Luke’s eyes bulged and his pale face reddened.
“What the fu-fu-fuck do you mean you’re not doing it-doing it any-anymore?” he said.
“Exactly what it means. I’m not doing it anymore with you. It’s over. Curtains. I’m calling time. No more Sunday visits. Period.”
“And-and-and why? Tu-tu-tell me why?”
“I got a job.”
He laughed, a cruel harsh cackle that made his eyes water and his shoulders shake. When he had finished, he looked at Farrah with disdain.
“Who-who-who the fuck would hu-hire yu-you?”
“It’s none of your business, but I got a job. A real job. And the money’s good. I won’t have to fuck you anymore for the few quid.”
These last words were like a slap. He reddened even more and took a step towards her.
“And whu-whu-what about all the uh-uh-other fu-fu-fellas you were fucking? You’ve-you’ve han-han-handed in your nu-nu-notice to them too?”
“Yeah. I’m on the straight and narrow, now. Luke.”
“Huh! You-you-you’re a slapper and you-you’ll always be-be a slapper.”
Farrah shook her head and stared Luke down. Far from being cowed by his words or body language, she remembered that she was just as tall as him and perhaps weighed more. She decided not to be afraid of him.
“No, Luke. I’m a sixteen-year-old girl who’s had some tough breaks and fallen in with the wrong type of people. I need to leave you and all the rest of it behind me. I need to start dealing with stuff or I’ll wind up bad. And whoever wants to trash-talk me can just fuck off for themselves.”
“They’re not-not-not your words,” said Luke with a sneer. “Who-who-who have you been talking to?”
“Someone who knows about stuff. Someone who cares. Someone who’s not a sleazebag.”
“If-if-if-if you’re calling me a slu-slu-sleazebag you’d-you’d-you’d want to watch your-your mouth — slag.”
They were down at the end of Farrah’s road, where a line of boulders blocked vehicular access to the field that opened on to the Shannon. It was a place where they had been meeting for a couple of years, a lonely, dark space where they could be together unseen, all the houses at that end of the road being abandoned, and which Luke could get to through the field without having to pass any occupied houses. The streetlights were perpetually out of order, local lads making sure that replaced bulbs never lasted overnight.
“I’m not calling you nothing,” said Farrah angrily. “I’m just telling you how it’s going to be from now on.”
“So-so-so we’re just-just fu-fu-friends now? It’s nu-nu-not you, it’s-it’s mu-mu-me?” His voice was mocking, notwithstanding the stutter. His face was bent into a half-hurt half-bemused expression that she had never seen before. “Is that the wu-way it is?”
With a steely look she told him they had never been friends. “You paid me to fuck you. Dress up as your fantasy women. Shave my fanny, for fuck’s sake.”
He grabbed the top of her arm with a claw-like hand. “If-if-if-if you tell an-an-an-anyone about that—”
“What? You’ll kill me.” She swatted his arm aside. “Fuck off for yourself, Luke. You’ve done your damage to me. It’s over.”
He made to grab her again but she stepped aside.
“Farrah. Ju-ju-just remember that with one-one-one click of a button I can pu-put certain vi-vi-videos up on-on-on-on the nu-nu-net. An-an-and they’ll bu-bu-be up there forever. Ju-ju-just remember that.”
“Gu-gu-go fu-fu-fuck yourself, Gu-Gu-Geoghegan,” she said, turning swiftly around and running up the street. “Gu-gu-go fu-fu-fuck yourself.”
Luke walked aimlessly around the estate, thought about going to Bowsie’s to drown his sorrows, but continued on. He had never had someone break it off with him before — never been in a relationship before — so he had no past experiences to draw on. But he was familiar with the feelings that ebbed and flowed in his heart: anger, hurt, a sense of injustice at having been treated unfairly, the stinging feeling of being mocked, shame. These had accompanied him all the way through school, had been like silent partners in the dismal enterprise of his life. Things had improved when he left school. The bad feelings had receded, only surfacing when people mocked his stutter in the shop or when the few girls he had had the bravery to ask out had rejected him.
Reject, rejection: those words had followed him around like a mongrel dog since the day he was born. What had his father done? His mother done? Rejected him. All those little boys who would not befriend the strange, scrawny, pale boy who couldn’t talk? Rejected him. Girls like Trish, dozens of them, who made his heart beat faster and his mind believe there was good in the world? Rejected him. And the name they threw at him in the classroom and the schoolyard, lurid, jeering faces screeching at him like apes? Reject. Reject. Reject. Reject.
And now he really was a reject. A girl he paid to spend time with him had dumped him. Mocked him. Told him to leave her alone. I lost my cherry with her, he thought.
As he walked out of the estate and made towards the old medieval town, dark and quiet now, he looked back on the few years of their arrangement. His Sunday afternoon sessions had often been the highlight of his week. Getting through the long days he put in for Francie was made easier knowing that he would be enjoying Farrah’s sweet body on the Sunday. It had started out with standard sex. Embarrassment had held him back at first, when he had fucked her quickly and perfunctorily, not thought of going beyond the missionary position. But little by little he lost his inhibitions and became more adventurous. Farrah was always accommodating — if the price was right. By the time he thought of using her to play the women he followed, he had lost all his shyness and shame and felt that anything was permissible on those Sunday afternoons.
Farrah had taken them away.
Tears stung his eyes. Incredulously, he wiped them away and quickened his stooped walk.
What will I do about Máire?
Fucking Farrah dressed as Máire had been the only thing keeping him sane through all the bother with Senán.
That fucking bitch has taken Máire away from me!