There was a careful calibration to the tone of his voice. He took it on as the pints got a hold.
There were other men for whom the words would get lost in a slur but he slowed them down and took his time to pick over each word, treading carefully around its proper pronunciation until he got it out right and could move on to the next one.
My mind was almost as tightly wound as his tongue and as each word came out I tried to piece together its constituent parts and keep them together for long enough so I could take on the meaning of the next one. It was a bad combination and over the evening our conversation slowed down until he tried to explain something of his bad behaviour towards the mackerel.
‘There’s nothing in it’ he said. ‘A fish like that can come over a man until all there you need do was take the feckin’ thing off its bones and cook the two pieces in some butter and bacon fat.’
‘You’ve seen how they are in the light and their colours and how the skin will go hard and paperlike after a few hours. They are not a fish for waiting around and the fecks who try to put them in a deep freeze and eat them then are more fools than I can put a name on.’ ‘
Out of the water with the wet still on them there’s no grip in your hand to be had against them. And then if you try hold to take it off its hook.’