issue 27: November -December   2001 

| author bio

Scorin' for Ireland. Image from em threeScorin' for Ireland
Chris Reid


There's nothin' here for the likes a meself. I know I oughta leave. But where would I go? What the fuck would I do? Sure I've no skills an' no letters after the name. I'd probably end up comin' home, tail between the legs and the lads laughin' their bollox's off at me.
      "Couldn't hack it over there? Missed the Mammy's cookin' what? Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!"
      Yeh . . . I can see the cunts now.
      At least I get the dole here. Sure if I stick around long enough somethin's bound to turn up. I just didn't get the right break yet. I told this to a pal a mine, Anto.
      "Ya gotta set your own goals," Anto said. "an' make your own breaks."
      Now I'm thinkin' there's somethin' to what he said. He's doin' alright. Did a couple a years on a community scheme. Played his cards right. Now he's top dog. A Community Scheme Supervisor.
      I did time on one meself. A community scheme. The job description said 'Labourers wanted to help restore a derelict regency mansion. Training provided. Candidates must be eligible for community employment.' that means long-term unemployed. A conservatory group was offerin' the job. I called the gaffer and worked there the best part of a year. You should've seen the state a the place at the start. Manky. But Jaysus you'd want to have seen it when we finished. A palace it was. The boss said he'd somethin' to do with the conservationists and that's how he got all the grants an' free workers like muggins here. I suppose he was helpin' conserve the place in a way. But Jaysus help me if I didn't see me little palace a month after we'd finished. It was on the front page of a property supplement I'd found on the bus. I read that it'd been sold to some rich cunt for over a million. By then I was back on the scratcher.
Last week I signed on an' the welfare officer told me that seein' as I'm long term I've the right to go to college. The right no less. Sure I hardly went to school. I didn't even pass me inter. They call it the 'junior cert' now. I know 'cause me son's doin' it next year. I call to see him every couple a weeks. I don't live with his Mam any more. Me son hates school. Just like I did. Why the fuck are they tellin' me I can go to college? I'd be two years doin' the junior, two years at the Leavin', then three years at college? - sure I'd be in me middle forties when I'd finish. I'd be knackered. Me son would be holdin' me up in the queue down the scratcher. The two of us gettin' our cheques.
      Fuck that.
      Maybe I could get on a proper trainin' course. Learn a skill like. Then set some real goals. When I was on the community scheme a social worker came around to visit us. She taught me a way to set goals and get them. It goes somethin' like this:
      How to get your goal.
      1. Visualise your ultimate goal as if you've got it.
      2. Put the goal in writin'.
      3. Find out all the stuff you need to get it.
      4. Break it down into smaller steps.
      5. Write the steps out like a shoppin' list.
      6. Do the first step on the list.
      7. Tick each off as you finish.
      8. Cheers! You've scored your ultimate goal.
      The last time I was down the trainin' centre they said I could do a course in 'Computer Skills' at another centre across the city. It sounded alright and me mate Brian had done it. He said it was alright. I'm told there's money to be made in it so that'll be me first goal.
      I'll have a year to spare before I start that course. Me second goal could be to do somethin' while I'm waitin' for the course. I always wanted to do a bit a travellin'. I heard a lad's goin' away to teach English in Spain. That’d be some craic. And the women over there fuckin' rides man! I want some a that an' there's me second goal. The only snag is I don't have any foreign languages . . . But I'm told they all speak English over there. Then why bother goin' over to teach it? . . . They need help to speak it proper - that's it.
      You need to have a bit a paper before you can teach. Me mate Paul went over there for a year. To Spain I mean. Told me he photocopied someone else’s cert an' got work from that. Anyway gettin' a job in Spain won't be a problem. Sure they're gaggin' to learn the English over there. I mean look at how many a their kids are sent here each summer Either that or they want rid a the noisy bastards.
      The only problem would be gettin' set up with a flat while I look for work. Paul told me they don't give dole to foreigners in Spain, not even if you're a member of the EU. But I'm told you can get your dole an' rent allowance transferred to other European countries, like Germany an' Holland. Holland sounds alright. You can buy your hash next to your Silk Cut in Amsterdam. There's progress.
      Fuckin' right.
      But where would I go? Where would I live? How the fuck would I find work? I wouldn't know a soul over there. I'd probably end up comin' home after a couple a weeks. Fuck that.
      Somethin's bound to turn up here.
      Nearly forgot. There's a good chance I could get a nixer packin' shelves at the supermarket - that plus me dole an' I'll be livin' like a king. Yeh . . . Fuck emigration, fuck goin' back to school, fuck teachin'. I'll stay on the scratcher get me nixer sorted an' be on that course for next September. They'll be me goals.
      An' when I'm finished the course?
      Well I’ll be nine to fivin’ with the best of them. Jaysus, I’ll have to go into trainin' for that. That I will. An' no more gettin' pissed during the week. No way. I'll have a proper job, a suit, a car, a house, an' holidays in the sun each year. Now there's me ultimate fuckin' goal!
      Only problem with doin' the course is I'll have to move flats. The trainin' centre where they're doin' it is eleven mile out. Fuck, I didn't think a that. I'll never arrive on time in the mornin'. I'd have to catch two buses to get there if I stay here. If I move I'll probably have to give up the nixer an' take a hike on me rent. Then I'd be back on community scheme wages. I'd have less than I have now. Ah here, I couldn't live on that . . . I'll have to think about this. Plan it out like, step by step, weigh up the pros an' cons an' visualise me ultimate goal . .
      But I think I'm a bit past it to score for Ireland.

      There's nothin' here for the likes a meself . .

© 2001 Chris Reid

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'Scorin' for Ireland first appeared in em three and appears in the TBR with permission of the author and publisher em writing and music. See review of em three.

author bio
The authorChris Reid has had short fiction published and broadcast in Ireland, Scotland and England. He also works as an artist making films/videos/images and texts which are exhibited/screened at festivals, galleries and other venues.
He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

tbr 27               november/december  2001


Suhayl Saadi - Bandanna
James Carlos Blake - La Vida Loca
Patricia Duncker - Death Before Dishonour
Chris Reid - Scorin' for Ireland
Karen Seashore - Harvest
       picks from back issues:
Dorothy Speak - The View from Here
Javier Marķas - Fewer Scruples

-Articles Review of em three
Film Festival of Catalunya:
Japanese anime
-Quiz Joyce Carol Oates
Answers to Virginia Woolf Quiz
-Book Reviews Doris Lessing, Steve Aylett, James Kelman...
-Regular Features Book Reviews (all issues)
TBR Archives
(authors listed alphabetically)

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