Welcome Backwards to Ireland - an excerpt from The Troubles

(please keep in mind this is still in editing)

Not long after, the rod twitched, and I yanked hard wanting to impress my new friends who congratulated me on reeling in a fine perch. “They’re good for eatin’ you know.” I’d have to tell Roger about that.

I took my fish back to the hotel and presented it to the surprised concierge and asked if he could give it to the cook. He smiled and assured me he’d take care of everything. That night I ate the best fried fish I’d ever had.

We arrived in Sligo the next day in time for lunch at the Hotel Silver Swan where Mom would be staying for a couple of days while we, Roger and I, got settled in at the school. By the time Mom was on her fourth cup of tea and second pack of cigarettes, I’d had my fill of greasy sandwiches. I’d asked if I could have some mayonnaise and was brought something called salad cream instead, a yellowish-green nightmare nothing like what I wanted.

Roger suddenly got up from the table and said he was going to check out the action outside, meaning the locals fishing from the bridge. Mom said I could go to, but warned us not to wander off too far.

I hurried after Roger. “They use maggots, you know?” I said, proud of the idea that I might know something he didn’t about fishing.

Roger’s eyes lit up when a young man pulled a large silver fish from the river. “Might be a bit like Alaska,” he said, taking a long drag from a cigarette.

With Mom having had her fill of tea, we faced the inevitable. I got out of the taxi. Sligo Grammar towered over me, gray and dark and, as far as I could tell, immeasurably old, and for the first time I felt a ripple of fear. Not the kind of scary like Dracula’s Castle; something deeper. This wasn’t home.

We met with Mr. Blackmore, the Headmaster, for more than an hour. He seemed a likeable fellow, rather agreeable, nodding his head at every few words Mom said. He spoke softly without staring, glaring, or otherwise threatening.

“Well you see, Mrs. Nixon, by Roger’s age - he’s now fifteen, nearly sixteen. Most schools wouldn’t accept him. He’s really a bit old to be molded in the proper fashion.”