Rottweiler Soup: Learning to Live on Your Own
Beggars with animals: Can’t be all that hungry, can they?
New words to learn today: bogus – 1) counterfeit, sham 2) excellent, worthwhile; milopherous – designating an eidetic image of a chimera; fungible – interchangeable; folie à deux – the existence of a delusional idea in two closely associated individuals; fiscitudinous – characterized by absence; oblasque – an artificial or made-up word, a false neologism; mutrid – made of felt; wormb – 1) a conceptual hymen. 2) an object, construct, or phenomenon in which inside and outside are not distinct, e.g. a Mobius strip; disafflatus – use of a performative contradiction for rhetorical purposes; sycomancy – divination by means of figs or fig leaves; gastrea – a hypothetical metazoan ancestral form; loition – the act of removing scruples.
I caught the DART back to Pearse Street and took a wander round town to try to think things through, try to see things more clearly. I stopped for a tomato juice and Cohiba Mini outside the Palace Bar, with its soft, offensive pastel-coloured floor tiles, then changed my mind and left the juice half-finished and made for Weimar’s café bar round the corner, where I sat on the terrace and had a coffee and a cava.
Around eight I went back to the embassy, locked myself in the office and rang Scheisskopf to meet me at the Yukon bar on Dorset Street at ten.
In the left-hand drawer of my desk, I have two passports and open flight tickets under two different names: one to Dallas-Fort Worth under my CIA name, Joe McManus, the other to Madrid via Barcelona under the name of Heywood Jablomy. Both of them have my photo in now. O’Flaherty won’t be needing his passport where he’s going.
Scheisskopf was already in the Yukon when I arrived, standing at the bar. I ordered an oyster stout and we retired to a quiet corner, once upon a time a rare find in a place like this.
‘What’s this?’ he said, like he’d never seen a sealed envelope before.
‘I’ll tell you what it is. It’s something huge. It’ll make you a hero. I’m telling you, Ciaran, you run this story tomorrow and you’ll be as famous as Woodward and Bernstein combined.’
‘Woodwah and whowha?’
‘Woodward and Bernstein. Watergate? Richard Nixon? “I am not a crook”?’ Nothing. ‘Never mind. It’ll make you famous. Only … don’t do anything with it until tomorrow morning. In fact, don’t even open it until then. That way, you’ll have plausible deniability.’
‘Hang on a minute, Joe.’ He started to push the envelope back to me. ‘You mean there are people out looking for this stuff?’
‘No, no’, I reassured him, remembering what a cowardly piece of crap he could be. ‘Nobody is even aware that I have it. I just mean that if you, God forbid, get knocked down by a bus, say, and it’s found on you, at least you can deny any knowledge of its contents.’
‘Anyway’, I continued, ‘When you do open it, make sure you’re in your office, because you’re going to want to run this straight away. And have your address book handy, because you’re going to want to be sending this everywhere. Everywhere. Especially to the States.’
He raised his eyebrows sceptically.
‘I’m telling you, Ciaran. World famous. Julian Assange famous. I promise.’
He caved and smuggled the envelope into his inside jacket pocket, observing my satisfaction.
‘And you’re not going to tell me what it’s about?’
‘Not yet, Ciaran, no. There are some things I have to do. Preparatory work. But you’ll find out soon enough.’
He looked worried, so I bought him another pint. Irish courage. It elicited those five little words I longed to hear.
‘You can trust me, Joe.’
Well, quite obviously I couldn’t, but that was why Scheisskopf wasn’t the only recipient I had in mind for my story. When I got back to the apartment, I put in a phone call to Dilara, the Turkish woman Frank had introduced me to at the party. UN Commission on Human Rights, if I remembered correctly. Investigating the abuse of Travellers. Fuck me, that’s just the start of it. She sounded surprised to hear from me — well, okay, it wasn’t like I’d made any effort since the party to be friendly — but she said she’d be happy to meet me tonight somewhere quiet and inconspicuous.
‘And make sure you’re not followed’, she said. Like I need to be told. Now.
I’ve decided I shall be travelling light to Barcelona. It’s not that warm there this time of year, but I can buy gear when I get there. I put in a few changes of clothes. Ray-Bans. Couple of disguises—wig, tache, fake boobs—some hair dye, truss. I’m just taking my tennis bag. Put my rackets in so that it wouldn’t look suspicious. And it has wheels on which makes it easy to pull through the airport like a pro. Everything else I’m leaving in the apartment. Well, what is there that’s left for me here? All the whiskey’s gone. All my mates are dead. The economy’s fucked. Last one out turn off the light.
