Denis Lehane: Washed up after disaster at the ATM

I thought the farm was going to sink on Saturday, with the height of rain.

Not since the time of Noah has such moisture been seen.

For most, it was a day only fit for the bed, or the high stool. But alas, for those of us chained to the farm, it was a day for housing any small stock that were floating (literally) around the place.

I spent a busy Saturday rounding up all kinds of perished little critters, and bringing them indoors.

And so, by Saturday evening, with my chores complete, I was fit for nothing but to bail out myself.

When it comes to bailing out, I have found down through the years that there is no better place to go than to Ballincollig. For there, in a spot known as Dino’s, a fellow can bail out in style, enjoying a burger, coke and sumptuous supply of crispy chips for less than a tenner.

The thought of those chips has kept me going through many hard days.

So I headed east. But, in need of spondulicks, I first made a pit stop at a hole in the wall. It was here that disaster struck.

I might well have still been wet behind the ears, on account of my busy day, but the biggest soak of all came when the hole in the wall refused to show me the money. By all accounts, I didn’t have the funds available within the banking institution to cover the cost of a burger, coke and chips.

“You hoor from hell!” I roared at the screen. Here I was, in Ballincollig, with my tummy rumbling, only to be denied by a bank. A bank, I might add, that had been bailed out itself to an unimaginable degree. You’d think after such restructuring, tossing me a tenner would be a trifling matter.

Yerra, the whole thing would bring a tear to the eye of the hardest fellow.

And I wouldn’t mind, but a few moments earlier, the old machine had been asking me would I like 50, 100 or 150. And then to turn around and announce that it was withdrawing the offer! Honestly, I felt ‘’twas the height of bad manners.

“You’ll get precious little here,” I declared to the swanky fellow behind me, and he lined up to withdraw a bit of cash himself.

“Well,” says he in a right snooty manner, “we will see.”

And heavens above, didn’t he press a few buttons and come away with a right big haul of cash.

So with him swaggering off into the sunset, with renewed determination, I retuned to the machine, this time choosing Irish as my language.

Alas, even in Irish, the answer was the same. “An buachaill bocht, nil aon airgead agat.”

Yerra, I was in a right old state now, for I could smell the chips.

In desperation, on checking my britches, the only thing I could find in my pocket was a hole. However, when rummaging further into the hole, didn’t I find what felt like a slip of paper. And in the lining of my pants, didn’t I discover, to my absolute delight, a 10 note. Just when all seemed lost, I was saved.

Without further ado, I raced to the fry house. And a little later, while enjoying my just desserts, I had to ponder on how close I came to disaster.

For there I was with my belly full, and I after saving the day by pulling out more money from a hole in my pocket than from the famous hole in the wall.


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