‘She turns around and looks up at me and I get such a fright I end up nearly having a focking prolapse’


I wake up on Monday with a hangover that knows my name and yet I’m still out of the bed by one o’clock in the afternoon. Ireland’s performance against the All Blacks has me believing that literally anything is possible – even for the first rugby team ever to represent the Institute of Education – and my mind today is like an internet browser with 6,556 tabs open all at the same time.

There’s only one thing to do when I’m in this kind of form and that’s take my rugby tactics book and grab me some quiet time, somewhere I can be alone with my – I hate saying the word – but genius?

So half an hour later, I’m sitting in Idle Wilde in Dalkey, making short work of a vanilla latte and a chorizo and pear panini, while just scribbling down everything that’s in my head after yesterday’s heroics – we’re talking tactics, we’re talking ideas for individual plays, we’re talking nuggets of motivational wisdom.

I’m also attempting to organise the goys into an actual storting XV, which is basically like a game of human sudoku.

I’m staring at the names in front of me, just ordinary, everyday names – Rudhan Fairbrother, Matthias Baker-Scott, Nicholas Snodgrass, Oengus Bradach, Maol Maceachthighearna – and I’m trying to make up my mind who fits where? Who’s my eight? Who’s my full-back? Where’s my centre portnership?

Of course, some habits die hord and while I’m scribbling down and crossing out names, I’m also checking out this bird, who’s sitting on the other side of the café with, like, her back to me? What I’m checking out especially are her legs, which are incredibly tanned and they just, like, curve this way and then that, before finally disappearing into a pair of ankle-high, chestnut Uggs.

Married or not, I’m always going be an admirer of beautiful women. It’s like my tactical brain – it’s not something I can just switch on and off.

That’s when my phone all of a sudden rings and it ends up being – speak of the devil – my wife. At first, roysh, I consider not answering – I’m technically at work here – but Sorcha tends to keep ringing until I eventually pick up. All those years of being dicked around by me have made the girl as dogged as Poirot.

“Ross,” she goes, “did you take my dream journal?”

I actually laugh at that. I’m like, “No,” because I didn’t even know she had one.

I’m staring at this bird across the floor again. She’s, like, playing with her hair, twisting it around her ear, which is incredibly sexy, and I’m leaning forward, pretending to scratch my ankle and at the same trying to cop a look at her boat race.

Sorcha’s there, “You definitely didn’t leave the house with my dream journal?”

“No,” I go, “I left the gaff with my rugby tactics book.”

“Ross, you didn’t leave the house with your rugby tactics book, because I have your rugby tactics book here in my hand.”

Shit, I think. I flick back through the pages of the book in front of me and I read a random entry, written in Sorcha’s neat, convent school hand.

It’s like, “March 12, 2013 – Shirin Ebadi is collecting the Nobel Peace Prize. She says that someone else should be on this stage sharing this moment with her. And that person is Sorcha O’Carroll-Kelly. I walk onto the stage. She embraces me. Then I wake up.”

I’m like, “Yeah, no, I think I did take your dream journal alright. Who the fock is Shirin Ebadi, by the way?”

She practically explodes. She goes, “Do not read that! Ross, what’s in that book is private! You are not to read anything else!”

I notice that Rob Kearney’s name is mentioned three or four times on the same page and his brother also gets a mench. I’m going through this line by focking line.

“Yeah, no, I won’t read anything else,” I go. Jesus! Simon Zebo’s in it as well!

I’m suddenly again distracted by the vision of this bird who’s now, by the way, licking her spoon. She’s skimming the froth off the top of her cappuccino or whatever the fock she’s drinking and then she’s rubbing the spoon down the tip of her tongue. It’s incredibly sexy.

“How did you mistake your tactics book for my dream journal in the first place?” Sorcha wants to know. “They look nothing like each other.”

I’m there, “Don’t stort this again.”

“Ross, I said it to you a week ago when you drove straight through that red light. You need glasses.”

“I’m not wearing glasses, Sorcha. I’d rather be dead.”

“You just have to accept it, Ross – you’re getting on. Your eyesight is going.”

I’m there, “I will never accept that. Anyway, I have to go. I’ll talk to you later,” and I hang up before she can say another word.

As a life-long appreciator of lovely ladies, I feel it’s important for me to give this bird at the very least a pat on the back and a, “Hell, yeah!” So I stand up and I tip over to her.

My opening line is, “I wouldn’t mind being that spoon right now.”

She turns around and looks up at me and I get such a fright I end up nearly having a focking prolapse. It’s my old dear. I’m like, “What! The fock?”

She goes, “Hello, Ross! What are you doing here? And what an odd thing to say!”

I’m like, “I didn’t know it was . . . I thought you were . . . What the fock are you doing dressing like that in the first place?”

“Dressing like what?” she has the actual cheek to go.

I’m there, “Uggs and a denim mini. It’s winter. I came over actually wanting to . . .”


“No, I’m not going to say it. I’d only end up giving you a swelled head.”

I walk out of there and a few seconds later I vomit against a shop front on Castle Street. Then I text Sorcha and I go, “I’ll meet you in the opticians in an hour.”

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