Authors: Paul Howard
‘Brilliant, like a southside Commitments’
The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, Today FM
‘I love him, but I’m not
love with him.
I certainly wouldn’t, like, be with him again.’
‘He’s like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rolled into one.
With a bit of Chewbacca as well.’
‘He’s the next Brian O’Driscoll. I said as much to Gerry Thornley. Then he brought up that barring order nonsense.’
‘The kid has no brain. But he has no conscience either, so he’s perfectly cut out for real estate.’
JP’S OLD MAN
‘One of the century’s great thinkers.’
For Rich, Vin and Mark, my brothers
The publisher and the author wish to thank the
for permission to reproduce previously published material from the Ross O’Carroll-Kelly column.
Thank you to Rachel, Ger, Deirdre and Vin for the excellent editing job. Thanks also to Emma and Alan.
friend of mine, roysh, he had a bit of a scenario with this bird. Portia was her name, roysh, met her in Annabel’s, the usual craic, giving it loads, blah blah blah, ended up asking her out for dinner, which he wouldn’t usually do, roysh, but she’s actually a bit of a cracker – a better-looking version of Shannon Elizabeth – so he was prepared to put a bit of, like, spadework into the job. And anyway, roysh, the goys were all stood behind him, giving it, ‘Crash and burn, crash and burn,’ and this friend of mine, roysh, he was just there, ‘Oh my God, I
love a challenge.’
The only problem was, roysh, he didn’t know where to bring her. He couldn’t remember the last time he went out with a bird for dinner and he was like, ‘What’s a cool place to bring a bird these days?’ And he must have really liked this bird because he decided he was going to pay for everything, none of this going halves bullshit. He ended up suggesting Roly’s, roysh, which he regretted straight away because that’s where his asshole of an old man usually goes, but as it turned out he needn’t have worried, roysh, because the dickhead wasn’t there.
And this friend of mine, roysh, he had to say that Portia
looked focking amazing this particular night. And the thing is, roysh, she was actually really nice this bird, as in a nice person and not just a lasher. And she storts, like, telling him, this friend of mine, all about herself as they’re, like, looking through the menu. And, of course, he makes a total orse of himself. She says she’s a vegan and he asks her how old she was when she moved to Ireland, but she just laughs and tells him she
loves a goy with a sense of humour, and he can’t make out whether she really thinks he was joking or whether she’s just, like, embarrassed for me, I mean for this friend of mine. And it’s only when she orders that he finds out that a vegan is someone who basically eats, like, grass and shrubbery.
But they get on well. She’s actually really, really nice, which is usually a total turn-off for him. She tells him she does some work at night in the Simon shelter in town and, like, the dogs’ and cats’ home at the weekend, just helping with, like, feeding and shit, a real Princess Diana vibe off her. And he’s really into her and she’s really into him and it’s, like, weird, but he thinks he might already be in love with this bird. She asks him about himself and he’s like, ‘Nothing much to tell,’ and his steak arrives and so does her, like, cabbage, and she goes, ‘I’m sure there is.’ He’s there, ‘Well, I’m thinking of going back playing rugby. Had an offer from Clontarf and–’ She goes, ‘Hey, you can save the macho bullshit for the groupies in the Merrion Inn. I want to know the real you.’ And he’s speechless. He goes, ‘The real me? Em … well, basically, Portia, I’m an asshole. I’ve always been an asshole. For as long as I can remember. I treat people like shit. Girls. Mates. The old pair. Don’t know why. I’m basically not a very good person.’ And she just, like, looks at him and goes, ‘I think you’re a good
.’ He presses his fork into his steak and blood seeps out. He’s
like, ‘Your friends, what did they say when they heard you were going out with me?’ She goes, ‘Honestly?’ He’s there, ‘It’s probably best.’ She’s like, ‘They said I was mad. They said you were, well, all of the things you just told me you were.’ He’s there, ‘And you still wanted to go out with me?’ She goes, ‘I’m one of those people who sees the good in everyone.’ He’s like, ‘A bit of a Princess Diana vibe?’ She laughs and goes, ‘You can be yourself with me, you know.’
