Ross O’Car­roll- Kelly

‘ The in­ter­val be­tween bank­ing scan­dals is get­ting shorter, a sure sign that we’re on the cusp of an­other eco­nomic boom’

The Irish Times Magazine - - NEWS -

The old man asks me to swing in to Hen­nessy’s gaff – which is what I end up do­ing? It’s ac­tu­ally Hen­nessy’s daugh­ter who an­swers the door. I’m there, “Hey, Lau­ren, how the hell are you? You smell fan­tas­tic – and that’s not me be­ing creepy, hope­fully.” She’s just like, “Hi,” be­cause she’s never had any time for my horse­shit. Lit­tle Ross Ju­nior is there – al­ways de­lighted to see his god­fa­ther, of course. He goes, “Hi, Roth! I drethed up ath Moana for Hal­loween!”

To which there’s no real an­swer. Ex­cept Lau­ren is one of those moth­ers who in­sist on ev­ery­one – I think it’s a word – val­i­dat­ing her kids? I can ac­tu­ally feel her star­ing at me, wait­ing for me to give him a re­sponse. So I go, “Yeah, no, that’s, er, great.” Of course, she jumps on it like a seag­ull on a dropped ke­bab. She goes, “What does that mean?” I’m there, “Er, I used the word great, Lau­ren.” “You said it was er great. What’s the er about?” You lit­er­ally can’t say any­thing these days with­out some­one tak­ing of­fence.

I’m like, “Yeah, no, I was try­ing to re­mem­ber, which one is Moana again?”

See, Honor hates all those Dis­ney movies? She ac­tu­ally only watches them be­cause she knows they make me cry. She once posted a video on Face­book of me bawl­ing my eyes out dur­ing The Lion King, and the thing went vi­ral.

Ross Ju­nior goes, “Moana ith the thaugh­ter of a Polynethian chief who ith chothen by the ocean to re­unite a mythti­cal relic with a god­deth.”

I’m there, “And I re­peat – that’s great. By the way, I got you a ticket for Ire­land ver­sus Fiji. It’s a present.”

The kid – I swear to fock – just stares blankly at me, then goes, “I thon’t like rugby, Roth.”

I’m there, “That’s why I got you a ticket for the match against Fiji, as op­posed to the big one against South Africa.”

Yeah, no, that’d be like giv­ing straw­ber­ries to a don­key.

Lau­ren goes, “Are you deaf? He just told you he has no in­ter­est in rugby.”

And I end up go­ing, “Well, maybe he should de­velop an in­ter­est in it, Lau­ren.” “What does that mean?” “Hey, I’m hav­ing to choose my words very care­fully here, given the cur­rent cli­mate. But I just think an in­ter­est in rugby might, I don’t know, toughen him up.”

“Toughen him up? What, in the way that it tough­ened you up?” “You could say that, yeah.” “Do you think Mu­fasa is def­i­nitely dead, Honor?” “That’s a low blow, Lau­ren.” “Who’s go­ing to bring up Simba?” “That was around the time of Johnny Sex­ton’s fourth con­cus­sion in a year and I was drink­ing like a fish.”

“Well, I don’t want my son grow­ing up to be some thick- headed, tox­i­cally mas­cu­line rugby jock.”

Okay, that’s a pos­si­ble dig at me, but I de­cide to just rise above it. I’m there, “The old man rang me. Said he and Hen­nessy needed to talk to me?” She goes, “They’re in the study.” So that’s where I head. They’re mullered, the two of them. Half- two in the af­ter­noon. Je­sus, I hope Johnny Sex­ton’s okay.

The old man goes, “Ross Kyle Gib­son McBride O’Car­roll- Kelly! For­merly Ire­land’s great­est out­half – now its great­est es­tate agent!” I’m a sucker for a com­pli­ment. I’m there, “What the fock do you want? Why have you asked me here?”

He goes, “We’ve asked you here, Ross, to tell you that we have, this very lunchtime, fi­nalised a deal to ac­quire Hook, Lyon and Sinker.” I’m like, “You bought the ac­tual com­pany?” “Au­dentes for­tuna iu­vat, as the an­cients would have it!” “Does this mean-?” Hen­nessy goes, “As part of the deal, Barry Con­roy has agreed to drop all charges re­lat­ing to your theft of com­pany files.” I’m there, “Il­leg­i­bly.” “What?” “I’m say­ing il­leg­i­bly – as in noth­ing was ever proven? Any­way, I’m glad you got me out of the S, H, One, T. I sup­pose what I’m kind of say­ing is thanks?” “We didn’t do it for you,” Hen­nessy goes. “Ex­cuse me?” The old man’s there, “What m’learned side­kick and long- suf­fer­ing golf part­ner is try­ing to say is that Hook, Lyon and Sinker rep­re­sents for us a tremen­dous busi­ness op­por­tu­nity. The pro­vi­sion of hous­ing in Dublin is lag­ging hope­lessly be­hind pop­u­la­tion growth, which means, for the next five years at least, prices are only go­ing to go one way.”

“Plus,” Hen­nessy goes, “the in­ter­val be­tween bank­ing scan­dals is get­ting shorter, a sure sign that we’re on the cusp of an­other eco­nomic boom. And this one is go­ing to be even big­ger than the last.”

“And that’s why we need you out there, Kicker, do­ing what you do best: sell­ing young peo­ple into a life­time of mort­gage slav­ery be­fore it all comes crash­ing down around our ears again!”

I’m there, “Well, I’m not sure how much ac­tual sell­ing I’m go­ing to be do­ing. As managing di­rec­tor of the com­pany, I see my­self mainly men­tor­ing the younger es­tate agents we have.”

Hen­nessy laughs. He goes, “You don’t think we’d pay what we just did for a com­pany, then leave some­one with a brain like tiramisu in charge of it, do you?” I’m there, “A brain like tiramisu?” The old man goes, “I think what your god­fa­ther is try­ing to say, Ross, is that your mind is multi- lay­ered-.”

“I’m not,” Hen­nessy goes, “I’m say­ing it’s soft and full of cus­tard. And there’s no way in this world I’m go­ing to risk my in­vest­ment by let­ting some­one like you run it.”

I’m there, “I don’t un­der­stand. If I’m not go­ing to be the managing di­rec­tor of Hook, Lyon and Sinker, then who is?”

And sud­denly I no­tice Hen­nessy look­ing past me, be­yond my left shoul­der, smil­ing proudly to him­self. I turn around to see Lau­ren stand­ing in the door­way.

“Her?” I go, re­al­is­ing that I’m com­ing across as pos­si­bly sex­ist here. “But she’s a woman!”

And Hen­nessy goes, “Lau­ren, why don’t you come in here and tell Ross what kind of ship you’re go­ing to be run­ning?”

IL­LUS­TRA­TION: ALAN CLARKE

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