her name. Her only name. She was the bartender at a place called the Drinking
Fountain on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain. She spat and she swore.
She was fierce Irish, somebody said. Which meant, somebody else said,
that she sent money to the IRA. Shaughnessy with her cropped hair bouncing
on her shoulders. You'd have been crazy not to want her amid the shouts
and the incessant blam of the TV. She wore lots of gold. Around her neck,
from her ears, on her fingers. She wasn't married, at least not at the
moment. She wore overalls with the top part unbuttoned so that straps
flapped against her ass. Above, a tank top. To come and see her like that
on cold Boston nights—
I think Shaughnessy came from overhearing someone once say of a woman, "oh, well, you know, she's fierce Irish." I loved the way that sounded, and I think as I was thinking about the phrase this character just just came alive, you know what I mean? There she was angry, beautiful, wearing unbuttoned overalls.