€60 Taxi to Swords –



There was a public reading of my Play planned for the Galway Arts festival so they flew me back from Canada.

Walked out of the train station in Dublin.

Tired, jet lagged, loadsa bags. Long trip from Toronto. Eight O’clock in the morning. All that.

          Walked down some road somewhere looking for a bus. Narrow alley. Quiet houses. Then I heard: ‘Hey!’

          Looked around. Couldn’t see anyone. Then I heard it again. ‘Hey!’      There was a fella in a white t-shirt.

          Blue jeans.

          Large belly.

          Running towards me in a panic. I slowed up, let the weight of the rucksack tug on my shoulders. Waited for him to catch up.

          Then. He was standing in front of me. Out of breath. Bent over with his hands on his knees. ‘I’m glad I caught you.’ He rasped.

          ‘Do I know you somehow?’

          ‘No. But. C’mere and I tell ya. My wife’s’ after havin an accident out by Swords. She’s in a bad way and the hospital is after ringing me there.’

          ‘Oh, right. Do I know her?’

          ‘No, but. It’s mad, lad. You know. She left in the car this morning with my wallet, the keys of the house, all my cards, everything’s in the car and now I’m here stuck and I’ve no way out there and she’s goin into intensive care.’


          ‘I know, I’m in an awful way here, and sure there’s no one around.’

          He was holding a phone in his hand. Held it up up and continued: ‘All I have is my phone, and the guards are after ringin, and the hospital is after ringin, and her mother is after ringin and sure I’ve no way out there!’

          ‘Can you get a bus?’

          ‘Ah lad, sure that’d take ages. You’re not from Dublin, are you?’


          ‘Ah, sure. I’ve an uncle from Mayo.’

          ‘What part?’

          ‘I don’t know, just Mayo. But c’mere, you wouldn’t do us a favour…I need to get a taxi to Swords…’


          ‘And I need the price of the fare, lad. Sure I’ve nothin!’

          ‘Have you no cards or nothin?’

          ‘No?! Sure that’s what I’m after tellin ya!’

          ‘And will the taxi not wait for you to get your wallet out of the car, and then pay them?’

          ‘Sure who knows where the car is now, the cops have it taken away somewhere, and I don’t know how my wife is, and I just need to see her first, you know? Can you not do me the favour, lend us forty quid to get out there and get sorted.’

          ‘I could but sure I’m off to Mayo now.’

          ‘You can give me your address and I swear to God, on my wife’s life, I’ll post it back to you next week when I get sorted.’


          ‘Here…take my number here.’

          He called out the number. I put it in my phone. ‘Now ring it.’ He said. ‘So you’ll know it’s my number.’

I did. And his phone rang. Then I said: ‘I’m sorry, but I’ve no cash. I’m just back from…’

          ‘There’s an ATM in that shop around the corner.’


          He led me to it.

          Spar. Mace. Centra. One of those.

          He was a lot calmer now. In a lot less of a hurry. In the shop, he pointed out the cash machine and said: ‘Make sure you get a receipt and I can write your address on the back of it.’

          People had been good to me in Canada so I felt like I owed the universe an


So Itook out €60 and gave it to him and said: ‘That should see you through. There’s an extra €20 there.’

          ‘Good man, thanks.’ He said, taking the money. ‘I’ll send you that next week. Write down your address there.’

I wrote down the address. He took it. Shook my hand and said: ‘Thanks, Mick. I’m Sean.’

          And he walked off. (Didn’t run or anything.)

          And I found a bus and went to off to the reading.


Has he called you yet, Micky?

          Not yet, no. 

          And when did that happen?

          July 2009.

          He might call yet.

          He might.

*Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here.


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