Read Merrick Online

Authors: Ken Bruen





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Copyright © 2014 Ken Bruen

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher, except where permitted by law.

eISBN: 978-1-62467-082-4

Published by Premier Digital Publishing

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.



………….I’M A MAN………………

I kill children

Whoa…..hold the phones there pal

Don’t get your knickers in a twist and start rounding up the lynch mob

I love kids, I mean, I really do

Boys, between five and six……ah, bliss

You think they don’t love me back

Oh they do

That whimpering they make after, that’s like………purring

Had one cherub, after a particular strenuous workout, he licked my hand


Society is all bent out of freaking shape

They hunt us down, treat us like animals and why, because they cant make that

transcendence, that leap to pure love

And back up compadre, before you start trotting out clichés, an abused child, I object to

the term
by the way but to stay in your narrow frame of reference, the gospel

is……… abused child becomes an abuser


Kiss my middle aged spreading ass

It doesn’t happen


Fucks sake, focus, pay attention, you might learn something

Mine and yes, once I have them, they are my property, they wont become

I guarantee it

You smirk

They don’t………..

Because I kill them

Every gorgons angelic one of them

How many now

Come on………….you’re counting

Count on this

I’m coming for your little darling


After I’ve imitated them into man love, what on earth can top that so I save them the

search, let them go out…………..on a high

A celestial choir of them, beaming down on me

The disfigurement, bothers you……….yeah?

Call it window dressing

Keep the cops busy

Let them think there’s a psycho out there

Me, I’m the sanest guy you’ll ever meet

That is the scary bit

Get over it

Whoops, gotta hustle, I hear my latest acquisition in the basement, pleading his little

heart out, he wants it, and he sure is going to get it

diary page from The child/man love annals


I’d been a year in New York before I ran into Merrick

I’d left Ireland under the fooking proverbial cloud, though cloud is putting it mildly

I’ve been a Garda siochana….translate as literally, Guardian of The Peace

Oh yeah

Stationed in Donegal, real close to bandit country, Peace Summit me arse

The Boyos were still operating in Armagh and that was just a spit from where I was


I was born and reared in Galway and so, I was stationed far from me home

In jig time, I lost

Me wife

Me career

Me confidence

The scandal surrounding the local Guards and their framing of a local publican had blown

up nationwide

Till then, I swear to god, The Guards had a fine rep. Liked by the general populace and

how many countries does that occur in

Yeah, count em?

I wasn’t great at me job but I liked it a lot

I was young enough then to think I might be effective

Dream on yah ejit

I know about the frame and Hands up, I wasn’t actively involved but I did know about it

and I did………………nothing

and yeah, I took a handout. I’m not proud of it and sure paid the freight.

That is what they call, silent affirmation

See the learned vocabulary I have, been poring over the Reader’s Digest in an attempt to

increase me word power

The only word that describes what went down isn’t in the digest


The fall out was biblical

Top officers were up on charges but yeah, they’d get severe reprimands and be allowed to

retire with their pensions intact

Us grunts got shafted, big time

Fired and no pension

One of me mates hanged himself

Couldn’t take the shame

Me, I legged it

To Amer-i-kay

New start

Lived in a shitty hole in Brooklyn and got a job in construction

Hard graft

But it stopped me thinking and The Mick Mafia got me a Union card

I was drinking.

A lot,

Out of self pity, loneliness and rage, the lethal Irish trinity

I’m not going to suggest that meeting Merrick saved me but it sure changed me life

Thank fook

I missed me wife


I’d loved her

Oh sweet Jesus, did I ever

She dumped me when I got canned

She re-married a lawyer and has a child on the way

That shrives me heart


And I guess, always will

Mores the frigging Irish-ed pity

Ah fookit

Moving on

Not cos I wanted to but had to

One fierce cold Feb night, I was a t a loss as usual and decided to go and sing some jars,

Hadn’t been out for brews for a time and I’d build up a thirst, headed for a bar in

Brooklyn that had a jukebox, played the hit of the eighties

Sounded good

There was a biting cold and a wind chill factor to freeze your nuts off

The bar was warm, with even a real fire, logs blazing and the place was hopping, Bowie

in the juke with
All the Young dudes

The bar man looked like a real dangerous bollix

Big, with a completely shaved head, arms on him that testified to real graft and he looked

mean, he was wearing a T-shirt that read

“Gun church.”

I managed to grab a stool at the counter and he stood before me, wiping down the place

in front of me, growled

“Get yah?’

Sounded like a grizzly with a bad hangover, I said

“Jameson, coors back

He smiled, no warmth in it but a sort of knowing, said

“Mick huh?”

I nodded and he pushed

“You running a tab?”


He brought the drinks and I asked

“Get you one?’

