For the week that’s in it...

I’m here so I am, like. I’ve landed. Free as a bird. As free as Kieran Donaghy in a Galway defence …coming here thirty year or more, so I am, with me fadder and me fadder’s fadder and me fadder’s fadder’s fadder… though not at the same time like…Sun rises in the capital of culture… ate a clock in the morning like…waking up in a crumpled hape…smartphone alarm beep beeps into me ear...one hand picks up and smashes it again the wall...not so smart now is it…Radio bursts on…blah blah blah Kevin Myers, whodafeckisKevinMyers…they kape talking about him and the races, so he must be a trainer or something. Must keep an eye out for him...’tis Race Week…where am I...recessed lights in ceiling shine into me eyes...discover me pyjamas have a hood in them and me skinny jeans…fell asleep in the clothes again...where am I...not Mrs O’Brien’s B & bloody B this year…no a cheap hotel I found somewhere on the internet thingy… jaypers the state of me…went to bed with me hair like Scaramucci, woke up and ’twas like Sean Spicers’…open shirt buttons and spray deodorant under arms and head for the lift…close buttons, push buttons and fella in the lift mirror does the same...full Irish with bacon rashers and eggs…throw back the lugs and dive in...lash back the orange juice...parched I am...try to walk sober like, wan foot then the udder, repeat...I’m Racingman, I’m wide out…I’m part of Galway. I’m Racingman, the boyoh, unleashed for the week…I walk down the street like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever ‘cept without the can o’ paint…shakin that ass..…down the square check out paddys ladbrokes boyles get the odds... and ends... too early to go out yet...jaypers there’s grass in the Square this year. Council must have shafted the Christmas market so they must…I sit on bench and look at the fountain knocked on for the week……For the day…the small trickle, they’d needn’t have bothered their...whole week I’m here for…sit on steps, legs sprawled…then light up me e-fag…not cool at all…like a small wavin pipe it is… wink at young wan heading to work down town, get scowl but scowl back at her…Trump the tramp has made it difficult for the likes of me and me smalltalk charm..I’m in love, besotted, but she don’t know what’s she missing...missing in Racingman... me. the man…loads o’ young lads in suits…Anthony Ryan mustn’t have a confirmation suit left…Reach into arse pocket of me jeans. What’s this? A wristband from last year saying I Back Galway…what’s that about…I back Galway…I back everything in Galway…Everything I back in Galway normally falls coming up the hill towards the stand…hand shakes but ‘twould by now anyways Wednesday and all... phone dying just two bars...head dying just 25 bars…text from the lads…Pile the money on Balko Des Flos they say. What sort of name of a nag is that, I ask... The brother in law’s sister, well her first cousin knows the stablehands…says Balko Des Flos will walk the Plate…need cash...act fast...shaky fingers dance on vomit-splattered keypad at the bank hole in wall...good job don’t need numbers 3, 8, 2 as they’re splashed pretty bad... cash comes out crisp clean only gives 300 so go to other machine... clean pad, thick wad jammed in arse pocket but switch to front of skinny jeans that are like Glenamaddy ‘cos there’s no ballroom in Glenamaddy anymore... can’t be too sure... cute hoor watching ya catching ya but not me. I’m wide out me so I am, sham ya have to get outa the scratcher early to catch out Racingman…some fecker murdering a violin in the Square...where’s Lee Harvey Oswald when ya need him…I’m in love with the shape of you he sings at me…smart fecker…get the Racing Post...to look cool like…in the know…and the Star...dash into Debbinghams cosmetics section and when the posh wimmen staff aren’t looking over, Racingman is lost in a spraycloud of Calvin Kyne, Packie Rabanne and Ralph Lawrence eau de sweat…lash on the lot of them…the cognac combo….then a splash on ur hand to look like ya know your stuff…spray some on that little card yolk… doubles up as a toothpick…smelling grand...looking good, give the crown jewels a scratch…let me get wan thing straight and all that…ready for the road...ready for the course...hop into taxi...sit in front…legs sprawled…talk the talk…big happy head on him...air stinks of air freshener and stale conversation...he tells me country is fecked...emigrants should shag off home…to Mayo…Brexit. Then he said something about a rising tide lifting boats…knows his stuff this fella…crabbing on about immigrants taking our wimmen, can’t get jobs…and he’s from Lagos...three ways to racecourse...green, blue and red routes…an hour later we take a bit of blue and red and he drops me in a cowshit-spattered field near Castlegar church...walk that way he says... the brown route...and I walk...go to ring the boys but smartphone still smarting from batin’ I gave it… walk straight...shoes covered in sheeeite…sham says ‘any wan want to try the three card trick the three card trick, watch out Char-less the shades are lamping the scene’... don’t fall for that not after last year not me cos I’m wide out...Racingman won’t fall for that...this year...in the gate...meet yer man from home he waves and says he knows for sure Balko des Flos won’t have a snowball’s chance in a cat or whatever the saying is I tell him he’s probably right…get card and biro...rip page from card and jam it in raffle drum to win another shaggin’ night in another gombeen hotel...always been lucky, mother said, when I won the teddy bear at the sale of work but she didn’t know I stole it then sold it then stole it again...Guard nods at me I nod back ‘howya guard’ what does he know... probably has a file on Racingman... Maybe a whistleblower will get it for me…the big happy Templemore head on him and eyes red-out from reading Pulse all night…lads say to tease them about the missing breath tests but I told them I will in me ....whole day looking around to see famous faces...no sign of Leo at all at all here. Mustn’t be his scene, this sort of stuff, so it mustn’t…God with the days when ya’d meet Bertie and we didn’t know that he was walking around with all his wages in his pocket…Saw the Lads, roared c’mon ya bollix at them, the boys from home...lads swore they saw some of the Tipp hurlers there, but I said naw, not with the match on Sunday…saw Ted Walsh though…twenty years since he rode her mother...run to the stand... spilling plastic pints down new Next shirt, it’ll live up to its name tomorrow…Balko Des Flos romps home fair play Davy Russell...plastic pints go skywards...beef sandwiches all round... grease is the next stain for the Next shirt... Lads have quare wans’ mobile numbers… they want 200 notes for an hour of the bould thing... lads laugh when I ask for group discount….an hour I laugh, an hour of drinking time wasted...she says for 400 she’ll bate me with a whip ’til I cry and give me a happy ending…told her I can get a batin’ for nawthing outside the chipper…and if I want a happy ending, I can watch Frozen…and the lads laugh…I know my culture…and then the streets...Latin Quarter with not a word of latin on me…nil desperandum and all that…from wan pub to another.…with the boys…Not a sign of any Latinos in the Latin Quarter…Racingman’s head’s in a spin...time for food...tuna melt with extra dolphin...staggered up the pedestrianised streets…loose cobblestones with solicitors’ numbers painted on to them...hops into taxi and shows him card from hotel...Lagos man again......more stale conversation...he’s up from Carlow with all the other taxidrivers…takes me home to Newcastle via Athenry…he knows a shortcut. Tells me he loves Trump…drives me around town nine times to make sure he gets parking and then drops me back at gombeen hotel where room was chayper than taxi...birds are singing when me head hits the bed...zzzzzzzzzzzzz..ate a clock...smartphone about to beep its alarm, but decides not to...now that’s a smart phone...still only Thursday morning…but I love it. I love Race Week...and today’s Ladies’ Day. I better have a bath....

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