Sixty Cans of Harp.

Got the call around three: ‘Hey, Micky, there’s a Traveller here that wants a lift to Galway, how’re you fixed, aren’t you goin up anyway?’
‘I am. What’s the story, where’s he want to go? Who is he?’
‘Into the city. None of the taxis will bring him cos they think he won’t pay….’ He told me his name and followed with: ‘I think he was in school with you, anyway, what do you think?’
‘Yeah, sure he’s sound, tell him to call to the house.’
He called to the house. We got into the car. Started the journey. He opened with: ‘My nerves are bad, Micky.’
‘Too much drink.’
‘Were you long at it?’
‘Too long, the lord, bless us and save us. I’ve a brother in Galway and he’ll pay you for this.’
‘You’re alright, you’re grand. Sure I’m goin up anyway.’
‘No, lukit, you were the only one in the town that’d bring me, everyone else thought I was a dodge, wouldn’t pay, s’awful too the way they treat Travellers.’
‘Tis. Sure you never did nothin on no one….’
‘No sure. But that’s….just.’
Beat. Then he asked: ‘Did you ever go fishin?’
‘Fishin? No. Is it hard?’
‘It’s not too bad. Me and my three brothers were down the lake last week. We says we’ll go fishin, it was a nice day. We went out in the boat, the four of us, one fishing rod and sixty cans of Harp.’
‘Sixty Cans?!’
‘And no Life Jackets.’
‘Did you catch anythin?’
‘Not a bite, it was a good day though, don’t go too fast on the corners, my heart is bad. I need a pint bottle to take the edge off…’
‘We’ll be there soon anyway.’
We talked some more. Miles passed. The city loomed.
‘The drink is a curse too.’ He said. ‘I’m gone awful bad. There was man that gave me a lift there about a month ago, I was thumbin to Clonbur, it’s not so hard to get served outta town when they don’t know ya. Anyway, your man was a drinker like myself, and we got to Clonbur and I was gettin outta the car, and next thing he hopped out aswell, and I says to him: “Where are you goin?” and he turns around and says “drinkin with you” he says, sure we went into Lynch’s and drank the place the dry and he drove me home again later on, shtop….about two weeks later I was thumbin again, it was a fine sunny day, and the same fella picked me up…’
‘And ye went drinkin again?’
‘No. He was off it himself by then. Sober as a cork, Bill&Bob shtuff. He fucked the head off me the whole way out, why was I drinkin and it the finesht of days and the sun splittin the stones and did I not understand that drink was a pure waste of time, and all I could be doin, and all the money I could be makin, and why would I would spend the day warmin a bar shtool, oh shtop, he melted my head the whole way to Clonbur, anyways, I got out and said thanks and went drinkin on my own. He’s still off it, I think, great man. Can you pull up outside Monroes?’
‘I can, the trafffic’s not too bad.’
‘Plenty of young ones around Galway too.’
‘There is. Here we are.’
‘Wait there now.’
He got out and went in. A few minutes later he came back and threw €50 in the window. ‘Take that now, fair play to ya, thanks.’
And he left.

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