It was the beginning of a long day on the back of a long night.
I had fled the morning after scene, leaving a buddy asleep in my flat, and hit the road.
I was sober, but just barely.
Close to 9am, I am 30 minutes from the heart of Dublin when I hear sirens scream behind me and see a garda car in my mirror.
I pull across three lanes to the hard shoulder and settle in my seat.
I am a bit pissed off; I don’t have time for this.
I’m already running late and I am not even sure what I have done wrong.
The guard knocks on my passenger window and I gesture that the door is open.
“What’s the speed limit?” He says glaring in at me.
I stare back petulantly – I haven’t a clue.
“120” I state confidently, still drawing a blank. The brain is dehydrated and mildly painful.
“100.” He responds dismissively.
“On a motorway!” I exclaim incredulously, with a little too much attitude for a reprimanding conversation with the authorities.
There is a silence as he squints suspiciously at me. “This isn’t a motorway.”
I spin around and assess the road.
Very big, very busy.
Many lanes, many lines, many cars.
I am confused.
I turn back and visually express my confusion to the guard.
I decide ‘confused culchie’ is the best way forward from this point.
I slow my words and speak colloquially.
“Ah come here, I never drive to Dublin, I always take the train.
Shur the train is great like, no traffic.”
He softens slightly, I can see him thinking.
I look at him innocently.
Just a wayward, clueless, culchie, on a day trip to the big smoke.
“No,” He says getting out his notebook, “135km is too fast.”
“Fuck,” I mutter and look out the window.
He begins gathering my details.
Passport, licence, number plate, and the tax disc my friend found under the car seat miraculously in the little pocket.
He can see I am not impressed and he tries to explain himself.
“You know I tried to flag you three times to see if you would slow down?
“I have been following you for a while now. You were in a world of your own.”
I nod understandingly; I don’t want him to feel bad.
He begins reeling off information about my points and fine.
28 days… post… failure to pay…. Court appearance.
“Woah, woah, hold up,” I begin rummaging in the bag for paper, four notebooks fall on the floor, I grab the fifth and open it.
I gesture for a pen, he gives me his.
I write: 28 days. Post.
I hand back the pen.
“You are as organised as I am,” he says surveying the untidy car, the scattered notepads, a crumpled envelope with a few words scrawled untidily and diagonally across the white in the cup holder.
I laugh gently.
“Where are you going anyway?,” He says, clearly curious with his catch.
“Barberstown? That’s up there, he says,” take the slip way and turn left. Follow the road for a while. Head for Trim.”
I nod, looking at the slip road.
I am still in character.
There is a silence.
I look dejectedly at the floor.
“If you are passing out all the other cars, you are going too fast,” Mr Garda chides.
“I understand,” I respond agreeably.
“Good luck,” he says shutting the door and heading back to his car.
My phone chimes with a message.
The posse is awake.
‘Where is the bog roll?’
I need a nap.