I’d thrown the spanner harder than I’d meant to. It bounced against the granite wall with a sharp clang and rung out around the workshop. One hard object clashed with another hard object, neither relented and the result hung heavy in the air. The spanner had missed the framed photo of Pope John Paul II that, for some reason, hung on the wall, by about two inches. Eamonn wouldn’t take this well, he loved that photo.

“What exactly is it you think you’re doing firing spanners around my workshop?” he bellowed at me under the brim of his bright red work cap; “I’ll wring your bloody neck if you keep carrying on like that in my worksh..”

“Your workshop?” I said, my throat dry with indignance. I picked up another spanner and, gripping it tightly, I pressed the round end into my palm with my fingers; “Your workshop is it?” I said waving the spanner in his face; “Me here bent over these bastardin’ machines all eight hours of the day and you barking orders at me from that little office of yours. Your workshop my eye”.

“Eight hours of the day?” he said with a smirk “Is it the ESB you think you’re working for? Because I’ll tell ya, you’re a gas man with your eight hours a day. And it’s a straight face you have on you telling me this, is it? The only times you’re here for eight hours of the day are the times I don’t wake you up to go home”.

I felt the veins in my neck protruding again.

“I’m sick to the back teeth of this carry on” I snapped; “Constantly looking over my shoulder and breathing down my neck about this thing and that thing, treating me like a child. The doctors are telling me I’ve to watch my heart, ya know. If I’m here at nine, you’re giving me palpitations by ten.”

His eyes narrowed and I could see his sharp tongue working in his mouth:

“It’s a good thing you’re never here at nine then”.

The second spanner hit the wall with a toll like the first bell of the Angelus.