Seamus Scanlon – The Long Wet Grass

The resonance of tires against the wet road is a mantra strong and steady. The wipers slough rain away in slow rhythmic arcs into the surrounding blackness. The rain falls slow and steady, then gusting, reminding me of Galway when I was a child where Atlantic winds flung broken fronds of seaweed onto the Prom during high tide. Before the death harmony of Belfast seduced me.

The wind keeps trying to tailgate us. But we keep sailing. The slick-black asphalt sings on beneath us. We slow and turn onto a dirt road, the clean rhythm now broken, high beams tracing tall reeds edging against the road moving rhythmically back and forth with the wind. No lights now from oncoming cars.

We stop at a clearing. I open the door. The driver looks back at me. The rain on my face is soothing. The pungent petrol fumes comfort me. The moon lies hidden behind black heavy clouds. I unlock the trunk.

You can barely stand after lying curled up for hours. After a while you can stand straight. I take the tape from your mouth. You breathe in the fresh air. You breathe in the fumes. You watch me. You don’t beg. You don’t cry. You are brave.

I hold your arm and lead you away from the roadway, into a field, away from the car, from the others. The pistol in my hand pointed at the ground. I stop. I kiss your cheek. I raise the pistol. I shoot you twice high in the temple. The coronas of light anoint you. You fall. The rain rushes to wipe the blood off. I fire shots into the air. The ejected shells skip away. I walk back to the car and leave you there lying in the long wet grass.

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Seamus Scanlon
Seamus Scanlon is a writer from Galway and is an award winning librarian and Associate Professor at City College’s Centre for Worker Education. His prize winning flash fiction piece "The Long Wet Grass" (Fish Publishing, 2011) was the opening story in the fiction collection "As Close As You’ll Ever Be" (2012). "The Long Wet Grass" play followed as part of "The McGowan Trilogy" (Arlen House 2014) which was produced in New York, Galway, Westport, Hastings (UK) and is heading for Tokyo in 2018. The film version of "The Long Wet Grass" was shot in County Mayo in late 2016 and had its Irish premiere at The Clare Island Film Festival on September 3, 2017. Screening in San Francisco, New York, Williamsburg, IndieCork and The Kerry Film Festival followed. His latest book "Irlanda en el corazón" is the Spanish translation of "As Close As You’ll Ever Be" with the title "Ireland in the Heart". He is working on a play "The Blood Flow Game" and screenplays for "THREE-NIL" and "The Butterfly Love Song". The film version of "The Resurrection Love Song" is due for release in 2018. Contact: or