‘I’m not sure I like the word torture. . . enhanced interrogation techniques was the phrase we settled on’
Illustration: Alan Clarke
My old man spent exactly three hours in the Gorda station after his recent arrest for failing to appear in court for various motoring offences. His court date, I might have mentioned, just so happened to clash with the verdict in the Anglo trial, which my old man was busy celebrating when he should have been in front of a judge himself to answer chorges of doing forty Ks in a 30 zone, using his mobile phone while driving and using his free hand to conduct Wagner on Lyric FM while steering with his knees.
He tried to claim the arrest was, like, politically motivated, what with it coming just two weeks before New Republic faced the electorate for the first time. Like I said – three hours he spent in there.
They processed him, then they let him out. They even phoned a taxi for the dude. The way he’s banging on about it, though, you’d swear he was Solomon focking Northup.
And of course, my son, with his natural hatred for the forces of law and order, is the perfect audience for him when he’s in this kind of form.
“I said to the arresting Guard,” the old man’s giving it, “as he was pushing my head down into one of these famous squad cars – quote-unquote. I said, ‘Are we living in Putin’s bloody well Russia now or something?’”
Ronan goes, “Good one, Grandda. I’d say that put him in heez box. And what did he say to that?”
“There wasn’t much he could say.”
“The doorty agriculchiddle fook.”
“Well, if it’s a crime to want to live in a country that values freedom – freedom from malicious arrest, freedom from the diktats of a European super state – then I’m proud to say that I served my time.”
I hate bursting his bubble in front of Ronan. Actually, that’s a lie. I love bursting his bubble in front of Ronan. “You didn’t even see the inside of a cell,” I go.
“You were in an interview room when I came to collect you, drinking coffee with the Gords and telling them about all the additional powers you’d give them if you got into government. The power to Taser anyone carrying a banner or placard with the word ‘rights’ on it was mentioned. You said the only people who ever talk about their rights were the poor. I heard you say that.”
Ronan comes rushing to his defence, of course. “You’re oatenly throying to smeerd him,” he goes. “You’re throying to blacken heez nayum and the nayum of New Repubalick.”
This is in my old man’s gaff, by the way, the day before the elections.
“I just hope the voters will see my arrest and detention for what it was,” the old man goes. “An attempt to subvert the will of the Irish people. A bloody well coup d’etat, if you’ll pardon the French.”
I can’t listen to any more. I’m like, “I’m out of here!” and I wander outside. It’s only as I’m turning the key in the cor that I remember the reason I called out to my old man’s gaff in the first place. My cor tax is due. It’s actually, like, overdue? So I tip back inside and wander back down to the study.