‘This is a politically motivated arrest, designed to discredit New Republic in the lead-in to the elections’
It’s, like, a Bank Holiday Monday and we’re in, hilariously, Louth – we’re talking me, we’re talking Sorcha, we’re talking the old man. It’s, like, the middle of the morning and we’re putting up election posters with my wife’s heavily airbrushed face on them – New Republic’s European Election candidate for Midlands-North West – on every lamppost between, I don’t know, somewhere and somewhere else.
Well, they’re putting them up. I’m sitting in the shredding van with the engine idling, which really annoys Sorcha. “This planet has already survived five mass extinctions,” she goes. “I wonder will it survive the one that people like you are bringing on it.”
She hits me with this line from time to time, whenever she catches me putting the overflow rubbish from the black bin into the green bin, or flushes the toilet twice in a row. When I try to argue with her, she calls me a Climate Change Denier, which in her mouth sounds like just about the worst thing that it’s possible to actually be.
So I kill the engine and get out of the van and I give her a hand carrying the ladder, ever the gentleman.
“Is it just me,” the old man goes, squinting up the length of a telegraph pole, “or are these election candidates getting younger and younger? That one looks like a foetus!”
“It is a foetus,” Sorcha goes. “It’s, like, a pro-life poster?”
“Oh,” the old man goes, suddenly stuck for words. “Is it, indeed? We’d, um, better move on to the next one in that case.”
I put the ladder up against the next pole. He hands me a massive stack of posters to hold, while he clambers up the rungs with the grace and agility of a giraffe on focking rollerblades.
“I’m thinking above Ming Flanagan,” he shouts down, “but below Pat the Cope – any views?”
Sorcha’s like, “Perfect,” and that’s where he ends up putting it, while Sorcha takes another poster from the pile for the next pole. She suddenly storts examining it – as in, like, holding the paper between her thumb and forefinger and giving it a good old rub. “Charles,” she shouts up the ladder, “are you sure these are made from recyclable materials?”
The old man goes, “I beg your pardon?” like he does when he’s been caught out on something and is stalling for time.
I actually laugh.
“It’s just I’m looking at the quality of the weave,” Sorcha goes. “It doesn’t feel like recyclable paper?”
Down the ladder the old man comes.
He’s there, “Oh, it’s recyclable paper, alright,” lying straight to her face. God, there’s so much about politics he can teach her. “Yes, it’s a special kind of recyclable paper that looks and feels just like ordinary paper.”
She’s there, “Really?”
“Yes, really! The things they can do nowadays! The human race – the greatest show on Earth, as Fr Denis Fehily, your mentor and mine, Ross – used to say! Dear, oh, dear!”
Sorcha’s there, “Where did you get it? I’d love to find out more about the company.”
“They’re, um, based in England,” the old man tries to go.
“England? And how were they brought to Ireland?”
“Well, I’m presuming in some form of aircraft.”
“Oh my God! I presume we’re doing something to pay off our emission debt, Charles? We could set up a standing order with one of those charities that plants trees on your behalf.”
He’s like, “Let’s do that then! Let’s very much do that!”
Sorcha goes, “That’s another thing I’ve been meaning to ask you about, Charles. Does New Republic have an environmental policy that I could maybe study over the coming days?”
He’s there, “Well, Sorcha, when it comes to matters that I know little or nothing about, what has always served me well is to mutter something unintelligible, then follow it up with the phrase, ‘In accordance with best practice’.”
“But that’s not good enough, Charles! We have to have an environmental policy!”
He actually looks at me. I’m thinking, hey, you picked her, Dude.
Sorcha’s there, “I was reading an article last night about permafrost that had some – oh my God – terrifying statistics in it. I couldn’t sleep, could I, Ross?”
I’m like, “Er, no. Which meant neither of us could.”
“What if it comes up on the doorsteps, Charles? What do I tell people if they bring up the fact that the Arctic is, like, literally melting away?”
“Well,” the old man goes, “try to keep the conversation positive. You see, I’ve always been a glass-half-full type of chap. So the Arctic is melting – we’ve still got the Antarctic! For those of you who like that type of thing.”
Sorcha suddenly stops, with this look of, like, total horror frozen on her face. She looks at me. She wants me to tell her that she misheard him – that he didn’t actually say what she thought he just said.
And that’s when the squad cor pulls up.
Two Gords get out and stort walking towards us. “Charles O’Carroll-Kelly,” one of them goes.
The old man’s like, “Yes?”
“We have a warrant,” he goes, “for your arrest.”
Again, I laugh.
The old man’s like, “My arrest? On what grounds?”
The dude goes, “On the grounds that you failed to appear in court two weeks ago on a charge of speeding and driving without due care and attention.”
“It clashed with the end of the Anglo trial. I was there to support a friend. I think you’ll find my solicitor informed the court of this fact.”
“Can you please come with me?”
“You’re probably going to need to Taser him,” I go. “He looks like he’s resisting to me. I’d actually back you up as a witness.”
“You’re damn right I’m resisting!” the old man roars. “This is a politically motivated arrest, designed to discredit New Republic in the lead-in to the European and local elections!”
The other Gorda dude is like, “Come with us or we’ll be forced to cuff you?”
The old man has no choice but to do what he’s told. They put him in the back of the Gorda cor and I look at Sorcha, who’s left standing there, literally speechless.
I laugh and I go, “Welcome to my old man’s world!”