Ross O’Car­roll- Kelly ‘‘ As my old man said once, if white col­lar crime is a crime, then why does no one ever go to jail for it?’’

‘ As my old man said once, if white col­lar crime is a crime, then why does no one ever go to jail for it?’

The Irish Times Magazine - - NEWS -

If you’d told me, when I was, like, 16 years old, that one day I’d end up lit­er­ally work­ing for a liv­ing, I would have asked you, well, what was the point of play­ing rugby in the first place? Yet here I am at, like, five o’clock on a Fri­day af­ter­noon, wrecked at the end of an­other 28- hour week, but at the same time weirdly sat­is­fied to have put in an­other hon­est day’s work. I’ve been steal­ing client files. Not that it’s ac­tual steal­ing. As my old man said once, if white col­lar crime is a crime, then why does no one ever go to jail for it? Mind you, that was just be­fore the judge sen­tenced him to five years for tax eva­sion and cor­rupt­ing the plan­ning process. But you take my point: this is busi­ness.

I’ve been – like I said – slav­ing away for Hook, Lyon and Sinker for the best port of, like, two years now, with fock- all to show for it, aport from a six- fig­ure salary, then an­other six fig­ures on top of that in bonuses.

My point is that I’m good at what I do. I’ve earned 37 Hook, Lyon and Sinker Re­ward and Recog­ni­tion Awards this year, and they don’t just hand them out like sweets. That’s why I de­cided a few months back that I was go­ing to set up my own es­tate agency.

So I’ve been steal­ing files on the QT, slip­ping four or five of them into my brief­case be­fore I leave the of­fice ev­ery day. And it’s ex­cit­ing, it has to be said. It re­minds me of that sum­mer when Honor de­cided she was go­ing to steal an en­tire Stor­bucks, we’re talk­ing piece by piece. And I promised to help her – it was a real fa­ther- daugh­ter bond­ing thing – un­til a se­cu­rity guard in Dun­drum caught me try­ing to force a ta­ble with a chess­board pat­tern on it into the boot of Sor­cha’s Nis­san Leaf. “What are you do­ing?” a voice sud­denly goes. I look up – try­ing to not look guilty? – but pos­si­bly fail­ing. It ends up be­ing JP.

I’m there, “I wasn’t do­ing any­thing. I don’t know what you think you saw, but that’s a pretty se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tion you’re mak­ing. In which case, you bet­ter lawyer up, my friend.”

He goes, “Je­sus, Ross, I’m not your wife. I meant what are you still do­ing here? As in, you’re usu­ally gone home by four.” That’s true. I do like to beat the traf­fic. I’m like, “Oh, er, I just had some, er – let’s just call it – pa­per­work to, er – let’s just say – put away,” and I have no idea why I’m talk­ing like this. “How did you get on, by the way?”

He was show­ing a house in Rialto.

“They’re def­i­nitely in­ter­ested,” he goes, “al­though their of­fer is still a bit on the low side.”

I’m there, “Did you tell them that house prices are in­creas­ing at the rate of 50 snots a day?”

He’s there, “Yeah, no, un­for­tu­nately, the bank won’t give them any more moo. I’m putting my­self up on the board for a six, by the way.” “A six?” I go. “Are you ac­tu­ally se­ri­ous?” I pos­si­bly need to ex­plain that. We’ve been play­ing this game since the mor­ket picked up and peo­ple storted ac­tu­ally need­ing the ser­vices of es­tate agents again. You pick a cer­tain singer – or it could be a band – and you try to work as many of their lyrics as you can into your con­ver­sa­tion with a po­ten­tial buyer. So last month it was, like, Whit­ney Hous­ton (“This was worth twice its cur­rent price at the height of the Celtic Tiger? God, didn’t we al­most have it all?). This month, it just hap­pens to be Neil Di­a­mond.

JP puts his phone on the desk and presses play on the recorder. I hear him go, “Hello, again – hello. Look, I know you both got pretty an­gry with me the last day when I sug­gested that you sell one or both of your cors to stay in the game. I’m gen­uinely sorry. I am. I said. And, look, you said a lot of things you pos­si­bly re­gret as well. But the way I look at it is yes­ter­day’s gone – and now all I want is a smile . . .”

He’s good at his job. There’s no ques­tion about that.

All of a sud­den, his old man – the ac­tual owner of Hook, Lyon and Sinker – walks in, pay­ing a rare visit to the of­fice. “What’s go­ing on?” he goes.

I’m like, “Noth­ing. And that’s a pretty se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tion that you’re mak­ing. I hope for your sake that you’re in a po­si­tion to back it up.”

I don’t think I have the nerve to be a mas­ter crim­i­nal.

He goes, “Hey, I’m just ask­ing why you’re still here at 5.30, that’s all.”

I’m like, “Oh, er, I had some stuff to do, then – yeah, no – JP was show­ing me his sixer.” His old man’s like, “You got a sixer?” On the phone, JP’s go­ing, “LA’s fine, the sun shines most of the time. But does it have its own Luas sta­tion and a Tesco Ex­press?”

JP’s old man laughs. “Oh, that’s good,” he goes. “I’m proud of you, son.”

I de­cide to get out of there be­cause I’m sweat­ing like a taxi driver on 10 penalty points. I’m there, “I bet­ter hit the road! Oth­er­wise, I might have to chorge you over­time!” I prob­a­bly will put in a claim for over­time. JP’s old man goes, “There’s a cou­ple of chaps wait­ing to talk to you in re­cep­tion, Ross.”

And I think noth­ing of it. I just pre­sume it’s the gay cou­ple who are in­ter­ested in that fixer- up­per on Rochestown Av­enue. But, when I step out­side, it ends up not be­ing them at all. It’s two – lit­er­ally – gor­daí.

“Ross O’Car­roll- Kelly?” one of them goes. “I’m ar­rest­ing you on sus­pi­cion of rob­bery.”

I turn around. JP and his old man are stand­ing there, smil­ing sadly at me.

And, as the man said, I’m not a man who likes to swear, but it looks to me like I’m very much focked.

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