They'll feed you with strong drink, me lads
Noland’s Meat Plant, South Boston, St Patrick’s Day, March, 1999
There were twenty-five people working in Faith and Connor’s department that day and all were planning their Saint Patrick’s Day festivities - either out loud or in their minds. Many meat plant employees had taken the day off and a holiday atmosphere prevailed with those remaining.
It was hard to look sexually attractive in loose fitting white coveralls smeared with droplets of animal blood, but Faith and Connor both privately thought the other managed to achieve it somehow.
Connor asked Faith the burning question of the hour between them in his honeyed tones. “How many Bostonians is it taking ta change a light-bulb, Faith?” Connor had come over to bum one of Faith’s cigarettes off her before taking a quick break outside, he tucked it behind his ear.
“Floor me with your hilariousness,” Faith encouraged him indulgently, pressing meat into a grinder.
“Five - one ta screw in the light-bulb and four ta say how the old one was superior,” Connor grinned at her.
“How many Irishmen does it take to screw in a light-bulb?” Faith shot back instantly. “Assuming ya bog hovels have juice in the first place.”
“Well you know what they say about assuming… how many?” Connor went along with it.
“Twelve, one to screw it in and the other eleven Paddies to stagger ‘round wasted watchin’. Speakin’ of which, you guys gonna be at McGinty’s bar tonight?” Faith checked with studied casualness. “Or wearing more holes in the knees of ya jeans at Evening Mass?”
“Been ta Mass this morning, you’ll be seein' us down at the pub.” Connor winked at her and ducked outside for his smoke.
Connor leaned on the stair railing of the fire exit stairs outside the plant, dragging smoke into his lungs and reflecting on the words of the priest spoken at the Mass he had attended that morning.
Why did people look away from others in trouble? Connor didn’t understand human behavior half the time. It was wrong to steal, rape and murder, wrong to sell drugs to school kids.
Connor intervened when he saw others needing help, he came to people’s aid, from little old ladies crossing the road, to street walkers being roughed up by their pimps, that was how everyone should act wasn’t it?
Connor returned to work to be slapped in the cheek with a raw steak by his hiding brother as he walked through the fire exit doorway. The plant workers chuckled at the McManus brothers’ constant free entertainment.
Christ, Connor McManus made her horny even with cow blood splattered on his stubble covered jaw. Faith’s heart and loins yearned for Connor as she unjammed a meat grinding machine that had a piece of beef bone caught inside it.
At four o’clock in the afternoon, half an hour before Faith, and the McManus brothers finished their day’s shift the plant foreman introduced everyone to a new worker.
Faith adjusted her white cap that kept her hair out of meat and machinery, staring unashamedly at the dog ugly new addition to the Noland Plant team. The strange woman was built like a brick shit-house and had a tattoo on her throat that read untouched by man
Doyle had warned Faith this morning that on no account was Faith to get into a fight with this massive woman, otherwise the force of Faith’s right hook would push the bull dyke into a meat hook killing her. This Powers That Be information was useful to know, but Faith didn’t see why she would get into a fight with the woman in the first place.
After five minutes Faith began to figure it out.
The new worker, Rosengurtle Baumgartener, did not immediately endear herself to her co-workers, launching into some bizarre pseudo feminist tirade at Connor after he casually used the expression ‘Rule of Thumb’.
Green Card carrying Connor was a qualified butcher like his brother Murphy, and had been volunteered to show Rosengurtle the ropes.
Everyone felt uncomfortable over Rosengurtle’s hissy fit and worked on in stiff silence.
Connor attempted to lighten the mood, “Hey Murph?”
“Aye,” Murphy concentrated on cutting up the hanging cow carcass in front of him.
Connor smirked, “How many feminists does it take ta screw in a light bulb?”
“How many?” Murphy sliced the meat with ease.
“Two," Connor informed him. “One ta screw it in and one ta suck my cock.”
All the listening meat plant workers cracked up.
Rosengurtle stabbed her knife into the piece of meat she was working on and advanced on Connor. She pushed him and he backed up laughing.
“I knew you two pricks would give me problems. Give me shit ‘cause I'm a woman. I'm not gonna take your male dominance bullshit!” Rosengurtle stated aggressively.
