Anna's Odyssey



        I have been demoted from my former pattern of wham bang thank you mam to just wham bang. Nero disappeared into the night leaving me with enough brain power to reach up and press the button for the fourth floor and disappear from oriental viewing. In my numbed champagned state I tittered to myself, thinking what happened was so hilarious that by the time the lift opened I was positively snorting with laughter.

        I stumbled out into the corridor and seeing as the coast was clear made a mad dash for my room. Key. Where was the key? Oh no. I slumped down against the wall, laughter about to dissolve into tears, fighting urge to bash my head against the wall. It must be in the bag, topple out all of bags contents onto floor, cheque book, gum, lipstick, I half mangled tampax, half a packet of toffos, six pens in various stages of chewed decomposition, unused filofax, pictures of me and Elliot at the circus with my niece Laura( cost me ten pounds they did and I look like fright night, even in comparison to Samba the lion), one crushed digestive biscuit and a holy medal to poor demoted St Christopher and horrah the key.

        This isnít a key but a card key, with little holes that have to be stuck exactly into the right place before you can get in. I am not an exact sort type person, I am a stick it in and pray it opens type person. So I stuck it in and turned the handle. It didnít work. I took it out and extra patiently I shoved it in, trying to align it properly but still the door refused to open. My options clearly at this stage were limited. I did not want to return knicker less to the foyer in case the Japanese were there making complaints to management. Dirty bastards, they were probably right at this moment ordering me as room service. My second option was to break the door down with the axe that releases the fire hose but then I would have to pay for a door. Third option I could sleep here on the floor and wait for the morning staff to let me in.

        I shove in the card as far as I can and mercifully the door opens. Good girl Anna. I throw myself onto the bed and although I am aware of a sticky fluid between my legs thereís not a lot I can do about it. With alcohol consequences dissolve, reality suspended, transgressions blissfully absolved, which goes to prove its medical efficacy. No wonder there isnít a growing need to go confession anymore not when you can float off into instant oblivion and be free.

        But now I must admit even in my current drunken state I was aware that I was on my own after sex yet Iíd have preferred to sleep with the one that Iíd screwed, its more humane would make me feel less used. But I had nul choice, seeing as I was abandoned, yes abandoned to my fate by an Australian who happened to be the most exciting lover I had in my life. The chemistry instant, the sex exhilarating, my orgasm the most liberating. Fuck that heís also the most hateful, horrible meanest person in the world. The cheek, the audacity. How dare he do that to me. Oh no. Oh bloody no. No No No. What possessed me to say I wanted to have sex with a stranger and then for him to disappear into the night. Why oh why did Nero feel he could take it so literally. Doesnít he get the Irish humour? Stupid Aussie bastard. All men are bastards, hate all men, forever and ever amen...

        "This is your morning call at seven oí clock. Good morning, have a nice day," the receptionist shrieked in an isnít-it-great-to-be-alive sort of voice. Piss off and drown yourself I wanted to retort but mumbled something like ok instead. Its not her fault that my head is full of disgruntled cacti doing aerobics in my brain. I feel as if Iíve only slept for a minute and time being so vindictive especially first thing in the morning is behaving as if it is taking part in some Olympic marathon. My throat is so dry all I can do is croak. I rush to the bathroom and let the water flow from the tap directly into my mouth. Five minutes later I am hydrated, my brain in full thinking tormenting mode. Does a pregnancy test work on the day after the deed.? Do I need the morning after pill.? Can you get pregnant on the days coming up to a period.? I feel sick, possible sign of morning sickness? Will look up doctor in Yellow pages and be responsible working so career focused woman that I will flush that naughty eggie weggie out with that spermie, wermie as fast as I can. This I will accomplish just as soon as I feel more alive and with it.

