'Do you want to know what my New Year's resolution is, Ross? I'm going to seduce you'
Sorcha's old dear says the sprouts are divine. She goes, "Di! Vine! What did you do to them, Dorling?" This is over, like, Christmas dinner in our gaff? "I parboiled them," Sorcha goes. "Then I just, like, stir-fried them in orange butter with pancetta, shallots and hazelnuts? Then I tossed them in sesame seeds and cracked black pepper and added a teaspoonful of crushed chillies." I laugh. It's, like, an automatic thing? Sorcha's old man makes me nervous. He's just staring at me across the dinner table and I know what he's doing is trying to wish me dead.
"What's so funny?" he goes.
I'm there, "I don't know. Just sprouts. I mean, all the trouble we go to at Christmastime just to stop them tasting focking horrible. Maybe we should just accept that they're not meant to be eaten? Although they do taste different if you think of them as miniature cabbages. Which is random when you think about it." I tend to babble when I'm around my father-in-law. Bear in mind, he's tried to kill me twice.
He goes, "All the trouble we go to? When have you ever worked hard at anything in your life?" I don't answer. I'm distracted. Sorcha's sister - Organza or Bulgar Wheat or whatever the fock she's called - is rubbing her foot up and down the inside of my leg, as she tends to on family occasions.
"So," Sorcha goes, "how's the new job?" The sister's working in Aldi, right under the aportment that her old pair bought in the Beacon South Quarter after they were forced to sell their gaff on the literally Vico Road.
"It's brain dead," she just goes. "I hate it." I reach down and pull her foot out of my crotch.
Honor has her nose stuck in her iPhone, texting or Tweeting or whatever she's even doing. "Honor," Sorcha goes, "come on, eat your dinner." Honor doesn't answer.
"Honor!" Sorcha goes.
And Honor's there, "Are you deaf or something? I said I'm watching my figure." I keep the old Von Trapp shut. There's no point saying a word - the kid has an answer to pretty much everything. But I can feel Sorcha's old pair both staring at me, so I end up making an excuse to leave the table. I'm like, "I'm going to grab another handful of those sprouts. Pancetta and shallots. Jesus!" and I tip out to the kitchen, just to take the heat off myself.
I'm grabbing the sprouts out of the bowl with my hand when all of a sudden I feel someone kiss the back of my neck. I'm pretty certain it's not Sorcha's old man. I whip around and it's, like, the sister standing there? I'm like, "Don't." She goes, "What?" I'm there, "You know what. I'm trying to make a go of it with your sister and I don't want to risk that - well, certainly not this early on." "Hey," she goes, "I'm just giving you a Christmas kiss. Lighten up. So have you made a New Year's resolution?" Yeah, I think - to find out your actual name. God knows, I've been to bed with you enough times.
"Resolutions?" I go. "No. I'm not that actually that religious?"
"I have. Do you want to know what my resolution is?" "What?" "You." Now, it's not often that I'm lost for words. I make a grab for the apricot and sausage meat stuffing but she knows it's, like, a diversionary tactic.
"I'm sorry," she goes, "you and Sorcha are fooling no one." "What do you mean?" "You're like kissing cousins, Ross. There's, like, zero sexual chemistry between you. And now you're supposedly back together? Well, I'm going to show it up for the sham that it is." "And how are you proposing to do that?" "I'm going to seduce you," she goes. "That's my plan for 2013." And with that, she just, like, flounces out of the kitchen and back into the dining room.
I grab a spoonful of the Seville orange and cranberry sauce and try to regain my composure. But before I can, Sorcha's old man has arrived into the kitchen with a face on him that would honestly horden concrete. No pleasantries. Nothing. He actually goes, "How does a six-year-old girl end up speaking to her mother like that?"
"I know," I go. "She's a bitch." He's like, "You think it's funny?" I'm there, "No, I'm actually agreeing with you. It's probably one of the few things we do agree on. She's a nightmare. But what can we do? I suppose we just have to suck it up."
He looks at me like I'm the problem? He goes, "When Sorcha was six years old, do you know what she told me she wanted to be when she grew up?" I'm there, "Go on, tell me." "Ireland's first female Attorney General. And do you know what went wrong?" "I suppose she did Orts in UCD - which is not much good to anyone." "It was nothing to do with her choice of subject!" he pretty much roars at me. "It was meeting you!" "Excuse me?" "That's what happened. And now look at her - 33 years old, unemployed, living with a failure for a husband and taking lip from your brat of a daughter."
I'm about to tell him what his own precious daughter said to me five seconds before he walked into the kitchen. Except I don't. I end up just bottling it. Instead, I go, "Do you want more sprouts?" And he goes, "Do you know what my New Year's resolution is going to be?" "Let me guess." "To break up this sham of a marriage."
That's exactly what I was going to guess.