*This Story was published in 'Anthology Baby!' a collection of work from the M.A. Creative Writing UCD Class of 2009
I was sixteen when I met Mick properly for the first time. He’d been in my year at school all the way up but when you get to transition year the classes change based on your choice of subject and level. All of his mates had dropped out after the Junior but he hadn’t. It was the end of the first week of the new school year and he was now in some of my classes. I knew loads about him already though. He was a real lad ya know? I’d heard that he always got into the Playhouse no questions asked. He was the fella who sorted the boys out with hash or whatever else and he had become infamous in our school for riding this girl Carol Black with a Snickers wrapper on his cock when they were like fourteen. She always denied it, Mick on the other hand never said anything about it when asked. Just smiled. He was cool as fuck I thought.
Rumours had been going around our area that his Ma had been having an affair and had just left his Da to go and live with the geezer she’d been seeing. I hadn’t heard about it until the Friday morning of our first week back. Since nothing ever happened around really, it was interesting to listen to I suppose. I picked up the odd whispered word in the corridors. Ya see, I was in a similar boat. My Da had had an affair with a woman he was doing a Psychology course with. It was a few years before. All I remembered were phone calls to the house at like four in the morning and him saying “Look, stop ringing me house!”. He had a bit of a thing with the woman but had finished it. Afterwards your one went a bit schizo and kept ringing and turning up at the doorstep in bits crying. My Da said she was just confused. Eventually my Ma got the truth from him and so he left one night. At least now I had something in common with Mick.
English was the last class of the day. We were doing poetry. A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins called ‘The Windhover’. About perfection. I liked it. Most people in the class seemed to be asleep though. When the bell went people shuffled out of the class. I stopped scribbling the name Katie on my copy. I reckoned I was in love with her. She had an older boyfriend called Barry. She was blonde and wore loads of make-up, maybe more than she should have but that didn’t matter to me. I watched her as she walked passed my desk and left the room. I looked across the room and saw that the only other person left was Mick. I packed my books into my bag. As he passed I stood up and he looked at me.
“Alright”, he said.
“Yeah”, I said.
“ Love a bit of gossip this lot what?”
“Now you said it… you alright man?” I said but I could never really pull off the man part.
“Ah yeah, just feel bad for me little sister ya know?”
“How old is she?”
“Ten ya know? I mean I couldn’t give a bollocks to be honest. The aul’ one can do what she likes ya know?”
I walked with him to the lockers and he threw his bag inside. I was going to ask him did he not need it for the weekend but realised that that would sound stupid.
“Sure me Da’s done it before like” he said.
“Yeah some girl that was working for him… she was tremendous to be fair… had to be only about twenty two or sumtin”
“And didn’t your Ma find out?” I asked and tried to be cool.
“No, gas part is he doesn’t even know I know man. It was just before he gave up the drink last year so I just said fuck it and said nuthin about it.”
We got out to the front of the school.
“These things happen I suppose” I said and spat. Mick turned to me.
“Wanna know how I know?” he said. I just nodded and spat again.
“Well, I was the on the hop from here one day last year cos me and the boys had a robbed motorbike stashed in the thirty acres and I wanted a shot of it all to meself ya know?” I listened an bit my nails. “So I just took off on it around the faco’s, down the old dump, the waste ground there and I see a silver Nissan Primera parked there right? Then out of nowhere a red Seat comes around and pulls up beside it.”
“No way.” I said, to show how interested I was.
“Yeah, so I thought it could be some drug deal or sumtin, bit of a gangland body disposal or sumtin good like that ya know?”
“Defo” I said.
“But anyway this young blonde bird gets out and looks around. Im up on the hill so she doesn’t spot me ya know? So I stash the bike as she gets into the Nissan. I could just about make out that the person she’s getting in beside is a bloke right? And im going to meself, what’s going on here like ya know? And I cop it. These two must be doing the aul’ lodgey bodgey like.” We both laughed.
“Go on” I said.
“Right, I mean why else are they out here, middle of nowhere, one o’clock in the day?… so, I wait a few minutes and then slowly walk down towards the cars. Can’t help meself like, have to see incase there’s a bit of filth. But as I get closer, hunched down low and all, creepin’, I notice the Reg on the car. Get a bit closer and run the numbers over in me head. fuck me I says, it’s me fuckin Da’s car. Like obviously I knew what kinda car he had but why would I… ya know? Anyway, make a long story short, I get right up to the car , peep me head up to the window and there he is, me Da, lashing a young blonde dolly out of it in the backseat… from behind.”
