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Cork Lives
“There was a corporate gig here, a party for some company or another. Look at the amount left! All they wanted was drink.”
“There was a corporate gig here, a party for some company or another. Look at the amount left! All they wanted was drink.”

Summer Soap: On a ‘Missing’ poster, an image of Eve’s pal, Katie (Episode 4)

THE tables in the room were laden down with the remnants of party platters —mini crab shells, mini burgers, salmon sandwiches, tiny quiches, and cocktail sausages were left untouched on the silver trays. Half-empty glasses of wine stood amongst stains on the starched white tablecloths.

“The boom is back — for what it’s worth,” Eve said.

“There was a corporate gig here, a party for some company or another. Look at the amount left! All they wanted was drink. It’s muggins here will have to lug it down the fourteen floors.”

The hunger was dissolving her stomach. She could feel it, painfully sharp and impossible to ignore. There’d be nothing left soon.

“Sure, why don’t we sit down ourselves and have a party?”

“Go on, girl, I’d be shot if they caught me. The name’s Tommy, by the way.”

“I can see that.” 

Eve pointed to his name tag.

Tommy turned to get some plastic bags and Eve stuffed three cocktail sausages into her mouth.

“What were ya doing here, anyway?” Tommy asked as she gulped down the food, hoping he wouldn’t notice.

“I saw the lights. I’m a bit of a moth, to be honest.” She laughed.

“I was supposed to be off for the match — so if you’re stuck for something to do, ya can help me haul this lot downstairs.”

She figured he wasn’t much older than her. His brown curls stuck out from under his peaked cap, and he had eyes that reminded her of a dog she’d seen on National Geographic once — a husky she thought it was — arctic eyes. He had a dimple on his chin and she knew that he knew he was good-looking by the cocky way he asked her to help him do his job for him.

Eve grabbed some black plastic bags and started to clear the tables. She kept a bag over her left arm, putting the sausages and quiches into it. She could share it with the others later.

They worked hard, in silence, until about an hour had passed. Once the tables were clear, they pulled the bags towards the lift. Tommy took a pack of rizlas out of his pocket and started to make a cigarette.

“Smoke?” he offered

“I don’t smoke,” Eve said, “and never will, especially after me Mam dying from lung cancer.”

“Shit — sorry to hear that — I should give up myself, but I like the time out. It gives me something to do.”

“She’d have been doing a lot more if she gave up when she was your age,” Eve said.

Tommy glanced at her, then stuck the rollie behind his ear.

“You’re a barrel of laughs — come on, we’ll throw these in the bins out the back and head into town. D’ya fancy coming in?”

“I’m busy tonight.”

“Ya look it.”

The lift door opened, and the plastic bags strained when they pulled them across the floor. Eve kept note of the one she had marked to come back for. They passed the entrance to the kitchen and Eve’s eyes caught on a poster on the wall.

“Hang on a sec’.”

“Missing. Katie Lynch from Donegal, aged 15, long brown hair, green eyes, wearing black skinny jeans, a blue hoodie, and a dark jacket. Any information, contact Letterkenny gardaí.”

Katie looked out at Eve from the poster. She was wearing what looked like a school uniform, a brown jacket, and a yellow shirt underneath. Her eyes, still full of that wry smile from the library, seemed so lifelike Eve could have sworn that the picture was really breathing.