This lad had Lyme disease and a blue car for sale. Said it was a beaut but he couldn’t afford to tax it so he was letting it go. And the manual was really interesting because it tells you all about the electric seats and the bluetooth and the aircon and the fancy mirrors and sensors and mighty wipers and sure it was a gem, really. We took it for a drive and he talked it up about being a petrol engine and smooth and quiet on the road, and he drove it down from Carlow last week and there wasn’t a bother. We brought it back and looked at the tyres and the boot and then talked money. He came down about €200 on the asking price and then said he had no way home coz he brought the car here and hadn’t figured out how to get back if he sold it. We let that settle before I offered him a lift and he said grand.
On the way we talked about Lyme disease and MS and dead deers. That’s where he got it. Bought a van off a fella that had a dead deer in the back one time. And there was a tick on the deer and then he got bitten. There wasn’t a lot of doctors that believed him but eventually he found one in Dublin and he goes to him now anymore. We got to his town then and I asked if he wanted me to drop him off at his house and he said no, he was grand here at the shop, so I left him there and drove home.
Later, in the car, the gem, the real beaut, it was hard to see how fast you were going because the dashboard was stone blank. No indicators, engine lights, dims or speedometer.
Probably a bulb, something simple.
Brought it to the mechanic and he opened it up and said: ‘Fuck.’
Wind blew, November sang, the night getting ready to take over. I asked: ‘Is that bad?’
‘Not good. You might need to ring a main dealer.’
‘What’ll I ask him?’
‘Tell him you need an instrument cluster.’
Later, the main dealer asked for the Chassis number, then said: ‘Oh…’
‘They’re not in stock anymore.’
‘Can we order one?’
‘No. They’re not even manufactured by anyone, anywhere. Have you tried breakers?’
Breakers. The internet. Scrapyards. Phonecalls. Eventually an Englishman, said: ‘We have one.’
‘Great. How much?’
Later, back at the car, with the fancy seats and the aircon and the Bluetooth, it was time to think about Tax and NCT cos that’s probably all the guards would be interested in. I looked it up on the motor tax website and typed in the real gem’s registration and the site excitedly asked for €387 and my card details whenever I got a chance. I put that off until I booked the NCT. There was an appointment available in a week’s time and I’d have to pay €55 and that would be on top of the €387 tax and the 150 pounds part and I was already going over the price of the car itself. Sure it was probably worth it, the price of style, the benefits of a lovely quiet engine and the heated electric seats. Next thing anyway, didn’t I try and start it and nothing happened. Just a sort of lazy cough and then a dead click click click. Mighty sure. Best car in a long time. Real gem. Pure beaut entirely.