“Jesus” I said slowly. He delivered the from behind bit like he was proud of it or something.
“Believe it?” he said “So I watched for a bit ya know? Few minutes. I didn’t even feel anythin really. Like not strange or anythin. The only thing I regretted was not seeing her face.”
“That’s mad” I said.
We walked for a few minutes and I didn’t want there to be an awkward silence so I don’t know why but I just ended up coming out with “And like did ya get a horn watchin it?”
Mick laughed so hard that he started coughing.
“No… no, but I did have a wank about your one when I got home”
“Course not ya sick cunt” he laughed again. “Know what man?” he said.
“I think you’re mad as a brush.” I didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing until he said “Like me… tremendous” and he punched my arm.
A few months later I was in Mick’s house waiting for him to finish getting ready. We were going to the Playhouse. Drinks were only three euro on a Friday nights. We’d been going there every Friday for months. Mick knew one of the bouncers and so I got in with him no problem. We had both gotten part time jobs in the local shopping centre. Mick worked in a burger place and I worked on a cereal aisle in the supermarket. The money was so we could go on the Friday nights out. I was in Mick’s kitchen with his Da. He had started drinking again after Mick’s Ma left. He poured himself a whiskey. I noticed the Ace card tattoo he had on his arm. He had tattoo’s on both of his arms. He smiled at me. I didn’t know how to react so I just nodded at him. Mick was still upstairs making himself look good. His Da poured another drink. I noticed his hand was shaking slightly and was stained yellow from smoking, that was one thing I remembered about my Da. Mick was probably spiking his hair the way he had started to the last while. It took forever though.
“So, yis are off to this Playhouse place tonight is it?” Mick’s Da asked.
“Yeah” I said.
“What’s it like? Plenty of girls and all that?”
“Yeah, I suppose.”
There was a bit of a silence and then all of a sudden he started crying. Completely balling. I couldn’t believe it. It was like one of those car crash situations people talk about. Where you have to look. I was fixed on his red eyes and his trembling hands. His wedding ring tapped against his glass as he apologised and tried to compose himself.
“I eh…” he started but then Mick came down the stairs and the smell of his aftershave filled the room. His Da sniffed hard and wiped his face. He tried to just laugh it off but he couldn’t. The man just couldn’t stop crying.
“Fuckin hell Da… Jesus man… are you havin a laugh? Fuck’s sake!” Mick shook his head at him. “Come on you, ya right?” He said to me and he stormed off.
“Sorry bout that fella mate, he gets a bit flowery now and again.” Mick said outside.
“No man, it was eh… it was sort of, I dunno… mad.”
A few hours later we were standing in the queue for the Playhouse. We had had a few cans down by the Dodder earlier in the night and we were both already a bit pissed. I had never drank before I started hanging around with Mick but now I loved it. The Queue was fairly long. Lads with jeans and shirts and bright t-shirts, yellow and pink, even the hardest of them seemed to be wearing nowadays. Girls in really short skirts smelling like they’d showered in their perfumes. People smoking, chatting loudly, laughing. Others being refused entry, telling the bouncers to fuck off and warning them that they were dead. Last year a bouncer was shot at here but that was only a once off.
The queue kept on moving and up at the top of it the three bouncers refused this bloke. He had a huge scar down the side of his face and looked like a real scummer. He tried to barge his way through them but he just bounced right off their huge frames. He was really skinny and looked like a weasel or something like that. The bouncers told him to step aside. He backed off a little bit as the bouncers let a group of girls inside past him.
“Yeah ya see!” the fella roared, “If I had a fuckin gee I’d get in!”
“I’ll buy ya one for Christmas.” a voice from the back of the queue shouted up.
Most people in the queue started laughing and turned to see who had said it. The bloke just laughed but his girlfriend just tutted at him all embarrassed she was being stared at too. He was a big bloke with black spikey hair, wearing a top to small for him. The little weasel scumbag didn’t find the joke funny at all. He made his way back down through the queue towards the big bloke.
