We got there around nine. Tullamore Hotel.There was a band starting in a while, Rualie Buaile they were called. “Supposed to be mighty.”
Few people in. There was stools in the corner. Took them. Another couple landed. Him with tattoos and an orange T-shirt and a pint of lager. Her with a red wine, black hair and painted nails. Are these chairs taken, do you mind if we sit beside ye, where ye from?
We got talking.
Michelle on to your one about hair, clothes, work, Bank Holiday weekends.
Your man was five foot tall and nearly five foot wide. Square measured head like the graphics off a Commodore 64. What do you do yourself? Are ye stayin here? Was it a long drive?
There was a fight breaking out at the bar. Two clowns pushing and a girl trying to break it up. Something about a joke gone wrong. What do you mean by that? I’ll burst your head. And your one slurring: ‘Leave it lads, leave it!’ And she barely able to stand.
Your man turned to me and said: ‘Don’t ever get involved, lad.’
‘Fights, I’ll tell you, waste of time, take it from me…let them at it.’
‘Was outside Supermacs not so long ago… havin a smoke. Seen this fella arguin with his girlfriend, she was wearin a big pink jacket, that’s why I noticed her. She was tryin to walk away and he was pullin her back, and she was screamin at him, and next thing I know he hits her a box in the face and knocks her out clean cold- Bang!’
‘Yeah, so I went straight over to your man, and I says, “Pick on someone your own size!” and I laid him out, broke his jaw with a right hook. There was a crack like breakin eggs. But what can you do? He hit a woman. Anyway, what do you think happened?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Weren’t the cops after landing behind me.’
‘They were not?’
‘They fuckin were.
‘They arrested ya?’
‘On the spot. I put up my hands straight away, says, “I don’t mind, I’ll do the time, he hit a woman, it was worth it. I’d do it again, bring me in lads….”’
‘And what happened then?’
‘About six months later – there was a court case. I was up for assault, Grievous Bodily Harm, somethin else, loadsa shit, and I wouldn’t mind, but I’ve a few convictions already like, so it didn’t really suit, but I was hopin the judge would understand…’
‘And did she?’
‘Well, ask me who the first witness was, up on the stand, to testify against me…?’
‘Your man that you hit?’
‘No. The girlfriend. Your one that he knocked out, that I was protecting. Stands up and says it was all my fault, they weren’t arguin at all and I just came over and attacked them….fuckin bitch.’
‘I’m fuckin tellin ya. And she wearin the same fuckin pink jacket. Nailed me the bitch. Stickin up for the bollox that was batein her…’
‘You get a sentence?
‘Nine months. Suspended.’
‘You were lucky.’
‘That’s what I mean though. I’ll tell ya, next woman I see gettin a box….they can tap dance on her fuckin head for all I care, I’m not getting involved, waste of fuckin time…’
I looked back over at the two that were almost fighting. They were posing for a picture now. Hands on each others shoulders and they smiling pure happy. And the drunk girl tryin to take the picture with a phone but she kept pressing the wrong button and the lads jaws were getting sore trying to smile.
‘See what I mean?’ Says Commodore. ‘Waste of fuckin time. Is this band startin or what….?’
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.