        I want to go back to sleep. I canít cope with too much reality, it shocks, it hurts and I am far too sensitive for that. Every bone in my body is on strike, my brain numb with fatigue, maybe I should call in sick. I make the decision to have a warm bath to give me time to reflect on myself, what Iíd done and what I was going to do about it. When I went into my bath it was 7.45 and when I got out it was 8.30. There were no thoughts, no insights, just a blank space, a sense of nothingness. There is supposed to be an hour between 8 and 9 but it just dissolved for seemingly nothing gobbles seconds up faster than the state of nothingness itself. That must be why time goes by so quickly in the after life, doing nothing all day but float around in space. The very act of doing things slows down time which must be why some people turn into workaholics, holding back the time tide so that they donít feel they are hurtling dangerously towards death. Iím wasted in the insurance field, I should be a philosopher and give the less informed advice about how to run their lives. Donít I wish.

        I double check the room to make sure Iíve packed properly and relinquish my room to an impatient cleaning lady of some non EU nationality. I gave her my best welcome to work in Ireland smile but she ignored me in favor of her enthusiastic vacuum as it sucked up just about everything in sight.

        There is a group of Japanese men seated at a table at the entrance to the dining room that I could swear were staring at me and sniggering in their own language. I tried to feign my corporate je ne sais quoi stance but I can feel paranoia invading reality, altering the facts so rapidly even I canít keep up.

        To avoid falling on the floor and having a major psychotic episode I try to busy myself but my thoughts are in hot pursuit and gaining rapidly. I think Iím on the edge of a nervous breakdown, I want to go back my nail biting days but the way Iím feeling Iíd bite them back to my knuckle and whoís to say Iíd stop there.

        I could be pregnant I want to howl or I could have Aids or I could have met my destiny and basically told him to piss off into the night. There is however no need to panic, so stay calm Anna. But mine will be the hand that rocks the cradle, while I gaze at my fatherless first born. This I could not handle. No way. Eat, eat, crunch crunch, this is comfort eating as I chew my way through six slices of toast, maybe Iím eating for two already. See what I mean when I say I get no respite until I replay my actions in cold blooded slow motion and imagine and obsess about all possible outcomes. The worst is always about to happen is the motto I have found that best suits my disposition and the sad fact is that it is nine times out of ten true.

        By 9.30 I am safely ensconced in my car, my own little haven from this cruel, sadistic world. The morning light is too much. I mean why when our bodies evolved didnít we develop a tiny hole in our eyelid so we could peep out and not be too overwhelmed by the light. I wonder if we could genetically engineer a hole, a small one mind you, very small but just enough to let you know you are not blind and you are indeed receiving a filtered version of the world. I have bought two pregnancy test kits which I will use after my appointment with Mrs Carmichael. Funny how yesterday I was worried in case I would be an accessory to murder. Today in the light of my own impending troubles I couldnít care less if she shot him dead in front of me. After all there is nothing like comparison to help keep things in perspective.

        How in the space of one single day has my car taken on the appearance of a war torn zone. Jesus I donít believe it. There is something sticky on the accelerator, what is it. Oh no how did my chewed up gum get there? I get a pen and scrap it off as best I can. My papers are scattered on the back seat amidst a array of sweet papers and two packets of squashed crisps. Wait for it there is sand on the front car passenger seat and I havenít even been to the beach yet. I hate my life. Its too much, too cruel." Out out brief candle life is but a walking shadow " I sprout aloud. Shit Iím still here driving along in my automobile. How do other people do it The ones with the glued hair are also surprise surprise the ones with the immaculate cars. Not for them the crunch crunch or the chew chew as they cruise along. Nope they sit there, all hair follicles in place resisting all dust, dirt and mess. I hate these people. I hate them because I envy them their ability to repel chaos whereas I invite it along for the ride.

