The writing wasn’t paying the bills. Imagine that?
Had to get some of what the experts called “real work.”
We were there to fix her wall. Her landlord had rang and said there was a big hole in it and could we do something.
When we got there she couldn’t open the front door. Said the kids had lost the keys. I suggested we climb in the window.
‘No.’ She said. ‘Come around the back and I’ll let ye in.’
We walked round the back. Past an old worn battered couch, and a kid’s rusted bike, and muck, and a rotten old window frame with no pane of glass.
The back door was boarded up with thick slabs of timber. It took her a while to get them all down and let us in.
Inside, the kitchen was dark and there was bare tungsten wires where the lightbulbs used to be.
‘I’m sorry,’ she said. ‘Waiting for the landlord to fix that. Come into the sitting room.’
There was light here. And clothes drying on a clothes horse. And the walls were red and sparsely populated with cheap surrealist art.
‘I’m Sarah.’ She said.
She was young, about 22, and beautiful.
‘Sorry about the state of the place,’ she said. ‘I’m not long moved in. I thought you were here to install the internet.’
‘No, not us. Are you waiting for an engineer?’
‘Yeah – the internet and the channels. Getting myself set up – finally.’
‘Were you gone somewhere?”
‘I’m just out of rehab. I was an addict.’
‘Started at 14. Heroin.’
‘Did you get a good deal on the internet?’
‘€25 a month, but it’ll probably go up then after a while. Do you want tea?’
‘You’re grand thanks. Where’s the hole in the wall?’
‘It’s over here. I’ll show you.’
We walked into the hall. Cold. Stone floor – decadent breeze like a dead man’s wheeze. A howl of dead generations. A smell like old wet wood and damp towels.
On the ground was an unwired socket. Screws and screwdrivers left around it like a half built thing.
Above it was a big hole in the shabby plasterboard wall. It had the gaping, terrified look, of a toothless man about to get hit with something huge.
‘He tried to do it himself.’ Said Sarah.
‘Do what?’ I asked her.
‘Wire the plug. But he got a big shock off it and started shouting. And then he kicked the wall and put a big hole in it and left.’
‘This won’t take us long. But there’ll still be a call out charge.’
‘I don’t mind – he’s paying for it anyway.’
‘We’ll throw a few bulbs in the kitchen too.’
‘Thanks. Sorry you had to come around the back. That’s a new door and the kids lost the keys somewhere. The last one was kicked in.’
‘Said I owed them money – wanted me to prostitute myself to pay it off.’
‘They know where you live and everything?’
‘They live across the road. I grew up around here. We all did. You’d be walkin down the street and one of the girls would be like – “Hey, Sarah, do you want to go halves on a bag?” and I’m like “No, I’m off it.” And it’s all like how come, and why….and all that. You know?’
Novel – El Niño (in Paperback).
El Niño is the exciting debut novel from Mayo man, Mick Donnellan. Slick, stylish and always entertaining, the story is a rollercoaster of drama and tension that hasn’t been seen in Irish fiction for a very long time. Charlie is our protagonist, the pick pocket that steals El Nino’s wallet and then falls in love with her. She’s the wild femme fatale, beautiful; enigmatic and seductive. She rocks Charlie’s world with her smoky wiles and drinking ways and her tough girl ideals. This is Noir at its best. Dark and edgy with crisp fresh dialogue and a plot that engages the reader from the first line and keeps them up all night – right through to it’s powerful finish.
Mokusatsu – A Novel by Mick Donnellan.
(Includes Worldwide Delivery and Postage) Charlie’s out on bail and back on the sauce. Still devastated over the events of El Niño, he drinks to kill the pain and robs all he can to feel alive. But the past won’t give him peace. The police want him in jail. Kramer’s old crew have a price on his head, and his new employer has big plans to carve out his own niche in the criminal underworld — with Charlie at the helm. Roped into a series of audacious heists and ingenious schemes, he finds himself involved with illegal diesel in Westmeath, stolen cash machines in Mayo and violent debt collection in Galway. Couple that with his regular income of stealing wallets and robbing shops and you have a cyclone of a man roaring down a path to destruction. And bringing everybody with him. And then there’s Karena. The beautiful girl that may save him — but maybe she should know better? At times dark, others touching, and often comic, Mokusatsu is a fiction readers feast of Irish Crime Writing.