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Castration Doesn’t Hurt

by Marina J. Neary

Part 7: Celtic Storm

As you can imagine, all that warfare between the sheets took a toll on my already fragile self-esteem. Luckily, my job had a behavioral health plan, and I started seeing a psychologist. He suggested that Rinnie and I should go to a place that would remind us of our early courtship days and make us fall in love with each other all over again.

I didn’t know how to tell him that our courtship period lasted just a few hours and that the whole concept of falling in love was very nebulous and not necessarily applicable to me and Rinnie. We didn’t exactly fall in love, not in the Romeo and Juliet sense. She simply usurped me, claimed me for her lapdog, and I didn’t get a chance to bark “no”. Still, I always follow doctor’s orders meticulously, even if I know that the diagnosis is wrong. For our anniversary I took Rinnie back to Philadelphia, to the annual Celtic festival.

I must say, things had changed since 1998. For one, the prices had gone up. You used to be able to get an all-inclusive package for thirty-five bucks, but now you had to pay that much just for the parking. Then you paid fifty bucks at the entrance. A pint of Guinness — seven bucks. Shepherd’s pie — eight bucks. I just swallowed the expenses. After all, I was there to kill two birds with one stone — to rekindle my non-existent love for Rinnie and to reconnect to my Irish roots.

Rinnie and I split a shepherd’s pie in silence. Eating from the same plate and drinking from the same cup was supposed to be romantic. That’s what the psychologist told me. Rinnie ravaged the pastry with her fork, picked out all the white meat and left me with a shapeless mound of peas and onions.

Then she stuck her chewing gum to the rim of the plastic cup from which we were drinking Guinness, thus claiming it for her own. She wasn’t content with having usurped my soul. She was usurping my food too.

Suddenly, a familiar melody reached my ears. Celtic Storm, my favorite Celto-Appalachian fusion band started playing. I recognized the lead singer’s nasal bleating. I believe they call it Irish tenor. Ten seconds later I found myself on stage, prancing between the fiddler and the guitarist.

My performance was accompanied by an ambiguous roar from the crowd. I wasn’t quite sure where my fellow-Celtophiles were asking for more or booing me off stage.

Ten minutes later, as I was going through a rack of overpriced tartan scarves, I felt a gentle tap on the shoulder. I turned around and saw Siobhain O’Sullivan, the daughter of Terry O’Sullivan, the chairman of the Hibernian Division and a personal friend of Jerry Adams.

“Bailey, is that you?” she asked in a soft ethereal voice that resembled a fairy song. “I never thought I’d see you again.”

Siobhain’s beauty was one thing that hadn’t changed since 1998 when she won the Rose of County Clare pageant. Time had no power over those auburn locks, emerald eyes and toned arms.

“I saw your performance,” she continued.

“You did?” I mumbled, pulling my burning ears into my shoulders. “I bet I made an ass of myself. I hope you can stamp that horrible sight out of your memory.”

“Don’t say that!” she exclaimed, squeezing my hand. “It was marvelous! I don’t know if I told you, but I’m producing this new Celtic-Appalachian dance show, and I’d like for you to be one of principal dancers. You definitely have that Gaelic swanlike look. I need a tall, blonde male dancer to place between two female dancers. One of the girls is a redhead like me, and another one is a blue-eyed brunette, the type they call Black Irish. How does that sound to you?”

How did that sound to me? Heavenly!

Of course, no heavenly dream can last forever. Rinnie’s cold fingers pinched my elbow.

“Bailey, I’m freezing my rear off. I need thirty bucks to buy one of those sweatshirts. They are ugly as sin, but it’s better than getting frostbite.”

“Siobhain,” I stuttered, “please meet my... wife...”

I really struggled with that last word. It got lost in the depths of my mouth, and I had to find it with the tip of my tongue before I could deliver it.

“What a pleasure to meet you,” Siobhain said, stretching her hand out. “Your husband is quite a dancer.”

“He has no shame,” Rinnie grunted, pulling two twenty-dollar bills out of my pocket. “You’ll have to forgive my husband. He is such a lightweight too! After half a Guinness he’s ready to stand on his ears. That’s why I don’t take him to office parties anymore.”

“Well, he dances divinely,” Siobhain insisted, this time in a sterner voice. “You should be very proud of him.”

Rinnie remained unimpressed, or rather, pretended to be unimpressed. “Honestly, after seven years of Russian ballet academy, I have trouble taking any other form of dance seriously.”

“We are trying to get away from the restrictive elitist forms, Mrs. Griff. I think that your husband suits our mission perfectly. In fact, I was in the process of offering him a contract with our dancing troupe.”

“And I was just about to accept it!” I shouted out with uncharacteristic defiance.

I never knew I was capable of speaking in such a voice. My red-haired dryad, my avenger nymph poured warrior courage into my veins. If Rinnie, this corporate anti-Celtic beast, attempted to mock and criticize me in front of the entire Irish population of Philadelphia, I was prepared to retaliate.

To my astonishment, she merely shrugged her shoulders. “Fine,” she mumbled. “Who am I to stand in the way of Bailey’s dream?”

“Are you sure?” Siobhain asked in a tentative voice, taken aback by Rinnie’s passivity. “You really don’t have a problem with that?”

“Let the boy have his fun,” Rinnie replied. “I have dominated Bailey long enough. He’s been my slave for the past nine years. If he wants to make an idiot of himself in front of others, let him!”

Proceed to part 8...

Copyright © 2011 by Marina J. Neary

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