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  • Writer's pictureDexter Hastings

Staurday book Club - Fear No foe Chapter 15


Kelly and Kenny went outside to get some fresh air while Shay slept; Dexter was just coming into the hospital as they came out and asked how he was? Kenny told him that Kelly had given Shay the bad news and all Shay wanted to do was to get back to Birmingham to be with his Mom, but the doctor had said he couldn’t be moved because of his injury’s.

Dexter looked a bit confused by this and asked Kenny “Have they found something wrong with Shay apart from his broken bones”? Kenny replied “No he’s had all the scans and mentally he’s fine”. Dexter shook his head and said “So why can’t he come home then? They have sorted his nose his hands in a cast and you and I know there is nothing they can do about his ribs, he’d be better off at home”.

Kenny agreed with Dexter, but said “How we going to get him back to Brum?”

Dexter replied “Don’t worry about that Ken, I’ll sort it”.

Dexter then got his phone out and started making arrangements to get Shay home.

The following day Kenny and Kelly came back to see Shay, he was sitting up in bed just staring at the telly. Kenny told him that Dexter was arranging to get him back to Birmingham so he could be with his Mom.

Shay hardly acknowledged them, he just sat there eyes fixed to the telly like he was in a trace.

Kelly and Kenny sat with Shay for nearly 2 hours, Shay hardly said a word.

Shay’s silence was broken when Dexter came walking into his private room, Shay broke his stare at the telly looked at Dexter and said “When can I come home?”

Dexter replied “I have got a private ambulance to take you back to Birmingham mate, I just had a word with the doctor and reluctantly he has said that you can discharger yourself tomorrow, but the hospital will not be held liable for you after that”.

Shay nodded and then asked them to leave as he wanted to call his Mom and let her know.

As they left Kelly asked Shay “Do you want us to come back later?” Shay smiled at Kelly and replied “No Kell. Get yourself back to Brum, I’ll see you there tomorrow”.

Kelly and the rest left, Kelly seemed upset by Shay not wanting her to come back, Dexter explained that he just thought Shay needed some time alone to get his head round all that had happened over the last few weeks.

Shay discharged himself the next day and was taken back to Birmingham in a private ambulance. Shay asked Dexter who was accompanying him on the journey why he didn’t just sort out a car to bring him back as he was fine with sitting up and had got used to the pain he was in.

Dexter replied “Shay your one of my boxers now and if you’re on my books I’ll look after you, only the best mate”.

Shay looked down with a really solemn look on his face and replied “Dext I don’t know whether I want this anymore mate, I just don’t know”.

Dexter turned to Shay and said “Shay just concentrate on getting yourself healed up son, then think about what you are going to do”. Shay nodded and replied “O.k Dext I will, but I just don’t know at the moment”.

The ambulance took Shay to his Mom’s house, she was adamant on the phone last night that her son would be stopping with her. When they got there, there was a big congregation of his and his Dad’s friends waiting outside his Mom’s house to greet him. The medic’s wanted to take Shay in to his Mom’s house in a wheelchair, but Shay told them he would walk.

Shay got out of the ambulance slowly and very carefully with the help of Dexter, all the people there looked on in silence as a mark of respected to Shay’s Dad. Kelly came up to him first to welcome him home and helped lead him to his Mom’s house where his Mom was waiting on the porch for him. As he walked past the mass of people, he saw a couple of his old friends from the topside firm; he stopped and said alright to them.

They said they were sorry to hear about his Dad and that he would have been so proud of him.

Shay thanked them, but said “Why would he? I lost”

Sparky one of his oldest mates replied “Shay you may have lost, but you knocked down one of the best boxers in the world 3 times and we all know if you hadn’t broken your hand you would of beaten him”. Shay gave his old mate half a smile and thanked him and made his way slowly up the path to his Mom.

As he walked up the path towards his Mom his mates from the topside firm started clapping and cheering Shay shouting

“Well done Champ”, “Great fight Shay”.

The rest of the people there joined in the applauses.

Dexter looked at Shay and said to him “See son this is all for you, your Dad would be proud”.

Shay got to the front door, his Mom had tears in her eyes, but also a smile on her face she said to Shay “Come on son let’s get you settled inside” and kissed him on his still swollen cheek.

