The fella at the bus stop was angry. I know this cos he said: ‘Fuckin bastard of a stupid fuckin bus.” The wind swept over the Sunday street, people at pub doors smoked and watched the passing traffic. Families licked Ice Cream in Supermacs behind us. I looked at the timetable and said: “Oh yeah?’
‘Yeah.’ He said. ‘Where the fuck are they?’
‘Jez I don’t know. What bus are you getting?’
He answered with wide eyes, like there could be no other possible destination, and this was the stupidest question he’d ever heard. ‘Galway!!!!’ Where do you think?!’
‘Yeah. And I’m here for the lasht half an hour, lookin around, and kickin stones, and actin the fuckin bollox, and do you think it came? Did it fuck! And these are the fellas then that are complaining about no money, and bad conditions, and why aren’t they getting holidays, and where’s the Overtime, and Jesus Christ! How could you pay these fuckers over time? Sure they’re always late! They’d have you broke in a week, what’s Overtime to these crowd? Sittin in bed, scratchin their arse?!’
He kicked a piece of floating paper. Hands in his pockets. Tongue between his teeth. Deep anger and bitterness at a world he could never change, and never understood why. Worn clothes, denim jacket. Steeltoe boots and cheap jeans. There’d been hope in Galway. Club sandwiches. Cheap Guinness. Women that didn’t know him, the chance to be someone else. Tips for horses, a hurling match, a friend with a flat and a spare floor, that’s if he didn’t score a young one, them stories, short skirts and dark alleys, lucky nights outside the chipper, taxi rank jackpots of women with a bag of Garlic cheesy chips and a drunk head full of loose morals. He’d seen it all, dreamt of it, believed in it, and now the dream was slipping away, Irish inefficiency bureaucracy, bad luck, same oul fuckin story. Lookin like it’s back to the local for the day, tryin to keep it real, spend the bus money on three extra pints? No, fuck that, not doin that shit, fuck this place. this bus’ll come, it has to come, sure isn’t it written on the timetable? And haven’t I been here half an hour? And sure how could I miss it, all I did was go for a piss, and sure it couldn’t have come then? Could it? What’s the time? Yeah, Half Eleven. It was supposed to be here at Eleven. No way I coulda missed it, your man here woulda told me, and sure I asked that oul lady aswell, and she said she didn’t see it. Fuck this, the match’ll be on, what time’s that horse runnin, shite, greasy coins in my pocket, wearin last night’s jocks, had no clean ones, hope them young one’s don’t notice. They’ll be too drunk, the dirty bitches, oh come on BUS, for FUCK’S SAKE!!! I’m goin to tear down this FUCKIN BUS SHELTER!
He turned to me then and said: ‘What time’s it with yourself there?’
He looked across the road then, at a woman coming from the pharmacy, a man putting his kid into a car, a dog pissing against a bin. There was a snap somewhere in his brain and he turned, incredulous and said: ‘What? Half TWELVE, or half ELEVEN?’
‘Sure how the fuck could it be half TWELVE? My watch says half ELEVEN?’
‘Clocks changed. The hour went forward last night.’
He stared straight at me then as it all took hold. I felt responsible for every bad thing that had ever happened in his life. There was a good chance I was about to get a slap. He looked at his watch again, violent glance. He turned his head up and down the street, panicked, like he should run somewhere, do something, shout at somebody. But there was nothing there, only the empty road, and the desolate ghost of the bus long gone, but if you tried really hard you could almost smell the fumes from its exhaust. He took out his phone and looked at it. GPS Navigation, Satellite Precision, absolute concrete proof of the correct time. After, he stuffed it back into his pocket and shouted: ‘AH FOR FUCK’S SAKE!.’
And he took off back towards the lads smoking at the pub door. Muttering all the way. “Fuckin cuntin bastardin fuckin bollox of a fuckin cunt of a bitch and bastard of a fuckin stupid cow’s bitch of a fuckin bus….”
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Fisherman’s Blues is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, it covers a myriad of genres from Crime Noir to comedy and an odd bit of religion. Fresh in its language, vivid in its descriptions, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work, and a bit more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone?