Behold the bruised sky of dead hope. Down comes the rain, hailstones threaten, wind blows like an omen, a warning to turn back and call it off. But on we go, over the tarred motorway, through the drenched windscreen and the scared wipers, towards the great rich wilderness beyond. People be like, Micky, you have such bad luck with cars, why don’t you get a job that has a company car or something. And this was it, the mighty new start, the promised great wage, the wonderful commission, the great perks and the work life balance. Will ya start with us, Micky. We have a good deal. A strong performing team, great money and a lovely car, sure what could go wrong? All we need is you to supervise, kick back and take in the dollars. No pressure, just make sure the rest of them are working and do your own thing, but don’t worry, they’re highly successful and low maintenance, easiest money you’ll ever make. We’ll give you a Qashqai or a Tuscon, whichever might be available.
This Hyundai i20 is what they came with. The bigger vehicles weren’t available due to the fact that they didn’t exist. This was black, fairly new with no aerial for the radio (who steals an aerial?) So there was no music, just hard boiled static, the terrified wipers and my strong performing team here beside me. They never mentioned the rest of the highly successful crew couldn’t drive and needed to be brought everywhere. Picked up, dropped off, lunch, toilet, all that. Low maintenance indeed. Last week there was three of them. Two lads, and her. The two lads quit cos they had no lift anywhere cos I wouldn’t bring them. Now it’s just me and her and the dwindling dream of the easy dollars.
She said: ‘Fuck this weather shit.’
‘Might be just a shower.’
‘Puh. Shower. I want a new job. These people are all liars…I thought I left all the liars and cheats in Romania….and look where I am now?’
‘Let’s see how today goes.’
‘Puh, how do you say this, these, hard things, like diamonds from the sky?’
‘Yes, Hayley stones.’
‘Not diamonds anyway.’
There goes the sign for Moate/Clara. We’re looking for Tullamore and into Durrow and over to Portharlington.
Next thing the phone rang. That other prick in the office. I rejected it. Clutched and hit fifth. Through Geashill and Clonygowan and then arrived. Pulled up at the petrol station. Five star shite food. Estates with people that left Dublin for an affordable house here. Arrogant bald types with cheap glasses that wear shorts all year round. Always full of curious condescension about the ways of the country.
She said: ‘Soon, I will be trillionaire.’
‘Oh yeah? How?’
‘I bought the Zimbabwe money…’
‘Yes, you saw the news, how the inflation went crazy?’
‘And their money was millions and trillions to buy bread…’
‘I saw that.’
‘Well, I bought some of their currency on e-bay…’
‘You might have trouble tryin to spend that in Centra…’
‘I don’t want to spend! I am waiting for things to get better in Zimbabwe…’
‘And when their money gets good again I will be a trillionaire.’
‘Will that be soon?’
‘Yes, of course, only a matter of time.’
‘Sure there’s no point workin at all so.’
‘Better just get lunch then and go home….’
‘Sounds great, I’m starving….’
The phone rang again and I had to let it ring out cos I was trying to order a burnt lasagne. She went for the chips and the brown bread wrapped in plastic and the half price pork chop dinner with the spongy carrots. Then we sat back in the car and talked more about the Zimbabwe money.