“Yeah, funny man” he said “we’ll see how funny it is won’t we?” and he headed off. The big bloke just laughed him off.
A few minutes later and we got to the top of the queue. The bouncers nodded at us.
“Go ahead there lads” and as we were heading inside there was a massive scream from behind us. The bouncers brushed by us and there was a bit of a scuffle. I couldn’t really see what was happening though. Then the big bloke who had made the joke stepped out of the queue, and I could see his hand was covered in blood. He kept touching the back of his leg and more blood appeared.
“Ah for fuck’s sake” he said “blood all over the cunting shop. The little bastard.”
He had just been Stanley Knifed in the arse cheek. It was kind of a thing. It happened quite a bit.
“I fuckin told ya to keep your mouth shut Sas… fuck‘s sake” his girlfriend was far from impressed. She started walking off.
“Ah Donna, wait a sec will ya?” On hand on his arse.
“We’ll get ya an ambulance” one of the bouncers said. The little weasel lad had gotten away sharpish.
“Come on you” Mick said and took me by the arm. He paid for both of us and we put our jackets in the cloakroom. The place was packed and it took loads of effort just to get served. People just shoved you out of the way, no problem. We had a few drinks and Mick gave me this shot. I didn’t know what it was called but it was pure fire. Mick said he was going for a dance. I said I’d follow him in a bit.
“Suit yourself… ya faggit” he said and laughed. I watched him dancing. He didn’t care at all. He went up to girls and even if they’d turn away it wouldn’t bother him, he’d just move on to the next one. After a few minutes he started kissing this girl. I couldn’t see what she looked like but I did see Mick’s hand go up her skirt. It was like they were trying to eat each other. I decide I would do a ‘lap of honour’.
I floated around the club and looked at what people were doing. Caught bits and pieces of drunken conversations. I started sweating. My clothes were sticking to me and the music seemed to just keep getting louder. The flashing lights. The colour blue was… Then over at the bar I saw Katie. I couldn’t believe it. In the months I had been going there I hadn’t seen her once. She was drinking and was on her own. I started walking towards her but I got knocked over by some big dozy looking fella.
“Jaysus… sorry young’fella” he said. I turned to look for Katie but she was walking up the stairs with her boyfriend Barry.
An hour later and I was on the dance floor, dancing by myself. Mick was now kissing a different girl on the far side of the floor. She had her hands down his jeans. Some girl came over to me and started dancing all over me. She wasn’t very attractive but I put my hands around her all the same. She started to kiss me really hard. Her tongue was wet and slippery. I pulled away from here and told her I had to go to the jacks. I got into the Mens toilets and there wasn’t many in there. The night was nearly over so everyone was on the dance floor. I was headed for a cubicle when suddenly a girl burst out of the one next to it. She had her hand up to her mouth as if she was about to be sick. It looked like she should be going in, not out. I half slurred “You alri-” when from the same cubicle as the girl Mick appeared doing up his belt.
“Ah.. Alright man” he said
“Mick… What’s going on?” I pointed back meaning the girl.
“Guess what the sick bitch is doin?”
“Ever hear of snow-ballin?”
“Fuckin disgustin man and they’re all at it. She just gave me a blowjob right? But instead of swallowin me muck she’s keeping it in her mouth right, leggin it out to the floor to put it down the throat of the first poor fucker she can find to score her.”
“Disgustin innit?” He said “ Right man, go for your piss and we’ll head off before the slow dance rubbish comes on. Nights not over yet man.”
“What? We goin chipper?” I asked.
“Nah, even better, meet ya outside.”
Outside, Mick bummed two smokes from a girl and gave me one. I didn’t even smoke.
“I got me hands on sumtin, you‘ll love it” Mick said and began walking ahead of me fast. It began to drizzle. After a few minutes I started asking Mick where we were going.
“You’ll see man” He kept saying and he went back to texting someone on his phone. We got down past our school, around the back of it towards the factories. Then Mick headed for the thirty acres. It started to piss rain heavily. I was felling very woozy. We traipsed across the fields, me following Mick. He was like a man on a mission. I didn’t put my hood up because I thought having the rain bounce off my head might sober me up. We got up on the thirty acres hill and from there I could see down on our whole area, all the estates. With all the orange streetlights I thought it looked like the whole place was on fire. Maybe I just imagined a smell of smoke in the air.
