When Irish eyes are smiling
All the world seems bright and gay
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing
She was the middle child of all the middle children, growing up in a town best known for its prison.
Her mother was withdrawn and submissive. Her father mean, vain, selfish. He liked having the best things for himself and resented it when his children’s existence interfered with his ability to enjoy himself. She was worst of all, for she had been born sickly, and doctors were expensive.
In spite of the sickness she grew beautiful and shapely; her hourglass figure brought her a lot of attention from men. Being the despised middle child of all the middle children, she was greedy for their attention. She enjoyed it.
One of her handsome older brothers started doing things to her. She had probably brought it on herself: she had worn red fingernail polish. Her father told her that only whores wear red fingernail polish. She hated her brother and what he’d done, but she kept her shame to herself. She was a good Catholic girl after all.
High school was awful. She was from the wrong side of the tracks. Her brother was still taking his liberties, and in the midst of all those children, she was so alone. One day she snapped. She punched a teacher and was quickly expelled.
Her father was gone. He’d left them and taken up with a younger woman, one whose body had not yet been ravaged by the travails of birthing 10 of his children. Her handsome older brother was killed in a car crash. She was glad, and she was guilty for being glad.
She bleached her black-brown hair strawberry blonde. She started wearing nail polish all the time, but never red.
I am just a new boy
Stranger in this town
Where are all the good times?
Who’s gonna show this stranger around?
He was finally done with the Navy. Worst goddam five years of his life.
He came from a nice, middle-class family. His mother was the American-born daughter of Danish immigrants. His father was Scots-Irish. Both were college-educated. He should have gone to school himself, but he had a taste for adventure, so he’d signed up. His best buddy went into the Army. He had a black-and-white photograph of the two of them, each dressed in the other’s uniform, smiling, arms thrown casually about one another’s shoulders.
His youthful fantasies of sailing the Seven Seas had been quickly quashed under the reality of a working man’s Navy. He was out now, and he was looking to get laid.
There was this girl. She was barely legal, but legal nonetheless. She was petite with strawberry blonde hair and was built like a brick shithouse. She looked like Ann-Margaret. Best of all, she was obviously willing. All he had to do was be his charming self. All he had to do was be nice to her.