Albany Yank in Cuchulainn's Court
Duncan Campbell Crary

R ory offered his seat and the seat of his absent companion for two blondes standing nearby him in Mulligan's Pub on Poolbeg Street.
Both girls were impressed.
"Fear not ladies, chivalry is alive and well."
"Are you an American?" one girl asked with surprise.
"Sure am," he replied.
They laughed at his Americanism.
"I was born five miles from Uncle Sam's hometown."
"Uncle Sam--is he a real person?"
"Of course! Sam Wilson--he was a meat packer in Troy."
"That's brilliant!"
They laughed at the amusing trivia--or was it that he would tell them such a thing that amused them? Or something else entirely?
A moment of silence nestled between them.
"Where's Troy?" she finally asked.
"It's in New York."
"New York! Is it near Manhattan?" she asked excitedly.
He laughed a small laugh to himself because he'd been through this routine before. "'s about a hundred and forty miles from New York State."
Rory's large companion returned with two pints, surprised to find someone in his seat.
"Do you want it back?" one girl asked.
"We'll have none of that," said Rory. Then to his companion--"I gave our stools up for these lovely young ladies." Then, to the girls-- "Ladies, I would like to introduce to you my Samoan friend, Pub."
"Is that your name?" asked one of the girls. "Is it Pub, really? Or are you just takin' the Mick?"
"It's a nickname," he replied. "My real name is Pravir."
"Is that a Samoan name?" the other girl asked.
"No. I'm not from Samoa," he said. "Rory just likes to kid people. I'm an Indian."
"From India? You don't sound it."
"No. I'm an Indian from Ohio."
They laughed again.
"You're an American Indian--like Pocahontas?"
They all laughed.
"Like Tecumseh if you put it that way--but no, really. My parents are from Calcutta. I'm an Indian Indian from Ohio," Pub explained, realizing how ridiculous it sounded. They all laughed once again.
He could have pursued her. They both looked as though they were interested. But the loudmouth from New Jersey, who'd followed Rory and Pub from O'Connell Street, returned from the toilet to monopolize Rory's ear. Pub couldn't keep the conversation going on his own. So, the girls turned to their Breós and faced the wall. And Rory thought, girls from Ireland are friendly. That's just the way they are. Nothing more. Besides, he'd be leaving for Scotland in the morning. And then for the States. No point falling in love, then leaving--and he knew he'd have fallen in love, had he continued the conversation.

Rory sank into his Guinness.

First published: February 2001