Hannah Fitzpatrick Short Story

So there was this guy called Dave… or Domhnall or something | Story

There was this guy called Dave… or Domhnall or something. Kinda depended on who he was talking to. He didn’t care anymore. Someone he regularly bumped into in town called him Rahul, like he was an Indian fella. Whatever. Domhnall’s ma, Terese, was a Dub through and through. White as lime with a voice like chalk in a blender. She’d spent many years selling fruit on Moore Street. All that shouting “Only two euuuro” bolloxed her. She ended up working in a vibrator store on Parnell Square after that. The hushed nature of the conversations in that shop suited her. Domhnall didn’t get vibrators, if women liked them, surely men would have evolved to have buzzing willies. His never did though and he never dared to ask his Ma about the true nature of vibrators.

His Dad on the otherhand, wasn’t Irish and wasn’t white. Domhnall hadn’t a clue where he’d come from and neither did Joe, the man who was expecting to be Domhnall’s father. Quite the shock Joe got when he saw that mottled looking beige yoke pop out Terese’s front. Such a shock it was to Joe that he boulted, leaving three of his own kids with Terese and baby Domhnall (or Dave or whatever).

Anyway, that’s all just to say there is this lad and now he is standing on the top of the SIPTU building and telling himself he’s going to jump at any moment. The Liffey below looks slimy green and sloshy today. He wished now, that mauwldy river were across the road, directly below the building upon which he stood. Dave was feeling bad about the mess he’d leave on the pavement when he jumped. Terese was always hammering on about how stubborn blood stains were to remove. It was Dave’s fault for getting punched in the face so often, getting his clothes destroyed he was. “Maybe concrete doesn’t stain like T-shirts do” Dave thought.

In the midst of all this, a seagull had landed on a pole nearby and had started talking to him. “Are you going to do it or not you useless cunt?” the seagull said, in a rather posh southside accent.
“What are yeh doing talking? And yeah, course I’m gonna do it.” Dave said.
“You will in your hole Declan.”
“Eh, Declan’s not me name?”
“What is your name so?”
“Ah… feck it, call me Declan. Sure what difference is it gonna make now?”
“Don’t jump Declan, don’t jump!”
“Oh seriously. Are you like some fucking guardian angel or something?”
“No! No! Haw haw haw. That’s just what you’re supposed to say in situations like this, right Declan?”
“Oh fuck off”
“So are you gonna do it?”
“I donno now. Fuck it. You put me off, you fucking pigeon git yeh”
“Seagull actually”
“Who bleedin’ cares”
“You do, Declan.”
“Do I?”
“I don’t know”
“Fuck’s sake. You know what? This is not happening, this is not happening. Bleeding pigeons coming in and mucking everything up.”
With that, Declan got off the ledge and started walking towards the door to the stairs.
“See you round, ole buddy ole pal” the Seagull said.
“Ah yeah right” Declan said.

Declan reached the ground floor bulletin board. Among all the shite about unions, he saw some mad looking leaflet tucked away, almost covered by other leaflets. Declan pulled it down to read it. It was really bonkers looking. Purple swirly background with cheetah print borders and a photo of a man with tattoos and piercings all over his face. The text read:
“Buckminster Fuller-er
Tomcat Jenkins
Shaman of Togolese tradition, third degree,
Wearer of sandals
Mssc. in Transforming YOUR life, Naked Eye College
Drop-ins welcome
Book appointments by dropping in”

Declan then read the address down the bottom. It appeared this shaman lived in Dublin 8. Wasn’t so far of a walk. He’d drop by alright, or ‘drop-in’, as seemed to be the only option. What the heck.

He arrived at Tomcat’s at quarter to ten in the morning.The place from the outside was an absolute kip. Three storey terraced red-brick building, with boarded up windows and broken glass all around the ground outside the door. A stench of hobo’s arsesweat permeated the air. The door was falling apart too. Flakes of paint dropped off when Declan banged on the knocker.
“Hello?!” a paro sounding voice called.
“Yeah, eh. Here to see the she-man, eh, shaymen, or whatever he’s called. Tomcat?”
The voice didn’t answer back but he heard the sound of shuffling coming towards the door.
The door was opened by a small withered woman who had brown teeth and shite skin but dressed like a young one.
“Forst flore love” she said, as her eyes attempted and failed to make contact with Declan’s. Loopy eyes, up and down like a yoyo.
“Poor cunt” Declan thought briefly.

