Edward Mc Whinney


Tynan took a sleeping tablet at 1 a.m. This put him to sleep but it didn’t stop the dreams, it just made them more realistic. He dreamed he was the Minister for Finance. He signed a number of documents while under the influence of some drunken companions and as a result the country was brought to the edge of disaster. A newspaper headline read Tynan has Nation on the Brink. He tossed and turned and woke at 6 a.m. You will bring something terrible on yourself through your actions, were his first thoughts in the cold light of day, in the chill reality of dawn. It was a thought not unrelated to his dream, though of course he was no longer the Minister for Finance, just Tynan in charge of nothing else except his own destiny.

He got up and tried to pull himself together. I have done nothing of which I should be guilty, he thought. He shook his head and he shook his shoulders.

I am a loner, that’s all. He shook his head and his shoulders and looked out at a typically overcast autumnal day. He decided to take a drive. He drove east through the tunnel, the rain clouds holding off to the south. He bought a piece of cooked chicken in a delicatessen and drove over to a beach. The tide was going out, lovely white breakers in the sunlight. I am guilty of nothing, he thought, looking out through the windscreen, hungrily munching the roasted chicken flesh. If I really was the Minister for Finance, the country would be brought to the brink of ruin. He walked along the strand, dreaming, planning, thinking. He was planning a future but he had no idea of what. I just want to make it somehow. Other people walking the strand had possibly more important roles to fulfil, decisions to be made that would be of universal significance. If he, Tynan, walked into the tide now and disappeared, there would be no change whatsoever in the world. I could have tried to make it at something, he thought, something that would make a difference. Maybe I can still do it, be valuable in some way. I’m still young enough, still virile. It’s just this damned sense of foreboding that cripples me. I see ghosts and I get premonitions and I’m plagued by strange superstitious emotions. And so I am alive, was Tynan’s conclusion by the time he reached the end of the mile long strand. I am alive and the sun is shining.

And so I am alive. The sun is shining down. If my head was a chimney, Tynan thought, and I called in the chimney sweep, he would get three bags of soot, of black soot, black soot from the chimney.

He had a cup of coffee in a cafe back of the beach. It was cold, cold like the truth. The girl looked at him with her eyes, eyes there were warm like lies. The eyes asked questions. Why wasn’t he at work? He felt like telling her that he was the Minister for Finance, not to have her believe it but to make her laugh. She looked out the door with eyes that liked to size things up. How far from the truth was she? The truth is cold like the coffee she serves, Tynan thought.

At that precise moment something extraordinary happened, something so extraordinary as to have an effect on Tynan for the remaining days of his life. For a brief moment he believed he actually was the Minister for Finance, for a split second the line between reality and dream disappeared, reality blended with dream, there was a novel, quivering sensation in his brain, it felt like hot asphalt on the road ahead, the road ahead on a hot, humid summer’s day, wavering as though liquid fire.

I am the Minister for Finance, he muttered. Luckily, he said it in an incoherent voice, luckily because the girl cocked her little head to one side, pricking up her nice, white ears, the ears sticking out of her tied-back hairdo, she cocked her head to one side like a spaniel as if to catch what the Minister muttered to himself, such an important man to have in the cafe, The Strand Cafe of a normal week day. In the next instant, Tynan burst out laughing, as if to signal that he was back as plain old Tynan, an insignificant citizen of the state and not the Minister for Finance.

The girl smiled and shook her head and went about her business.

Is this the beginning of the end? One thing he hoped in his heart was that it was the beginning of a new attitude, for want of a better word, he would call it indifference, indifference towards all things mortal, fatal and real. That was something he aspired to. If a group of assassins came through the door wielding guns, enemies of the state, he would have the indifference of mind to look coldly down the barrel of the gun and face his death with equanimity.

Again, he entered the dream and was whisked back to the city in a chauffeur-driven limousine. They went through the tunnel worrying that if the Minister for Finance died it would have serious consequences for the nation. Important world-changing projects might never come to fruition. At that moment in his private thoughts, Tynan the Minister for Finance longed only for anonymity.

Tynan paid for the coffee and moved on. I’ll go back to the city. And I’ll immerse myself in a tighter language than the language of the dream. A man has one theme and one theme only and he should explore that until the day he dies. He should explore that theme within himself as often as possible and it must become his priority as in a kind of total immersion.

When he got back to Blackpool he parked the car and for some unknown reason he felt an elation stirring in his blood, though tired and weary, he felt the thousand dreams falling away and becoming one. He was elated maybe because he was not the Minister for Finance. Whatever the case, he felt uplifted, something entirely momentous had happened to him. Then he saw Little Bird trotting towards him with her pit bull terrier, the one she called Love. He wanted to stop her and tell her how happy he was that he’d survived the horrendous ordeal of being a man of such importance and that from now on he would be a nobody. He felt like jumping up and down on a roof. But Little Bird couldn’t stop because Love was dragging her onwards.

Then he saw a drunk coming along the street. He had a gash in his head that was bleeding. He seemed impervious to it. He rambled incoherently to himself. He looked out through drunken eyes. It was a man he knew by the name of Seanie. Tynan stopped him and said that he’d better go up to the nurse to get that head patched. Seanie rolled around and said that the nurse by her own admission was a brazen face bitch, even her mother said it. Well, come on I’ll take you up to St. Michael’s then, up to the A+E. But Seanie started to laugh, then he began to cry. I’m going home, home. Tynan watched him reeling along the street, taking both sides as they say, with a feeling of helplessness. Seanie, he said. It was his only chance, that day, to make a difference, to do something real, Seanie, his only chance. Seanie, he shouted, but Seanie paid him no more heed than the lamppost into which he collided at that moment.


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