Wednesday 10 July 2019

Featured Author: Laurie Cusack

Congratulations to Laurie Cusack,who has just successfully completed his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. 

Laurie is Leicester-born and his parents hailed from western Ireland. He has recently completed a collection of short stories called The Mad Road about the Irish for his PhD. Cusack’s stories deal with the gritty reality of submerged existence which he portrays in new dark humorous ways. The underbelly of the Irish living in Britain is explored in provocative fashion throughout. His narratives often deal with the politics of the work place and the blood, sweat and tears of the everyday. He has several short stories in print. 'The Bottle and the Trowel' was recently published in the award-winning anthology, High Spirits: A Round of Drinking Stories, edited by Jonathan Taylor and Karen Stevens. Below, you can read an extract taken from that story. The piece deals with a young Irish working man in crisis talking to his hospitalised Irish friend, who is in a coma from an accident that happened through negligence on a construction site in London.

Extract from 'The Bottle and the Trowel'

That smarmy safety officer sidled up to me the other day, Jerry, as I was setting me profiles up. A firm’s man through and through: ‘Look, lad, we all know how you feel. It’s agreed that there was a glitch in McLain’s system, that wasn’t picked-up. Which has now been rectified. New stratagems are being put in to place for the next build. Is that OK, my old son? I don’t think recrimination is the way forward, do you?’

‘Yeah, and my mate’s up shit creek without a paddle. Will ye cop on for feck’s sake!’ I fired back at him.

He stormed off with the huff, ‘You just can’t talk to some people, you’ll never ...’ mutter, mutter, mutter, Jerry. Those yellow fecking jacket boys do your head in, don’t they?

Then a soft union skin came in to the canteen, as I was eating me scran, ‘Look, Lorcan, it’s not worth rocking the boat over this,’ he said, in a hushed sort of a way.

I know they’re shitting their knickers over the Health and Safety Executive’s visit next week, Jerry. They’ve got wind of my bolshie mutterings around site. I should’ve been keeping me head down. Now they’re really pressurising me to sign. What would you do, Jerry?

Hughie Cairns, my old tradesman used to slag our gaffers off to fuck: Mushrooms, that’s all we are to them. They like to keep us in the dark and feed us shit. Mushrooms. Then he’d laugh his head off, Jerry. I learnt stacks from Hughie. Super glue that in to your mind, gosser, he’d say, as we pointed our brickwork up. Hughie would have seen this coming a mile off.

I don’t want them to get away with this, I really don’t, but the way things are ...

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