'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Wednesday, August 04, 2004


I spent the evening painting the shed. It was built over fifty years ago, and as far as I know, it was only painted once since then. The green paint on the wood had been fading and flaking for years. I painted it red.

My cousin Darren once played golf. He only played once because that first round didn’t go so well. He was playing with his boss, and everything was perfect until the tenth hole. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful setting. Darren took a deep breath and said, “This place looks amazing. You could almost imagine deer coming out of the woodland.” His boss, Bob, told him about his own pet deer called ‘Donkey’. He decided to get a pet deer because he thought he could use it to attract women, and women did find the idea of a pet deer very appealing when he told them about it, but then he told them the name and they suddenly found the idea very unappealing. He hadn’t attracted a single woman with Donkey. As he was telling this story, a group of people were standing behind them on the tee, waiting for Bob to take his shot. The Saint Patrick’s Day parade had taken place a few days earlier, and the floats in that year’s parade were very different from previous entries. On the year before that, a group of school kids entered the parade. They just walked along the route. One of them held a Japanese flag, one rang a bell and the rest just waved to the crowd. For some reason, one of them was holding a pencil in the air, but his teacher kept telling him to put it away. Their excuse was that their float had been stolen by joyriders, but really they’d just forgotten about the parade. They won because people had pity on them. So on the following year all of the entrants tried to elicit pity. One group of people just walked the route of the parade and kept walking. They pretended that they didn’t have homes to go to. They would have won if they had stopped walking on the first night, but they wanted to make sure, so they kept walking for two days, and it was this group who turned up on the golf course. They stood on the tenth tee and they heard the end of Bob’s story about Donkey the deer. They heard him refer to ‘Donkey’ and the woman who led the group asked him who or what Donkey was. Bob had seen them in the parade and he thought they were homeless people. He felt guilty about having a pet deer when these people had nothing, so he told them that Donkey was his pet donkey. Having a pet donkey was nothing to feel guilty about, and they were very impressed by this. They walked around with Bob and Darren, and Bob told them all about his donkey, but on the fourteenth green he told them a story about the time Donkey got his antlers stuck in an apple tree, and the leader of the group said, “Antlers? He’s not really a donkey at all, is he?” “No,” Bob said, “he’s a deer.” The ‘homeless’ people didn’t like this at all. For the rest of the round they constantly booed Bob and Darren. This is what put my cousin off golf. But the group weren’t really angry with Bob. They weren’t really homeless. The only reason they got on the golf course was because most of them were members. The woman who led the group called around to Bob’s house a few days later to see the deer. They’re engaged now. A few other people in Darren’s office have tried this method to attract women – buy a deer called Donkey and tell women that you have a donkey called Donkey.

The moose’s head over the fireplace reminded me of Sherlock Holmes when I walked into the room. As I looked out the window I imagined the moose wearing a hat and smoking a pipe. I turned around to look at it. I think there was something about the eyes that reminded me of Sherlock Holmes. I looked out the window again. A few minutes later I thought I heard the word ‘Watson’. I turned around and I very nearly said, “Yes, Holmes?”