I made the time but there was no crime. I was devastated, under house arrest after showing two red bars on the Covid test. I’m fine, thanks for asking. I’m dealing with a man who was almost close enough to kiss me at the All Ireland soccer final between Kerry and Galway.
You’re Billy Keane, aren’t you?” asked the caster.
“Yes,” I replied. “I’m He. Or at least I was last time I checked.” He doesn’t laugh. A man on a mission, he won’t be swayed.
He came closer and I took a step back, but then the man who was already nearby moved even closer. We faced each other. I could smell stale drink on his breath. He stared into my eyes like a lion stalking its prey. I wish I had a chair and a whip.
I backed up again, but he was right in front of me, like a man marker in the big game. It wasn’t the first time a man took my breath away and spoke into my mouth. The space predators seem to think we hear with our mouths and not with our ears.
The near speaker gave me the covid. He must be the one. This deduction may seem unfair considering the game had more than 80,000 choices.
There we were in Croke Park when the Kerry people were in heaven after they won Sam Maguire and the tormented man made fun of his grandfather who was badly wronged by the Land Commission 91 years ago.
Again and again he went into the grandfather, who, as he said, was “the wrong policy” and suffered accordingly. I was trapped by the curse The field.
People think because my father wrote The field and it was about the Irish obsession with land, that it is my duty to right all agricultural injustices.
The best advice is to let it go and move on with your life. Don’t pass the feud on to the next generation.
I guess the Putins must have been seriously wronged when they were killed from a dacha or a cherry orchard during the Russian Revolution.
I’m coming up with an old trick. “I need to go to the toilet.”
He says: “Me too. I will be with you.”
We’re in the crowded Croke Park toilet. He parks next to me. there is no river I’m too dehydrated, which is related to the hot day and the excitement of the game. It was like being hit with a hose ban.
The man whose grandfather was wronged in 1931 looks down. I think he knows now that the trip to the mansion was an excuse.
He leans forward until we’re bandaged at the waist and says, ‘Of the neighbors who got our seven acres – none of them ever fired a shot. Our mob killed all around us.”
The fans sing in the background The Rose of Tralee.
I’ve waited eight years for this, and now I’m thinking of running faucets and cascading down waterfalls next to a man obsessed with cheating on his grandfather in 1931.
My tormentor is in full swing. I take my chance and fall to freedom. I’m slalizing through the fans like Michael Collins on the run but by then the badly damaged man has certainly given me the covid.
I wasn’t sick, but I was confused. Had a hard time concentrating.
The worst thing is that there were no hugs from the grandchildren. I love giving them kisses. Being a grandfather is the best job ever.
I tried to find myself in the week off. It was easy. For once I was in one place.
Time passed slowly and I slept a lot in the first few days. The vaccinations seemed to have worked and I’m fine now.
It wasn’t exactly a Nelson Mandela moment, but the first day of freedom was as happy as can be. I wrote down all the good things in life while in isolation.
A box was ticked on that first day. I sat on a bench by the Feale and watched ducks and they quacked even though the day was sunny.
I remembered Dad picking me up at that exact spot as he was flat on his back. I laughed and loved every second. I’m not sure how old I was, but it was a long time ago and I was a very young boy.
From the river we went through the forest to my grandfather Bill’s grave. He died 59 years ago on the very day I was released. I asked grandfather to babysit his great-great grandchildren and the newest Billy who is a fortnight.
Several family members are buried on this small piece of land. I really believe that the ancestors are taking care of us.
Eamon Dunphy wrote that George Best was always on the lookout for enthusiasm and I’m a bit of a bee hunter. Once in the room I had nowhere to go. I had to make my own fun. The self-help books advised us to enjoy our own company. I’ve tried to be as nice to myself as I am to others.
It’s a big part of the psyche of Irish men of a certain age to avoid self-praise. The flawed logic is when we praise ourselves, the condition known as the dreaded swollen head will visit us.
The old adage that self-praise is not praise is dead wrong. The things we say about confident people are along the lines of, “If he were an ice cream cone, he would lick himself.”
I patted myself on the back, which is far more comforting than a self-delivered kick in the butt.
I’m refreshed and lucky not to be sick. I would like to advise that we should get on with our lives as Covid will be here for a while but that each of you must decide in the light of your own circumstances.
We have to live life and there is no spare time in place of wasted days.
I read and add to my long list of everything that is good every day. There are so many paths to a happy place if we know where to look and stay when we get there.
Perhaps the space intruder in Croke Park, whose grandfather had done grievous wrongs in 1931 by the neighbors who didn’t shoot anyone, did me a great favor.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/even-a-dash-to-the-croke-park-toilet-wasnt-enough-to-get-rid-of-space-invader-who-gave-me-covid-41908851.html Even a hop to the toilet in Croke Park wasn’t enough to get rid of the space invader who gave me Covid