The Ninja –

The Polish lads turned out to be Latvians. The man driving the Recovery Truck told me. Then he said: ‘Sure they’re all the fuckin wan anyway…..’
 

Got there ten minutes later and one of them popped the bonnet on the Qashqai and stared intently at the engine for about 30 seconds. 

Then he went to the front seat and turned the ignition, listened to it cough and not catch or start.

 
He thought, then pulled a tablet from somewhere and plugged in a diagnostics device under the steering wheel. Codes came up. He found one he liked and typed it into his phone. He read the answer, then turned and said: ‘Your engine says it’s temperature is minus thirty seven thousand degrees or something like this. We need time but we will fix. Your computer inside is messed up.’

 
‘Do you think I need a new engine?’

 ‘Hmm…no. This is probably immobiliser or something. We will call.’

‘Sound.’
 

Needed wheels.
Went to rent one. Handed over my licence and insurance to the lad behind the counter. He said it would take a few minutes but he had a Skoda Superb ready.
Savage.
While I waited, some other fella that worked there started talking shite. He arrived from nowhere like a Ninja. I was there waiting for keys and hoping there’d be no glitches with the rental and next thing I heard: ‘Where do you work?’
I answered in case it was important. Then he said: ‘Do you know Nigel in Galway?’
‘No.’
‘No??’
‘No. Sure how could I?’
‘He’s lookin for lads now.’
‘Oh right.’
The other guy asked: ‘Is you insurance Comprehensive?’
‘No Third Party.’
‘Do you want to go Comprehensive?’
‘How much will that cost?’
‘An Extra €120.’
‘No thanks.’
‘It leaves you liable to €1750 in the event of an accident.’
‘I’ll take my chances.’
He frowned and pressed some buttons and went for a breezy “Ok….”
The Ninja had gone to his desk at the back to take a bite of a previously unseen messy sandwich.
He took advantage of the silence to shout: ‘‘Did somethin happen your car?’
‘Engine trouble.’
‘Is it fucked?’
‘I hope not.’
‘What is it?’
‘A Qashqai.’
‘Oh yeah, they’re good. Nigel offers cars to lads that work with him.’
‘Cool….’
He took another bite, mayonnaise on his chin, full mouth. Muffled:  ‘I’m workin here now so I can’t do it like.’
‘That’s a pity.’
The car was ready. A load of forms to sign. Here. There. Indemnity. Liability. Fuel. Keys. All that.
Ready to go. Next thing your man was beside me again: ‘Do you want Nigel’s number? You can tell him I sent you.’
‘Ah you’re grand.’
‘Sure I’ll give it to you here. Just tell him you were talking to me.’
He had it written on a card.
‘Sound,’ I said. ‘Thanks.’ Knowing I’d find it crusted in my wallet in six months time and ask myself: ‘Who the fuck is Nigel?!’

*Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here.

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