PAPERBACK BOOKS

THE MAN WORE BLACK


THE MAN WORE BLACK  

“Buckle up, because you are about to take a voyage through the stormy sea of an emotional, yet topical saga of forbidden lust and its inevitable consequences for all concerned.  

Handled with honesty and realism. A second book from a    sensitive author, brave enough to reveal the frailties and courage of the human spirit.  

Well done, Sir, once again.” 

Vince Chumney.  

In Store Price: $19.00 
Online Price:   $18.00

ISBN:1-9211-1866-0
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages: 93
Genre: Fiction

 


Author: Peter Maloney
Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published:  2006
Language: English

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR      

Peter Maloney has previously published a book a poems and short stories and The Man Wore Black is his first novel.

            There are elements of truth embedded in the book, but mainly The Man Wore Black is a work of fiction. After five years of boarding school experiences in Ireland , a stint as a barman in London ’s West End as well as time served in the Royal Australian Airforce in Canberra , Peter has many more yarns left to tell.

            Arriving in Australia in 1955 as a ‘ten pound’ migrant, Peter spent most of his working life as an Industrial Engineer in Sydney . With his family ‘up and running’ Peter now lives Bundaberg , Queensland .

YEARNING

Sparkling droplets, sunlight mirrored,

Spray so freely, gaily spread.

Mood encouraged, nymphs at frolic,

Land on skin and downward wed.

 

Brush the rising, firm and thrusting.

Unaware of life’s designs. 

Master sculptor, His creations,

Smile and know their young desires.

 

Visit, gaze and feel your urgings;

Envy lilies sharing pond.

Tinkling laughter blends with ripples,

Rise and fall and ever bond.

 

Places dreamed and yet forbidden,

Budding mounds, a future goal;

Climb and fall, a storm of passion,

Cloaked in youth, at play, control.

 

Wish; detract the moments squandered,

Life, so stark, a punished dart.

Push the hour hand back a circle.

Leap and join the young at heart.

 

Splash and laugh and share their freedom.

Bodies tanned and firm, at play.

Arms encircle, stirring contact,

Aware, beware, a hidden fray.

 

Please conceal your burning passion.

Give them room to hug, be gay.

Envy youth, so brash and trusting.

Time enough to share our way.

 

Peter Maloney – April, 2004

Read a sample: 

 

LAKESIDE HOLIDAY  

 

‘Mammy, look! There’s a man standing on the end of Hassey’s pier, all dressed in black. God… he must be soaked! Who’d be out in this weather? He must be mad, surely.’ Mary, my older sister, wiped the condensation from the front door glass, pushing me aside as I tried to squeeze past her to have a look for myself. The storm raged outside, with sheets of rain, wind driven, whipping across the bungalow roof and walls. Cloud banks, like piles of mechanic’s rags, raced across the grey, sodden sky.

            This weather was not unknown in Ireland , even during the summer months. My precious holiday break from the end of June to September, each year, as far back as I can remember, was spent in this bungalow at the shoreline of the Dromineer lake, on the river Shannon, providing an uninterrupted view across the lake to the County of Clare, ‘the far shore’, as it was known to the locals here abouts, and about seven miles across as the swan flies. Half way out, say three miles give or take, lies the island of the Corakines, a good fishing area with plenty of weed beds where the big fish hide in ambush. In season, starting on the twelfth of August, each year, the wild duck are fair game, and a good feed they are, too. Each night, they come off the lake to head inland and feed off the wheat and barley fields. They are very clever, and always send one lone bird ahead of the main flock, to see if there is any danger lying in wait. If the point bird gets through without incident, then the main flock follows, usually around ten minutes later. If the weather allows, the shooters hide in the beds of rushes surrounding the point where the Nenagh river empties into the lake, and watch and wait in their wooden boats, retrievers at the ready, eyes skywards, to see and blast at the flocks of wild birds that have the moon as their backdrop. As you can tell, I love my lake, and am in tune with its moods and all that it provides for the fisherman and hunter, but it must be treated with respect, as it can turn on the unwary, with many a drowning, mostly when careless fishermen ignore the changeable weather patterns that are common in this part of the world.

            At school, in town, six miles away from my beloved lake, the dreaded Christian Brothers have me in their cruel claws, using the excuse of a sound Catholic education, whatever the cost. At the tender age of ten years, I know the sting of the double stitched leather, so stiff that it squeals in agony if moved out of its rigid shape. It is applied mercilessly onto extended hands, for whatever sin the half-collared semi-priest feel the need to dish it out; and God help you if you pull that wavering hand back at the crucial moment of impact. If the holy man missed a stroke because I moved my hand back, he would bring his leather weapon, specially designed to inflict major pain, up from underneath, and connect with the back of the offending hand. That hurt as much as across the flinching fingers. Where did they learn that stuff? In the Gulags perhaps, but surely not in the holy shrines of the merciful order of Rome ? We had one exponent of the strap, as it was called by its victims, who prided himself in the dubious record of complete subjugation and surrender to his wrath with threats of ‘blood on the walls’, which he insisted, we, as the scum of the town, would stay back and scrub as clean as a new born baby. Are newborn babies clean? I don’t know about that stuff, but I have heard stories. You know what school yard gossip is like, eh?

            As you can tell, the classroom and I are not the best of friends. Ah, but let’s not dwell on that topic, because now I am on  summer vacation, far away from the musty smell of crowded rooms and clanging bells demanding attention.