The first floor was something from another world. All sorts of people were walking around. Some wearing dog collars, others fairy costumes and all sorts of mad shit. One lad walked by in a donald duck onesie with a hole cut out at his groin. Did these people live here? Were these Tomcat’s clients? Or colleagues? Declan hadn’t a clue. Suddenly a girl who was wearing so much mascara her eyes looked like a BP oil spill, pointed Declan towards a closed door. The only closed door on the whole floor. Other doors were open and revealed glimpses of neon lights and funky dolls and all sorts of things. The walls were all painted dark purple and the air was filled with fruit-scented sheesha steam.

Declan knocked on the closed door.
“You may enter” said a voice with a London accent, not the posh one.
He entered. Holy Beejaysus. Before him was the strangest sight Declan had ever seen. He recognised the unmistakable tattooed and pierced face from the leaflet. This man was sitting at the top of the room, crossed legged. He was naked and was wearing a real lion’s head. His face could be seen through the Lion’s open mouth, who must have died roaring. The dude also had a wire attached to each nipple. It was the strangest sight Declan had ever seen, and he grew up in Ballymun, so that is saying something.

“Close the door behind you please, mate” the bloke said.
Declan was distracted by the strange man and equally strange decor of the room. Voodoo dolls suspended in false spiderwebs, gammy mirrors, all kinds of (presumably) drugs in Kilner jars and a large poster of Stalin dressed as a ballerina. The lion’s head dude had to repeat himself.
“Oh eh, sorry yeah” Declan said, shutting the door.

“Take a seat pal” the bloke said, gesturing to the two ‘seats’ available.
There was a polar bear skin and a plastic seat in the shape of an arse. Declan didn’t like animal skins but he thought that if he opted for the arse-chair he would look gay. He plonked down onto the polar bear, as far from the head as possible and he sat crossed legged like the naked bloke did.
“Howeyeh?” Declan said in as natural a voice he could.
The lion’s head bloke blinked at him.
“Tomcat is it?” Declan said
“No, it’s Buckminster actually” the bloke said “What brings you here seeker?” he continued.
“Eh, was about to top meself earlier and then this pigeon started talking to me and put me off the whole thing”.
“Did the pigeon tell you its name or place of birth?”
“Nevermind. Do you still feel suicidal?”
“Ah yeah, a little.”

The Buckminster dude then closed his eyes in a spiritual way, like he was entering a deep trance or something. He could have just been socially awkward and was avoiding eye contact while he thought about the next thing to say. Declan couldn’t tell. The Buckminster dude, still with his eyes closed, said “what did you say your name was?”
“You can call me Declan” said Declan.
“Mmm” the Buckminster dude said.
“Ok this is what I want you to do Darren”
“Dec -”
“Climb to the top of Three Rock Hill. Go alone.”
“Three rock, ah yeah I know where tha-”
“Bring three items with you. These items are as follows”
The Buckminster dude still had his eyes closed and he had stopped speaking.
“Are…?” Declan said.
“Shh. I’m perceiving” the Buckminster dude said.
The Buckminster dude was concentrating very hard. Or at least pretending to.

