Friday, February 06, 2009

A Slip And A Slide

"That'll be €9.10, please."

I pocket them and dodge the traffic, skidding across the slush on Aungier St. I'd spent so long thinking, sitting on that grimy grey couch thinking about the cigarettes that I won't have time to smoke one. So I peel off the cellophane and sniff them. Old socks.

Bás nádúrtha, a deir siad, and there is some cold comfort to be taken from that. I am a lady perpetually in search of succour. Of course, the end result is the same; he's gone. I hope that there might be reassurance for his mother in the manner of his loss. I think then of another mother, and wonder if it is any less natural to end your own life, searching for something that has remained resolutely just out of your reach.

I switch off, pocket the cigarettes and step inside.

It's snowing again when I leave work to walk home, fat flakes like the ones I've been picking from my psioratic scalp. It's been a picky day, and the thin skin behind my left ear is red raw. I remember sitting on the couch with the Leitrim Lady not so long ago. "Stop picking it!" she barked, and I paused, hand halfway to my hair. The Jaffa Cake took his finger from his nose, and she slapped her own hand away from the scab on her scar. Three guilty giggles.

I don't wonder fancifully if I am pretty as a postcard today, I just want to be home and dry. Still fingering the fags in my pocket, I nod to Oscar as I pass him on Merrion Square. A man walking towards me mistakes my nod for a greeting, and begins unbuttoning his coat. No, I think, please not today. He fumbles in his pockets, then asks through broken teeth if I might have a cigarette for him. I hand him the packet, relieved. Then continue on my way, a little motherfucking Teresa.


eliMordino said...

Tune of a post.

Conan Drumm said...


Shit, is that how much they are now?

£2 when I gave them up.

Rosie said...

thanks, mister!

i bought a lighter too, Conan. kept that, though.

Sarah Gostrangely said...

Good for you Rosie, keep it up!

You're charity in a bag.

problemchildbride said...

There's a bar on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border called Scabs. They have a sign outside saying "Thank you for picking Scabs"

Rua, said...

Solid work, better have them smoking JP Blue than Herón

gimme a minute said...

Better for who, Rua?

People are so selfish.

allthelightsarebroken said...

There was an absoutely hammered one legged homeless guy with a very red face outside centra a few months back who asked me for money so I bought him a sandwich and a big cup of tea and handed it to him on my way out, he threw the cup of tea at me. Nice guy, real pleasure.

Rua rua said...

Me, and thats all that matters. No seriously though, I don't like giving homeless people money for 'a hostel' because you simply don't know what its going on. Better let it get funelled through the V de P or Bernardos

Aibigéal said...

Ní raibh agam riamh air ach aithne súl is gutha, ach aireoimid uilig uainn é. Beannacht Dé lena anam uasal.

Billy said...

With grimmer language, this could be an excerpt from a Hubert Selby short story.

I like it in other words.

the dublinista said...


Read Alan Carr-you wont buy them after that. you can save your 9 euro (outrageous!) for more important pursuits-like nagans.

Andrew said...

I bought 200 in Spain.

That'll be all.

Rosie said...

i like scabs. i like bars. winner.

i went through a phase of giving all my change to people begging on the street. bought the big issue for a time, as well as the occasional tea and sambo or bag of chips. hard to know what's right, what's patronising, what's unhelpful, what's no more than a salve to my conscience. i stop to chat less often than i used to, and i used to think that was one of the more useful things i could have done.

bhí na céadta ann le slán a fhágáil leis, Aibigéal.

i've never read this Selby chap, Billy, but i'll give him a look (and take it as a compliment).

i've already begun spending my "spare" cash on biscuits, Dublinista.

good job you got the gin and toblerones to keep me sweet, Andy.

kelly d said...

A Róisín,
Bainim taitneamh as do scéalta agus na teachtareachtaí leo i gcónaí.

I'm still smoking, myself, and it's a perverse source of joy when I'm there to give a whole ciggy to the guy who mines the outdoor ashtrays for butts.

@prob/chi/bride: Ewwww! I will be sure to steer clear of the Scabs of my northern neighbors!


Rosie said...

go raibh maith agat, Kelly.

yuo should quit the fags though - i hear they're bad for you. and if i can't enjoy one, i'm fucked if anyone else will.

Rua, a man who knows a thing or two about chiefs said...

buy 'last exit to brooklyn' by Hubert Selby Jr. the man is a chief, a chief of chiefs even

Rosie said...

i'm broke. give me a lend of it.

Rua, said...

Remind me next time I have to tolerate your company and I'll bring it along

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