Stupid Bikes In Small Towns
By sean mcnulty
It’s crap when you get a puncture far from home and you have to walk like a bell-end through the whole town wit yer stupid bike – you never know who you’ll see or who’ll see you.
- Mr. Walken – he’s the barber near where I live and he’s always doing walks around the town – fast walking for exercise. He’s always at it. It’s just a coincidence his name is Walken. --ye okay dere, our fella? he says to me. --I am, just got a puncture. Tanks, Mr. Walken. Why don’tcha jog on, Mr. Walken, I tink ta myself.
- The Cole Family in their big land rover – the sons are laughing out the window, probably at my stupid chape bike and how they wouldn’t be caught dead wit a bike as chape as dat. I hope the lights change quick and dey all fuck off!
- Our new milkman in his van – he’s not as friendly as our old milkman which is good cuz he’ll ignore me and all I want right now is to be ignored.
Loadsa people seen me so far. This is a disgrace. I’m sweating bad when I get to the top end of Park Street and the bloody chain comes off me stupid bike. Never mind the puncture. So dis is what all those years at mass got me. Bollix. I kneel down and fix the chain and me hands get all black and oily. All done, I keep going, and when I get to the turn at Earl Street--
- Mickey Cotter, Kevin Muckian, and Noel Clarke – ah, dat’s all I need now – dat shower a cunts. I see dey’re coming out of Pacino's Takeaway wit chips so I quickly turn, back up Francis Street and go around the other way towards Park Drive.
The sweats coming off me, hay. But I tink I’m clear of most people now. Stupid of me ta go right through the town. Shoulda thought ta go down this way first time round where it’s quieter. The stupid bike has me goin stupid too.
Yeah, it’s quiet here.
A few cars, but they’re driving on ahead of me, they can’t see me face.
All’s good for a while. But then I spot two people coming towards me. I see school uniforms on dem. But der secondary uniforms, so dey mightn’t know me or care. It’s a boy and girl.
- Grace Shevlin and her lanky boyfriend – ah, dis is just fuckin dandy, isnit? A weerd feelin now. Grace Shevlin. De most beautiful gerl in de town. Do I want her to recognise me or do I not? I’m about ta cross de road but then I realise I’ve left it too late and de bastids are upon me. Dey both giggle a bit when dey see me.
--Ah, it’s one of de wee messers, says Grace. Shite, she knows me. Where’s all de udder messers today?
--He’s a messer, is he? says her lanky boyfriend.
--Dey’re all messers around here, says Grace.
The two of them are talking like they’re an old married couple. Dey must only be about two or tree years older than me, for de love a Christ.
Grace is lukin good today though. She’ll be a fillum star, mark my words.
--He luks like a messer, says her lanky boyfriend, laughing. Go home an wash yer hands, will ye.
I want ta hit him a box but I don’t. I keep me trap shut and walk on.
Not far from home now, but the final stretch is the worst of it. The town’s a pretty flat town, in these parts anyway, but now it’s a fuckin mountain, an uphill struggle. I may as well be haulin me stupid bike over Mount Everest at dis rate.
Such a day, such a day.
Oh, I’ll be glad to get home. Dry off de sweat. Wash me hands. And give dis stupid bike a good kickin.