The Letter –

Rachel asked: ‘Can I use your phone?’

‘Why?’

‘I need to ring an 1800 number and I have no credit.’

‘Ok.’

I gave it to her. She dialled.

There was phone music.

Then a myriad of options.

She chose one. Then it went through to the customer service and a woman answered with: ‘What’s your account number, please?’

‘Joe rang ye half an hour ago.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Do you remember Joe rang ye? About half an hour ago.’

‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand.’

‘I need ye to send me a letter.’

‘Do you have an account with us?’

‘Not yet.’

‘And you’d like to set one up?’

‘Joe is doing it for me. He rang ye half an hour ago. But my phone has no credit now, see.’

‘Ok, and what would you like me to do?’

‘Ring Joe and ask him.’

‘I’m sorry, but I don’t think it was me he was talking to.’

‘Who was he talking to, so?’

‘I have no idea.’

‘But he rang ye!’

‘I know, you mentioned that. Can you explain why he rang?’

‘To get me set up.’

‘Ok, I can do that for you now if you like?’

‘You need to send me the letter first.’

‘What letter?’

‘To say I don’t owe ye anythin.’

‘Ok. And do you owe us anything?’

‘No. See. I did in the last place, but I paid it off, but now I’m in a new place and I need ye to send me the letter to say I’m clear with ye.’

‘I see. That should be simple. What was your account number in the last place?’

‘I don’t have it. See I’m gone now but Joe has all the details.’

‘Ok, let me see. What’s your phone number?’

‘I don’t know it. I have one but I don’t know it. I don’t be ringing myself, see.’

‘Ok, let’s try an e-mail address.’

‘Oh don’t be talking to be about e-mails. My son does all that but he’s not here, He’s in jail. I’ll be goin up to him Friday if that’s any good to ya?’

‘Hmm…no. What’s the address of the new place?”

‘The place I left or the place I’m moving in ta now?’

‘The place you’re moving into now.’

‘Do ye not need the address of the place I left?’

‘Ok, let’s try that.’

‘It’s in Derrypark.’

‘Derrypark? Is that a town?’

‘No. It’s an estate.’

‘And where is the estate?’

‘Out the Dublin road.’

‘It’s in Dublin?’

‘No! Out the Dublin road!’

‘Ok. What county?’

‘Tullamore.’

‘That’s in Offaly, isn’t it?’

‘Tis.’

‘And where in the estate is it?’

‘Down the back.’

‘What number?

‘I dunno, the number fell off it years ago..I think it’s fifty somethin….Joe knows it. Will I just get him to ring ye again?’

‘I think that would be best.’

‘Ok. It won’t be today because his mother is sick in hospital.’

‘That’s fine.’

‘And it won’t be tomorrow because he’s bringing the car down for the NCT. The shocks are gone but he’s hoping they won’t notice.’

‘Well whenever he gets time should be ok.’

‘I’ll tell him that so.’

‘Is there anything else I can help you with today?’

‘No, that’s grand, thanks.’

Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels in PaperBack here

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