Ballymahon –


Got the car fixed by a Polish crowd on the fringes of Athlone.

 Brought it for a spin to test it out. Make sure she was sound.

Went to a town up the road called Ballymahon. The locals in Athlone reckon it’s a place known for people being “awful quare.”

         Got there. Engine sounded good.

          Parked up. We might get a roll in Spar, Micky. Cup of tea to go with it.  That’s the job now.

          Was walking back past a house and a fella sticks his head out the window and goes: ‘Hey!’

          I turned and walked back and said: ‘Yeah?’

          ‘Were you lookin for me?’


          ‘Were you lookin for my wife?’


          ‘Why are you here?’


          ‘Outside my house.’

          ‘Cos I was gone by til you called me back….’

          ‘Don’t talk to me like that buddy…’

          ‘Like what, man. I don’t even who you are, I was gone up the road…’

          ‘Do you think you’re smart?’

          ‘What the fuck are you even talking about?’

He was overweight. Talking down from an upstairs window. He pulled a face like he wanted to hit me but the thought of the trip down was putting him off. So he pointed and said: ‘Me and you are goin to have a serious problem.’

          ‘I don’t have any problem at all. I was minding my own business and you called me back. What do you want?’

          ‘Sure I don’t want anythin. I told you to go.’

          ‘No you didn’t. You called me back. And I still don’t know what you want.’

          ‘I told you buddy, I don’t fuckin want anythin!’

          ‘Right so, I’ll go.’

          ‘Do. Fuck off.’ He said.

          In the spirit of de-escalation I replied ‘YOU fuck off.’

          His eyes went wide. ‘I told you not to talk to me like that, pal. I’ll come down there and box your head.’

          ‘For what?’

          ‘For annoyin me.’

          ‘Have you nothin better for doin?’

          ‘How do you mean by that?’

          ‘Like stickin you head out the fuckin window and attackin people walkin past…’

          ‘What…’ he goes. ‘Do you have a job or somethin?’


          ‘Oh so you think you’re fuckin better than everyone else?’

          ‘No, but I’ve better things for doin than this.’

          ‘Then fuck off and do them.’

          ‘I am. I was. You’re holdin me up!’

          ‘Oh the big man….thinks he’s fuckin great cos he has a job. Better than everyone else. Well do you know what you can do with your job now?’

          ‘I didn’t ask for your advice.’

          ‘Well you can shove your FUCKIN job up your hole.’

          ‘Thanks. I’ll go now now so.’

          ‘Do. Fuck off.’

          ‘Maybe you should try workin yourself, it’ll help pass the time.’

This sent him over the edge. And he disappeared inside. There was a thumping sort of rumping inside. Like he was banging into presses, and running down stairs.

          The car was close by.

          I was nearly there by the time he’d made it down. But I could still hear him shouting. ‘You’re nathin but a FUCKIN PRICK! Get the fuck outta my life you cunt!! I’ll come over there and bursht your fuckin head!!’

          I got into the car. Threw the roll on the passenger seat and turned the key. There was a second where it nearly didn’t start and that wouldn’t be good at all. Then she fired and I was gone. Gave him a wave as I pulled away and went home.

          Christ above.

          Awful quare entirely.

*Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here.




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