Life on Mars.

It’s a God awful small affair to the fella at the airport. There’s a different system now, see. You were over at the other machine the last time. This one is the old one, I know it’s confusing, I’ll throw these liquids away. Here’s your bag, thanks, said the girl with the mousy hair. The walk through the terminal was long and haunted with missed flights and a failed trip back down on the bus to Galway. Wonder if the same fella would be driving. Nice crayture, loves talking on the mic through the speakers. “It’s not a race folks…” Did his best with the traffic but was late anyway. Now here we are through the mice in their million hordes. Shops, duty free, cosmetics, lenin on sale again. The priority boarders got to check-in first. Fast tracked, confident, assured, entitled to the front seats by the door for a fast exit. Then the rest of us come and we all board at the same time anyway. The fella beside me was a dub partial to overpriced cans of small German beer. Up for the chat, the weather, the seats, the flight, great to be out of Ireland. He found a soulmate across the aisle and talked shite for the whole flight. Golf, the government, the price of Spanish holidays. We landed through fog and the expanse of wind farms in the distance, and the small rustle of stirred brain chemistry, like plants yawning into a new light, a photosynthetic birth on the tarmac of Berlin. The security was important inside. Through the silver screens of facial recognition and scanned passports. Efficiency herself a crucial character in the great play’s machinery. Found a train, a heaving heifer going somewhere with a name like a Welsh town on acid. Took that, got off. Walked through the maps recommendation for how to get to the place. The girl behind the counter said the systems were down, and they couldn’t take cash, and they had liquids, but they couldn’t sell them because they had no way to accept money but there was places all around she said, with a wave of her finger in a circular motion, and you can get anything you need. The walk to the places all around yielded a pale faced boy in a pharmacy in a white jacket and big blue eyes and awful dear deodorant. 11.90 euro a bottle. I said I won’t, no, you’re grand, thanks. I followed the girl’s imaginary finger a bit more but never found the places all around and went back to the place where everyone was on phones, and headphones, and laptops, and somewhere else. The machete cold outside had a siberian bite, even the trams seemed to shiver and the sun was on her way down, clocking off early, calling it a day. And then it was night and the dark crept over the scene like a quiet glove and everything looked like a cold war trailer for a film about cyborgs and people hiding under manholes from tattooed gangs with too many piercings. That’ll do now, we’re landed.


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