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Funny Fiction

Would you look at the state of her, coming waddling along, her bandy legs barely able to support the weight above her. Mind you, you do see her out walking every day but the weight never shifts. She’d need to do more than just walking.

“Ah hello Missus! Out to get your exercise in? Good woman yourself! You’re looking well!”

Aye, me hole you do. 

“Not at all, sure the weight is dropping off you, looking fantastic!”

Ah look at her, eating up my words. Wonder how many calories in that?

“Eh? Ah I’m not too bad myself, thanks. Just heading to the bell tower, the clocks running a bit slow.”

A bit like the way you’re moving. 

“And I have to train up some new lad to take over with me retiring. I best be off, take care now, God bless.”

Look at the state of her waddling along.

Ah there’s the bells. 


Diiingdong dingdooong, diiingdong dingdooong, diiingdong dingdooong, diiingdong dingdooong.

Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn.


I do love the bells. 

That wee skitter better be there. I told him to be there at nine. I hate a man being late. 

Best nip into the shop here and pick up a sandwich for later, don’t want to be going hungry. 


“Just this ham and cheese sandwich Billy. Yeah. No. Yeah. Lovely weather we’re having.”

Gobshite

“Heading over to the bell tower now, running a bit slow and I have to train up some new fella to take over. Take care now. Bye bye.”


What time is it? 10 past. Grand. 

I should have got milk.  

Let’s see if this new fella is here. 

Can get milk on the way home, need to mind that. It would go bad in the sun anyways

“Are hello young Jack! Good to see you’re on time!”

A wee weasel of a fella I’d say, eyes a bit too sharp, nose a bit too short.

“Sure come on then and we’ll get started.”

The cheeky wee shite barely spoke. He better be showing me respect. Does he not know who I am? Can he not see the plaque on the wall with my name on it!? Mulligans clock! Who does he think Mulligan is? Nearly sixty years I’ve been working on it. Cheeky wee shite!

Sixty years and all to show for it is a plaque and a name. Would have been better with cash. Or a gold watch. Whatever happened to gold watches? Would have been appropriate to give the clocks caretakers. Ironic, in a way. 

“Come on then, don’t mind the damp.”

It is cold in here. Better the cold than the heat. Can’t work in the heat. Could have bought the milk, wouldn’t have gone sour in here. 


Tick tock, whrrrr, tick tock, whrrr. 

Ah that sound. The sound of my life. Tick tocked and whrrr’ed away. 

A life well spent. Just no gold watch to show for it. Cheapsakes the lot of them. Just a plaque. 

“Don’t worry, the stairs won’t break, they just creak.”

I hope this cub is up to scratch. Doesn’t look it. 

“You’re a fine young lad, you’ll be able to do this no problem.”

Tick tock, whrrr. 


Diiingdong dingdooong. 

Quarter past. Lovely. 

“Now listen closely to what I say. It’s very important we get the timing right here. Otherwise the town clock will read wrong, all four faces, and that’s a disaster for everyone. And it looks bad on me because it’s my name on it, you understand?”

Going to have to explain everything. The lad’s as tall as a post and twice as thick. 

“So this is how you wind the mechanism. See? Turn that round and round until it’s tight. Well done. Good man.”

This boy is slow. 

“Whenever I pull this lever it disconnects the mechanism. Now, those hands will slacken and fall, making it look like it’s half past six. What? Yes, I know it’s not half past six.”

Thick as a plank. 

“You move the hands back round to the correct time and when it’s right push the hands in to lock them in place again? Ok? So set the time and push. Got it?”

Just a nod, not a word. Cheeky shite. He’ll never stick at this. 

“Right, over you go and fix the hands. Shout when you’re at one because I won’t be able to see you down here.”

He even walks like a clampit

“Good man, so set all of them to twenty past nine. Are you done? Tell me when youre done. Done? Good man, well done.”

Ah Jaysus, he really is slow. 

He’ll never stick at this. No chance. Why bother training him? Didn’t even get a gold watch. 

“Come on down, all done.”


Diiingdong dingdooong, diiingdong dingdooong.

Half past, beautiful. 

Not much chat out of of the lad. Glad to be finishing up. Maybe he actually is a bit simple. His father was never too bright. 

Oh no there’s Father Moran, wonder if I can slip out without him seeing me, ah damn. 

“Ah hello Father, how are you? I’m not too bad thanks, keeping busy.”

Let’s keep this short. 

“Yeah, yeah, was just up sorting the clock. Yeah was running slow. Same as myself! Ha ha.”

He’s as dull as dishwater. 

“Yeah, yeah, don’t want to be keeping you now. Take care. And say a prayer of me!”

As if that would do any good. 

“Ah thank you Father, God bless, God bless. Bye bye now.”

Thanks be to Jaysus, would be easier to escape the plague. 

