The Irish Ripper (Chapter 5)

This was not the life Sean had envisioned for himself.  He had tried to stay positive since his accident but things were starting to get him down.  Every day felt like an endurance test of sheer drudgery.  Work was mostly mundane and boring, then he’d come home to an empty house, repeating the process the next day.  Nothing had happened in relation to the double murder in Wicklow except for the newspapers branding the killer “The Irish Ripper.” 

There was the odd argument on television that this was sensationalist and glamourized violence but the name stuck nevertheless.  Sean was surprised that neither had there been a breakthrough in the case or more killings.  Part of him was disappointed. 

He missed the excitement of his old life and the murders had all too briefly brought some of that back.  But now it seemed to be gone all too fleetingly.  He longed to be able to stand again, to run; to spend days driving around Dublin looking for suspects. 

Sex was another thing he craved.  He had none since his injury; in fact, there hadn’t even been a kiss.  He wondered what it would be like now that he could feel nothing in his penis.  It felt like he was a virgin all over again.  He wouldn’t even know where to start, it had been such a long time since he felt so vulnerable and lost. 

Like everything these days, he went to the internet for guidance, which was a complex myriad of information.  Some websites had a reassuring message that there was more to sex than just penetration.  There was touching, sensuality and intimacy.  In fact, some said they had better sex after injury and even found other erogenous spots on their body to receive pleasure but that it took time and patience. 

But on other websites, there was negativity, with men especially saying how hard they found it to find partners with a visible disability.  That women just no longer looked at them post-injury.  They yearned for companionship and for someone to reach out and touch them. 

There were disability dating websites.  Sean wasn’t quite sure if he’d date a woman with a disability.  Life seemed so complicated as it was.  Surely, an able-bodied woman, who could do things he can’t be best.  But he wasn’t ruling out the idea.   

Then there was a further complication in that some able-bodied people had a sexual preference or kink for disability.  It was something Sean couldn’t quite get his head around.  In any event, female devotees seemed to be rare and he thought it unlikely, that he would ever meet any. 

A week previously, he had tried his luck with Laura but to no avail.  She had done it once; it wasn’t like they would have been breaking new ground but that’s not the way she saw it.  They were friends now; it wasn’t the same and that was only ever intended as a once-off. 

“Is it the chair?” he retorted but in response, she slammed the door in his face. 

Sean thought Jack would understand but he had a wholly different perspective when he mentioned it to him at tea break.  Little did he know she had already phoned him wondering was she in the wrong much to Jack’s chagrin.  She was far too good for him and anyway, he had an eye for her himself. 

“You really are an asshole, but I guess you always were.  She doesn’t owe you a thing, yet she’s been there worried about you since your return,” he replied. 

Sean nodded in quiet acquiescence and changed the conversation back to football.  Perhaps he was in the wrong but he hadn’t anticipated such a strong rebuttal.  He had expected at least some sympathy but there was none whatsoever. 

On returning to his desk, he felt a rage coursing through his veins.  This was the first time that he felt everything was just getting too much.  He had no reason to look forward to the next day or any day in his future.  His future seemed unendingly bleak. 

He tried to finish off his day at work but left early, telling people that he had a medical appointment but nobody seemed to care anyway.  Sean thought he needed medicine alright, but it would be in the form of a nice cold beer. 

For a few minutes he wondered in his car where would the best place to go given his circumstances.  Then “Flanagans” popped into his mind.  It was in the middle of his old work area and he remembered that there were no steps or that into it.  It was in a rough area though where he might bump into undesirables he once knew, but he didn’t care anymore. 

Fortunately, as he had left early, he missed rush hour and it only took twenty minutes to reach the pub although he had to park a street away as there was nowhere else suitable to.  It was somewhat of a relief to finally get to the front door of the pub in his chair where a kind woman opened the door. 

There was already a good crowd inside, all of whom seemed to look in his direction as he entered.  It was a musty, archaic place but that didn’t bother Sean who went to one of the free low tables at the back.  There was a muted television not too far from him.   Everything was as he remembered, giving him a brief sense of stability in a tumultuous day.  Just a few seconds later, one of the two exquisitely dressed barmen came over to ask if he wanted anything. 

Without thinking he asked for his favorite staple, a whiskey, and red.  Once the first drop hit his lips, he began to think about all the high points in his life.  Maybe he could still have a few more, he thought to himself.   

It didn’t take long for the first whiskey to go down, then another and another till they all started to blur into one another.  The bar gradually became more and more packed and a band started to get ready to play. 

“Bejesus, is that you?  I thought you wer’ dead!” 

It was one of the former McCraven twins with a henchman.  This was one of the worst people Sean could have bumped into as the twins were notoriously violent and hated cops.  They must have taken over this territory since Sean was last there.   

The McCraven twins were Billy Sullivan and Joe McCraven.  It was Billy who now stood before him.  Strangely they were not actually related but earned the moniker due to the fact they had grown up in the same vicinity, their similar appearance and age.   Joe and his loyal henchman had been murdered a few days after Sean’s accident. 

