Ross O’Carroll-Kelly

‘I feel my fists immediately tighten, like the way they do whenever I see photographs of Caroline Wozniacki with Rory McIllroy. I just hate injustice’


He’s sitting at the bor of The Broken Arms in Finglas. I recognise him straight away from the description that Buckets of Blood gave me – mid-to-late 40s, thin, red hair, glasses with a slight tint, more freckles than actual face and a set of teeth like a box of Denby that’s been dropped from the top of Liberty Hall.

He’s drinking a pint and watching the lunchtime news, bantering with the borman about various politicians whose faces fill the screen – they’re all either doort-boords or doorty-looken doort-boords – and then he laughs the laugh of a 60-cigarettes-a-day man. I straight away hate him, if I didn’t already before.

I feel my fists immediately tighten, like they do whenever I see photographs of Caroline Wozniacki with Rory McIlroy.

I just hate injustice.

I walk over to him. I’m there, “Scum?”

“All depends,” he goes. “Who’s asking?”

I’m like, “The name is Ross. We’re talking Ross O’Carroll-Kelly.”

He shakes his head like the name means nothing to him. Rugby wouldn’t be big in this part of the world.

“I’m Ronan’s father,” I go. “Ronan who runs the Love/Hate Tour of Dublin? Ronan who you beat up because he stepped on, like, your supposed territory?”

He doesn’t even deny it. He goes, “Will you have a thrink?”

I’m there, “No, thanks. I’m fussy about who I accept drinks from.”

That’s not actually true, but it kind of sounds good at the time.

“I wadn’t offerdin to buy you a thrink. Ine just sayin, you walk into a fedda’s pub, you buy a thrink.

“That’s only manners.”

I look at the borman, who’s suddenly staring at me.

I’m like, “Pint of Heineken.”

He laughs. The two of them laugh. Presumably at how I say it. I’m probably just a caricature to these people.

“I dirrint beat your son up,” he goes. “I gev him a couple of slaps is all.”

I’m like, “A couple of slaps? You gave him a black eye.”

“Him and Buckets of Blood broke the windows in me bus.”

“Well, they said you slashed the tyres on, like, their bus?”

“That’s how gangland woorks, see – it’s all tit for tat until no one can remember who did what foorst.”

“But you’re not in gangland. You’re running rival Love/Hate bus tours.”

I’m showing a lot of, like, restraint here. I came here to deck this goy, but here I am having an actual conversation with him – showing him that I’m prepared to be reasonable. He goes, “There’s a lot of muddy in it, but.”

I’m there, “How much money are we talking?”

“Ine cleardin four grant a week. Be cleardin twice that when I shut your young fedda dowin.”

“But why should he be shut down? Is there not room for the two of you?” He laughs. Again, that laugh – I think it’s a word, but, like, raspy ? I’m there, “Hey, what’s wrong with a bit of competition? Me and my old man are in the confidential document disposal business. We’re Shred Focking Everything. But there’s also Slash & Byrne and Ged Rid Quick.”

Like I said, I’m being reasonable with the dude.

I’m like, “What I’m saying is there’s possibly room for two Love/Hate tours. You’re both offering, like, different things. Unique Selling Points, they always call them on The Apprentice .

“Ronan and Buckets of Blood are bringing people out to see the caravan where Fran had his base of operations and offering people the chance to hold the actual golf club that Nidge used to smash Tommy’s head open in Series Three.

“And you’re offering people a tour around John Boy’s actual aportment and a chance to hold the gun that Hughie used to accidentally blow his own brains out in Series Two.

“Do you see what I’m saying? There’s room for a bit of competition.”

Scum goes, “Where are you from?”

I’m there, “Excuse me?”

“What peert of the southside?”

“Foxrock – and I’m not saying that in a fock-you kind of way.”

“If this dispute was happenin in Foxrock, there’d be solicitor’s lethors floyin back and fowerth – am I right in sayin?”

“I suppose.”

“Well, this isn’t Foxrock. You’re a long way from home, can I just remoyund you. The circles I move in, we’ve eer own way of settlin disputes.

“Yeah, your young fedda got a few slaps. But he’ll get woorse if he dudn’t shut dowin he’s operation. Tell him he’s been wardened.”

I end up suddenly losing it. Hearing someone threaten my son makes me see suddenly red ? I grab him by the front of his shirt and I lift him off his stool.

It doesn’t take much – there’s more meat on Victoria Beckham’s conscience than there is on this focker.

I throw him up against the wall and I end up just laying into him. I’m not proud of myself. Brawling with some random gangland figure in the Broken Arms in Finglas. I’d imagine Father Fehily is spinning like a rotisserie chicken in the ground.

I end up – like I said – decking the dude. The borman has to actually drag me off him.

I go, “Don’t you ever – we’re talking ever! – lay a finger on my son again. If you do, you’ll be decked again. That isn’t a threat. That’s an actual promise.”

Scum – that’s a nickname, you’ve probably gathered – stands up, wipes the blood from his nose with an open hand and goes, “You’re going to be soddy for that.”

And suddenly this sick feeling comes over me that I might live to regret what I just did – and that’s if I’m very lucky.

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