KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
Icouldn’t make my mind up about Flight Fest. On the one hand, the weather was threatening to be horrible, and while that hand is still in play, I’m not terrible interested in planes. But The Husband loves them — probably more than he loves me — and there was that tempting invitation for all the family from the friend who owns a terribly chi- chi quayside apartment with an enviable roof terrace. In the end, a wash probably decided it — the high winds made getting it dried on the clothes line a real possibility, but if left unattended, the rain would ruin it — and so I stayed away.
Oh, all right, then, I’m probably not that much of a martyr. A wash would never stand between me and a match, for example, so maybe when push came to giant, fuel-bingeing, pollution-belching metal tubes, it suited me to dispatch the rest of the family to the roof terrace and remain home alone. I even imagined watching a DVD while I did the ironing. That is how stupid I was about all this.
Of course, I have no idea how to put on a DVD. So I phoned The Husband, while he was still on the bus, to ask him to ask the kids how on earth you get a DVD to work in our DVD machine. I did notice that he became quite exasperated by what I thought was a fairly reasonable request, though it wasn’t until they all came home again that I found out (via The Boy) that he actually punched his phone at the end of our admittedly fractious exchange.
Basically, the relayed instructions didn’t work for me, and so the DVD plan had to be abandoned on the only Sunday in recent memory when there was no sport or second- rate fim that I particularly wanted to watch on TV. Even Columbo was over. Suddenly, it was shaping up to be a long and lonely afternoon.
So even though it was still threatening rain and blowing a gale, I decided to go for a walk. Now, normally when I walk in the park on my own, I listen to music. But not for the first time, a quick search suggested that my earphones had been appropriated by a feckless teenager, so I was obliged to walk in silence. Which is how, when I happened upon the four
It was then that I saw the knife. In my 47 years on this planet, I had
never seen a switchblade before.
A lethal weapon
teenagers, I was able to hear that one of them was very cross indeed.
He was on his phone, shouting at whoever was on the other end that, oh yeah, he was a brave man now, on the phone, but how would he like to say that to his face? And he looked as though he was intent on making that particular encounter happen, as he strode away from his friends, still roaring, with the look of a young man in a hurry. And it was then that I saw the knife. I realised afterwards that in 47 years on this planet, I had never seen a switchblade before. But that’s exactly what it was. A switchblade. A lethal weapon. In the hand of a very angry boy who couldn’t have been any more than 17 years old.
I don’t mind admitting that I was suddenly terrified — though I’d struggle to explain why — and then they were gone: the young man in a tearing hurry and then his friends, going after him, calling him back. I probably wasted three minutes then, thinking about what I’d seen and wondering what I should do about it. Then that old line about evil triumphing when good men do nothing came calling, and although I am neither a man nor good, I pulled out my phone and dialled 999.
Another first. Another celebration of 47 years of a charmed life. But I told them what I’d seen and they must have taken it seriously because within two minutes Tallaght Garda Station phoned me for more precise directions.
I don’t know what happened after that. But I do know that I didn’t go to Flight Fest and I couldn’t make the DVD player work and one of my kids robbed my ear phones — and because of that I saw a knife and, maybe because of that, somebody woke up the following morning who just might not have woken up otherwise. And maybe, because of all that, some hotheaded teenager didn’t throw his whole life away in a moment of madness.
Or maybe the Gardaí didn’t find him, or his temper fizzled out, or he put his knife back in his pocket for another day, another row. Life is, after all, as random as that. But maybe. Just maybe.