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Leonardo Damon’s Long Weekend

Leonardo Damon’s Long Weekend

Saturday

Leonardo Damon woke up feeling awful, a feeling that could not wholly be accounted for by the empty whiskey bottle lying on the floor beside him. Then he saw the tin foil lying on the floor beside the empty whiskey bottle. It had been a heavy night. He raised his head and looked around the room. Nobody. They’d gone while he was asleep, thank god. His mother used to say about guests that it was nice to see them come but, by god, it was nice to see them go too. It was even nicer not to see them go, he thought.

He pulled himself up onto his elbow and threw up all over one of the old loafers that he wore for work. His ex was visiting her mother with the kids this weekend, or at least he thought it was this weekend, which meant that he wouldn’t have to attempt to tidy the flat.

He thought that he wanted a bacon sandwich. Then he threw up again. A familiar feeling, self- pity disguised as regret, welled up inside him. Then he remembered that everything was his ex’s fault and he began to feel a little better. He threw up once more, this time on purpose.

Gingerly, he made his way to the kitchenette, fished a cigarette butt out of a flat gin and tonic and plinked an Alka- Seltzer into it. He washed it back in one gulp and belched loudly.

‘She’d love it if I starved to death, the stupid tart.’ he muttered as he set about making his bacon sandwich.

After a discouraging afternoon at the bookies, followed by an ad hoc nap outside the local Tesco Express, Leonardo Damon decided to call it a day.

‘I may as well go home and relax with a few beers.’ He thought. Then, to reinforce the idea, he uttered it aloud.

‘Uhi maseell reuuaaaafffberrss.’ He said, to nobody in particular.

Despite a difference of opinion over prices with the shopkeeper (the beer was one Euro cheaper in the off- licence around the corner), Leonardo Damon eventually managed to buy two six- packs and a shoulder of Jameson. Even though it was autumn and the evenings had become much cooler, he found that he was sweating like a pig. It didn’t help that he hadn’t showered since Thursday.

Every week was the same. He spent Monday to Friday waiting for the weekend and then when it finally arrived he couldn’t think of anything to do with his free time other than drink, watch TV and update his Mugshareä account. He’d come late to social networking, but had found it surprisingly addictive. So addictive, in fact, that he had set up two accounts. One was standard fare- photos of people he barely knew gurning frantically in some misguided attempt to appear ‘fun’ interspersed with links to video clips of cats knocking babies over or babies knocking cats over or babies with catheads superimposed on them knocking each other over.  But on the other one he was Matt DiCaprio, a talent agent with close ties to the worlds of film and fashion. It wasn’t strictly honest, but it was, he thought, harmless. Just a bit of escapist fun. And it was nice to chat to girls. As he turned the key in the lock, he wondered whether either of the kids had accepted his friend requests yet.

After a few hours spent staring at the TV without really taking in what he was watching, Leonardo Damon remembered what it was he’d been meaning to do. He switched on the laptop. While it was powering up, he searched for the book that he’d hidden the piece of paper containing his usernames and passwords in. This involved quite a lot of swearing and knocking things off shelves. Finally, he found it in an old Argos catalogue and attempted to log into the first Mugshareä account, but was told that his details were incorrect. This happened to him on a semi- regular basis, but he didn’t know that.

He checked and re-checked, very slowly, with the single-mindedness that the truly drunk can, on occasion, muster.

‘None of this is to any fucking avail.’ He thought.

‘Naaaaahhh! Fuuuuucck!’ He said.

He tried the other account, but that didn’t work either. Nor did any of his email addresses. Nothing worked. Beaten, he turned to the television but Troy was on, so he watched Youtube clips of Henry Rollins intimidating people instead. Before long, he was snoring.

Sunday

The next morning, Leonardo Damon had donuts and instant coffee for breakfast while Wake Up Boo played on the radio. He showered and shaved and then popped down to the local shop for the Times and some cigarettes and maybe a six-pack or some wine. On the way back he ran into an old drinking buddy of his, Aldi Nero, so they went for a drink.

After a couple of rounds, Leonardo Damon ran out of cash.

‘I’d better go and find an ATM.’ He thought.

‘Pissncash.’ He said to Aldi Nero as he left the pub via the gents.

The ATM refused to recognise his PIN and, after the third attempt, ingested his card. This was particularly vexing as it was Sunday and his bank had one of the worst customer service departments in the developing world. He lit a cigarette and strolled back to the pub, chewing his options over. They weren’t very tasty and bits of them dribbled slowly down his chin like nervous abseilers.

