We were somewhere on the Tuam road when Tom said: ‘I think I can smell smoke.’ That wasn’t good. We were test driving a BMW and your man that owned it was at work, waiting for us to bring back the keys. Tom was searching for the Turbo when he put the foot to the floor and there was an uncertain and worrying surrender from the accelerator and then nothing happened, except the smoke. There was a sense of misfire, or deflated expectation, like your horse was about to win but then it keeled over and died. The car seemed to worry a bit, like it had never been driven this hard and it might take for the wall if we pushed it any more, like a depressed worker in a Chinese factory, jumping out the window. Tom said: ‘I don’t know what the fuck that was, but I think we better turn around.’ Driving back, there was clunks, and surges and a sense of dying power somewhere in the belt, or the pistons, or the engine or it’s unknown history so we parked it back and told the fella I’d “think about it and give you a shout.” And we went to look at another one in Spiddal.
It was being sold by two young lads and a Snapchat eating a bag of Snax. She gave an odd bored look as we debated outside the Texaco, then she’d go back to her phone. It was a good car, new NCT, Turbo working, BMW, can’t go wrong. The metallic blue was well reflected from the station’s lights and if I didn’t buy it, I’d no way home. Your man that was selling it was after being put off the road for too many points on his licence, a real Spiddal daredevil, so now he wanted to “let the car go” instead of watching it depreciate in his driveway, compelling him towards more fines and court cases.
We took it for a spin and it was smooth and cool and confident and there was all sorts of digits on the dash and the lad in the back talked about imports, and re-calls and Polish lads offering stupid money. The road was quiet and thin and you could feel the black ocean to the right as the Turbo kicked in. It was like Start Trek when they go into Warp Speed 9. Expected a big trail of light from behind us and an imminent attack from the Klingons. At this rate, your man musta lost his licence after one spin to the shop, and he probably had to pay for the speedvan too after it’s computer blew up from serious inability to compute recorded velocities. I knew I had to have it, before NASA got on DoneDeal. So did your man, cos I’d told him the brakes were gone in my Avensis and it was a balla shite and I never wanted to drive it again. This gave him the advantage in the negotiations and I ended up have to go to the Texaco for more money. My account was maxed and they’d only give a certain amount of Cashback so we had to go into main land Spiddal for more, an enormous task to drive through its one derelict street. It took about ten seconds to cruise from one end to the other. “Jez.” Said Tom. “This place is hoppin’, lad.”
Quiet pubs with Irish names were the only thing left open and we knew were at a disadvantage cos we were back West, out of civilized coverage, where if they can’t trace your roots by at least three generations, they just won’t trust you. At least NASA wouldn’t have a hope if I couldn’t get the money tonight. I walked into a pub and all two customers froze to see what this was all about. Their faces asked: Was he a stranger on holiday, trying to find his B&B? Or a Traveller with a van full of his violent family outside, checking to see if he could served first before bringing them in? Or someone looking for someone to give him important news, a relative with news of a Will maybe?
I went: “How’s things, can ye give me Cashback here?” and the customers turned disappointed and the bar man didn’t even speak, just shook his head, like he’d expected more from me but now he’d lost interest. He folded his arms and walked to the far side of the bar. This meant we had to go Galway for the last bit of money. It was real “Fast and the Furious” stuff altogether.
When we got there, we did the deal outside MixtGreens across from the hospital and there was all the usual logbook craic and counting fifties and minor questions about Bluetooth and Spare wheels and service history. After, they said good luck and they left so we said we’d go for a drink to celebrate, even though I was sthone broke but I’d just about enough left for a Cidona and maybe a bag of Snax. A short time later we pulled into Flynn’s. There was a sign in the car park that said: “Private Parking Only” So that’s where I parked cos I was driving a Beamer, and there’s no point having a Beamer if you’re not going to be a wank about it.