Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


The Old Stand

“No pint bottles of Bulmers?” The barman shakes his head. Tommy is shocked. I’d consider the Old Stand one of the city’s better bars: Clean. Quiet. Well run. But my old friend, in Dublin for a birthday tonight, knows better. “No pint bottles,” he declares. “No class.”

This is the same guy, incidentally, who, to the consternation of his wife, served Buckfast at their wedding reception. His opinions on these matters, then, aren’t necessarily definitive. It’s half past four on Saturday afternoon. On the television screen, thirty fat-headed pituitary retards are chasing an oblong shaped ball around a field. The Blue team build up a commanding lead over the Greens so, thankfully, my friend’s interest in the contest quickly wanes. I haven’t seen him since he lost his job. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to catch up. As usual, he has big plans.

“Well, it’s something we’ve been talking about for ages,” he says. “A boyhood ambition, I suppose you’d say. So now that we’re all on the dole, it’s really the idea time to get cracking on it.”

I raise an eyebrow. “You’re really going to rob the bank?” He nods. “Well, either the bank or the post office. We haven’t decided.” “Don’t they know you in the post office?” He weighs it up for a second. “They probably do,” he concedes. “Better make it the bank.”

Declan arrives and takes a seat next to us at the bar. He looks up at the scoreline and frowns. It’s his birthday today, but he’s sent numerous text messages emphasising his preference for a “low key” celebration.

Well, what the hell else was he expecting? “I cancelled the marching band,” smirks Tommy. We chuckle. “And I called off that fly-over by the Red Arrows,” I tell him. Declan takes it in good humour. “I didn’t want any fuss is all,” he insists.

I tell Declan about Tommy’s plans. “What the hell you know about robbing banks?” he splutters. Tommy shrugs. “I downloaded a manual from the internet,” he explains. “This American lad… Reckons he has it sussed…”

“What does it say?”

“Well, I’ve only read the first two chapters. But so far, it’s all about secrecy, you know. You’re not supposed to tell a soul what you’re doing. That’s the golden rule.”

Declan and I exchange glances. Who’s going to ask the next question? Declan will.

“Well, then why the fuck are you telling us?”

Tommy looks confused. “But you won’t tell anyone, will you?” Well, this is slightly awkward. Declan speaks first. “I’ve already texted Cormac,” he admits.

“And to be honest,” I shrug, “I’d say there’s a good chance I’ll mention it in the old pub column this.”

“Alright, alright…” says Tommy. “But not a word to anyone else…”

An old guy sitting next to us at the bar tips Tommy on the shoulder. “I used to know a fella tried to rob a Credit Union once… I could probably get his number if you were interested?

Tommy slaps his face with his palm. “Eject, eject,” he says. “Abort mission…”