can I give you some money?’

            ‘No problem. I nicked them from your brother’s restaurant.’

            ‘That’s brilliant. So long as you don’t get into trouble.’

            ‘I don’t care. You’re entitled to some grub from the fuckers anyway. Have you any glasses?’

            Luke opens a glass-fronted cabinet. ‘Waterford Crystal. Probably never used. Story of their lives,’ he says. ‘I’ll give them a rinse.’

            Jamie takes a corkscrew out of his pocket and opens a bottle of white. He pours, they clink glasses and drink.

            ‘This is really good,’ says Luke. ‘Thank you.’

            ‘It’s a pleasure.’

            They drink more. Luke finds plates and they eat hungrily.

            ‘I hate to admit it but Terence’s chef isn’t bad,’ laughs Luke after a while.

            ‘Your brother’s an awful prick though.’

            ‘Una is just as bad.’

            ‘She’s even worse. She hadn’t a clue I was gay when she hired me. I’m guessing she had conniptions when she found out.’

            ‘I thought things might have changed.’

            ‘You mean, since they changed the law?’ asks Jamie.

            ‘Well, yeah.’

            ‘This place doesn’t change much, I can tell you. You wouldn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.’ Jamie looks glum for a moment. ‘No matter,’ he says, then. ‘Let’s enjoy ourselves. Have you any music?’

            ‘I don’t think... no, wait a minute… ’. Luke opens a cupboard and takes out something that looks like a small suitcase. ‘Brilliant. It’s still here. It’s a turntable, believe it or not. It belonged to my mother. I hope it still works.’

            He puts it on the floor, plugs it in. Then he finds a pile of LP records in the cupboard, selects South Pacific and places it on the turntable.

            ‘I used to love this when I was a kid,’ says Luke. ‘It’s kitsch as hell.’ He carefully places the needle on a vinyl groove. Mitzi Gaynor begins to sing ‘I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair’ and Jamie laughs and pulls Luke up from the couch by one hand and they begin to jive, badly.

            Soon they are dancing frenetically. They stop only to fill their glasses and to put on more music. They’re prancing around the room to tunes from Showboat when Luke collapses onto the couch. ‘I’m so drunk I can hardly see,’ he laughs. ‘I have to half-close my eyes.’ Jamie sits down beside him and slowly places a hand on Luke’s chest. They kiss.

             After a while the music stops and the needle clicks in the run-off groove until Luke stands up and places it clumsily back on its resting place, scratching the vinyl surface with a ripping sound. Jamie moves toward him again and they go upstairs and lie together on the divan bed.

            The thought of sex in his father’s house is strange to Luke, and Jamie’s body is unfamiliar. It’s lean and sinewy, unlike Bernard’s warm fleshiness, and his breath smells of cigarettes. Jamie strokes him and kisses him again, licks his ear, presses hard against him.

            ‘What do you prefer,’ he whispers. ‘Do you like fucking or being fucked?’

            ‘I don’t know if I can do anything. I’m just… I’m not right yet.’

            ‘You’re kidding. Come on, let’s have some fun.’

            ‘I can’t.’

            ‘Ah, don’t tell me. Everyone I meet these days is still in love with his ex. Christ’s sake, get over it. Come on, come on… ’


In the morning Jamie is still there, snoring quietly. Luke gets up and dresses. He goes downstairs to the kitchen and fills the kettle. As he places it on the hob he hears footsteps and turns around. Jamie is standing in the kitchen doorway, fully dressed.

            ‘I’ll be off. Sorry if I was a bit pushy last night. Bit too much drink.’ He smiles wryly, then turns and walks away. The front door clicks shut.

            Luke stands still for a moment, then runs out.

            ‘Jamie,’ he shouts. ‘Wait.’

            Jamie looks back.

            ‘Hang on a second.’ Luke rushes back into the house, looks around, picks up the South Pacific record and slides it into its cover. Then he grabs a pen and runs out again.

            ‘Here’s my contact details,’ he says, as he writes on the back of the album cover. ‘I think you’re great, I really do. It’s just… My partner died, you see. That’s why it’s … difficult.’

            Jamie takes the album, kisses Luke on the lips and walks away. He turns around once. ‘I’ll be in touch,’ he says, and waves goodbye. Then he’s gone.

            Luke goes back inside and closes the front door. He walks into the backyard and stands on the cracked concrete, looking out at the garden. As he breathes in, deeply, a ladybird, shiny red with black spots, lands on his sleeve. He doesn’t move until it flies away. Finally, he weeps.

Madeleine D’Arcy was born in Ireland and later spent thirteen years in the UK. She worked as a criminal law solicitor and as a legal editor in London before returning to Cork City in 1999 with her husband and son. She began to write short stories in 2005. Her awards include the Hennessy XO Literary Award for First Fiction and the overall Hennessy XO Literary Award for New Irish Writer. Her stories have been published in the Sunday Tribune (April 2009), in Made in Heaven and Other Short Stories (Cork County Library and Arts Service publication, May 2009), in the Anthology Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails (Stinging Fly Press, October 2010), in Etherbooks Mobile Publishing (October 2010), in the Irish Examiner (Holly Bough, December 2010), in Necessary Fiction (US literary webjournal, March 2011), in the Irish Independent (5th October 2011) and in the Irish Times (26th November, 2011). Her short film script, ‘Dog Pound’, was a finalist in Waterford Film Festival Short Screenplay Competition 2012. She’s currently working on a novel. http://www.madeleinedarcy.com/

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