They led Shay into his Mom’s house, she had made the front room into a make shift bedroom for him, they got him comfortable and then his Mom made them all a cup of tea.

Shay seemed a bit more relaxed at his Mom’s home and was a bit more talkative, his Mom told him that she had sorted the arrangements for the funeral and it would be in a week’s time. Shay asked his Mom how his Dad had died; she was very vague about it as she didn’t want to upset him, but told him his Dad would have been proud of what he done in the ring.

Shay stayed in his makeshift bedroom all week recuperating, Dexter had given his Mom the whole of The Squared Circle for free for the wake after the funeral and from what Shay’s Mom had told him the whole of the Dempsey clan was coming over from Ireland and from around England to pay their respects.

Kelly, Kenny and Dexter all came to see Shay over the week, he was still very quiet, but after a week of resting he could move about a bit easier.

The day before the funeral there was a mass at St Chad’s Cathedral for Shay’s Dad. Shay didn’t attend it, he told his Mom he didn’t feel up to it, but really he didn’t think he could handle all the relations that would be there. The cathedral was packed out with well wishers and family, Shay’s Dad lay just in front of the alter in a beautifully crafted coffin with the last supper craved into the side of it. Everyone at the mass paid their last respects to a well respected man.

The day of the funeral, all outside Shay’s Mom’s house had been covered in reefs from family, friends and well wishers. There were a lot of them decked out in the green, white and gold of his Irish roots. Shay went outside with his Mom and read all the kind words on the cards on them, Shay was very emotional, but knew he had to be strong for his Mom. His Mom felt the same and was holding back her feeling for the sake of Shay. They went back inside to get ready for the funeral, Shay carefully got into his suit trying not to damage his ribs.

A few of his relatives arrived just before the hearse and the funeral cars arrived, Kelly turned up with Dexter and Kenny, she went into Shay’s Mom’s where she found Shay sitting in his makeshift bedroom on his own. Kelly asked him why he wasn’t in the living room with all his relatives.

Shay replied “I just don’t need them going on about how proud my Dad would be of me and all that shit”.

Kelly could see Shay was having a hard time of it, she said “But isn’t it good that they have all came over to pay their last respects to your Dad?”

Shay looked over at Kelly his eyes had anger in them and replied “Yeah they come over when he’s dead, what about when he was alive? None of them wanted to know him; I’ve just turned 25 and hardly know any of my so called relatives. Do you see what I’m saying Kell?”

Kelly went over to Shay put her arms round him and said “Well you have got a chance to get to know them now Shay”.

Shay shook his head and replied “Yeah well we’ll see”.

He asked Kelly if she would come with him and his Mom in one of the cars?

Kelly answered “Yeah sure if you want me to, but don’t want them for the family?”

Shay looked deep into Kelly’s eyes and replied “Kell you were more like family to my Dad than this lot, he loved you and always asked me about you so you have got more right than any of them to come in the car with us”.

Kelly smiled at Shay and gave him a very light hug and replied “Yeah o.k, I loved your Dad as well Shay he was a good man”.

Kelly accompanied Shay and his Mom to St Chad’s in the funeral car for the mass before his Dad’s Burrell. The priest said some nice things about his Dad, even though his Dad hadn’t set foot in a church since Shay was confirmed. One of his pals got up and said a few words and a couple of relatives from Ireland did as well. Shay was sitting right at the front and the more he heard about how great and what a good man his Dad was the more he started to hurt inside. The priest asked Shay if he wanted to say a few words, but Shay just shook his head. Kelly who was sitting next to him comforted him as he tried to fight back the tears.

Kenny stepped forward and put his hand on Shay’s shoulder and said “Don’t worry son, I’ll say something for you”.

Kenny gave a heartwarming elegy to Mickey, telling mourners how he brought Shay to the gym when he was only 11 and how proud his Dad was of all his son’s achievements, there wasn’t a dry eye in the cathedral.

As Shay’s Dad’s coffin was led out of St Chad’s Shay walked slowly behind him, as they got to the doors he was shocked to see world champion Richie Hatter standing alongside Sam Magson, Brian Taylor, Ronnie Docker and Danny O’Dyer who had all came to pay their respects to Shay’s Dad. As Shay walked past he knuckle touched each one of them in a show of respected from him.

