Misty taste of Moonshine….

Here was the dealer stood at the gate, after him paying me €200 to take the haype of shite of a Peugeot away, now he’s going selling me a new yoke. By all accounts it was a reliable wagon, NCT and taxed with good tyres, electric windows that worked and it even had the added bonus of a dashboard. Like, you could see things like: how fast you’re going, if the indicator is on; or if it’s overheating and the engine is about to explode or is contaminated with weedkiller. All benefits, features and perks, that were noticeably absent in the Peugeot. We took it for a spin. The oul fella said: ‘Even the lights work on this one…’ and he was right. Fulls and everything. Another tick on the gem spectrum. Plus, the car had come directly to the door. There was no country road spins to bumpy car parks to horse deal in the rain about well washed scrap with Flintstones fanatics. Hard to bate it. 1.4 petrol. “…easy on juice…” and high spec for the year (15 years ago.)  

            We brought it back. Let cars go by in traffic, watch us looking at it. Clouds floated above us, people walking dogs, trees swaying lightly in the breeze. There was two keys that weren’t keys. They were some kind of sensor, activator, important pieces of black plastic with a watch battery. The real key was in the ignition and never left, but the car wouldn’t start unless you had one of the two independent keys with you. Like I said, high spec. With a dashboard. It was time to talk about money. Permutations sang in the whistling wind, monetary fairies haggled in the heavens while the real business was delayed through silence and looking at the footpath while we waited for the moment to begin. Eventually he gave a figure that was too high, and I gave a figure that was too low, and we met in the middle with the figure we all knew was probably right. Then it was logbook o’clock and he wasn’t great at writing so he asked me to fill it out while we all sat in the house. He counted the money while I did the admin. No PCP mountain of paperwork here. Just a calm old school logbook and a tenner back for luck and off ya go. A new journey in a new wagon. No distant dreary towns that smelled like oil and rubber and emigration and listening for rattles and bangs the whole way home and the ghosts of the famine laughing at you over the country walls. There was she was, already in the drive. A Ford Focus with two sorta keys and a right one inside and even a drop of petrol and a bottle of Holy Water in the glovebox. At first, I thought it was the passenger door trying to fall off but no, eventually found it, a plastic bottle of blessed lovely usice banging off the hollow plastic like a suitcase on a plane in an empty luggage compartment. Surely I must be in good hands now, might even use it some day when stuck for petrol. She’ll probably go forever on that stuff. Lot better than the fuckin Roundup anyway.

Yoda in the Skoda

There was a Mondeo in Bellmullet. Test, no tax, “….she won’t need much….” after that it was all Ballina, Ballycastle and Castlebar. Passats, Hondas and heaps of Insignias. There was Insignias everywhere. All washed, looking good, but dead inside. “Engine light on, not sure, probably just a sensor…” which is Chinese for that oil seal yoke that blows the engine that everyone suddenly knows about and is dying to tell you only after you buy it. Been there, done that, burnt the fuckin t-shirt. One lad had a Skoda for sale but had no keys. The car was locked but you could look in the side window and if you liked what you saw you could tow it away. No tax, test, and no logbook “…hence the price…” 

On went the dream. A Kia in Limerick. A Tuscon in Crossmolina. Cars in the North at crazy cheap prices til you add the VRT and the wonderful Nox. An Avensis in Headford. A Focus in Roscommon.  Lads offering PCP. Sure PCP is easy. Almost certain to get it. Here’s one now, a nice 1 litre, affordable, reliable, guaranteed. Call today, drive away. Yours by lunch, no credit crunch. Take the wheel, enjoy the steal. Want to go far, then buy this car. Sure that’ll do, time to get out of the dregs, into the big leagues, shiny at the football pitch with the child, big shtuff. Here we went, just a case of picking it up. There was breeze, a bruised sky, and an uncertain salesman. Yeah, them deals were a while ago, where’d you read that?  

– Internet. 

-Oh right. See. Well. Let’s try.  

We tried. There was paperwork. Questions. More questions. Questions about questions. Bit like giving blood. Then there was forms. Beloved forms. Upload this, scan that, make sure it’s this date and from these places only. Now we’ll think about it. Hit submit and we’ll be back within 48 to 72 hours and we might need more. Depends on if you fucked it up. No car today, no steal of a deal or fancy wheels making lunch time reels around shiny new leather roundabouts of long term debt and wonderful guarantees of reliable travel. 

Back to Donedeal. Even the Skoda with no keys was gone by now.  

