Making Tracks is a journey of discovery set in rural Ireland. A potpourri of suspense, humour, colourful Irish dialogue and a touch of romance.
Wings ePress Inc.
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Fresh out of college, Peggy Fitzpatrick and a couple of friends decide to escape Dublin city and let out the lead in the North Clare coastal village of Ballydereen. Up to their ears in sleeping bags and bottles of Mediterranean plonk, four of them set off. Three come back.
Perched precariously on a bar stool in Mullen's pub, Peggy first claps eyes on a local man, Patrick Cunningham. He's the one, she thinks, and is suddenly a married mother whiling away endless days in bungalow bliss on a small housing estate overlooking Galway Bay.
Now, forty years old and still a fine thing, Peggy has had more than enough. The daughter, Sally Ann, is floundering in pubescent no-man's-land and giving her mother hell; Patrick has gone to seed, more belly over than under his belt and Nora, Peggy's possessively jealous social-climbing mother-in-law and the very quintessence of skulduggery, has given her a bit too much lip, once too often.
Leaving the exploded bags of groceries scattered on the kitchen floor where she dropped them, Peggy ups and goes.
Her flight takes Peggy zigzag along windy Clare-Galway back roads and straight into a clump of hawthorn bushes where her car gives up the ghost. The following morning, she discovers she's been sharing a field with a motley group of New Age Travellers and their horse-drawn caravans. In a moment of exhilarating madness, Peggy agrees to join them. To hell with the dirty laundry, dinner dishes and the dog; bugger the Ballydereen Young Ladies Camogie Club committee meeting! Two worlds meet.
For the next few days, Peggy leads a nomad's life as they trundle through the rough wind-swept Slieve Aughty, all the while nervously relishing the appreciative glances and seductive advances of Rudi, a bronzed, long-haired German. Great stuff, she thinks, just what the doctor ordered. Before long, however, Peggy discovers Rudi's sinister psychotic streak. Wildly infatuated, he becomes more and more possessive, following her every move. Soon she finds herself trapped and in serious danger.
Patrick, meanwhile, having unsuccessfully drowned his sorrows, and successfully resisted the temptation of lascivious Paula Dwyer, finally becomes alarmed following a series of contradicting reports concerning Peggy's whereabouts. After a lot of soul-searching and several man-to-mutt conversations with their mongrel terrier, Bosco, Patrick sets off to find his wife.
In an attempt to flee from Rudi, Peggy is injured and suddenly finds herself utterly at his mercy. When he then breaks away from the rest of the group and disappears with her into the maze of desolate Burren back roads, she begins to fear the worst. Suddenly no one's laughing anymore.
“I hate it, I hate it! I hate it!”
Peggy spat out the words as she sat at her scrubbed and scratched kitchen table, shopping bags strewn around her feet where she had dropped them. Snuffling back the tears and still cursing savagely under her breath, she blinked down at the exploded bags of frozen peas and chicken nuggets which had, after impact, skittered wildly in all directions, most of them finally coming to rest somewhere behind the fridge. That’ll smell just lovely in a couple of days, she thought indifferently to herself, noticing at the same time that the temperature on the wall thermometer had notched up again to twenty eight degrees Celsius.
“And I don’t give a bloody damn either!”
She wished she could to enjoy all the cursing she was doing, mentally ticking off the wealth of verbal garbage she had accumulated in her forty years. Even the juiciest of expletives, however, was a sorry attempt at relieving her pent-up frustration. The “F” word had long since lost its allure. Sighing heavily, she slowly raised her eyes from the debris and let her gaze wander over to the window ledge behind the kitchen sink, where a slightly greasy ceramic ballet dancer poised mid-pirouette between the remains of two geranium plants. She eyed the figure speculatively.
It had been a Christmas gift from her mother-in-law, Nora, and was useless kitsch of the very worst kind. She’d bought it, of course, for that very reason, knowing all too well how much Peggy detested holiday souvenirs, twirling Flamenco dancers in crepe dresses, knitted loo roll cosies and the like. Nora had bought it to gall her. And gall her, it did. Peggy fought against the flood of loathing which gushed through her at the thought. That high and mighty sneak! Envious of everything! A spiteful, malicious bitch of the highest order! She was resentful of Peggy’s comparatively good taste and sense of dress, she loathed Peggy’s cocky sense of humour, and despised her chirpy manner and general popularity. Nora, unbelievable as it might seem, was gloriously oblivious of the fact that she, herself, hadn’t as much as a smidgen of natural style and was convinced that, by some iniquitous twist of fate, she’d been born into the wrong social class. This burp in the course of providence was only the tip of the iceberg. The truth of it was, Peggy had taken her boy away. Nora, adamant to last, simply refused to accept that on the day Patrick had sauntered into Mullen’s Pub for a pint and spotted Peggy Fitzpatrick up at the bar with the girls, she had suddenly and irreversibly ceased to be the centre of his universe.
Tough shit, Peggy pondered in retrospect.
For years she had tried to win him back by applying ploys of subtle cunning, so subtle that Patrick was sublimely ignorant of it all, believing, as Patrick always did, when he thought something, or someone, was the greatest thing since sliced bread, then everyone else did too. In short, Patrick would have been more than surprised to learn that his mother couldn’t stand his wife’s guts.
Wearily, Peggy pulled a scrunched up paper tissue out of her jeans pocket and honked loudly into it before winging it in the general direction of the rubbish bin. Unconcerned, she watched as the snotty hanky bounced off the lid and plopped into a puddle of strawberry yoghurt. Apart from the hum of the refrigerator and the occasional plink as yet another fat drop plummeted from the leaking tap into the sink, the house was silent. Outside, shrill ripples of laughter drifted across the crescent green as children made their way back from an afternoon splashing around in the shallows off Sandy Point. Somewhere an electric lawnmower buzzed industriously like a jam jar of bluebottles, squealing loud objections every time it hit an obstacle. A barely perceptible ruffle of warm air carried the scent of freshly-cut grass in through the open window.
Plink. Already the next drop was bulging slowly out of the faucet. Peggy watched it grow, teeter and drop.