Rent, Road Rage and setting fire to the rain.

The four horsemen of the rent apocalypse were chasing the Ford Focus up the M50. You could kinda hear the thud and squeal of their wheels between the trucks and motorbikes and morning mayehm traffic. The phone was hanging off the yoke on the dashboard and the maps were on, talking shite about exits and roundabouts. All the signs to small universes whizzing by. Southbound, Dundrum, Sandyford, Stillorgan. I changed lane and some lad went demented. Started the crazy beeping and the gesticulation. Giving the wild advice like I could hear him through his passenger window. And his kid in the back, strapped to a babyseat, looking at him like he’s mad. He took off when he was finished with the news for the traffic deaf and I lost him behind a fat cement lorry.

The maps were getting excited now. Destination not far.

A small pebble hopped off the road and bounced off the windscreen but I wasn’t worried cos the windscreen was already cracked from a bigger stone last week so the pebble was out of luck tryna fuck up my day. I’d asked around and got numerous quotes to fix it. €297 here. €250 there. Offer cash. Cancel your insurance and then renew it, but add cover this time. And how long would that take and when is the NCT and you better get it done. Settled on a place for €200 and getting it done next week, let her crack away til then, might as well get my money’s worth for something rightly fucked instead of fixing a teardrop on the glass.

Switched on the news. Bad idea. Changed the station. Good idea. Adele kicked off with set fire to the rain. A soft massage on the cerebellum, a serenely sonic needle and thread, adding meaning to the colourblind clouds. The maps said to take a left. Take a right. Stop here. You’ll be there soon. Parked up. Let the orb spin and the gravity settle. Quiet dust across the moon, storms in Jupiter, distant diesel engines and road raging school runs. The engine relaxed, licking the fumes off her paws. Spotted a lotto ticket under the handbrake, left quietly there by the mother, said you might be lucky. Scanned it through the app and let the data packets bounce and the satellites sing through the ozone. And sure lookit, isn’t it fuckin mighty.

Five Star Fomo. Black Mirror job.

Your wan had a French name and a place up fairly cheap. Nice pictures, spacious, safe, all that. The site had a big red warning that said: LAST PLACE LEFT for your dates. Nothing like Fomo to get the booking going. Tore open the wallet, fired in the card number, nearly broke the screen trying to get digits in fast, fast, fast, it’ll be gone! Then, sound, said the lively robot, you’re booking is confirmed. Good man yourself, got a good deal, sure thinking like that is how you save big money and no need for them demented hotels at all. Sleep good, pack your suitcase, get ready for the road. But. Somewhere in the ether, a devil began to laugh. At first it was stifled in a vague icy doubt and eventually descended into the falling fog of concern and buyer’s remorse. Had I checked the reviews? Was it refundable? Reliable? Too good to be true? The phone felt heavy and uncertain when I picked it up, like it was biting its lip, saying maybe you don’t want to know? I found the place again, scrolled down, and drank in the truth of the dark premonition.

First lad was straight in with SCAM!

And it got worse from there.  A broken shower, pictures of dirty rotten beds and bare live wires that could jump start an airplane. The nice pictures were of somewhere else, someone else’s house apparently, or maybe this one a long time ago, before it fell into the hole of dire disrepair and was listed for booking on the wild reliable site that caught me with the LAST ONE LEFT trick. I scanned more. No stars, lots of warnings, complaints, warning of danger inside the house due to everything being fucked and outside due to it being a dodgy area. Sure ya wouldn’t know, might be refundable? I checked the site and it was written in big bold thick ignorant letters: Non-Refundable.

But I still had a plan. Time to ring the bank. Lately I told them to stop ringing me every time I buy something, I know what I’m doing, don’t need ye checking my transactions every two minutes. Now here I am, big shtuff himself booking gammy accommodation. Got through after a while, a lovely girl with a soft Munster accent, said: ‘We can’t help you there, it’s gone through.’ She said something about making cases, filling forms, complicated madness. I hung up. Contacted the site, more demonic laughs from the shadows on the wall. It was night, see, and the phone’s screen illuminated the anonymous dark. It was a bit like being on The Matrix, or getting sucked into some virtual video game like something out of Black Mirror. The FAQ put me on to the chat. The chat put me on to the FAQ. It went on like that for a while, the bank card still thrown on the couch, out of breath after such an unprovoked assault, and the money long gone, probably spent on that bitch’s 20 fags in her dodgy bungalow with dirty light bulbs, and her hair frazzled from the last time she got a belt of high voltage trying to turn on the WiFi and see who’s after booking now, who fell for it tonight?

M50 – Last Exit to Tallaght

Things used to be quiet for a while on the M50. There was a time you could make Dublin from Athlone in an hour and you didn’t feel electrocuted. But these days that’s all gone. The change was gradual at first. Busier at Enfield, slower at Lucan, and now it’s all wonderful chaos. That lad with his car on fire last week, and the two women arguing about the Fiesta stuck in the back of the BMW. And then there was your man that overturned the truck full of round bales. It was on the other side, outbound as they say, but it still somehow held up the traffic on the way in for two hours. Think it was from everyone slowing down to look at it and the long line of lads in trapped cars, like monkeys in road zoo cages. Some drivers get creative. Up the Hard Shoulder, skipping in and out of the traffic. I got a bad look and a BEEP! from a woman last week because I pretended I was going to Tallaght and skipped a ball of cars and then pulled back in over the white Zebra bit before you take the exit. Pure thick head on her, she’s probably still up there somewhere, BEEPING! at someone else. Other headers chance the bus lane but I’m still waiting on the NCT, and the new windscreen, and I don’t want to be drawing the guards on me in case. So now it’s WFH in Mayo. Fully remote. Computer, WiFi, kettle going full blast, how’re ya fixed for a bit of peace and quiet compared to the M50?  

But sure it was all go here too. Your man came last week and put down the seeds in the lawn Now there’s crows all over the garden trying to eat them. They’re like a crowd of out of work extras from a Hitchcock film. The oul fella is flat out trying to scare them away. He shouts out the window in a sort of garbled bird dialect, like an angry German dictator trying to order steak in a Shanghai restaurant. The birds don’t give a fuck. They were a bit afraid of the dog at the start but now they just wander around, casually eating what they see, like it’s an all you can eat buffet for birds. Eventually we located a clapper that does what it says on the tin and goes clappety clap clap, like a game of table tennis between two lads on some kinda super cocaine. It had the feeling of a light bell, reminded me of that time John Barnes rang the school bell too early for the craic and we all went back inside and missed half our small break. 33 years later and most of the class are still thick about it.

All up, it might be time to locate that windscreen. The insurance weren’t amenable to a mid policy change, and someone else said to “…try upgrading to Comprehensive…” whatever that is, but no other options besides, except the hard shoulder and a good story if the blue lights come on and they take a good look at the growing concern, like the first signs of ice breaking on a shallow lake, only a matter of time if ya don’t sort it out. Clappety clap clap. BEEEEP!