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My two weeks in Crypto

I am a fan of reddit. Scrolling through Husky Tantrums, (A wonderful sub that features howling whinging Siberian Huskies) late January, notifications popped up about the “wall street bets” sub and Gamestop. There is profound joy in howling disgruntled Huskies.

Reddit was in the news “sticking it to the man,” buying and holding Gamestop stock. I wanted to play too, however going full trader was a bit beyond me, while I hold 3 degrees none of them are in commerce or even remotely financially related. Polar opposites to be frank.

Not shy of adventure and generally being a quick study I immersed myself in forums, reading swathes of comments, familiarising myself with the jargon and wallets. It now came naturally.
Previously I had attempted to open a coin base account however finicky details, including sending a dollar to an account in Latvia proved to be beyond my patience.

For good measure ”The Big Short” was rewatched, the fascinating tale about those who bet against the housing market in America before the worldwide financial collapse in 2008
and “Margin Call” which was informative but less thrilling.

Thoroughly entertained by tales of formidable global financial and fiscal ruin, my attentions turned to the forest of Cryptocurrencies with the confidence of a twelve year old reciting the alphabet or a that of toddler mashing grapes. I was ready to make money.

There was loud barking on reddit concerning the earnest $Doge coin. January 29th 2021, Dogecoin went up over 800% in 24 hours. Well I had to have some of this!

February 1st I downloaded a pink purple account app called “Kraken” that has a cute logo of an octopus and bubbles. Every time it opened it announced: ‘Releasing the Kraken’, allowing me a brief moment of tittering that I was Neptune or at least a pirate. I started to buy crypto currency in increments of 20 euros. Euros are my choice because I am at heart a European even though I live in the UK.

Soon I had bought 200 euros worth of various different currencies I liked the sound of.
Quite literally. My early attempts at due diligence were remarkably scant. Apart from Doge I chose Bitcoin and Ethereum, Ripple, Flow and Siacoin, then watched in real time what was doing what, bravely chopping and changing percentages, buying and selling within my little stash. Doge Coin was still on the up and I managed to make 75 euro. Hurray!

I read somewhere that the CEO of Kraken was formerly a liquidator in charge of a shady cryptocurrency companies assets. This morsel, along with repeated wailing from Redditors that they couldn’t get the Kraken app to release their funds, I went searching for another wallet.

(Apparently, the only safe wallet is a hard wallet. A physical drive where one can store digital cryptocurrencies.)

I secured a Binance account, which felt more serious than Kraken app. A black app with a golden diamond. However Binance sports casino like ads and sections where you can do battle with fellow investors. This smacked of gamification, the dumbing down of complex systems and presenting a trading platform as a game. Robinhood, according to some was very guilty of this.

My research was ongoing, scrabbling about in reddit and then finding Dr Micheal J Burry on twitter. Dr Burry, featured heavily in the “The Big Short”. He was played by Christian Bale and was portrayed as a very earnest honest individual. He was on twitter under the moniker of Cassandra.

(Cassandra, in greek mythology is the trojan priestess cursed by Apollo given the power of prophecy that would forever be unbelieved)

I introduced myself and diligently began to “fave” and retweet anything and everything he posted. As he would delete his tweets at the end of the day, I was emboldened to embellish a few replies on my part. Cassandra posted the odd Heavy Metal video. Always eager to learn and having once been a disc jockey I retweeted these too! No musical taste is too shite or turgid to go undocumented or uncelebrated.

Having glanced at something Dr Burry tweeted about Tesla and March the 15th, (he seemed full of frowns at Tesla and Bitcoin, tweeting of bubbles and Musk scorn) I added a tweet that spoke of the Ides of March, in the vein of ancient mythologies. These current times being ‘strange times’ and with my love of the pathetic fallacy that runs through Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, it felt appropriate! (Pathetic fallacy is a kind of personification that gives human emotions to inanimate objects of nature; for example weather features reflecting a mood.)

In the play, a soothsayer warns Caesar ”Beware the Ides of March”. The soothsayer is dismissed as a dreamer. The Ides of March is a time between the 13th and 17th of March where traditionally debts are settled. I was delighted with myself! Engaging online with a genius of dizzying heights! How exciting!

