Buy Me a River By Daniel Hickey

February 22, 2016 Comments Off on Buy Me a River By Daniel Hickey

Sarah asked me to buy her a river.

“We can’t afford a river,” I said.

The following morning, at breakfast, she went on and on: “Buy me a river, buy me a river, buy me a river.”

I tried ignoring her, but that didn’t work, so I told her, “I’m going to the snooker club.”

I returned to find that Sarah had plastered the four walls and the ceiling of the bedroom with pictures of rivers clipped from magazines.

“How do you buy a river? Is it possible? Do you need a permit? Sarah, have you asked yourself these questions?”

“Just buy me a river,” she replied, and then she looked up at the ceiling. “The Congo,” she said, “I want the Congo.”

“We live in a one-bedroom flat, honey.”

“I want the Congo.”

“You haven’t been happy, have you, this last while, I mean?”

She shook her head.

“Are you crying?”

She was crying.

I sighed.


So I called the Embassy. “I want to buy the Congo.”

“Country or river, sir?”

“The river.”

I was put on hold.

“I’m sorry but it’s been sold, sir.”


“A Chinese man, sir.”


I broke the news to Sarah and suggested the Ganges, perhaps, instead.

“It’s not the Congo.”

“But it’s the Ganges. The Ganges!”


The Ganges arrived a month later. The deliverymen unpacked the muddy, corpse-infested waters in our apartment block’s underground carpark.

Sarah ran downstairs. I followed. The waters rippled under the fluorescent light.

“It’s beautiful,” Sarah said. I hadn’t seen her smile in a long, long time.

Squatting, she dipped her hands into the water. “See how it flows,” she said. She looked up at me. “See?”

© 2015 Daniel Hickey

Daniel Hickey is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from County Mayo, Ireland. His work has been published both in print and online, in publications such as the Mayo Anthology of Poetry, the Mala Literary Journal, Eastlit, and Ink, Sweat and Tears. Daniel has lived and worked in China, where he taught creative writing at Sichuan University. He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland, reporting on murder trials for the country’s national newspapers.

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