now incorporating the Sudbury Hill and Wood End Times

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Dublin Jimmy from the basement is smoking dope outside the backdoor while his Jamaican girlfriend is helping Mimi from Olongapo with the cooking. Mimi starts singing as she gives the dishes a final stir, "By the rivers of Babylon, where we lay down…”

Husband Cézar comes into the kitchen to help with the serving and joins in the song,"Hey yeh we wept, when we remembered Zion." Now the three all sing together, not loudly, and start odd dancefloor steps on the way to peer into a cauldron or ladle food onto platters.

In the living room the guests are mostly sitting on chairs arranged around the walls. As Cézar carries the first dishes in some of them revive the song they heard from the kitchen. An old woman claps along, not knowing the words.

More dishes from the kitchen and another verse of the song from Mimi. A slight pause then Jimmy's Aunt Ida, over from County Wicklow, continues in a deep baritone, "Let the words of our hearts and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight here tonight." She repeats it, exhorting the others with a wave of her arms and they all chime in, "By the rivers of Babylon where we lay down…"

Some of the small children are running and dancing wild, whirling dances. Left out, the smallest toddler looks like he’s about to cry. Then ancient Fernando from La Coruna, who has been ancient forever, puts his hands on Mimi’s and Cézar's shoulders beside the table and adds his wheezing falsetto, obligado, "Eh, eh, we we-e-e-e-pt! ... Yeah, ye-e-ah. Yeah, ye-e-ah..." Mimi at last says, "Come on, let's eat!"

Steve Moran

First published in Slam Fiction

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