“Ok. I’m seeing the first item in my mind’s eye.” the Buckminster dude said and then went deadly quiet. It was if he were out hunting and he was just closing in on the prey. He shifted. “Rose quartz” he said.
“What in the name of God is r-” Darren started.
“Shh I’m perceiving item two…. Item two is…” he squeezed his eyes again and an expression of unease washed over him. “It’s some kind of liquid.” he said.
“Go on” Darren said.
Now what could only be described as utter revolt was the expression the Buckminster dude wore as he began to describe item two.
“In a small bottle…” the Buckminster dude said before gagging slightly.
“In a small bottle.. what?” Darren said.
“In a small bottle, the collected pus of acne pimples.” the Buckminster dude said.
“Jesus Christ on a scooter. You must be bleeding jokin’” Darren said.
The Buckminster dude merely pursed his lips and shook his head ‘no’.
“Absolutely bleedin’ rank” said Darren.
“Ok the final item is coming to me now” the Buckminster dude said, once more going silent.
He looked placid, as if his mind were being filled with something very precious and holy.
“The final item… is coming, is coming…”
Darren was nervous.
“The final item is” the Buckminster dude said “the 1992 edition Dentist Office by playmobil.”
“Playma-what?” Darren said.
The Buckminster dude opened his eyes once more.
“Playmobil. It is important you undertake this quest as soon as possible in order to banish your suicidal thoughts.”
“So just climb the hill with these objects and that’s it?” Darren said.
“That’s the only instruction I can give you at this stage. The unrepentant forces that are at play within your spirit will be likely to interact with the created environment in ways that I cannot accurately predict. As a shaman, I am only your guide, I cannot wipe your arse for you. In that sense, it is a positive sign you chose to sit on the polar bear and not the arse.”
the Buckminster dude said.
“So can’t yeh tell me what to do with the bottle of pus? There’s no way in hell I am going to drink that shit if that’s what you’re asking.”
“There is no need to drink the pus if that’s not what you feel called to do.” the Buckminster dude said.
“And the other things? What am I sposed to do with them?” Darren asked.
“As I said, I cannot tell you that. I am only a guide. You will perceive the nature of the actions to take when you reach the top of Three Rock Hill.” the Buckminster dude said.
“You’re not giving me much of a clue here buddy. I don’t think I am as gifted in the same way as you are with this ‘perceiving’ business.”
“We are all capable once we open our channels and let the sacred resonance flow through us.”
“Oh… K. So are you gonna give me the pus and shit now?”
“No. You will have to acquire those items yourself.”
“Serious? Where in Christ’s name am I gonna get this shite?”
“That’s all part of the journey Darren.”
Darren felt annoyed, why did it have to be so difficult he thought.
“Alri’, but I’m coming right back here if this doesn’t worke, ok?” Darren said.
“That’s fine Darren, we’ll be here.” the Buckminster dude said.
They sat in silence for a moment. A sense of hope filling the air.
“Do you have revolut?” the Buckminster dude said.
“I do ye. What’s the damage?”
“Two hundred quid.”
“Ah jaysus you’re not serious.” Darren said, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
“You can pay in installments if it suits.”
“Tell yeh what, I’ll give you a tenner now and and if your little trick does the job, I’ll come up with the rest.”
“Grand job.”

Darren pulled out his phone and opened revolut and asked the Buckminster dude for his username. The Buckminster dude’s profile came up on his phone, showing his profile picture which was a disturbing photo of a goat man sitting crossed-legged and surrounded by fire.
“This you?” Darren said.
“Right as rain mate” said the Buckminster dude.
“Groovy” Darren said, though he said “fucking weirdo” in his head. He transferred the tenner.
Next thing he knew the Buckminster dude was adjusting the plugs on his nipples and Darren took it as his cue to leave.
“Alright, see ya later buddy” Darren said.
“Was a pleasure Daniel. Good luck.” the Buckminster dude said.
“And I was just getting used to Darren” Daniel thought.

