I’ve agreed to meet Inspector Kane Morgan and Sionn Murphy down at Sionn’s pub, Finnegan’s, a brightly lit and homey Irish place built right on one of San Francisco’s piers. A longtime Pier landmark, the pub is surprisingly modern and comfortable with soft Irish music playing in the background as huge amounts of homestyle meals are brought white platters and served alongside rich lagers and ales. Having to drive, I opt instead for a bottle of hard apple cider but am more than willing to be talked into one of Finnegan’s signature dishes, deep fried jalapeno and garlic mashed potato nuggets.
They’re both handsome. A bit rough in places, mostly in the lazy stubble of their jaws and the specks of varnish dotting Kane’s fingers. Kane is the bigger of the two, bulkier but Sionn’s shoulders were just as wide. Leaner than Morgan, Murphy appeared more relaxed, easily slouching in the comfortable chairs Finnegan’s supplied for its patio diners where Kane’s attention often drifted to watch the people passing by. I could see what Miki meant when he said his lover couldn’t helpbut be a cop.
Unlike the blond terrier happily gnawing on a rib bone from his hidey hole beneath the table.
“Good idea there, love,” Sionn growls through a sip of his beer. “Damned thing’s a menace.”
“Lima beans, Kane. That’s what he’s going to be getting tonight in his dinner. And yer the one whose going to be smelling that all night. Long sharting green clouds whiffing up from the bottom of the bed.” Sionn promises.
The retaliation comes swiftly and hard with a punch to Kane’s shoulder from Sionn’s loosely clenched fist. “Piece of shite. Just like yer dog.”
“Shouldn’t have been letting him chase those seagulls.” Sionn shrugs off Kane’s evil eye and winks at me. “The only thing that dog likes more than destroying a man’s belongings is rolling in bird shit.”
“I hosed him off.” Kane interjects. “I just want to scrub him with some soap. Kind of like I want to scrub Sionn’s mouth out with some right now.”
“Okay, let’s get started then,” I agree, making sure my sneakers are out of dog chewing reach. “Let’s start with you, Murphy. How do you pronounce your first name?”
“Ah, SHOON.” He enunciates it very clearly. “It’s rather like starting off with SHOE but stopping before you get to the end then sliding in an Oooooo then an Uhn. SHU-OO-Uhn.”
“We have some very traditional names. Kane here? His middle name is EEee.” Sionn chuckles.
“EEeeeeee.” Sionn mocks him openly. “Sounds like a Sesame Street sketch, don’t it? A muppet looking for the other half of his word.”
“Damien felt I needed an education. Apparently it’s required watching. He’s an odd one, sometimes.”
“Give me a short description of what your lovers are like.” I read off from my list. “How do you see them? Kane, you first. Miki. And what part of your soul was drawn to you lover?”
“He lives so much on instinct. He’s wary with new people and that hurts my heart. I wish he’d not had that childhood of his but we’re working on it. Or he’s working on it. I see him trying to trust. Learning to trust others.” Kane smiles wistfully. “He trusts me. He opens up and shares. I think that’s the biggest and best gift I’ve ever been given. Even when he’s pissed off and lets me have it, I know it’s because he trusts me not to walk away. That’s big. He’s brilliant, funny and a little bit feral. Okay, a lot feral. There’s a lot of street in him.”
“Oh shit no, not a gentle bone in his body,” Kane laughs. “He dreams a lot. Goes off in his world and picks out words. You can see that when he writes songs. He disconnects from the noise around him but I think a lot of people see him as this fragile, beautiful boy and he’s a lot stronger than most people give him credit for. Hell, I don’t give him enough credit.”
“I told you not to sneak up on him.”
“Miki’s a master at finding whatever is around him and taking you out.” Kane shrugs. “He doesn’t playwell. I’m trying to teach him that sometimes it’s okay to just mess around.”
“Yeah, he’s got a problem sometimes.” Kane acknowledges. “We’re working on it. He does know how to play. But it has to be with certain people. Me and Damie so far. I think.”
“I’d have to say I first wanted to take care of him. Flaw I’ve got. I want to fix the world, you know?” He grimaces. “Hardest thing to learn with Miki is when to let him be and when to step in. But I think what drew me in was his fierceness. He’s wild, inside. Untamed in parts. I think I love that about him. He comes to me not because he needs to but because he wants to. He makes me lose my breath and ah, when he smiles at me, it’s like it touches parts of my soul I never thought couldn’tbe dark. He’s gentle with me. And if he loves you, there’s no going back. It’s full throttle. You’ll never have a doubt how much he loves when he finally does.”
“Ah, Damie’s different than Miki. More civilized, I think. I’d have thought of the two of them, Damie would be more aggressive but he’s not. He plots more. He’d be the one to do a prank. A long con. Charming fecking git. Probably could coax a priest out of his collection plate if he’d wanted it.”
“At least.” The other man nods. “Of the two, he’s the gentler one but he guides Miki. With me, he can relax. I think for a long time—even before the accident—so much of Damien’s energy was spent pushing things to where he wanted to be. The band, his music—everything. Now he’s found Miki, he’s home and he can be with me and not worry. Kane’s a part of that too. He doesn’t have to worry so much about his brother. He can just be… Damie. It’s been good.”
“I’d have to say he’s someone I know will stand next to me, shoulder to shoulder. Kane and Miki are introverts in a lot of ways. They’d like to stay home and cuddle on the couch. I think Damien and I want to be doing things. We match each other’s pace. He lights fires in me. Motivates me. He’s a bit pushy sometimes but he’s always the one who wants to see what’s over the next hill. He makes me believe I can do anything—accomplish anything. And then turns around and tells me he loves me. Does something to my insides.”
“Yeah, that.” Sionn agrees. “What’s next?”
“Marriage?” Sionn exhales hard. “Too…. God, that’s a scary word. I can tell you right now, Saint Paddy’s is out. Catholic, you know. They’re not ready and willing yet to marry two men. It’s hard sometimes being Catholic and gay…”
“Agreed,” Sionn says as he taps his beer bottle against Kane’s in a short salute.
If marriage made the men perplexed, I’d have put down their reactions about children as a cross between horror and fear.
“I think it’s too early to be talking about children.” Kane’s response is gentler in tone but there’s definitely an edge to his voice. “I think Miki’s not even considered kids. He’s not at a place in his life where he can think about them. Maybe in ten or fifteen years. Honestly, while I’d like a kid or two, it’s not a dealbreaker for me. I’d rather have a happy Miki than a worried one. He’d stress out over baggage he’d bring to any kid.”
“Had the best one growing up.” He grins widely.
“Ireland.” Both men say then laugh.
“Damie would love the music.” Sionn remarks. “No pub would be safe from the two of them. They’d be into everything but it would be fun.”
“Where do you see yourselves over the next year? With your respective lovers?”
“Damie wants that too,” Sionn agrees. “I think I’d just like to get Damien settled in his own place. We’re all sharing Miki’s warehouse for right now and there’s some talk about shifting things around. Privacy on both sides would be nice.”
“And you’d better really like the other.” Sionn laughs. “They’re good. Really, nice guys. Even if we weren’t involved with them, they’d be friends.”
“Criminals at heart.”
“Oh no, you’re getting a doggy bag to take that home with you or he’ll be tearing up the place looking for it.” Sionn shook my hand and stood up when I reached for my bag. “Thank you for coming by. It’s was good to talk to you.”