#7 Dog biscuits.

The blue car still wasn’t going anywhere. Myself and the oul fella were trying to make it to Tesco to buy biscuits for the dog. We even brought the dog with us and all. She was there in the back with her ears up wondering why the nice blue car with the fancy seats and all the nice lights was coughing like a bag of coal with pneumonia. I turned the ignition, hoping something unexpected might happen. It didn’t. The oul fella said: ‘Is there petrol in her?’

         ‘Eh…should be.’

         ‘It’s a yes or no question.’

         ‘I put in €18 in Athlone.’

         ‘€18? Why not €20?’

         ‘Saved €2 for the toll.’

         ‘Dear fuckin toll if you’re after draggin a haype of shite up through the engine.’

         The dog whined in wonder, like she was saying, does this mean no biscuits?

         I said: ‘I have a jerrycan in the back. I’ll go up to Healy’s and get a drop.’

         It hasn’t been called Healy’s for years, but that’s how you roll, like who says: Let’s go to EMO? Or whatever it’s called now.

         ‘I have some.’ He said.

         ‘Some what?’

         ‘Petrol. For the Lawnmower. But it’ll do.’

         ‘Is that different petrol than normal petrol?’

         He thought, frowned, said: ‘Stay there.’

         He came back with a can, said: ‘There’s at least a tenner in it.’

         We found a funnel. Big shtuff. The dog wagged her tail in the back seat as we upended the contents of the can into the thirsty prick of a Peugeot. It was cold now, that kind of Atlantic breeze that could melt gold.

         We got back in. Hoped for the best and the best happened. All the needles roared to life as the engine sparked. Even the headlights came on by themselves and I didn’t have to kick them again like last week. We pulled out into town traffic. Step back, ministerial car coming here, should have a garda escort by right. Took a right and then a left on to New Street. Drizzle fell now and the wipers screeched like an electric cat in labour. We got about another hundred yards before the whole car went blank. Radio, electric seats, wipers agape half way down the windshield. Then silence, like a plane where the two engines are gone and it’s about to look down and realize gravity. The oul fella said: ‘What the fuck now?’

         ‘Car stopped.’

         ‘Stopped?! I knew it was hard on petrol but a tenner to New Street is a rob entirely.’

         ‘We’ll have to push it.’

         ‘How are we goin to push this bitch of a yoke?’

         Cars behind us now. Impatient new models that never seen the likes of this, and in bad traffic of all things. Time to admit defeat and put on the hazards. There was an immediate BEEP! From behind. Thanks, genius, like that’s goin to fuckin help?

         Two young lads came from somewhere. A Honda, BMW, something. Said: ‘Ye need a push I’d say. Sit in and steer.’

         And they pushed. And I steered. Got it into street parking outside the church and the helpful traffic moved on without us. The two young lads disappeared, like that, pure sound West of Ireland. Do a decent turn and keep going. No drama.

         Now what? Sure why not try the ignition again? I turned the key and there was a glimmer somewhere in the radio, and a tick like a bicycle chain running through cardboard. And then there was a sound of snoring and I looked back and the dog was gone flat out, pure asleep, pissed off, like she was saying: Fuck this. Let me know when it’s sorted.

The oul fella had the pipe out, took a long vape, and went for portentous with: ‘These’ll be dear biscuits if they ever get bought at all….’


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