        Speaking of which, it was good last night. Could it have been an hallucination, sort of like a mirage from my sexually deprived mind. Ok delete the denial, it was real, it was tangible and it was fabulous. So whatís the problem Anna? The problem is I am no longer a born again virgin. I am back to my former ways and worse I am demoted as he just disappeared into the night, leaving me bereft and longing. I know I am pre menstrual and feeling very sorry for myself but tears begin to form and are seriously threatening to drop. The sad thing is and this is true, well at least it is for me, sex is a bond, a link to an other human being, that cannot be unmercifully severed, not just like that. Its not like Iím going to marry the guy or anything but I feel such a profound sense of loss that I am beginning to wish I was ones of those lobsters who mates for life. Nero, you bastard why did you take me quite so literally.

        Ok cool it Anna. Calm, loving thoughts descend from somewhere will you please. Besides I can wipe the slate clean. I can and I will. People do it all the time and so can I. Surely, I mean surely there is such a thing as second degree sex, you know bit like second degree murder. The crime is lessened because it was not premeditated so there I am officially off the hook. Time for the Bee Gees. Ah ah ah ah staying alive. But I canít sing the songs we sang yesterday. Goodbye Bee Gees. I need to erase all memory so no more lifts, no more black dress, adieu champagne. Work. I will be saved by work. I will be like the animals on Animal farm and allow work to take up all my brain space. I will think pension plan, index linked annual growths, and life insurance for women who plan to get rid of their husbands before they have time to become an ex.

        My day had started badly. Things could only get better, those are however the words of a fool. I hate cliches. They never ever apply to me."Things will only get better " Hah. Hah Hah."Grass is always greener " No the grass that appears greener is actually littered with cow dung so there. Cliches belong to the anal retentive glued hair clan whose lives follow a set formula and routine. Whereas mine is quite frankly made up as I go along.

        A light drizzle liquifies the landscape, turning mud into slush that attacks the body of my car. As I make my way up to the country manor however a winterish sun peers out from beneath the blanket of grey depressing clouds and births a stunning rainbow. I love rainbows, all those lovely colours, perfectly aligned in order. A sign of potential happiness presents itself and I smile for the first time that day. Maybe things are going to get better after all. On my left swooping down to some poor unsuspecting worm is a magpie, one measly magpie. A beautiful rainbow deleted by the presence of a parasitic bird. The primitive pagan genes in me cause my heart to chute below the earth. A portend of impending doom? A curse? The Gods out to punish me for breaking my Millennium promise?

        The goats gaze at me intermittently slowly chewing the grass. Must be nice being a goat donít you think? Iíd quite like being a goat, all that grass and fresh air. No thoughts other than grass or more grass. An overweight tom cat sits by the porch, drinking some creamy milk, refraining from acknowledging my arrival. I knock and this time the door is opened by Mr Carmichael himself, a burly red faced man dressed in a tweed trousers with a matching hat.

        "You must be Miss Moran. Jolly good, jolly good. My wife awaits you in the drawing room. I hope you didnít have any trouble finding us this time?" said he smilingly showing a row of perfectly formed teeth which at his age had to be capped. I briefly wonder how much they cost, at least £6000 cos my brother in law Marcus had them done. I half wondered if he saw me yesterday zig -zagging through the fields but I just smiled back and affirmed to myself that I was a professional woman in the process of some pretty stupid improvisation.

        Mrs Carmichael, a rhapsody in pastels was sitting by the fire drinking a cup of coffee.

        "Darling youíve arrived. Do sit down. Godfrey be a perfect dear and get Miss Moran a cup of coffee from the kitchen. White or black?

        "White please." I said as I half wondered if I had stumbled upon a different couple. I know that there is no such thing as predictability as the laws of life are too laced with chance for that to happen but this is amazing. Yesterday Mrs Carmichael was overcome with grief and then resolute with revenge. Today everything is sugar coated and sweet. Maybe her doctor gave her a serotonin boost or the lecherous Godfrey has returned, pledging his undying love. Christ Iím supposed to be here selling insurance and I get sucked into some sort of sliding doors.

