So, my friend, how did your staycation go? West of Ireland?
Eh…where in Galway?
(They pause and watch as six delivery vans drop parcels off at a nearby house)
Eh…how was Clifden?
We always stay in the Station House Hotel! Love it. So I’m in the lobby, and suddenly the big arrogant, gruff political heavyweight walks in…
No, Dick Spring!
I don’t think Dick was at THE DINNER…
Oh no, he was just passing through. He wasn’t at THE DINNER. Dick’s in the clear!
Oh yes! I popped into the bar for a coffee…and was surrounded by Senators. What’s the collective term for a group of Senators?
Failed Dáil candidates? Wannabee TDs?
Ouch! Anyways, I’m there ordering my coffee, and there’s six Senators around me…
Relaxing, calming, uplifting?
Not really, they were full of waffle…
No, not the Senators, the coffee?
Oh yes, it was lovely.
Any sign of Dara Calleary?
He was working on his speech in the corner. A decent enough man, I reckon. I waved, not sure if he saw me.
I can’t believe YOU were there, a witness to this gruesome history. Anything else?
Oh, loads. Three very dapper men ordered cocktails, and airily asked if I’d pay for them…
Absolute wan…eh, ahem, wan-ted me to pay.
Any sign of Big Phil?
Not at that stage, but I sensed he was coming when I saw some special carpet being rolled out.
Nope, black and amber. Black and amber carpet for the big guy. Unbelievable!
Did you see the Judge?
Well, I saw a man who looked like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth and thought that might be him, but it was…
Did you see any symbol of the nudge-and-wink era, any flashback to the mad old days?
Yes, Donie Cassidy was there!
What happened next?
Well, I finished my coffee and got out of there as fast as possible, clutching my wallet as I passed the bankers. Went for a walk, to clear my head.
Any sign of Enda Kenny?
No sign of Enda!
We’re used to that in Roscommon!
(Editor: Couldn’t resist it…)
Did you go back later?
Oh yes, I went into the function room, just to have a peek.
Did you see the famous partition?
I did! It was half open; there were gleaming knives and forks, beautiful wine glasses, ah, such ambience!
Did you go back to the bar?
I did! Ordered a €10 meal, and a pint, then sat down – socially distancing – between three senators, two bankers and one EU Commissioner.
PHIL? YOU SAW PHIL?
I saw Phil, I spoke to Phil!
At this stage, I had NO IDEA what was going to unfold later. Only about 15 of the now notorious ‘Gang of 81’ had arrived. I had no idea!
What did Phil say?
He said he’d played well, but he’d hit it into the rough once or twice.
What did you say?
I said ‘Phil, beware of the rough. We’ve all been in the rough. These are rough times. THESE ARE ROUGH TIMES FOR ALL OF US, PHIL!’
When I said ‘rough times for all of us’, all of a sudden there were one or two nervous coughs, then an awkward silence in the room. You could hear a Gold Credit Card drop…