John said: ‘Thanks, will you call to my brother Martin?’

‘I will, what number’s he in?’

’23. He’s looking for it too.’

I got to 23. Martin signed up, said: ‘Will you call to my brother Paddy?’

‘I will. What number is he in?’

’24. Next door.’

I got to 24. Paddy signed up, said: ‘Will you call to my brother, Jimmy.’

‘I will, what number is he in?’

’25. Next door.’

I got to 25. Jimmy said: ”Is it a good deal?’


‘Show it to me.’

I showed it to him and he said: ‘That’s a fuckin good deal. Come on inside.’

Inside. Torn couch. Smell of spilled cider. Dead modem in the corner

I said: ‘I’ll sign you up so.’

‘Do…but. What kind details do you want?’


‘Do you need account numbers? From banks?’


‘And say if there was a fella that was signed up with ye before, like, and he ran up a big debt…’

‘It probably wouldn’t go through. Or you’d get a bill for the money owed.’


‘Do you owe anything?

‘Eh….no. I don’t think so. Will you need ID if I sign up?

‘No, just your name and phone number. And address. Paddy and Martin went for it too….sure you might as well.’

‘Who’s Paddy and Martin?’

‘Your brothers.’

‘Oh they’re not my brothers.’



‘Well, Paddy said to call up to his brother in 25. This is 25, isn’t it?’

‘Tis, but, I don’t know them people at all. Can you sign me up so?’

‘Right so.

‘What’s your name?’




‘Ok, Jimmy Connolly. And we have the address here. And what’s your number?’

‘Can I give you Paddy’s number?’

‘Who’s Paddy? Your brother next door?’

‘Yeah. No! I don’t know them people I told ya! Here,try this.’

He rhymed off the first few digits that came into his head. After I asked: ‘And date of birth, Jimmy?’

‘Does it have to be mine?’



He looked about 35 so I said: ‘ ‘You look young for a 50 year old.’

‘I keep myself well.’

‘Ok, good man. E-mail address?’

‘Yeah, here.’

‘No that’s a Postcode.’

‘Oh right. Are they not the same thing?’

‘Not really.’

‘I don’t have one so.’

‘Sound. Nearly there anyway.’

‘Do you want a smoke?’ He asked.

‘No, thanks.’

‘Do you mind if I have one?’

‘Go ahead sure.’

‘These are fags I bought for €5 from a Pakie lad up the road.’

‘Good price.’

‘Do you know anyone looking to buy any?’

‘Not at the moment….’

‘Let me know if you do. They’re supposed to be full of rat poison but I don’t believe that. Sure they’d tell you anything now.’

‘They would. Ok, we’re done here now.’

‘Good stuff.’

‘Just need you to sign.’

‘No problem. Where do I sign?’

‘Bottom line there.’

‘What name do I put down?’

‘The name you gave me.’

He blinked and looked at me blankly.

‘Jimmy Connolly.’ I said.

‘Oh yeah, Jimmy Connolly. That’s right.’

He took the pen, wrote the word “Jimmy.” then looked up and asked: ‘How do you spell Connolly?’


Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels









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