Gearbox Eureka


She was trying to push the car all by herself. White pants. Pink leather jacket. Handbag thrown there on the road.

It was some kinda Micra like shitbox and it wasn’t going anywhere.

Himself in the drivers seat, shouting out instructions like: ‘Fuckin push it will ya!’

‘I am, you retard!’

‘Why isn’t it going so?’

‘Cos you’ve the fuckin brakes on ya stupid THICK!’

I walked over. There was a smell  like a burnt saucepan and sweet paint. It was coming from the car along with the sound of your man turning the ignition and nothing happening. Just a tch….tch….tch….

I asked: ‘What’s wrong with it?’

‘Clutch.’ She said. ‘I think….will you give us a push?’

Lately my wrists been aching. Repetitive strain, arthritis, fractures, something.

Not good news for all that’s unwritten.

But still I leaned in and hoped for motion.

Did it fuck come.

She was right about the brakes. The car was like an elephant that was unconscious with drink and wasn’t going anywhere.

Next thing out hopped your man. Tracksuit, wide eyes, unsteady. Drunk with Eureka. ‘It’s the gearbox!’

‘What’s that mean?’ She asked.

‘We’ll have to get it towed.’

‘Fuck that.’ She said. ‘It’s too wet. I’m goin home.’

‘Me too,’ says I. ‘Do you want a lift?’

Ont he way she goes: ‘The prick can’t even drive.’

‘Like he’s a bad driver?’

‘No, like he can’t drive. He doesn’t know how.’

‘So what’s he doing with a car?’

‘That’s my sister’s car. He was trying to show off by bringin me for a spin. Next thing he was hittin a 140 on the town roads and I says: There’s a smell of smoke, I says, will ya stop! – “Be grand he goes. Relax.”

‘Do you drive yourself?’

‘I only ever had three cars and I never crashed any of them.’ She said.

‘That’s good going.’

‘Well the first one I had a few small crashes, knocked off a few wingmirrors and that, but nothin major. The second one was a nice car but the engine went in that cos a dodgy fucker sold it to me and the third one the guards took off me.’

‘Oh, did you get caught doing something wrong?’

‘No tax or NCT.’

‘Yeah, they don’t like that.’

‘Or insurance.’

‘Sure the price of insurance now….’

‘Oh well I never had insurance in the first place.’


‘No, or  never had tax or nothin.’

‘You just never bothered?’

‘No, I’ve no licence you see. They don’t give you that kinda stuff if you’ve no licence.’

‘Was it taken off you? For drink or somethin?’

‘No. Nothin like that. I just never got it in the first place.’


‘Yeah, I’m not into all that theory test stuff. And then do the twelve lessons, and then do a test? And pay everything else then? It’s much handier to get a car and just start driving around.’

‘Tis I suppose. Cheaper anyway.’

‘Sure how else are you supposed to survive in this country? I’m grand here. This is my place. Drop me off at the corner. Thanks.’

‘No problem.’

‘Nice to meet daycent people.’


** Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here **










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