Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: ‘Why don’t you just tell Denis O’Brien’s solicitor that you’ll stop having Denis O’Brien Hair?’

“Make it a good letter,” the old man goes. “One of your specials. Lots of forthwiths and hereafters and whatnots. That should wipe the bloody well smile off his face.”

 

So I’m in bed on Tuesday afternoon, re-watching Ireland against Wales, with my famous tactics book open in front of me, writing out the names of the players I’d bring to the World Cup if I was Joe Schmidt and I had to choose my squad right now.

And that’s when my phone all-of-a-sudden rings and it ends up being Helen – as in, my old man’s second wife?

“Ross,” she goes, “it’s about your father.”

I’m there, “I hope you’ve finally wised up and left the knob,” because she’s way out of his league. I actually said it the day they got married – in my best-man speech. But that’s when I hear the tears in her voice and I go, “Helen, what’s wrong?”

She’s there, “It’s the wig!” because I think I told you that Denis O’Brien is threatening to sue him for having Denis O’Brien Hair. “Ross, I don’t think I could bear the stress of a court case.”

I actually laugh? I’m there, “There won’t be a court case, Helen. This is actual Denis O’Brien we’re talking about. The old man will cave.”

“He won’t,” she goes. “The power has gone to his head. Ross, he’s talking about countersuing.”

I’m there, “Denis’s lawyers will make mincemeat of him in the High Court. It’ll be funny. A day out for us.”

She’s like, “I need you to talk to him . . . please.”

I try to go, “I’m kind of working here, Helen. There’s a World Cup coming up.”

Except all I can hear is, like, sobbing on the other end of the phone? She’s not a fan of the game. How could she possibly understand? So I end up having to get dressed, then I drive on over there.

The old man is in the study with Hennessy. “I’m just having a legal consult with your godfather,” he goes when I arrive. Hennessy, I notice, is scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad. “I’ve thought of another one,” the old man goes, at the same time, running his fingers through his big grey mane.

“I was filling the Kompressor in one of those Topazes of his – the one at Newlands Cross, if you don’t mind! – and the pump was a little on the urgent side. Ended up with half a bloody well pint of super unleaded down the front of my trousers, then had to endure a day of incontinence jokes from the chaps at the Kildare Hotel and Golf Club – yourself included, Hennessy!”

Hennessy goes, “We’ll claim €500 for the trousers and €500m for emotional distress.”

The Rossmeister speaks

“Make it a good letter,” the old man goes. “One of your specials. Lots of forthwiths and hereafters and whatnots. That should wipe the bloody well smile off his face.”

He wanders over to the window and looks out. “Another one,” he suddenly goes. “The water meter that his crowd installed. The new concrete they laid doesn’t match the old concrete. It’s a totally different shade, for heaven sakes!”

Hennessy goes, “We could argue that it’s taken – what? – €3 million off the value of the house, then claim another €30 million for mental anguish.”

He’s there, “Write it up, old chap.”

“Stop!” I hear myself suddenly go. “Just stop!”

They both look up at me.

I’m there, “Why don’t you just tell Denis O’Brien’s solicitor that you’ll stop having Denis O’Brien Hair?”

He looks at me in total disgust. He’s like, “Where the hell is this coming from?”

I’m there, “You’ve been on some crazy power trip ever since you put that wig on your head. Your wife is upset. And her upset is affecting my World Cup preparations.”

He stares at me, his face turning quickly red, then he shouts, “Helen!” and he storms out of the study and down to the kitchen, with Hennessy following close behind. I go after them.

Helen is cooking dinner. The old man opens up on her. He’s there, “How dare you go behind my back like that!”

She’s like, “Charles, we could lose our home. We could lose everything we own!”

The old man goes, “Hennessy, send this woman a letter.”

Helen actually laughs in, like, a bitter way? She’s there, “Oh, you’re going to sue me now, are you?”

The old man goes, “Save your breath to cool your porridge – you’re getting a letter! Instructing you to cease and also desist from going behind my back.”

Hennessy actually storts writing. He must be coining it with all the fees.

“Malicious slander,” the old man goes. “Breach of wifely duties. Psychological torment...”

Helen bursts into tears and I suddenly can’t listen to any more of this. The woman is right. The old man has become a monster and he has to be stopped.

My hand reaches out – sort of, like, instinctively? – and makes a grab for the wig. I give it a serious yank. He must be using some pretty heavy-duty adhesive because I end up pulling off half his scalp with it. He screams.

They’ve got one of those, like, American-style gorbage disposal units next to the sink and I think, yeah, no, I’ll stick it in there, then switch it on and it will be a case of – literally – good riddance to bad rubbish.

The old man’s watching all of this in slow motion, going, “Noooooo!!!”

I dance around the table – a throwback to the glory days when I use to do the same to the Senior Cup defences – and I stretch out my hand, getting ready to dump that wig once and for all.

And that’s when I feel the breath leave my body and I find myself suddenly falling to the floor. The old man – no slouch himself back in the, whatever, 1950s – has tackled me around the waist.

I hit the deck and I drop the wig. If you were being technical, you’d call it a knock-on. It’s lying on the floor a few feet away. We both scramble for it, but I’m still winded, and he reaches it before I do. He puts it back on his head, then stands up, shaping it with his fingers, so that the old volume quickly returns.

“Ross,” he goes, “you’ll be hearing from my solicitor.”

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