Walked into a place that sells car parts.
Ten o’clock on a quiet Thursday morning.
Man behind the desk said to talk to Kathleen.
She’s comin in the door there.
Kathleen breezed in. Shopping bags. Soft shoes. Blue eyes. Looked me up and down said: ‘Oh.’
‘I’m just here to see the bill,’ I told her. ‘If I can’t help you financially, we’ll forget it.’
She brought me back to the office.
Clock on the wall with a picture of a red car.
Tractor calendar. Wastebasket. Invoices. Smell like burnt rubber.
She unleashed some biscuits and tea, then discovered a bill in a cabinet somewhere and showed it to me.
She was paying €1200 a year too much.
I told her and she said: ‘My husband doesn’t like to change, but I’ll ask him.’
The husband was wearing an orange jacket and a bitter frown. Full of emotinal kinks. He was mute in the office next door, squinting at a screen, strong grip on the mouse beside the keyboard. Mute until she said: ‘I’m thinkin about switching providers here and….’
‘Tell that fella to FUCK OFF out!’
‘You have to be modern.’ She said: ‘It’s €1200 a year!’
‘I don’t give two fucks if it’s twenty thousand, I’m not changing over to that shower of bastards.’
The son was there too. Real family business. He was holding a cup of tea and seemed convinced his mother was about to receive a desktop monitor over the head.
He stepped in with: ‘We had a bad experience with your company before.’
‘When?’ I asked.
‘Three years ago.’
‘Oh,’ I said. ‘It’s all different now.’
‘I doubt it. Their tech support was hopeless and I haven’t heard any good reports since.’
‘And what then…’ Said the father. ‘…when it’s fucked and I ring you and you’re gone workin for someone else and there’s no one here that gives a fuck about my system bein down…?’
‘But it won’t break down.’ Retorted Kathleen. And then to me. ‘Will it?’
‘Absolutely not.’ I said. ‘It shouldn’t.’
‘See.’ Said the father. ‘He doesn’t even know what the fuck he’s on about.’
He pointed at me then. ‘She doesn’t have the authority to sign anythin…she doesn’t have the right, or the power, or my permission, so take your fuckin forms and your bullshit and get the fuck out of my shop.’
‘Stop!’ Said Kathleen.
‘I won’t shtop! No. I won’t. I won’t fuckin shtop! You’ll be cryin here in a month’s time wonderin why you didn’t listen to me. Greatesht waste of time the whole fuckin lot of ye… you’ve my whole fuckin mornin ruined with this shit now… ‘
‘We’ll go back to my office.’ Said Kathleen discreetly.
Back there. More biscuits. Hot drop of tea. She said: ‘Do you see what I’m dealin with? Can you imagine if something went wrong? Can you promise me it’ll be ok?’
‘And my signature is enough?’
‘Tis. That and a picure of the bill and I can fill in the rest.’
‘Ok.’ She said and sighed. ‘Where do I sign?’
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.