Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

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THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT THE FIRST TIME

(second time I did it on my own...)

drunk-salaryman
It’s isn’t always easy to pinpoint the moment a session turns into a bender. The American writer P.J. O’Rourke reckons its when he finds himself carrying a drink (“a real drink, with ice cubes in a cocktail glass”) with him wherever he goes – to the bank, the supermarket or even into the shower. For me, it’s when I have to close one eye with my hand to read a menu for the third or fourth order without sleep.

It’s three o’clock on a Monday afternoon. Paddy is unshaven, unwashed and chatting up a coat stand. Declan is attempting (manfully, but so far unsuccessfully) to ingratiate himself with a group of office workers gathered for their Christmas lunch. I reckon he’s hoping one of them will offer him the other end of a cracker to pull. Penfold and his buddies, alas, look more likely to call security.

My phone has been ringing almost constantly for several hours now. I’m seriously considering answering it in a foreign accent. Some good might come of doing that. I’m pretty sure.

That point of no return, whenever and wherever it was, is now a dot in the rear view mirror.

Rewind to last Thursday – or was it the Thursday before? We set out with good intentions. Sure, we stop off for some refreshments on the way. But we make good time, arriving only ten or fifteen minutes late for the service. There are a hell of a lot of fresh faced young women in the congregation. (Which is a surprise.) And the priest devotes almost all his eulogy to warning of the perils of unmarried motherhood. (Which is weird.)

Our dear departed friend Tommy, God rest his soul, was obviously more of a ladies man than any of us had ever suspected. Sneaky bastard – I really never thought he had it in him. Then Paddy notices something. “There’s no fucking casket,” he whispers (only so loud that half the church hear him.) “We’re in the wrong fucking church!”

Actually, we’ve just crashed a local Children’s Sodality Mass.

It’s not good. And our roadtrip gets steadily more shambolic from there on in… I won’t into details. But a full account would probably read like the lyrics to some deranged Christy Moore song. There are parts you don’t want to know. Parts you wouldn’t believe. And parts, well, parts I’ve already forgotten.

This is it though. Our final shout. Our last stand. It’s may be cold outside, but that’s nothing compared to the reception awaiting each of us when he finally gets home. A nice warm pint of Guinness should send us nicely on our way.

The barman, though, is not in a mood to play ball. And Paddy, God bless him, probably isn’t the man to persuade him. He shouts. He points. He mentions the 1916 Rising for some reason. After more protracted negotiations, he returns carrying three pint glasses of MiWadi orange. The lads at the next table jeer. I give Paddy a look.

“Well,” he snorts. “Better than coming back empty handed. I mean, how embarrassing would that have been?”

Less embarrassing than this, I’m willing to assume.

Paddy pulls a flyer out of his pocket. It’s done up, on one side, to resemble a fifty euro note. He found it in a toilet cubicle in Ennis and he’s been staring at it, with a sort of demented fascination, ever since. He touches my arm.

“I tell ya what we do, Butler. Fuck Declan. Me and you, man…”

What?

“We jump in a taxi out to Donnybrook, right? Tell RTE we’re gonna pitch them a programme…? Gonna be a fuckin’ smash hit… Gonna make us rich, boy…”

“What’s that?”

Winos Say The Funniest Things.”

I bury my face in my hands. We don’t have time for this.

“Winos are hilarious,” he slurs.

I don’t think so.

“Why not?”

I just don’t think making fun of alcoholics is a good premise for a television programme.

He shakes his head.

“Well, I think it is. Cos you’re only, you know, what…”

His train of thought, if he ever had one, is gone now. I try to rouse him, but he just slumps back in the chair. Two tables down, Declan is putting his hand down a woman’s blouse. This is bad. We gotta go. We gotta go now. Cogs turn in my brain.

Watch this, I say, plucking the very obviously fake fifty out of Paddy’s hand.

“Watch what..?”

He squints and, as he does so, I discreetly replace his fake fifty with a real one from my wallet. Then I turn around to the bar and ask for a packet of Bacon Fries

“There’s your change,” says the barman, handing me forty nine odd euros.

Paddy’s eyes bulge. He can’t believe it. He takes a deep gulp from his pint.

“We better get the fuck out of here,” he says, grabbing his jacket. “Or we could be in trouble.”

Oh, we’re already in trouble. Come on buddy, I tell Declan, rousing him by the arm. It’s time we got out of here.

“Where we going?” he asks.

Home, I tell him. It’s time to face the music…

December 16th, 2009.

22 Responses to “THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT THE FIRST TIME”

  1. El Kid Says:

    I don’t see how you can come up with a definition of a bender without mentioning fat birds.

  2. Eoin Says:

    That’s you my friend, not me!

