The Luke Kinsella Files

The following is a work of fiction by Michael McCann

The alarm on Luke’s phone buzzed and vibrated on the coffee table, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and reached for his device. The startling noise disturbed his dog as she too slept by the fire. Luke cursed at the bloody dog and she settled. He managed to turn the alarm off but as he was putting it down again he dropped it and fell on the wooden floor, which got the dog yapping again. “Hush, Patch.” The TV was still on from last night and an early showing of Tipping Point was finishing, the jackpot counter was on the edge.

“Would you like to take the trade for three extra counters to try and get the jackpot prize or you can walk away with £2,750?” the game show host said.

Luke lay with his finger hovering over the Standby button. “Take the trade. Take the trade. Take the fucking trade.”

“Sorry, Ben, £2,750 is a lot of money so I’m going to walk aw__.”

Luke switched the TV off in disgust and tossed the remote aside. “Coward,” he snapped, which got the dog going again.

“Shut up, Patch,” he sighed. “Patch, sit . . . SIT!” He pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes to see if that would help with the noise.

Luke propped himself up on one elbow. “There’ll be no treat if you don’t SHUT UP. I’ve got a piercing headache so pleeease be quiet.”

This was a lie of course as Luke spoilt the little Jack Russell who got a slice of ham whenever she went outside to pee or shit. Yes, treats are good for training your dog when they’re puppies but not when they are old arthritic and blind in one eye. The old mutt tilted her head, pricked her ears at her owner’s stern voice as if to say: Speak up, dear. The dog did as he requested as if she understood exactly what Luke was saying. Patch sat starring at Luke with a rapid wagging tail.

“Okay,” he smiled, “I’m getting up.” He peeled the blanket off him, threw his legs over the side and pushed himself to a seating position. He looked at the bottle of Jameson, shook his head and winced at the throbbing pain. He held his head in his hands supported by the elbows that were resting on his thighs. As he stared between his legs while he rubbed his temples with index and middle fingers he saw a large tumbler glass on its side. The whiskey had dried up leaving behind a sticky residue.

“How much did I drink last night?” he quizzed himself as he picked it up. But no one answered him apart from himself. “Too much, Luke.”

Luke then stood and placed a hand on the small of his back as he stretched and yawned like a cave. He drew the curtains to reveal a dull gloomy day and gathered the blanked up in a pile and dumped it at the back of the sofa and made his way to the guest bathroom in his boxers and t-shirt that was down the hall.

After he had relived himself, he stared at himself in the mirror while he held on to the sink. His eyes were bloodshot and there were dark circles around his eyes. Despite Luke’s age, which was mid-forties his weather beaten face with its deep wrinkles mainly around the eyes and thinning hair said otherwise. He was by no means an attractive man as being a homicide detective, this was the face that had seen far too many horrors but he did have a certain appeal about him. He cupped his jaw and rubbed his stubble while his other hand reached for the razor. He twirled it between thumb and forefinger as he debated with himself about whether or not to shave. “It’ll do,” he muttered to his reflection.

Luke walked into the shower and adjusted the temperature to suit. Supporting himself against the tiles, he assumed the search position while he allowed the water to wash away his sins.

Feeling refreshed he was about to go out to the kitchen when he caught sight of the state he had left the sitting room in. Luke stood in the hallway wearing just a pair of pyjama bottoms deciding if he should clean up his mess first or have breakfast. He shot a glance up at the ceiling and listened to see if there was any sound of movement coming from the master bedroom. No sound, so he chose his stomach over his partner but before he went to the kitchen he fetched his phone from the coffee table.

Luke placed the phone on the counter top and opened the back door for the dog. Her black nose twitched at the chilly air but she was reluctant to leave the warmth of the house. Goosebumps bespeckled Luke’s arm and an icy shiver raced up his spine. “OUT,” he ordered and pointed down the yard. Patch, with her tail between her legs made her way out and Luke shut the door after her.

As Luke was preparing his breakfast, two Weetabix, a banana chopped up with a drizzle of honey, his phone rang. With a swipe of his thumb he answered the call.
“Detective Kinsella?”
“Yes?”
“He has struck again!”
“Christ . . .” the colour drained from Luke’s face and his heart started to race. “Right, give me your location. Hang on a sec, lemme get a piece of paper.”
Luke held the phone with his shoulder and cheek while he scribbled down the address with a trembling hand. After he wrote the whereabouts as to where he was going, he wrote another:

Sandra, I’m sorry about last night.
Got an urgent call.
Will talk when I get home.
I could be late.
Lu
x

He tore it off the notebook and used a fridge magnet to stick it to the refrigerator door.

