Touchdown in Toronto –

 

Greyhound bus travels. Travels through the rainy dark and the Kerouac night and on toward the great purchase of a wonderful automobile.

People slept, and watched films on computers, or just stared out the window at the years gone by.

Thrump rump go the wheels and we eventually pulled up in Toronto.

There to meet a fella called Trevor.

He lived in some house somewhere.

You had to take some kinda bus, and get off at some kinda stop and then take a ghostly train from a cold lonely station.

And walk by some kinda shop and take some kinda turn and go up a stairs after going through some kinda gammy door and then you were there.

The whole building had the rickety feel of a film set, real but not real, lived in but temporary.

It was a two bedroom flat with a weird smell of wet clothes.

Sun glared through the window, diamond on God’s finger, spread shadows of light across the carpet floor.

The telly was on, too,  some kinda telly, connected to something.

There was numbers on the screen, like you’d see on a phone. And some kinda animated creature on the bottom corner, looked a bit like Micky Mouse, had it’s arm folded, waiting to be told what to do.

‘That’s my telly, man!’ Said Trevor. ‘I’m trying to make phonecalls with it.’

Trevor was black and had a shape like Shrek or a teenage mutant ninja turtle. He had the car for sale and that’s why I was here.

I dropped my bags and said: ‘Phone calls from the telly?’

‘Yeah, man! You want a drink?’

It was ten in morning. I said: ‘What you got?’

‘Wild Turkey, Jameson, Vodka, Rum…beer.’

‘I’ll have a Wild Turkey and wash it down with a beer.’

‘I like your style. You got here early.’

’18 hours on the Greyhound, I won’t complain.’

‘Cultural experience, huh?’

‘Something like that. What else do I need to buy the car?’

‘You got the money?’

‘Yeah.’

‘You can drive?’

‘I can manage.’

‘Ok, just go get your licence and we’re set.’

‘I have a licence already.’

‘Is it Canadian?’

‘No. Irish.’

‘Oooh….’

‘What?’

‘State says you need a Canadian licence.’

‘Can I not just wing it?’

‘You could – but then I’d be responsible for selling you the car, cops be after me, man. Just Call down the DMV and they’ll swap it for you.’

‘Just like that?’

‘Formality bro.’

Went to the DMV. Told them the craic. The woman behind the counter said: ‘Ireland’s not in the UK, is it?’

‘No.’

‘See, that’s a problem.’

‘Why?’

‘We can only swap Uk Licences. It’s a Commonwealth agreement.’

‘So what do I do?’

‘A highway test.’

‘Sorry?’

‘You have to do a Highway test, and a theory test.’

‘Can I do that today?’

‘No, it’ll take three weeks at least.’

‘But I just bought a car. Can I drive it while waiting?’

‘Absolutely not.’

‘But I need to get back to New York – and then on to Chicago. What am I supposed to do?’

‘Hmm…she said. ‘You could always get the Greyhound?’

—–

 

Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels in PAPERBACK here.

 

 

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