I went out for a few scoops at the weekend with my good buddy, Jimbo. Lovely. Really nice. We blundered into town and stopped for a quick one in Tom Collins’s while we considered what to do next.
Some of our friends were playing in Cobblestones so we wandered down there for a look and sure enough there was a motherfucker of a gig brewing.
Great stuff. The night is looking good.
I’d say it’s your round, said my companion helpfully.
Oh right, I replied. We play this little mind game with each other.
Can I apply for two pints? I ask the young barperson, when a total stranger approaches me. He’s wearing a shit-eating grin and he appears to be slightly inebriated.
How do I know you? he demands.
That would only happen in Ireland. How do you know me? Well, not biblically anyway, that’s for sure. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
How do you know me? That’s a tough one. Give me a clue. Where might we have met?
He certainly seems familiar but I’m still at a stand, so I prod him. What do you do?
I’m retired, he replies, which is fuck-all good to me.
You’re retired? Would we have met in your retirement?
Oh, he says, I do a bit of landscaping. And suddenly the whole world rushes into one tiny singularity as I remember in precise, forensic detail who this fucking fool is. This is the character who made complete shit of my back garden and left an enormous mess for me to clean up.
You! I snarl.
He steps back a pace or two, just as he did when he came unbidden into my property and was cornered by the Hound of Satan.
I remember you now. You’re the fucking chancer my neighbour hired to trim the trees. You’re the complete fraud, charlatan, crook who hacked the fuck out of my trees, demolished my trellises, trampled on my shrubs and left a huge heap of shit for me to clean up.
He’s staring at me with a deep shit-eating grin. Ah, sure we won’t fall out over it.
Fall out over it? I’m in full flow now. Fall out over it?
His woman friend is laughing at him.
Fall out over it? If you ever set foot on my property again, I’ll set the fucking dog on you and I won’t call him off this time you fucking crook.
People are craning their necks, looking, but I don’t care since this utter fraud destroyed my garden.
Do you understand me?
He backs away, grinning. I collect our two pints and return to the gig.
Much later, as the night wears on, I find myself again at the bar, applying for two more pints when I feel a touch at my elbow.
I hope I didn’t offend you, he says.