Vinny relieved as The Dodger gets caught in the act


Against the odds:CCTV evidence helps Angie turn the tables on her obnoxious employer

As the runners were engulfed by fog entering the straight at Navan, rendering the ever dependable Des Scahill silent, Vinny Fitzpatrick shouted across the shop floor at the knot of punters clustered around the screens: “Who’ll give me evens the one in front wins?”

Standing in for the indisposed Albert, who had worked in Boru Betting since Arkle was in his prime, the portly bus driver was on the bookies’ side of the counter for a change and enjoying his Sunday afternoon shift.

That his first two bets at Proudstone Park – placed on-line that morning – had gone belly-up didn’t matter a fig. He could have seven straight losers on this day and it wouldn’t wipe the smug smile from his choppy chops.

It had been the most wretched of times, which had threatened to sabotage his marriage to Angie, and almost led to a spell in the ’Joy for Christmas, with Sean Quinn for company. But the misery was behind Vinny now, and the spiteful Sir Roger Winston had been brought to heel by a quick-thinking act from Angie, which not only led to her prompt reinstatement as office manager, but also a five-figure sum in compensation.

As a turn-up for the books, it was akin to Bristol City winning at Middlesbrough on Saturday (which had scuttled Vinny’s accumulator and cost him €100).

Looking back, it all seemed slightly surreal. Sparked off by the dash back from Bunter’s into Boru Betting where Angie, cool as ice, had told oily Simon Temple-Doran, her heir apparent, she needed a few minutes in private in the back office to clear her things.

After Vinny and the hyphen made small talk, Angie emerged with a triumphant glint in her eye. “I’ve got him by the short and curlies,” she whispered to Vinny as Temple-Doran ushered them on to the Clontarf Road.

“Angie, you’re welcome back any time you know . . . .as a customer,” he called out as they left. Angie led Vinny home to Mount Prospect Ave where she’d slotted a disc into the computer and cautioned her husband that parts of what he was about see were X-rated.

Vinny witnessed the wickedness of Roger The Dodger on the closed circuit TV footage of events in the office that fateful Tuesday. His blood boiled as he saw The Dodger try to weasel his way into Angie’s affections, first by flattery, then by force.

It took a judicious knee in the groin from Angie to force The Dodger into a foul-mouthed retreat mingled with threats. Vinny now knew why Angie had been shaken and couldn’t speak to him about what happened when she appeared from her office that day. “You know, I’m glad I nutted the tosser,” he said, as he gave his wife a bear-hug.

“And I’m chuffed you had the cop-on to get the CCTV set up to include the office as well as the rest of the shop,” he added, eyes shining with tears.

The end-game had come quickly. Within 24 hours, Bilbo Baggins had two copies made of the incriminating recording, one of which he sent by courier to Harold E Hopcraft Co (Solicitors) of Northumberland Road.

Bilbo included a letter requesting the immediate restoration of Angie to her job as Boru Betting office manager, plus a demand for a five-figure sum in reparation given the ‘emotional turmoil’ she had been put through.

“Ms Mooney has stated she doesn’t want to have to take this any further, however she will proceed with a case if there is any hesitation in settling this matter to her satisfaction,” wrote Bilbo.

The dispatch also made reference to the rather unfortunate incident at Leopardstown Races involving Vinny’s excessive use of his noggin, and suggested “this matter might be parked indefinitely”.

Bilbo requested a reply by close of business Friday and it arrived, with all boxes ticked. Sir Roger caved in; Angie had her job back, Vinny’s freedom was assured and the cheque for €15,000 was, “in the post”.

Breezing back into work on Saturday morning had been a pleasure for Angie, more so for Vinny who enjoyed giving Simon Temple-Doran, and his hyphen, the red card.

“As you so kindly put it to Angie the other day Simon, you, and your money, are welcome back any time,” said Vinny as he held open the door and half-made to kick Temple-Doran on his skinny backside.

Business had been brisk on Saturday with many regulars hailing Angie’s return, in between following the nags, rugby and football for the final Sunday in November.

The GAA club season generated a fair amount of wagering, while the most popular bet of the day was the head office special on Spurs striker Jermain Defoe at 5 to 1 to score at any time against his former club, West Ham.

Ahead of the last race in Navan, the 3.25pm, where the fog had been replaced by a cover of darkness, Vinny sensed something was afoot on the shop floor.

He spied The Reverend in deep conversation with a couple of other regulars, Charlie St John Vernon and lanky Larry, the acne-pitted youth, who seemed to live in the place. When heads were bowed in Boru Betting, and words murmured in corners, it usually meant there was inside information on a runner.

In this case, it was the bumper at Navan and the horse being whispered about was Joanne One. As a stand-in cashier, Vinny wasn’t allowed place a bet, but he was itching to have an interest. He caught The Reverend’s eye and nodded towards the toilet. Two minutes later, he had passed over a score with the instructions “on the nose”.

Moments before the off, there was a flurry of tenners, twenties, even a nifty-fifty or two on Joanne One. Everyone in Boru Betting, it seemed, was on board the four-year-old, whose odds were 7 to 1. Such was the flood of money, Vinny felt obliged to inform Angie of the “run”.

Within minutes, the roars in Boru Betting carried into Foley’s next door as Joanne One sluiced through the mud to win by four cushy lengths.

Vinny pocketed €140 and reckoned the office coughed up around €1,500 on the race.

“It’s not the first time Roger Winston has been stung where it hurts by a fine filly this weekend,” he grinned to himself.

Bets of the week

1pt each-way Martin Kaymer in Nedbank Champions Challenge (100/8, Betfair)

1pt each-way Roberto Goldback in Hennessy Gold Cup (16/1, William Hill)

Vinny's Bismarck

2pts Lay Liverpool to beat Spurs in Premier League (2/1, Ladbrokes, liability 4pts).

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