Late Delivery ~ fiction by Philip McCormac

‘Begorrah,’ Trevor said slapping his forehead. ‘This is Sunday and Maureen’s birthday is on Tuesday. I must send a card.’

Trevor found a card with a picture of two elderly ladies and a caption that read: I never mind my friends knowing my secret indiscretions. Most are so old they can’t remember anything anyway.

‘Fish fingers crossed it’ll get there on time,’ Trevor muttered, as he posted the card and wondered if first class meant the same in Ireland as it did in England for if it did he had little hope of the card getting to Dublin for Tuesday.

Tuesday came and Trevor sent text: Happy birthday – hope you liked card.

Reply by text. Postman called to apologize for putting a letter through next door neighbour’s letterbox by mistake. Russian living next door denies getting any letter.

‘Begorrah,’ Trevor said and then had a brainwave.

He sent another text: I put £10 in the card for you to buy ciggies. He was chortling as he pressed send.

Next day Maureen texted: Neighbour still denies receiving any letter. Gavin saw Ivan in the pub and asked him for the £10. There was a fight and the Russian is in hospital.

‘Begorrah,’ said Trevor.

Another text from Maureen: Brick through my window. Some of Ivan’s friends were seen running away. Gavin chased them and there was a fight. Gavin now in hospital.

‘Begorrah,’ said Trevor feeling slightly uneasy.

Next day Maureen texted: Russian refugee centre burned down. Suspected arson. Tee-hee.

‘Begorrah,’ said Trevor feeling somewhat uneasy.

Another text from Maureen: Got back from shopping. My house was firebombed. I can only think Russians.

‘Begorrah,’ said Trevor feeling decidedly uneasy.

Next day Maureen texted: Organized a protest march to Russian Cultural Centre. There was a riot and the centre was wrecked. The judge allowed me out on bail.

Begorrah,’ said Trevor feeling hot under the collar.

The news that night on TV was grave.

Russian ambassador in Dublin calls on the Irish president. Demands apology and compensation for damage to Cultural Centre. Russian warships sail close to Irish coast. The Irish president calls on Russia to withdraw warships. Russia claims the ships are on a naval exercise. Russians launch missiles into the Atlantic Ocean.

Next morning Trevor switched on the news with some trepidation.

Ireland lodge complaint about Russian warplanes violating Irish air space. Aer Lingus suspends flights to Moscow.

Begorrah,’ said Trevor feeling somewhat frightened.

Next morning he was almost afraid to turn on the news. It was worse than he feared.

Ireland suspends all Russian imports. Ireland’s president demands assistance from NATO in the face of Russian aggression. France sends warships to patrol the Irish Channel. Britain demands French keep out of British territorial waters and sends in her own warships. Germany sends Angela Merkel’s special recipe for frankfurters to the Irish Red Cross.

‘Begorrah,’ said Trevor quite terrified by now.

That evening the news was grave.

NATO suspends all leave for troops. American aircraft carriers spotted in mid-Atlantic on course for Europe. Ukraine sends message of support to Dublin. IRA open arms dumps and vow to defend Irish soil to the last ounce of Semtex.

Text from Maureen: Birthday card arrived today. Nice card but couldn’t find that £10 you said you sent, you old skinflint. We’ve been issued with gas masks. Gavin’s factory has switched over to making radiation suits.

‘Begorrah,’ said Trevor and was sick all over the settee.

Philip McCormac is the author of sixteen Black Horse Westerns, ten as P. McCormac and six using various pseudonyms. He has also published crime, historical, and supernatural thrillers as well as short stories in various genres. Philip was born in Northern Ireland. He now lives with his wife in Leicestershire, UK.


Show Philip some love via PayPal at philmac666(at)liveco(dot)uk.