Tom Cronin’s problem with mackerel

Tom Cronin finished his pint and looked up at Mary behind the bar.

He nodded his head, first at Mary and then at the man.

‘And he’ll have another one too,’ he said.

Mary picked up two glasses and took them to the tap on the bar and started to pour.

Tom Cronin shook his head. ‘I have lived here for forty five years and there has not been a day go by in the summer there has not been mackerel in the house and then even through winter there’ll be some in a barrel somewhere either pickled or salted. Yes they may be beautiful fish but there is only so much of that beauty a man can eat. And I, and I have had enough of them.’

‘You know as I do there are only so many ways to cook a mackerel and I have had them all too many times and l’m done with the fish.’

‘And I tell you again like I told you last night that I’ve had enough of the fishing of them as well. Sitting out there on a boat and there is either feck all coming out of the water or it is too fecking easy.’

‘And I have had it with pollack too. The fish is too lazy as it comes out of the water and you take it home to cook and it is like a wet uncomfortable blanket in the mouth.’

Mary put the two pints on the bar and the man reached behind himself again to take them and put them down on the table. Tom Cronin reached over and passed across a note. Mary took that to the till and counted out the change and left it in a small pile on the bar.

Tom Cronin and the man sat their quietly the pints resting in front of them.

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