“Come on man will ya?” Mick called. I ran towards him, hands in my jacket pockets.
“Well?” I said when I got to him.
“Got this the other day for a tenner off the knackers” and he wheeled out this wrecked looking motorbike. He was smiling, chuffed to the bollocks. It took him a minute or two but he was able to start it. He hopped on.
“Ya right?” He said.
“What?” I said laughing.
“Come on, jump on man.”
“Ya can’t man” I said “ You’re locked.”
“Right, all the best man, talk to ya later” and with that he started off.
“Mick, wait!” I shouted and he stopped. “Fuck it” I ran over, pulled my head up and hopped on behind him.
“Good man yourself” he said and we both laughed. “We’re off!” Mick cackled and spun away. I put my arms on his side sand gripped on tight.
“Where we gonna go man?” I asked Mick turned to me and put on his best traveller accent.
“Well Ossie, we’ll go into the West.” He revved the bike and we were off over the fields and down by the factories until we were back on the main roads. We passed by the Playhouse and there was still loads of people stumbling out and milling around the car park. People kissing, fighting, shouting, singing. Mick drove down Tallaght village swaying back and forth across the white line but not caring. I closed my eyes and forgot. Outside the chipper there was a large crowd of people from the club. As we passed Mick beeped the horn but it barely worked. Both of us laughed. Some lads threw chips at us, gave us the finger and the ‘wanker’ sign as we past. In the distance we could hear the sirens of a Garda car.
“They’re on to us Ossie” Mick said.
“Tito” I said and I pointed over his shoulder “to the West.” Mick tried his best to make the bike go faster as we pretended the Gards were after us. We flew down through the lower part of the village. I gripped Mick’s jacket harder. It was more fun to close my eyes, so I did.
And when I opened them again I was laughing, staring up at the sky.
“Bollocks” I could hear Mick saying. I got to my feet and saw Mick lying on his back on the road moving his hands and feet like you would if you were making a snow angel. He was laughing as well. The bike was a few feet away from him and was now on the path. We had gone over a speed ramp, the bike had conked out and Mick just lost control of it.
“It just skidded, died it did, the bastard. Wasn’t like I crashed it or anything.”
“Ya alright man.” I asked him and helped him up.
“Never drink and drive” he said taking the piss. “Dangerous.”
We could hear the sirens again so for the craic we started to run even though I could feel where my leg would be bruised in the morning. We just left the bike were it was.
We kept laughing and running until we got to Mick’s house. Before we both fell in the door I got sick into his wheelie bin. We went into Mick’s downstairs bedroom. His chill out room as he called it. He had bunk beds in it and a couch and even a fridge. Mick went into the kitchen and I could hear him puke in the sink. I got down to my boxers and jumped under the covers still laughing my head spinning. Mick came back in and got undressed, banging off his shelves as he did so. Down to his boxers he got into the bottom bunk beside me. I didn’t think anything of it.
“Night man” I said.
“Love ya buddy.” He said and looked at me. Then from the pocket ofhis jeans his phone vibrated and he jumped from the bed, he dug it out and read the message.
“Yes!” he said “right man, here’s the story, some dolly is on the way over in a taxi. Need ya to hit the top bunk and pretend your not there right?”
“Alright man but… I’ll just go asleep before she gets here.”
“Nice one man, I’ll owe ya one.”
I went up to the top bunk and closed my eyes. I was dozing off but vaguely heard when the girl came in. It was hard to get asleep properly once the bed beneath me started shaking and squeaking. Despite Mick’s heavy breathing and the girl’s heavy moans I was able to think about the night we just had and Katie and how great she was. Mick’s Dad too. Mad.
The girl started moaning louder and said “ah Mick, Mick, perfection, that’s fuckin perfection.” and I wanted to laugh. I didn’t really feel anything though, I mean, I didn’t feel weird or anything. And as I drifted off to sleep, with my mate shagging a girl beneath me I remembered the day I met him properly. After that English class and that poem. Things were okay. I was doing my mate a favour, like he’d do for me. That night I dreamt about being at a carnival as a kid. My hand in a huge yellow stained one. I stared at all the rides, spinning around, going up and down and I ate candy floss under all the flashing lights.