The next few days I fiddled about with currencies. One bright morning, I noticed a currency starting to soar. I tossed all of my funds into this one currency. Within minutes I saw an increase of 75%. I was distracted briefly by oncoming clouds. I closed a window. When I looked again, my funds were plummeting. Hurtling in a decline. The figures licking lower and lower. This was not the plan! I watched for a little and decided enough was enough. My profits were gone and this distraction had taken a big bite out of my capital.

After that, I found the daily watching of my meagre investment rise and fall, unsettling and odd. The heady possibilities, the hope that sprang from such uncertainty is palpable. You can taste it. The what if’s. The dreaming of what might be. I am prone to researching Italian Villas on the Amalfi coast as it is. There are always at least 70 photos in a Villa listing. So many photos that if I try, I can feel the cold stone floor underfoot, smell the orange blossoms from the sun dappled balcony. See the heavy linen curtains shift imperceptibly in the breeze, in another room chiffon ripples at an open window.

After a week, I noticed that Dr Burry and I held very different opinions. I was bemused when he posted video of a Fox news report 9 mins long. Later he said the video was a test, that only three people had engaged. I liked a comment that proposed that, Fox news had a flimsy grasp of the truth, hence the lack of views. The following morning Dr Burry had blocked me! Was it my haiku? Was it my nod to Shakespeare? Was it the fact I had no clue what was going on? Did I break the matrix? BLOCKED!? Me?

Naturally I followed him again, using a different account, this time being careful not to engage. I have since learned he is a Trump apologist. This makes me far happier to be blocked.

So has Dr Burry simply been toying with the masses? This morning there was a flurry of tweets.

One of his tweets Dr Burry referred to all of his tweets being ‘pysops’. Goggle says

“Psychological operations (PSYOP) are operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning, and ultimately the behaviour of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.”

In my few weeksI learned the following.

1.The mainstream revolution is a myth. All the easy to use crypto apps are owned by wall street. Corporate global conglomerates or the ‘man’ is still in charge.

2.That market manipulation is now outsourced to forums and twitter, evidenced by Elon Musk tweets and rise or fall of Doge Coin and Tesla stock

3.Due Diligence means doing serious research.

4.I don’t like losing money.

5.That one should examine in $IMKTA stock

Thank you Dr Burry.

Subsequently I managed to make back a little of my loss and then withdrew all my funds. I then bought three Posy Simmonds books. One of which coincidentally is a story about an Art dealer by the name of Drake. First name Cassandra.

Ecker Day 18 to Infinity and Beyond

So! This has been brilliant to do. I have characters to tweak and bat into shape and the thought of sitting down to write doesn’t scare me as much as it did before.

I am SO grateful to those of you who read and commented, on any of my socials; in particular my buddies Merrilyn and Josie. Being in Lockdown has been a challenge and having interaction with people has been powerful.

I have stories to tell that much I have established and writing is hard. Though discipline as opposed to motivation is what I am seeking to cultivate.

I am so greatful to to the WordPress community that supported this foray into the written word, your kind encouragement has truly inspired me. Thank you.

Thank You mightily, to the beautiful and generous Marian Keyes who kickstarted my year with this brilliant, clever and fun course.

There is one more session tomorrow on Instagram stories Live February 4th 7.30 Irish time. Tune in then and see ya soon with love Anna.

@MarianKeyes Twitter

Marian_Keyes Instagram

Ecker Day 17

Chapter 2 (1st Edit)

Lucy found the office easily. It was wedged beside the supermarket at the end of the strip.
The doors were wide open onto the shimmering dusty outside. It took a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the shadowy dank space. She sat in by the desk. The framed poster in front of her reflected passers-by and shining traffic. The morning light bounced into the room off car bonnets, illuminating the office at the same time providing an underwater feel as spangles played across the wall and ceiling.

She stretched, elbows first releasing droplets of sweat that trickled down behind her ear. Her back and neck felt clammy.

Above, an old ceiling fan, lazily rotated. As though it was dreaming of times when it could make a difference. She raised her hand, an antennae for some sort of breeze. There was a smell of burnt coffee and vinyl in the air. Faded prints of yachts and washed out aerial views of beaches, were plastered to the wall on her left.

