Fireproof by Gerard Brennan

Book: Fireproof by Gerard Brennan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gerard Brennan
back of her chair and went to the meeting room. As she opened the door, Jim pulled his index finger out of his nose. Cathy wished she could meet a guy who didn't feel the need to do that. At least Jim had the decency to look embarrassed about it, but then, he was one of those teenagers who always looked embarrassed and guilty.
    "Can I help you, Jim?"
    "Nope, but I can help you."
    "Please share."
    "I know where Mike is going to be tonight."
    "Excellent. Where?"
    "My mate Tony's just off the phone. Mike's holding a black mass on the Lisburn Road. He's booked St Aidan's Parish Hall. There'll be hundreds of people there. Goths and everything. Sounds a bit mad, but I'll go see what it's all about."
    "St Aidan's Parish Hall? For a Satanic mass?"
    "Aye. Ironing."
    "Irony, Jim. Not ironing."
    "Aye, whatever. So do you want to go?"
    "Yes, of course. What time?"
    "Excellent. I'll get there early and see if I can get a few minutes to talk to him."
    "Tony says it'll probably only last about an hour. I was wondering if you'd like to go to Burger King for a bite to eat after it."
    "Remember what I said about our professional relationship, Jim? I wasn't joking."
    "Oh right. No sweat. I'll just ask one of the other girls."
    "Was there anything else you wanted to talk about today, Jim?"
    "No, not really."
    "Well I've a little bit of paperwork to get caught up with."
    Jim eventually took the hint and left the meeting room. Cathy's mind buzzed with ideas. She was going to meet a possible sociopath. What would she say to him?
    After work she dressed in Jeans and a T-shirt because she didn't want to stick out in the crowd by overdressing. She also wanted to avoid distracting Mike's attention from their conversation by offering him too much bare flesh to appraise. Approaching him on an intellectual level first would give her a greater insight into his personality.
    Cathy took a private taxi to the parish hall on the Lisburn Road. As they approached the destination she was surprised to see the size of the crowd that had already gathered. It was only half past seven but at least two-hundred teenagers were waiting outside the hall's main doors.
    "Is there a concert on here tonight, love?" the taxi driver asked.
    "No, a Satanic mass."
    "Oh. Well, different strokes for different folks. My missus has gotten herself into Buddhism. I don't mind too much. Her meetings take her out on a Saturday night, so I can have a few beers and watch the boxing in peace."
    "That's brilliant. Isn't it wonderful how spirituality can do so much for a relationship?"
    "Powerful stuff. That'll be five-fifty please."
    Jim couldn't help but stare. The weird kids dressed and acted so… weird. And they all stared back at him. Each and every one. As if he was the freak.
    Tony nudged him with an elbow. "Stop staring, Jim."
    "How can I not stare? Look at that one with the thing in her nose."
    The girl with fire engine red hair, mime artist makeup and a surgical steel ring in her nostril shot Jim a poison glance.
    "Fuck sake, Jim. Ever hear of whispering?"
    "My ma says whispering's bad manners."
    "Your ma says a lot of things."
    "What's that supposed to mean?"
    "I'll tell you when you're older, Jim."
    The girl with the pierced nose said something to the other Goths standing around her and they sniggered. Jim frowned.
    "Do you think they're talking about me, Tony?"
    "No, the wee girl wants to ride me," Tony whispered. "I got her number earlier. Can't wait to get at her. I'll knock the greasepaint off her face."
    "Are you not with Tracey anymore?"
    "Don't melt my head."
    "So, can I ask Tracey out?"
    "What? No! I still want Tracey. I just want to see that other one for the craic. You know what it's like."
    "Aye." But Jim didn't really know. Either he was with Tracey or he wasn't. Tony shouldn't be allowed to put dibs on all the girls he liked the look of. Only the memory of Tony straddling him and punching him until he couldn't breathe stopped him from

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