9-inch Maneki-Neko

written by Conor Bailey. Conor (he/him) is a final year history and politics student in UCD. He likes to feature elements of Dublin and its characters in his creative writing and photography.

I met Des in the Liberty Belle. Hadn’t seen him for a while. He was waiting for me at the bar with a half drank pint of Guinness and a crumpled up wrapper of bacon fries. I love bacon fries.

How’s things Des?

He turned his head and gave me a cheerful upwards facing nod. Faking it.

Ah you know yourself.

Ah yea, I reply.

He was wearing a suit one size too big for him with a fading pink tie. I had seen him in it before, a Dunnes job probably. One of the few he had in rotation. He settled into it like a second layer of skin.

I catch the eye of the bartender. Pint of Guinness please Pat.

Des turned in his barstool to face me. Listen, I’ve something I need to tell you.

Jesus let me get a pint into me first.

Des dropped his head into his hands and exhaled. I hit someone, he said.

What’s up? I took off my jacket and stuffed it at my feet. I scanned the surroundings. Few regular old fellas on the couches, a strange smell coming from them. Strange but familiar, comforting even. A couple of crusty students sat in the corner preparing their rollies.

Usual suspects this evening anyway wha, I said. I watched the bartender line the glass up against the tap. I felt thirsty. 

You hit one of the lads at work, is it? What’re you on about?

Des’s head shot up, he stared into my eyes and I could see he looked exhausted. 

No. Jesus Christ. He swallowed and then scrunched his face like he had a tooth ache. I hit someone with the fucking car.

He continued, I didn’t mean to, genuinely. You know I wouldn’t do that.

I watched my pint settle behind the bar, thick clouds of black and brown were swirling around each other behind the glass like a creamy tornado.

Oh fuck, I said and I let out a deep breath. This is no good Des. I mean this is no good at all, it’s fucked up really.

Poor fucker. He probably didn’t even feel anything, his neck was probably broken before he knew anything, you know? 

Here you are now pal. Pat placed the fresh pint of Guinness in front of me, he tossed a beer mat seamlessly underneath it without taking his eyes off the match.

I took a sup and immediately put the pint down again. Lost my appetite. I took another sup anyway

Jesus Des. I shook my head. Fuck’s sake. Where is he now.

Des looked into his pint glass as if he was hoping to jump into it and drown in the sudsy leftovers. He necked the watery bottom from the glass and wiped his mouth. He dropped his head and stared at the bar.

In the boot.

The what?

The boot man, he’s in the boot of the Corolla.

Oh fuck me. I gulped half my pint in one go and shifted my stool slightly away from Des. I stared at him. Someone scored a goal and the auld fellas cheered, a guttural phlegm filled cheer.

So, what will we do? Like, what do you want me to do?

Des looked at me like a kid expecting to get shouted at. We’ll have to take care of it.

We looked at each other.

I mean, you know I’d bring him to the hospital, or the Gardai or whatever you’re supposed to do but Jesus man, I can’t go to jail. I already have two points on my licence, they’ll do me for this surely. Claire is threatening to leave me as things are, this will just make it worse.

I finished my pint and let him continue. Plus, that incident from last year with the ice cream van, I just can’t get caught man, I just can’t do it. We’ll have to get rid of him.

He looked as if he was about to cry. Maybe he was crying before I got there.

Come on out, we’ll have a look, I said. 

Cheers Pat, I said also.


It felt like I was in a Tarantino movie when Des opened the boot and we looked at the lump of mud and blood and rain stained clothes.

Oh fuck, I said

I know, Des replied.

I closed the boot and we both got into the car, Des drove.

I continued my story from last week. So anyway, she fucked off and took his cats to Italy, can you believe that?

To Italy?

Yea, fuck’s sake.

Yea, well they weren’t really his cats but he loved them. Used to feed them chicken nuggets apparently.

Oh yea?

Yea, gave them mad dandruff. A couple of them had messed up faces too, only four eyes between three cats. We both laughed.

There was silence for a minute.

We’ll have to dump him now anyway, while it’s dark.

Yea, that’s what I was thinking, I said. I wasn’t really thinking that but I didn’t want to make Des feel any worse.

Let’s get away from town anyway, towards the canal.

Fuck him the canal like? Des asked.

I turned to look at him. I didn’t know what to say. Yes?

Alright yea fair enough I was thinking that too but I’m glad you agree. What the fuck, I thought.

We drove towards Harold’s Cross down Clanbrassil Street and the car stopped outside Chop Chop.