The phone rang, then. The dealer that bought the Peugeot. Christ, Jesus, why’s he ringing me? Didn’t I tell him it didn’t work? He was hardly wondering about the weedkiller in the engine? 

I answered with a tentative, hello? Like I wasn’t sure who it was. Casual, innocent, blameless in this whole mess.  

He didn’t buy it, asked: ‘Have you got a new car yet?  

‘Heh?’ 

‘Are you still lookin for somethin? I met your oul fella downtown. He said you were lookin…’ 

‘I….am. Well, just waiting on a PCP….’ 

‘I have a yoke here for ya.’ 

‘Oh yeah?’ 

‘Yeah, two months test, tax, and in good shape. I’ll call around and show to ya.’ 

‘Eh….’ 

‘Are you at the house?’ 

‘Ya.’ 

‘Sound….I’ll be outside in two minutes.’ 

And he was.  

 

  

The shitebox dealership goes live.

The beautiful broke down blue car was for sale on the side of the street. The listing on Donedeal mentioned this. Along with the fact that it had no working dashboard, no petrol or oil, and the engine was likely contaminated with Weedkiller due a misappropriated jerrycan. All up, the buyer would have to tow it away, unless they could get it started, Fatima style, and they needed to understand that there was very little chance of it ever functioning as a roadworthy vehicle ever again. Other than all this she was a beaut, a real gem, and the purchaser could expect a nice interior with electric heated seats that had never yet worked but they were welcome to try find the relevant button, fuse or lever that activated such luxury. It was, perhaps, suited to the more bourgeois end of the car enthusiast and for that reason we decided to list it for a bargain price of 500 Euro.  

The oul fella said: ‘You’ll be lucky if you don’t have to pay someone that just to take it out of the way….’ 

‘You wouldn’t know. Someone might want it for parts.’ 

‘Yeah, the guards’ll be delighted with the windscreen I suppose. Was it ever taxed?’ 

‘No.’ 

‘NCT?’ 

‘No, they wouldn’t touch it without the dashboard.’ 

‘Is that your phone ringing?’ 

It was. I answered and a fella said: ‘How much d’ya want for the Peugeot?’ 

There was noise in the background, like kids torturing each other, I said: ‘500.’ 

‘There isn’t a hope of that lad, I’ll give you 300?’ 

‘When?’ 

‘Tomorrow. I’m comin down from Sligo, I’ll give you a shout when I land…’ there was a loud crash in the back, like one child was after smashing a huge plate off another child’s head, so he said: ‘I have to go, g’luck.’ 

Sounded promising. 300 quid for a ball of shite on the side of the road. Then the phone went again. Another voice, elongated and nasal, slow and dragged, old days of dead Walkman batteries, playing tapes too slow. ‘What’ll you take for pewww….jo….?’ 

‘I just got an offer of 300….’ 

‘Ah, ya did not. I’ll give you 350 caaashhh first thing in the mornin thayyrree…’ 

‘Sound, sure gimme a shout when you’re around town.’ 

Hung up. All going well. Two prospects. Interested buyers. Potential customers. Warm leads. Heavy hitting cash whales. This could be the start of a real side hustle, big business, the shitebox dealership goes live.  

The next day. Nobody came, or rang, or arrived. Got a few texts offering shite money. The car looking more like useless blue rust and an expensive problem. All the passing dogs around the town were having a great time pissing on the wheels. Night came, like a bored cloud, covered everything with causal depression and friendly rain. The phone rang again. Wasn’t sure if I’d answer, could be anything, will ya swap it for a broke down JCB or some daft shite like that. The voice said: ‘How much d’ya want?’ 

Aimed high with: ‘I have two offers above 400.’ 

‘That’s crazy.’ 

‘Be hard to let it go for any less.’ 

‘I’ll give you 200 and I can be there tonight. I’m not far away at all. And that’ll be it gone out of your way and 200 cash in your hand.’ 

‘Did you read the ad?’ 

‘I did.’ 

‘So yo know the craic? It’s good for nothin.’ 

‘I do.’ 

‘You’re sure? Cos I don’t want phone calls tomorrow asking why it won’t start.’ 

‘That’s no problem, I’ll do a deal with ya and there’ll be no more from me. I have my own truck and everythin to take it away.’ 

‘Sound, how’s 10 O’clock?’ 

‘Suits me. I’ll meet you there. Bring the logbook and I’ll bring the money.’ 

Job done. The shitebox dealership lives on.