The story concludes next week

Voodoo Logic 

Some background information on the trouble makers based in Kildare. Trouble Brewing was founded when three friends, Thomas Prior, Stephen Clinch and Paul O Connor had visited one too many pubs that had no variety in the beers available, and decided that something needed to be done about it. So over a few of Thomas’s home-brewed bottles they set about starting a brewery that would go some way to addressing the issue.

Figuring that beer should be presented in a humorous and fun way, they chose to name the brewery Trouble Brewing. The brewing equipment was procured from Sioux Falls in South Dakota, USA and set-up in Allenwood, Co. Kildare.

Last Friday, I popped into McHugh’s Off Licence looking for a new beer to write about. I was struggling to choose one when the shop assistant crept up behind me and breathed in my ear: ‘If young squire be having trouble selecting a beverage, might I suggest, Voodoo Logic,’ he said, smacking his lips.

Okay, it may be slightly fictitious in the way he approached me. But maple syrup stout? I shrugged and thought, I’ll give it a try. So I bought 2 44cl cans at €5.79. ABV 10.1%

Now, if I thought the Milk Stout was dark, this beer flows from the can like tar and leaves behind a thick tan coloured head.


The taste is quite interesting as you get the sweetness of the maple syrup first and then the bitterness of the hobs chases after it. I find the sweet maple syrup masks the strong 10.1% as even my partner thought it was ‘nice’.

So overall, I thought it was a beautiful well crafted drink that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy and the unique branding makes it stand out from the competition.

Well done, lads.

Panic Button!

I often wondered whether or not I should post about mental health issues as I wasn’t sure if I would have anything worth talking about but having lived with panic attacks for numerous years and now I feel that I have finally gotten rid of the monkey, (which for me I honestly thought that my case was beyond repair) then maybe people who are still suffering would like to hear my story?

My first ever panic attack happened on the last day of primary school. We were all excited to be leaving school, well the boys were the girls I remember were crying a lot that day! 12:00 couldn’t come quick enough. I remember we all brought in plain white t-shirts so that we could go around getting it signed by everyone. It was a fun day and when the clock struck 12, we were let loose.

Usually I would have waited for my younger brother but that day I didn’t. I reached half way home and all of a sudden I got this intense fear creeping up my spine. When I reached the park, I was locked in a state of extreme fear and I had to run the rest of the way home.

My secondary school was a good bit away so I had to get a school bus which I could manage but not without my sister who was 2 years ahead of me. So whenever she’d be off sick with tummy cramps, it was such an ordeal for me to get to the bus stop. Again I had to run down the road.

Every Wednesday we got a half day meaning that the only way I could get home was to go through town with my sister and her friends. And if I missed her ( I never told anyone of my struggles) I would have to find a someone from my class to get home with. My friends always wanted to go around town visit some clothes shops whereas all I wanted was to get home as fast as possible.

social-anxiety

But in my first year I could go around town with them but I could never go home by myself and this got me into trouble with my grandmother because she’d be waiting for me with my dinner. During 2nd and 3rd year I couldn’t even go through town anymore on the Wednesdays I always had to wait to get a lift home from my friend. There was one Wednesday when I missed my friend, my sister had also gone home so I hurried back into the school with the idea of saying to a teacher that I didn’t feel well and could I order a taxi. I went in and found that there was one boy who lived 10mins from my house. He was a bit of a nerd basically he was someone who I would never befriend. He was doing his homework and said that the school bus still comes at the usual time on Wednesdays, 3:45. So I started to do what he did every Wednesday to avoid going through town, even if it meant coming home later.

My main problem was open spaces. I’d get quite panicky in shopping centres, if stuck at a busy junction waiting for the lights to turn green or on the motorway. It was hard! And I was still feeling like this up until maybe 3 months ago. What worked wonders for me was, I stopped putting 2 large teaspoons of sugar in my tea and on my cereal in the mornings. That little change in my diet has been a miracle cure, it really has. Since I made this simple change, I’m much more relaxed when travelling and I haven’t had a panic attack since.

sugar-spoon-fb

Guinness Milk Stout 

Not that it’s needed but here’s a brief background on the Guinness brewery. Taken from Guinness.com

From where it all began—with one man and £100—to where we are now, we’ve been honing our craft since 1759. With over 20 world-class beers in production, and a wealth of exciting new brews being dreamed up daily by our ever-enterprising brewers, it’s no surprise that the Guinness name is known and loved in 150 countries. But, no matter where it is brewed or served, you can be sure your Guinness is still inspired by the pioneering batches of our legendary stout, crafted at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, over 200 years ago.

