'Isolde felt two sets of fingers tug against the elasticated waist of her cropped towelling pants'
The old dear has let someone have a crack at her face again. Her forehead is suspiciously wrinkle-free and her lips are swollen into a permanent pout.
She looks like a focking monkey sucking a Locket.
“Oh my God,” Sorcha goes, “she looks so amazing.”
We’re in, like, the Merrion Hotel at the launch of her new so-called erotic novel, Fifty Greys in Shades, about an active retirement group from Cornelscourt and Foxrock who go on holiday to the Algorve and discover a reawakening of their sexuality – and then presumably stort humping each other.
“Your mum never seems to age,” Sorcha goes – she was always a bit of a crawler where my old dear is concerned. “I’d love to know her secret.”
I’m like, “Women like her don’t age. The ratio between what’s real and what’s artificial just keeps shifting.”
“Ross, don’t be mean – not on her big night.”
“Hey, I’ve never been afraid to call it. Right now I’d say the woman is about 30 per cent skin and bone and 50 per cent collagen. The other 20 per cent is Bombay gin and insincerity.”
All of sudden a hush, I suppose, descends on the room? It’s full of her friends – we’re talking veterans of her various campaigns over the years, basically to keep poor people out of the parts of the city that she likes. Then she’s suddenly standing at the – I’m throwing it out there as a possible word – lectern, with the book open in front of her.
She’s obviously going to, like, read. But first she pauses, presumably for dramatic effect, but she does it for, like, way too long and ends up totally tearing the orse out of the moment.
She goes, “Herman was emptying the sand from his espadrilles into the bathroom sink when the knock on the door came.”
I’m like, “Herman? Where the fock does she even get these names?” Someone shushes me – actually shushes me?
“He considered not answering. He didn’t want company – not at this moment. The argument on the beach with Mr Loughran had taken a lot out of him. And at 82, he knew he had to think of his heart. But the knocking persisted. He went to the door and answered. Isolde was standing there in a Marks and Spencer’s tangerine T-shirt with matching cropped towelling pants, looking up at him over the top of her reading glasses.‘’ello, Mr Chistman,’ she said. Herman nodded and acknowledged her with a formal: ‘Mrs Kendall’.”
I’m looking around to see does anyone else think this is total horseshit – except they don’t? They’re all obviously into it, lapping up every line. Sorcha – who reads actual books – turns to me and goes, “Her characters are – oh my God – so well drawn.”