She shifted in the seat peeling her thighs off the leather. She removed one nude coloured pump, planting the sole of her foot squarely on the cool tile. Closing her eyes, she sighed. Fanning herself with her a pamphlet for “The Pilot Whale Expedition, Tuesdays 11am” she waited. Her neat bun, was unraveling. Wisps of hair, lay flat on her face. She occasionally felt it’s tendrils lick her chin. Her white shirt no longer crisp limp at her wrists was asking to be removed and left in a puddle somewhere. She carefully rolled up her sleeves, straightening the tuck as she went.

On the right was a grimy window, with bars on it that flanked the alley to the beach. There were listings for apartments largely for rent pinned to a cork board. She could hear mopeds carrying brown girls with shiny black hair and sparkly sunglasses, whizzing by. The utter elegance and beauty of the island dwellers made her want to hide under the nearest table most of the time.

She flipped off her other shoe. She pressed her feet on to the floor to drink it’s cool into the rest of her body. She looked through her zippy bag for a tissue to be dabbing herself with. It was taking all her self control not to mop her brow with her sleeve or her shirt tails.

At the back of the office, she heard a loud voice cackle. A middle aged, fair haired man with a mahogany tan appeared. He was squeezed into white polyester slacks and a red and yellow striped open neck shirt. He observed her while barking Spanish and what sounded like Russian into his black clam shell mobile. He looked like a hen, with teeth. Maybe a crocodile or a goblin. His teeth were teeth that could happily be featured in an airport magazine or any dental ad. He raised his hand shaking a gold watch free from the constraints of his hairy wrists and gestured that he would not be much longer.

Lucy found her shoes with her toes. As she bent over to prise her swollen feet back into her pumps, her shirt stuck like a stamp, to her belly.

She twisted again to unstick her thighs. The rhythm of the man’s speech was now a staccato. He was winding up the call. Abruptly he snapped his phone shut and bellowed “Hola Lucy” he waved her cv at her. “So you are looking for employment and are recommended by Patrick Joesph”

His words sounded like a thick cheese, had come to life. Full of texture and importance crumbling in his mouth. “You will have to convince me, why should I give you work!” He lent back in his seat airing his armpits and tucking his hands behind his head.

Lucy clearing her throat and coughed up a tiny gobbet of mucus. Out it flew, this globule of snot, a tiny offering to the Interview Gods. She felt it leave her mouth, now knew it was out there but alas could not see it. Eyes widening, like a kitten pissing, she stared at him to see if he saw where it landed.

Oblivious, he mistook her staring to be of rapt attention. Heartened by this he launched into a monologue still semi supine as though waiting for grapes, describing the work and how important he was.

As he turned on his swivel chair she saw it. Sitting proud, impaled on his chest hair was the pearly projectile.

Ecker Day 16

(This was very exciting as unlike the previous two days, I went ahead and wrote brand new material. In Ecker 14 and Ecker 15 I rewrote openings I had written in 2009. The concept of “show rather than tell”, is new to me.)

Chapter 2

Lucy shifted in the seat peeling her thighs off the leather. She stretched releasing a droplet of moisture that now crawled down the back of her ear. A trickle of sweat ran down her spine. The white shirt no longer crisp limp at her wrists. She removed one shoe, planting the sole of her foot squarely on the cool tile. Closing her eyes, she fanned herself with a pamphlet. She waited, checking her phone, whips of hair, lay flat on her face. Sighing and slouching she removed her other shoe. The framed poster in front of her reflected passers-by and shining traffic. The morning light bounced into the room off car bonnets, illuminating the office at the same time providing an underwater feel as spangles ran across the wall and ceiling. Above, an old ceiling fan, lazily turned. She raised her arm to feel the air, an antennae for some sort of breeze. There was a smell of burnt coffee and vinyl in the air. Faded prints of yachts and washed out aerial views of beaches, were plastered to the wall on her left.

