There was a good crowd in McGarrigles already, but Angela managed to get the last table while Damien organised the drinks. A middle-aged woman joined her and kept a seat for her partner.
‘I haven’t seen you before,’ she said. ‘Where are you from?’
‘Up there,’ Angela replied and pointed upwards.
‘Oh, from the North! I should’ve recognised that accent.’
Damien arrived with the pints.
‘You’re from the North as well?’ the woman asked.
‘Oh no,’ he replied, putting on his broadest Australian accent. ‘I’m from Down Under, luv!’
Her man came over, put the drinks on the table and sat down beside the woman. ‘Gee,’ he said looking at his watch, ‘it’s not even eight and I’m suicidal already.’
‘Oh,’ she said, ‘this is my husband Sean, and I’m Lola.’
Damien looked at him and back at her. ‘You’re such a beautiful woman,’ he said. ‘You must look great in black!’
‘Are you always that charming?’
‘I’m doing my best,’ he replied.
‘And have you ever been slapped?’
‘What did you say?’
‘I told a prostitute not to give up the day job.’
A young girl with a form and a biro squeezed in between them. ‘Excuse me, would anyone like to fast for the children in Africa?’
‘I thought they did that themselves,’ Damien replied.
‘I hate this Christmassy chariterror as well,’ Seamus added as the girl approached the next table. ‘Anyway, they should be collecting to support the war now.’
‘How come it’s always the good guys who win in the end?’ Lola mused.
‘History is written by winners,’ Damien enlightened her. ‘And the winners naturally claim that the losers are the baddies.’
‘What is that war about, anyway?’ Angela asked.
‘The Americans securing the survival of their armament industry,’ Damien explained.
‘But couldn’t they bomb army facilities instead of schools and wedding parties?’ Lola wanted to know.
‘That would be taking the fun out of the war, wouldn’t it? Besides, soldiers would be able to shoot back, and the Yanks don’t want to put their men in danger. There’s a good reason that the UN only allows the most aggressive and dangerous countries to produce and use weapons of mass destruction.’
With that Damien went to the counter to get the next round.
‘Could you get me ten cigarettes as well?’ Seamus asked.
‘Not the ones that kill, just those that seriously harm me and those around me. You couldn’t lend me the money till next week, could you?’
Damien frowned. ‘I’ve lost some of my closest friends by asking my money back. But sure, it’s for a good cause...’
When he came back, Lola suggested to go upstairs. ‘Petronella are playing.’
‘Petronella?’ Damien exclaimed and took his pint. ‘I haven’t heard them in ages!’
The others followed him up the stairs.
‘It’s a shame that a town that produces so many real talents is only famous for Yeats and Westlife,’ Damien sighed.
‘I wish there was enough space to dance,’ Angela complained.
‘I suppose it would look funny if you danced with your coat on,’ he told her.
‘She could take it off,’ Lola suggested.
‘That would look even funnier,’ Damien grinned.
After a while Lola took her purse and accompanied Angela to the ladies’. As they freshened up their make-up Angela asked her what she thought of Damien.
‘There is something really sinister about him,’ Lola smiled. ‘He seems quite dangerous to me, and he has the darkest eyes I’ve ever seen. If I were you, he had me tied to the bedposts already!’
‘So what do you do for a living?’ Seamus asked Damien.
‘I’m kind of a shoemaker - I’m fixing souls. And you?’
‘I’m a broker.’
‘Good money in that business, I reckon.’
‘Sometimes. When things are going bad, Lola runs off with someone else and asks for a divorce, and as soon as I land a major deal, she’s back in a flash and tells me she had stayed at her mother’s.’
‘It’s a shame that women only mature on the outside, isn’t it?’
When the girls came back, Angela went up behind Damien and put her arms around him. ‘Do you want to go home with me?’ she whispered in his ear.
‘You couldn’t stand the heat,’ he answered. ‘And you’d burn your beautiful wings!’
‘I actually thought of the poet’s place. I’m sure he’ll have a bottle of good wine hidden somewhere...’
‘... which he would like us to enjoy over his dead body, I bet.’
‘It wouldn’t have to be in that room.’
‘Well... why not,’ Damien agreed. ‘I haven’t been a bad boy for quite a while now.’
Damien filled their glasses and put on Strauss’ Salome. Angela shook off her coat and danced, seductively stripping off her clothes. She covered her front with her wings which she slowly spread again, revealing the marvellous shape of her body.
She sat down in the armchair and stroked herself with the tip of her wing. ‘Your turn now, naughty boy!’
Damien undressed quickly and in a rather unsensual manner, and Angela pulled him down on top of her.
‘Let me see just how bad you are,’ she said as she leered at him.
Damien gently touched her lip. ‘Let me just wipe that smile off your face,’ he replied. ‘I’m really sorry, but I can’t do that.’
‘I’m afraid I’d be too rough for your taste, darling.’
‘Go on! Be rough, force me, do whatever you want - just take me!’
‘Sorry honey. You are there to please others, but our mission is completely different: we make people want something real bad, and then we make sure they won’t get it!’
And as he disappeared through the floor, Angela wished him to hell.