The thing was, they were wearing gloves. Both of them. Without
that detail, Maura Coady mightn't have given them a second
Getting out of the dark green car. Gloves, in this weather.
Cream-coloured, thin, stretchy plastic gloves. Like a surgeon
If just one of the two men was wearing plastic gloves it could
be he had a problem with his skin. Both men —
None of your business, Maura.
When Maura Coady moved to this house in North Strand,
two years back, the excitement of finally living alone, of having
a space to which no one else in the world had a right, filled her
with exhilaration. She didn't have a television, a detachment
from the outer world that she inherited from the long decades
in the convent. But she had a window — and the view through
the net curtain provided sufficient drama. The window looked
directly out onto the street, no garden, the pavement just inches
away. The routine was mostly humdrum, workaday, but there
were moments. She'd be crossing the room, about to do some
chore, when she'd notice someone wheeling a trolley back from
the Spar on the corner. She'd stand and watch them pass, imagine
their lives for a few moments — not out of curiosity or envy, just
enjoying the fleeting indulgence. Then she'd get on with whatever
she was about.
Other times, there were kids down the corner, messing —
nothing rough, just youngsters enjoying a bit of horseplay, and
that would hold her attention. Sometimes it brought back memories
of her pupils, decades ago. Very occasionally, there would
be a trivial argument — a parent and a child, a couple of adults — never anything serious. There was always something
happening, small and all as it might be. She sometimes felt
guilty, like she was a bit of a sneaky-peeker, but she easily
forgave herself. It was just a small interest in how people lived
What happened was the oddest thing ever. The gloves, then
the driver locking the car, his friend going to the front of the car,
the driver to the back, and they both hunkered down and began
working on something. She could see only the one at the back,
and just the top of the other man's head. Within seconds they
stood up and walked away, down the street, past the Spar shop,
then across onto the main road. And a day later the car was still
sitting there outside Maura's house.
This wasn't right.
Ought to do something.
And maybe make a fuss over nothing. The old woman making
a commotion over something that ordinary people — real people
with real lives — would take for granted.
Two men park a car — maybe they didn't know the area, they
weren't sure where the place was they were visiting, so they park
somewhere, go off on foot to find the place they're looking for.
And there's a reason, some reason, why they're too busy to come
back. Perhaps they drove away when she was asleep, came back
before she got up, parked in the same spot.
Much as she wanted to believe that, it didn't seem likely.
But it was wrong to simply presume they were up to something
No good comes of jumping to conclusions.
It was like the newspaper story she read about people who
saw a Muslim man praying before he got on an airplane and
they created a commotion, got the flight delayed and the Muslim
taken off, so he missed his flight while they made sure he wasn't
a hijacker. Thirty years back, people in England heard an Irish
accent, the first thing they thought of was maybe this is a
bomber. She knew a priest — this was half a lifetime ago — who
was pulled in by the police when he got off the boat at Holyhead,
held for two days. No good comes of thinking the worst of
Why couldn't two men arriving in the same car have some
reason that required them both to wear plastic gloves?
Maura Coady had been standing at the window for the best
part of an hour this morning, hoping the men would come back, drive away. She shouldn't let another day pass without doing something. If the men had stolen the car, they could come back at any time, drive it away, maybe paint it, sell it – whoever owned it would never see it again.
She forced herself to move away from the window. She stood
at the kitchen sink for ten minutes, washing up. Then she made
a cup of tea, sat at the kitchen table and opened her book. When
she finished the tea she washed the cup and left it on the drainer.
She went back to the front room. The dark green car was still
From The Rage by Gene Kerrigan. Copyright 2013 by Gene Kerrigan. Excerpted by permission of Europa Editions.