On the right was a grimy window, with bars on it that flanked the alley to the beach. There were listings for apartments largely for rent pinned to a cork board. Mopeds carrying brown girls with shiny black hair and sparkly sunglasses, whizzed by. At the back of the office, she heard a loud voice cackle. A middle aged, fair haired man with a mahogany tan appeared. He was squeezed into white polyester slacks and red and yellow striped shirt. He observed her while barking Spanish and what sounded like Russian into his black clam shell mobile. He looked like a hen, with teeth. Maybe a crocodile. His teeth were teeth that could happily be featured in an airport magazine or any dental ad. He raised his hand shaking a gold watch free from the constraints of his hairy wrists and gestured that he would not be much longer.

Lucy found her shoes with her toes. As she bent over to prise her swollen feet back into her pumps, she her shirt stuck like a stamp to her belly. As she did so she twisted again in the chair to unstick her thighs from her chair. The rhythm of the man’s speech was now a staccato. Winding up the call talking. He snapped his phone shut and bellowed “Hola Lucy” he waved her CV at her. “So you are looking for employment and are recommended by Patrick Joesph” His words sounded like a thick cheese, had come to life. Full of texture and importance crumbling in his mouth. “You will have to convince me, why should I give you work!” He leant back in his seat airing his armpits and folding his hands behind his head, his thumbs, on either side of his neck.

Lucy clearing her throat, coughed up a tiny gobbet of mucus. Out it flew, this globule of snot, a tiny offering to the Interview Gods. She felt it leave her mouth and knew it was out there, but alas could not see where it had landed.

Ecker Day 15

Chapter One (First Edit)

Trembling she took the crisp freshly signed cheque. His presence in the apartment was akin to a celebrity bumping into you at the supermarket, awkward and thrilling in equal measure. Strong and lean he didn’t haggle or quibble at the price. Number eighty two, Smithfield Quarter was now a gift for his girlfriend. Lucy thought he must be a footballer. She was mesmerised by the sale, by this beautiful black man, by his watch, his clothes. He flashed a smile and left, leaving a lingering scent of amber and oud.

She walked from wall to wall like a steel bearing in pain ball machine. Oh My God. OH MY GOD. Catching her breath, her cheeks hurt from smiling. She carefully stashing the cheque still whispering little “oh my god’s”. She found her way to the roof of the building. She felt she had to stand closer to heaven lest she should burst with joy. Standing in the dark looking out at the city lights. She knew her life would never be the same again.

The next day she went to her solicitor who produced the contracts at eye-watering speed and was satisfyingly astonished at her super sonic sale. There was a mountain of things to do. She left all of the furniture, invited two charities to take what they wanted. This entailed a small plump man called Roger arriving with a rucksack and putting all her cd’s into it. Any time she gestured towards the clothes Roger would shake his head very slowly. So she bagged up most of her clothes which except for a few pieces made by her oldest friend, Jason, the rest of her clothes went to Oxfam. She managed to cull ten years of apartment junk right down to four boxes and two black sacks. The boxes were ‘resting’ in a Jason’s shed. Once the cheque cleared, she transferred all the utilities. She instructed her solicitor to do the rest of the deal with the Footballer in shining armour and left a bottle of Champagne in the fridge.

3 weeks later Lucy shut the door never to open it again. A kind of electricity possessed her. as she marched almost bounced down the pavement onto the cobbled street. It was one of those ‘soft’ days where a muggy breath of city mist, was foggy wet. The cobbles were wet. Tensing her legs, walking like a penguin, hippity hobbling, hands paddling, she realized very quickly her grand exit would have to be made in a different pair of shoes.

Not Crocs. What possessed her to buy them? Foamy chewing gum shoes. She put down her rucksack, extracted and donned her trainers. “This is just typical” she felt all upset, fumbling for her mobile. A kind of comfort habit, checking the time. All of a sudden in a light bulb moment, it felt easier just to drop everything. She transferred all the necessaries to an orange zippy shoulder bag. She tied her shoelaces and ran to the Luas stop, leaving a lone rucksack and a pair of pink crocs at the door of an inner city apartment block.

A blond puckish figure in a cap that advertised yogurt, was handing out samples of the dairy goop. “Beat that bloated feeling with knickerbocker yogurt” they chimed Lucy gestured to her tummy “I couldn’t beat that bloated feeling with a big stick, like alone yogurt” The fairy girls eyes widen and she snort-giggled.