Daniel shut the door to the Buckminster dude’s room and re-entered the hallway. He immediately met eyes with what appeared to be a very attractive young one in a belly top and shorts, leaning against the archway to the stairs passage. She might have been attractive or she might have just looked so, because this place was such a filthy rotten dump. Her hair was dyed crimson and she wore so much make-up it was hard to tell what she looked like under it all.
“How’s it going?” Daniel said.
She gave him a highly suggestive look as her false eyelashes flapped like a swooping eagle’s wings.
“I’m good hun and yerself?” she said.
“Ah I’m… well I’m a bit fucking baffled to be honest with yeh. Yer man in there’s after giving me a list of tings I have to get and haven’t a notion where to start.”
The girl blinked.
“What kinda tings do they be?” she said.
“Bottle of acne juice is one. Some rock and some kid’s toy.”
“Is the rock a crystal?”
“Rose something.”
“Rose quartz”
“Sounds about right.”
The girl laughed hard but there was no trace of feeling in her eyes. The laughter ended on demand. “I can sort yeh out with the crystal babe, but it’s going to cost you.”
“Alri’, what do yeh want?”
The girl gave him another seductive look.
“Me girlfriend and I are looking teh spice things up in the bedroom, if yeh know what I mean.”
Daniel immediately felt that familiar little surge down below. He raised his eyebrows and took a step closer, putting a hand around the girl’s tiny waist. Then, in what he considered his most sexy voice said
“Oh, I know what you mean babe”
“Ew. I didn’t mean you, you dirty bollix.” the girl said shoving his hand away.
Daniel’s face looked like a slapped arse.
“I’m talking equipment. Toys. Whatever you can get.”
“You mean you want to trade me a crystal for a strap-on?” Daniel said.
“Yeah. Something like that.”
“Can’t I just give yeh the money and you can buy it yourself?”
“No way! I’m not going to one of those shops, be scarlet.”
“Me Ma works in one of those shops. I s’pose we could sort something out.”
“Sound” she said. “Rose quartz did yeh say?”
“That’s the one” Daniel said.
“Alri’ grand. Wait here a sec.”
The girl dashed out of the hall and up the stairs, Daniel heard a door slam upstairs moments later. After a couple minutes the girl was back with a lump of pink rock in her hand.
“Wow. That’s a pretty kicking rock for a rock” Daniel said.
“Crystal, right.” Daniel said, reaching for it.
“No no no. You don’t get it until you sort me out. I’ll leave it in with Buckminster ‘til then.” she said.
Daniel was a bit pissed off but he said nothing.
The girl went inside the Buckminster dude’s room without knocking. Minutes later he heard loud sexual female groans coming from the room, followed by hushed murmurs.
“Later later” were the only words he made out.
The door opened and out came the girl looking slightly less together than before.
“Buckminster will mind the crystal for yeh.”
“Ok. I’ll have that for you soon as.” Daniel said.
The girl shrugged and walked away.
“Ah to be a young one” Daniel thought, then immediately after wondered why he had thought such a thing.

Daniel stepped outside the house and onto the glass-strewn pavement. The sky was grey as the ceiling of a funeral home. The air was chilly. He lit a fag and took out his phone to call Terese. She answered immediately.
“Hello, Ma?” he said.
“Ah hello love, what’s it you’re calling for, I’m in the middle of me shift.”
“Ma, I’m looking for… I’m looking one of those strap-on yokes you sell. Don’t worry it’s not for me, it’s for a friend.”
There was silence on the other end of the line.
“Sorry love I think I heard you wrong. You didn’t just ask me for a strap-on did yeh.” Terese said, beginning to laugh.
“Eh, that’s it. I need a strap-on. It’s not for me, Ma. I’ll explain later. It’s for a friend.”
“Son, don’t tell me your mickey stopped working?” Terese said, sounding genuinely concerned.
“No! Ma I promise it’s not for me. I swur. Cross me heart. It’s for this lesbo I met. Swear. She’s trading me this crystal for it. Swear.”
“Jaysus sounds cracked.”
“Well do yeh sell them or not?”
“Course we sell them. You’d know that if yeh ever had the balls to come into the shop.”
“What’s the cheapest one you’d have?”
“We have one for twenty. It’s in the shape of a big pickle, has bumps along it for pleasure all along the passage of the vagina.”
“Spare me the details Ma. Have any like, normal ones?”
“You mean ones in the shape of cocks? We have cocks in every colour we do!” Terese said, laughing her hacked smoker’s cough.
“Don’t you have one that’s just like, straight? Like a big tube. Not in the shape of anything.”
“Jaysus son never thought you were such a prude. This must be for yourself after all.”
“Shu’p Ma. Look what do lesbo’s like? Surely they don’t want one that’s cock shaped or they’d just be… they’d be with fellas, no?”
“Ah depends son. Plenty of dykes these days are buying the cocks. We even have ones that have sound effects. Animal noises and quotes from films and all.”
“Jaysus… Look I’ll take the pickle one. I’m strapped for cash. The pickle will have to do.”
“Will yeh have it outside for me. I’m not going in there.”
“Ha! No way buddy, you’re walking into the shop and you’re looking your mother in her eye in her place of worke.”
“But Ma…”
“No buts. You won’t be ashamed of your Mam’s place of work, ok?”
“Alri fine. But it’s in and out. I can’t be seen looking around in there.”
“That’s grand. See you in a bit so.”
“Thanks Ma. Be there in half an hour or so.”
His Ma hung up first.

