Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry


Author:Kevin Barry [Kevin Barry]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Canongate Books
Published: 2019-02-21T16:00:00+00:00

Chapter Seven


At the port of Algeciras, in October 2018

Maurice Hearne sits alone in the café bar at the ferry terminal. He turns the remains of a third brandy in its glass. You keep going any way you can. The motions of the alcohol are familiar: the easy warming, the calm sustain, and now the slow grading into remorse. A melancholy hour falleth. As afflicts a gentleman of colourful history. But, if he has nothing else to his name, he has his regrets, and these are not without value to the martyr’s self-portrait displayed in his mind’s eye. I am fifty-one years old, he thinks, and still at least halfways in love with meself. All told you’d have to call it a fucken achievement.

He turns a swivel on the barstool, curiously. He lets the good eye roam – he checks the place out. Spain again – its old, tatty charisma. You wake up again and it’s Spain again. There is another gap between boats. There may be disruptions once more on the Tangier side. Charlie Redmond is having a mad half-hour and is doing the stations of the cross around the terminal – male energy, the excess of. Maurice feels somehow that Dilly is nearby; he knows in his blood that she is near; there is a stirring inside.

And now from the vantage of his years a terrible swoon comes down on him; Cynthia, for a moment, descends all the way through him. This is not a rare occurrence. He will never lose the feeling of the love that they had together, or the nausea of its absence.

Hate is not the answer to love; death is its answer.


Night and day an amusement to himself – and he’d want to be, the way the nerves are set – Charlie Redmond approaches at a relaxed, limping pace the hatch that’s marked INFORMACIÓN. He leans on its tilted ledge. With a comedian’s poise he waits on the timing’s beat. As it falls, he addresses, with courtesy, the informaciónista – it’s the same lad, with the bitter face on.

How’re you getting on inside? Charlie says.

He receives no reply.

Good man yourself, he says. You’ve a lovely little face and you’re a great worker. Anyhow. While I have you. I’m looking for three pieces of . . . información. Numero uno. Does this man here, Charlie Redmond, of Farranree, Cork city, in the Free State of Ireland, does he have a sad kind of a look to him?

He pauses with great interest, inclines his head, as if listening to the informaciónista’s response, which is not forthcoming.

I hear you, boy, he says.

He turns to the terminal at large and addresses it, with his arms wide, his palms turned up.

He reckon so. Me soul is in me boots. By this fella’s account? Charles Redmond? A blue-hearted old cove. And is it any wonder? After what these poor eyes have seen? The night I opened a throat up in Dillons Cross? The lad was trying to eat a chicken supper at the time.


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