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The Snug: Season’s Conceitings

Eoin Butler runs into a pothole but is rescued by Aidan

Dakota South William Street, Dublin 2

We call him pothole. The son of a well-known Dublin businessman who fancies himself a man about town in his own right, Pothole has earned this nickname because his personality is so grating, his manner so repugnant, that my friends and I will go to great lengths to avoid running into him.

But South William Street is his stomping ground. So when Aidan and I go for New Year's pints in Dakota, we should know we're risking our lives -- or at least our afternoons.

I'm telling Aidan about Christmas in the Butler household. On Christmas Eve, I picked the turkey up from the butchers but forgot to bring it inside. The bird froze solid in the boot of my car overnight, causing severe recriminations from my mother in the morning.

After Mass, and again much to my mother's consternation but in keeping with family tradition, we all got drunk and fell out with each other. By means of creating a diversion, my aunt suggested a game of charades, to which my mother replied bitterly: "Well, this whole day has been a charade, so why stop now?"

We didn't stop laughing 'til Stephen's Day.

Aidan has just nipped to the bar when Pothole sidles up. "Happy New Year, you guys," he says. If you think it isn't possible to wish someone a Happy New Year in a patronising manner, well, you don't know old Pothole.

Last time we met, Pothole wanted me to write an article about him. I politely declined. Aidan and I later discussed possible headlines. ("Obnoxious Rich Idiot Ponces Around City, Secretly Detested By All He Encounters...')

Now that he no longer wants anything from me, he feels less inclined to be nice. I ask about his Christmas. "Oh, just the usual," he says. "Skiing in Verbier with the folks. Met up with these two really hot French chicks, ended up getting in a threesome, like..." He trails off as if there's more, but isn't bothered telling.

"How about you?" he sneers. "Turkey sandwiches with the mammy in Ballygobackwards?"

As he speaks, Aidan arrives back and accidentally-on-purpose spills about a third of a pint of Guinness down our good friend's back. Pothole isn't about to take this lying down.

"You fookin' idiot," he barks. "That's a fookin' Prada shirt, man!"

Aidan shrugs indifferently. "Didn't see you there buddy," he smirks.

"Why don't you look where you're going then, you fookin' muck savage? Do you know who my father is?" Luckily, Aidan is well able for the guy.

"I don't," he admits. "Ask your mother, though. Maybe she'll remember."

Pothole stands there in mute apoplexy for a moment, then flounces away.

"Nice guy," says Aidan after him.

"Delightful chap," I agree.

Catch up with Eoin's escapades on www.eoinbutler.com; eoinfbutler@gmail.com


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