Daniel began to brisk walk all the way down towards Parnell square where the shop was. He passed about a dozen homeless fellas in doorways on the way. Rotten teeth, mauwldy paper cups and cheap sleeping bags. He felt bad for the feckers. Part of him also thought them cowards “they don’t have the balls to end it.” he thought. The absolute pits of society. That’s where he was fast headed if he didn’t sort himself out. He felt a strengthened resolve to complete his mission.

“Excuse me” he heard some squeaky voiced teen say. Daniel noticed there was a teenage boy holding his arm like a weirdo.
“You dropped this” the kids said, handing Daniel a receipt.
He had a terrible face on him. Red and bumpy as the surface of Mars. Greasy ginger head on him too. “Cheers bud” Daniel said, taking the McDonalds receipt, he hadn’t remember he’d kept. The kid looked awkward and instead of saying anything he opened up his metal-filled brace mouth, as if to smile. Daniel was about to walk away when an idea struck him.
“Hey bud, can I ask yeh a favour?”
“Em…” the kid said.
“It’s only small, don’t worry. Only thing it’s a bit strange.”
“What is it…?” the boy said in a trembling voice, backing away.
“Look it sounds strange, I know, but I’m looking for some… some pus outta that.” Daniel said, pointing to the kid’s face.
“What?!” the kid said.
“Your acne. I need some pus out of acne. I know it’s rank. Degraded stuff. But it might just save me life.” Daniel said.
The kid looked like he was being made watch Donald Trump do a striptease. Guffawed.
“You’re sick!” he said.
“Look I’ll buy you whatever you want in return. Drink. Dope. Whatever. Just need some muck off your face, I told yeh, it might just save me life.”
Daniel felt a bit sick himself saying all this, but his desperation was strong and only getting stronger. The kid raised his thick ginger eyebrow.
“Anything?” he said.

Next thing he knew, Daniel was in the GameStop on Henry Street with this kid, who had a stack of about fifteen Xbox games in his arms.
“Woah woah woah kid. One game. You gotta pick just one game alri’?”
“I’m doing you a big favour, remember?” the kid whispered.
“Yeah yeah but I’m not shiting out euros here bud. One game. Any game you want.”
“Five games.”
“Look I can stretch it to two but no more.”
“Three games and a minecraft bobble head.”
“Feck’s sake. Fine. Deal. That’s it. Pick three and let’s get out of here. Chop chop.”
They bought the games and headed over to the Ilac shopping centre toilets.

They put the Gamestop bag down by the sink. The mirrors at the opposite sinks reflected a funny image indeed. Daniel and the kid stared at themselves and at the reflection of themselves in the mirror behind. The mirrored reflections going on and on until there was only a small greenish square to be seen.
“Ok what way are we gonna do this?” Daniel said, coming at the boy’s face with a pinched finger.
“Gerroff!” the boy said, slapping Daniel’s hand away.
“I’ll do it myself” the boy said.
“Alri’, we’ll need something to collect the juice in” Daniel said, patting his pockets to search for something.
“Stop calling it juice. It’s pus.”
“Oh pus, whatever.” Daniel said “The only you’ll ever get” Daniel muttered under his breath.
Daniel scanned the toilets for a vessel to hold the pus. He spotted an empty coke bottle peeping out from one of the bins.
“Grand job” he said, fetching it and then rinsing it under the tap. The kid had already started squeezing. Daniel handed him the bottle as he started scraping the yellow gunk from his fingers onto the inside of the bottleneck of the coke bottle. Daniel gagged. He noticed some of the pimples on the boy’s face were bleeding and said
“Eh make sure not to get any blood in with it alright? I wasn’t told anything about having blood in it.”
The kid shot dagger-eyes at him.
“I’m bleeding for you. Be bloody grateful.”
Daniel rolled his eyes at the stupidness of the boy’s pun.
Daniel hated teenagers. “Fuckheads the lot of them.” he thought. He hated being one, all those years ago, though he also never really felt much of a difference since then either. Only his body got hairer and his friends got fatter and less loud, and some of them had babies and became boring as fuck.
“This enough?” the kid said after a few minutes, holding up the bottle. It had a small layer of gunk lining the bottom and a gloopy trail down the side starting from the bottleneck.
“That’ll do I suppose” Daniel said, gagging yet again. He shoved the bottle in his bag, patted the kid on the back saying “thanks kid” and then ran out of the loo.

