I’m here so I am, like. I’ve landed. Free as a bird. As free as that Clare fella Colm Galvin swapin’ up all that Galway has to throw at me …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…I’d need Hawkeye to see if I made it home at all last night…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…I hear them saying de Valera might be back in the Aras, and Limerick back in the All-Ireland so I think I’ve been hungover all the way back to 1975 like a great big langered Rip Van Winkle in reverse…the head on me like a feckin’ explosion in a mattress factory…’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 an AiryB&B yolk which is basically paying hotel prices for someone else’s scratcher and someone else’s jacks…Not the best for when you’re pissed ‘cos with the AiryB&B like you don’t know whether you’re home, or you’re in someone’s home, or you’re paying to be in someone’s home…jaypers the state of me…went to bed looking like Damian Duff woke up looking like Dunphy...open shirt buttons and spray deodorant under arms one squirt for each oxter and one for the road with a shot for the lads below…and head for the lift…close buttons, push buttons, and fella in the lift mirror does the same…state of me like…airyB&B and a kitchen with nobody’s food left in it…head for the morning chipper…full Irish with bacon rashers and eggs and a free paper…throw back the lugs and dive in...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..…now I’ve me Vape on me since I quit the ciggies…menthol and rhubarb custard flavour…the state of it. I suck it in and me face curls up into the look ya get when a bulldog licks a thistle…down the square check out paddys ladbrokes boyles get the odds... and ends...too early to go out to Ballybrit yet...sit on bench and look at the fountain knocked on for the week…Arts Festival hippies got their own festival garden for atin’ hummus and talking through their…whole week I'm here for…sit on steps, legs sprawled…then suck at the vape again…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…then I remember MeTwo or what ya call it, so I stall the ogling’…cramps me style though bigtime. Me the man, Racingman... me the man…loads o’ young lads in Conor McGregor suits…Anthony Ryan mustn’t have a confirmation suit left in his storeroom…Reach into arse pocket of me jeans…find a stump of the ticket from Croker last Saturday and a loyalty card for Applegreen…hand shakes but 'twould by now anyways Wednesday... been a long hard week since Croker and all...and Thurles to come... phone dying just two bars...head dying just 25 bars…text from the lads…Pile the money on SlowMotion they say. What sort of name of a nag is that, I ask... Most of me horses have been slow motion here anyway…tip came from the brother in law’s sister, well her first cousin knows the stablehands…says 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 guitar 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…I’m the man…talk the talk…big happy head on me…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...again...this year...in the gate...meet yer man from home he waves and says he knows for sure Slow Motion 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 plastic biro...rip page from card and jam it in raffle drum to win another shaggin' night in another NAMA hotel with afternoon shaggin' tea...sure what would I be doing having me tea in the afternoon...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…Text the lads but they get back on WhatsUpp app thingy…haven’t used that since the time I WhatsUpped Mixer the story about Murphy’s father and the nurse up the village and didn’t know I was telling’ the whole hurling club like…They’re at the new champagne place they tell me, the Wilson Philips building with Moate written on the side of it…what’s that about and they tell me ’tis the name of the champagne like…Or maybe they couldn't fit Tyrrellspass on the wall...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…Saw MiggledyDee Higgins and then Gavin Duffy off the Enter The Dragon film on the telly…not a Galway footballer or hurler in sight…all in bed the lot o’them for the weekend…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 ye bollix at them, the boys from home…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…horse romps home..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 and take out me Leap card….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…Am great for the auld repartee, me Racingman. Me 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…bumps into councillors bitchin’ about 2020 and some palace place…hops into taxi and shows the driver lad the place where the AiryB&B…It’s 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 before I push in door of AiryB&B and I crash on the couch but then there’s a thump and some fella shouting about getting out of his house and then I sees that I do be in the wrong Airy B&B.…but I love it. I love Race Week...and today's Ladies' Day. I better have a bath...it's August.
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