The cars sped around the track that had been part of an airfield only a year before. The fans — mostly young girls in tweed skirts, heavy sweaters and warm shawls pulled tight across their shivering shoulders — cheered from the sidelines. Men in cuffed trousers and brown brogans with heavy socks, bent over their stopwatches. In the announcer’s box — a wooden affair, quickly cobbled together out of old boxes and scrap wood after the war and painted the high gloss gray left over from painting runways — a man with a microphone called the names of the three drivers closest to the finish line.
“In third place, but coming up quickly, is Denis O’Callahan from Donegal. In second, driving hard to overtake the first place driver, is Paddy O’Murphy from Coleraine. In first place and fighting to hold his position, is Seamus Kennedy from Galway. With only seconds left — oh, an upset, O’Murphy has overtaken Kennedy, and he’s, he’s, HE’S WON, FOLKS! The first place trophy goes to Paddy O’Murphy of Coleraine! We’re going down to talk to him now. Mr. O’Murphy, congratulations on your win. For a time it was looking like you’d be taking second place.”
“I don’t take second place. It’s not in me blood, second place.”
“Automobile racing is a dangerous game. There were a few close calls this afternoon. Tell me somethin’.”
“You survived that godawful war, so why are ye’ riskin’ yer life out here on the track?”
“Och, dat’s easy. I race for duh trill of it, dontcha’ know?”