He ran out the back door of the Ilac centre right onto Parnell square and then walked down to where his Mam’s shop was. It was on the first floor above some pub he’d never been to and you had to ring a buzzer to get up there. When he entered the shop he was hit by a strong wave of cheap perfume and he sneezed. He saw his Ma leaning over the counter and chatting away to a customer.
“That must be himself” she said when she heard him, coming out to greet him.
“Hiya Ma” Daniel said.
“Awh me baby boy come here to me.” she said giving him a hug and laughing. Daniel recognised the customer at the till as his old French teacher from secondary school.
“Oh lord” Daniel thought.
“Ju-maple, Ms. Noonan” Daniel said, nodding at her.
“Hiya… Derrick?” Ms. Noonan said, looking embarrassed.
“He’s after gone and got himself a lesbian girlfriend!” Terese said teasingly, before bursting out in a cackle. “Imagine”.
“I have in me arse Ma. Sure lesbos don’t want anything to do with Fellas. That’s the whole reason they’re lesbos.” Derrick said.
“Ah but this one’s different wha?” Tererse said, winking at Ms. Noonan.
“Eh, no. Listen Ma, I’m sorta in a rush, doyeh have the the one… the one I mentioned?” he said.
Terese looked at him and then looked at Ms. Noonan.
“He’s in a rush or she’s rushing for a ride?!” she said cackling even louder.
Ms. Noonan looked incredibly uncomfortable. Terese was loving this, she was almost spilling tears laughing.
“I do son. I have the big pickle for yeh I do.” Terese said, looking at Ms. Noonan attempting once more to get a laugh out of her. Ms. Noonan had the same tetchy smile on her face the whole time. Terese went behind the till and fetched the bag with Derrick’s goods.
“You can pay me later love” she said, handing him the bag. Derrick gawped.
“Ah Ma, do yeh not have something more discreet?” he said, referencing the logo on the centre of the paper bag. It was a large penis wearing sunglasses and a sleezy smile and making the ‘good’ sign with his little penis fingers.
“This one will do. The shop needs advertising.” Terese said.
“Surely you can use other people to advertise for yeh”
“Ah now would you stop complainin’ It’s a gas looking bag. People love it!” Terese said, staring at the besunglassed penis with a gaze of soft affection.
Derrick relented, mostly because he was eager to get looking for his third item. The toy set.
“Thanks Ma, I’ll pay ya tonight.”
He nodded at an extremely ruddy-cheeked Ms. Noone and hurled himself out the door and down the stairs.

He went straight to the Toymaster on Mary Street, only a couple of minutes away. He got a few offended stares from people in the shop. Mostly parents with young children. He ignored them. He went to the top floor where the lego was. Once upon a time he loved coming here and browsing the lego sets. He’d never gotten any though, even when he’d asked Santy for them. The man at the till was middle aged and nerdy looking, with neat grey hair and nondescript reading glasses.
“Excuse me. Hiya. Looking for playmobil.” Derrick said.
“You will find the playmobil in the two aisles closest the stairs.” the man said.
Judging by his voice, Derrick immediately thought the man a snob. He spoke as if he was a journalist and there was something passive aggressive in his tone. Derrick could tell that he spoke in this tone all the time. He’d met his type before.
“I’m looking for a particular set.” Derrick said.
“Which is?” the man said, his head tilted forward and his eyes peering above his glasses.
“It’s the, eh, 1992 Dentist office one.”
The man took off his glasses and looked Derrick straight in the eye.
“My oh my, that is specific… I’m afraid we are quite out of stock on that one. We have been since 1999” the man said.
“Feck” Derrick said.
“Awfully sorry about that” the man said.
“Ah it’s grand, I’ll check Smyths” Derrick said, trying to hide the sinking feeling in his chest.
He walked away from the till and towards the stairs when he noticed a figure emerging out of the shelves. Derrick almost shat himself. Standing before him was a six feet tall Playmobil man, walking and blinking and the rest of it. It was alive.
“Da Fuq” Derrick said.
“Hi Pal. I heard you were looking for the 1992 dentist office.” the playmobil man said.
“That set has been out of stock since 1999”.
“Yeah I know” Derrick said.
“There is however one left in the city of Dublin.”
“There is a way to get your hands on it…”
“Oh yeah?”
“If you help me out, I will tell you how.”
“Well spit it out then”
“I’ve been trapped in this store for twenty-odd years. I need my spirit to be set free.”
“Ah jaysus bud, I wouldn’t know anything about that kinda craic.”
“It’s ok. I know exactly what is needed. You just have to -”
Before the playmobil man finished, the man from the till had come over and asked Derrick
“Are you feeling OK?”.
“Ah yeah, I’m grand yeah, just in the middle of something here…”
“I thought I heard you talking to yourself.”
“Oh no, eh…” Derrick started. He looked to the playmobil man who shrugged and had a ‘nothing to do with me’ look on this face.
“I guess this nerd can’t see this talking toy.” Derrick thought to himself.
“Eh was just on the phone to me mate” Derrick said.
The man from the till looked unconvinced.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave” he said, edging closer to Derrick, as if to shepherd him down the stairs. He was a snob so.
“Alright alright I’m going!” Derrick said, as he was just about pushed down the stairs.
The playmobil shouted down to him “bring back a guitar!”
Rather than reply to the playmobil man in words he merely gave him a thumbs up.
The man from the till was watching him from the top of the stairs and he muttered “schizo” to himself.
A guitar was easy, Derrick thought. How it would free this toy boy’s soul was another question altogether. He would have to wait until the snob finished his shift before he came back, so he decided to head back to Buckminster’s to get the crystal.

