Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


The Big Romance

Sharon is a lovely girl. If she has one flaw though, it’s her woeful taste in who she goes out with. Her last boyfriend, the only time we met, segued directly from ‘How’s it goin’?’ into a story about someone’s house he’d broken into the other night.

Now I’m not knocking the guy’s profession. Everyone has to make a living. He just didn’t strike me as having an aptitude for that particular line of work. I mean, we hadn’t even been introduced yet. I could have been anyone. Last weekend at the Electric Picnic though, Sharon found true love. The guy was called Derek and she reckoned Derek was the business.

“Whatcha make of the guy guy?” Aidan asked me at the bar.

“I dunno,” I shrugged. “Nice guy. He tried to sell me pills when Sharon was at the jacks but.”

“Me too,” Aidan nodded. “D’you take any off him?”

“Fucker was looking for a tenner a go.”

“Cheeky bastard,” repeats Aidan. “Still, nice fella,”

A week later the big romance has bitten the dust. Derek hasn’t returned any of Sharon’s calls. In fact, the number he gave her doesn’t seems to be out of order. Needless to say, her friends are rallying around.

“You know, he could be a secret agent, called away on a case?”

“Maybe another hash dealer has a beef with him and they’ve gone to the mattresses.”

“Fuck off lads.”

“Do you know where he works?” Sean ask.

“He said he works for the E.S.B.,” Sharon snorts. “But that was probably a lie too.”

(You know, the more I hear about this Derek guy, the more I secretly admire him…)

“Well I for one refuse to stand in judgement,” I tell them. “I mean, when you’re trying to get a girl to sleep with you, who has pretended to work for the E.S.B. at one stage or another?”

“Send one of his mates a text,” suggests Paula. “Tell them you’re pregnant. That’ll flush the fucker out.”

Sharon shakes her head.

“Wouldn’t work…”

“Why not?”

“Ah, you know, it was a small tent.”

(Aidan and I exchange glances. Derek’s borderline folk hero status is evaporating fast…)

“He didn’t seal the deal?”

“I’m so disillusioned…”

“I don’t believe in anything anymore…”

“Just tell us though,” says Brendan. “Would it have made any difference if he’d said he worked for An Post?”

“Bus Eireann? Grand pensionable jobs there…”

She tells us to feck off.

“I never expected any sympathy from ye bollockses.”

“Irish Rail… Would you have slept with him if he was a train driver? Ah come on, I bet you would have…?”

A version of this article appeared in the Evening Herald, September 6 2008

September 2nd, 2010.

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