        "Miss Moran do sit down. Now shall we get down to business"

        "Err yes I say as I fumble indiscriminately in my briefcase for any form to fill in. About the life insurance on your husband, can you tell me how much you want him insured for?" I ask as discreetly as possible hoping the said Mr Carmichael wasnít lurking outside the door eavesdropping on the plan to ship in onto the after life as soon as possible.

        "Miss Moran in the light of what we spoke about yesterday some rather impertinent and crucial facts came to mind. Firstly without me Godfrey is nothing. A nobody and in our social circles he would be regarded as a social pariah and thus with great contempt." said she confidently in a clearly relaxed and focused frame of mind. Yesterday she was a snivelling wreck and today she was calm, very much together and by all accounts aware that the balls were in her court. She continued: "Before our marriage he signed a pre nuptial, deleting him from inheriting the estate or any of my money, so unless he wants to shack up in some small apartment with his woman he walks out of here empty handed." She paused a while before she added: "We still love each other despite his obvious philandering so we have come to an agreement. Godfrey isnít going to leave after all."

        "Thatís great news. Iím delighted for you," I say cautiously as I watch her face adopt a wooden smile." Its always best to try to patch things up and work at a marriage donít you think ." Her smile however slipped as she said between clenched teeth, that the three of them would live on the estate and the baby of course when it arrived.

"We have to move onto a new level thatís all and try to adapt to the altering circumstances. Laura will live in the caretakers cottage at the entrance to the estate and I will stay here with Godfrey who will visit his mistress and child from time to time, when the need arises."

        My mouth opened with combined surprise and shock. This was a rather magnanimous offer on her part and I told her I admired her generous gesture. She nodded and smiled her face taking on a rather beatific expression. She was either insane or a saint and I couldnít decide which one it was, maybe a bit of both. All the while I was mentally calculating what I could sell her at this stage, when it was obvious she had given up the idea of life policy for her husband.

        "Darling girl you have been instrumental, indeed pivotal in our reconciliation. I am and will always be the wife whereas Laura will remain as his mistress. In time she will tire of his annoying and I can tell you they are annoying little foibles and then he will be all mine. I want to thank you profoundly."

        "Mrs Carmichael, can I interest you in one of our savings plans for your future?" I ask pleadingly."


"Whatever you think is best. I trust your judgement."


"How about an investment fund for your future. Letís say £100 pounds a month and in 10 years you will realise a capital sum of £20,000". I didnít add that with inflation in ten years would have gobbled up its value so technically speaking I had to lie. Still it was better than being an accessory to murder and the woman was clearly happy with her lifeís decision. Painstakingly I filled out the forms and she signed on the dotted and I was back on the road in no time

I had to check my messages on my mobile that I had forgotten Iíd switched off since yesterday. Merciful God there were 27 messages awaiting answering. I didnít know whether to be excited or filled with trepidation. How do you get the lost calls.? Where is the manual? Under the car seat I find a chewed up manual, who chewed the fucking manual? Why donít they design a manual for the feeble minded like me who are not computer boffins and can only cope with two instructions. Like press a and then press b. So now all my calls, future clients, dates, friends wondering where Iíve been are all trapped in this tiny piece of plastic I wonder if Harry is at home.

        "Harry? Anna here."

        "Hi Anna how are you doing, there is a message here by the phone for you."

        "What does it say."

        "I canít read it properly. It says tell the kidnapper he can have anything he wants."

        "What kidnapper?"

        "I dunno. I was away last night and just got back."

        Now wasnít the time to ask super brain to decipher what the message meant.

        "Harry if I want to retrieve my messages from my mobile what do I do."

        I should have known by the pause that he hadnít a clue in hell how to do it, but I was getting desperate and any advice was welcome.

        "Try pressing the red button and then the green button and then try delete."

        "Delete? Are you sure?"

        "I'm sure the word begins with d. No maybe donít press delete, press the green button again."

