Myself and Michelle were driving a shitbox up the road.
Classic Irish Euphemism. “Replacement vehicle.’
The comfort and style were doing great things for our mood.
Wipers going in the opposite direction and clattering together in the middle of the windscreen like demented bats.
Every time Michelle rolled down the window to have a smoke the handle came off in her hand and the window stayed down and fucked up her hair for ages.
‘There’s the sign for the M6.’ She said, through a haze of rejected cigarette ash.‘Hurry up, I want to get my hair done.’
‘Is it fuck the sign for the M6?’ I said.
‘It is.’ She insisted.
‘Sure that’s the sign for Loughrea.’
I half swerved towards it, then back again.
‘No, you gimp. It’s the way to Athlone!’
‘Sure we’ll end up paying a loada tolls to go in the wrong direction. Remember last time?’
‘Last time was your fault, dickhead.’
I swerved again, in doubt. Then back.
Someone beeped behind us. I gave him a wave. He must know me. How’s things?
‘Are you sure now?’ I asked her.
She pointed for emphasis. ‘Just take the fuckin exit.’
‘Sure I have to go round the roundabout now again.’
The wing mirrors were cracked and I couldn’t really see behind us so I just sorta chanced a drift across the lanes for the exit.
Another beep behind us, and someone flashing lights.
Jez, I’m well known up here. Maybe they all saw my Plays or read my books.
We got to the exit again.
‘Take it this time before I get sick.’ She said. ‘This car smells like old man.’
It went on like that.
She was right about the road, though.
We were going in the right direction.
Then the guards pulled us.
First they were behind us, then alongside us, then the flashing lights came on.
‘Oh fuck.’ Said Michelle. ‘It’s the guards.’
‘D’ya think? I thought it was a travellin fuckin circus.’
‘Piss off. Are you goin to pull in?’
‘No, sure. I’ll just do an O.J. Simpson up the M6. They’ll never catch us in this yoke.’
‘You’re more like Homer Simpson, you are.’
‘I wouldn’t mind but I look like a tramp….’
I pulled in.
Man guard and woman guard made the approach.
She took the passenger side. He took the drivers.
‘Can I see your licence, please?’ She asked.
‘Of course, is there a problem?’
‘You were reported by another road user.’
Himself was around the windscreen by now. Scribbling like fuck.
To hell with the Kinahan Cartel, this was big.
He pointed the biro at the empty disc pockets and said: ‘Nothin here at all. We’ll have to ring this in. Could need a truck.’
Then it was time for the breathalyser. I told him I don’t drink for the last five years. He said it didn’t matter and shoved the nozzle in the window. I did the test and it showed no drink and he seemed unsatisfied. And why is there no tax or insurance?
‘It’s a replacement vehicle.’
‘And are you insured in your own car?’
‘And where is it?’
‘It’s…getting the doors fixed.’ (After being crashed in a ditch.)
‘What happened the doors?’
‘There’s a few dinges on them. Why was I reported?’
‘A woman said you were all over the road. And acting strange.’
‘I don’t know, were you?’
‘I don’t think so. Maybe it’s just the weekend that’s in it. People reporting everything they see. Are you sure it was me she was talkin about?’
‘She described the car perfectly, yeah.’
‘Hmm. Yeah. I don’t know.’
Then they both went back to the car and made phone calls and talked amongst themselves for a while.
‘I can’t believe this,’ Said Michelle.
‘I know. I hope they don’t take the car off us.’
‘Will they?!’ She asked, concerned. ‘I’ve a hair appointment at three o’clock!’
‘Tell them that so. I’m sure they’ll understand.’
‘I don’t give a fuck. I’ll walk. Probably be faster anyway. This yoke is like a constipated Flymo….’
The guards came back.
‘We’ll have to let you go,’ He said eventually, sounding disappointed. ‘We can’t get through to anyone on account of the bank holiday weekend.’
‘Sound, sure. Sorry anyway.’
‘Show your insurance at the station in the next ten days,’ Said the woman guard.’
And they left.
‘Phew.’ Said Michelle. ‘Now speed it up a bit. I look like I’m after sticking my finger into a lightbulb….’