The Despair of an unemployed Miner – by Kim McLean
“Give us another one, Mac!” Mac was just polishing a few glasses as he looked over to Barney. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough now?”
He answered with a sound of pity in his voice. “Ooh, go to hell, you bastard, it’s none of your business how much I drink! What do you think I’m sitting in a pub for?” “Sorry Barney, just calm down, will ye? You’ll get yer drink. I just thought … well, ye know, was just worrying ‘bout ye. “For dammned sake”, Barney cried and with a thud his fist hit the bar. “No one has to worry about me or feel sorry for me, hear me? I’ve always managed everything on my own. You just shut up, give me my drink and, for God’s sake, leave me alone!”
It was one of these hot afternoons in the summer and the air was too thick to breathe. The scent of sweat, beer and smoke hung in the overcrowded pub. All miners met after a hard days work at Mac’s Pub for a beer or two, to get the dust out of their throats or have a chat with friends and forget the coal-mine before going home to wife and children.
Barney was sitting for ages now at the bar, talking to nobody, staring at his whisky feeling sick. He was about 40 now, he worked all his life in this mine, hardly remembering the time before that. He never did anything else in his life, working in the mine was the only thing he could do, he felt safe there and the cave gave him shelter. He worked hard all the years, it hardly bothered him because he was used to hard working.
“Just kicked me out after a working lifetime in this mine, from morning till moon,” he moaned “if I get you between my fingers, Mr. Smith, I’ll break your bloody neck” he grumbled and clenched his hands to fists.
“What will Chris say? I always wanted to buy her a fancy dress and take her and the kids to the seaside, smell the salty sea and forgetting this stinking coal dust”, he sighed. He had difficulties to keep on his feet.
“Another one” he shouted over to Mac. Mac didn’t hear him, he was just carrying a few beer jugs to a table, where thursty throughts were waiting. “Ahh, never mind, you idiot” he said more to himself, ”but you’ll get your fancy dress my sweetheart and the kids will get their new shoes. I don’t want my family to wear this worn out and old stuff, oh, my God, he cried, and his tears ran down his cheeks.
With his dirty sweaty hands he dried the tears on his face. “I can’t go home like this, nothing for us to eat for supper… He was playing with the empty glas in his hands, making patterns with his finger prints as a sudden slap on his back knocked the glas out of his hand and brought him in less than a second back to reality. “Come on home, Barney,” he reckoned the voice of his friend and neighbor Will. “Mac told me, your’re sitting here all afternoon drowning your sorrow in good whisky, what’s wrong with you, hell, look at you?”
“Just leave me alone, everyone,” he shouted as he jumped up “I need nobody to tell me. When I’ve had enough!”
On his way out towards the door he fell over peoples’ legs and wiped glasses off tables roughly pushing people out of his way. He punched his friend in the face, who fell backwards over a table, he bumped his head as he left the pub and slammed the door behind him.
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