Bus tour turf war gets serious
‘Until that moment, I would have said there was no more terrifying feeling in the world than being shaken awake by a woman, going, “Fock! My husband’s home!” ’
The years go by so quickly. You always hear people say that, don’t you? It seems like literally no time since Ronan was at my old man’s sentencing – three years for bribery and tax evasion – shouting, “You’ll be got – you’ve just signed yisser own death waddant!” at the judge.
God, he was just a kid.
But now he’s a young man with his own business, The Love/Hate Tour of Dublin, which has a four-week waiting list for tickets and is featured on pretty much all of the city’s tourist websites?
I’m happy for him.
I’d be even happier if it wasn’t for the small matter of the turf war that’s raging between The Love/Hate Tour of Dublin and rival operator Love/Hate : The Tour, not to mention the death threat that’s hanging over my head for breaking the nose of the competition – a man who goes by the name of Scum – in the Broken Arms in Finglas two weeks ago.
“Fooken tulip,” was Ronan’s response when I told him about my efforts to, like, broker a peace deal in the row that has already seen bus tyres slashed, widows broken and my son get, like, his eye blackened?
I was possibly stupid to get involved. But it hasn’t frightened me away. I was there on Easter Sunday, just as I am every Sunday, on the top deck of the bus, listening to Ronan’s spiel, which I pretty much know off by hort at this stage.
“Coming up on yisser left,” he was going, “is the thrug mixing factody where Tommy and the boys got busted by the Geerds in Seerdies Two. You may remember that John Boy taught it was Stumpy what ratted them out, then ast Dadden take him out – in utter words, shoot him . . . Next, we’re going to go and see the house belonging to Fran that was pipe-bombed by Nidge, also in Seerdies Two, leaving Fran’s wife, Linda, horrifically skeered.”
On the way to Fran’s gaff, I drifted off into a bit of a daydream – I was imagining I was Warren Gatland and I was picking my dream XV for the first Lions test – when all of a sudden I became aware of, like, a shadow hanging over me? At the same time I noticed that the bus had for some reason stopped.
I looked up and I ended up nearly emptying my bladder there in my seat when I discovered that a man in a balaclava was pointing a gun in my face.
The people on the bus storted screaming and literally diving for cover under their seats ?
I just went, “Okay, what the fock?” as anyone else would if they found themselves suddenly staring down the barrel of a Glock.
The dude was like, “Get off the fooken bus! Now!”
I was there, “Dude, I only acted because he hit my son. It was a turf war that was storting to get seriously out of hand and I tried to, like, stop it.”
“Mon,” he went, waving the gun in the direction of the stairs, “off the bus.”
I put my hands above my head and I climbed out of my seat. I thought about making a grab for the gun, or even just tackling him, the same way I used to tackle back in the day, except I noticed there was, like, a second dude – again, masked – pointing a gun at me from the back of the bualadh .
Now, I’ve been around some corners in my time. I’ve been in a lot of situations, as you know. And, until that moment, I would have said there was no more terrifying feeling in the world than being shaken awake by a woman, going, “Fock! My husband’s home!”
But this was genuinely the most frightened I’ve ever been.
I was going, “Dude, we can sort this out. My old man has thity Ks in his safe. The code is one, nine, eight, two – the year that Ireland won the Triple Crown after a gap of 33 years. I’ll give you his address. It’s . . .”
“Shut the fook up,” the first gunman went, giving me a shove in the back and sending me nearly flying nearly headfirst down the stairs. “Just get off the bus.”
So I did as I was told. I stepped out onto the road. It was some random street in Knackeragua.
“You steeerted a war,” he went. “And this is where the war ends. Down on your knees.”
I was like, “Dude, can we not . . .” except I didn’t get to even finish my sentence. He cracked me across the side of the head with the butt of his gun and I hit the deck.
“Say your preers,” he went.
I closed my eyes and felt a hot trickle of you know what run down the inside of my left thigh. And then I heard it. No, not a gunshot. It was, like, laughter and then a round of applause.
I opened my eyes. The two gunmen had, like, removed their masks. I recognised them straight away. It was, like, Nudger and Gull, two friends of Ronan’s from that council-built Lego world he grew up in and they were suddenly helping me to my feet and, like, dusting me down.
Ronan was standing beside me as well, clapping along with everyone else on the tour.
I was like, “What the fock?” a question I felt fully entitled to ask?
Ronan went, “It’s a new feature we’re arthur addin to the tewer. Let people see what a real-life gangland hit looks like. Makes it mower excitin.”
I was, like, rubbing my bruised head, going, “You could have focking told me beforehand.”
“Ah, you’ll know the next toyum,” he went. Then he sniffed the air between us. “We probably should bring a change of throusers for you as well.”