        "Ok Harry Iím off. See you soon."

        I press all the buttons but I failed to get to listen to my messages. It was lunch time and I was starving. I knew there was a small hotel, six miles out of Wicklow famous for its vegetarian lunches and seeing as I was in a friendly mood to animals and all creatures great and small I decided to try it out.

        The outside, painted in a garish purple, with a colourful variety of flower pots looked hip and welcoming. There was a group of bikers outside looking at the menu that was displayed on an outside notice board. One of them turned around and whistled. Huh, huh, sexist pig, but maybe a nice sexist pig. He looked kinda cute with an earring through his nostril and one over his eye brow. In a way its nice to be noticed. Itís hard today 'cos if a guy looks at you the wrong way or pinches your arse you can get him done for sexual harassment. This however is not good. We like to be whistled at and admired and for some women it is the only attention they get. Now nobody has a quick grope for fear of shrieking feminists after their balls. Not good at all. I flash him a smile and stride confidently into the restaurant part of the hotel.

        Todayís special is leek and vegetable soup and nut roast with wild rice and spinach. I sit in a corner seat, near a group of people staring intently at a television.

        "Yesterday a distraught mother pleaded with gardai in Dublin to initiate a full scale search for her daughter Anna who has been missing for over three days now." The television was apparently belching out its usual depressing news.

        "Nobodyís safe today. Itís a disgrace" One man was saying to his wife. "It could have been our daughter Bride. Iíd kill the bastard I would."

        "Hush Arnie, mind your blood pressure, listen to the girlís mother and what she has to say. Poor dear, my heart goes out to her."

        I looked up at the set to see my mother speaking. My mother? What was she doing on the television? Oh my God . Oh my good God. I didnít want to progress onto another thought for fear of where this one was leading.


My mother dressed in a fushia two piece, hair obviously permed for the occasion, eyebrows so pencilled and plucked she looked like Minnie mouse sat perfectly composed in front of the entire nation to speak about her daughterís kidnapping. Oh my sweet divine Jesus, demoted St Christopher, Sai Baba and Buddas everywhere.

        "Of course we canít at this stage tell if Nero Mulcahy is his real name but he sounded Australian over the phone. Anna is a very vulnerable, naÔve girl, who trusted some hitch hiker she picked up on the road to Wicklow. I am pleading to the public that if they have any information as to my daughters whereabouts then can they contact the gardai or ring the number on the screen."

        With that she dabbed her eyes and adopted the late Princess Diana doe eyed look for effect. The woman in front of me was crying and kept saying "The poor mother, how can she be so brave on front of everyone, the poor thing."

        I felt nothing, just a curious detachment from reality. Worse was to come, a picture of me taken without makeup after a swim in Banna with my hair mashed and my skin blotched shown to the world. All I could think about was and maybe this was due to severe shock who the hell chose that photo. I look like Anna the simple scarecrow, not someone who needs rescuing, not someone to whom your heart goes out to. I can imagine them saying "Anna Moran, the cut of her, good riddance, face like that only a mother could love." My moment of fame deleted forever by Kodak.

        The waitress arrived and deposited my meal in front of me. The leek soup looked like water atop of which limpid leeks floated despairingly. I couldnít bear to look at it not to mind to taste it so I pushed it to one side to sample the nut roast. This was worse more like a plate of turd garnished with stringy spinach but I persevered and concentrated on hacking it into pieces that would fit into my mouth. I wonder if there is a link between austerity and punishment and vegetarian food. This is the point at which I doubt my sanity as I side track to avoid full blown psychosis. Here I was eating and all the while I was believed kidnapped. This was my motherís fault, her and her meddling ways and her addiction to crime novels. This is motherís Assertiveness training run amok.