He studied me for a minute then said

“Yeah, I’ll join you.”

To my amazement, he put out a meaty hand, said

“I’m Merrick.”

I was surprised, his tone was warmer, I took his grip, and we shook

He said

“Working hands, you on construction?’


He raised his bottle of Sam Adams, no glass, said


I said


He leaned over, asked

“Run that by me again

I did

He savored the word, like he was tasting it then gave a nigh perfect rendition

He asked

“You got a name or I have to like drag every piece of information outa you?’

I said

“Tommy, Tommy Ryan.”

He laughed, said

“Well, you ain’t Jewish, am I right?’

Before I could respond, he held up his bottle like a hurly, said

“Best warn you buddy, I am………. so answer real slow.”

“Some of me best mates are of that persuasion.”

Which was a lie but what the fook

It’s one of those lines I’ve always loathed, like,
Gee, what a fookin liberal you are

Christ on a bike


He was massaging his neck, like it hurt, I asked

“That hurt?”

He was taken aback, as if he wasn’t even aware he was doing it, said

“I play baskets, did my neck in, that damn S.J….she gets me every time and Fusilli, never

can quite out run him, so today, I got a cortisone shot and lemme tell you buddy, them

suckers hurt.”


I offered

“Buy you a jar?’

Took him a moment then he smiled

That smile took fifteen years off him, he looked almost like a nice guy


I didn’t think smiling was something he did a whole lot of, he said

“A jar?’

“Yeah, oh sorry, it means a brew.’

He reached for a bottle on the shelf, Wild Turkey, poured a shot with a practiced ease,


“I’m not taking advantage, I’ll charge you the price of a bud.”

I said

“I got paid yesterday so never no mind.”

He clinked my glass to his shot one, said


What can you say, I said it

“Back at you.”

He let the turkey wield it’s magic, said

“Way better than the goddamn cortisone and a damn sight faster.”

I sunk my Jay, let it warm my gut

It did

Why I drink it

Without asking he grabbed the Jameson bottle, poured me a lethal dollop, and then

looked at me, asked

“You ever in law enforcement?”

He was sharp

I’m Irish, we answer a question with another, keeps them off balance

“Why do you ask that?’

He used the cloth to wipe up the spillage from my very full glass, said

“You’ve got cop eyes.”

Then added

“Reason I know is, every morning I shave, I see the same eyes.”

My shot at a question

“Why’d you quit?’

He let out a long sigh, a sadness flitting across his face and then it was gone, he said

“My partner got shot, he’s in a wheelchair, I lost my taste for the job after that.”

The bar got real busy after and I had a few more brews, a nice buzz building..

Thin Lizzy came on the juke box , followed by

Rory Gallagher


De Danann

I looked over at Merrick and he gave me the thumbs up

I was warming to the guy

I don’t do friends


Not easily or often but this guy, he had some moves

End of the evening, he was stacking chairs and a heavy guy who’d been acting the bollix

all night swayed over towards Merrick, I could see the bottle held down by his side.

I moved quickly, took his knees out from behind and for the hell of it, gave him a wallop

on the upside of his dumb arse head

Merrick whirled around, looked at the heap at his feet, saw the bottle and went

“Phew, the fuck would have cracked my skull.”

He gave me an appraising grin, said

“Guess I owe you one buddy.’

I went American, badly I’ll admit, said

“No biggie.”

He laughed, asked

“You wanna go see The Jets choke yet again tomorrow evening, I have some tickets, the

way they been playing, you couldn’t give the damn things away.”

I knew the Yankee’s, and that was about it, said


That’s how we became friends

He lived on Long Island with his wife, two great kids

The Jets finally won a game and he bought a bottle of Jameson, said

“You and me bro, we’re going to get shitfaced.”

No argument there

Went to my hole in the wall in Brooklyn

He stared at the 1916 Proclamation on the wall, intoned the lines aloud, he had the perfect

voice for it, I put The Pogues on my cheap music set and we got stuck into the Jay

He looked round the sparse room, said

“Pretty basic buddy.”

Got that right

He was considering something, had been all evening, call it cop instinct and finally he got

to it, said

“Time was, I used to work as a P.I…….Me and a buddy named Moe Prager, then I

bought the bar and sort of drifted out of the business

He sipped the Jay then

“Moe got hurt a while back and asked me to follow up on a case he was on, a vile nasty

piece of work……….

He took a deep breath then produced a sheet of paper, handed it over, said

“This is a page from a ……………….well, you’ll see”

The very first line chilled me

I kill children


I said

Handed it back to him, my stomach in turmoil, Merrick said

“I’m gonna go after this sick bastard and thing is, I wonder if you’d be willing to tag


Looking back, how easy it would have been to say no, and Jesus, all the carnage that

might have been averted

I said

“Count me in

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