‘They put me in chorge of this kid’s spiritual well-being and that includes rugby’
LESS THAN THREE inches of rain fell on south Dublin between eight o’clock and 11 o’clock last Sunday morning. And in this port of the world that kind of sudden improvement in the weather can mean only one thing: it’s borbecue time. And sure enough, some time around midday I was, like, turning over in the bed, thinking about breakfast, when all of a sudden my phone rang and it was Christian, going, “The coals are nearly white, Dude. I’m throwing the meat on. Get your orse over here.” And I didn’t need to be told twice.
I’ve been worried – I think I mentioned – about Christian ever since he was let go by George Lucas. The dude’s been as down as I’ve ever seen him. No job. No prospects. Lauren wants another kid but the dude let it slip to me that they haven’t had Ant and Decs since it was 2011.
But they’ve just storted renting a gaff on Villiers Road in the middle of RaRaRa – the famous Dublin Four and a Half – so they’re obviously trying to make a go of things?
The gorden was jammers when I arrived. All the goys were there – we’re talking Fionn, we’re talking JP, we’re talking Oisinn, we’re talking obviously Christian. There was a lot of talk about rugby, about Ireland very nearly beating the All Blacks the day before and about the difference I might have made had I not been cursed with a beautiful face and a thirst for the old golden wonder.
It’s still an amazing thing to hear, though – nice that people remember how good I was before I pissed it all away.
I have this rule, roysh, that I never go to a porty with my orms swinging. As well as a bottle of cheap, screw-cap plonk from a petrol station in Milltown, I ended up bringing a brand new rugby ball for Christian and Lauren’s son – and my godson, don’t forget – Ross Junior.
Now, unlike his namesake, this Ross is actually a nice kid, if a touch – let’s just say – sensitive?
“Hi, Uncle Roth,” he shouted when he saw me. That’s how he talks, by the way. All his S’s end up being THs. It’s actually quite cute, even though it gets seriously focking annoying after about 15 minutes.
I was like, “Hey, Ross Junior. I’ve got a little present for you!” and I showed him the rugby ball. I swear to God, roysh, he looked at it as if I was handing him roadkill. He didn’t want to touch it. He didn’t seem to even know what it was?
“I would appreciate it,” I suddenly heard Lauren go, “if you didn’t refer to our son as Ross Junior.”
I turn around and there she is. I’ve always been a major, major fan of Lauren, even though she can’t stand me and her shoulders stiffen at the very sight of me. Have you ever had that kind of a relationship with someone where everything you say and do around them ends up being the wrong thing? I could even see the rest of the goys – including Christian – suddenly drinking deep. I was like, “Sorry, Lauren, the reason I call him Ross Junior is so that there won’t be any confusion.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” she went, “there’ll never be any confusion. He’s not Ross Junior. He’s not an adjunct to anyone else. He’s a person in his own right.”
I turned around to the goys for back-up, except they were all looking in the opposite direction. Some mates.
That’s when she copped the rugby ball.
“And I don’t know why you’ve brought that thing. I don’t want him playing that sport.”
Ross Junior turned around – this is a direct quote – and went, “What ith it, Mawmy?”
And Lauren – again, exact words – was like, “It’s not important. Come on, let’s go and find your friends, Maya and Lucy.”
I turned around and looked at the goys, my jaw practically on the floor. Christian obviously didn’t want to get it, roysh, because he made an excuse about needing more burgers and just, like, slipped into the house. Oisinn went, “Leave it, Ross.”
I was like, “How can I just leave it? The kid is, like, four years old. You saw what just happened – he didn’t even recognise a standard Gilbert.”
JP tried to put, like, a positive spin on things? He was all, “He did spend the first three-and-a-half years of his life in America. Rugby isn’t a central part of life over there like it is here.” I ended up just shaking my head. That wasn’t the reason and he knew it.
“It’s Lauren,” I went. “She’s always wanted a daughter. That’s well known. And look what she’s doing. The kid plays with dolls. He compliments his mother on her clothes. It’s wrong.”
“It’s also none of your business.” It was Fionn who said that. That’d be typical of him.
I was like, “Yeah, can I just remind you of this kid’s actual godfather? So is that, like, a meaningless title all of a sudden?” None of them had any answer to that.
I was like, “When you remember the player that that boy’s
father used to be. Drico said in an interview with One F that Christian Forde was one of the five best centres he’d ever played against.”
Fionn was there, “We all read it, Ross.”
“I’m filling up here even thinking of those words.” JP was like, “Whatever
you’re about to do, Ross, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
I found Ross Junior, literally cycling around on Maya’s pink Dora the Explorer classic dual-deck tricycle. I was there, “Ross, come over here a minute.”
Hey, Christian and Lauren were the ones who put me in chorge of this kid’s spiritual well-being – and, as far as I’m concerned, that actually includes rugby?
“Just stand there,” I went.
“Whath are we thooing, Roth?”
“No questions, Kid. Just catch this ball when I throw it to you, okay?” I stepped back maybe 20 yords away from him then, after asking him if he was ready, I sent the ball sailing through the air towards him.
Now, one of the things that made Christian such a great rugby player was his handling. Didn’t matter how rubbish the pass was, he never spilled it and he never knocked it on. It was immediately obvious, however, that this wasn’t a quality that Ross Junior had inherited.
The boy didn’t even move. The ball hit him hord on the forehead and he went down like the proverbial sack of Maris Pipers. I possibly put too much force behind the ball – see, that’s the competitor in me.
My first thought was obviously, “Fock,” and my second, “I wonder could I just step away here and deny all knowledge of this?”
That was when one of Lauren’s interfering mates had to go, “My God, that guy has just knocked little Ross over with that ball!” Lauren screamed and ran to where the boy was laid out on the flat of his back, going, “Mawmy, I can thee thpoth.” You know when you just know that a porty is over for you?