As you pour this into a glass you instantly get the scents of chocolate and coffee. The head is a much darker colour compared to the traditional Guinness Stout with big bubbles. The drink itself is darker than a corrupt politician’s soul. But, unlike the original stout, the head on the milk isn’t as thick nor as creamy and this is purely from an aesthetic point of view and has no impact on the taste of the product but the head on the milk is gone after a minute. For me, personally, I like the head to last for as long as possible.

From the first sip or gulp depending on your drinking style you can really get the taste of the chocolate and coffee and it lingers on your palette for some time, even after you have drunk it all. The roasted malt offset by a cream-like sweetness is quite pleasing to the senses. I love this stout and I prefer it to the original as I didn’t find it to be as bitter. It’s very smooth and silky an all round beautifully designed drink by the boys at Guinness. 

I got mine from Dunnes at €2.99 (500ml bottle)

ABV: 5%

Guinness milk stout

Moskato Wine from Vivino

How would you like a pint of wine? Essentially that’s what this craft beer is. Okay, it might not be as strong as traditional wine as it’s just 5.5% but wine it is nonetheless. It’s just as sweet and looks the same too. 

It comes in a dark brown bottle and it’s marketed at the young craft loving people. And admittedly, I feel into this trap myself, I picked up the bottle and I was drawn in by the quirky label and the tag line: No monkey business. And I thought, I’ll give this a try. But as soon as I poured it into a glass, then it dawned on me. But I still drank it, (no point in wasting it!) as sweet as it was. But it’s not really for me, Lynx Africa smells better! Maybe if I had of drunk it on a hot summers day while having a BBQ it might have been better? I don’t know, but then again I’m not much of wine drinker in general.

Guinness Storehouse 

I recently took a trip to the Guinness Storehouse in St. Jame’s Gate with a group of friends. The Storehouse is quite a building fashioned in the form of a large pint glass, the largest in the world, they’ll have you informed just don’t tell the boys in Dubai! The Storehouse spans an area of 60 acres and while you are walking down the cobblestones and over the old rail tracks you can get a glimpse of life back then. And seeing those huge double black gates gives you a sense of awe.


After you pay for the pricy tickets that are €25 (for that price I was expecting a guided tour) you go the first floor. You can also order your tickets online, which start from €17.50 a bit cheaper than the full amount you pay at the door but it’s still very dear in my opinion. 

So on the first floor is where all the shops are that are bursting with merchandise and memorabilia. On this level you get to see the famous lease that Arthur himself took out. It’s in a glass dome in the ground. You learn all about the ingredients and their famous strain of yeast providing you are bothered to listen to the videos. In my case I just casually walked through. If they had a tour guide it would be much more immersive and I’d get more out of it. But it’s all self guided. 

Guinness storehouse
After this we went to the cafe for a bite to eat, which again was quite expensive but I suppose the prices are no different from the cafe in Debenhams or Bewleys. So all in all, it’s a good experience with family or friends but way too rich for my euros. This is what they mean by a “tourist trap”. 



OPENING TIMES

The Guinness Storehouse® is open 7 days a week 9:30am – 7pm (last admission is at 5pm)

Late opening during July and August

9am – 8pm (last admission is at 6pm)

Open all year apart from Good Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, & St Stephens Day.

Buzz is the Word

My daughter and friends attended their first disco last month. I admit, I was a bit weary about letting her go so I got in touch with the disco organisers and they put my mind at ease on a number of issues.

Hi Michael, thank you for your message. We have been running this disco successfully since 2009, and we have very good male and female supervision, and we run a tight ship. We do question all the kids as they enter, and we get them to apply for membership by filling in their name, school, mobile & a parent’s contact details. We look forward to welcoming your daughter & her friends to the disco tonight.

The disco is called Buzz and is in the Clontarf Rugby Club so it’s not even close to any main roads where pubs and such would be located. It’s strictly for 6th classes only and no boy with a whisper of a tash would ever get in. All children were dropped off and again all were collected, none were allowed to walk home and there were no rowdy teenagers about either, which was also a good thing! If any parents have any sort of anxiety about letting their child go, and I can understand why you might, but in all honesty there is no need for it whatsoever. It’s just a harmless disco for them to enjoy and boy did they. As they said when they replied to me, they do run a real tight ship, which is comforting to know and to see.
It runs from 8pm to half 10 on a weekend every month and I have not a bad thing to say about it at all. If your child wants to go to the next one, rather than doing a Google search ring them up to voice your concerns and I’m sure they’ll only be too happy to put that mind of yours at ease.

The next disco is this Friday the 13th.