It’s war on the Love/Hate bus circuit


Ronan’s got a black eye. It’s a beauty as well. It’s not only black? The thing is swollen to, like, the size of a golf ball and I’d be pretty surprised if he can even see through the actual slit.

I’m there, “Who did that to you?” He goes, “Dudn’t mathor, Rosser.”

I’m sitting on the upper deck of this open-top bus of his. I haven’t missed a single Saturday or Sunday of the Love /Hate Tour of Dublin since he storted it however many weeks ago. Every weekend morning I’m there at the top of the queue with my 25 yoyos. I’m proud of him. But I still want to know who hit him.

“Never mind dudn’t mathor,” I go. “Give me a name and that person will be decked. One thing will automatically follow the other.”

He’s there, “Leave it, Rosser – you’re out of your depth.”

He picks up the microphone and the chatter on the bus suddenly stops.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he goes, “I hope you all enjoyet seeing Aido’s flat. As I mentioned eardier, that was where the lovable dealer and shooting kitchen proprietor got kneecapped at the steert of Seerdies Tree. It’s also where John Boy ’s geerlfrent, Debbie, used to go to scower gear behoyunt John Boy’s back in Seerdies Two.”

The people on the bus are all just nodding, totally – I suppose – captivated by him? He has the definite gift of the gab.

“Now,” he goes, “on the next leg of the tewer, we’re gonna be visiting the actual cadavan belonging to one of me own personiddle favourite cadickters from the show – the dog lover, cigadette smoogler and loaten sheerk, Fran, who became one of Nidge’s most thrusted henchmen in Seerdies Tree. . . ”

This is a new attraction he’s just added to the tour – the reason the price has gone from 20 snots to 25.

“Theer,” he goes, “you’ll get the chaddence to walk arowunt the cadavan and to howult the actual golf club that Nidge used to smash Tommy’s head open when he fowunt out that Tommy was arthur been riding Dano’s wife, Georgina.

“But foorst, we’re gonna stop for a bit of lunch. Ine gonna bring yiz now to a chipper in Christchoorch that’s owunt by a toord cousint of actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. Thee do the best chips addywhere in town and if you mention that you’re on the Love/Hate Tewer of Dublin, you’ll get a free can of minoddle with orders over foyuv euros.

“And if you’re reedy hungry, I can veddy much recommend the Soorf and Toorf, which is a smoked cod and a spice boorger with chips – thrust me, it’ll sort you out for the arthur noon. So I’ll see yiz all back on the bus in a half an hour.”

He’s a class act. There’s no denying that. But I’m not letting the issue of that black eye go and he knows it. I follow him down the stairs of the bus, me going, “Ro, I want to know who hit you!” and him going, “Don’t woody, Rosser, it’s sorted – thee’ll be got.”

I realise, roysh, that I’m not going to get any answers out of him , so I decide to turn my attention to Buckets of Blood, his friend who drives the bus. I’m a huge fan of Buckets. He’s looked out for my son since he was a kid. He was like a second father to him growing up.

I manage to corner him in his little seat just as he’s tucking into his Surf and Turf. I’m there, “Alright, Buckets?”

He’s like, “Awreet, Rosser?”

He offers me a chip and I tell him no thanks. Sorcha made me sandwiches. Arugula, Mozzarella and buffalo tomato on rye.

“Buckets,” I go, “I need to ask you a question.”

He knows what I’m looking for. He’s there, “I caddent tell ye, Rosser.”

I’m like, “Dude, you have kids, don’t you?”

He nods. He goes, “I’ve two.”

“And if someone did that to one of them, you’d want a name, wouldn’t you?”

He takes a breath. He knows I’m right. “It was a fedda from Finglas. He’s called Scum.”

“His parents named him Scum?”

“It’s a nickname, Rosser. He’s name is Deddick Tattan.”

Derek Tattan ?”

“He dudn’t like it, but. He prefers Scum.”

“So why did he hit Ro?”

He shakes his head. He’s furious with himself for telling me before he’s even done it? “He’s operating a Love/Hate tewer as well,” he goes. “He accused us of muscling in on his teddy toddy.”

“On his what?’

“His teddy toddy.”

It’s mad to think that I grew up half an hour up the M50 from Buckets of Blood and I might as well be talking to a focking Wookie.

I’m there, “Are you trying to say territory?”

“Yeah,” he goes. “Scum says he had the idea foorst.”

I’m like, “Let me get this straight. You’re saying that my son is caught up in a turf war between two rival Love/Hate tour operators?”

He’s there, “Yeah. I mean, they’re veddy diffordent tewers. Scum brings you to the apeertment where John Boy lived in Seerdies Two and you get to howult the gun that Hughie used to accidentally blow he’s own brains out. I says it to Scum. I says there’s room for boat tewers. But he dudn’t agree. Then it turdened nasty. He slashed the toyers on eer bus. So I broke one or two widden toes on he’s bus…”

I’m like, “Then he did that to Ro?”

He nods.

I go, “Where does he live?”

Buckets is like, “Rosser, you don’t want to mess with this fedda.”

But I’m there, “Buckets, I want his address. And I want it now.”