Chef’s Privilege by D.S. Maolalai

(published 7th May 2018)

The publisher had sent my book covers that morning

by email. Final proofs. I sent back that they were good

and bragged about it on the internet. We were in Paris

in a flat on Rue de Belleville, the 11ieme aron and 6 floors walk

up. It was beautiful. From the window to the horizon there was nothing but roof. Fallon had to

spend the day working

but we could walk across the whole town in an hour

and did – even saw a museum and had a glass of wine

beneath the tower.

Give you a dollar if you jump in the Seine.

Bet you can’t touch one of the paintings.

Jack bought some shirts

and I bought a book at Shakespeares

and we all bought wine

and that long bread for cheese sandwiches

and sat about in the evening

watching the sun going red. Fallon had told

us where to meet him later,

though we were already drunk by evening. We had food too – Baker cooked,

I did the clean-up. Me, with a book coming out in a few months

wiping bits of potato out of the pan. Me, my hands

scrubbing up gravy. Boy it was something. We kept drinking wine. Chef’s

privilege – that’s allowed. Plus it was Paris. Hoy! and you throw it back one. Come on,

we’re on holiday.

It’s my first time back in a year.

Aodhain sat on the balcony and sipped whiskey

and ate bags of those little nuts that get everywhere on the floor. I was a published author –

I kept showing the covers to people,

man they must have been sick of me. Anyway

we met Fallon’s friends

around 11 without making the best impression – they don’t drink like us in Paris Fallon had said

they take it easy, over a long time. Well we’d gotten the long time right.

Jack was worst of us

but of course it was still me that went over. Bottle of wine underfoot

and straight down from the top of Montmartre,

face to the pavement for like 14 steps. Woke up in hospital and everything.

Don’t remember the ambulance.

The book came out 3 months later

and even managed to sell a little. I have a copy on the shelf over there

if you want to see. This scar on my forehead though, that’s going to last longer.

3 days in a hospital

and the doctor told me I had to quit drinking. That lasted a month.

I went to AA once in Dublin after

with two black eyes

and my nose still broken, but it made me feel

worse than the hospital. I cut my face badly

and had to get a CAT scan. I wrote a book of poems, though.

It was published. Here, let me top up your glass

and let me show you;

there’s one I think is even quite good.

high res page divider

Diarmuid o Maolalai.JPG

DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working dispatch for a medical supply company and his nights drinking wine. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.