The hearse led the procession of over 40 cars to Witton Cemetery where his Dad was going to be laid to rest.

The priest gave him his final eulogy as he was lowered into the ground “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”.

Shay and his Mom stepped forward first and threw a hand full of soil on top of the coffin and then the rest of the mourners followed.

All the mourners headed off to The Squared Circle for the wake, Dexter had put on a massive buffet for them which was a good job as there were a lot more people than they thought there would be.

Shay made sure his Mom was alright, she was sitting with their relatives from Ireland so he didn’t sit with her as he knew he would get loads of questions that he didn’t really need right now. His Mom understood this and told him to go and sit with the boxers who had come to pay their respects.

All the boxers were sitting with Dexter, Kelly and Kenny.

Kenny was having a deep conversation with Richie Hatter who was asking him if he had any other combo’s like the Case’s special. Shay sat down next to Kelly and Dexter, the Irish music was playing the drink was flowing people were dancing, this was a proper Irish wake, It was just what his Dad would have wanted.

Kelly asked Shay if he was o.k?

Shay replied “Yeah Kell I’m o.k now let’s give my Dad a good send off”.

They partied and drank the night away, Shay got drunk and into a bit of a state very quickly as he was still on some hard core painkillers. Dexter got his driver to take Shay home and Kelly went with him to make sure he got in o.k. Kelly had to near enough carry Shay into his Moms house, he could barely walk. Kelly got him into his bedroom down stairs, she made sure he was alright then got Dexter’s driver to take her home.

Shay physical recovery over the next few months was quick and in less than 2 months his ribs where healed and the cast was off his hand, but it wasn’t his physical side that was affecting him.

Shay had moved back to his own house and almost became a recluses, the only time you would see him was in the pubs in Harbourne where he would drink alone.

Kelly, Dexter, his Mom and Kenny had all tried to get him to open up to them about what was wrong, but he wouldn’t, since the funeral there wasn’t a day that Shay didn’t drink. Shay was also still taking the painkillers that had been prescribed for him which he didn’t need any more.

Mentally Shay was a wreck, anytime Dexter or Kenny tried to talk to him about going back to the gym; he would make some kind of excuse why he couldn’t. Shay in himself wasn’t sure if he even wanted to box anymore.

He was plowing though the 30 grand he had got for the fight against Bruno and it would only be a matter of time before he ran out of money, he wasn’t even thinking about the 30 grand Dexter had given him as an advance for him signing to 1066 promotions. Anytime Kelly phoned him or came round to see him he would cut the call or the visit short, he just seemed not to want to be around anyone.

Six months had passed since he last fought and his Dad had passed away, Shay’s drinking had gotten worse and he had put on loads of weight, he just didn’t look like the same person.

Kelly never stopped trying to get him to open up, but anytime she tried to talk to him he would just shut down. He just used to say to her that he just wanted to be left alone.

Even when Britain and Bruno defended their British titles he was invited to watch them at The Squared Circle by Dexter, but instead of going he stayed in his house and got drunk on his own.

Britain and Bruno both won their fights and it really boiled Shay’s blood when Emma who was ringside at the fight celebrated his victory live on telly.

It took a visit from a few of his old Newtown mates from the now debunked Topside Firm to get him out of his house. They near enough had to drag him out of his house to get him to come with them. They were all having a big reunion and there was no way they were not going to have one of their top boys there.

Shay conceded that he would have to go with them and got in to the car.

Shay asked “So where is the reunion? All the pubs in Newtown have been closed except the Barton’s”.

Sparky one of Shay’s oldest friends smiled and replied “We’re not having it in Newtown mate”.

Shay looked at him confused and replied “So where we having it then?”

Sparky smiled and replied “We’re having it in the pub we had our greatest moment mate in Kingstanding”.

Shay looked shocked and said “Fuck off your whining me up aint you?”

Sparky laughed and replied “The magnificent 7 ride again mate”

Shay sat there and just shook his head.

The reason they were having it in Kingstanding was that most of the old Newtown boys had moved up there when they got married and settled down, most of them had good jobs and had really calmed down and all th