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‘It took a global pandemic to get Ross to keep it in his trousers’

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: ‘If my orms stretched two metres, I would deck you for that’

“This is nice, isn’t it?” Sorcha goes.

Which it isn't, by the way?

Yeah, no, we’re celebrating phase one of Ireland’s reopening by having a picnic in the gorden with her old pair – and I’d rather take out my own molars with a rusty spoon.

"It's lovely to be able to see you again," Sorcha's old man goes. "I've missed you, Dorling."


He’s talking to Sorcha, I should point out, not me.

"It's just been like – oh my God – the worst nightmare," Sorcha goes. "Have some more of the beetroot hummus, Mom."

Her old dear's there, "I really shouldn't. I've put on so much weight since this thing storted."

"Oh my God," Sorcha goes, "do you remember Dubheasa O'Reilly, who I very nearly went on Erasmus with, except she ended up going to Groningen? Well, she was saying on my Environmental Concern and Awareness WhatsApp group that a girl she knows has put on so much weight during the lockdown that the facial recognition software on her phone doesn't, like, recognise her anymore?"

I’m there, “Was she wearing a face mask?”

Sorcha’s old man tuts. He has a habit of doing that whenever I speak.

Sorcha’s like, “What do you mean?”

“I’m just saying that the same thing happened to me the day you sent me to, like, Morks & Spencer’s?” I go. “I was staring at my phone for ages, wondering why it wouldn’t unlock. I was about to fock the thing at the wall – then I remembered that the bottom half of my face was covered.”

“Why are you telling us that?” Sorcha’s old man goes.

I’m there, “Hey, I’m just trying to prove that I know how to talk about things other than rugby – world affairs included.”

"Does he have to be here?" he goes, turning to Sorcha.

Sorcha's there, "Oh, please don't you two stort! We're supposed to be having a pleasant day".

“Why does everything that comes out of his mouth have to be so inane?”

Er, inane? I’m not sure that’s even a word. I’ll definitely be Googling it later.

Sorcha's old dear goes, "They're saying that this thing is going to change the entire world."

Sorcha's like, "Well, hopefully, for the better. Dad, have some more of the red cabbage kimchi. Has anyone noticed that you can actually, like, smell the wild flowers this year? It's because the air is cleaner. And – oh my God – the birds singing at, like, four o'clock in the morning. The Earth is healing!"

I’m there, “I read this orticle – well, headline – the other day that said that casual sex has stopped being a thing. Tinder is apparently a wasteland.”

He goes, "That'll be good news for your marriage, Sorcha."

I’m there, “You’re lucky my orms don’t stretch two metres – because I would deck you for that. You’d be the subject of a decking. I’d be the decker and you’d be the deckee.”

Sorcha goes, “Ross, can you please stop talking about decking my dad?”

But the dude just smiles in my face.

“Two months,” he goes. “It must be the longest he’s gone without cheating on you, Sorcha. It’s just a shame it took a global pandemic to get him to keep it in his trousers.”

And that’s when I decide to just say it.

I’m there, “And what about you?”

"What about me?" he goes, not a clue that I actually have the goods on him for once?

I’m there, “Can you put your hand on your hort and say you’ve always been one hundred per cent faithful to this one?”

"This one?" Sorcha's old man goes. "Dorling, are you going to let him refer to your mother like that?"

I’m there, “Stop changing the subject. Are you saying you’ve never done the dirt yourself?”

“I’m saying that my marriage vows are a sacred thing,” he goes.

And that’s when I whip it out. Let me rephrase that – that’s when I take the piece of paper out of the back pocket of my chino shorts.

I suddenly feel – weirdly – bad? It's like I've storted something that I probably should have left alone

He’s like, “What’s he got there?” sounding suddenly worried.

I'm like, "You remember a few months back, when your old firm was auctioning off all the junk from the office – and I bought that painting of your ugly focking mug?"

“It was a portrait,” he tries to go. “And you bought it just to stop me having it.”

I'm there, "That's not true. I bought it because it was of great sentimental value to me. Anyway, when Brian, Johnny and Leo were putting their feet through the thing and smashing it to literally splinters, I happened to find a letter taped to the back of the – I want to say – canvas?"

“A letter?” he goes, sounding seriously worried now. “What kind of letter?”

"A love letter," I go. "From the ortist to you. Let me read it for you. My dorling Edmund, I will never forget all the stolen afternoons we shared while I tried to capture the tenderness that lives beneath your strong… I can't pronounce that word. C, a, r, a, p, a, c, e. I hope I succeeded. I love you forever. Your Anastasie xxx."

He’s just staring at me with his mouth wide open. I’ve been waiting for this moment for, like, 25 years.

I’m there, “Sorry, what was that you were saying about your marriage vows being a sacred thing?”

He suddenly makes a lunge at me – rugby reference – like Dylan Hortley clearing out a ruck. He puts his two hands around my throat and storts pressing his thumbs into my windpipe.

“Two . . . metres!” I manage to go, as he slowly strangles the life from me. “The guidelines . . . say . . . two metres!”

Suddenly, I hear this high-pitched wail, like a banshee, and I realise that Sorcha and her old dear are both crying. On the upside, Sorcha’s old man stops trying to crush my windpipe.

“Dorling!” he goes. “It was 40 years ago!”

I suddenly feel – weirdly – bad? It's like I've storted something that I probably should have left alone – like when you take too much from the breakfast buffet and you're suddenly sitting there, thinking, 'Why did I think I could eat four Danishes?'

Sorcha puts her orm around her old dear’s shoulder and she sort of, like, walks her in the direction of the house. I’m guessing she’s self-isolating with us now.

Sorcha’s old man just looks at me and goes, “I’m going to ruin you.”