You’ll have a drink there, Denzel, I said to the pilot as we took off for Kerry airport.
No thanks, he said. I have to drive when we get down.
Ah wouldn’t you have the one anyway, I said, waving my phone at him. Look. Here’s Danny Healy-Rae’s number if you have any bother from the guards.
Fair enough, he agreed. These 737s fly themselves anyway. I’ll just set it on auto-landing.
So I sloshed a good stiff shot of Black Bush into a coffee mug and handed it to him. Plenty more where that came from, I winked, and he grinned back at me.
My man!, he chuckled.
God, he’s a terror for the snuff, that lad, but he was great crack as we hurtled through the sky at six hundred miles an hour. And he knows how to put a hole in a bottle of Bush, I can tell you that. He’s a fair man to put it away.
Are you sure we won’t get into trouble for this? he laughed, as we lay on the cockpit floor trying to remember the words of All My Exes Live in Texas, when the plane gave a lurch to the right and all the passengers screamed.
Excuse me one moment, said Captain Denzel before jumping into his seat and flipping the aircraft upside down.
Old Navajo trick, he laughed as the aircraft steadied and we began our descent to Farranfore. Go out there and tell ‘em it’s gonna be ok, he told me, so I did. I opened the cockpit door and shouted at the passengers. It’s ok. Your captain has a special perm fm Danny Healy-Rae to ply the flane compeely fuggen langered. Anyway jus relax an enjoy the ffflight, we’ll be on the ground in a minute thankyouverymuch now shut up an go back to sleep.
There was a small bit of a bump, I suppose I’d have to agree, as the plane hit the runway, but nothing a day in the panel beaters wouldn’t fix, although I’m tellin you now, those lads know how to charge, by Jesus they sure do. The passengers were screaming again but that’s nothing new.
Ignore ‘em, Denzel, I said, draining the last of the Black Bush into his mug.
As we stood on the steps looking out, we could see a line of identically-dressed men on the tarmac, wearing checquered caps.
We’re screwed, said Denzel. It’s the cops.
Tis nothing of the sort, I assured him. That’s the elite comb-over battalion of the 2nd Healy-Rae Kerry mounted gendarmerie. They’re here to escort you to your car.
A slight tear came to the pilot’s eye as we clasped hands. Comrades in danger.
I love your great country, he said. And then he was gone.