Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Evening Herald, February 2010


14 Fade Street, Dublin 2

fade street
“I’m Going to Die…. And I Can’t Wait!” is the dubious headline on this week’s edition of Take a Break magazine. To be honest, I kinda understand how the woman feels. It’s Thursday evening. And I’ve been browsing the magazine rack in Spar for what seems like hours now. What in the hell is Aidan doing?

He’s at the counter negotiating a delicate purchase is what. “I’ll have twenty Benson & Hedges,” he tells the young shop assistant, “a pack of chewing gum and…” (He lowers his voice conspiratorially.) “A packet of tmm-mms.” The shop assistant squints. “A what?” Aidan whispers it again. “A packet of tampons.” The shop assistant whips a box of Tampax from the shelf and scans it. But Aidan still looks uneasy. “They’re not for me now,” he explains, somewhat redundantly.

We cross Dame Street and leg it up Georges Street. I may one day grow up to be a mature adult. But in the mean time…

“So you’re getting your period then?”

“Piss off,” he says. “They’re for Linda!”

But I’m not letting him off that easily.

“It’s those fucking Hugh Grant films. I said they’d you into a woman…”

“There was only one Hugh Grant film…”

“Yeah, but Hugh Grant and the Sex and the City lady. Together. Feckin’ Mike Tyson would be menstruating if he’d sat through that!”

Linda and Tina are at a table near the back. We pull up stools. Aidan plonks the box of Tampax on the table. Linda gives him a look. “No secrets among friends,” I offer. “Obviously not,” she replies.

Aidan taps me on the shoulder. “For God’s sake,” he hisses, “Don’t mention the basketball.” I purse my lips. I’m promising nothing. A fortnight ago, Linda’s basketball organised a fundraising table quiz. Assumed the money was going to Haiti, or some other worthy cause, I stumped up a €20 entry fee and then threw another twenty in on the raffle.

It was only afterwards I found out the basketball team were keeping the money for themselves. So, yeah, it’d be nice to sit around and have a pleasant evening. But…

“How’s the team?” I ask. “Gone on any nice winter breaks? I hear Hawaii is lovely this time of year…”

“In aid of St. Catherine’s basketball team,” she yells. “It was written on the invitations!”

“Yeah, I play five-a-side soccer. Does that mean you owe me a pair of football boots?”

“All you heard about the night was girls and booze,” she sneers. “You didn’t ask too many questions…”

“Hey, I know,” I tell her. “I’ll start up a fencing club. HEY EVERYONE – GIMME A PILE OF MONEY!”

“We’re not having this argument,” says Linda, shaking her head. “Not again.”

“Yeah, we fucking are… You owe me a sword, you stingy bitch!”

Finally, Aidan slams his drink down on the table. “Shut up,” he yells. “I’m sick to the back teeth of this shite. One more fucking word from either of ye and I’m walking… I mean it.”

Linda and I exchange bemused glances.

“Jesus, someone’s a little cranky today,” she says.

“Between myself and yourself,” I whisper. “I think it might be his time of the month…”