Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
by Mike Houlihan | March 12, 2023
The phone next to Patrick’s couch rang, the red phone. He leaned over and picked up the receiver.
“Hello, this is Patrick.”
The voice on the other end of the line was unmistakable, majestic.
Hey Pat… whatcha doin’?
“Just chillin’ Lord, how bout you?”
Meet me at the pub willya? We need to talk.
“You’re the boss. See you in five?”
Cool, I’m gonna pick up Brigid on my way over.
“My favorite lady. See you soon.”
Patrick grabbed his wallet and phone, ran a quick comb through his beard and hustled out the door of his crib.
On his way over he ran into a pair of old pals who teased him, “It’s the bishop! Beware the ides of March Pat!”
Patrick slapped five with them. “Sorry I can’t hang around, I gotta an audience with you know who!”
They laughed, “Well you better haul ass, you know how He hates to be kept waiting!”
Patrick walked into the entrance of The Gate of Heaven Irish Pub and made eye contact with the bartender.
“Hey Pete, they got you workin’ tonight?”
Pete laughed, “always Patrick, always working. You look like a man who could use a pint.”
You read my mind, Pete, thanks.
Peter slid “the blonde in the black skirt” across the bar. “I put the shamrock on the head just the way you like it.”
Patrick quaffed his Guinness and smacked his lips. “Dee-licious! Pete you pour the best pint in the universe. So whaddya hear?”
Peter leaned back against the top shelf, folded his mighty arms and grinned. “All I know is that it’s got something to do with Chicago.”
Patrick almost spit out his porter. “Oh no, not those goofy Chicago Irish again! Every year, they start some crap and wind up almost ruining my feast day!”
Peter laughed, “Relax, how bad could it be? The parades are over and so is the election!”
Patrick sat at his stool. “Wasn’t it bad enough last year with that crackpot mayor wearing a kilt to the Southside parade and telling everybody she’s “got the biggest d*** in Chicago?”
Pete laughed, “She’s history. I heard from some of my spies downstairs, they’ve got her dungeon all ready for her down there.”
Suddenly they heard trumpets and the swinging doors to the Gate of Heaven pub parted and God waltzed in with no entourage, except a tiny cherub who kept flying around his head until Our Lord said, “Knock it off Archie, take the rest of the week off!”
The tiny angel vanished, and God pulled up a stool at the bar and greeted his old friends.
“Hey Pete, Patrick happy upcoming Feast Day, great to see you guys. Gimme a Dewars and Soda Pete.”
Peter double timed behind the bar, “Comin’ right up boss!”
God lit up a Cuban cigar and smiled, “So what’s the buzz, boys?”
Patrick laughed, “Your meeting, your agenda.”
Pete bowed as he delivered the drink. “Thanks Pete, well as you guys know the Irish are my greatest creation, just love their ‘way’, and my favorite time to watch them is right around your feast day Patrick, they are just so damn entertaining.”
The lads chuckled.
“But lately I think you need some help Patrick, and I’m glad the Irish government agrees, because now there are two public holidays in the old country, St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th and St. Brigid’s Day on February 1st.”
Patrick blurted out, “Thank GOD!”
Our Lord laughed, “I figured you’d say something like that!
Patrick clinked his glass with God, “No seriously, I think I’m getting too old for this crap and can certainly use Brigid’s help, she’ll bring a new, feminine perspective to the whole deal.”
God corrected Pat, “Her being a woman has nothing to do with it! And neither does the fact that she’s drop dead gorgeous, which she is of course. There is no hierarchy in heaven, if you make it this far and you’re lucky enough to get in, no butt kissing will get you any higher or keep you here, there’s only one boss and everybody else is a saint.”
Pete pooh-poohed, “What about your son?”
“He’s the boss too, he IS me. So go back and look at your shamrock in case you forgot how it works, Patrick. Now turn on the big TV and let’s see what those Chicago Irish are up to today.”
The gigantic screen above the bar flickered and showed images of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.
They heard a woman’s sultry voice as she entered, “Come on that’s old news, let’s see what’s going on with the Mike Madigan trial.”
They all turned to greet St. Brigid, looking outstanding with her red hair up and green yoga pants tucked into her boots.
God leaned to kiss her on the check, “Hi Breege!, you’re lookin’ lovely today darling.”
There were air kisses all around and Peter said, “What’re you drinking, Brigid?”
Brigid lit up a cigarette, “Thanks Pete, gimme a Tullamore Dew on the rocks!”
God said, “Mike Madigan’s trial has been put off for another month Breege, but take it from me, it’s gonna be a big nothingburger.”
She grabbed God by his sleeve, “You think he’s gonna get off?”
God laughed, “I didn’t say that did I? I just know… well besides everything… that Madigan has the personality of a Sphinx and his trial ain’t gonna break any box office records for excitement. He’s so boring I can barely tell he’s Irish.”
They watched the big TV in the Gate of Heaven bar all afternoon as it screened highlights of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations all over the universe. All agreed that Chicago’s were the best, and then Brigid put her drink back on the bar and said, “Hate to drink and run boys, just dropped by to wish Pat a happy feast day. It was fun fellas, but I gotta date.”
The guys grumbled. A date? With who? You’re in heaven, who you gonna date?
Brigid sashayed out the door giggling, as they all watched her leave, and she told them, “I can’t kiss and tell, but here’s a hint, his name is Michael, not Madigan and he’s an Angel, an Archangel!”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Mike Houlihan is a Chicago writer and director.
Known around town as “Houli,” he is former features columnist for The Chicago Sun-Times, Irish American News and currently Chicago correspondent for The Irish Echo. He began his career in 1973 as an apprentice with The American Shakespeare Festival, appearing in the classics there and in regional productions across the nation as well as Off-Broadway, on Broadway, on TV and in major motion pictures. He is a playwright and author of anthologies “Hooliganism Stories” and “More Hooliganism Stories” and the gonzo Mayoral campaign journal “Nothin’s on The Square”. Founder of the Annual Irish American Movie Hooley film festival each Fall at The Wilmette Theatre. He was honored as 2020/2021 “Irishman of the Year” by the Emerald Society, the Irish American Police Association. His Hibernian Radio Hour podcast can be found at hibernianradio.org and streaming worldwide on Sat. nights from 7-8PM on Global Irish Radio, GIR.ie.