Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle (Jonathan Cape 2007)

I'm not telling you her name. And that means I can't use my own name either. Because, how many Nigerian girls is the average Irish teenager going to be hanging around with, even here in multicultural, we-love-the-fuckin'-foreigners Dublin? If I give my name, I might as well give hers. So, no.

So, there we are, myself and my Nigerian friend, and we're walking through the shop, being tailed by the Feds. And meanwhile, our friend, who's in a—

And now, there's another problem. There's a fella in a wheelchair in the story. How many male teenagers in the greater Dublin area share their leisure time with young men in wheelchairs and Nigerian women?

Our friend is in a wheelchair, but he doesn't need it. It's his brother's. His brother is in McDonald's, waiting for us. He doesn't have much of a choice, because we have his wheelchair. And he needs it, badly. There's a ginormous milkshake cup in front of him. It's empty. The shake's in him, and he's bursting. He's full of vanilla and the jacks is down the back, miles – sorry, kilometres away.

And his brother has his wheelchair. He's in the same shop as us – that's me and the Nigerian bird. And while the Feds follow me because (a) I'm with a black person, and (b) I'm wearing a hoodie, he's robbing everything he can stretch to, because (a) he's in the wheelchair, and (b) he's wearing glasses. And no one follows him. In fact, everyone wants to help him.

It's an experiment. Market research. I'll explain in a minute.

His brother is sliding towards the jacks when we get back to McDonald's. He's halfway there and, so far, €8.56 has been thrown at him.

Let me explain.

We aren't robbing the stuff because we want it, or just for the buzz. No. We are a mini-company. Three of us are in Transition Year, in school. The brother who actually owns the wheelchair isn't. He's in Sixth Year. We used to call him Superman, but he asked us to stop after Christopher Reeve died; it was upsetting his ma whenever she answered the landline. 'Is Superman there?' So, fair enough; we stopped.

Anyway, as part of our Transition Year programme, me and Ms Nigeria and not-Superman's brother had to form a mini-company, to help us learn about the real world and commerce and that. And we didn't want to do the usual stuff, like making sock hangers and Rice Krispie cakes. So, we sat at a desk and, watched closely by our delightful teacher, Ms They-Don't-Know-I-Was-Locked-Last-Night, we came up with the idea, and the name.

Black Hoodie Solutions.
(from 'Black Hoodie')

No comments: