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Rottweiler Soup: Just a Ride

4
Posted June 13, 2012 by McManus in Humour
embassy

I practically fell into the apartment this lunchtime in my desperation to hear the news, but I only managed to catch the concluding line of the last item:

 . . . and he was eventually cut free from the device by sniggering firemen.

Fuck.

Nuala Carey will be here next with the weather, but that’s all from me for now until this evening.  Have a good afternoon.

Good afternoon.

There was a shooting in the Phoenix Park this morning, and in my line of work it’s always possible you might know those involved. Back when I lived in Athens, I was always getting shot at. Islamic fundamentalists, Marxist revolutionaries, anarchist insurrectionists, irritated neo-Platonists. Dublin’s much less fun. I can’t recall any U.S. embassy staff being shot at in, oh, years. We can’t be doing our job properly.

I was heading back to the apartment anyway, it wasn’t an impromptu visit. I like to come home for lunch.  My cover job—let’s get this out of the way—is at a publishing company, ScriptRite (editor’s note: pseudonym), and it’s full of pompous, self-regarding, cantilever-chinned smart alecks name-dropping left-wing intellectuals all day:  Badiou, Žižek, Agamben, Gilmore.  The more often I can get out of there, the better. My apartment on Herbert Place is only ten minutes’ walk from the company offices behind Merrion Square and only fifteen from the embassy. I come home and turn on the TV and make myself a ham and tomato sambo.  Listen to the news and look out my study window down at the Grand Canal.  Apart from the odd shopping trolley and morose-looking canine corpse, the view can almost pass for scenic.  In the good old days, at this time of day the canal bank was littered with nubile female office workers, Sun Microsystems software sluts soaking up the UV-As. I could spend the entire lunch break kneeling a couple of feet away from my third-floor window—in the shadows (old military trick)—with one hand wrapped round my telescopic lens and the other wrapped round my zoom. The discipline required to prevent camera shake was an education in itself.

I don’t boast about it much, but it’s fair to say I’ve turned lunchtime masturbation into a fine art. Nay, a science. I can even knock one out while eating my ham and tomato sambo. If I’m in a rush, while making it. However, one has to make do these days with a fertile imagination, seeing as how the only bodies reclining on the canal bank are those of purple-nosed cauliflower-eared winos. And that’s just the women. The sooner the government clears those filthy fuckers off the streets, the sooner I’ll be able to get back to healthy, guiltless, rosacea-free wank-bank fantasies.

Not may people know this, but from time to time the Irish army engages in what’s described as ‘brown propaganda’, driving around the city-centre streets late at night and spraying shit and sewage over the homeless as they sleep. The idea behind it, as I understand it, is to get passers-by thinking how filthy these dossers are:  ‘Somebody’, they’re meant to say to themselves, ‘some shallow-thinking do-gooder who doesn’t have to do the cleaning up afterward, is feeding those feckers, those useless low-lifes who just sit around getting pissed all day and then shitting in the doorways.’ It prepares the public psychologically for repression, obviously, but it’s also a stroke of economic genius. Paying the army to spray shit everywhere creates a whole bunch of cleaning jobs, thereby stimulating the economy. At 4.30 every morning, while you, my dear blessed and upright citizen, are still fingering yourself in your pit, the city’s streets teem with JobBridge interns equipped with hoses and jet sprays and organized into battalions of street cleaners, window wipers, park hooverers, traffic-light polishers, all charged with the task of making this city look less distressed than it really is. When the tourists stopping in the B&Bs in Malahide and the few remaining businessmen who stay at the Shelbourne or the Four Seasons step out onto the pavement, they see nothing but a nice, clean, shiny Dublin—a limpid Liffey, a buffed Ballsbridge, a sanitary Santry.  They leave thinking what a polite, well-mannered, well-manicured and prosperous place Dublin is. ‘I can’t see what all the fuss is about’, they say when they get home. ‘Ireland’s thriving on austerity.’

Not that it makes any difference to me. Whatever happens to the economy, I’m stuck here. Because of what happened in Athens.

Kicked into the back of beyond and told to keep a low profile. I do my best not to look suspicious or draw attention to myself, but what can I say?  I can’t help being so good looking, and it would be cruel of me not to give the deprived, desperate women of Ireland some eye candy.

Not that they ever fuck me, the frigid witches.

When I’m not moistening crotches at a distance, I go through the motions of defending American interests.  I say ‘go through the motions’ because there aren’t any American interests left here.  I have to pretend.  Make some up.  I make contact with the occasional social misfit who feels that his or her country—usually his—has been betrayed by gutless politicians to godless Eurocrats and needs to be rescued by being betrayed to God-fearing Americans.  I have the odd meeting with a gobbet of famously spineless union leaders, and now and then I meet up with a couple of U.S.-friendly journalists who are not averse to putting the appropriate spin on stories to present Uncle Sam as a stalwart friend of brave, embattled, shitty little Ireland.  I also liaise with Frank, my counterpart in Defense Intelligence, and I do my best ignore the oxymoron. And I play the odd game of tennis over at Fitzwilliam or Lansdowne just to keep myself buff and to letch at lesbians’ knickers.

The rest of my time I devote to making my cover story plausible. According to its marketing spiel, ScriptRite ‘specializes in the production of comprehensive and concise online databases geared towards facilitating the rapid retrieval of information for research purposes.’  Or, to summarize, we summarize.  We summarize magazine and journal articles to help researchers in schools, colleges, libraries and prisons around the world do their job quicker. The ScriptRite offices here in Dublin are staffed by a dedicated team of ‘professional’ writers, editors, indexers and abstracters—most of them recent college grads, so they’re cheap—who spend all day reading shit like The Huffington Post, Scientific American, The Laois Nationalist, Middle East News, Oil & Gas Journal, Libération, Cosmo, Field & Stream, Traction Engine Buyers’ Guide, and then summarizing the articles for inclusion on our online database.

