HOLLY ARRIVED AT HOGAN’S PUB feeling a lot fresher than the day before, but her reactions were still a little slower than usual. Her hangovers seemed to be gradually getting worse as she got older, and yesterday took the gold medal for the hangover of all hangovers. She had gone for a long walk along the coast from Malahide to Portmarnock earlier that day and the crisp fresh breeze helped to clear her fuzzy head. She had called into her parents’ for Sunday dinner, where they presented her with a beautiful Waterford crystal vase for her birthday. It had been a wonderful, relaxing day with her parents and she almost had to drag herself off the comfortable couch to go to Hogan’s.
Hogan’s was a popular three-story club situated in the center of town, and even on a Sunday the place was jammed. The first floor was a trendy nightclub that played all the latest music from the charts. It was where the young, beautiful people went to show off their latest fashions. The ground floor was a traditional Irish pub for the older crowd (it usually contained old men perched up on their bar stools and stooped over their pints contemplating life). A few nights a week there was a traditional Irish music band that played all the old favorites, which was popular with the young and old. The basement was dark and dingy and it was where bands usually played, the clientele was purely students and Holly seemed to be the oldest person in there. The bar consisted of a tiny counter in the corner of the long hall, and it was surrounded by a huge crowd of young students dressed in scruffy jeans and ripped T-shirts, pushing one another violently in order to be served. The bar staff also looked like they should be in school and were rushing around at a hundred miles per hour with sweat dripping from their faces.
The basement was stuffy with no ventilation or air-conditioning at all, and Holly was finding it difficult to breathe in the smoky air. Practically everyone
around her seemed to be smoking a cigarette, and her eyes were already stinging her. Holly dreaded to think what it might be like in an hour’s time, although she seemed to be the only one who was bothered by it. She waved at Declan to let him know she was there but decided not to make her way over, as he was surrounded by a crowd of girls. She wouldn’t want to cramp his style. Holly had missed out on the whole student scene when she was younger. She had decided not to go to college after school and instead began working as a secretary, where she moved from job to job every few months, ending with the awful job she left so she could spend time with Gerry while he was sick. She doubted she would have stayed at it that much longer anyway. Gerry had studied marketing at Dublin City University but he never socialized much with his college friends; instead he chose to go out with Holly, Sharon and John, Denise and whoever she was with at the time. Looking around at everyone, Holly didn’t feel like she had missed anything special.
Finally Declan managed to tear himself away from his female fans and make his way over to Holly.
“Well hello, Mr. Popular, I feel privileged you chose me to speak to next.” All the girls stared Holly up and down and wondered what the hell Declan saw in this older woman.
Declan laughed and rubbed his hands together cheekily. “I know! This band business is great, looks like I’ll be getting a bit of action tonight,” he said cockily.
“As your sister it’s always a pleasure to be informed of that,” Holly replied sarcastically.