‘I do wonder, okay, what’s the play here, Dude? Do I save her life or do I let the Brie do its thing?’
“How dare they!” she suddenly shouts.
It’s definitely how dare they and not how dare you. That’s how upset she is.
I’m there, “Look, what do you care if they link the red and green lines? You don’t even live anywhere near the Luas anymore.”
“I have friends in Foxrock and I’m still very much part of the community out there.”
It’s true. The Gables have named a breakfast special after her. The Holy FO’CK. It’s basically eggs Benedict with a side order of bitterness and sexual frustration.
I’m like, “You’ve wasted so much of your life getting worked up about shit like this. And where has it ever got you?”
“Well, we stopped the council from putting a halting site on Westminster Road, where it would have been inappropriate.”
“Yeah and you failed to get Funderland moved to the northside.”
“We got the Molly Malone statue moved to Moore Street. And that was after years and years of campaigning.”
“Yeah but you couldn’t stop them allowing charity shops to open on Grafton Street.”
She laughs – a really, like, bitter laugh? “Have you seen some of the sales they’re having in the shops? Oh, they’re all charity shops on Grafton Street these days.”
She stands up. I’m pretty impressed that she still can.
“No,” she goes, “I will not stand idly by while this assault is carried out on an area that I love and where I am loved.”
I haven’t seen her this up for a fight since she copped Jackie Lavin with a full basket in the Five Items or Less queue in Donnybrook Fair three Christmas Eves ago.
I decide to just leave her to it and help myself to the contents of the safe. It’s as I turn to go that I hear it.
It’s, like, a choking sound? I look at my old dear. She has her hands around her throat, her eyes are popping and she’s struggling for breath.
It’s obvious that a lump of cheese has gone down the wrong way and lodged in her airways.
My old dear, bear in mind, has spent her entire life – since the late 1940s – doing evil. And in that split-second, I’m going to admit it, I do wonder, okay, what’s the play here, Dude? Do I save her life or do I let the Brie do its thing?
In the end – well, you know what I end up doing. I’m not an asshole. I’m a dickhead. And sometimes that gets misinterpreted.
I perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on my old dear and that poor, heroic lump of cheese flies across the kitchen and surrenders itself against the Ariston American-style double-door fridge-freezer.
“You were going to leave me,” she goes when she catches her breath again.
I’m like, “Don’t be ridiculous. You’re my mother.”
She’s there, “You were. I could see it in your eyes.”
ILLUSTRATION: ALAN CLARKE