The tram appeared out of the mist like some Narnia transport vehicle. It glided, through the misty city. Lucy said goodbye to the streets, the wet walking busy people. The department stores, she had walked by to get to her work, every morning for too many years. Goodbye to the big silver monument, the river and all the seabirds, reeling from the water line to the skyline. Dainty black-headed gulls, dipping in and out of sight. At one stop a big yellow billed herring gull looked as though he was going to board.

The bus on the way to the airport lent a little ceremony to her departure. There was a traffic jam in the opposite direction. Beside the bus a stream of blue and red lights flashing, she imagined it was her escort.

“Boarding now at gate 18 bing bong” Still giddy, breathless Lucy stood in the queue. Her knees were nearly knocking, the edgy feeling threatened to consume her. Breathing deeply, keeping a tight hold of her passport and her boarding card. As she glided through security, she remembered the whole selling process, was the same. Almost effortless.

The young lad she was absently chatting to a lad on the train from Kerry turned out to be studying interior architecture. He was in his first year and had all sorts of fresh information. She grilled him on how to tart up an apartment to sell it. Freshly painted. Clean. No junk. He said to put a sheet on the bed instead of a quilt, how to have a bowl of water with floating candles, buy the cheap new soap dispenser set, a new bath mat and a bale of towels. She followed all of his instructions to the letter and she sold Number eighty two, Smithfield Quarter, off the internet in the space of 28 hours to the first person who saw it. The beautiful young black man with a Liverpudlian accent.

Now she was on the first plane that she could get hold of at short notice. She had hoped it would be to South East Asia, maybe Thailand or Bali but instead it was to Tenerife.
It was Tuesday the third of October 2006.

Ecker Day 14

Chapter One.

Lucy walked out the door and shut it never to open it again. A kind of electricity possessed her as she marched with an easy gait down the pavement onto the cobbled street. The cobbles were wet, her shoes were extremely unsuitable. Crocs. What possessed her to buy them? Foamy chewing gum shoes. Tensing her legs, walking like a penguin, hippity hobbling, hands paddling, she realized very quickly her grand exit would have to be made in a different pair of shoes. She put down her rucksack, extracted and donned her trainers. “This is just typical” she felt all upset, fumbling for her mobile. A kind of comfort habit, checking the time. All of a sudden in a light bulb moment, it felt easier just to drop everything and step on to the tram completely free. She took her wallet and checked it. Money, some, passport yes, transferring these to an orange zippy shoulder bag. She tied her shoelaces and made it to the tram, leaving a lone rucksack and a pair of pink crocs at the door of an inner city apartment block.

“Boarding now at gate 18 bing bong” Breathless Lucy stood in the queue for tickets. She had never done anything along these lines but felt there was nothing, not in a million years, to lose. Her knees were nearly knocking, the edgy feeling threatened to consume her. Keeping a tight hold of her passport and stepping carefully forward each time someone left. Her turn came and wordlessly she presented her passport, shook her head and was given her boarding pass. She booted along to the departure lounge.

As she glided through security, she remembered the whole selling process, was the same. Almost effortless. Absently chatting to a lad on the train from Kerry who happened to be an interior architect. Grilling him on how to dress a place to sell. He said to put a sheet on the bed instead of a quilt, how to have a bowl of water with floating candles, to clear the space intensively, buy the cheap new soap dispenser set and a new bath mat. She followed his instructions to the letter and she sold it off the internet in the space of 72 hours to the first person who saw it. A beautiful young black man man with a Liverpudlian accent. He was buying the apartment for his mistress who had seen it that morning. His presence in the apartment was akin to a celebrity bumping into you at the supermarket. It was awkward and thrilling in equal measure. She imagined him to be a footballer maybe. Strong and lean he didn’t haggle or quibble. He signed a cheque and gave it to her. She trembled as she took the cheque. He flashed a beautiful smile and left. Standing on her own looking out at the city lights, she knew her life would never be the same again.