They go back to her gaff, a big fock-off apartment in, like, Blackrock, and she makes coffee and she goes, ‘Sorry, there’s no milk. Because I’m a–’ He goes, ‘Vulcan, I know,’ and she breaks her shite laughing again and, like, punches him in the arm, all sort of, like, playful. And then, well, I don’t have to paint you a
, one thing leads to another, blah blah blah, and afterwards she goes, ‘You’re so much different to what people say,’ and he goes, ‘What people?’ and she’s like, ‘Other girls.’ And the next they know, roysh, they’ve both drifted off to sleep and after a few hours, roysh, he’s woken up by this, like, beeping noise and it’s his mobile and he realises he must have, like, fallen asleep. Portia, roysh, she’s in the scratcher beside him and he gets out and grabs his phone, which is in the pocket of his chinos. And it turns out, roysh, that it’s a text message from, like, Oisinn, one of the lads, and it’s like,
And this friend of mine, roysh, he thinks for a minute before he texts him back and when he does it’s like,
HE SHOOTS! HE SCORES!
He looks at the clock and it’s, like, three o’clock in the morning, and he didn’t realise he’d been asleep so long. His phone beeps again and he reads the message and it’s like,
, which is, like,
U DA MAN
, and then a few minutes later it beeps again and it’s, like,
NOW GET DA FCK OUTTA THR
He lies there in the darkness thinking for about half an hour, roysh,
and then he gets up and puts on the old threads, trying his best not to wake Portia, but she does wake, roysh, and when she cops what’s happening she goes, ‘What are you doing?’ And the goy, roysh, he goes, ‘Going home.’ And she’s like, ‘But there’s no need.’ He goes, ‘Look, em … don’t flatter yourself, okay. It was a one-night thing.’ She goes, ‘But you told me last night that you thought you–’ and he goes, ‘I know what I said. This is for the best. Believe me, Portia, you’re too nice a chick. You really don’t need someone like me in your life.’
And he walks straight out of there. Even though he really, really likes her, maybe even loves her, he gets the fock out of there. And you’re probably wondering why. Because that’s him. That’s what he’s like, this friend of mine. The goys call him The Tin Man. He has no feelings, that’s what they say. Completely focking untouchable. In Annabel’s, Lillies, Cocoon, every
you’ll hear them all giving it that:
‘Here comes Ross. The Tin Man.’
I go to
ring Fionn, roysh, to find out what the goys are doing for Hallowe’en night, but the old dear’s already on the line, on the phone in the sitting room, dictating an ad for the paper and, like, giving the bird on the other end of the line a focking earful of abuse. I’m there on the extension in the kitchen, listening to her, roysh, and I have to put my hand over the mouthpiece to stop her from hearing me cracking my shite laughing. She’s there, ‘Cleaning Woman Wanted,’ and the bird in the paper, roysh, she goes, ‘Sorry, I have to stop you there. You can’t be gender specific, I’m afraid.’ The old dear’s like, ‘I beg your pardon,’ and the bird’s there, ‘Gender specific. It’s this new equality legislation, you see. You have to say, ‘Cleaner wanted’.’ The old dear’s like, ‘Yes, but you don’t seem to understand. It’s a
I want to hire,’ and the bird’s there, ‘Yes, but you have to be seen to offer men the opportunity to apply.’ And the old dear storts going ballistic, roysh, she’s there, ‘I do not want some pervert going through my underwear drawer.’ And the bird’s like, ‘I’m really sorry, I don’t make the law.’ The old dear, roysh, she’s in a real snot at this stage, huffing and puffing down the phone. She goes, ‘I suppose you have a problem with the next line as well. ‘No Foreigners Need Apply’. I suppose you want me to change
that to No Non-Nationals Need Apply, or somesuch.’ The bird’s like, ‘Well, actually, you can’t say either. Your advertisement can’t be race specific.’ The old dear’s like, ‘Oh for heaven’s sake, this is political correctness gone mad,’ and the bird goes, ‘There’s nothing I can do. I’m not allowed to–’ The old dear’s there, ‘I am not hiring one of those refugees, if that’s what you are getting at.’ The bird goes, ‘They’re not my rules,’ and the old dear goes, ‘Romanian refugees? In
home? The very idea of it.’
There’s this game I like to play, roysh, where you see a good-looking bird out with her boyfriend – actually she doesn’t even have to be that good-looking – but what you do is you catch her eye and try to, like, hold her stare until her boyfriend notices. I don’t know why I get a kick out of it. I just do.