  3. massey Says:

    My last piss up ended up more like the lyrics to a Richie Kavanagh song so count yourself lucky

  4. Pluck Says:

    This is like a Charles Bukowski novel without the spit,vomit, fighting and randiness. In other words with all the good parts missig, I know you send you werent gonna tell and all, but geez, give us something better than a dud (ho!)story about a fake 50euro note! : )

    Im not sure that fella in the photo is really drunk at all either. His shirt is still tucked in – in fact its spotless. Hes still wearing his tie. Hell, his fly isnt even down. And all the while hes still has the wherewithal to keep his briefcase about his general person. No its a bit staged now for my liking.

  5. Eoin Says:

    I think we’re far enough down in the comments pluck to tell ya that piece was written for herald with laptop on lap in bed in about 25 minutes last Monday morning. If we ever meet up outI’ll tell ya the rest….

  6. Eoin Says:

    Re: the photo. You may be right. Send me a more suitable photo and I’ll put it up in it’s place!

  7. Donald Book Says:

    I know what this is,thats brilliant.

  8. Donald Book Says:

    wroye by accident

  9. Donald Book Says:

    thought it was the plot of fkin ulysses funeral 1916 in the pub time to go home fuck it-delete that will ya

  10. Eoin Says:

    Dan… You are an enigma.

  11. Donald Book Says:

    im not no,IT’S VERY COLD!walking home i was hoping it wouldnt be a case a michael winterbottom and nine comments-its a shame nooone else will weigh in,a bit a brio,a bit a blue,melvyn bragg ftw,dan rooney gtm.

    denis interviews enigma
    “did you ever hear of macdreamy danny boy”
    ha?!
    tut,another late night danny boy….
    no those albums are always full of shit music and always a loada auld rap,smoking joints trying to make you uncomfortable and barred from their houses,lisoning to their shit music.hardly.
    herman….
    i was thinking a him smiling on yokes thinking a me and then he barrss me for life
    she was so studious she called her clit a little a.yeah i got ya down.

  12. Eoin Says:

    Dan… you really are an enigma.

    PS I always enjoy your comments but could you please change yer Facebook pic to a photo of yourself so I could have some idea what kind of an opponent I’m up against here?

  13. Donald Book Says:

    annotated(i dont know what that word is i didnt do inglish incollege(i didnt do that either)

    im not no(an enigma)
    IT’S VERY COLD (caps for the winter)
    nine songs is a rubbish film
    nooone! o.
    brio(know)
    ftw (FRSL FRTS)(an interviewer)
    gtm (gentle travelling man)

    denis(known head)
    (dyehoafcmdb) thats the kinda thing hed come out with,asked me once does verything have a tongue,not worms now like,but does everything have a tongue.
    another late night(known mudd club(pub at 7 albums are exhausted))(also bad)
    lisoning (bbc )
    hardly (flann dalkey archive page 1 c/o fw)(would you know they contours of dalkey or naples now or the new dhl ad?)
    herman is hermenutics c/o dee….harzreise
    barrss(embarass/barred from bars)
    a thing 4 bitchy women could you believe her name was clare and all bah
    yeah i got you down (submit(Vb) comment).

  14. Donald Book Says:

    thats the only photo i have,dont even know who they are it was on bebo my friends sister found it,there ya go

  15. Eoin Says:

    Sorry, I’m on my phone here. Last time I checked you had up a photo of Dizzee Rascal!

  16. Pluck Says:

    you could do worse eoin than be taking a leaf outta this donald book characters book. he seems to know what hes on about here. most edifying, every word practically a sermon in itself.sure in all fairness who goes around saying things like “I just don’t think making fun of alcoholics is a good premise for a television programme” at the tailend of a 5 day bender now? no, i think donalds captured something here. something taut,alert,robust,rare,truthful, human,elegant,alert,alive…

  17. Eoin Says:

    Pluck, I’ll have to have you around some day for a cup of tea and maybe give me a few pointers.

  18. Donald Book Says:

    thats brio! yo brio.melvyn bragg boy.see now you can rape a woman if you give her anyough drink.also i was down to a ms “s. leane”….and!
    im back in disney land.
    this is great intit
    like facebook its the same
    did you take a leaf outta my book?jesys christ tell me no.im like a light child.smart,tin,thos,
    curanne.
    i seen alan o’donoghue in the paper-a ha.

  19. Donald Book Says:

    thats not great (slaps foradhd)eidmaclackballs

  20. Donald Book Says:

    tahts desperate as well

  21. Eoin Says:

    Dylan overrated, Dan a genius. It’s all starting to make sense now.

  22. Donald Book Says:

    cant always get what u want,stond boy rerain up strones bah i went down t n cant .and that was that.dylan nyokis “”””” fdowning strreet down and gown un whrlich zu sein,presence o thear my brothers gotr a 90000 car in the three year (pat )nuns have no parcahutes its mroisation jarvis !mspiarion .bmws newshel.end

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