Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: ‘The gords are hunting me down like an animal! You have to let me in!’
Three of them chorge into the living room. The old dear tries to escape through a hedge
‘I can’t go back to that hotel! the old dear goes, with a wobble in her voice. ‘It has two stors, Ross. And I’m not talking about Michelin ones.’
Brian, Johnny and Leo are tough kids. I once saw them tackle Cian Healy to the floor in the Build-a-Bear Workshop in Dundrum. The point I’m trying to make is that they don’t frighten easily. So when all three of them run screaming from the living room, telling me they’ve seen a monster, I know to take it seriously?
I’m there, “What did I say to you about switching the TV channel?” because I’m an amazing father. “I told you to sit and watch the 2009 Grand Slam decider, didn’t I?”
I pick Leo up and I take Johnny by the hand and I go, “Come on, let’s go and see Game of Thrones or some shit?”
But Johnny pulls his hand away and takes a step backwards, while Brian runs all the way back to the kitchen and Leo storts wriggling in my orms, going, “No see monster! No see monster! No see monster!” at the same time pretty much hyperventilating?
So I put him down and he runs and hides along with his brothers and I push the living room door. There’s no monster on the TV. It’s actually Tommy Bowe – incredible player – scoring under the Welsh posts. Yeah, no, it turns out that the monster is actually at the window.
“Panic over, goys,” I shout, “it’s just your grandmother!”
“What is wrong with those children?” she goes to me through the glass.
I’m like, “There’s nothing wrong with them. It just takes them time to get used to it every time you have work done to your face.”
“I’ve never had work done to my face,” she tries to go.
I’m there, “Yeah, please! You’ve had that many facelifts, it’s a wonder you don’t walk around with a permanent scaffold around you. What are you doing here anyway?”
“I’m a fugitive from justice, Ross!”
“You’re a fugitive from Mandatory Hotel Quarantine – not the same thing!”
“The gords got a warrant to raid the house! I was out having my hair done and I arrived home to find them kicking the front door down! Your father shouted from the bedroom window, ‘Run, Fionnuala! The Gestapo are here!’ So I got back in my cor and I came here.”
The gords are hunting me down like an animal! You have to let me in!
At that exact moment, Sorcha steps into the living room, going, “Ross, why is Brian saying there’s a talking horse in the gorden? Oh, hi, Fionnuala!”
“Sorcha,” the old dear goes, “the gords are hunting me down like an animal! You have to let me in!”
Sorcha’s there, “We can’t let you in, Fionnuala. You’re actually breaking the rules by even being in our gorden.”
“But I’ve been fully vaccinated since the stort of February.”
“You couldn’t have been. You weren’t on the priority list.”
“Priority list?” the old dear laughs. “Sometimes, I wonder are you one of us at all, dorling!”
Sorcha’s phone suddenly rings then and she ends up answering it.
I’m there, “Anyway, I’m not being rude, but I’m just going to pull these curtains closed. The boys are watching Ireland v Wales and it’s coming up to the famous bit where the camera picks me out of the crowd with a pint in each hand and my top off.”
“I can’t go back to that hotel!” the old dear goes, with a wobble in her voice. “It has two stors, Ross. And I’m not talking about Michelin ones.”
I’m like, “What’s wrong with a two-stor hotel?” at the same time knowing that I wouldn’t put a dog in one.
“They brought a corvery dinner to my room!”
“No one’s saying that’s right.”
“Meat and 10 veg, Ross! Oh, it was vile! I had to flush it down the toilet, piece by piece! And four types of potato! Who in the name of God eats four types of potato with their dinner?”
“Well, I got an insight into a world I didn’t know existed and one I don’t care to see again. I’ll sleep in my cor if I have to.”
Sorcha gets off the phone then. “That was my mom,” she goes. “She was arrested this morning?”
I actually laugh. There’s never a dull moment around here.
“The gords raided a house on Hyde Road,” Sorcha goes, “where she and a few of her friends have been getting their hair done.”
I’m like, “The high and mighty Lalors! It turns out they’re a pack of hypocrites like the rest of us!”
Sorcha’s there, “They kicked the door down. They were looking for you, Fionnuala.”
“Yes, I know,” the old dear goes. “They raided another illegal hairdressers on Foxrock Avenue. And one on Ballinclea Road. And a house in Marian Pork where one or two of the girls have been getting their nails done.”
“She’s been chorged with attending an unlawful gathering in a home – my mom, Fionnuala! Who’s, like, never been in trouble with the police in her – oh my God – life?”
So much gravy, Sorcha. So much gravy
“Can’t you see what they’re doing?” the old dear goes. “They’re trying to turn my people against me. They know that the more of these places they turn over, the more hostile the environment will become for me.”
I’m there, “If the women of south Dublin are being stopped from having their hair and nails done, they won’t be long giving you up.”
Sorcha’s like, “Fionnuala, would you not just go back and do the rest of your quarantine?”
“I’m just not strong enough,” the old dear goes. “I was telling Ross what they brought me for dinner,” and suddenly her eyes grow vacant. “So much gravy, Sorcha. So much gravy.”
The next thing any of us hears is, like, a cor pulling into the driveway. It’s the Feds. I watch the old dear’s face suddenly snap back to the present. She decides to make a run for it.
I call the boys. I’m like, “Goys, come and see them capture the monster!”
The three of them chorge into the living room just in time to see the old dear try to escape through a hedge, then two lady gordaí quite literally dragging the woman through a hedge backwards, before pinning her to the ground face-down and cuffing her.
The boys all cheer.
“The monster’s gone!” Johnny shouts. “The monster’s gone!”
And I’m like, “Okay, goys – rugby!”
RO'CK of Ages, From Boom Days to Zoom Days by Ross O'Carroll-Kelly (Sandycove) is available to buy here