Amy goes, ‘I’m telling you, it’s drinph,’ and Faye, who’s also first year law in Portobello, goes, ‘Are you sure?’ and Amy goes, ‘
? I think I know this subject better than you. You’re the one repeating, remember?’ I’m like, ‘What the fock is drinph?’ and Amy goes, ‘It’s D.R.I.N.P.H. They’re initials, Ross. The duties of a receiver. Debts. Report. Interests. Negligence. Price. High Court.’ I’m there, ‘Am I, like, missing something here?’ And Faye goes, ‘We have a Christmas exam next week, and receiverships are
going to come up.’ Fionn, roysh, he pushes his glasses up on his nose, like he always does when he’s about to show off, the focking brainbox, and he goes, ‘I believe what’s being referred to here, Ross, is the use of mnemonics as a means of retaining and then recalling large tracts of information.’ What an asshole.
Amy is wearing a pair of black, knee-high Burberry boots, the
old slut wellies, as the goys call them. She closes her eyes and goes, ‘One, the receiver must pay the company debts in the correct order. Two, the receiver has a duty to report to the
, via the statement of affairs. Three, the receiver and
holder have a fiduciary relationship, i.e., the receiver must act in the best interests of the debenture holder regardless of whose agent the receiver is said to be, or the method of
. Four, the receiver is under a duty of skill and care and may be liable in negligence to the debenture holder and the company. Five, the receiver’s main duty to the company is to get the best price available in the circumstances for the sale of the charge asset. Six, the receiver may apply to the High Court for directions in relation to any matter connected with the performance of his or her duties.’
I’m like, ‘Sure, but what does it all mean?’ And Faye’s like, ‘You don’t need to know what it
, Ross. You just need to remember it. Oh my God,
did you manage to pass the Leaving?’ Erika, roysh, the bitch, goes, ‘He didn’t,’ and Faye just looks at me and goes, ‘But you repeated it, like, twice?’ and I go, ‘I was on the Senior Cup team,’ and I just, like, shrug my shoulders and go back to my chilli beef ramen. Amy goes, ‘Okay,
.’ and Erika, roysh, she looks at her over the top of her shades and she’s like, ‘Excuse me, some of us aren’t interested in this shit,’ and Amy just looks her up and down and tells her she has an attitude problem, and Erika goes, ‘Spare me,’ calls the waitress over and orders another cappuccino, no a latte, no a cappuccino.
Oisinn arrives in, roysh, sits down next to me and makes this big, like, show of sniffing the air. Then he goes, ‘Which one of you is wearing
?’ and no one answers, roysh, so he goes,
‘As in Elizabeth Arden? Well, whichever one of you it is, be
. I might try to hop you tonight.’
I turn on my phone. I have two voice messages. One from Rachael, this bird from second year science who I haven’t seen since, like, the Traffic Light Ball last year and have no desire to ever see again. The other is from Michelle from Ulster Bank who’d like to arrange a meeting to, like, discuss my overdraft.
Erika all of a sudden goes, ‘Hey, Fionn, how’s Christian?’ just basically being a bitch, roysh, and everyone at the table is suddenly looking at me. Fionn’s like, ‘He’s, eh, he’s great. There’s a new
movie out next year, why wouldn’t he be?’ Erika goes, ‘Have
seen Christian lately, Ross?’ and I can actually feel my face going red. She’s like, ‘Oh no, of course, I forgot, he hasn’t spoken to you since he found out about you and his mum.’ I’m like, ‘That is
out of order,’ and Amy’s like, ‘
? Can we, like, change the subject here?’ Fair focks to her.
Faye goes, ‘Okay, okay, okay. Everybody, favourite ‘Dawson’s Creek’ episode, we’re talking
?’ Erika throws her eyes up to heaven. Amy goes, ‘That’s easy. The one where Dawson kisses Joey. ‘
The sweetest, most romantic, Fourth-of-July-fireworky,
-against-the-shore, beyond-any-movie-I-could-ever-imagine kiss
.’ Oh my God,
romantic.’ Amy and Faye are like focking clones of Sorcha, my ex who’s gone to, like, Australia for a year. Faye goes, ‘
The hard part is over. We got through it. Fifteen years of preamble. Fifteen years of hyper-real dialogue disguising our most obvious feelings. It’s all over now. The rest is simple. We’ll make it simple
.’ Erika just goes, ‘Sad.’
