“Next,” Ronan goes, “we’re gonna see the newsachunt shop where Dadden’s brother, Robbie, got shot in the foorst episode of seerdies one. Robbie was just arthur being released from Cloverhill Prison and Tommy was apposed to pick him up, except he was late, because he was arthur been giving Dadden and Robbie’s sister, Meerdy, one . . .”
Buckets of Blood swings the bus right and over, I don’t know, whichever Liffey bridge it actually is. I’ve already got pretty much hypothermia. Fock knows how cold it’s going to be on this side of the city. The old man hands me his hip flask. A whack of XO is just what the Rossmeister needs.
“You’ve been very quiet on the whole promissory notes issue,” the old man, out of the blue, goes.
I end up nearly spewing brandy all over myself. I swear to God, sometimes it’s like he thinks I’m someone else.
I’m like, “Dude, I don’t even know what the fock you’re talking about.” He laughs – this probably isn’t even a word, but – uproariously? “I said it to your godfather,” he goes. “I said, ‘Hennessy, you know who’ll have a view on this? Young Kicker. And it’ll be something suitably acerbic – you see if it’s not!’ You’re not feeling guilty, I hope.”
I’m like, “Guilty? What am I supposed to be feeling guilty about?”
“Well, all these commentators, Ross. Inverted bloody commas. I’m not going to give them the oxygen by saying their names. This is the mess we’re leaving to our children and our children’s children – that’s about the flavour of it.”
I’m there, “Is that not a good thing? At least we’re not having to pay for it.”
He goes, “My point precisely! There’s nothing new in any of this, Ross. We’re an imperfect species – and every generation has to try to make something of the bad hand they’re dealt by the crowd that went before. My generation had to pay for a World War that we played no part in, just as young Ronan’s generation will have to pay for the folly of your generation. It’s the way it’s always been. But one thing I will say is this. Never, ever underestimate mankind’s resourcefulness in turning a bad hand into a better one.”
I suddenly realise that he’s staring at his own grandson, who’s holding up a t-shirt for everyone on the bus to see. He’s going, “These are avaidable in tree sizes for €15.99 and feature a recreation of John Boy’s famous Last Supper mewerdle from seerdies two, with Bob Merely, Michael Coddins, Boppy Sants and Tupac Shikewer . . .” The old man goes, “I don’t think we need to worry about our grandchildren half as much as these so-called champions of the people would have us believe.”
ILLUSTRATION: ALAN CLARKE