        When faced with disaster I retreat, must be the Irish genes in me and I fail to respond. This must be why we Irish never resisted invasion, it wasnít cowardice or anything, itís a paralysing docility in the face of adversity. A choking sensation developed in my throat as I made the calm realisation that I would be murdered by an entire posse of people for wasting valuable police time and for driving my mother to dementia. The thought that it was all my fault no sod that thought, its her fault for jumping to conclusions. I have only been out of contact with her for a day and sheís claiming Iíve been missing for three days!! Maybe she forgot to replace her HRT patch and sheís confused, menopausal, a trifle manicÖ

        At the end of the news, there was a news flash with surprise, surprise cameras on my motherís face as she grimly makes her way into a police station in Offaly that allegedly housed the Australian Nero Mulcahy. Police were confident that he would help them with their inquiries.

        My life is over, deleted, an instant walking shadow. Nero Mulcahy I never thought Iíd see you again. What on earth was Nero saying to the cops?"Yeah I met Anna, nice girl, last time I say her I fucked her in a lift. Little hotel in Wicklow town. Any witnesses? Let me think. Yes there were two Japanese men who saw me get out of the lift. It was around 12.45."

        Nero the truth freak was about to or if he hadnít already done so destroy my life. I was about to be cremated alive. No time for hyper ventilation if I wanted to try to salvage my life and save ass.

        I had to have a plan, this is what people do in emergencies. They plan and then they act and order is lovingly restored to the universe. Change. I needed change to ring my mother. I asked the receptionist if I could get some change for the public phone. This is life or instant bloody cremation I wanted to shriek but she only gave me a pound in change and shrugged indifferently to my pleas for more money.

        "Dad? Hi this is Anna."

        "Anna where are you? Your mother is out of her mind with worry. Are you ok?"

        "Iím fine Dad. Look I was never kidnapped. Thereís been some awful misunderstanding, can you call Mum and let her know Iím fine."

        "Where are you. Do you want me to collect you?"

        Good old Dad, always reliable and dependable, made me want to cry but I couldnít ask him to drive up to Wicklow when I was a full grown adult myself. I hate being an adult when all it means is responsibility and looking after myself. I want to adopt the foetal position and maybe suckle on a soother and let someone else take charge for Christ sake.

        Why didnít I think of the mobile phone, durr brain me. I ran out to the car in manner of one being pursued by mafia agents brandishing weapons. Next person to ring was Elliot. Heíd know what to do.

        "Elliot itís Anna."

        "Anna. Thank God or Buddha. Are you ok?"

        "Iím fine. Elliot thereís been an awful mistake. I wasnít kidnapped. I just had to stay in Wexford to meet a client. I met Nero on the road and we were together last night and now my whole life is about to be exposed and youíve got to stop them."

        "Who do I stop Anna? Calm down, youíre not making any sense."

        "Calm down. How can I calm down when I could be on the verge of being arrested for gross indecency and sluttage and for thwarting the law. Please help or I wonít be responsible for my actions. I want to kill my fucking mother. How dare she expose me before the entire nation on TV."

        "You havenít seen the newspaper yet have you? You made front page."

        I slumped against the wall, bile rising in my throat.

        "Was there a photo?"

        "A photo? Yeah sure but not a very clear one, your hair looks plastered onto your head, and you look startled. Donít worry, nobody thinks you really look like that. Besides this was a possible murder inquiry not some hunt for the face of Ireland."



        "My life is over."

        "No itís not."

        "I want to die."

        "You always want to die Anna."

        "This time I mean it big time. You donít understand or realise whatís going to happen when Nero talks to the police and to my mother."

        "Fill me in so that I know exactly what to do to help you."

        So I spill the beans and tell Elliot about the sex in the lift and the way Nero left me without so much as a backward glance. I tell him that Nero is a dangerous truth freak who wouldnít hesitate to tell the nation what happened between him and me.

        There was silence at the end of the line. Donít you abandon me Elliot.

        "Elliot do you think Iím a slut? Thatís it. Iím a slut, and I hate myself. Do you hate me Elliot?"

