Location: The Bell’s Last hotel. Sally is on a stool in the main bar. Strange and Old Mr Reidy are in the kitchen, listening out in case anything goes awry.
SJM: Sally Reidy, hi, thanks for agreeing to talk to me.
Sally: I’m really here because Ma Alphie said it was a good idea. I’d rather be weeding.
SJM: Then I’ll make it quick. Tell me what you can about last November Eve.
Sally: Well sir, there was a terrible storm and a visiting raft-man was struck by lightning. It was a tragedy, even though we’d only known him a day. We gave him a proper send-off, though. His soul-boat floated all the way to the Come and Go. It was beautiful, but very sad.
SJM: And is that all you can tell me?
Sally: Just as we discussed. I can’t say anything more about that day. Now it’s my turn.
SJM: All right. Fire away.
SJM: Oh, it’s a figure of speech. I mean, you can ask me a question now.
Sally: Yes, I know I can. It’s my turn. (She looks scornful).
SJM: Ah…right. I didn’t mean to annoy you.
Sally: Why do you pluck your eyebrows?
SJM: My eyebrows? Oh. Is is that noticeable.
Sally: Yes, sir, it is.
SJM: Well, my wife doesn’t like them when they get all bushy.
Sally: So you do your wife’s bidding? (She smiles).
SJM: Ah, yes, I do. Sometimes.
Sally: Why not all the time?
SJM: I thought it was my turn.
Sally: This is still part of the same question.
SJM: All right. I don’t let her tell me what to do all the time, just when it seems like it would make her happy.
Sally: Why would she ask you to do things that would not make her happy?
SJM: Well, I suppose I will do what she wants, if I can’t see any reason to say no.
Sally: That is most peculiar. You may have your turn.
Mr Reidy: You all right in there, Sal? He’s not up to any funny business, the human?
Sally: No father, he’s not. (To me): You may ask another question sir.
SJM: Tell me about the Ballykin. How often are they born here?
Sally: About once every…ten years I would say. I do not keep track. There is not one living in this village now. That is what I can tell you.
SJM: But there used to be one living here?
Sally: It’s my turn. When you pluck your eyebrows, do you give the hairs individual names?
Sally: Do you name the hairs? Or do you just throw them away, unnamed and uncounted?
SJM: …I…pluck them out in hunks with tweezers and then I flush them down the sink. I don’t give them names.
Sally: That is repulsive. I have had enough. Father, Strange, you can come in now.
SJM: Sorry to disturb you. I’d better leave, I think.
Sally: Nonsense. You are staying for dinner and then drinking with us until you cannot stand. My father will be deeply offended if you do not.
SJM: Ah…thank you.