            Each year my mother rents our bungalow, as I proudly call it, for three glorious months of adventure. I live for this time by the lake, taking full advantage of the swimming, fishing and exploring, alone, mostly. I am the youngest of three children, and am allowed to take our wooden boat out on the lake by myself, on calm days, yet, always in full view of the shoreline. To row past the point, four miles out, is forbidden, unless accompanied by an adult. My favourite pleasure is to row out a mile or so, far enough to feel alone, ship the oars, lie back and watch the fluffy clouds chase each other across the blue sky. Maybe I’m a bit of a dreamer, but as the youngest, with nobody to play with each day, I make this lake and all it contains my friend and protector, understanding and eager to collect and dispose of abandoned rubbish, especially from the indifferent townies who invade the shoreline, each week end, for picnics and swimming. As I run about on bare feet, I have suffered the occasional cut from broken glass, discarded by these careless visitors. Each Monday morning I search and collect the discarded waste, as I wish my lake to look its best at all times. The lake and I are the closest of friends.

            Alone in our boat, I can find faces, animals and castles in the cloud shapes, allowing my vivid imagination to run riot, watching the ever-changing sky scene. Curious seagulls plane and swoop above me, taking advantage of the gentle breezes. The wide winged, long necked white swans, intent on their desired destination, sometimes fly past, showing no interest. Peace I find in these precious moments, lulled by the gentle lap of the surface ripples against the wooden hull of the boat; slap, slap. On a calm day, the lake appears as a sheet of glass, mirroring the sky above, yet responding to the movement of the fickle breezes that caress its surface.

            Today, however, Mother Nature is reminding us that there are many sides to her moods, and being angry, so is the lake. White topped waves, white horses we call them, roll in to crash against the shoreline, breaking against the two concrete piers pointing their long arms out in to the lake. Storms aplenty have gouged holes in the weathered concrete; so care is needed to reach the dogleg end of Hassey’s pier, the one opposite our bungalow. Boats that normally tied up at the pier opposite the boat house had been pulled well onto the shore before the storm arrived, to avoid damage against the pier.

            Why would a man stand on the end of the pier, facing the rain, wind and breaking waves? Hatless, his black suit soaked, he gazed out over the boiling water, with waves breaking and washing over his black shoes, yet he seemed to be unaware of the raging elements pounding his manly frame, his legs spread wide to maintain his balance in defiance of the driving force of the summer storm.

            Mammy turned away from the front door, speaking to me with urgency in her voice, ‘Peter, put on your raincoat and hat and go fetch that poor man inside, now.’ I togged up, and she, having checked that I was covered and buttoned up, opened the door just enough to squeeze me out. This was new. This was exciting. ‘Go.’

            Wind and rain buffeted me as I ran down the gravelled pathway, through the front gate, bare-footed, as normal for the holidays, across the road and on to the pier, stepping nimbly around the rain-filled holes in the concrete. I stopped behind the man and squinted up at his tall frame. He was unaware of my presence, as he leaned forward against the wind and driving squalls of rain. I reached out and tugged the soggy end of his suit coat. Turning slowly, he gazed down at my oil-skinned form, then crouched to look into my eyes beneath my floppy head gear. A smile creased his handsome face, and I lost all fear, and grinned back at his rain-covered face. Something about him, his eyes, maybe, dark, kind and knowing, made me want to be his friend.

            ‘Where did you come from?’ he asked, his voice deep and reassuring, as the rain rivulets coursed down his strong face. Somehow I knew that he was at one with the raging elements, revelling in their power, completely undaunted, and that confidence transmitted down to me also, and all awareness of the storm vanished. In truth, I felt grateful to the wild fury raging around us for introducing this stranger to me.

            ‘Mammy told me to bring you in out of the storm. That’s our house,’ pointing to the white-walled, red-roofed building behind us. I squinted up at him as I shouted those words above the noise of the breaking waves and howling wind.

            ‘And what’s your name?’ He was talking to me, man to man, not like my sister, who called me Squirt, or Boy, depending on her mood.

            ‘Peter,’ I shouted, ‘and what is your name?’

            ‘John,’ he replied. He glanced over to the bungalow, hesitating momentarily, as if considering the offer, then, with a smile and a nod, called out above the storm, ‘Right, lead the way.’

       Twice, as I sidestepped or jumped the water-filled holes in the old pier, I glanced back to reassure myself that he was following, and he was.

       The front door opened just enough to allow us, separately, to sidle through, accompanied by the wind driven rain, demanding entry, also. Once inside, Mammy firmly shut the door, stood back and surveyed our sodden forms. Puddles formed at our feet. ‘This is John,’ I announced, proudly, from under my dripping hat.

       ‘Names can come later.’ Mammy was in action mode. ‘Mary, get towels from the bathroom.’

       My sister, at seventeen, was beautiful, as I had often heard from the fawning local lads. She now stood, staring at our new visitor, with admiration in her eyes. She was a born flirt, yet very choosy, with many admirers at her beck and call. In her bare feet, she stood at least five feet nine inches, with long flowing ink-black hair reaching half way down her back; yet, she was a bully to me, the Squirt, as she called me, when in her show off mood; but I didn’t take much notice of that, as I knew that she had a good heart, and dearly loved me, my brother and our Mammy, when the chips were down, so I and Martin teased her, whenever the opportunity presented itself, much to the annoyance of our refereeing mother, God bless her loving soul.

 

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