Goodnight Ireland. I shall be telling asylum seekers you’re the biggest asylum going.
After I’ve met with Dilara, I shall pop over to Maggie’s in Donnybrook. I must get a can of antifreeze somewhere on the way.
Gah. I don’t want to get all sentimental at this juncture, particularly when I’ve got to kill someone. I’ll end with a joke instead.
What’s got four legs, two arms, one eye, one ear and smells?
Half a dog’s head on a chair.
Delia told me that one. I do miss him.
Hey, how prescient is this? Sally emailed me this from the ScriptRite office. Like she’s trying tell me something. Or something.
Useful holiday advice from the readers of Arthur Frantic’s Budget Travel magazine:
Flight crews know the best hotels and places to eat in any town. When you leave the airport, have your taxi driver tail anyone in a uniform to their final destination.
Harold Quant, Kissimmee
Save time writing your holiday diary while you’re away by completing it before you go. When you get home, you can make any amendments that might be required.
Suzanne Schlong, Boise
Take suction cups with you. Bedrooms rarely have the necessary pulleys or hoists for sex games, but carefully placed suction cups on the ceiling and walls will take the weight of two, sometimes three, fully grown Spaniards.
Lilian Capacious, Buffalo
When you park your hire car, leave the local fascist newspaper visible on the passenger seat and the local police will make sure that nothing happens to it.
Czeslaw Jones, Omaha
When you go up to the breakfast buffet, leave a large, bloodied ax on your table so that nobody dare steal your toast.
Winifred Goatee, Miami
When abroad, wipe your ass using those wet wipes that you can’t use at home because they clog up the drains. After all, you’re on holiday!
Jim Underling, Braintree
Rather than waste space carrying dozens of pill bottles, just carry one, with all of your different pills individually labelled.
Casper Wheeze, Madison
Get a seat at the back of the plane so that if it crashes the bodies of all the people in front of you will soften the impact. Ask to sit behind a particularly fat person.
Celeste Placematte, Phoenix
Conceal your valuable jewelry in your food — sandwiches, soup, donuts — and keep them in a Tupperware box locked and sealed tight with superglue. No one will know.
Albert Kerkey, Albuequerque
Rather than take entire travel books with you, avoid excess luggage penalties by visiting your local public library and tearing out the relevant pages for the area you’re going to.
William Minger, Abilene
Bungee cords around the bottom of your shorts stop mosquitoes getting in and works as a handy adult diaper if you get the runs while on holiday in Egypt. Be careful not to make them too tight, or you’ll get gangrene.
Cheryl Snafu, Carson City
According to the police in Rome, the police in Genoa are pickpocketing bastards.
Giuseppe O’Toole, Punxatawney
If the plane hits turbulence and the flight becomes very bumpy, don’t get scared. Just pretend you’re on a boat sailing in choppy waters. Thirty-five thousand feet up in the air.
Lisa Imperialist, Corpus Christi
Don’t book an expensive hotel. A few weeks before you go away, befriend people from your destination on Facebook so that you’ll have somewhere cheap to stay when you get there.
The late Gertrude Cartwright, Seattle
If you’re in coach, talk pompously, swear profusely, and tell everyone about all the restaurants you own, and there’s a good chance you’ll get upgraded to first.
Michael Chancer, Boston
If you have difficulty understanding what a foreigner is telling you, escort them to the nearest Internet cafe, log on to Bing Translator, and it will guess whatever it is they are saying and put it into a version of English for you.
Earl Pastille, Mobile
Wearing a pedometer will tell you precisely how many fucking miles you’ve walked around Paris.
Stanley Althusser, Reno
If you want to change currency, ask one of the local pimps. They always have plenty of spare cash on them and give a better exchange rate than the thieving banks.
Buster Mullins, New Albany
The faucets in airplane toilets always spray everywhere, leaving embarrassing stains on your trousers. As soon as I enter the toilet, I strip naked to avoid any such calamity.
Bryce Lee, Oakland
I hate having to write postcards while I’m away, and I know the recipients really just want the exotic stamps, so I just buy the stamps, put them in envelopes, and post them off instead. I usually enclose a short note so that they’ll know who the stamps are from.
Gerry Invincible, Williamsburg
Before heading off every morning in our hire car, I masturbate in the motel bathroom so that I don’t get distracted while driving and miss all the sights.
Robbie Punjab, Saratoga
Rather than insult my friends by bringing home the cheap tat sold abroad as souvenirs, I just tell them the place I visited was shit.
Montague Barry, Des Moines