‘Natterbean’ by June Caldwell

There is nothing as universal and yet highly localised as a taxi ride. In this masterpiece of technicolour vernacular, June Caldwell buckles us into a story that celebrates the colour of spoken Dublinese, matched only by her gift – synaesthesia I would say – for imagery. An invigorating story, studded with twisted poetry. 

The docks had a sheeny buzz since they’d done them all up on Fine Fáil chips. No more rust bunks sitting on giant metal plinths. Through civil wars and world wars and the IRA’s gun-running gobshites on the run from themselves, they’d all hid down here, heads low. First batches of heroin were holed up in derelict warehouses full of pigeons. Prozzies from Eastern Europe were brought in through the sea gates. Young lives spent sucking on office peckers dreaming of getting out in a footballer’s convertible before being shot in the head as a favour to a crack baron in Cabra for a write-off of a few quid or other.

First published in Room Little Darker, published by New Island/Head of Zeus, 2018 and available to read online here

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