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An Turas Fada Part IV

Walking towards Mikey was Peter Whelan, known as “Peanuts” to those familiar with him. He cut a striking image. He had a shock of blond hair that was always cropped tight, and a perma stubble that at one stage must have been by design, but now is nothing but a testament to self neglect. He stood at most around 5”6 and weighed no more than 9 stone. Yet he walked with the confidence of a significantly bigger man. This day, he was wearing an all grey cotton tracksuit. He would often call such tracksuits his “combat fatigues”.


Mikey certainly wouldn’t have counted Peanuts as one of his friends, he couldn’t stand his braggadocio or his lies, nor would he ever confide in Peanuts any secrets as he had a loose tongue. But on a superficial level he found Peanuts quite amusing and nice enough to pass the time with, especially when Mikey is on Mount Olympus.


“What’s the story Mikey, haven’t seen you in ages, what ye been up to?” inquired Peanuts.

“Ah sure ye know yourself” replied Mikey. Mikey loved that statement, it is one of the more polite ways of telling someone to mind their own business.  “What’s that in your hand Peanuts?”

“This yoke” said Peanuts as he held up a packaged ham and cheese sandwich. “This is the result of some do-gooder arsehole”


“What do you mean?”

“I mean I have been freezing me bollox off this morning with the cup out to get a few quid for the day yano. And things are shockingly bad this morning, not a bleeding euro to be had. Then I eye this bird, a student I think. She looked at me with such pity and ye know how it is Mikey, I start laying it on, coughing and rubbing the lamhs together to let her know whats up. As she was walking into the shop across from where I am, I’m saying to meself ‘lovely, she’s going to throw me a bit when she gets change’. And so when I see her come out I glance over then back down. And sure enough over she comes, and hands me this fuckin yoke, and tells me “things will get better”, and then she walks off.


-But beggars can’t be choosers, said Mikey, literally.


Peanuts tutted and replied “Me bollix Mikey, I’m providing a vital service in this day and age, and should be paid accordingly.


-A vital service?


“Fuckin right its a vital service. In this day and age, there is no community anymore. Everything is about yourself, people don’t know their neighbours, people are living arachnophobic lives yano, so…


-Hold on what do mean “arachnophobic lives”


“Like people don’t want to leave their houses anymore, they get their social interactions from telly”


-That’s agoraphobic, arachnophobia is the fear of spiders


“Ye that’s what I mean, people are living like little spiders stuck in their own webs. Anyways, most humans want to do good deeds, it makes them feel good. And the easiest way is to donate to charity. But throwing shrapnel into a Trocaire box is not very personal, ye just have to take Trocaires word for it that the money is helping. Ye might get the odd letter off some youngfella in Mozambique or wherever who’s going to school or something, but it’s not the same. That’s why, when ye give money to a beggar, you automatically get the feel good response. In a way it is addictive. But it’s a weird oul transaction”.


-Why is it weird?, asked Mikey In what way like.


“It’s all about your target audience Mikey. Ordinary people get it, they know I don’t want a bleedin sandwich, I want money to get well yano. They know deep down I’m a clusterfuck, they know at this stage they aren’t saving anyone. They give money out because they are trying to ease me descent into oblivion. Maybe, they tell themselves, one day, I can get help, but right now they know the score. And do ye know why that is Mikey?

-Go on, tell us.


“Because they spend every day trying to keep the wolf from the door. They are hanging on, they know the reality or at least have an idea of how hard it is. It’s all about short term help, because they get why that type of help is needed. It’s not that they choose to kick  the can down the road, they just know the road is a pain in the bollix.”


“But then ye get these snotty types. They see ordinary Dublin and people like me as fuckin projects. They see me, but they don’t see Peanuts Whelan, they see an opportunity to inflict their concern on me. It’s like we’re in a fuckin safari park and these gobshites are treating us like the attractions. They take 5 minutes ourra their perfect little lives to buy me a sandwich. Fuck them anyways. Eh, where’d you get the beer from?” said Peanuts looking at the Corona bottle.


“Well now, ye see” said Mikey, some of us in the Safari park wait to be fed, and some of us don’t”.


-Have ye eh any more? Inquired Peanuts.


“I surely don’t” demurred Mikey.


Slightly annoyed, and also bored, Peanuts changed the subject.


-So I heard you and Leanne had an awful row.


Mikey felt a surge inside him, “who told you that?”


-Ah there are little birdies everywhere Mikey. Apparently, you gave her the slaps, that’s what I heard anyways, ye broke her arm or something.


“I did in me bollix, I never touched her, and you better not be spreading that around ye little prick” Mikey poking Peanuts in the shoulder.


Peanuts, wishing he’d never opened his mouth now, tried to row back.


– Ah I was only saying what I heard, just to let you know like. I’d never go around talking about you Mikey, we go back years.




-Ah I can’t even remember.


Mikey stopped talking and just stared at Peanuts, his face showing nothing.


Peanuts was getting nervous now. -Wha- wha- what’s wrong Mikey? I really can’t remember, I’ll make sure to tell everyone its not true, alri?


Mikey smiled, picked up the Corona bottle, finished it in one then put both hands on Peanuts shoulders looked him in the eyes, smiled gently and said:

“Peter, I’m having an internal debate, you might be able to help me with. I’m not sure whether to hit you with this bottle,


-ah now relax mat..


“Shut the fuck up and listen. I am not sure whether to hit you with this bottle, fuck you in the canal, or give you one last opportunity to divulge your source. Now I have, up until now  had a relatively fortuitous day, so, I am inclined towards the latter, but I must emphasise in the strongest possible terms the onus that now rests upon your shoulders to ensure a positive outcome for your good self, do you understand what I am saying to you?”


-look it alri I’ll tell ye, but ye didn’t hear it from me. All due respect to yourself, but I’d rather take me chance with the bottle or the drink than have this fella on me back for tellin you.


“Fair enough” agreed Mikey.


Peanuts talked in hushed tones


-It was Finn Daly. He’s only after getting out, he knows Leanne and he thrun a sevener because her oulwan told him. He was in the Stoneboat and he was tellin a few of the boys he wants a word with ye. That’s how I found out, yer man that does be with him, Jayo Keene was telling people your a scumbag in the area. That’s all I know Mikey, honest it is.


“Go on, fuck off” said Mikey


Peanuts was gone in no time.


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Photos by Stephen Davis

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