TO BE SURE, AT ALL, – – Tim Murphy knew without a doubt that he was an Irishman.
It wasn’t just that his name was Tim Murphy, or that he’d been born in Ireland, either. It wasn’t even, that he had a pronounced Irish brogue, at all.
Or that he’d downed thousands of pints of Guinness and countless double whiskies. And provoked hundreds of fights – most of which he’d won, even while stumbling and reeling in a foggy drunken stupor.
Or that he’d skived as much as was humanly possible, diligently avoiding work to his utmost abilities. To be sure, he could dodge out of sight in an instant – an astonishing accomplishment for a man as large and drunk as he.
But when confronted, he could talk the hind leg off a donkey that was less of an ass than himself. His way with words didn’t alter facts at all, but it helped him out of many a tight spot. Clearasil could do no better.
Yet still, with all his dodging, he’d dug up five thousand-odd roads and laboured on more than two thousand building-sites. The heaviest pneumatic road-drill was a mere plaything in his great hands. Carrying a huge stack of paving slabs was no more than child’s play to him. To be sure, his earning power was terrific.
And still, he was broke!
Tim Murphy just knew he was an Irishman. To be sure – it said so on his passport and birth certificate. It also said so on his driving licence. How could he escape being Irish under such evidential circumstances?
But, though he seemed to have forgotten the fact, Tim’s driving licence was naught but a contrived sham and he had in fact, never passed his test at all.
To be sure, anyone could tell this the moment he started up his beat up old motor. They could tell by the way he pulled obliviously away from the kerb between vehicles, without even casting the most casual of glances as to where he was going or had been!
You could see just how careful a driver Tim Murphy was, by the nonchalant way he went screeching and swerving through traffic, blissfully ignoring every road sign, driving the wrong way down one-way streets and on the wrong side of the road down others.
So why didn’t he have an L-plate on his car?
“Test? Oy don’t remember any fockin’ test,” Tim would say, scratching his head in amazement. “Oy don’t need a bloddy test to droive moy mortor – here’s moy loicence!” And he would miraculously produce a driving licence, which by all rights, he should never have possessed.
Every time the police gave chase to him he thought it was some game and accelerating wildly, went screeching off down the highway like some demon from hell.
“Ah, ye can’t catch me, ye daft fockers,” he called out, laughing like a maniac.
Bejaysus! It was the utter limit when he ended up by charging innocently on to a motorway like a mad stampeding buffalo, zigzagging across every lane at more than a hundred miles-an-hour and singing happily at the top of his voice, while leaning out of the window with a bottle of foaming Guinness held in one burly fist, at all.
It was so easy and such fun to slam your foot down hard on a wide-open stretch of road and watch the scenery flash past – police cars did it all the time.
Laughing uproariously at the shouted curses and screams of outrage around him, Tim Murphy playfully winged and side-slammed other vehicles; smashing their headlights and tail-lights; tearing off their wing-mirrors and making great dents and scratches in their panelling – sometimes sending the other vehicles skimming horizontally across other lanes, to go smashing into yet other vehicles. He was oblivious to the confusing series of pile-ups he left behind him, stretching away like an erratic pattern of chaos down the motorway.
“Who da fock’re ye gawking at?” he yelled, offended at the amazed glances of other motorists, who quickly turned off the nearest slip roads just to be sure to be out of his way. “Fockin’ hell! Som folk jess warn’t let ye be,” he added.
To be sure, he’d finally been stopped by a whole flotilla of police cars with sirens wailing like banshees, forcing him off the edge of the motorway, where he flew diagonally across a wide grass verge and, thumping like a two-ton kangaroo and rolling over and over through a thicket of underbrush, had eventually stalled his vehicle upside down.
“Have oy don anyting wrong, at orl?” he drawled, emerging unscathed from his battered vehicle, pulling the metal stopper off a Guinness bottle with his teeth.
“Be-focking-jaysus! What’s orl dis focking mess,” he added, looking around at the series of pile-ups he’d caused as though seeing it all for the first time. “Fock me! Som folk jess can’t control dare focking mortors at all.”
Being heavily fined and banned from driving didn’t deter Tim Murphy, at all – he just knew for sure that he was an Irishman. Besides, everyone called him Paddy or Mick – and kept their distance while doing so.
Shopkeepers diddled him out of change. But Tim Murphy would quaff the liquor he’d purchased and laugh as he jingled the short change he’d got from his counterfeit note.
“Ah, day dawnt naw dair fockin’ born,” he would chuckle, staggering away. “Da fellers dat sold me da droivin’ loicence get me deez speshul diddle-proof nawts an dawnly chorge me a tenner for each crisp new foive pound nawt.”
Tim Murphy spent a lot of time searching English fields for four-leaf clovers and muttering, “ah, day dawnt mairk ‘em loik day fockin’ yoosta, at orl”
He claimed he’d found many four-leaf clovers, but every time he produced the evidence, it had only three leaves. “Ah, somwon stawl de odder leaf,” he would say. “It mossed a been won a dem little Nawlan sisters oy keep foinding ondaneef da stawns. Day jomp in moy pocket when oim not locking an den abscond widda fart leaf. Tork about da fockin’ little people!”
Tim Murphy was an Irishman and he knew it. “Oim an Oirishman,” he belched, over his Guinness. “An dawnt ye farget it, at orl,” he added, playfully aiming a meaty left at the nearest onlooker, who fell heavily to the floor. “Ah, get op or oil knock ye doon,” he said, standing astride the unconscious man. “Fock me, ‘twas nobbut a wee tap – to be sure!”
Then he gulped down the remainder of his Guinness and fell in a heap upon his victim, snoring loudly.
Ah, to be sure, at all – everyone knew without a doubt that Tim Murphy was an Irishman. Only he knew it moran dem – to be sure, at all!