It was four thirty in the morning. The Wild Turkey was all gone. I had no cigars and my secretary had gone home. There was nothing left but to sweep out the embers of another failed day, and to hope for one good paying job tomorrow. Something to cover the rent. Something to dull the pain. Something to keep me straight for another day or two.
The phone rang. Gggggrrrrrinnnnnggg!
It rang again. Ggrrinngg ggrriinnngg!!
The phone rang a third time. Gggrrrrriiinnnngggg!! Gggrrrrrrinnnngg!!!!
No doubt about it now. No escaping the grim truth: this is without question a phone call.
The phone rang a fourth and final time. Ggggrrrriinnngggg!!
What?? I shouted into the earpiece, savagely flinging the empty bottle of Wild Turkey at the dogs. What the fuck do you want, damn you?? Haven’t I given you everything a man could possibly give? Do you want my very soul before you’re satisfied, damn you??
The voice at the other end seemed a little diffident. A little taken aback.
Eh, hello? Is that you, Bock?
It sounded somehow familiar. Distant, crackly, a bit time-delayed, but familiar somehow.
Bob? I muttered. Is that you, Bob? Bob the Rocker? My cousin in Australia?
Good on ya, Bock, mate, the voice replied, no worries!
Jesus, Bob. What’s going on? Why the fuck are you calling me at four in the morning? I’m about to fall into bed.
Well, Bock, it’s about the family reunion.
What – oh Jesus, now I remember. The family reunion in Limerick.
Yeah, fair dinkum, Mate! I’ve invited all the cousins from all over the world? And we’re havin’ it in Limerick this year? In your house?
Oh God, I groaned. My house? Like how many are coming?
Well, Bock, mate, I’ve asked a lot of the guys, and they all want to go to Limerick, and meet these Munster Rugby guys. So we’re expecting the Wallabies prop, Bill the Rucker. And the All Blacks number seven, Buck the Wrecker.
Great, I said. Anyone else?
Oh, yeah, mate. There’s the cousin from LA: Bo the Rapper, and the poor homeless bastard, Rob the Beggar. Then we have our friend from Sydney, that I definitely don’t know personally, Ron the Bugger. We got the bloke from Saudi, Bill the Rigger, and your cousins from the financial world Reg the Banker and Roy the Broker. We have your gypsy relation, Bill the Rambler, and the guy from London we don’t like to talk about.
Oh, I say, you mean Bart the Ripper?
Yeah, he says. Sorry.
No worries, I say. Anyone else?
Well, he says, there’s Ray the Biker, and Rab the Bonker. There’s Bill the Wanker, and Bull the Trucker, and a few guys from the Florida swamps. I was talking to cousin Bubba the Trigger about it.
Great, I say. The only thing is this. What if there’s trouble? I wouldn’t want all those fuckers starting a fight in my house. You know what our family is like.
Taken care of, replied Bob. I’ve hired Rick the Bouncer.