Aldi Nero, who, despite being a toper was a remarkably practical man, strongly advised him to call the bank immediately, so he did. When prompted, he entered his account number and PIN before being told to wait while he was transferred to an operator. He turned on the speakerphone, accepted a small loan from his friend and they spent an agreeable two hours chatting, drinking and shouting at the horses on the TV. Eventually, a voice emerged from Leonardo Damon’s phone, informing him that, regrettably, there were no funds in his account. He begged to differ. He had been paid on Friday. And anyway, that didn’t explain why the ATM had swallowed his card. That was a matter that would have to be taken up with his local branch, which could be contacted during regular business hours.  The representative of his bank then advised him that she would have to terminate the call if he persisted in using abusive language. He called her a stupid bitch and slammed the phone down onto the bar.

After about twenty minutes of solid freaking out, Leonardo Damon began to calm down slightly. Once again, he had no idea what was going on.  At first, he blamed his ex. It was a habit. But he quickly realised that even if she had wanted to steal from him, something he wouldn’t necessarily put past her, she didn’t know his PIN or online verification codes.

‘Identity theft.’ Said Aldi Nero.

Leonardo Damon doubled over with laughter at the idea that anybody would want to steal his identity. He only regained control of himself when he noticed the small puddle of urine that was forming on the floor beneath his left trouser leg. It was time to go home.

‘Cumminamyygaff ferr few more n fillum?’ he asked, holding up the bag of cans he’d bought earlier, along with a copy of The Bourne Identity, which had been an impulse buy.

‘Might as well.’ said Aldi Nero. ‘Tomorrow’s a bank holiday, so you’ll have to wait at least ‘till Tuesday to get your life back.’

Leonardo Damon shrugged. He didn’t want to talk about his wife right now. And, anyway, he didn’t think he’d be getting her back on Tuesday. Or any other day soon.

Monday

After the he’d hit the snooze button for about the sixth time, Leonardo Damon remembered that it was a bank holiday and experienced a moment of great relief, almost happiness. He tried to roll over and go back to sleep but couldn’t, so he decided to analyse his hangover instead. He had a mild headache and felt twitchy and tense. His mind was a vague sludge of dark thoughts and petty fears, soundtracked by Wake Up Boo playing over and over and over. On the plus side, his stomach felt reasonably decent so he got up, emptied his bladder, took a painkiller and went to get a beer from the fridge.

In the sitting room, Aldi Nero was sleeping with his feet on the couch and his head on the floor. When he heard the door, he opened his eyes for a moment, hauled himself back onto the couch and, turning his back on the room and the world, resumed a grumblesome sleep.

Leonardo Damon turned on the TV for company and fired up the computer. He rolled a cigarette and spent a few minutes watching Supernanny trying to teach some manners to a pair of hyperactive ten-year-old brats and their ragged parents. By the time he’d finished the beer he was starting to feel human again, so, just to be on the safe side, he opened another.

Leonardo Damon flicked through the Argos catalogue and, for once, found the piece of paper where he expected it to be. He logged on to his bank account and examined his recent transactions. Eventually, he found two that he was sure he couldn’t have made. Both were made late on Saturday night. One was made at the College Green ATM and the other at one on Talbot Street, both areas of town that he hadn’t visited in a long time. Although he only had €2.74 left in his account, the knowledge that his card had been skimmed made him feel better. Up to that point he’d been worried that he’d spent it himself and didn’t remember. It wouldn’t have been the first time. At least now he’d probably be able to get the bank to reimburse him. He could use his credit card to survive until then. This called for another beer.

Leonardo Damon’s anxiety was beginning to dissolve. A comfortable chemical contentment began to work its way into his system. He decided to make the most of his bank holiday. With a bit of luck there’d be an old movie to watch later. Tomorrow could look after itself. He realised that he was hungry, so he looked through the pizza boxes on the floor and found two slices of pepperoni and a piece of garlic bread and wolfed them down. Supernanny wasn’t such a bad show. Those kids were actually quite cute when they weren’t trashing the house. This reminded him of his own kids, but he warned himself off going down that road right now. A bank holiday, a few beers, a movie and an early night. Perfect.

‘Things are looking up.’ He thought as he rolled another cigarette and sat back to watch the rest of the show. On the couch, Aldi Nero tossed and turned in his sleep and muttered ‘I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you.’

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