Ah good the suns still shining. Must mind about that milk. 


“Ah hello Mrs Fitzpatrick!”

Christ, is she still alive? What, are Jesus and the Devil arguing over who has to take her?

“I’m keeping the best thanks, how are you yourself?”

Well of course you’re sore, you’re old enough to be Jimmy Joyce’s wet nurse. 

“No, no, we were just up at the clock. We just fixed it. It was running slow. Eh? No, no, we already fixed it!”

Daft auld bat. Not surprising she’s half-senile, look at her. 

“No, we ALREADY fixed it! It’s showing the right time now!”

She’s really gone this time. Wonder if she’s blind too. Can’t see the clock properly. 

“No, the clocks showing the right time, I set it myself! Ok, ok! We’ll go fix it again.”

Daft bat, get away to feck trying to tell me my business. 

“Bye bye now.” 


“Right son, you get on home now and mind yourself.”

What a strange fella. Stupid grin on his face. Simple grin. Simple boy. 

Ah the bells. 


Diiingdong dingdooong, diiingdong dingdooong, diiingdong dingdooong, diiingdong dingdooong.

Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. Domn. 


Wait, it’s not ten yet. Why are the bells going off? 

Sure the clock is showing twenty five to

“Did you set one of the faces wrong? Did you get the timing wrong?”

Thick as a bleedin’ plank!

“What do you mean look for yourself?”

Cheeky shite. 

Hold on a minute, none of the faces show the same time, they’re all feckin’ different!

“Are you thick? Can you not set time? What do you mean it’s a warning to the town? What do you mean ‘you should never trust a man with more than one face?’ That’s my clock up there! Ah, away and feck yourself!”

July 14, 2022 20:15

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14 comments

Ba Eubank
20:26 Jul 18, 2022

Great job showing inner dialog on what one many times thinks as they are talking to someone. Love the story.

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Seán Mc Nicholl
11:21 Jul 23, 2022

Thank you so much!! Sorry for only replying now!

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Katy Borobia
04:00 Jul 16, 2022

Whoa - this is extremely good. It's truly complex, very witty, with an almost surreal ending that I really, really love. Thank you so much for sharing.

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Seán Mc Nicholl
11:23 Jul 23, 2022

Thank you so much Katy! Was a fun write! Sorry for only replying now, hectic week and only getting caught up!

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Michał Przywara
20:53 Jul 15, 2022

Ha :D Very much a funny story, and Mulligan was a well realized character. I loved the effortless duplicity. So that said, I wasn't expecting the ending, "you should never trust a man with more than one face". What a great way to bring it to a close! There's a lot to like here, but I think my favourite were the pair of lines after the clock strikes 9: "... I hate a man being late. Best nip into the shop here and pick up a sandwich for later…" Great characterization :)

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Seán Mc Nicholl
11:24 Jul 23, 2022

Ah thank you so so much Michał! It was a very fun write!!

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Cindy Strube
20:00 Jul 15, 2022

Inner and outer dialogue is great! So human… “never trust a man with more than one face”. Love the clock analogy. Our town has one of those with four sides, so was easy to imagine.

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Seán Mc Nicholl
11:25 Jul 23, 2022

Thanks so much Cindy! Sorry for only replying now!

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Cindy Strube
16:41 Jul 23, 2022

We all have lives beyond Reedsy…Understood! ; )

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Seán Mc Nicholl
11:25 Jul 23, 2022

Thanks so much Cindy! Sorry for only replying now!

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Riel Rosehill
16:55 Jul 15, 2022

Oh wow this was fun! I never read a story that was just one side of dialogue and that person's internal thoughts - loved the italics! My favourite par was: "“Just this ham and cheese sandwich Billy. Yeah. No. Yeah. Lovely weather we’re having.” Gobshite" I laughed out loud 😂 The humor in this was excellent!

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Seán Mc Nicholl
11:26 Jul 23, 2022

Ah thank you so much Riel! Was a last minute re-write but it was fun! Sorry for only replying now, too many stories on the go this week!

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Jay Mc Kenzie
12:22 Jul 15, 2022

Sean, this is really funny! I'd just written you a long response and it's disappeared (this is like the third time this has happened. So annoying). I love Mulligan. I love the inner voice. I love the use of Gobshite. It's just so pleasing on every level. There were a bunch of lines that made me laugh out loud, but I don't want to scroll up in case I lose this again! I add this to the ones I want to hear you read on Blue Marble. I enjoyed this immensely.

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Seán Mc Nicholl
14:35 Jul 15, 2022

Aww Jay thank you so much! Really REALLY appreciate it! ❤️ Genuinely was iffy about this one. Even my wife was like “meh” and she usually quite supportive 😂 (The first attempt at this was brutal though. Was 3rd person and didn’t work at all!)

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