Dirty Fag or Dirty Fog 3


Peter was successful during the boom, and after the bust he kept going. He made money, and to thank his in-laws, Cecila and Woodie Mack, for their endless baby-sitting while Josephina and himself attended various meetings and short-stay conferences abroad, he bought them a week’s winter holiday on the Canary Islands.

Cecila had never travelled outside Ireland. Woodie Mack had laboured all over England after his professional boxing career was cut short before its prime. But he had never been outside Ireland or the UK, and he deeply worried, loosing sleep over it, would his stomach be able to stomach Spanish fodder, or is it Portuguese, he couldn’t remember who owns the islands, and he doesn’t even know where the Canaries are.

Steak, chips and pints of Guinness became Woodie Mack’s daily diet in Ned Kelly’s pub in the Tenerife resort. Cecila and Woodie Mack began their days with full Irish breakfasts, well Woodie Mack ate most of her’s too, and at least three cigarettes each.

The first thing they both notice about Spain, or wherever they are, the fags are so cheap, so they resolve to smoke overtime. They spend their nights in Ned Kelly’s. grandmother Cecila drinking Bacardai and coke and smoking twenty fags like there is no tomorrow and Woodie Mack downs ten or eleven pints of Guinness while inhaling twenty cigarettes, and singing a few songs on stage.

They crowd love Woodie Mark’s rare voice serenading out of a big brawny man, and his songs are stories they’ve never heard before, but they laugh at his lovers and nearly weep with their heartbreaks, and Woodie Mark’s wins thunderous applause, and encores, and pints of Guinness being lined up for him at the bar.

The first night they meet Denis from Drimnagh and his wife Nadaline. They all get on famously and go to Denis’s apartment for after-hours drinking. Denis explains that they are cigarette smugglers. Nadaline and Denis will fly nearly seven thousand cigarettes to Dublin, no bother, pays for the holiday, and a few pints when I get home, and saves them a fortune from paying the rip off price of fags in Ireland.

Cecila and Woodie Mack are gobsmacked. He is wondering is it the drink, because they sounds like a television drama, this couldn’t be real life where someone tells you about a crime they are about to commit.

“Buddy, it’s a sinch,” says Denis. “They have an x-ray machine for luggage.”

“Then they have caught you,” says Cecila.

“But we fly in early morning when Customs are still asleep. They’re not getting up at three a.m. to look at screen. Why don’t you do it to Shannon?”

“What if we got caught?” asks Woodie Mark.

“Once you say the cigs are for your personal use, you are not selling them on to anyone, then you are entitled under European law to bring them in.”

“Seven thousand fecking fags.”

“Yeah. Once you say you are going to smoke them yourself.”

“How much money have we Cecila?”

They had enough to buy a thousand cigarettes. Woodie Mack put them all, and nothing else, in this suitcase, and when he was waking ahead of Cecila through Shannon Airport, the Customs officer said, “Excuse me, sir?”

Woodie Mack continued walking, knowing that the Customs guy was trying to get his attention, but he kept waking towards the door.

“Excuse me, sir,” said the Customs man, stepping out in front of Woodie Mack. “Do you have anything to declare?”

“No,” replies Woodie Mack as Cecila slows her advance behind her husband.

“What’s in the suitcase, sir?”


“And what else?”


“Yes, besides the cigarettes, what else is in your case.”

“Cigarettes. Only cigarettes.”

“How many?”

“One thousand.”

“What? That cannot be for personal usage. A thousand cigarettes?”

“No,” says Cecila, arriving at the Customs man. “There’s only about nine hundred left.”

“What,” stammer’s Woodie Mark.

“I smoked about one hundred.”

“You smoked behind me back. One hundred fucking cigarettes.”

“My one hundred fucking cigarettes,” retorts Cecila, the Bacardai still parading through her bloodsteam.

“Please, Madam, Sir, please move on.”

“One hundred fucking cigarettes,” repeats Woodie Mack, shaking his head and making for the exit.

“I suppose then,” says Cecila, catching up with him, “we’ll have to go back there again.”


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