Life, Living, Becoming...
Gerry Coughlan

 Evel Knievel

Nearly every Saturday I'd be asked to pop off to the chipper to buy fish & chips for my step-dad, before "Match of the Day" started on BBC 1.

Onto my Triumph bike, spraypainted gold by yours truly in a moment of insanity...and looked absolutely shite. That bike took me all over Dublin and my ma had the bent spoons (from me repairing punctures) to prove it. I knew I'd messed it up by spraying it but it was too late.

There's no use crying over spilt milk

Before I reached the chipper I could see about 30 skinheads and their girlfriends hanging around, eating fish & chips and making a racket. They'd probably just got off the bus from a dance or something.

"F@#$", I thought. This was the best chipper around. It wasn't more than 5 minutes, either way, to get to another one but the food wouldn't be as good and my step-dad would know immediately.

I pulled in, plonked my bike against the window and strode confidentally into the shop..Please Holy God, look after my bike...Please Holy God, look after my bike..I prayed as I waited for the food. I didn't dare look around till the food came.

Outside, surprise, surprise..NO BIKE. But that wasn't all, Evel Knievel had borrowed my bike and was racing up and down the road, popping wheelies and skidding dramatically all over the place to the accompaniment of whistles and shouts from his mates. I tucked the food into my jacket and waited for the show to finish. "Do that again!", his friends egged him on. "Ah, come on, will ya?", the owner of the bike pleaded.

Finally Evel was done and jumped off the bike to fling it rolling towards me. "Great. Thanks, you gobshite", I thought. Lucky to get my bike back before midnight, my step-dad wasn't too impressed to share his luke-warm chips at half-time with the bleedin' commentator.

Most of the time, skinheads were just a bloody nuisance.

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