A Divine Night Out

Submitted by Annie Humphrey

It was a cloudless, chilly day in February when my friend “Bill” called me after class. He felt that this Friday night would be better spent studying than attending a Flogging Molly concert. I didn’t have a car and the concert was 8 miles away, and the doors would open in three hours. Fortunately, I had the tickets, so all hope of seeing my favorite band for the first time live wasn’t lost. But I knew I would need a miracle to get there in one piece, on time. I called my best friend Patty. We had poured beer on a tree a week earlier for two Irish gods, Manannán MacLir and Lugh Lámhfhada. At the time it didn’t make sense and wasn’t really necessary, but now we were using all our brownie points with Manny and Lugh. We worked out a bus-train-taxi route to the venue and departed immediately, praying all the while for our gods to watch over us and keep public transportation running smoothly.

It was a warm February, so I only wore a thin white t-shirt – the standard fare for a so-so punk – and a cloth jacket. We waited for our taxi and Patty and I sang songs and jumped in place to keep our blood flowing. The train station was deserted. After a few Flogging Molly songs, we started singing hymns from our liturgy, hyper-fast so we could bounce in time to them. “Siuil linn a Mhanannon, walk with us Manannán,” we chattered into the dark night. Suddenly, the silence of the train station was broken by an odd, rhythmic scraping sound.

Patty and I stopped singing, our breath rising up in white clouds, and watched in amazement as a small boy turned around a corner. He was shuffling very quickly on the deicing salt – backwards. With a bright smile, he scraped between us, said hello, turned a corner, and disappeared. We were dumbfounded, until we saw the headlights of a taxi approaching. “We called for Manny, and He sure is a trickster,” said Patty, laughing as she got into the backseat.

We got to the venue just as the doors opened. The line was long but moved quickly, and soon we were inside – and twenty feet from the stage. I grumbled, knowing how much more fun shows are in the front rows, but Patty reminded me that we had a Gatekeeper watching out for us. Sure enough, person by person moved in such a way that, five minutes later, we were in the very second row of people. Anyone who has been to a punk show knows how difficult it is to get even an inch closer to the stage, and I am sure that such a movement like that couldn’t have been achieved without divine help.

Speaking of divine help, Patty and I had spent most of our money on the taxi, and there wasn’t enough to repeat the trip home in the same way. Sure enough, our new neighbor on the floor was a friendly girl who lived in my dorm and was more than willing to drive us back. Patty and I took a deep breath and relaxed.

As if the whole journey wasn’t epic and magical enough, Manny and Lugh had one last surprise for us during the concert. One of the opening acts was an amazing ska band from England called The Dead Pets. The lead singer wore a gangly striped suit, just like Manannán’s “old striped clothes” in Lady Gregory’s Manannan at Play, and the trumpet player had a halo of bleach-blonde hair just like the sun god Himself. They were a marvelous band and put on a really fun show, but their last song, “We’re Coming Back”, spoke directly to Patty’s and my hearts.

We’re coming back, we’re coming back,
We’re coming back to you
And we’re never gonna go away again.
Hold on a little longer, try a little harder
‘Til we all get there together in the end.
So remember! You have got someone,
You have got a friend
And you’ll never walk alone again.