The Beggars' Banquet
At one of the more regional airports of our fine European Union, a plane has landed. On board, are two important people. From the thousands of hard working professional men and women who make up that august organisation, An Garda Siochana, they have been most carefully selected for this mission.
I’m calling it an airport, but it’s really a four kilometre strip with a white box at the side of it. The white box has something international airport written on it, but they’re not kidding anyone.
Their mission, which they have chosen to accept, is not unadjacent to the one that is being explained to our hero some 600 miles to the south west.
As the more astute of you will have realised, our hero is indeed Ronnie Hennessy, the Free State’s danger man.
Every country has them, of course they do: their man for a tight spot.
Equally at home in a white dinner jacket on the Cote d'Azur or a black donkey jacket in the Russian oilfields, when the going gets tough, you send in Hennessy.
Out on the Spanish terrace, the two men sat sipping their drinks in the sunshine. Just two family men off the hook for an hour, chewing the fat, smiling at waiter and passer-by alike.
“No way Max. I’m retired. You said so yourself.” started Hennessy.
“It doesn’t work that way and you know it.” replied Max.
“Why me anyway?” Hennessy asked, waving over more drinks. A cognac for him and a kir for Max.
“You were requested by name. Noel and Bertie were specific.”
all the while avoiding eye contact by rummaging in his satchel. From it, he took a folder and placed it tantalisingly on the table next to his kir. Hennessy noted it was government green with the embossed golden harp on the cover. He saw too the unbroken security tabs.
You should have been an angler, Max. he thought.
Out loud, he said,
“Oh, Noel and Bertie is it now? My, haven’t we come up in the world? It wasn’t that long ago you needed my help with…”
“Look Ronnie,” said Max, interrupting, “we both know you’re going to do it, so why don’t we skip to the end?”
Hennessy smiled his best disarming smile and reached out for the proffered folder.
“Show.” he said.
As the plane ground to a halt at its stand far from the terminal, the older of the two defenders of the peace woke up and stared out the window at the shimmering heat.
“Where, in the name of Christ, is this?” he asked.
The younger of the two looked at his inflight map for a second before answering his superior.
“Mally you are one fucking eedjit and that’s a fact!”