        "Of course not you silly girl. Sex in a lift hardly makes you a slut."

        "Of course not and look off the record it was my first time in a lift but..."

        "Was it good?"

        Oh my God he wanted to relish the gory details while all I need to do was to gag both Nero and my mother from exposing my sexual exploits to the nation.

        "Elliot I will tell you all when this is all over and itís only a distant non-threatening memory. You have to help me Elliot."

        "Ok Iím free anyway at the moment so what do you suggest?"

        "I want you to suggest."

        "Lets find out where Neroís being held and we can go from there. Where are you?"

        "Neroís in a police station in Offaly, but can you come here and collect me?"

        Elliot took down details of my whereabouts and arranged to meet me in an hourís time traffic dependent of course. In the meantime I had sixty long minutes during which I could obsess and drive myself mad. I bought the daily newspaper and sure enough there was my picture leering out at the world and the words of my mother carefully articulated and exaggerated for effect. The thought of me missing has been nonetheless overshadowed by the sheer drama of the incident. My mother had been given a stage and boy was she using it. I quote.

        "We have them, we lovingly guide them but there are times when our children insist on doing their own thing, which can and does lead to tragedy. My daughter is a vulnerable young girl whose irresponsible and impetuous nature led her astray. I should have been stricter, lectured her more on the evil ways of the world, surely there was something I could have done."

        In the newspapers she was given so much free reign to run amok with her preaching that she must have been positively gloating. You see my mother advocated a return to the days of autocratic parenting where children were seen and not heard. The silent ones, the invisible ones without a voice. Oh Sheíd love that all right.

        She berated our lack of church going and the unfortunate decline in our religious beliefs causing without doubt all the tragedies in modern Ireland today. According to her the youth in Ireland today led loose hollow lives sadly lacking due to loss of parental control and a demise in the churchís ability to mould and influence them. I could imagine her with a journalist hanging onto her every word, eyes fixed, pupils dilated, her voice a throw back to her former elocution days, her emotional pauses for effect. She may be my mother but I sure as hell think the woman is gone seriously deranged. Just because she has been destabilised by the menopause surely does not mean that we should be affected by the shrivelling up of her hormones. Surely not. She seriously needs locking up.

        The gardai were most receptive to my phone call, in fact the sergeant Mr Lyons nearly jumped through the phone as if he himself were personally responsible for finding me.

        "Are you ok? Did he hurt you?

        "No Iím fine," I say slowly.

        "Are you sure?"

        "Of course Iím sure but can you tell me the name of the station where my mother and Nero are?"

        "Theyíre in a sub station in Offaly town as far as I know."

        Where is Offaly on the fucking map?

        "How far is Offaly from Wicklow?"

        "Itís about sixty miles I think. Look do you want me to ring your mother and let her know youíre safe."

        I decline his offer and tell him that my Dad had already done so. Sergeant Lyons insisted on sending a squad to collect me but I declined, telling him I had a friend who was driving me to Offaly soon. He insisted that it was police procedure to collect victims and escort them to their destination. Victim? Me a victim?

        It seemed I had no choice but to let myself be swept along with other people making decisions, taking charge, telling me what to do. This was nice. This was cosy. This was also fucking insane.

        There was nothing else to do but wait. I read my horoscope for the day. Scorpions can expect the unexpected today. It will be a day of emotional upheaval for those born early in the month. (Shit. Thatís me.) No stone will be left unturned as you begin to feel the effects of tonightís full moon in Pisces. It is not a good day for confrontation and winning arguments.

        Suicidal inducing horoscope makes me feel a lot worse. I read what it says for Libra and decide to adopt this one for today. Here it says that I will be very lucky in love, a friend will be there for me and that money could come my way. After all my due date was the 19th of October so I was just a late arrival so technically speaking I am not a Scorpion. No Iím bloody not.