Even at a quarter ‘til 6 o’clock in the morning, Siobhan knew that her day was gong to be anything but ordinary. Today, she was going to leave everything ordinary about her life behind. She was leaving for Boston, to a new life, courteously, in part, to her now deceased Uncle Frank. He had left her his condo in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, which was roughly 1,400 miles from her home in Springfield, Missouri.
Uncle Frank was a self-made man. Siobhan had grown up hearing stories about him being deeply involved with the Boston mob; she still had no idea if these stories were true or not. None-the-less, at 8 o’clock in the morning, she was off to the East coast and her new condo.
“Honey, don’t forget to lock your doors when you stop to take a bathroom break,” Mrs. O’Callaghan was following her daughter around the house giving her last minute advice about traveling half-way across the country.
“Mom, don’t worry,” Siobhan sighed. “I’ve got it all covered. Besides, what if I accidently lock myself out of the car at a rest stop?”
She knew it was a mean question to put out in the open, but Siobhan was getting a little annoyed with mother pecking around her for the last hour. Mr. O’Callaghan silently laughed in the corner where he sat pretended to read the paper, but instead was actually watching his wife and daughter, not daring to get in the middle of things.
After kissing and hugging her parents, Siobhan finally was on her way to Terra Haute, Indiana for the night with her U-Haul and Ford Explorer. She had always liked traveling long distances, and being left to her thoughts suited Siobhan quite nicely that morning. One of her favorite drives was the one between Springfield and St. Louis. Being summer, the trees were thick and green, and the rivers seemed bluer than they did in the winter and fall. She was going to miss Missouri, but in the car, she could only think of the good parts of going through a major life change.
When she was 17, Siobhan had one day cropped her sleek black hair short, thinking that this dramatic change would get the attention of the popular girls, and that would earn her a date with a varsity basketball player. Well, it did catch the popular girls’ attention, but not in the way she had hoped. Instead of embracing, they shunned her, which was far worse than simply ignoring her as they had before. But then something unexpected happened. The cute (although she never would admit it to anyone at the time) mohawked boy in her English class spoke to her for the very first time.
“Hey,” he said as he tapped her shoulder. “I like your hair. Very bold. Not like every-other girl at this school.”
Siobhan blushed, unsure if she liked being called bold. She was a wallflower who didn’t exactly know who she was yet.
“So, I heard of this band out of Boston the other day,” the boy said, wanting to start a conversation. “You’re Irish. You might like them.”
“Cool. So are they like an Irish group?”
“Uhhh…well, mostly they’re a punk group. But their sound is really cool, really unique. I’ve never heard anything like them before.”
“Well, what’s their name?”
“The Dropkick Murphys. You should meet me out front after school, I’ll let you listen to their newest album.”
Just as Siobhan was about to reply, the teacher called for order, and all she could do was blush again as she turned to the front of the room.
Siobhan decided to wait no more than 10 minutes for the mohawked boy to show up after school let out. She waited in what she assumed was a highly visible spot outside on the grass near the school’s doors. As she waited, she got nervous that the boy was leading her on, and was probably laughing about the stupid girl with the ugly haircut waiting for him to show up.
What kind of name is “The Dropkick Murphys” for a band anyways? Man, I’m dumb, she thought while toying with a string hanging from her backpack.
She turned towards the parking lot to walk away, then she heard a girl behind her call out, “Liam, I think I see her!”
Siobhan looked over her shoulder to see who was yelling. It was a girl she recognized, but only by sight, from her Algebra class. Siobhan had always admired her unique style, and wished that she had the guts to be as adventurous with her look as the girl was. Today, the girl had her platinum blond hair in pigtails, and her chunky bangs were dyed kelly green. She had on a plaid skirt like the one Siobhan had worn at her Catholic grade school and a black, grey, and green argyle sweater. Her outfit was finished off with dark black stockings and black chunky boots. She was pointed at Siobhan with one hand and waving at the mohawked boy with the other.
Siobhan turned her head quickly back to the parking lot and took three steps when Liam ran in front of her holding a CD case.
“Hey!” Liam greeted her, “I thought you had left.”
Siobhan waved her fingers in greeting, not sure what to say.
“So, here’s the band I was telling you about,” he held out the CD to her.
“Oh, cool,” she turned the case over in her hand and looked at the group of Irish-Punk-looking men on the back cover.
Her curiosity was peeked even more when she read through the list of songs on the album: “Rocky Road to Dublin,” “Good Rats,” “The New American Way.” She wasn’t sure what to think of them.
“I’m sorry, I have to go…Tommy’s brother is teaching me how to play the guitar. I have a lesson today,” Liam gestured to the shaved-headed boy hanging out of the passenger window of a nearby car. “Listen to the band and let me know what you think about them tomorrow.”
Siobhan smiled, “Okay, I will. Thanks, Liam.”
“Come On All You Good Rats, We’ll Send You To Heaven! You’ll Find The Pearly Gates In The Froth And The Foam!” Siobhan sang along with the lead singer of the Dropkick Murphy’s as her car took her further way from Springfield via I-44.