Scott Wahrenberger

An Irish Family Reunion

Cricket ‘Rocky’ O’Scary fiddled about as best she could with the dinner dishes. Being eight months with child and in a small kitchen was in her estimation a decisively bad combination. Her husband of three years, Shamus didn’t seem to notice no matter how she pointed that fact out to him. That in it seemed a bit off since her husband that resembled a bowling ball with a fuzzy top and biceps the equivalent size of watermelons. He recently rotated the tires on their newly restored nineteen sixty-nine Volkswagen, by lifting the back end up manually and breaking the lugs with his bare hands.

Shamus is by trade an electrician, who by day spent his time at the local nuclear plant polishing light bulbs but by night moonlighting in residential wiring. This particular evening he is leaving to install a breaker box in the house, more like a shack, of his cousin Angus McFarely. Rocky, who can best be illustrated as a five foot five inch brown haired version of Barbara Eden if you looked at her face just right from the side, stood in the kitchen wearing nothing but a denim sack dress and sandals. Shamus came up from behind and wrapped his arms around her as best he could, kissed her and told her how much he loved her and how sexy pregnant women in general and she in particular really was. To that statement, she tersely replied as follows:

“Sexy? I’m bloated like poisoned dog…you’ve been nipping the gin again haven’t you?!”

“Naw my darling,” Shamus said. “I be thinking you’re sexy no matter what you look like…consider this point. You don’t smell like an old poisoned dog.”

“Oh get out,” she said turning around and kissing him. “Don’t doodle around too much I could pop at anytime.”

“Just a phone call away,” Shamus said as he lumbered out the front door. He squeezed into the candy apply red Volkswagen started it and proceeded to drive down the red brick portion, his house is the first house where the asphalt began, of Bowman Avenue with the car gently leaning to the drivers side. Fifteen minutes later the vehicle pulled into the front of Angus’s shack on Romine Avenue, which by a twist of fate is the last house where the yellow bricks began and the asphalt ended.

Angus sat on the front porch smoking a cigarette and watched his cousin pull up. He stood up and walked down the steps as Shamus exited the vehicle.

“Where’s the wind up key?” Angus asked.

“Haw haw very funny,” Shamus replied as the car squeaked as his weight fully left the vehicle. Both then spent the better part of an hour installing the breaker box, all the while Shamus attempting to explain the finer points to Angus. On the other side Angus tried to explain to Shamus that he, being color blind, really couldn’t tell the difference between the red wire with the brown stripe and the brown wire with the red stripe and the orange wire with the stripe of your choosing so the whole thing is academic. That point was ignored as Shamus rambled on about this that and the other electrical thing which Angus being mechanically inclined to a degree got the general idea but still couldn’t see colors.

Afterward as Shamus put his toolbox into the front truck of his Volkswagen, the both of them got to talking and the subject of a test a masculine skill arose.

“Ah you’re full of it…” Shamus chided and waived his hand as if brushing the idea away. “Karate is for idiots…don’t work.”

“Bet I can,” Angus smiled.

“Go for it,” Shamus said and immediately wished he didn’t. At this point Angus reached forward and quickly drove his thumb into a pocket formed between the neck muscles and the shoulder, right above the collarbone. This applied pressure to a junction of nerves called the brachial plexus. The pain in Shamus’s shoulder wasn’t half as bad as the numbing feeling in his arm. He had to hold his arm up with his left hand, his arm numb and unresponsive.

“Don’t worry it’ll come back in twenty-minutes or so,” Angus grinned. “Now if I wasn’t a nice guy I’d really do a number on you.”

“You sure it’s coming back?” Shamus said, his eyes moistening.

“Reasonably,” Angus shrugged.

“What’ya mean reasonably?”

“You’re the first bonehead that let me do that to them outside of the YMCA. I can only go on what Master Two-Bears said. Twenty-minutes or so.”

“Master Two-Bears? Who’s he?”

“The guy who taught me that and thirty other nerve pinches…you want more?”

“No, no,” Shamus said waiving his left hand and smiling as his right dangled at his side. “That’s quite alright.”

At this twist in the tale, the phone rang. With the slobbering response of Pavlov’s dog both ran up the stairs into the kitchen and Angus answered it salivating.

“It’s your wife,” Angus said as he handed the receiver to Shamus. “Her water broke and she’s says something about a mucous plug.”

Shamus screamed.

“Okay Rocky,” Angus said calmly as a high-pitched wail emanated from the phone. “I’ll get him there.”

“What I do? What I do?” Shamus hissed as Angus drove through town. He came to a stop at a red light. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Stopping at a red light,” Angus replied.

“Rocky’s in labor! Move!” Shamus wailed.

“You should’ve thought about that before you mounted up a while ago,” Angus said and put the car into first as the light changed to green.

“What’s that suppose to mean?! How come you ain’t freak’s out?”

“For every action there is a reaction,” Angus said as he buzzed through a yellow light. “This is the end result of you throwing caution to the wind…”

“Seemed like a good idea at the time,” Shamus replied. “I can almost feel my fingers.”

“Keep annoying me and I’ll cut those off,” Angus said as he steered the vehicle up an on ramp. “Then Rocky won’t love you anymore.”

