The Fickle Finger of Fate

By Ernie Witham   |   October 11, 2022

The woman up the aisle from me was staring at the floor of the LUAS tram, now speeding toward Dublin. I followed her gaze and spotted the three large drops of blood she was fixed on. Would she call the police? Would Cassie Maddox and Rob Reilly of Dublin Murders television fame be the ones to investigate? Would I…

“Also, don’t miss the Book of Kells,” the woman squatting beside me said. “At Trinity College. You’ll need to get tickets in advance.”

“Okay,” I said.

She was writing all of her suggestions for things to do in Dublin on the back of a credit card receipt. Hers. Another clue no doubt that might put me…

“And, you’ll love Kilmainham Jail…”


“Great history there. Don’t miss the plaque in the courtyard with the names of all the men who were executed there.”

I looked wide-eyed over at Pat on the seat beside me. She was listening intently, nodding, and holding on to the last of her tissues in case there was more blood. At my feet, my camera bag was stained red. 

It was our first full day in Ireland and we had walked from our home exchange to the Stillorgan stop to take the LUAS. Trouble was there were two trams going in opposite directions and we did not know which one to take. When the door had opened we asked a woman if this was the one we wanted. She said yes and Pat and I jumped on. The woman asked where we were from and how long we were staying and had we ever been here before and what did we plan on doing and maybe she could make some suggestions.

I was listening intently when the doors whooshed shut and the tram lurched forward. Unlike everyone else on the tram, I was not holding on. I was thrust backwards, off balance and headed for the floor. I grabbed at one of the straps hanging from the ceiling, slipped out of it and grabbed for the next one. Somehow I didn’t fall, though I probably looked like a backslash. I straightened and grabbed my violently swinging camera bag. Pat pointed out a couple of open seats. That’s when I noticed my camera bag was wet and sticky. I figured I must have set it down in something. Then I looked at my hand. It was covered in blood. 

“Do you have a tissue I whispered?” as the nice woman came and squatted beside me and began her list. She was still going.

“Of course you’ll want to go to Dublin Castle.” She wrote this down. “Quite famous and still an official building today.”

The tram stopped. People got on. The doors whooshed shut and we lurched. There was a guy standing in front of us now. He too glanced at the blood on the floor. He took out his iPhone and began texting.

“St. Stephen’s Green,” the woman said.

“We should go there?”

“Actually, it’s the next stop. Get off and walk up Grafton Street and you’ll get to Trinity College, which isn’t far from Temple Bar. Center of it all. Everyone escapes to Temple Bar.”

The tram stopped. Pat and I got out. The lady pointed up Grafton Street. I tried to look like Mr. Everyguy so she couldn’t pick me out of a lineup. “And don’t forget to go to the Guinness Storehouse,” she yelled after us.

“Maybe we can find a bandage,” I suggested to Pat as we merged into a thick stream of people heading up and down the pedestrian street. I looked down and noticed blood stains on my sweater. It just kept getting better. We found a pharmacy and I bought a box of plasters. I used my other hand to pay. Outside I pulled off the tissues and dumped some water on my little finger. There was a chunk missing from it. I’m sure those Dublin detectives will find it and take it to the lab.

“You know, you didn’t do anything wrong,” Pat reminded me. “It was just an accident and it’s all your blood.”

Right. My blood, DNA, a tram full of witnesses who notoriously misremember things. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

“What should we do first?” Pat asked. 

“Escape to Temple Bar,” I said. “Quickly.”


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