This is part one of a story in three parts - Part 2 will be posted in seven days time
O'Flaretty's Curse - Part One
Shamus O'Flaretty looked like a typical immigrant from rural Ireland. Big, red headed and apparently as thick as three wooden planks. Unfortunately Shamus's appearance hid a razor sharp mind and an insight into human nature denied most ordinary mere mortals. That was O'Flaretty's curse.
Although he did not recognise it at the time the curse first manifested itself when Shamus had barely attained the tender age of six. Shamus had a friend, another young lad who was, because of his small size, a constant target for the bigger lads at school. Shamus was a handy lad and took his small friend aside and taught him some of the finer points of fisticuffs. The result was that one of the bigger boys got a bloodied nose from his smaller opponent. The bigger boy, severely embarrassed, got a few of his colleagues and caught Shamus behind the school toilet block. He was given a sound beating by the mob for having the effrontery to teach the smaller boy how to defend himself.
Shamus first began to suspect the terrible power of the curse when he took his first job. He took a job on a factory assembly line and with his fine tuned insight soon discovered deficiencies in the assembly process. He went to his boss and explained how, with a few low cost improvements, production could be increased by a factor of ten. His boss was a mean mannered individual and stole all the ideas and presented them as his own, Shamus got fired.
Shamus's next brush with his destiny occurred shorty before his twenty first birthday. He fell in love with a fiery, Auburn haired Colleen with eyes as green and sparkling as Emeralds. She completely took his breath, and his common sense, away like the whispered song of the Siren winds. He was smitten, he was hooked, never before had a young man's heart beaten with the intensity that Shamus felt. He got down on one knee and begged the girl to marry him with promises of undying love and devotion. Unfortunately in the fog of madness that is young love Shamus's remarkable insight had deserted him and the girl laughed in his face. He never saw her, or the money he had lent her and her alleged "brother" again. Shamus emigrated to Australia and arrived in Sydney with a suit case, twenty British pounds, and his slowly returning insight.
Shamus fell immediately in love with the wide brown land that so contrasted with the land of his birth. He went bush, into the great Australian Outback and soon encountered the mining industry. His strong build and willingness to tolerate hard work and harsh conditions made him immediately attractive to prospective employers and Shamus prospered. Unlike some of his colleagues in the mining camps he refrained from wild access with the money he earned and saved and planned. Soon Shamus became a leading hand and then a foreman on the job.
Shamus was highly regarded and doing well for himself, until the dreaded curse struck once again with devastating force.