“It’s me all right,” Sean sternly replied, anxious to show no fear as the two men sat down at his table.  

Billy, a bald, heavy man with a protruding square jaw, and impeccably dressed in a black suit sat right beside him.  The henchman who was slender, with ruffled long hair and with a withdrawn look that signified a drug addiction sat disinterested further away. 

“Long time, no see.  You still a pig?” Billy asked a passive-aggressive tone, with a big smile. 

Sean nodded that he was.  Fortunately, they were in a public place so he was pretty sure – or at least hoping – that there would be no violence.  If there was, he wouldn’t stand a chance.  His calculation would have been somewhat different if they were down a dark alley instead. 

“I now own quite a nice stake of this place.  Going up in the world you see.  Hope you enjoy your night, I mean that.” 

Billy then turned to the barman and signaled to get Sean another one.    

Then he patted Sean on his back before motioning towards him and whispering in his ear, 

“Thanks, by the way for Stephen Clarke.  Jessica told me when I paid her a visit.  She’s such a nice, sweet girl.  I’m sure none of your Garda buddies know about that.  If they did, all that sympathy for you being a cripple would evaporate very fucking fast.  Don’t worry, I’ll be in touch.” 

With that Billy and his henchman got up and left leaving Sean in a state of shock.  Nobody should have known about Stephen Clarke especially not the likes of Billy McManus.  Stephen had been shot dead many months ago.  This idea of going to the pub was probably the worst mistake Sean had ever made.  Now he would be beholden to a criminal – and one of the worst ones in the city at that. 

There was nothing for it except a few more whiskeys; nothing really mattered anymore.  Sean was now starting to get emotional with the odd tear slowly flowing down either side of his face.  He knew, even in his drunken state that he would be drawing unwanted attention towards himself so he headed to the disabled bathroom, needing to empty his bladder in any event.   

Fortunately, the bathroom was as large as he remembered and the wheelchair was easily able to fit in.  He then self-catheterized, before moving towards the mirror to wipe the tears from his eyes. 

Sean could hear a noise in the background and slowly opened his eyes.  Confused at first, he quickly realized that he was still in the toilet.  He quickly looked at his watch; over two hours had passed.  It was definitely time to go, he thought to himself.  At least his head had cleared somewhat as he remembered with a shudder the trouble he was now in with Billy. 

He opened the toilet door and pushed himself out hoping nobody would realize what had happened; more for his own dignity than any other reason.  Fortunately, the bar was now packed and nobody was paying him much attention, except maybe a bit of annoyance when he had to ask them to move out of his way. 

Soon he was out and hit by a refreshing cold breeze.  Making his way slowly back to his car he found himself constantly looking over his shoulder for fear that Billy or one of his cronies would be after him, though he probably had little to fear for all the wrong reasons.   

The parking spot for his car seemed far from ideal now; down a narrow, poorly lit side street.  So, it was with a sense of intense relief that he finally transferred back into his car and ignited the engine.  Now for the next problem. 

Sean knew he was certainly over the alcohol limit for driving.  His little sleep might have been a blessing in disguise as he would have almost definitely crashed the car on his way home otherwise.  He had perhaps undeservedly been given a chance to fight another day. 

Pausing for a few moments he considered the best route home to avoid being caught for drink driving by his colleagues.  Fortunately, when they did set up stops, they almost always picked the same spots.  If he went the back streets, he thought, he should be okay. 

Meanwhile, Billy could hardly believe his luck that he had seen Sean in the bar; it was like receiving the greatest gift in his life.  He had thought him dead, for otherwise, he would have sought him out already.  There was nothing an Irish criminal would want more than to have a dirty Garda but to have an Inspector on the side, would be a game-changer. 

Perhaps he shouldn’t have given Jessica such a vicious beating after all.  She had fallen behind on her money; that’s just not something that can be let go, otherwise, they’d all be at it.  Through her tears, she had offered a freebie but he was just after sex already.   

It was after the first hard punch to her stomach that she had told him about Sean. 

“What’s the fucking point telling me that ya stupid bitch?  He’s dead, I heard!” he roared before continuing his gratuitous assault. 

When he left, she was rolled up in a corner sobbing in a pool of blood.  He knew that he had gone overboard; her face was even a mess and that was bad for business no matter how good he felt afterward. 

Now it turned out, she really had given him valuable information.  Ah well, it wasn’t the kind of thing that Billy would dwell on for longer than a few seconds.  That was one of the reasons why he was so suited to this life; there was little use for things such as compassion and forgiveness. 

No, he had many more important things to consider like how he could use this new tool against his enemies.  It would take time though, it had to appear like he had lady luck on his side rather than playing a rigged game. 

It would mean that he could sleep a bit more soundly at night.  With that, he pondered his next move.  He could go home to his wife and three kids or pay a visit to his latest girlfriend; a leggy, Chechen girl called Nathalie.  She had promised him a good night after the expensive Gucci handbag he got her and now he was in the right kind of mood for it. 

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