“It’s either an arse or an elbow,” he said, breath misting the cold night air.
He had spoken aloud, although there was no-one there to hear. Ordinarily, he was a man who loved an audience. On this occasion, however, he was prepared to make an exception.

Fintan Gall T.D. was standing in front of his Audi 600, perplexed. The car was idling on the empty road, spewing blue fumes in the winter chill. In front of the car, on the tarmac, was a jumbled heap of limbs, wheels, and handlebars. Fintan adjudged that he was looking at what had been, until recently, a cyclist. But he couldn’t be sure. He’d had six pints of stout back at the clubhouse Christmas do, each one chased by smooth yet impertinent twenty-five year old Jameson. He hadn’t even seen the interloper until the bastard upended himself over his bonnet.

“Came out of nowhere, so he did,” Fintan muttered, testing the sound and pacing of the words. “On my life. Out of nowhere.”

He was acute enough to notice the shallow indentation on the Audi’s bonnet, and felt a stab of rage towards the heap at his feet.

He whipped out his phone, fumbled it, cursed. Finally, and with some difficulty, he selected a number.

“Hello? Hello? J.D.? F.G. I know it’s late, shut up a second. Look, I’ve had a bit of a faux pas out on the highway. Could be a spot of bother. Never mind that. I’ll be at the office first thing. We’ll need to straighten this out. Yeah, yeah. Happy Christmas.”

He hung up. He was about to return to the warmth of the Audi when, from the corner of his eye, he noticed movement.

At the sound of his voice, the heap on the ground had stirred.
Fintan’s innards turned to ice. The situation had just become rather less open-and-shut than he’d supposed.

“Hello…?” he ventured.

“Aaaaaaaagh,” said the heap. “Aaaaaaaagh.”

“Hello?” Fintan spoke more stridently. “I’m speaking to you, man.”

“You bastard,” the heap said weakly. “You broke me leg. You bastard.”

“Now, now,” said Fintan, his drink-fuzzed brain stuttering into overdrive. “I categorically deny that allegation. You are engaged in speculation without full possession of the facts. I found you like this. You, my friend, have been the victim of a hit-and-run. Some lad in a van, foreigner I think he was.”

“Shuttup,” the cyclist groaned. “It was you, I know it was. I got your reg. You’re gointa jail, ya bastard!”

“You can have all my details, fella, I’ve nothing to hide. My name is Seamus O’Brien.”

He made a mental note to have his car chap change the plates in the morning. They’d done it before.

But the obstinate heap was still talking.

“I know who y’are! I know yer voice off the telly. You’re that bastard politician, closed down the hospital. And you’re pissed, I can smell it. Oh you’re goin’ down, pal!”

Fintan’s sluggish brain was groping for a tactic. Normally he was very good at talking himself out of corners. But this was proving to be a sticky wicket.

Finally, he hit upon an elegant solution.
“No speakee Engrish,” he trilled. “I don’ know what you talk about Mr. Man. I go home now. Velly solly happy Christmas!”

He started back towards the car. As he did so, the twisted shape on the ground rolled over and spoke again.

“Listen, pal. I’m in the Socialist Worker’s Party. And the Marxist Union o’ Ireland! An’ the Campaign for Universal Bike Lanes. Pricks like you have rid this country raw. I’m gonna ruin you. You’ll never see daylight again!”

Fintan slid behind the wheel and weighed his options. He was seething. His knuckles bloomed white against the steering wheel. A Socialist, a bloody Marxist no less, and worst of all, a cyclist! He was filled with righteous fury, which blew the boozy cobwebs from his brain and lent him a lethal focus. A problem had presented itself, and he was a man who solved problems. His constituents expected no less.

He threw the car into Reverse, backed up about thirty yards, and turned the high beams on.

His target was bathed in merciless light. Fintan revved the engine, exhilarated by the throaty Teutonic roar. His foot, clad in hand-stitched Italian leather, eased onto the accelerator.

He’d make it quick, he decided. It was Christmas, after all.