The same woman who had opened the door last time opened it again. This time she managed to make eye contact. Derrick gave her a warm smile.
“Lovely man. Lovely, lovely man” the woman said. “You know where it is pet, first floor.”
“Thanks a mill” Derrick said and headed straight upstairs.
He knocked on Buckminster’s door, but there was no answer. Someone came up behind him.
“He’s on his afternoon sex break. You’ll have to wait. Do you have an appointment?” the person said. Derrick turned around and recognised him as the man from earlier wearing the donald duck onesie. When Derrick’s eyes met his, a mischievous smile unfurled across his face, revealing a mouth full of gold teeth. He pressed a finger to Derrick’s chest and laughed.
“Any chance I can get yeh to go in there and swap out this bag for a pink rock that’s in there?” Derrick said. All the man did was shake his head.
“Blast” Derrick muttered.

The man in the onesie walked away, around the hall corner and towards a room with an open door. Derrick, not knowing what else to do, followed him.
He entered a large room facing the street. It was the first room he’d seen in this compound that was bright. It was filled with people, maybe eleven or twelve. All crossed legged and facing the top of the room where a woman sat with a crystal ball.
She was staring into it intensely and did not look up when the two men entered the room.
“Nigel. It looks like your girlfriend won’t now, won’t ever pay the rent.” she said, still staring into the ball.
“Jeeesus.” said someone in the room, presumably Nigel.
“So I should just dump the bitch?” the guy who was probably Nigel said.
“The ball doesn’t do ‘shoulds’ ” the woman with the crystal ball said.
The donald duck man found a seat in the back row and Derrick decided to follow him. Plonking himself down in between a man and a woman who both had blonde dreadlocks.
“A new presence has just entered the room. Speak up new person.” the woman with the ball said. All those who had their eyes open, were looking at Derrick, waiting for him to speak.
“Eh… Derrick is me name… at least it is today” Derrick said.
He continued
“Eh, came here earlier to see the Buckminster dude and have just been at this collecting stuff business all day.”
“Have you gathered all your pieces?” the woman asked, looking him in the eye.
“Eh, no. Have to get one more thing, technically. Well first I need to get me hands on a guitar to give to this toy fella. It’s weird. If your ball can help with that, it would be great.” Derrick said, half joking. The girl placed her hands on the crystal ball and stared into it. It seemed to fill with smoke.
“Dry ice” Derrick thought.
Derrick watched the woman as her face betrayed at first, puzzlement and then stark fright.
“The toy you speak of. It is a playmobil man living on the top floor of toymaster. Is this correct?” the woman asked.
“Eh, exactly, yeah exactly that.” Derrick said.
“You are in great danger.” she said.
“Oh shit…”
“You have been asked to bring this playmobil man something… a guitar, is that correct?”
“Well, yeah”
“You do this and he will play the music which will swap your souls. He intends to take over your body while you become trapped in his, in the playmobil body.”
“Christ on a bungee cord.”
“You must stay away from him.”
“Makes sense.”
“Far away.”
“Yep… only thing is he knows where the last object I’m looking for is. The, eh, the 1992 edition dentist office playmobil set. He said there is only one left in all of Dublin. Is there a way-”
“Bullshit.” the woman interrupted.
She put her hand on the ball again and the smoke inside turned from green to blue to purple.
“The playmobil set you speak of can be found in Smyths.”
“Oh seriously?”
“Aisle five, row two, towards the back.”
“Lord you’re a lifesaver, woman” Derrick said, hopping to his feet.
“Revolut donations welcome. Username is on the door.” the woman said. That made Derrick feel guilty and a bit pissed off because he knew he wouldn’t donate anything.
He looked towards the door anyway and saw the paper with the donation details.
“Great.” he said.
He suddenly saw Buckminster out in the hallway, walking past the door to this room. Derrick made a dash for him, weaving in between the people sitting on the ground.
“Thanks a mill” he said “I will get you back.” he added, sounding about as sincere as a Tomcat in a tophat.

