‘We had a peace summit in the Fu King Northside restaurant (Nanjing – Kowloon – Coolock)’
Those of you who’ve been following the various twists and turns in the turf war between my son’s Love/Hate Tour of Dublin and the rival Love/Hate: The Tour may be interested to hear that a peace summit took place last week in the Godfather-like atmosphere of the Fu King Northside restaurant (Nanjing – Kowloon – Coolock) at the entrance to the industrial estate on the Malahide Road.
Things couldn’t go on the way they were going, that much was obvious. Both sides had had the windows of their buses smashed and their tyres, like, slashed.
Death threats had been issued. Ronan got a black eye, after which I stormed into The Broken Arms in Finglas and decked some dude called Scum, who operates the rival tour. Which may have been a mistake.
So that’s how we ended up in the Fu King Northside – we’re talking me, Ronan, and his friend Buckets of Blood on one side of the table, then Scum and two massive but mostly silent grunts on the other – staring into these comically enormous menus and making just small talk.
“This place does be altwees full of Chinese,” Scum went, whispering it, as if letting us in on a state secret. “That’s how you know it’s a good one.”
I ended up laughing. It was possibly, like, nerves? Everyone looked at me to find out what the joke was.
“Yeah, no,” I went, “you always hear people say that, don’t you? I always wonder do Chinese people say the same thing about McDonald’s. Full of Caucasians – that’s how you know it’s a good one.”
Ronan was like, “You’re babbling, Rosser,” and then – unbelievably – he apologised to Scum for me. “Soddy, Scum, it’s he’s neerves.”
Scum nodded. “He’s reet to be neervous,” he goes. “Meerchin into moy local and trowin he’s weight arowunt. I member tinkin, he’s eeter veddy brayuv or veddy stupid,” and he let that hang air for a few seconds, allowing us all to come to our own private conclusions. Ronan was there, “It makes sense. We caddent go on doin dabbage to each other. We boat know how it’ll end up.”
Scum just shrugged. “Ine not afraid of tat. Ine morten happy to caddy it on to de dett.”
These people are from, like, literally half an hour away from where I grew up – even sticking to the speed limit on the M50 – and I might as well have been listening to focking Eskimos talking.
“Appadently,” Scum went, “the Monk is tinkin of settin up A Trip Through Love/Hate Dublin.”
Jesus, I remember thinking, they’re going to have to stort evacuating us all to the Isle of Man if this continues.
The waiter was suddenly standing over the table, waiting to take our order. Ronan closed his menu. “Chicken balls and cuddy sauce,” he went. Buckets said he’d have the same. Scum handed over his menu and went, “Yeah, chicken balls for me – and these two feddas as well.”
“Okay,” I went, “just to be different, I’m going to go for the roast duck Cantonese style with egg fried rice. And do you have any crabmeat and sweetcorn soup?”
The dude just stared at me – everyone at the table stared at me, in fact – there was suddenly all this pressure on me.
“Fock it,” I had to eventually go, “I’ll have chicken balls and cuddy sauce as well.”
Once we’d ordered and the food arrived, some of the tension went out of the air. Believe it or not, the compliments storted flying back and forth across the table.
“Tat was a lubbly touch,” Scum went, “gettin a fedda in a badaclava to order a passenger off the bus at gunpoint on eveddy toower for a fake execution.”
Ro was like, “Well, I could say the sayum ting about gettin Tom Vaughan Lawlor to step onto the bus at the end of yooer toower and warden people to stay off his teddy toddy. I have to respect you for that, Scum.”
But by the time the chicken balls were eaten, we’d arrived back to where we storted.
“It was moy idea foorst,” Scum went.
Ronan nodded. He was like, “Tat’s why Ine prepeered to make you an offer.”
Buckets of Blood produced a briefcase, laid it down on the table, flicked the two catches and turned it around. “There’s toorty grant in theer,” he went, “to call off the war.”
Scum smiled. Then he said he needed to discuss it with his, like, associates – presumably the two goons, because they left the table with him.
“ Do you ha ve any crabmeat and sweetcorn soup?” Ronan went the second they were gone. “Are you throying to get us kilt, Rosser?”
I was like, “Well, I have to say, Ro, I didn’t expect you to give in so easily. Er, paying the dude off?”
He smiled – an evil smile. “It’s not real, Rosser. The Cora Venus.”
“What, are you saying it’s, like, counterfeit?”
“It’s from a robbedy, Rosser. It’s meerked with an invidible dye. Wait’ll he thries to pass it. He’ll be lifted straight away.”
“Tat’s if he’s stupid enough to take it,” Buckets went. Ronan was like, “He’s stupid enough. Thrust me.”
And at that exact moment, Scum arrived back, shook each of our hands in turn and went, “Feddas, you’ve got yisser selves a deal.”