The mini

We pulled up outside the location in the hire car.
It was a mini, mint condition.

A bar downstairs was closing.
You left me sitting in the back seat
and while I waited I watched the dregs
stagger blinking out into the street.

Some were still drinking from bottles.
One woman, a brunette, approached the car.
She stuck her arm through the open
passenger-side window
and planted her bottle, upturned, into
the head-rest slot, as if it were a bin.

I grabbed the bottle and splashed the remains
of the beer in her face.
I quickly wound the window up.

She walked off, screaming, mutely,
back into the bar.

When you returned the car wouldn’t start.
Another mini pulled up beside us.
It was driven by a business-woman.
She waited at the lights
and, as if to taunt us, took off with a roar.

The problem seemed to be the incline we were on.
I remember we used to have to rock ours back
and forth when we had one
,’ I said.
It was to encourage the petrol flow.

You got out.
Someone had jammed a beer bottle under the bonnet.
You said it was from the night before, when your
brother had used the car to visit a strip club.
It had been his birthday.
It was forgivable but he should have checked,
you said.

You dislodged the bottle and placing it on
the footpath got back in.
Damn those strip clubs!’ you said.

A couple more stragglers left the bar.
Drive!’ I said.

A group of men passed by the driver’s side.
One was carrying a wooden crate.

Let’s get out of here!’ I said.
He slammed the crate down on the bonnet right
in front of you hard enough to buckle the metal.
You shouted at him.

Let’s go!’ I said, from the back seat.
The mini lurched forward.
We did a U-turn.
The lights were green and the tyres squealed
as we took the right into Courtney Place.

The man threw the crate into the road after us.
He started running.
One of the group grabbed his arm.
What do you want to do that for?’ he asked.
I’m bored,’ said the man.

He shook off the other’s hand and took off
after us.
I’m bored!’ he yelled to the early morning traffic
and the drinkers and party-goers dazed from
the night before.

He ran down the middle of the road, his arms and
legs pumping.
The veins stood out on his forehead.
His face was bright red and
sweat ran down his neck.

His head pounded as if his heart
were in his skull
and his hard heels hit the paving
like gunshot and still
he kept coming.