Dubs come good and Womble comes clean
Not even younger driver’s revelation can spoil Croker victory for Vinny
It had been an unforgettable day, topped off by the finest of suppers from the Capri, which had a Dubs Special for a tenner – curried chips, onion rings and battered sausage.
‘I love going on the batter,’ grinned Vinny to himself.
As he put the kettle on for a reviving cup of char and thanked Angie for having the sense to suggest he stay in his old gaffe overnight, Vinny heard a noise from somewhere near his toes.
He bent down and spied Womble, all curled up under the table. He was snoring.
Vinny smiled. He was going to stir him and thought better of it. He found a blanket and pillow and left Womble where he was. As an afterthought, he turned on the heater, lest the boy catch a chill.
As he turned off the light, Womble stirred. ‘Vinny,’ he said in a voice thick with jar. ‘Is that you?’
Vinny got down on one knee and peered under the table. ‘Howya, Womble. How’s the head? I suggest you kip on the sofa in the front room, it’s more comfy.’
Blinked his slanty eyes
Womble blinked his slanty eyes. ‘Vinny, I’ve something I want to tell you. Something I have to tell you,’ he croaked.
Vinny opened his hands in supplication. ‘Fire away, son. But if it’s about the birds and the bees, I’m afraid I’m only a novice, and not even a supreme novice at that.’
Womble’s eyes widened. He hadn’t the foggiest what Vinny meant. ‘It’s about what was written on your locker in work the other day,’ he said.
Vinny stiffened and his senses were suddenly cleared as he grimly recalled the “Scab” poster. ‘Go on,’ he said slowly. ‘What did you hear?’
Womble propped himself up on an elbow, burped, and continued from the Book of Revelations. ‘It’s like this. Me aul fella is a big union head in the ESB, he’s into workers’ rights and some of his stuff has rubbed off on me.
‘I heard the lads in the canteen saying how you were prepared to pass a picket to make sure people got to work, school the shops, whatever. They were building you up, saying how you’d have defied Jim Larkin in 1913, and having a laugh.
‘It got me dander up so I stuck up the poster and wrote “Scab” all over it, thinking I’d put one over Mr Nice Guy and how my Dad would be proud of me.
‘Then tonight in Foley’s, you invite me to join your mates, ply me with pints, and make me feel welcome. Someone even offered me a ticket for the All-Ireland final. I feel like a fraud’.
Vinny shook his head and clucked. ‘Tell you what, Womble. Will you do something for me?’
Womble nodded. ‘Anything, I’m so sorry,’ he said. ‘Say two Hail Mary’s and a Glory Be, and we’ll draw a line under it, okay?’ said Vinny. ‘Oh, and one more thing, don’t you dare throw up – I’ve a new tenant coming next week and I’ve only just had the place cleaned.’