The Fielder: Both on the field and off it, you reap what you sow
When my grandchildren ask me about my finest hour, I'll undoubtedly tell them about what happened during the summer of 2009. No, it wasn't the day I kicked the winner in the minor final after being on the beer the previous evening. Nor was it the night I shifted the best-looking beour in the county. It wasn't even the time I reached across the bar and pulled my own pint in Coppers while no one was looking.
When the grand babbies ask, I'll tell them about the time I got my revenge on Joe 'The Boiler' Jones. We christened him so because he'd a belly like an industrial boiler, a pair of cheeks more crimson than the bonnet of a brand new Massey Ferguson and he sweated like a Cavan man on Budget Day. He always looked like he'd just spent the week in a sauna.
That summer I did a month's work for Boiler on his farm, milking cows and what have you. Boiler was what you would call a 'rooter'. He was about as useful as the navigation man on the Titanic. His farm was a mess and I remember my last day with him well, mainly because I hadn't seen a penny for my toils and time was running out. As we sat down to lunch, I plucked up the courage to enquire about the lack of loot.
"So, eh Boiler. Today's my last day and that . . ."
He answered with a grunt as he wrapped his lips around a sausage.
"Will you . . . Will . . . Will you be paying me?" I muttered.
A silence gripped Boiler's kitchen. He looked rather taken aback and even stopped chewing for a few seconds. After wiping the sweat from his brow with a forearm like a canoe he took a deep breath. The way his belly expanded reminded me of a hot air balloon inflating. He really was a horse of a man.
He resumed chewing, stood up and busied himself looking through a nearby drawer of clutter, uttering something to himself about an 'ungrateful little bastard that he fed every day'. The Boiler fished out a cheque book from the press before scribbling in some details and handing it over reluctantly.
"Now young lad! Don't spend it all at once!"
I tried to look happy as he handed over the cheque which by my calculations was a zero light.
"Oh, and don't forget the seven-a-side tournament next weekend in the club. Have you got a fiver there and I'll give you a ticket?" Boiler added.
I gritted my teeth and politely stated that I was busy. The fat whoor wasn't getting a penny off me after my paltry payment. No way was I supporting a rival club either. I wedged the cheque into my arse pocket, grabbed another sausage and stormed out the door.
As you can expect, the cheque bounced like R Kelly on a trampoline. I was livid. For days Boiler didn't answer my calls or return my messages. I even arrived up to the house but the place was in lockdown. Eventually I got a text, a week after The Boiler's bogus behaviour: Funds low at min. Cheque in post this week, Joe.
Now having experienced first-hand some of the shady shenanigans that went on at Boiler's farm; I wasn't surprised to hear that money was tight. It was obvious the place was haemorrhaging cash quicker than a slurry tanker on full revs.
Fair enough, I thought; I'd get what I was owed. But as I discovered the following night down the pub, I couldn't have been more wrong.
* * * * *
"How's the chap now!?" a voice echoed from behind me.
"Ah good man Benji! How're you gettin' on? Sit down there!" I replied enthusiastically.
Benji was an old school friend of mine. We sat and spoke of the old times, sipping pints and soaking up the atmosphere in the local. Then talk turned to the restaurant where he worked.
"How's work Benji?"
"Ah grand lad, you know yourself. Oh, your boss man was in there last night."
I coughed loudly, nearly choking on my Guinness (not a bad way to go I suppose).
"Yeah, himself and a load of boys had a right hooley altogether. Big shteaks, desserts and all. They drank the bar dry and Boiler Jones paid for the whole lot the bollox!"
I dug my nails into my palms and tried to remain calm, but I couldn't. "Benji, I'm afraid I have to head off. I'm after remembering something. Sorry bud." I left a perplexed Benji in my wake, but I didn't care. It was payback time.
Two hours later as I lugged the massive board along the road through the dense darkness I wondered whether I'd gone too far. Would it even work? Surely someone would realise?
I stopped and shone the torch over the fence. I was in the right place anyway. Carefully, I aligned the board, checked that the coast was clear and fished out the hammer.
* * * * *
"Morning gosson. Did you head out last night?"
"Eh, yeah," I replied as I landed in the kitchen; scratching my head and craving a cup of cha. "Did you hear about Boiler's new grass?" Mammy asked.
My heart skipped a beat. I shook my head and busied myself in the cupboard.
"Didn't some pup put a sign on the gate of his new grass field, the one he only sowed there a fortnight ago: '7-a-side-carpark here'."
"Bejaysus!" I exclaimed trying to sound surprised and hiding my paint-covered right arm under the table.
"Oh yea! Sure near a hundred cars landed in there this morning. They're all bogged in and the new grass is destroyed. Whoever did it diverted the traffic the whole way from the motorway right up to Boiler's field!"
"No word of a lie, sure there must be cars from all over the country down there! 'Tis a right mess I'd say."
"Sure he's plenty of money to sow her again."
And that kids, was my finest hour.
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