The Canary Murder Case
Oonah V. Joslin

It would have been easier if I hadn’t said those things intended to wound; “Look at yourself, Mammy; barely scraping together three meals a day and a litter o’ wee’uns too.  You’re worse treated than some auld sow.  What kinda a life is that?  Well, I’m going to be a singer, so good luck!”  

Such was my hunger for romance and my uninhibited enthusiasm for Sean Coughlin, that I followed him to Dublin.  I wanted to be, ‘part of the action’.  I’d heard that in one of them new talkies.   

There was plenty of action in the back seats at The Volta Cinema, which was big enough to afford heating.  While talkies were taking on colour, so was my life.  But I was in love with the darker side of everything, including moonshine.   

In America, they had prohibition, high-grade Canadian whiskey and Al Capone.  We had partition, our own brand of gunmen and poteen.  Sean ran that show and every show, and I was his girl.  His associates called me Miss Josey-Mae, out of respect.  I was doing well, so long as I sang to his tune.   

It was cold on the 8th October when we went to see what The Irish Times billed as, Film of the Week.  Afterwards, I told him. “And you just expect me to believe your wee bastard’s mine?” he said and slapped me hard.  I fell downstairs but he didn’t stop there.  Sean killed the canary in me.  But still, I couldn’t go home.

First published: November, 2008
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