The Ginger Man - By J. P. Donleavy & Jay McInerney




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Today a rare sun of spring. And horse carts clanging to the quays down Tara Street and the shoeless white faced kids screaming.

O'Keefe comes in and climbs up on a stool. Wags his knapsack around on his back and looks at Sebastian Dangerfield.

"Those tubs are huge over there. First bath for two months. I'm getting more like the Irish every day. Like going on the subway in the States, you go through a turnstile." on the subway in the States, you go through a "Did you go first or third class, Kenneth ?"

"First. I broke my ass washing my underwear and in those damn rooms in Trinity nothing will dry. In the end I sent my towel to the laundry. Back at Harvard I could nip into a tiled shower and dive into nice clean underwear"

"What will you have to drink, Kenneth ? "

"Who's paying?"

"Just been to visit my broker with an electric fire"

"Then buy me a cider. Does Marion know you've hocked the fire?"

"She's away. Took Felicity with her to visit her parents. On the moors in Scotland. I think the Balscaddoon was getting her down. Scrabbling on the ceiling and groans from under the floor."

"What's it like out there? Does it freeze your balls?"

"Come out Stay for the weekend. Not much in the way of food but you're welcome to whatever I've got"

"Which is nothing."

"I wouldn't put it that way."

"I would. Since I've arrived here everything has been down and these guys at Trinity think I'm loaded with dough. They think the G.L Bill means I crap dollars or a diarrhea of dimes. You get your check ? "

"Going to see about it Monday."

"If mine doesn't come, I'll croak. And you're saddled with a wife and child. Wow. But at least you get it steady. And I've never got it at all. Any loose women out there on Howth?"

"I'll keep a watch."

"Look I've got to go and see my tutor and see if I can find out where they hold my Greek lectures. Nobody knows. everything is secret. No more drink for me. I'll come out over the weekend."

"Kenneth, I might have your first woman waiting for you."



It was a steep hill up to Balscaddoon. Winding close to the houses and the neighbor's eyes having a look. Fog over the flat water. And the figure hunched up the road. On top it leveled and set in a concrete wall was a green door.

Within the doorway, smiles, wearing white golfing shoes and tan trousers suspended with bits of wire,

"By all means come in, Kenneth"

"Some place. What holds it up?"


O'Keefe went through the house. Opening doors, drawers, closets, flushing the toilet, lifting its lid, flushing it again. Stuck his head in the hall.

"Say this thing really works. If we had something to eat we'd be able to use it. They've got one of those big shops down there in the town, why don't you pop down with that English accent of yours and get some credit. As much as I like your company, Dangerfield, I'd prefer it on a full stomach."

"I'm up to my eyes already."

"And you don't look so hot in those clothes."

O'Keefe jumped on the floor of the drawing room. Pulled open the conservatory door, pinched the leaves of a dying plant and went out into the garden. Standing on the shaggy grass he gave a shrill whistle as he looked down precipitous rocks to the swells of sea many feet below. He went round the narrow back of the house, looking in the windows. In a bedroom he saw Dangerfield on his knees chopping a large blue blanket with an axe. He rushed back into the house.

"Jesus Christ, Dangerfield, what are you doing? Have you gone Asiatic?"


"But that's a good blanket Give it to me if you're going to chop it up"

"Now, Kenneth, watch me. See? Put this round the neck like this, tuck in the ragged edges and presto. Fm now wearing Trinity's rowing blue. Always best to provide a flippant subtlety when using class power. Now we'll see about a little credit."

"You shrewd bastard. I must admit it looks good"

"Make a fire in the stove. I'll be back"

"Get us a chicken"

"We'll see."

Dangerfield stepped out into a deserted Balscaddoon Road.

The counter was covered with rich sides of bacon and wicker baskets of bright eggs. Assistants, white aproned, behind the long counter. Bananas, green from the Canary Isles, blooming from the ceiling. Dangerfield stopping in front of a gray haired assistant who leans forward