Liam Greely cursed the cancer that had invaded his body. He’d lost twenty pounds. What was left of his gray hair lay strands on his head. Wrinkles cut deep into his face, made worse by decades of smoking and hard living. He was sick. Of the poison they siphoned into his veins, of the few months he’d been given, sick of being sick. The was one thing left on his list: Molly’s. The family pub.
Hunched over the redwood bar a distant cousin had crafted back in 1907, a pint of Guinness in hand, he contemplated the cigarette burns and watermarks that scarred its surface. The lines etched in his forehead deepened as he wrestled with the future of the pub he’d inherited from his father, who’d inherited it from his father, who inherited it from his father, who inherited it from his father back in the late 1800s.
He did not turn around when the door to the street opened, allowing afternoon sunlight to fill the room. Anne, his daughter-in-law, entered and sat on the stool next to him.
“How are you feeling, Liam?” There was a look of concern on her face.
“I’m dying; how do you think I feel?” He took a swallow of his beer.
She ignored his foul mood. “Has Molly been in today?”
“No, I haven’t seen my daughter since Sunday dinner. And I don’t need the two of you hovering over me every minute of the day.”
“We’re just concerned.” She curled a lock of hair behind her ear.
“I appreciate that, but I can take care of myself,” he said, then put the bottle to his mouth and drained it. He nodded to Tim behind the bar. “Tim, I need something stronger than this.” He pushed the empty bottle across the bar.
“Of course, boss,” Tim said as he picked up a shot glass and a dark green bottle. “Jameson?”
“Can I get you something, Ann?” Tim asked as he set Liam’s drink on the bar.
“I guess it’s not too early for a gin and tonic,” she said.
“Tanqueray?” Tim asked, taking a glass from the rack, and filling it with ice.