The Crisis in Castlebar.

My sister wanted to go to the shop in Castlebar, Brant Rock, big shtuff, so I parked the car on the path and let her out and then another car came and took my wingmirror clean off. There was big swoosh, then a thump, then the brakelights of a confused Toyota up ahead. I got out, ready for action, til a fella in a bight yellow jacket got out the other side. This changed everything. I had to do a mental inventory. Had I tax? An NCT? Was I parked right? Should I just drive away? My sister won’t know where I’m gone. What about the pieces of my mirror? It should say Garda somewhere on his jacket. I was processing all this when a noise started to my right. It began as a distant pleading, then reached a crackling crescendo til I took notice. It was a woman trying to get my attention, tell me something, explain something, apologise. Apologise for what? I looked at her and she was waiting for me to respond to something she was after saying. So I said: ‘Sorry?’
‘It’s my fault.’ She said. ‘I’m awful sorry, oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph tonight, for the love and honour of God, I’m mortified, are you ok?’
I looked back at the Guard, knowing now he was something else. He’d a clipboard out and was writing furiously. His head was going back and over, like a teacher correcting a failed exam. I looked back at the woman and asked: ‘What’s goin on?’
‘I’m in the middle of my driving test!’
‘Oh is right, and it was goin bad enough as it was! Did I hurt anyone?’
‘I don’t think so.’
Cars flew by. Gave curious looks. Dodged around us. ‘I better pick up the pieces here.’ I said.
‘Let me give you my details, I’ll pay for everything, just let me sort it out later, when I’ve this over with.’
‘Ok. Here’s my number.’
‘Ok, thanks, I’m awful sorry again, look at this prick writing, thinks he’s James….feckin Joyce or someone…’
‘You might pass it yet?’
‘I doubt it. But thanks. I’ll ring you tomorrow, thanks for being so kind.’
‘You’re grand, I’ll try fix it here anyway.’
When she was gone, I put the mirror back together. Didn’t look like anything was broke. It all fitted back to where it was supposed to go. The next day I rang her.
‘How much?’ She asked.
‘I fixed it. Don’t worry about it.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yeah, you’ve enough problems.’
‘I do.’
‘Did you pass the test?’
‘No, it was cancelled – in the interest of Public Safety. He insisted on drivin the car back.’
‘Shite. Better look next time.’
‘We’ll see. Thanks. Goodbye.
Bout a week later, I was driving down the road and the mirror fell off again, all by itself, I didn’t even notice til I got home and sure at that stage it could be anywhere. Went to buy a new one. Cost €75. Had the option to ring your one back and charge her but I didn’t cos Irish people just don’t do that sorta thing. And besides, I’d her number long lost anyway.

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