‘Priced out of Killiney? That’s what you get for choosing an orts degree!’

Ross has done a whole series of advertisements for the ‘Irish Times’ property section

 

So it’s, like, lunchtime and I’m in the Horse Show House with Christian, the two of us enjoying the old Joey (Carvery) dinner.

He still hasn’t told Lauren that he’s planning to remortgage their home and use all of their life savings to buy Kielys of Donnybrook with me, JP, Oisinn and Fionn. And from the way he’s talking now, it sounds like he’s possibly having second thoughts?

I go, “Christian, do you know what my old man used to do whenever he was having doubts about the economy?”

He’s there, “Don’t tell me to walk to the end of Dún Laoghaire pier and count the cranes on the skyline again, Ross.”

“Better than listening to all these so-called experts saying there could be another crash on the way. It was a one-off, Christian – let’s accept that and move on.”

“Look, I’m having doubts – definitely – but they’ve got nothing to do with the economy. I just don’t know how to tell my wife.”

“Then don’t.”

“What? You mean remortgage our home without telling her?”

“Marriage doesn’t thrive on full disclosure. Another piece of wisdom my old man gave me – the night before my own wedding.”

“Hasn’t your old man got two broken marriages behind him?”

I’ve found the best way to deal with Lauren is to pretend to go along with whatever she’s saying, then do whatever the hell I want behind her back

“Which makes him an expert, I would say. The problem with wives is, when you get one, there’s no actual user’s manual. It means you have to figure out yourself what buttons to press and not press. Your real issue is that you’re scared of her.”

“Yeah, that’s the pot racially profiling the kettle.”

“Hey, I’m not scared of Lauren. I mean, yeah, no, she’s my technically boss? And yeah, she disagrees with a lot of my – let’s just say – old-school ideas about the property game. But I’ve found the best way to deal with her is to pretend to go along with whatever she’s saying, then do whatever the hell I want behind her back. You need to become a master of what the great magicians call – I think it’s a word – misdirection?”

It’s weird because my phone rings at that exact moment and I can see from the screen that it’s her. I presume she’s seen the ad I put in this morning’s Irish Times property supplement and she wants to possibly debate the wording with me. I switch my phone to silent and turn it face down on the table.

I’m there, “Christian, I didn’t want to use emotional blackmail on you, but you’ve kind of forced my hand here. I heard something – on the grapevine.”

He’s like, “What?”

“Wetherspoons are interested in buying Kielys.”

He turns literally white. He’s there, “Jesus.”

“And you know what kind of crowd Wetherspoons attracts – with their range of so-called real ales and their reasonably priced beers of the world?”

“Hipsters!”

“Hipsters is right.”

“I hate them.”

“We all hate them. And let’s not forget that craft beer is a gateway drug that can lead to deconstructed sushi plates and charcoaled strawberries as a pizza topping.”

“Charcoaled strawberries? In Kielys?”

“Dude, there’s no point in me sitting here and telling you that it couldn’t happen. And then suddenly you can’t hear my rugby analysis over the sound of 20-year-olds with Unabomber beards telling each other that the beer is ‘superhoppy’. Or the new management won’t put the Leinster-v-Scorlets match on the TV because they’re all watching a documentary in Gaelic about some dude from Galway with dirty hair who rowed to Canada in a boat made from kale.”

“It’s like some terrible dystopian vision of the future.”

Priced out of Ballsbridge? You should have gone to Blackrock instead of St Michael’s!

“Can I also just remind you that when Wetherspoons took over the Forty Foot, in Dún Laoghaire, they actually refused to sell Heineken for a while?”

“I’m shaking here.”

“Dude, I’m shaking saying it to you.”

“Look at my hand, Ross – shaking.”

“It’s up to us, Christian. What’s it going to be – Wetherspoons or Silver Spoons?”

“Silver Spoons?”

“Yeah, no, Oisinn came up with it. He thinks it’d be a good name for our consortium, given that most of us will ultimately be getting our seed capital from our parents.”

“Okay, I’m in. You had me at charcoaled strawberries.”

“And obviously not being able to hear my rugby analysis would have been a major concern for you?”

He doesn’t answer. He doesn’t get the chance. Because all of a sudden Lauren has walked into the Horse Show House and she’s glowering at us across the floor.

She goes, “I want a word with you!”

I’m there, “She’s talking to you, Christian.”

But he’s like, “Then why is she looking at you?”

Yeah, no, it turns out she is talking to me?

I’m there, “Hey, Lauren,” trying to show Christian how to handle her. “We were just doing a bit of pretrip boning-up on Bilbao ahead of next weekend. It’s in Spain, it turns out! How random is that?”

She throws the Irish Times property supplement down on the table and goes, “What the hell is that?”

It’s the ad I mentioned. It’s like, “Priced out of Killiney? That’s what you get for choosing an orts degree!”

I’m there, “It’s supposed to be funny, Lauren.”

“Is it?” she goes – clearly not feeling it.

I’m there, “Yeah, no, it’s just to get people’s attention – see, I mentioned the name New Stort Estate Agents at the bottom of the page there. There’s going to be a whole series of them. ‘Priced out of Ballsbridge? You should have gone to Blackrock instead of St Michael’s!’ ”

She goes, “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t fire you right now.”

She’s serious. I can see it in her face. So I end up just blurting it out without even thinking. I’m there, “Christian is thinking of buying a stake in Kielys of Donnybrook?”

She’s suddenly looking at Christian, going, “Okay, what’s he talking about?”

Christian’s lost for words. He actually can’t believe I’d stab him in the back like this. He’s like, “Er . . . em . . . er . . .”

And I’m there, “It’s a million squids, Lauren. And he’s going to remortgage your gaff to raise it.”

Like I said, a master of misdirection.

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