Connor still chortling tried to calm her down. “Oh, come on now, Rosengurtle. I was just tryin' ta get a rise outta ya.”
“Yeah,” Murphy chipped in. “Just tryin' ta break the ice is all.”
“Fuck you,” Rosengurtle snapped at Murphy, “And fuck you, too,” she added nastily to Connor.
“Oh, come on its St. Patty's Day.” Murphy protested laughing. “It's all in good fun.”
All the plant employees abandoned the pretense they were working and gathered around the three bickering meat plant workers.
“Baumgartner sound Irish to you, fuck face?” Rosengurtle clenched her fists.
Shit, the chick seemed to have a bigger anger management problem than Faith did.
“Now look, Rosengurtle, we're sorry.” Connor couldn’t get through to the muscular hairy lipped feminist. “Just relax.”
Rosengurtle reached back and punched Connor with all her hefty might in his face.
Connor remained standing and ceased backing away from her. He was giving the sow one last chance. He would never hit a woman - normally. “Why don't you save all your aggression for protests and marches and what not?” he suggested reasonably.
Rosengurtle kicked her heavy work-boot into into his groin.
Connor collapsed into a white faced heap on the floor. Faith (eager to show kindness to the guy who made her wet just by winking at her) and an altruistic Mrs. O’Leary instantly bent down to help pick the poor prick up.
“You fuckin' slaves,” Rosengurtle spat at the concerned Faith and Mrs. O’Leary, “Kowtowing to the needs of men! Get up! Get the fuck up! Leave him there.”
Holy shit! No one spoke to Faith like that, she was gonna fucking pulverize the bitch. Oops, oh no, hold on, Faith wasn’t. Christ, thank god for Doyle’s visions.
Rosengurtle spun around and raised her fist in turn to Murphy.
Murphy punched her square in her ugly mug with a powerful blow. The huge woman landed flat on her back.
The plant onlookers were amazed.
Murphy marched across to his fallen foe and stood above her, staring down in triumph. “Guess you'll have ta change that tattoo now, won't ya, Rozie!?” No one fucked with his brother and got away with it walking. Ma would hopefully understand his out of character assault on the fairer sex if she ever learned of it.Evening, Doc McGinty’s Bar, South Boston.
“And Ma made me and Murphy swear we wouldn’t be getting into any more scrappin’ this evening. So can I be buying ya another drink?” Connor raised his voice over the noise of the crowded bar packed with St. Patrick’s day celebrators.
“Yeah, Guinness thanks,” Faith requested, man, everything had been going wicked fine between her and Connor tonight.
Connor had been telling Faith how his mother had called him and his brother to wish them happy birthday before they set out for the night and had pretended to blow her brains out over the phone as a guilt trip joke.
Faith tended to admire or envy functional families, her one so wasn’t. Although Connor had grown up without a father in his life as well, so it gave them both something in common. Something in common apart from them both finding the other seriously hot.
Connor put the two drinks on his bar tab and proceed to push his way back out of the throng crowding the bar.
“You coming onto the Lehane kid?” One of Connor's best pals, a guy called Rocco who was a small time errand boy for the Italian mob, queried.
“Aye,” Connor’s groin was back in working order due to serious application of ice in the plant sick room and back at his loft apartment.
“You can’t be fucking serious, you can’t go down the block to buy a fucking pack of cigarettes without running into nine guys she’s screwed.” Rocco shared with Connor in his customary gentlemanly manner.
“And have you fucked her?” Connor interrogated Rocco.
“Hell no,” Rocco remembered the black eye he received from Faith when he’d tried to get sleazy with her last year with a frightened shudder.
“All I’m then needing to know - that the girl has taste,” Connor undeterred went forth in pursuit of true love and getting his leg over.
Connor’s romantic hopes were dashed as he observed Faith now sitting at their table with the dark haired fellow Irishman she was often seen with but whom Faith assured Connor, Doyle was neither her potential boyfriend nor pimp.
“Hey, sorry but I gotta go, Connor.” Faith sighed sadly as she got up to leave with Doyle. “Got somewhere else I hafta be. Call me.”
