I’m walking not because I want to but because I have to. I woke up this morning with a real purpose and venom adamant that today-in the very least-I would see daylight. I asked Matt out of courtesy if he fancied joining me but the vodka in his hand was response enough.
My hotel is still fresh in the distance and yet I’m already a sweaty mess. I can feel the alcohol escaping my pores as it mixes with sweat and hair gel to form a potent mix. I initially sneeze constantly as my body fights to adapt to the intense daylight surroundings. I persevere in no particular direction taking in the barren landscapes, bland rock formations, and quiet featureless neighbourhoods. It strikes me that how undeveloped and basic life is here, and that if you took tourism away they wouldn’t be far off a third world country. Most of the houses aren’t up to much except for the ones draped in union jacks which always have a pool. Mangy cats flood most driveways and nearly all seem to have clapped out bangers with broken windows. This place really reminds me of an affluent Mexico.
The sun persecutes me with a vengeance so I decide to take solace in the first place I can find which happens to be a McDonalds. I feel embarrassed for perpetrating yet another stereotype as I take my seat with my Big Mac meal along with the rest of the British Isles. The only person who seems to be Portuguese in here is a fat twelve-year-old kid and I’m guessing by the volume of food stacked on his tray that he didn’t have much choice in coming either. I tuck into my meal, which normally would be nothing more than a snack, but I’m really struggling. It’s only now that I realize I haven’t eaten in days. I do my best to finish it off but give up halfway through.
I continue to wander around aimlessly, remarkably underwhelmed by the whole experience. I’m actually relieved when I check my phone that it’s time to head back and meet Matt.
I step inside the Irish Rover and this compounded with my McDonalds places my self-loathing at an all-time high. I might as well be in Wexford. I can’t see Matt but I can certainly hear him. He’s already locked-his drunken ramblings are painfully accentuated by the emptiness of the place. I locate him talking at Debra and the fact I know her name drives me further to despair.
“Aye up Guv’.”
“LOOK WHO’S COME CRAWLING BACK. IF IT ISN’T BEAR GRYLLS HIMSELF.”
Debra seems delighted by my appearance and quickly returns to the bar.
“You alright for a drink?”
“Just get me a WKD .” The fact he has a pint of Guinness and a Strongbow is irrelevant.
I make my way to the bar and am immediately greeted by Debra.
“Awh Tony he’s been a total mess. He keeps shouting random things and talking to himself. He’s already drank fifty quid worth of booze.”
“Praise fire for cooking your food but then chastise it when it burns your hand?”
“He asked me to marry him.”
“Well did you accept?” I say trying to lighten the mood. “You could do a lot worse…” and judging by her scruffy appearance today she certainly won’t do any better.
She laughs-although I can tell she’s humouring me-and takes my order.
Before I’ve placed the drinks down on the table Matt snatches his drink out of my hand. “A HAON, A DO, A TRI, A CEATHEAIR,” and with that he tilts his head back putting the bottle top in his eye as if it were his mouth, the sting of the alcohol causing him to yelp as the blue WKD flows down his face. I don’t really know what to do but find myself laughing although I’m not quite sure why. Matt simply wipes his face in his shirt sleeve as if he just blew his nose in a hanky.
“I can see you sure have had a productive day?”
“Yeah so-so. I asked Debra to marry but she doesn’t seem interested. WELL LET ME TELL YOU BABY! THIS BOAT HAS LONG SAILED!” he says to no one in particular while frantically blinking. I’m about to respond when he asks me, “So what score do you think the game will be?” The fact he asks me this now after his previous statement somehow makes this one weirder. I struggle for a reply.
“Are you okay?” he says.

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From the beginning.

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