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!

Stargate Athlone

 He got out on a Friday, mad for drink, craic, mayhem. First place he found was a closed restaurant and decided to rob it. Kicked in the door, American Roadhouse style, got into the kitchen and raided the presses, cabinets, anywhere that looked like it might have money or a key to a safe or even just a box of change to keep him going. He found nothing but half drank bottles of wine and buckets of margarine. He took the wine, and left the buckets. Broke back out through the window and decided he needed a car.  

Our carpark downstairs was his next port of call. Not sure how he found it. Instinct maybe, fluke, or he followed down some innocent tenant that opened the secure gates like an invitation from car robbing karma world. He was well drunk now, not in a fit state to discriminate car models.  Which was good cos there was a few. Fancy new SUV’s, BMW’s, and one or two electric yokes. After that, it was all downhill. 10 years old and better. There was even a Corolla covered in dust and cobwebs that stirred envy and nostalgia in anyone born before 1995. It was the older cars he went after. No alarms, simpler to hotwire, probably easier to drive too as he’d been in jail when the newer ones were invented. He hit a Fiesta first. Got two euro worth of change. Then went for the Peugeot something. 203, 303, who knows. There wasn’t much in that, maybe a jacket and a pair of shoes and an old bottle of water. He broke the window in disgust and kept going. Eventually he found a Polo and somehow got it started. I suppose it was time to go at that stage. Cameras, nosie, broken glass, curious passers-by. The Polo was small with great power, which was good because he didn’t know how the gates worked. If he chose the exit gate it would open automatically but, if chose the entry gate, he’d have to drive right through it. He chose the latter and smashed into it with a loud clang and clatter that oddly woke nobody. The gate itself looked wounded, knocked, twisted like it was trying to do yoga and got stuck half way into the waiting street. He went again, and again, and again until it gave and landed on the road and he was able to speed off in the front wrecked Polo into the wine drunk night. Guards by now had been notified, made alert, told what was happening. The people at the restaurant had called first, and now this Fast and the Furious effort going on in the nearby carpark. They had an idea of who it was. Had been known for this kinda thing. They knew it would be an eventful weekend. Just didn’t expect it a few hours after he was released. It wasn’t that hard to find him either. Once someone put in the report of the car on fire about five miles up the road it all came together like a Sherlock jigsaw. They arrested him close by. Still with the wine, burnt clothes, and the few euro he stole from the Fiesta.  He woke up the next morning again, back in jail, charged with more of the same as before and sure twas all the one. Great night out altogether. 

 

 

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.