Went through Mountbellew. Took a left for the bog road. Then I spotted something up ahead. At first I thought it was a bag of turf. Turned out to be a man asleep. He was bald. I know this because the headlights were bouncing bright off his shiny skull. That’s when I knew I was going to run him over if I didn’t swerve.
After, I turned around.
He got up when I was close.

Staggered to a vertical pose.

Put one hand over his eyes, like the car was causing him grief, like why did I wake him up.
I got out and opened with: ‘What sort of a stupid clown are you?’
He came back with: ‘Are you a guard?’
‘I’m not a fuckin guard, you stupid bollocks. I’m after missin your head by about six inches.’
He looked around, stupefied, then asked: ‘Am I not at home?’
‘I thought I was at home.’
‘You were asleep on the road.’
‘I’m awful sorry, I’ll go.’
‘Where are you goin to go?’
‘Where’s home?’
‘Up here. I’m drinkin all day.’
‘I nearly ran you over.’
‘I know. Fair play to you for stoppin.’
Other cars were coming. Wondering what the story was. I told your man to get in the car and I’d bring him home. He eventually relented.
‘I live a small bit up here.’ He said. Then: ‘I’m workin in the morning…’
‘What do you do?’
‘Drive trucks.’
‘Are ye busy?’
‘Kept goin. I’ll be sick with drink all day tomorra. What time is it?’
‘Two in the mornin.’
‘Christ I’m up at half four. Take a left here now. Don’t go to that house there, he’s a guard.’
We drove on. He went: ‘Please don’t tell anyone about this.’
‘Sure I don’t even know who you are.’
‘Yeah, but shtill. I’m an awful ass. I thought I was at home in my room at home…’
‘You’re lucky.’
‘I was in trouble for this kinda thing before. Where are you goin yourself?’
‘Do you like Moate?’
‘It’s not bad.’
‘It was great town for drinkin one time.’
‘Where are we goin now? There’s a crossroads here.’
‘Just down a bit and I’ll be sound here. I’m just up that hill. Do you know your way back?’
‘I’ll find it.’
‘Thanks very much. I’ll buy you a drink sometime. What’s your name?’
‘Thanks, Mick. I’m Sean. I’m awful sorry. Sure I’m drinkin all day.’
‘G’wan. Go home.’
He reached for the door handle. ‘Where the fuck is this yoke, I’ve to be up at half four.’
He found it. The door swung open and he stumbled out. He turned before he left. Put up his thumb and said: ‘Thanks again….Martin is it?’
‘Thanks, Mick.’
And he was gone.

* Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here.

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