Oisinn turns around and goes, ‘Hey, you know which one I like best? The one where Jen and Joey get it on.’ Faye’s like, ‘That never happened,’ and Oisinn goes, ‘Oh, you probably didn’t see
it. It was, like, a one-off. It was only shown late at night.’ Faye goes, ‘I think this may have been a dream you had?’ and Oisinn’s there, ‘Which one of us hasn’t? Are you sure you’re not wearing
?’ Then he orders the tempura ramen, the ginger chicken udon and a chilli beef ramen, with side orders of steamed white rice and chillies, the fat bastard, and Amy goes, ‘
OH! MY! GOD!
love Japanese food,’ roysh, and Faye goes, ‘
OH! MY! GOD!
so do I,’ even though I’ve never seen either of them actually eat it, or eat anything at all for that matter. Amy asks the waitress whether there’s, like, celery in the yasai gyoza and when the waitress says yes she just, like, turns her nose up and says she doesn’t want
, and Faye, roysh, she just orders carrot juice and then
picks food off my plate.
Eventually, roysh, Faye focks off to the jacks and when she’s gone Amy goes, ‘I’m not being a bitch or anything, but –
OH! MY! GOD!
– I cannot
she thinks those trousers still fit her,’ and she points out how much ‘that girl’ has put on since she came back from Montauk in the summer, and it’s basically so sad the way she pestered her old man for membership of Crunch for her twenty-first and she’s only used it, like, three times, and that’s if you count going in the sauna and the jacuzzi as
a gym. I don’t really know what Amy’s bullshitting on about. Some birds, they wear those hipster trousers, roysh, and they’ve got those big trouser melons hanging over the
, but there’s, like, fock-all meat
Faye. She comes back from the jacks, roysh, and says –
OH! MY! GOD!
– she feels like
a whale and she seriously needs to stort getting back to the gym, and Amy goes, ‘Are those the trousers you wore to Eunan’s twenty-first?’ and Faye’s like, ‘Yeah, the ones I got in Karen Millen before the summer,’ and Amy doesn’t say
anything back, roysh, and Faye gives her this filthy, like she knows she’s being a bitch to her.
Then Amy storts talking about some dickhead who’s on the permanent guest list in Reynards. Erika gets up to go, roysh, and Fionn’s like, ‘Are you not going to finish your coffee, babes?’ He is
trying to get in there it’s not funny, as if she’d be interested in the geeky-looking focker. She goes, ‘No, I’m going Christmas shopping with my mum. I said I’d meet her outside.’ She gets her shit together, roysh, and she’s about to leave, then she turns back and she goes, ‘I’d bring her in to meet you all, but Ross might try to have sex with her.’ And everyone at the table just breaks their shite laughing, roysh, and as Erika makes her exit they stop laughing and look sort of, like, embarrassed for me.
I’m sitting at the kitchen table, roysh, in total focking ribbons, we’re talking seriously hanging here, a feed of pints last night and a kebab on the way home, roysh, and my orse feels like the focking Japanese flag this morning. I know I should have put a toilet roll in the fridge last night. It’s always too late when I think about it. And the old pair aren’t helping matters, wrecking my head as usual. The old man’s planning to go on the New Zealand tour with a few of his dickhead mates from the golf club next year, and he’s going on and on and on about it. And the old dear, roysh, she’s flicking through her speech for tonight’s end-of-year residents’ association meeting, highlighting important points with a yellow marker pen, totally ignoring the knobhead and I don’t blame her. He’s sort of, like, muttering under his breath, roysh, about Mount Cook and the Canterbury Plains, and all of a sudden, roysh, he has a sly look at the old dear to see if she’s listening to him, and then he goes, ‘Gerry Thornley’s going.’ The
old dear looks up, roysh, over the top of her glasses, and she goes, ‘Charles, please,’ and he goes, ‘I’m sure all that business is forgotten about,’ and she’s like, ‘Charles, I do not want the police at the door again.’ He’s like, ‘A misunderstanding is all it was. Gerry understands that now, I’m sure of it.’
I’m like, ‘Will you two shut the fock up? I’m suffering here.’ The old dear’s like, ‘Well, perhaps you shouldn’t drink so much, Ross,’ and I’m like, ‘What are you, a focking doctor now?’ and she goes, ‘No,’ and I’m like, ‘Then drop the focking act.’