- 15 Mar 20
Tales Of Endurance, Pt. 1, 2 & 3
I have spent the last few days pacing about the penthouse, talking to myself. There’s nothing new in this, of course, for I am often forced into self-examination if a decent conversation is what I seek. I have yet to be reduced to drinking the Paco Rabanne that my Ma gave me for Christmas – merely her latest move in a lifetime’s pursuit of the son she hoped for all those years ago – but that will doubtless come later.
I ventured out yesterday – armalite in one hand, money box in the other – and by-passed the barren pasta – an admirable effort from the Irish people to buoy up the economy of our beset Italian cousins – and toilet-paper – does this virus give you a dose of the runs n’ all? – shelves in order that I might secure the last bag of lemons on the Kylemore Road. The end of days might well be upon us, but even the last G&T can’t be allowed to stand naked without a slice.
At the counter, surrounded by off-duty military personnel – they must have been, for they were procuring enough supplies to feed an army - I chatted with the pleasant young woman working the till as she described the chaos she had witnessed. I listened and made the usual jokes until I suddenly realised we were standing perilously close together. Screaming loudly, I grabbed a near-by bottle of Dettol and poured its contents into my eyes and mouth. This only engendered louder screams, as my eyes burned out of my head, followed by my forward march directly into the door frame. The bag of lemons was still in my paw though. I’m no idiot, despite all appearances to the contrary. I swerved to avoid disconsolate people dancing for potatoes in the car park – we’ve all been there, or at least I certainly have – and made it to the PatMobile, setting the autopilot, by touch alone, for the tower.
The front door bolted and marked with the blood of a sacrificial lamb, I rinsed my eyes out with holy water – I don’t believe in God but there’s no sense in getting on his bad side – and spotted the flashing light on the house phone. Ramón, my loyal and long-suffering houseboy, had wisely caught the last plane home to Colombia, so the ringing had gone unanswered. I pushed the button; a familiar voice filled the air. It was Samuel J. Snort, Esq. The world’s greatest rock n’ roll journalist.
“Carty, things have taken a turn for the worst here in Peru.”
I am sworn to secrecy with regard to the exact location of Sam’s compound – there are far too many cuckolded husbands, aggrieved landlords, and unpaid tailors who would use this information for nefarious ends – but if you ever find yourself in Lima, take a drive into the mountains above the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers and you may get lucky.
“Tell Stokes my next copy might be a while in coming. I may have to venture into the Surquillo Market. Alejandro has high-tailed it back to Colombia.”
Alejandro is a second cousin to Ramón. They are both part of the noble Columbian gentleman’s friend caste.
“We both know a Bone Machine just doesn’t have the same effect without some fresh fruit. Where did I put that machete?”
The Bone Machine* is a near lethal mix of tequila, whiskey, vodka, rum and – depending on availability – drain cleaner or lighter fuel, topped off with a generous and potentially eyesight-saving mixture of pulsed fresh fruit. Snort, The Coff, and I concocted it – after months of trial and error – on Bainbridge Avenue in The Bronx around 1993 and it is rumoured to be the beverage that finally set Keith Richards on the straight and narrow.
“Wish me luck, my young Pat-amháin, and keep up the good work. We shall prevail.”
Do you see, gentle reader? From the Peruvian Coast to the arse end of Capel Street, we are all in this together, and, even though they are the ravings of a lunatic, Sam is right, we shall prevail. With this spirit in mind, I must refer to you to a second flashing message. Former Hot Press scribe Michael D called in from the big house requesting, in the interest of national morale, that I reinstate the Carty’s Golden Hour playlist. Mr Higgins is the key to me one day getting my snout in the Aosdána trough, so I happily acquiesce. Let the music keep our spirits high. And don’t forget to click that button to add the list to your Spotify library so you don’t miss the next episode.
(*Rumours abound of this cocktail's life saving properties, we have been advised by the leader of the Hot Press medical team - Dr McJagger, SJ - to point out that these are only rumours. What is undeniably true is the fact that you will welcome the quiet embrace of your own demise after three or four of them.)