The green hydra by Flint Dille; Gary Gygax

By Flint Dille; Gary Gygax

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Part of that feeling came from his look: he never looked like a typical Irishman, and because our name does not sound particularly Irish, people thought that my father was not Irish. Really, it was only in old age that he began to latch on to the sentimental values of the Irish-Americans, the green soup and the stupid green Page 12 plastic derbies, the jukebox filled with bogus songs by the Clancys. In his heyday, my father could not have cared less about all that Paddy nonsense. Give him a good bar to drink in and that's all he wanted.

But I gave it up a few years earlier. Instead, I say hello to some cousins and nephews. I play the uncle or the long-lost cousin. I say hello; I shake hands. I look to the front of the room, where my father is in repose, and think that I should go forward, that I should make my obligatory kneeling in front of the coffin to pray. But something holds me back. Well, it is not something; it is fear. Death scares me, though I am too cowardly to admit that to anyone. Page 4 But, of course, my mother notices.

But that is not Page 18 the problem. I need him here. I like to kiss his bristly cheek that, by nightfall, has turned a purple-black from needing another shave. I need him to stand up to my older brothers and the bullies in the neighborhood. I don't need him to play ball, nor do I need him to yell at the other boys. I simply need him here. His presence is needed to let the others know that this is the power behind me. That's the father I mourn. Page 19 II. Page 20 Page 21 2 Where the Sky Ends Early Saturday afternoon on November sixth, in the TWA terminal at Kennedy Airport, I wait for three of my brothers to show.

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