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Sorry finds a fiver

Sorry Duffy earned his own nickname. Sorry apologised to everyone for everything. He said sorry when he accidentally bumped against you while getting off the bus. He said sorry when he tripped over a lazy dog that failed to get out of his way. Sorry always said sorry even when it wasn’t his fault.

But, when he found a €500 note on the ground one morning following a stormy Friday night he forgot to say sorry to anyone.

builderThe note was wedged in the corner of a wall where an amateur bricklayer had slapped together his notion of a brick pier for a gate. Lumps of concrete stuck out from the wall like wisps of sand on a storm-tossed beach.

The note was caught on one of them.

As far as Sorry could see it had blown along the road and rested there.

He bent down to catch the note in his hand. He wanted to be sure it wasn’t play money stuck there by kids to fool anyone that passed by.

However, Sorry was a little overweight and his bending movement was not as slick as it should be.

When Imelda shouted out his name he was still down at the wall panting from a pain in his belly caused by the roll of stomach flesh that got in the way.

“Is that you, Sorry behind the wall?”

Sorry thought he might hide and pretend nobody was there. But he knew she’d look over the wall at him.

He shouted: “I’ll be there in a minute, Imelda. I’m just tying my lace.”

Imelda was waiting for him when he stood up red-faced, but with the €500 in his pocket.

He said: “I was running. I think I need to join a gym. I’m thinking of starting to train for the next marathon. Need to get fit. Do you want something?”

cyclist“Did you hear the commotion last night?” she asked. “I nearly died. They came running past here when we were bringing the messages in from Karen’s car. The gardaí were after them on those mountain bikes. They’re very fast on those bikes and they have very strong legs. Really strong and fit.”

“Who were they chasing?”

“Robbers,” said Imelda.

“What robbers?” asked Sorry who was wondering if he could get the €500 note out of his pocket. He could drop it on the ground and be off.

“Did they catch them?” he asked.

“No. They ran into our house and out the back and over a wall and the gardaí couldn’t get the bikes over the wall and they cycled around but the robbers came back through the house and away down the road. One of them tripped where you tied your laces, Sorry. That’s why I asked, if it was you. Just in case it was a robber come back looking for his money. Maybe they were drug dealers”

“Did he drop the money?” Sorry asked.

“We don’t know.”


“Me and Karen and the lads on the bikes. They’re going to come up to take a statement from us all. We’re meeting in Karen’s house. I thought you were them back again.”

“When do you think they’ll come back?” he asked. A slight breeze ran down the road behind him wrapping itself around Sorry’s shoulders and making him shiver.

“Ah Sorry,” said Imelda seeing him shaking on the spot. “There’s nothing to be ascared of. They’re well gone. I’d said the robbers are in Lanzarotte by now and those gardaí on the bikes will be in bed resting after all the chasing they did last night.”

Sorry had the €500 note in his fist now and he dropped it on the ground. He was going to walk in the opposite direction to wherever it blew.

But the note lay on the ground at his feet unmoving. He stood on it while he had a think.

Imelda saw it when she came out to the gate with her arms folded to see if she could meet anyone else to tell the story to.

“Sorry, look what’s under your foot. Move your foot until I see.”

He moved his foot. The breeze quickened and a forward draught caused by the advancing bulk of Imelda made the note finally take flight.

She saw the money floating away and pointed it out to Sorry who was now expected to catch it.

He trotted after it but it stayed ahead of him. His advances created a breeze that blew it ahead of him.

euroThe only thing was to go around it and hunt it back towards Imelda.

But the dancing note lifted over several garden walls. Sorry chased after it like a hurdler. But the walls were not hurdles that fell away when he collided with them. They were solid and Sorry fell over each and every one of them.

True to form, he said "Sorry" to each of the walls and to the flowers he landed in amongst.

The elusive five hundred euro note was finally intercepted by Imelda who put it in her pocket as a squad car came around the corner and slowed to a halt outside her house.

“I’ll see ye Sorry,” she called out. “I have to tell the gardaí what happened last night. Nothing happened today, alright?”

And before Sorry could say anything she had closed her front door and she and the five hundred euro had vanished.

Sorry was sorry that he hadn’t just picked up the money and kept going.

Sometimes being sorry was just not enough.

© brendan nolan July 2011

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