Times are tough during a bleak mid-winter – even the supercilious Slightly Mollified has to make ends meet…
“Pssst: here, boss – do you wanna buy a university?
No, no, calm down, hang on – of course it’s legit – Government surplus, the usual story. Bargain? Well you’re telling me it’s a bargain: an absolute snip at an even million. You think I’m the dodgy one here, boss, but let me tell you, you’ll be practically robbing me at that price. Feeding the missus and kids this month on that? I’ll be lucky.
Miles on the clock? Not much, not much at all, actually. How does an even ton sound to you? 1908? Practically yesterday, boss, practically yesterday. I’ve had pairs of trainers older than that, and that isn’t a word of a lie.
I know what you’re thinking, boss, I know what you’re thinking. It’s too good to be true, isn’t it? Truth be told, I’d probably think that meself if I was stood the side of the alley the way you are. Do watch your shoes there, by the way. God’s honest truth, this is the best thing that’s gonna happen to you all night. Other than making it over to that Luas stop with the contents of your pockets as they were when you set out, that is.
What you’ve got to is trust me here, boss. Think of me as the middle man. The bloke I work for? Let’s just call him The Batman. He’s a bad one, boss, a real bad one, and if I’m being honest… I don’t want to come back to him and tell him that the gear hasn’t been shifted. Let’s just help each other out, yeah?
I mean, think about it, boss, you’re getting some definitive bang for your buck here. I’m not just throwing in one university – you’ll get four of the bleedin’ things.
You’re a Dubliner, yeah? Not from my side of the tracks, I’ll wager, but you’ll do boss. Stuck for space at home? Dry rot in the walls giving you grief? Well, my name’s not Dave if you won’t have room to swing a cat and then some after our little transaction.
Belfield? I’ll give you Belfield, boss – 365 acres of the place. Looks-wise? I’ll be honest, boss: it could be better. In fact, it could definitely be better, unless you’re a concrete man. Still and all, who ever said we’re shooting the breeze about aesthetics here? You’ll have room, and that’s what a chap needs for to be himself – am I right?!
Still, though, I can predict the next objection, boss. It’s the frau, isn’t it? The auld memsahib? The long-haired general? She-who-must-be-obeyed? Say no more boss, say no more – you’re preaching to the converted here. Behind every man… is a good woman holding him back! I know it too well, too well.
But you, boss, are in luck: that problem’s sorted before it begins. Running tracks and concrete funnels not getting her cotton moist? I have the lines for your domestic script, boss. Nestled at the entrance to Dublin city centre? Heritage and history stretching back to the nineteenth century? Immediate proximity – this is the clincher here, boss – immediate proximity to Ireland’s biggest shopping district? There’s a ‘Dun’ before the ‘Drum’ for a reason, boss, and that’s to give you a hint at the state of your credit position after herself has had a day let loose in that plastic hole. Still, isn’t it worth it for a smile instead of bared fangs?
Holidays? The way things are at the moment? I’ll be lucky to see Brittas this year, boss, at the price I’m offering you. But I’m hearing you, I’m hearing you. Well, how does the oul’ West sound to you? Bracing walks, wind-swept beauty, traditional music – you name it, boss. It’s a City of the Tribes and everything… sounds a bit like here, actually. But it’s all yours; and I’m not even looking for anything extra. Cork? You really want Cork as well? God knows, someone has to. Right then, boss, it’s yours. That’s the extra mile I’m willing to walk for you.
Something a bit closer to home? Weekend breaks instead? Can’t say I don’t see the appeal, boss. How does Maynooth strike your fancy? Close to the ‘smoke but still far away to make it different. I even like the sound of it meself. Go on. you can have that and all.
Tell you what, boss, help me out on this one and we can even throw in some of those electronic voting machines on top. Boss? Boss?!”