The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Thursday, November 23, 2006

upping the ante

Coffee with Baldy Mangan the tame trade unionist in Yum Yums of Naas.
The journos are ballotting on strike action at the Lootheramawn.
He wants my advice.
Today our talk touches on all the issues.
The union man explains to me that the assistant editor Serena Pitchfork has suggested we shouldn't strike in the weeks coming up to Christmas.
Well she would, wouldn't she.
I give the union man the benefit of my expertise.
"Listen," sez I. "The editor and assistant editor are management. If you're letting Pitchfork sit in on union meetings you are allowing a management spy to report on your activities."
"She's in favour of the strike," replied the union man.
I nodded grimly.
"She's a management spy," I told him again. "She's not going to hold up a sign saying: I am a management spy. But that's what she is. She'll be in favour of the strike alright. But always a couple of months down the line. Never now."
Our conversation turned to the forthcoming clash.
Once more I stooped from on high to share the benefit of my sublime analysis.
"There's only one way to go about it if push comes to shove," I averred. "We don't strike as a gesture. We don't strike for an honorable draw. We strike to win. It's a dirty business. Don't think it's going to be civilised. We've got to fight dirty. We've got to get mean."
My voice was raised. People at the surrounding tables looked up curiously. I wasn't too worried.
If it's to be now, let it be now.
"What are you suggesting we do?" said the union man.
"Whatever it takes," I answered. "There are too many nice people in this union hoping for a quiet way out. You've got to think of it as a war. Because that's the way management are thinking of it. If we go on strike we've got to stop that paper appearing, one way or the other."
This last one liner had definitely drawn an audience.
"One other thing," I said leaning forward. "Lose Pitchfork. She's working for the bad guys. She's spent eight years with Sneeran running journalists off the payroll. She's not on our side and neither is he."
Our conversation ended soon after that.
When the union man had gone, the beautiful Polish waitress refilled my coffee, and I sat alone at the window watching main street fill up with the dusk.
An oddly ridiculous, faintly romantic figure.
The Arthur Scargill of the coffee shop.
Each man must be a legend to himself.

2 Comments:

Blogger chamki said...

Every man is a legend to himself!
Another one for my quote book.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

The assistant editor doesn't want the newspaper to miss out on all the advertising for the holidays. However, the holiday season would be a great time for a really crippling strike. In fact, if the newspaper refused to capitulate, it could be a death blow.

1:03 AM  

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