“You’ve made the right choice,” Doyle assured her as they left McGinty’s bar and walked onto the street together. “Don’t be looking glum, Plastic Irish, I know of another pub we can get loaded at.”
“Of course ya do, freakin’ Mick alkie.” Faith jeered at him, she zipped up her leather jacket in the cold of the street and searched for the bright side in the situation, “This bar have pool tables?”
The bar that Doyle took Faith to did indeed have pool tables and most importantly no Russian Mob members that Faith would have ended up committing manslaughter on tonight.
If Faith had not also received info from Doyle about potential vamp victims she would not have believed how many people she seemed destined to kill accidentally. It was like Doyle helped Faith constantly cheat fate.
That and fifty bucks worth of booze made her feel quite tender towards him. She invited him back inside her house for a nightcap as he stumbled homeward with her after their bar closed for the night.
Doyle tripped over one of Faith’s cats once inside; she caught him before he fell. He kissed her, she kissed him back, they tore off each others clothes and proceeded to have clumsy, drunken, substandard sex on Faith’s sofa.
Two freaky things happened mid coitus with Doyle. Firstly he grunted out “Oh Harry, I love you,” when he got off, and secondly his face changed color and grew spikes before snapping back to normal.
Faith didn’t think he’d drugged her. Weird. Doyle rolled off her onto the floor and began snoring loudly.
Faith grabbed her clothes and went upstairs to crash in her bed.
The next morning Faith with a pounding hangover slipped on clothes, sunglasses, and staggered out to her local pharmacist to purchase emergency contraception and painkillers.
She lurched back inside her home to find Doyle fully dressed and making coffee in her kitchen.
“Oh thank Jays-us,” Doyle snatched the painkillers off her and took two tablets immediately. He looked like hell. He watched Faith gulp down hormone tablets and painkillers in a ‘morning after’ stomach turning cocktail.
“Sorry about that,” Doyle apologized, feeling guilty over not having used a rubber in the heat of the moment, “Uh, wanna pretend we have retrograde blackouts or are you wanting to pursue a romantic relationship? I’m not keen personally, I don’t like you that much.”
“Fuck off!” Faith exclaimed horrified, putting her empty glass of water down on the kitchen bench. “Fake amnesia’s five by five with me. Hey and what’s with you being a homo and a demon? You mighta told me.” It was like finding out your one night stand had genital warts or something.
“I’m not fecking gay!” Doyle spluttered into his coffee indignantly. “Where’s that accusation coming from?”
“Saying a guy’s name when you shoot ya load is kinda a fag giveaway.” Faith poured cat biscuits into bowls to shut the meowing cats in the kitchen up. God, her poor brain - hearing cats yowling was the last thing she needed.
“Harry?” Doyle remembered illuminated, “That’s my wife’s name. Harriet.”
“Wife?” Faith’s eyes narrowed dangerously.
“We’re separated, have been for years, I just can’t bring myself to sign the divorce papers.” Doyle hastily reassured Faith, “Choirboy legacy.”
Faith understood Catholic guilt which was why she hadn’t been a practicing Catholic since she was thirteen. She nodded, “Almost-ex a demon too?”
“No, just me, I’m half demon, Brachen demon, Irish, vegetarian, harmless.” Doyle elaborated in case Faith cut off his head with a kitchen knife.
“Good to know, now piss off.” Faith poured herself coffee, and seated herself down at the kitchen table. “And don’t let a cat out when you leave.”
Faith discovered the McManus boys were heroes when she arrived at the meat plant the following evening to start her night-shift.
Shit, Faith was officially impressed upon finding out the McManus brothers had personally killed two Russian mobsters in self defense last night. And Connor had definitely been hitting on her in McGinty’s bar the previous evening. Wow. Faith crossed her fingers that Connor would call her when he got out of the Boston Police Department holding cells.
A girl could fall goofily in love with a good citizen like Connor McManus. Buffy eat your heart out. How did Angel measure up compared to the likes of the McManus brothers? Well, no brainer, the souled vampire didn’t.