The next day she went to her solicitor who produced the contracts very swiftly and was satisfyingly astonished. There was a few bits and pieces to tidy up, she left all of the furniture, invited a charity organisation to take what the wanted. This entailed a small plump man called Roger arriving with a rucksack and putting all her cd’s into it. Any time she gestured towards the clothes Roger would shake his head very slowly. So she binned the clothes and culled ten years of apartment junk right down to four boxes. These boxes were resting in a friend’s shed. Once the cheque cleared she asked her solicitor to do the rest of the deal with the Englishman. It was Tuesday the third of October 2006. She was on the first plane that she could get hold of at short notice. She had hoped it would be to South East Asia, maybe Thailand or Bali but instead it was to Tenerife.

More Book Covers

Continuing on from yesterday, I made some more book covers! I used my own drawings, painting and free images and software on Canva. Would you want to read any of these books? What could they be about? Be sure to tune into Marian Keyes livestream on Monday next 25th of January on Instagram at 7.30pm Greenwich Mean Time or UTC

The cover below is an alternative to the one I made on Friday

and here, below is the one that has received the most love!! Read about it on Ecker Day 11.

Thank you for reading and looking 😀

till Monday!

Ecker Day 11

What a magical task!! So I went to Canva an online graphic design platform and ran up a couple of different Book covers using an abstract work that I made years ago, (which I have since printed as a scarf using Contrado.)

The abstarct is made up overlaying of altered photographs of Derrynane Beach in Kerry in Ireland and the Pells Pond in Lewes, East Sussex in England.

I have a question though. It’s one that I have thought about for a while. Do I use my own name or a pseudonym? Do I just use initials?

The other big question I have is what is a good name for a novel? How do you come up with that?

Part of me thinks it’s the same as asking how long is a ball of string. I imagine there are various schools of thought. While I will bear all that in mind, I figure I will first write the bestseller first. (This is tongue in cheek folks, I am trying to think big and am honestly amazed that I am writing at all.)

I wrote a screenplay a good few years ago and it was called “PlayAway”, so I used that name and story idea, for my novel cover. (I think it would translate well into a novel that may be a future project). I have designed a couple of covers, while dithering about and will write something else tomorrow as the fabulous Marian Keyes, has given us students the weekend off. Woo hooo!!

So there is this design bright and the text arched, (Kate Scott is my Fantasy nom de plume)

This one by Anna O’Neill

Or this design a bit darker with a different font.

or this last one

I love the name Kate Scott because it reminds me of the expression “Great Scott!!” The scientist in back to the future was always saying that.

Thank you so much for your kind support and comments! If you haven’t already done so, follow Marian Keyes on Instagram and Twitter. There are another two weeks of her free writing course left. I wholeheartedly recommend this course. If you want to catch up on the lessons here is Marian’s Youtube. Marian’s course has stimulated me to actually write EVERYDAY and encouraged me to think differently. I am in awe of Marian’s kindness and generosity and so thankful. Until tomorrow!

Ecker Day 10

It was the time of day Joshua like most. It was early morning. He had tried some jobs however this suited him just fine. It was just mindless and physical enough to make him feel like he had worked. He was the grunt for a small landscaping firm. He would dig a hole, shovel cement, get stuck in with a kanga hammer, wherever and whenever he was needed. He worked three days a week as a rule. Damo was the boss and Tina was the landscape designer.

They created “bijoux spaces in tight city gardens” as the ad said. ‘Vajazzling” always sprang to Joshua’s mind. Usually it was to tart up a property before flipping it. Though here and there were gardens that surprised a person. In StonyBatter and Cabra there were some lovely spaces and folks who had money.

This morning they were at a small terraced house in Phibsborough. His task was to shovel out a space for a patio. He’d fill a barrow load then run to the front of the property and dump it in a small skip. After about 40 minutes working up a good sweat, he stood up and stretched. As though straight from a Laurel and Hardy sketch, his shovel fell head first onto something that made a crunching smashing noise. Shovels come in different sizes and his was a giant shovel. It fell on what had been small oblong glass and metal structure. As he retrieved his shovel, he saw carefully forged scrolled leaf work, now in several pieces. It was all a bit grotty and ancient. A grotty ancient mess. He gingerly picked the glass, it looked very old. Tiny bubbles lived in the thin greenish panes. It wasn’t all ruined just most of it.

“Fuck”

He now vaguely recalled being warned about the Victorian cucumber frame. An heirloom, precious and priceless.

“Fuck!”