I’d murder a three in one. I realised what I said straight away. Sorry Des, didn’t mean to say that. Des looked like he was about to puke. I saw the shiny waving golden cat in the window of Chop Chop. About 9 inches tall. He was waving at us, wishing us good luck on our journey, or saying goodbye.

Here turn left here there’s a Tesco, fucking starving I am.

You are messing, said Des.

 I was not messing. I’m not messing, I said.

He parked outside the South Circular Road Tesco. I wanted a meal deal, couldn’t be bothered waiting for a chippie. Cajun chicken wrap obviously, few hula hoops, but what drink? Ah Lucozade why not.

I went for a browse and passed the cleaning supplies. Black bags, disinfectant, rubber gloves. These items were now ruined for me.

I went to the self-checkout. Fuck, I’m on camera now. Oh well. Beep, beep, beep.

The man next to me said, do you want my Clubcard points pal?

Ah nah you’re alright.

Are you sure?

Ah yea it’s grand, thanks very much though,


We drove over Harold’s Cross bridge; I saw Robert Emmet look at me as we passed by. He was judging us.

Pull over here I said, and Des did. It was dark and the dog walkers were inside, probably too cold.

Des pulled over and we both sat still. I turned on the radio.

Do you really want to do this. Kevin Street Garda station is down the road. They might go easy on if you own up.

Des said nothing.

I turned on the radio. Wonderful Christmastime. I love that song.

The mood is right.

Des was still silent. Then he wasn’t. We already have him in the bleeding boot man, it’s too late.

I suppose he was right, but I didn’t like that he said ‘we’.

 We’re here tonight.

The rear lights of the hatchback lit up the surroundings in a red glow. Cinematic. The veins in poor Des’s temples were bulging.

We quickly unloaded the package from the boot and shuffled over near the canal. I looked into the dead man’s eyes. There was no blood or bruise. 

I then looked into Des’s eyes; it was awkward. He took too long to look away.

This’ll have to do, Des said. 

I suppose so yea.

Okay let’s slip him in the water. Des said he was sorry for asking me to do this.

Its okay, let’s just do it.

His body sunk and not as many bubbles came up as I expected.


Des offered to drop me off at the quays so I could get my bus home.

I still wanted a three in one but the time wasn’t right. The meal deal did not satiate me.

We drove under the arch at Christchurch and I hoped the thousand-year-old brickwork would collapse and end this whole ordeal. Not really though because that would cause hassle for other people.

Des was very quiet. Usually he’s a bit quiet but this was uncomfortable.

I suppose he was still my mate.

He dropped me off outside the Smock Alley, the bus stop next to the Viking boat sinking into the pavement.

Ah eleven minutes, you may as well wait in the car.

Des rolled down the window and pulled out a smoke.

Gizza shot a that, I said.

I hate smoking, I took one drag and it made me feel sick but in films it’s what people do after disposing of a body.

Are you working tomorrow?

Yea, fucking early start too.

Ah, it’ll be alright.

We didn’t speak for five minutes.

Do you think this’ll be alright? Like nothing’s gonna come of it do you think? He took another drag and threw it out the window.

I really don’t know man, it’s heavy stuff dyaknowwhatimean?


A couple of bus drivers with their high vis jackets and little bags slung around their back were standing around the bus stop. How’s the wife? Ah stop would you.

I mean, if nobody saw you hit the fella and nobody saw us chuck him in the canal we should be in the clear. Wait… did someone see you run him over.

Fuck’s sake I didn’t run him over. There was no bump.

Right yea, did someone see you hit him?

Nah, he didn’t even have any lights on or anything.

He looked at me. Not even a helmet, like come on.


I thought of the way the poor fella’s hair clung to his forehead. I don’t know if it was rain or sweat. I hope it was quick anyway, I said.

Ah it was yea, surely just a knock and out clear.

I hope he didn’t have kids.

More silence. 

Look, I said, everything’s gonna be okay.

Ah yea. He fumbled and started to light another smoke. He gave up.

I grabbed his wrist and shook it slightly, for a few seconds too long.

I’ll see you during the week anyway? We go for a pint?

Yea go on then.

Here, let me change the station. 

Can you hear the calvary?

Image: An Evening with Friends by Laima Grasmane. Laima is a passionate textile artist who loves to express herself with bright colors, not only through fiber art but also through painting. She is inspired by Latvian culture and mentality, music and magic. In art, she pays attention to qualities such as joy of life and wit. Her main love is for tapestry, but she likes to create all sorts of textile art, like tufting, embroidery and knitting.

CategoriesIssue VIII