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She saw a goy in a white coat and shouted, ‘Hero!’ And he was like, ‘Er, I work in Kiehl’s’

Honor restorts the economy while Sorcha’s Zoom call proves fatal to Ro’s alibi

Ronan rings me and he’s close to tears.

I'm like, "Ro, what's wrong? Have you been watching Michael Collins with drink on you again?"

There's something about that movie that always gets under his skin. I had to drag him off Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Arnotts three or four Christmases ago. He was going, "You doorty, ambushing thraitor."

I’m like, “Ro, it’s just a film. It never actually happened.”

"It's got nothing to do with Michael Cottons, " he goes. "Ine going on the rudden, Rosser."

“Why are you going on the run?”

“Ine in thrubble – with the law.”

I laugh.

I’m like, “Is that all? Just ring Hennessy. Have you learned nothing?”

He goes, “Even Heddessy caddent save me from this one, Rosser.”

“Dude, what happened?”

"I was addested – about a month ago – for breaching the lockdown rules. I was stopped at a checkpoint in Lucan. "

“Lucan? Jesus.”

“Me case is up next week.”

“Like I said, Ro, Hennessy is your man. He’ll not only get you off, he’ll get you an apology as well. And possibly damages.”

“I’d a quare wooden in the car with me, Rosser.”

“A what?”

“A quare wooden.”

“Ro, could you maybe tone down the accent a bit when you talk to me? Are you saying you were with another girl?”

“That’s exactly what Ine saying.”

“Another girl who presumably wasn’t your wife?”

“Now you’re getting the pitcher.”

“Fock’s sake, Ro.”

“So you can see why Ine going on the rudden.”

“Where are you now?”

“Ine in me driveway.”

“Jesus, I thought you were going to say Hook Head or Inishowen. You haven’t got very far, have you?”

There’s just, like, silence on the other end of the phone. Then he goes, “Rosser, you’re a genius.”

I’m like, “Er, am I? Seriously?”

It’s amazing how ready I am to believe that, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

"I'll tell Shadden it was you," he goes.

I’m like, “Er, I don’t remember suggesting that, Ro.”

"I'll say it was you caddying on with a quare wooden behind Sorcha's back. When the Geerds stopped you, you paddicked and geb them my name."

“I don’t know.”

“She’ll belieb that, Rosser. She knows you’re a doort boord.”

“Yeah, thanks for that, Ro.”

“Please, Rosser. This is me maddidge on the line.”

And, being too nice for own basic good, I go, “Fine, you can tell her it was me.”

He’s there, “You’re the best fadder in the wurdled, Rosser.”

And I’m like, “Thanks,” because I’m good at taking a compliment, in fairness to me.

He hangs up.

A couple of hours later, Sorcha and Honor arrive home. They’ve been celebrating the easing of the lockdown restrictions by having a mother-daughter bonding day in town. Honor has got 13 or 14 shopping bags swinging from her hands and a hundred-watt smile on her face.

I’m there, “Someone looks happy!”

Honor goes, "I am! Your wife made a complete show of herself on Grafton Street!"

So much for mother-daughter bonding.

“It was an easy mistake to make,” Sorcha goes.

I’m there, “What happened?”

Honor’s like, “She saw this goy in a long, white coat and she couldn’t help herself. She storted shouting, ‘Thank you! Thank you for your service!’ He was like, ‘Excuse me?’ and she was all, ‘On behalf of the Irish nation, I just wanted to say that you’re a hero!’ And he was like, ‘Er, I work in Kiehl’s.’”

I end up spitting beer everywhere. Yeah, no, I forgot to mention that I’m drinking beer.

Honor goes, "It was, like, hillair?"

“It certainly sounds it,” I go. “By the way, it looks like you’re doing your bit to restort the economy,” and I nod at her bags.

She’s there, “I’m going upstairs to decide what I’m keeping. And I want you to give me the cash equivalent of everything I’m sending back.”

Off she trots.

I’m there, “She’s in cracking form.”

Sorcha goes, “I think today did her good. I was really worried that the lockdown might have adversely affected her.”

“No, she’s still the same little wagon she was before the pandemic – thank God.”

And that’s when the doorbell rings.

Sorcha goes outside to answer it while I help myself to another can of the laughing water. I hear Sorcha go, "Hi, Shadden! Hi, Ronan!" and this feeling of, I don't know, dread comes over me?

I'm suddenly staring at the back door, thinking, maybe I'll go on the run. But it's too late. Ten seconds later, they walk into the kitchen and Sorcha goes, "What is it you want to talk to us about, Shadden? And, bear in mind, we're still observing social distancing rules in this house."

Shadden just – I think it's a word – glowers at me?

“I hate tedding tales,” she goes, “but it’s oatenly fair that you know.”

Sorcha’s like, “Know? Know what?”

“Your husband broke the lockdown rules and he’s arthur thragging my Ro-Ro into it.”

I’m there, “Er…”

“Rosser was arrested in Lucan,” she goes, “with anutter wooban in the car – and he geb the Geerds Ronan’s name and athress.”

“Lucan?” Sorcha goes.

It says a lot about our marriage that that’s the detail of the story she’s struggling to believe.

Sorcha goes, “Is this true, Ross?”

I'm looking at Ronan and I'm there, "Er, Ro, you might want to weigh in and say something here?"

I swear to God, he actually tuts and goes, “You bleaten doort boord, Rosser. Ine surprised at you, so I am.”

I'm like, "You're surprised at me?"

Sorcha’s like, “When did this supposedly happen, Shadden?”

“Accorton to the summons,” Shadden goes, “it was eight o’clock on Wednesday, the sixth of May.”

“Then it couldn’t have been Ross,” Sorcha goes.

I’m like, “What?” surprised to hear my wife defending my honour for once.

“Wednesday night is when we do the family Zoom call,” she goes. “You were here.”

I'm there, "Ro, maybe now might be the time to say something?"

"Alreet," he goes, "it was me, Shadden!"

She’s like, “What?” looking as shocked as Jonathan Rhys Meyers did when I freed him from the headlock.

“Shadden, Ine soddy,” he tries to go, but she turns on her heel and storms out.

“My old man and Sorcha’s old dear have the two spare rooms,” I go. “You’ll have to sleep on the sofa.”