In a bikeshop , just like many rural shops you often become a mixture of salesperson , confidante , tourist information officer and directory inquires operator . After seven years standing behind the counter there are now very few situations which would surprise me .
This , however was not always the case . I was reminded recently of a visit we had shortly after we opened our first shop back in 1999 .
One evening , just as we were preparing to close for the day , a young guy strolled into the shop with a small rucksack on his back . The first question he asked me was if there was a youth hostel nearby . I replied that unfortunately there was none in the town and proceeded to direct him towards the nearest B & B . I sensed , however that he wasn’t too interested in the B & B and decided to probe a little out of curiosity . I asked if he was on holidays in the town or just passing through , although the accent sounded pretty local .
This was where it got interesting . He told me that he was on a walking tour of Ireland and was just passing through for the night . He looked no older than fifteen or sixteen , so I asked ;
‘Are you just doing it for a week or two ?’
‘ No I’ve been on the road about six months now’
‘So , what made you decide to do this ?’
‘Ah , I just wanted a bit of an adventure , plus I had to get out of the states in a hurry’
As I was not long returned from spending two years in America myself I asked ;
‘What part of America were you living in ?’
‘Thats gas , I used to work for a plumber down in Bay Ridge , what part of Brooklyn were you living in ?’
‘Ahh , just off main street ‘
Now whilst in Brooklyn I had seen many mean streets but very few main streets so I said ;
‘Goway , what main street was that , was it near prospect park ?’
‘Yea , that’s the one ‘
‘Right , and what made you leave America ‘
‘I had to get out , quick , the FBI were after me ‘
‘Why was that? ‘
‘Ah , I got in with the wrong crowd and we had a run in with one of the neighbours . I pelted his house with a few eggs and he called the cops . When the cops came I took off running and I’ve been on the run ever since . When the cops couldn’t find me they called in the FBI and when they couldn’t find me they put me on the most wanted list so now I’m Americas Most Wanted Teenager . There’s a bounty on my head so I’d appreciate it if you don’t tell anybody I was here ‘
( Satellite television sure has a lot to answer for )
‘No problem , sure best of luck anyway and if someone calls in looking for you I won’t tell them anything .’
‘Thanks dude , I appreciate that’
And off he went .
I later found out that this guy was actually from Carrick and had gotten the bus up to Clonmel for the day but ten out of ten for imagination .
I was reminded of this last Thursday . I was going into the post office and who was in front of me only ‘Americas’ most Wanted teenager’ carrying an empty bucket . He walked in and just turned around as I met him at the door . I was holding the door open for him when he looked up and asked me ;
‘Did you have any luck with that?’
I wondered if he was referring to a reward from the FBI or something else.
‘With what , exactly ?’ I asked ,
‘With the letter I dropped over to you the other day ‘
‘Maybe you’ve got me mixed up with someone else ‘
‘Are you not the fella over in Nationwide National TSB ?’
‘No , I’m over in the bikeshop’
‘Oh , sorry about that ‘
And off he went into the wild blue yonder of Market Place shopping arcade .