Five minutes later the Volkswagen backed into the driveway. Shamus leaped out before it came to a complete stop Angus took his time in getting out. Rocky stood there in the doorway of the house gripping the doorframe.

Her eyes are blood shot and the size of saucer, her hair is standing on end, and her lips peeled back like a hyena pouncing on a wildebeest. From her mouth, she bellowed the howl of the hounds from hell. All three of them. At the same time.

“Get in the car sweetheart,” Shamus said trying to sound calm and relaxing. He forgot about his limp arm at this point.

“Don’t give me sweetheart!” Rocky growled as she waddled toward the car. Shamus reached for the door and ripped it off. It made a ‘whooping’ sound as it sailed over the head of Angus who watched it crash into the neighbors’ pool.

“Didn’t see that coming,” Angus said and lit a cigarette.

By this time, Shamus is on the passenger side of the vehicle and yells for Angus to get in and drive. As soon as Angus had entered the vehicle, he realized Rocky’s left foot rested on his shoulder. He looked over at Shamus who glassy eyed stared back with Rocky’s other foot on the top of his head.

“My what big feet you have,” Angus said and turned the key.

“Drive! Hospital! Maternity Ward! A gram of Morphine!” Rocky screamed and then made a sound like Godzilla chewing down a skyscraper in Tokyo.

“Maternity ward,” Angus shrugged and put the car in first. Accidentally he popped the clutch and the Volkswagen stalled.

“I’ll push start it! You just catch it in gear,” Shamus yelled and ripped the passenger door off the car as he barreled out to the rear of the car.

“Leave him!” Rocky huffed and puffed like a circus Seal playing an air horn. “Just go! What’ya mean I have big feet?!”

Shamus at this point regaining partial use of his arm picked the rear end of the Volkswagen up and began to run with it. Angus let him push it for a good block and a half seeing how fast he could go with it before having him drop it and then push so he could catch it in gear. He slowed down long enough to allow Shamus to jump back into the vehicle, the force of which brought the two opposing tires up off the asphalt.

“How come you’re so calm?” Shamus said wiggling his fingers around; he seemed fascinated by the fact his hand worked.

Angus shrugged and flicked his cigarette onto the asphalt.

“I can’t look,” Shamus said as Rocky screeched and then made a sound like cow being done over with a pipe wrench.

Angus looked back and the looked Rocky in the face. “Gee haven’t seen that part of you before.”

“**** You *******!” Rocky replied. “Hurry up and drive!”

“Well is it a boy or girl?” Shamus yelped.

“Can’t tell by the eyes,” Angus said, as he turned left toward the hospital. “Either way the little nipper has one hell of a beard.”

“Turn here!” Shamus yelled.

“I can see the hospital,” Angus said and whipped into the parking lot. He backed up over the curb and waited for the sliding doors to open before parking the Volkswagen by the Emergency Room Admissions desk. Seconds later several McKeesport City Police Officers rushed the vehicle side arms drawn and shouting obscenities.

Angus just thumbed toward Rocky who is contorting in the back seat as Shamus is dragged from the passengers’ side and kicked to the ground. One of Emergency Room nurses stuck her head in the car and saw Rocky who at this point is bending the back of the passenger’s seat into the ninety-degree angle.

“The maternity entrance is up back and around,” she said blandly. “Child birth isn’t considered an emergency.”

“Thank you,” Angus said. “They validate parking?”

“Validate this you ******* *******! Now get me morphine! What’ya ******* mean child birth isn’t a ******* emergency!” Rocky hissed venomously as her hair stiffened to the hardness of nails.

“Yes they do but only for delivery and pick-ups,” the nurse said as soon as Rocky let off.

“Thank you kindly,” Angus said and calmly and drove off, he did use the turn signals as he left. He looked in the rear view mirror and heard one of the police officers shout ‘cap stun’ as Shamus is beat with truncheons and dowsed with pepper spray.

The next morning Shamus leaned on a crutch he held under his right arm. His left arm and right leg are in a cast, his neck braced and his nose broken. He limped behind Angus who casually pushed Rocky in a wheel chair.

Rocky cradled her daughter Colleen and beamed brightly. She looked much better than her husband. Her Irish eyes smiled charmingly.

“Sorry about the car,” Angus said.

“For what?” Shamus said. “I ripped the doors off.”

“I stained the back seat,” Rocky said.

“Well it’s not that,” Angus said sheepishly. “I was able to get the doors back on, and your neighbor was really understanding about the door in the swimming pool. As far as the stain goes I reupholstered the seat, replaced the floor carpeting, and got all the little specks off the ceiling and the rear window.”

 “Aw no,” Shamus said as he saw the car.

“That’s hysterical!” Rocky yelped and used her hand to suppress the laugh that attempts to escape her.

“Consider it my gift to you,” Angus replied.

On top of the red Volkswagen is a twirling gold wind up key.

“Well,” Angus shrugged. “Let’s stuff this sausage.”






As a side note the actual Rocky gave birth to a boy. Soon after, Shamus decided they should've gotten a dog but by then it was too late.

I've recently published a sci-fi novella He Came From Earth, now available from and Amazon among many others. Also available in hard cover.
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All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Scott Wahrenberger.
Published on on 02/12/2009.


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