Summer Soap (Episode 7): The thrill of the chase for a new Playstation

Welcome to The Echo’s annual feature - Summer Soap. Now in its seventh year, Summer Soap is a daily fictional serial run over 12 parts, which started last Monday week and runs till Saturday. Called The Search For Dodger, this story is about two teenagers in Mayfield and their search for a lost dog, and was written by Luke Jeffers (right), from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC. Catch up with previous episodes at echolive.ie. In the seventh episode, that dream of a PlayStation 5 just got closer...
Summer Soap (Episode 7): The thrill of the chase for a new Playstation

“They storm down Washington Street as they drop onto the road, leap onto footpaths. Past Chambers, Dwyers. Past Rearden’s.”

THEY jump on a 208 on Dyke Parade. It breaks down immediately.

“This can’t be happening.” Matt laughs. After everything today. Now this.

He literally can’t believe it. They walk back to Western Road and Barra suggests people they know who play music who also know Mrs Higgins.

“Mr O’Callaghan? Saw him play a bodhrán once. Oh, no. It’s a girl. I suppose it could be...”

He can’t deal with him. His clumsiness. His annoying talk. Slow on the uptake. Slow with everything. If he had just been on time...

“Shut up! F***ing hell, man, shut the hell up. This is your fault!”

Barra blinks. “Dodger is?”

“No, you thicko! The PlayStation! If you hadn’t been like an old fella packing your lunch, we wouldn’t be in this mess! We’d be at mine playing FIFA, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man.”

Barra’s phone beeps and he looks at it.

“Seriously, like? Gonna gawk at your phone while we’re having it out. Jesus, your worse than all the people not thanking us. Think I’m spending my day racing round town for you and Mrs Higgins? Nope. And you...“

“Matt.”

“...no apology or nothing...“

“Matt! There’s a PlayStation left at Curry’s in Mahon! Someone never showed up!”

He grips Barra’s arms. “What?”

“There’s a...“

“Start calling them, like!”

Matt whips out his phone, searches the number and dials. Put on hold straight away. He looks up Western Road. Not a bus in sight. Sh*t.

“Run!”

They start running back into town, twisting in and out of students like they’re banana peels on Mario Kart. Please answer. Please.

“Hello, this is Jane...“

“Can we reserve the PS5?”

He stops and Barra slams into his back, knocking his phone away. He crawls over to it, a woman stepping over him, mumbles, “F**king weirdo,” as he grabs his phone.

“Hello? Sir?”

“I’m here, I’m ready.”

“Are you OK, sir? You sound breathless.”

“Grand. Sound out. Can we collect it?”

“Well, yes, sir. But you must be here within an hour, otherwise it’ll be first come first served.”

“Sorted. No bothers. Thanks.”

Barra pulls him up and holds him by the collar. “No?”

“Yes! Fecking move it, Crunchie.”

They sprint, Barra striding ahead, his feet thudding. Matt’s jumper sleeves flap either side of him and he tightens it around his waist, not stopping. Breathing hurts. Really bad. He’s never noticed how long the River Lee is. On and on.

They storm down Washington Street, this time the green lights working in their favour as they drop onto the road, leap onto footpaths. Past Chambers, Dwyers. Past Rearden’s, a few barstools outside and a patron nursing an early pint of Beamish, smacking his lips. They reach Grand Parade, stop at the crossing where the lights always take an age to change. Sprint to Daunt Square; a man is throwing seed to the pigeons and their wings flutter louder than the traffic. Down the curve of Patrick Street. The 202 is the bus, hopefully it’ll be a quick...

Matt stops and Barra puts one hand on his knee, the other stroking his back.

“Matt?”

He looks at GameStop across the way. The new PS5 display and the ‘out of stock’ sign hung up. Then at the busker. An old man in a forest green jumper, sitting on his stool, strumming his guitar, and thanking people throwing coins into the case. A perfect day for busking.

Ah, for God’s sake. He puts his hands on his hips. The busker will return Dodger to Mrs Higgins today. Won’t she?

“S**t.”

Barra looks across and smiles.

“Are we gonna find Dodger for Mrs Higgins?”

“No, we’re gonna find Dodger ’cause it definitely gets us a PlayStation. We’ll search all the busker spots we know.”

They walk down Patrick Street slowly, catching their breath. Can’t be that many people busking now. They’ll listen out, find whoever it is in no time. He checks his phone.

Problem is there’s not much time left.

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