The air was warm and a fine drizzle came in to the garden. The smell of the hops from the Brewery, lent another layer of nausea to his already queasy tummy. He looked up at the sky. Two black headed gulls flew overhead. He could try and mend it. He could get another. Maybe he could get another.

He lit up a smoke. He rang Terry and asked him to google Victorian cucumber frames. He was noted for leaving voicemails, Terry was generally happy to comply. He cleared up the glass and carefully arranged the broken ironwork and got back to the task at hand. An hour later he got a text from Terry. The only price he could find was one sold at an Auction. In America. For $2,950.00.

“Fuck”

Just then someone popped their head out from the back door, “Would you like something to drink? I’m sticking the kettle on.”

He made no gesture waving with what he hoped would pass as a nonchalant smile, with a bit of head shaking. He groaned and lit another cigarette. They seemed friendly enough though he wasn’t sure it was one of the owners. He thought about saying a seagull did it, the thought whistled though his mind. Naw, he couldn’t do that. They get bad enough press.

He’d get another job. He sat on a creaky garden chair. The young woman came out holding a steaming mug of whatever it was. He stood bolt upright.

“How are you getting on” She asked, she had gray eyes and straight hair.

“I had um, I had a bit of a mishap. A bit of an accident with the shovel. It fell on it, over there by the wall. I am so sorry. It was a complete accident. ” It then dawned on him he could have said he was nowhere near it. He decided coming clean was simpler. The truth was clear.

Her eyes flashed then softened, she laughed. “Ah bless, that old piece of shite! That’s Jeremy’s Ma’s. I won’t miss it at all and I know Jeremy insured the bejaysus out of it.”

She answered her buzzing phone “Honestly don’t fret one bit,” she smiled and winked, striding back into the house, he could here her say “Darling! a bit of news!”

Ecker Day 9

He leans forward in the bed. Church bells bang out the angelus close by. Noon. Wednesday. He had been in the bed for two days, the sun was finally shining, it spilled into the tiny room. He felt heavy still. He reached for his cigarettes. None left. He briefly considered relighting a butt from ash tray. Then decided against it. He gathered the bits of laundry on the bed. “It was high time” he thought.

He methodically went around the room in his vest, picking up what looked like rubbish or looked out of place. Stuffing laundry into a big Tescos bag, he found a pair of jeans, that didn’t smell wrong. Slipping his slender limbs into them, he had lost weight. More weight. He was tired again. He sat.

In the next room, cooking and cursing out loud was Terry. Terry was Vonnie’s boyfriend, he went to the general college of Surgeons and hung out with Vonnie here, when he wasn’t knocking about his Ma’s house in Sutton. A medical student for a million years. Terry was a genuinely good egg. Joshua shuffled to the kitchen hoping for a coffee or a smoke.

Terry beamed at him. “Hello Josh me ould flower, how are ya man. Grab a pew”

He tosses a carton of Major towards him, which Joshua catches mid-air. That felt good, he smiled, lit one up and inhaled. The cigarette smoke ripples and curls blue mingling with the steam from the kettle and hot rashers in the pan. The sunshine streams in onto to the blue table. Terry bustling about sets down a mug of hot milky coffee and a rasher samwich in front of Joshua.

“How would ya like to go on yer Holls?” Terry sat in front of him, chawing into a pile of rashers and buttered toast. Whenever Terry was in town there was always food. Terry was one of then most generous of souls Joshua had met. Joshua blinked at him. Holiday? “Where?” his voice sounded husky.

Terry, twinkled at him. He was bursting with excitement! “I don’t feckin know!” He hooted, delighted with himself. It had transpired that Vonnie, couldn’t go on on a trip for Two that Terry had won on a radio show.

Joshua slowly ate his sandwich while Terry described, the possible adventure. They wouldn’t know where there were going until the last minute. They could go anywhere, maybe Greece.

As Josh listened, he felt his appetite returning. Like a small feeling of hope.

It was over two years now.

Working part-time at O’Dowds helped a little. Vonnie was a kind and sweet house mate. They kept different hours, she was a street seller selling silver jewellery and posters. They left each other little bits of blow. She and Terry were so good to him. He felt a pang that gathering in his chest. He looked at Terry’s bright expectant face. ’It would do you good man.”