Venice was full of Bridges and rain. €75 euro for a Gondola ride. Fuck that. Walked around. Found a hostel. €38 please. Cheapest going. What can you do? Sought after place. Checked in. Ate a weird cheese dish called Gnocchi with twelve other guests. They knew all about it. I was from Ireland and hadn’t a clue. It tasted like a left over burger from Supermacs on a Sunday morning. Some of the guests told stories, others just drank. It was like a zoo of social evolution. The loud ones getting louder, the quiet ones going to bed and the lost ones getting loster into the strongest drink they could find. An odd one had political notions, knew how to solve all the problems of Europe and the world, everything seemed to be all America’s fault. Another fella was all about climbing and kayaking and soon enough he was planning a trek into Switzerland and did anyone want to come with him?
Needed an ATM. No surprise there. Decided on a walk, in case I got roped into Switzerland. Wanted to see what the place was like too. Downstairs, the water level was rising on the street and the staff were organising planks along a line of beerkegs for when the flood came. Outside, there was an American fella with me. Telling stories about a party where he drank loads and then puked it all up. We walked over a bridge that looked like every other bridge. People went by on the river taxis, drenched wet and taking pictures. It was dark now and the buildings were lit up with yellow streetlight that helped hide the green moss on the walls that you could see during the day. We couldn’t find an ATM for a good while so we started looking in pubs. We couldn’t find one there either and soon enough we were drownded wet and broke and the Gnocchi was wearing off. Your man from the states suggested a blast of Gelato Ice Cream. Said it was mighty stuff entirely. A Gelato van appeared like a mirage and he went for it like a starved monkey towards a tree full of ripe bananas. I left him at it and went wandering. Lots of street furniture and beer umbrellas for drinks I’d never heard of. The rain shone in the cracks of the cobbled streets and Italians waiters were busy taking the tables and the chairs back inside the empty restaurants. People have a great way of giving you advice when it doesn’t matter. Like, don’t go to Europe in Winter, it’ll be shut down. Summer’s the best time. Thanks for telling me in November, really appreciate that now that I’m here. Then again, I’d take the rain over the demented tourbuses any day. Not much of a Rayban man myself. On to the high street now. Logo central. Same old shops that are everywhere. Another European victory of the cloned commercial dream. Nothing like a bitta travel to broaden the mind. What’s this, an ATM? Not too bad, getta bitta dusht here now, pay for the hostel, might stay another night if we don’t sink into the Adriatic later on. Hope that Switzerland fella’s gone to bed, Christ, sure we might be kayaking out of here yet. The whole country looks like it could capsize. Where do I put my card, these foreign machines are pure strange. Oh yeah, here tis. The hole looks big, fuck, there’s a pair of fingers behind the slot. There’s someone behind the screen. They musta be after putting LSD in that fuckin Gnocchi. I’ve heard about this sort of thing. Seen it on the films, they’ll be cutting out my organs in the night. Wake up in a bath of ice and my kidneys half way to Russia. €38 a night to be fuckin harvested. Shtop. What’s the shtory with guards around here. An Italian voice spoke, a young woman, she was in behind the ATM, doing something, tryin to fix it, or refill it, or make me think I’m mental. I did the tourist thing of shouting to be understood. “I’m LOOKING for MONEY! MUNNN….NEEEE….!”
Naturally enough, there was people walking past, looking at this Irish fella screaming at a bank machine. Sure what could ya do? Inside, your one shook her head, her eyes going back and over like I shoulda known better. “It no working right now ok? One hour. Come back, we sorry. No money, sir. No money.’
‘Come back. One hour.’
‘Eh…ok, SOUND… ’
Novel – El Niño (in Paperback).
El Niño is the exciting debut novel from Mayo man, Mick Donnellan. Slick, stylish and always entertaining, the story is a rollercoaster of drama and tension that hasn’t been seen in Irish fiction for a very long time. Charlie is our protagonist, the pick pocket that steals El Nino’s wallet and then falls in love with her. She’s the wild femme fatale, beautiful; enigmatic and seductive. She rocks Charlie’s world with her smoky wiles and drinking ways and her tough girl ideals. This is Noir at its best. Dark and edgy with crisp fresh dialogue and a plot that engages the reader from the first line and keeps them up all night – right through to it’s powerful finish.