I was in the car, signing the contract for Fisherman’s Blues, pretending I knew what half of it meant, but really just looking for the bits about money. She’d been indicating for a while before I noticed her. Think it was the intense stare that got my attention. Eyes that said: ‘Can you move your car out of my way, please?’
She had the air of someone that was used to getting her way. Big wheels and a husband in a high powered job. You see them at the bottle bank a lot, dumping the emptys from the wined and dined weekends. Too rich to be poor and too poor to be rich and bitter about it. I wasn’t going anywhere so I looked back down and waited for her to park somewhere else. She did, but then she walked back and knocked on the window, Tap! Tap! Tap! It reminded me of the rings on the hands of the Christian Brothers when they’d be cracking you around the head during school.
She opened with ‘Do you realize you’re in a parent and child spot?’
Rhetorical tone reserved for teachers and tax officials.
I said: ‘Yeah. Who’s to say I’m not a father, or don’t have a child?’
She was flummoxed then. The dinner party punch line was slipping away. She regrouped all her vicious pistons and went: ‘That’s not the point!’
‘Well, sorry then, what is the point?’
‘You’re taking up two spaces.’
My wheels were about six inches over the line, into the next space. Best I could do cos there was huge SUV the other side, and Michelle couldn’t get out of the car if I’d parked any closer to it. I told her this, and maybe she should talk to the fella in the SUV and he might be able to help her out. She got thicker then, like she was on to something, and said: ‘That’s not the point!! I’ve got a four year old kid!’ She pointed to her car, about three spaces away. I said: ‘I can see where you’re comin from, and I’m really sorry if you couldn’t get a space, but I’m entitled to park here, and it’s not my fault I’m a bit over the line….’
She went for the kill then. ‘That’s the not the problem here.’
‘What is the problem here, then?’
‘It’s your attitude.’
And she walked away. I shouted. ‘What’s wrong with my attitude?!
She said something I didn’t catch. So I said what everyone says in moments like this and no one knows why. ‘Just cos you’ve got problems in your life, don’t be takin them out on me!’
‘My life is fine!’ She roared. ‘There’s nothin wrong with my life…you’re the one with the attitude problem…’
‘I apologised to you, will you fuckin get over it?!
She took her kid out of the car and stormed into the shop. There was speech bubbles bursting around her head. I’ll ring the guards. I’ll complain to the manager. I’ll ring Joe Duffy. I’ll take the number of his car and do something with it, a solicitor maybe, pity there’s no clampers, we need clampers here….
I found the place to sign the contract and went into the Post Office and sent it. It was ten o’clock in the morning.
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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?