Faith could hopefully screw her brains out with Connor McManus and not have to worry about her own Irish stud turning all evil on her afterwards. Did that rock or what?
The rest of the week passed for Faith in the usual blur of meat processing and vampire staking. Disappointingly Connor McManus neither called Faith nor showed up for work.
Rosengurtle Baumgartener had laid sexual harassment charges against the McManus brothers and they were counter claiming. All three were suspended on full pay while the Union Rep sorted the mess out.
There seemed to be a hell of a lot of gangland killings recently in the news that week, but all of the victims were total wastes of space so no one in Southie cared, least of all Faith who had something major to worry about.
One of Faith’s cats, Mr. Toddles, was sick. The vet Faith took the neutered tom-cat to delivered the bad news that Mr. Toddles remaining time on this mortal coil was not for long.
Faith needed the dribbling beast alive for accommodation purposes. Her asshole Grand-pop had left a will guaranteed to leave his heirs at each others throats.
Basically the deal was this, each of his relatives received the chance to live in his house for free as long as his cats remained alive, if a cat died the next Lehane received the opportunity to live in the falling down house. There had originally been twelve cats when her grandfather passed away in 1996. The person who kept the most cats alive for the longest period of time would inherit the money pit house one day.
One of the will trustees visited Faith every month to check on the status of the cats well being.
But Faith received news of a potential break from two druggie skanks, Donna and Rayvie, in an L Street bar on Friday night. Donna’s cat was apparently identical to Mr. Toddles in fur coloring. Faith intended to buy Donna’s cat off her and pull a sneaky switch.
The only downside about getting Donna’s cat was that she happened to be mob messenger Rocco’s live in girlfriend, so Faith would have to go around to that sleaze-bag’s apartment on Saturday afternoon. Yuck, Faith couldn’t stand the Guinea douche-bag.
The afternoon sun shone weakly as Faith knocked on the door of Rocco and Donna’s apartment.
Donna led Faith into the apartment with red eyes from weeping.
“Someone die?” Faith could see that serious drinking had been taking place inside the living room. The living room table was overflowing with used ashtrays and empty beer bottles.
“My poor fuckin’ kitty, Rocco shot him and pulled a gun on me too, the fuckin’ bastard.” Donna waved a shaking hand to gesture to the blood and brains stain on the wall and the cat’s blown apart corpse lying beneath it.
“Jesus H. Christ!” Faith couldn’t believe her cat pick up plans had been trashed in this way. “That sucks!”
“Those Irish inbreeds he hangs out with witnessed everything, I’m gonna subpoena them as witnesses, I’m gonna sue Rocco.” Donna sobbed distraught.
“Doncha mean get him locked up?” Faith queried puzzled.
“What good would that do me? Then where am I gonna crash?” Donna sniveled hotly. “Nah, I’m gonna take that prick for every cent he’s got. Emotional trauma at seeing my pet dead, that cat was fucking everything to me.”
“Yeah, what was it called again?” Faith tried to look sympathetic.
“Fucked if I can remember but he meant the world.” Donna wiped her nose on her hand, a thought occurred to her. “Hey, you got any shit on ya?”
“Uh, no, well I can see how you need to be alone at a time like this.” Faith backed rapidly away, “Be seein’ ya, um, take care.”
Faith went back out onto the street - shit, shit, and shit. She ran slap bang into the McManus brothers and Rocco returning to the apartment.
“Faith,” Connor’s face lit up into an appreciative smile.
“You sick fuck!” Faith jabbed Connor in the breastbone with her index finger, “Gettin’ your jollies blowing away an innocent cat’s brains on a Friday night.” Guys were all the same, the guys she was into anyways.
“Faith, it was a fuckin’ accident, Rocco slammed his beer on the table and the automatic fuckin’ discharged, we’re not the type of fuckin’ deviants that get off from target shooting at helpless dumb animals.” Connor beseeched her, grabbing her hand and holding it firmly.
“Why were ya getting hammered in the first place with a loaded gun on the table, that the latest version of Emerald Isle Roulette?” Faith realized she had severely overestimated Connor's gray matter. She pulled her hand away, disillusioned in a male yet again. “You guys are retards.”
“Faith, no, we’re….” Connor stopped mid sentence, how could he explain to the New Englander he lusted after, that The Holy Spirit had spoken directly to him and Murphy in the police holding cells in a dream this week and instructed the twins to rid the world of evil men. Their friend Rocco was along for the holy ride.
How reasonably could a man explain he had used looted money from the pockets of the Slavic gorillas he killed on the morning after St Patrick’s Day, to buy guns from the Boston branch of the IRA to then assassinate Russian mob ringleaders, and had been spending the rest of the week eliminating Italian Good-fellas and Hit Men one by one?
“Connor, we have ta be moving.” Murphy urged his brother; they were planning a purge of an Italian Mafioso’s house this evening and had arrangements to make.
“Gonna kick to death a baby Shetland Pony next?” Faith bitched, she was furious about her Mr. Toddles substitution scheme being thwarted.
“We’re not fuckin’ animal sadists.” Connor insisted emphatically. Fuck, Faith was such a sweet girl clearly, being so upset at that poor creature of Donna’s unfortunate fate. Who knew that being on a mission from God could have these dating downer side effects?
“Connor, shift your arse, man.” Murphy tugged at his brother’s overcoat sleeve impatiently.
“Faith, I might be needing to be out of town for a wee while, but I’ll call you when I get back.” Connor placated the Yankee-Celtic bombshell of his wet dreams.
“Screw you.” Faith heard enough bullshit in her young life already. She stalked off into the sunset.
“Faith, hold your fuckin’ horses,” Connor called after her impotently. Damn, he fucking liked the lass. Murphy and Rocco were staring at him. “Screw her,” Connor lied loftily. “Now how are we gonna gain entry into the mansion do ya think?”
Faith stomped grumpily back to her house, threw herself on her sofa once inside, and reread Xander’s latest letter to her.Dear Faith,
Have things being happening here, Buffy fired Wesley and told him she’s going to North Western U. after all today. Giles is going to be her watcher again, not Wesley because she refuses to start using firearms to kill demons like he wants her to.
After Buffy killed the Mayor last month she’s become harder somehow, more her way or the highway. (Thank Jupiter, the assistant mayor made contact with her before Mayor Wilkins became some kind of Civic Superman or we all would have been screwed.)
It might be Buffy’s got hard nosed all of a sudden because she’s cut up about Angel leaving big time. As you know I never was big on the guy and it wasn’t just because he snapped Ms. Calendar’s neck while soulless.
Anyhoo, Willow’s off to some College in Germany next fall whose name sounds like a sneeze, and Oz and Devon are going to drop out of high school and tour with their band hoping to make it big. Oz and Willow have broken up - guess there must be something in the town water supply.
So I’m gonna drop out too, my marks in the SATs were enough to give my old man a heart attack if he ever found them out, who needs the grief?
I was wondering pretty please, if you could put me up around mid summer?
I’ve always wanted to do a Cross America road trip and it would be cool catching up with you? Would it be okay?
Hope you’re giving those Beantown Vamps hell,
P.S. Buffy and Giles say hi
Aha! The real reason Xander was corresponding to Faith revealed. He just wanted a place to lay his hat while on the East Coast.
Christ, men were all using assholes, Faith didn’t know why she bothered getting her hopes up for a second about any of them.
Her front doorbell rang and she opened the door to Doyle.
“Someone in trouble?” Faith reached for her leather jacket, prepared to hit the mean or urban renewal streets of South Boston to do the hero gig.
“No, for a change of pace,” Doyle strode into her hallway. “How’s the cat?”
“Not too good, speed-freak he ain't, he don’t like taking his pills.” Faith showed Doyle the healing claw marks on her arm. “And I don’t wanna break his damn ungrateful little geriatric jaw with my super-strength.”
“Vet given you this?” Doyle held out a strange device. “Feline pill popper, works a treat I’m told.” He prepared to return to his lonely sordid apartment.
“Thanks,” Faith hesitated, “Hey, you wanna beer?”
Doyle took his charity shop leather jacket off without a seconds pause. “Is a pope Catholic?”
Maybe just maybe, there could be a little true kindness in the world.***000***