Knightrider

On the road again, motorways, tolls, dying twilight and reluctant dawns. Dense fog like a symbol of the future. Sometimes the car sucks in the condensation and is slow to warm up. Chugs a bit, struggles through the gears, doesn’t fully commit to fifth. And then you have lads coming up the fast lane trying to flash you out of the way. One fella in a Polo got real emotional. Flash Flash Flash and drove right up so close you could see his dirty eyeballs. I pushed the rearview to the left so I couldn’t see him and let him drive around me. He was delighted, all thick revs and stressed acceleration, and took off. I gave him the fuck off flash back and turned up the radio and listened to all the good news which didn’t take long because there wasn’t any. Later, found a car park in Dublin close to the hostel where I was staying. It was tipped to be world class, great atmosphere, safe and friendly. And now It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and there’s a fella standing over the bed in a leather jacket. There’s a rucksack behind him against the wall and there was screeching and drunk skittering in the corridor outside. Your man said: ‘That’s my bed.’

            It was a four bed dorm and all the beds were full with people that were sleeping up until now. An American lad in the corner spoke and said, I think you’re in the wrong room.

            Your man was like something out of Knightrider with the collars up and the hard to see features. A woman to the left gave a dramatic toss from one side of the bunk to the other and there was a squeak of metal under pressure and the agitated sigh of someone that wished she’d paid extra for a hotel. Outside, through the window, there was two lads arguing at the wall of the Liffey and taxis strolled by and there was some girl with purple hair shouting at her friend up the street to come back, or hurry up, or some other variation of the intoxicated shriek.

            The Hoff looked around, figured it was a tough crowd, and picked up his rucksack and left. There was an almighty blast of light as he opened the door, like a portal into the sun, and you could see heads and legs running past. Think they were some kind of foreign language students playing fuck having a party. Things almost settled then, the room assembling itself into sense from the nonsense but I’d a fair idea your man would come back. Had that kind of vibe, like he’d walk around for a while, and try a few more doors and rooms, get quare looks from the students, and then arrive here again and start pulling at blankets and insisting he be allowed to stay. So I got up and went downstairs, through the blinding light and down the concrete stairs and asked them at the counter what the story was. The fella there was on a chair so low you couldn’t see his body so he just looked like a floating head. He said they’d had a few complaints already, and they were trying to find him, and did I know where he was, and could you let us know if he comes back, and sorry about this, and they were looking for him now and it shouldn’t be a problem soon, and sleep good, and enjoy your stay. World class. Great atmosphere. Safe and friendly.

Shoes and Chinese beach blues.

This woman had a room for rent and a policy of no shoes. I had one shoe off when she asked: ‘Are you parking there, like that?’

I said yeah, and she said no. That won’t do. It’s dangerous for her car when she’s trying to pull out and she might hit mine and could I park it up the top there instead.

            I put the off shoe back on and got back in the car and started backing back, back towards the trees and the empty pond, and the horseshoe groove that kept cars safe and undinged. It was a calm blue evening, leafy suburb, Newstalk on the radio, banging out ads about famine and starvation. Not too sure where the Peugeot came from. One second I was about to lock to the left and then there was the pokey eyes of reverse lights coming in the gate. We did a bit of gush, and push, and awkward acting the bollix, and ended up stuck beside each other in the driveway. Now there was two cars parked badly and no way out the gate. Our lady, Breda, yelped from the doorway. “Michael! Michael!”

            ‘Yeah?’

            ‘Let that man in.’

            The guy was Polish, Latvian, Hungarian, something. Double chin and smig and big belly behind the wheel. He shrugged, said: ‘I’ll only be 10 minutes anyway.’      

            A fourth character appeared; stairs left. Previously unseen, unnamed, unheard of and unexpected. Shorts, blonde hair, pale green eyes and an agitated voice. She stood beside Breda, bare feet, squinted at the two of us, tried to assess what was happening, then asked: ‘Are ye delivering my Chinese?’

            Come in, said Breda, just come in.

            We both walked towards the door. Crunch of stones, caffeinated blood from a long day on the road. Thoughts like haunted ghosts flitting round black tormented rooms. Coming, going, living dying, breaking through, electric saw blades on concrete.

             Shoes again, please, said Breda.

            Got the two of them off this time. Good job I bought decent socks in Dealz last week. Your man’s name was Justin. Breda was excited because he was the best handyman around and didn’t often come unless you were a valued customer. Even at that, his time was precious. More precious than the bad parking tenant and the girl looking for her Chicken Szechwan. He was going changing a plug, and the plug was broke for a long time, and we couldn’t let him go now or we wouldn’t see him again for weeks. I took the chance to escape up to the room. Small, functional, towel, window. Unpacked, got ready to chill, embrace silence, do fuck all. Then I heard: Michael….? You can move your car back now. Justin is gone.

            Shoes on. Parked. Shoes off.

            And did I know anything about broadband. There was a lad here at the door last week and he sold it to her and it was pure shite. And now Eir were going taking money out of her account and she had to ring them. And isn’t it awful, and the doorbell rang, and who’s this now, must be the Chinese, have you seen the beach yet? You should go down for a walk. It’s lovely.

            I will. Which way is it?

Maverick and the Never Ending Story.

Made a complaint about getting scammed on the booking site. They said to contact the property and see if they’ll give you a refund. The property was more of a rubbish dump than a place to stay so I hadn’t much hope of any digital gold flying back through the phone lines. There was a direct message system, or a text option. I tried the direct message first. DECLINED. Great. Said I’d chance a text, fuck it. She messaged back and said no. Imagine that? Sure she probably had the money spent on cheap cans and loose tobacco and rollie papers. Surprised she even messaged at all. Must have unlimited free texts on a shite phone with big buttons and a faulty charger.

         Back to the site. Said they couldn’t help, and they told me this already, but I could make complaint if I wanted. And how could I do that? Here’s an address, they said, a postal address, for some kind of regulator, in Brussels, and you all you have to do is post them the letter and I’m sure they’ll help and here’s a survey, and how was your experience today?

I’ll send ye a letter and let ye know.

         Found an alternative place in Dundrum. Cheaper, legal, looked like it did in the pictures, had reviews that didn’t sound like they came from people sprayed with Napalm.

         Later, decided to go see Maverick. Got parking at the town centre. It only took half an hour and a few laps of the car park. Found a spot at the back beside some kind of Porsche. Good company for the Focus. Free parking too, took the sting out of the scam. Walked over to the cinema, through the damp evening and the azure twilight, through ghostly generations of nervous lovers and actors souls captured in antique posters. Up the steps and pulled the door. There was a security guard talking to a crowd of young lads at the entrance. Warning them about something, anti-social behaviour, smoking, litter, who knew. Inside, plush carpet, screens advertising what’s on. They were doing a good deal. €9.95 for a film and a popcorn combo. Sound.  Dinner and a movie, all in one at 9pm.

         9pm came and it was fairly empty. Back in the time of the first Top Gun they’d show you ads for more films coming like Terminator 2 and Rocky IV and Honey I shrunk the Kids. You were on a dark train of endless screen theatre and imagination. The Never Ending Story.  Now there was ads for Amazon Prime where you could watch films at home and didn’t need to come to the cinema at all. Then there was more ads for mortgages, and banks, and phone companies and broadband and Jewellery shops and eventually the other people started wandering in and the movie started and, I don’t why, but the best bits seemed to be the flashbacks of the first one.