by Conor Galvin
The camera cuts across to the Gibson Hotel. A resplendent Michael Lyster is accompanied on stage by Jim Gavin. Another Gavinesque interview cranks up. Behind them the revelry is in full swing. The record breaking Dubs have been immortalised forever. The 5-in-a-row is in the bag but still he stays on message. Lyster asks a few questions and gets a few stock answers. The platitudes about “staying in the present” and “sticking to the process” finally subside. Lyster breathes a sigh of relief, the root canal is over. It’s on to the main event. Lyster stares down the camera lens,
“And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for….”
He carefully peels open the perfectly crafted envelope.
“I’m proud to announce the 2019 All Ireland final man of the match goes to …. Elliot O’Reilly.”
The camera pans to the back of the hall. The victor is seated at a table swimming in Vodka and Redbull, his tie knotted around his head, full metal jacket mode. He initially looks shellshocked before a giant smile detonates his jaw line. He looks wild eyed around the room before piecing his gaze down the camera lens and gyrating in full Darts music poise,
“Da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da Oi Oi Oi!!”
The room erupts as Elliot stands on his chair and choreographs the mayhem. He picks up two glasses of Vodka and Redbull and heads for the stage. He won’t be getting thirsty up there….
Elliot mounts the podium amidst a crescendo of noise and slams the drinks on the table.
“What do ye think about that Gerry Hargan!!!! ” he booms down the mic.
He grabs Jim Gavin and slobbers a giant kiss on his cheek before arcing back on the chair behind him. Lyster flashes a nervous smile, “okay okay Elliot, settle down now.” He waits for Elliot to regain his poise before starting off. Silence finally descends.
“So tell us Elliot or ‘Trigger’ as you are better known to the outside world, how much does this award tonight mean to you tonight?”
Elliot inhales another long draft of Vodka and Redbull. He feels like Jimmy “The Bollix” Rabbitte finally being interviewed by Terry Wogan.
“Well jaysus Lyster I’ve dreamt about being interviewed by you in the bath for a long time …. And tonight finally the dream has come through.”
Lyster chuckles across the table, “well thankfully for both our sakes we’re both fully clothed tonight.”
The powers that be get in Lysters earpiece and order a redirection of the interview towards Gavin before it all gets out of hand. He acquiesces. “And Jim, tell us what has been the most important contribution that Elliot has made in this winning 5-in-row team?” Gavin pauses momentarily and clears his throat.
“Well Michael, I think it’s fair to say that Trigger brings an X-Factor that only the real Dublin people can relate to. He loves them and they love him. Within the dressing room he drives excellence and we’re all very proud of him….”
Elliot leans across to give Gavin another kiss but he has vanished from the couch. He turns back towards Lyster but he’s gone too. He looks over his shoulder and the hall is empty. And now the camera crew have disappeared from the podium.
“Ah Bollix anyway, don’t tell me I’m fuckin …..”
He awakes with a shuddering halt and sits upright in the bed. His heart is like a Bodhrán and his Liverpool jersey is soaked with perspiration. He falls back on the bed as the hyperventilation subsides. ‘At least I gave Hargo a mention’ he laughs to himself. It’s bright outside. He checks his phone, always a good barometer to assess the carnage of the night before. A text comes through,
“You still alive Trigger? Going straight to town for the Monday club. Autobahn not a runner after the shenanigans last night”
He chuckles to himself, ‘good auld Mick O’Malley has probably barred me again for another week.’ He dusts himself off and gets his game face on. The world is his oyster. The peloton are drinking in Pipers Corner. ‘Can’t let the bastards get too much of a head start.’ He cobbles together a hurried bacon and egg combo and necks a couple of glasses of orange juice. A parting shot to restore the blood sugar after the revelries of the night before. It’s time to boogie. Another day of mayhem beckons. He pauses at the hall mirror for one last quality control check. He catches a fleeting glimpse of himself which forces a flash of momentary introspection. His dream comes flooding back. He could have had that life. Maybe.
His favorite picture stares back at him. The Ballymun Kickhams team picture from 2012. Winning the Senior Leinster Club Championship with his best and most trusted friends. Nobody could ever take that away from him. They strode out in Croker on Paddys Day, the Crucible of amateur dreams. The county scene had passed him by but the life scene hadn’t. Great memories garnered, sometimes reckless and other times downright foolish but true to himself. The purest form of enigma. He returns to the mirror and fixes the quiff one last time. He looks himself in the eye….
‘You’re the luckiest man alive Trigger, the luckiest man alive. Now wait till I find Gerry Hargan and tell him about me dream ….’