Murty the Moaner has a hive of bees under his bonnet.
Here's the first one. Murty says the closing up of the beauticians and the hairdressers is a disgrace.
"Herself has a head of hair and 'tis like the tail off of a Shetland pony. She had seven broken nails at last count. What's worse is the only Brazilians to be found are a gang of alleged hitmen roaming around the midlands."
I have a bee buzzing under my bonnet. I am worn out from answering the same question, and it is this: will you open up the pub on the June 29?
The answer is no.
Firstly, we cannot serve food as it gives us all we can do to cook our own dinner.
Secondly, we would never get away with charging €9 for a Tayto sandwich.
Thirdly, I want to wait and see if the Covid figures remain in good shape and learn from those who serve food.
Punters before profit.
I wasn't going to write this article, seeing as I am reading a self-help book by the name of 'Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway'. I sacrificed my mental health for the common good.
Self-help books are worthwhile if you get one good idea. Every hive should own a copy of 'The Green Platform' by Declan Coyle.
The plan I got from 'Feel the Fear' was that us bee heads should give up giving out about people for a week.
This includes giving out about people to yourself. I found I was having imaginary arguments with humans who were transformed in to bees living rent-free in my head.
The first day went well. I didn't so much as say a cross word to real people I met live outside of the hive. I did have a few internal givings-out.
It just dawned on me that the name over the door of our pub is John B Keane. My dad used to tell the tourists the B stood for basketball. Dad was really John Brendan but the B stands for bee now.
The good news came to me when I stopped giving out about people. The country is opening up. There was GAA training down the Cows Lawn or Childers Park. That was a massive boost. The playground was open. The laughter from the children and the trilling birdsong stilled the bee-loud glade. Pleasures that went unnoticed before Covid are a big thrill now.
It was only when I stopped complaining about people that I realised just how much giving out I had been doing.
But I have no control over Murty the Moaner.
"The ladies is showing no leg anymore. The women couldn't go to the shop for the summer collection, because the shops were closed. They had to go around in winter clothes when the sun was splitting the stones."
And then he went on a rant about the women wearing the tight tights that are painted on, the premature ending of the Civil War, holding hands in public when there's nothing going on in the bedroom, and herself not putting out the washing on the line during the windy warm weather instead of spending a fortune on the tumble dryer.
His bees are a different breed of bees to mine.
"Murty," I said, "you should stop giving out for week. Already I feel more like a barrel of monkeys than a head full of bees."
I had to explain 'barrel of monkeys' to Murty.
The phrase comes from the Arabic, according to my team of researchers. Monkeys are good old fun, what with jumping up and down and doing somersaults.
Murty the Moaner was well named. On he went with the criticising.
"The GAA will be playing the All-Ireland final on Christmas Day. The queen was barred from going to Royal Ascot and the Rose of Tralee was deemed to be a nil-all draw."
I sighed. It was a long sigh that went deep into the gut.
"That new rule introduced for pubs, where you have to pay for €9 worth of grub if you want a pint, is shocking news," he said.
"But what about safety and keeping down the rate of infection?" I asked.
Murty ignored the question and continued on as iconoclasts often do.
"That means you have to eat eight dinners if you want to drink a gallon, at €9 each, which comes to €72 and the pint is extra and the price of a pint is too dear as it is."
I couldn't take any more. The book advised we surround ourselves with positive people. "I left the door of the bird cage open, Murty." And off I ran. We do not own a bird or even a cage. Although we did keep a goldfish in captivity for a while.
Murty phoned. "You should have locked that cage and I'm not paying no one no €9 extra for pints any time soon."
"Hello? Hello?" I asked loudly. "I'm losing you. I'm in the car coming over the Short Mountain. Hello? Hello?"
The Short Mountain is a scenic drive between Tralee and Killarney. The name comes from the fact the road is a short-cut unless you get lost.
Then I pretended to be talking to someone else when I was only on my own.
"Feck," I said to no one, "I can't hear him. Hello? Hello? Murty? I can't hear Murty."
And I switched him off. I was going to say why don't you ring Joe Duffy?
Murty is an influencer. The phone rings but it's not Murty's number, so I answer.
"It's me again," said the cunning whinger. The bees are swarming.
"Here's what you do. Tell your customers to bring the dinner with them. It surely will be worth €9, especially if you boil the new spuds. You'd get a half stone of caviar cheaper than the news spuds."
I went: "Hello? Hello? You're going on me again. Come in, Murty. Over."
But he kept on talking. I took my beating. There's no avoiding a moaner on a mission.
"The nanny state says alcohol can only be sold with a substantial meal. So you eat your dinner before you come out and that's your substantial meal, which is in your belly and your belly is with you in the pub. I'll go to jail if I have to."
Lads around here are only dying to go to jail if they have a bee in their bonnet.
"Hello? Hello? Murty? Come in, Murty."
Beep, beep, beep.