“Buckminster, howeyeh?!” Derrick said when he reached the Buckminster dude.
“Hey dude” the Buckminster dude said, stoned off his rocker.
“I have something for yeh, in exchange for the crystal. You have it right?”
“Totally do man” the Buckminster dude said, walking into his room and re-emerging with the pink rock. Derrick handed him the bag and the Buckminster dude handed him the crystal, which Derrick pocketed. The Buckminster dude held up the bag and looked at the animated besunglassed cock and started pissing himself laughing. Derrick left him standing there, laughing to himself. He had gotten what he had needed, now it was off to Smyths for the last item, before hitting the road.

The playmobil set was right where the crystal ball lady had described. It cost twenty-nine euro. Not bad. Derrick could hardly bring himself to look at their creepy little faces. Not after the interaction he’d had with the playmobil man in toymaster. He bought lunch at spar along with a plastic spar bag which he put all three objects into. He got on the bus and made his way to Stepaside to climb Three Rock Hill, ready for what he hoped would be the final part of his journey.

It was six o’clock when he arrived. Still a few hours of daylight left. He started walking immediately. He was never a big fan of hiking, he’d certainly never gone by himself. The scenery wasn’t bad, he supposed. Mostly he was concerned about how crap he felt. He could feel how poxy his lungs were after decades of smoking. He had to keep stopping to catch his breath and cough.

Finally he made it to the top of the hill. Flat, brownish scrubland with scattered boulders and a large aerial tower. Definitely a hike with a more impressive trail than endpoint. Part of him felt like complaining about how disappointing the view was. Dublin looked like a drab bunch of boxes from here. Depressing. He was too tired to complain though, and he had nobody around with which to do it. He decided to lie down on a big rock, placing the spar bag by his feet. He was so tired that almost as soon as he shut his eyes, he fell asleep.

In his dreams he was in a dentist’s office. The dentist was a playmobil figurine. He made Derrick sit on the reclined dentist chair. His hand was one of those U-shaped plastic playmobil hands and he started to poke around inside Derrick’s mouth. Derrick felt afraid. The playmobil dentist went away and came back with a coke bottle full of liquid gunk. Derrick filled with dread.
“Open your mouth” the dentist said.
“Noooo” Derrick screamed.
The toy dentist pinned him down and forced him to swallow the contents of the coke bottle. Immediately Derrick projectile vomited so explosively, he blew the dentist office, including the playmobil dentist, to smithereens. Derrick then found himself floating in space, a pink glow all around. He felt an intense feeling of joy fill up his being, despite morsels of vomit still floating around him in space. The pink glow gave off such a powerful feeling, it filled his whole being with a sense of comfort, security, peace and love. For a moment it felt like he knew everything and he was certain everything was good.

Derrick opened his eyes. It was raining on Three Rock Mountain. The memory of the dream was fast fading, but it didn’t matter. He knew exactly what to do.
Time to pay Buckminster one hundred and ninety quid!

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