The Manchester Review
Kevin Barry
White Hitachi
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Patrick was himself thirty six, if it’s ages we’re on about. Which should be old enough to know better and which did not make him feel good about the fact that after getting the van out of the clampers and avoiding Enya’s father and springing (so to speak) Tee-J from the juvenile detention unit, he was going to have to call around to Doggie Mannion’s place and offload three hundred and fifty nine DVDs and a wire-cutters. Provided they were still under the boards in the back of the van. It was the only move he could make. Better to turn them over to The Dog – for a euro a pop, if he was lucky – than have them lying around the van. If and when he got the van out of the clampers. He fingered for the fiftieth time the roll of notes in the pocket of his jeans. There was two seventy euro and change to his name and he was well aware that the clampers usually took a three-ton release fee, minimum.

He tried to avoid the eyes of the traffic. Fuckers in pink shirts with big pink heads in their Saabs and the suit jackets all neat behind the drivers’ seats on hangers. He noted that people threw rubbish around like it was going out of fashion, coffee cups, chicken boxes, and this got him down.

An alsation behind a chain-link fence lost the rag as Patrick passed and he eyeballed the dog.

“Kkksssssst!” he said to it.

There were going to be some changes. He was determined that Patrick and Tee-J were on the straight and narrow from this day forward. Yes sir. There would be no more ferreting DVDs out of Enniskillen warehouses, no more county records in Isuzu Troopers, no more messing around in handicapped toilets with Enyas out of transition years. They had been through enough of the rough times.

Now of course more or less everybody was dead. The mother, the father, the two sisters, another brother, uncles, aunts, cousins coming out the wazoo, a rake of buddies – dead dead dead, or at least mostly, and if they weren’t dead, they were in Castlerea prison, or the secure ward at the madhouse (many a Mullaney had bothered the same walls), or gone to England. The droning of the traffic beside him as he reached now the clampers yard was much of a muchness with the droning of his dead’s babble.