It’s the sort of thing you’d expect from a CIA front, even though in the imagination of conspiracy theorists everywhere we’re smuggling drugs, running guns, destabilizing governments.  People forget that it’s the Information Age.  The CIA is all about collecting information. Information for other people to act on: drug smugglers, gun runners, government destabilizers. You get the idea. Everything we do at ScriptRite goes straight back to Langley for analysis and safekeeping. Times being tight, however, and because the agency is such a cheapskate catchpenny organization, we’re also expected to make a profit from what we do, which means that not only do Company operatives have to spy, but we also have to try to make money while we’re doing it.  This is what is known in the trade as a right royal pain in the ass.

The staff working at ScriptRite don’t know they’re working for the CIA, but then why would they? After spending the entire day trawling through Die Welt, el Mundo, Asahi Shimbun, Business Mexico, and the Washington Post, the poor saps could be forgiven for not knowing what country they’re in, let alone who they work for. But at least ScriptRite is providing a social service by allowing dozens of graduates to do what they do best—read, sit around, smoke fags, drink coffee and write one-paragraph essays—and get paid for it.  It’s just like university, except without the cheap beer and bad sex.

I was educated at the university of real life, but I was kicked out.  Now, I’m practicing at the bar.

My job, if you can call it a job, is to assume overall responsibility for the productivity of the various departments and to look over the priority news items, selected for dispatch to Paula Layton, European desk chief in Langley.  Langley’s where CIA HQ is.  Otherwise known as Parlous State University.

It’s the easiest job I’ve ever had, but I deserve it after the killer interview I did.

Killer job interview at ScriptRite

1:  Power dressing – Diadora trainers, Levi’s, old Longhorns shirt, canvas jacket.

2:  Punctuality – Turned up 35 minutes late.  Apologized by saying ‘Sorry I’m late, but I don’t normally get up till 2 in the afternoon.  And I had a hell of time locating this place.  I haven’t seen what the inside of an office building looks like since 9/11. And even that was on TV.’

3:  First question – Can I ask you what you see as your particular strengths as regards this position, Mr. McManus?  Answer – Well, I’m cheap, which is important nowadays, although you’ve got to be prepared to pay for quality, haven’t you?  Also, I’m a lot older than all those spotty-faced losers out in the foyer. Even if they have better qualifications than I have, they won’t have my sense of responsibility or the capacity to destroy colleagues for the sake of their own career advancement.

4: Second question – And what do you think your weaknesses might be as regards this position?  Answer – Ahh.  I’m supposed to say here that I’m a perfectionist, aren’t I? Well, I won’t lie to you.  I’m not.  Also, I have a tendency to nick things from the office . . . pens, staplers, furniture. Not crap like this, mind you. You’re safe on that front.

5: Third question – Would you describe yourself as a ‘people person’? Answer – Yes, I’m very good with people, as you can see from my past work as a pimp and a bouncer, but I know what kind of scum people can be. If the job requires me to knock a few heads together, give people the bullet, I can do that, no problem.

6: Fourth question – What kind of tasks do you find the most tiring? Answer – Trying to think up winning answers to fatuous questions.

7: Fifth question – If you had to sum yourself up in one word, what would it be? Answer  – Up for it. 

8:  Thank you very much, Mr. McManus.  Do you have any questions for us?  (Pause) Answer – Yes.   Just the one.  If I do get this position, where do I plug in my foot spa?

Some things are just meant to be. Bastards.

To cheer me up, Sally McIlhenny, my senior editor, flags news items for me that she thinks will give me a laugh.  Usually, they involve the suffering of others. This helps me forget the futility of life in Dublin. The futility of a life in the CIA after being passed over for promotion for the billionth fucking time just because of one lousy indiscretion eight years ago with a bottle of Metaxa, a tub of Starbucks Java ice cream, and the spouse of a European leader.

When you join the CIA, you expect glamour, excitement, sexually transmitted diseases.  I got an apartment in the land of my purported forefathers and free tennis club membership.

From Sally:

The Florida Pensioner reports with some glee the case of St. Petersburg widower Irving Binzz, who decided to advertise in a rival paper for someone to share his retirement activities with.  After five unsatisfactory meetings with potential new buddies—’Like nothing I’d encountered during my 35 years in the army’—Binzz’s disappointment was explained with searing clarity when he double-checked his ad and saw that his hobbies had been listed as ‘golf, wildlife conservation, and coarse fisting.’

The Daily Mail has an advert for a Quasi-modular course in French bell ringing by distance learning at the University of Notre Dame.  That sounds like fun. I might phone the contact number and find out more about it.

The Evening Herald reports that troops have shot to death 15 travelers in a two-hour gun battle near Kells.  Three of the travelers were dressed as Cossacks.

Headline in the Drogheda Leader:  Nothing Wrong with Drinking Water.

Yeah, right. If you’re a fish.


About the Author

McManus

Philosopher. Bon Viveur. Trying to Get Divorced. Living in a Shithole.

  • http://twitter.com/Fearganainim Fearganainim

    Ah Mr McManus! Looking forward to more of your exploits…

  • Joe McManus

    Cheers, Ferganainim. Pour yourself a stiff one.

  • Oscar Mike

    I find it incredibly difficult to type and wank at the same time. Any tips Mr McManus?

    • Joe McManus

      Try using your hands instead.

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