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. 

 

 

Ruaile Buaile in Tullamore

We got there around nine. Tullamore Hotel.There was a band starting in a while, Rualie Buaile they were called. “Supposed to be mighty.”

Few people in. There was stools in the corner. Took them. Another couple landed. Him with tattoos and an orange T-shirt and a pint of lager. Her with a red wine, black hair and painted nails. Are these chairs taken, do you mind if we sit beside ye, where ye from?
We got talking.
Michelle on to your one about hair, clothes, work, Bank Holiday weekends.
Your man was five foot tall and nearly five foot wide. Square measured head like the graphics off a Commodore 64. What do you do yourself? Are ye stayin here? Was it a long drive?
There was a fight breaking out at the bar. Two clowns pushing and a girl trying to break it up. Something about a joke gone wrong. What do you mean by that? I’ll burst your head. And your one slurring: ‘Leave it lads, leave it!’ And she barely able to stand.
Your man turned to me and said: ‘Don’t ever get involved, lad.’
‘Heh?’
‘Fights, I’ll tell you, waste of time, take it from me…let them at it.’
‘Why’s that?.’
‘Was outside Supermacs not so long ago… havin a smoke. Seen this fella arguin with his girlfriend, she was wearin a big pink jacket, that’s why I noticed her. She was tryin to walk away and he was pullin her back, and she was screamin at him, and next thing I know he hits her a box in the face and knocks her out clean cold- Bang!’
‘Jesus.’
‘Yeah, so I went straight over to your man, and I says, “Pick on someone your own size!” and I laid him out, broke his jaw with a right hook. There was a crack like breakin eggs. But what can you do? He hit a woman. Anyway, what do you think happened?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Weren’t the cops after landing behind me.’
‘They were not?’
‘They fuckin were.
‘They arrested ya?’
‘On the spot. I put up my hands straight away, says, “I don’t mind, I’ll do the time, he hit a woman, it was worth it. I’d do it again, bring me in lads….”’
‘And what happened then?’
‘About six months later – there was a court case. I was up for assault, Grievous Bodily Harm, somethin else, loadsa shit, and I wouldn’t mind, but I’ve a few convictions already like, so it didn’t really suit, but I was hopin the judge would understand…’
‘And did she?’
‘No.’
‘Why not?’
‘Well, ask me who the first witness was, up on the stand, to testify against me…?’
‘Your man that you hit?’
‘No. The girlfriend. Your one that he knocked out, that I was protecting. Stands up and says it was all my fault, they weren’t arguin at all and I just came over and attacked them….fuckin bitch.’
‘Jesus.’
‘I’m fuckin tellin ya. And she wearin the same fuckin pink jacket. Nailed me the bitch. Stickin up for the bollox that was batein her…’
‘You get a sentence?
‘Nine months. Suspended.’
‘You were lucky.’
‘That’s what I mean though. I’ll tell ya, next woman I see gettin a box….they can tap dance on her fuckin head for all I care, I’m not getting involved, waste of fuckin time…’
I looked back over at the two that were almost fighting. They were posing for a picture now. Hands on each others shoulders and they smiling pure happy. And the drunk girl tryin to take the picture with a phone but she kept pressing the wrong button and the lads jaws were getting sore trying to smile.
‘See what I mean?’ Says Commodore. ‘Waste of fuckin time. Is this band startin or what….?’

*

Notes on Reamonn: Supergirl.

I was trying to write a bit when she walked in. It was around 3pm. Usually she’s drunk by now. Buys a bottle of Vodka at 10am every morning and has it mostly drank by the afternoon. Normally it’s in a flask and she carries it around and drinks it casually as the hours pass. She wants to know what the music is, says it sounds familiar, she used to listen to it in Poland before she moved over.

I told her it was Reamonn. She said she used to drink a lot in Poland. Party girl. Young. Finding herself. Strobe lights in dark discos, dance beats and boys. Her new fella wanted to move to Ireland. Big money, better life. She could speak good English and they liked to drink in Ireland too.

So they packed up, moved over. Had two kids. Bought a house. She had a job for a while but lost it. It was everyone’s fault. The boss, the manager, the conditions, the hours, the pay. She was better than that, didn’t need it, there’s better things out there.

She drank some more,  said: ‘I love that song.’

‘Supergirl?’

‘Yeah. We used to listen to it at home all the time.’

‘Before you moved over?’

‘Before….everything.’

She danced a bit, put up a hand to the beats. Took a drink, said: ‘Sure you don’t want some?’

She feels the excitement, song always gets her. Brings her back, back to a place before experience and knowledge, a careless place where she didn’t have to think.  She can’t remember when she decided she was a Supergirl. Maybe it was when she had her first kid, or second, or when she got married. Most mornings now she gets the flask and fills it  and goes for a walk. Walk where, who cares. The kids are gone too. Husband took them. She had an apartment for a while, no rent paid. That’s gone aswell. Now she lives with my neighbour and makes him dinner every evening and he gives her some money for the off licence. Lately he’s getting annoyed because the dinner does be burnt and he’s noticing things going missing around the house. First it was a phone and she blamed the guy up the road. Then a jar of change and it was the fault of the woman that visited an hour before. Then some real money from a wallet and maybe it was a break in, might be time to call the guards. He’s also the kind of the man to keep a suitcase of cash under the bed. He went looking for it yesterday to buy a car and sure most of it was gone. Had vanished. Disappeared.

So she’s giving him some space and hanging out here, listening to Supergirl.  And where did I get the computer, it’s really nice. And do I like this town? Was I ever in Poland? It’s good, but Ireland is better. Much better. She wants to see her kids at the weekend but the husband won’t let her. Won’t answer the phone. Last time she got too drunk and didn’t show up and there’s been no word since. But she has a plan. There’s going to be a court day soon, solicitors, a real showdown, she’s got it all planned as she dances, transformed back to the careless place, invincible. Supergirl.

*