Fair play Johnny — Dave Lordan

Dat was de time ya stole me Da’s car. ‘member? Fair play. Fair play man. How aisy the big bollix fell fer it. After all ‘is years in de service. Wat he called it. Man I’d say de report came thru ta de stayshun within ten fuggin  seconds uv ya smashin in and drivin off.  We didden even hav ta look afta dat. Altho’ it wudda ben cool man if ya hadda rung up the stayshun the way we had ya on standby ta. De thief reportin de theft! Imagine dat. Fair play ta ya man. Fair play ta de thief ben ‘is own rat, and ‘is own copper as well, judge, screw, the whole lot uv  ‘em coiled up inside ya like, ready ta spring. Fair play ta dat idea, wha? Sure dere ’s always some nosey parker hangin ‘round. Dere’s a rat fer evry ten feet uv ground in Dublin. Evry five feet on Tablet Street. Every two feet outside Colony Station. Ya better believe it.  Fair play ta de owl ratbag. Workin fer uz he was an’ he didden even know it.

‘Nother stolen car report in at de stayshun. So wat?, says me Da ta hisself, I betcha. Must be gettin a thousand an’ one uv dem evry day in dat gaff. An’ de coppers are organisin half de thefts demselves sure. Course dey fuggin are. Fair play though. Fair play ta  dem, de filthy shitbags. Dey’ve de whole sheebanjo sown up, so dey have. Did ya ever see a cop arrest himself? No, neither did I. Me Da askin de pointless quesshuns ta yer man de rat, all fer the sake uv fillin a form; colour, make, registrayshun? Me Da, the big owl hogface on ‘im ha?

Betcha as soon as he cops on it’s ‘is car, de big hairy-eyebrow-bollix, dat he slaps de phone down wen yer man de rat’s half-way thru a sintints. Slaps de receiver down like he’d’uv slapped a hot iron inta yer face if he’d’uv’a caughten ya. Fair play ta him. Fair play ta hot irons. An’ fair play ta Jeremy Irons. Now de moosetache is quiverin on me Da, I betcha, like a fuggin humungo hairy Catapilla yoke in de jungull takin a hairy owlshite on a leaf. Fair play ta all dat weird humungo stuff in de Amazon. An’ fair play ta de lumberjacks choppin it down. An’ me Da’s eyebrows too an’ all. Fair play ta dem. Dey were so thick, dem yokes on ‘is face, weren’t dey not? It was like he had three moosetaches. An’ ‘is two eyes were like upsidedowny mouths, ate’n all he saw with ‘em.

Sorry, man, I’m talkin shite. Fair play though. Fair play ta me, wha? Fair play ta uz all sure. And fair play ta shite. ‘Specially ta talkin shite.

Inta de squad car den me Da lepps. On ‘is own. Takin care uv personal business. De head on ‘im flarin with de thoughts o wat he’s gonna do ta ya wen he catches up witcha. Whover he’s thinkin ya might be. One uv de yoozels he‘s hopin for. Gonna need surgey by de time he gets finished with ya. No need fer any witnesses. Not even one uv ‘is own gang. Sure, it’s all omerta with those bozos ‘til de promoshuns are dangled, or de transfers. Dere are worsed stayshuns den the ones in Dubbilin West ‘round. Way worsed.

Emagine me Da on some fuggin  Arrin island or somethin. No endless supply uv goofers ta  piss on wen dere conked out in de Bridewell. No pimps ta tax. Although dere ’s whorehouses at every friggin country crossroads now sure. Fair Play. Fair play ta de country crossroads. Fair play ta de pimps, wha? An’ out on dat boggy island or up on dat wintery hilltop dere wouldn’t be too many ‘missin’ foster kids to round up and…well whatever de fuck it is de coppers do with those. I reckon dere’s a fuggin humungo underground dungeon down in Sneem or somewhere I betcha and dat de coppers an’ de soshell workers an’ de owl touts from de INLA  and all who are in on it deliver de missin kids there.  An’ de royals an’ de golfers  an’ the horsey crowd ‘an all dem lot can jes pay in like a sex casino, a sex version uv Doctors Quirky’s an’ dey rapes ‘em  an’ rides ‘em  an’ slashes ‘em  every which way.  An’ whatever else dey want is on de menu too.

Cos nobody really gives a bollix, do dey? If anybody gave a bollix dey’d be all out lookin fer kids dat go missin, fuggin  hundurds uv em man, wen ya add ‘em up over de years. Fair play. Fair play ta de missin kids, wha? Even tho dere mosely forners. We all hav our part ta play in dis togederness nation. Ah Jaysus, fuggin reggae again, I hate fuggin reggae, Will ya ask ‘em to put on some drumminbays fer me?  Ah go on sure. Ya will, Ya fill. Ah fygg it don’t bother. I luv reggae actually. Anyways where wuz I? Yeh – I never wanted ta know too much informashun ‘bout dat really crazy cop shit with the missin forin kids. Shut de fidgety bollix up every time he started braggin ‘bout it, I did.

Me Da in ‘is one man stayshun in de moontawny villige uv Snort, heh? I’m holdin dat thought. Fair play ta me. Me da’d hav ta  batter de same one or two alcies every day uv de week. De lack uv variety wud kill him. Well, maybe not. De boredom wud force ‘im inta other lines uv biznis. He’d be inta de imports in no time. On ‘is own in de squad car ta getcha. As predicted. I know I’ve said it a million times before buddy, a zillion I’d say, but ya were some driver dat day. I’ll never know how ya kept ahead uv me Da all de way ta de Hotel Empty, the Hotel-with-no-roof. The windowless views over other half-built hotels like. Massiv spot fer a hooley, as long as it issen rainin, like. Ya wer like Ayrton fuggin Senna goin down the Ballyer road, wha? An’ how many times did the bollix try ta ram ya from behind? He’d hav smashed de drivers window in with de nightstick, right inta yer face, an’ pulled ya through the shardy owl hole by de dreads. Yud’ve ben ate’n yer frunnteeth mate. Yud’ve shit your kidneys out. Fair play. Fair play ta yer kidneys man. An’ mine too. Dere some fuggin yokes to have inside aren’t dey, kidneys?

I’ll never fur-get de look on me Da’s puss wen I popped out uv de boot with de UZI, like a wotchamacallit. De moosetache was twitchin every which way, backwards an’ forwards, like a fuggin tug uv war was goin on on ‘is face. He cudden compoot it atall man, I don’ think. But wen ya lookd in de eyes uv de bastard ya saw somethin diffrint. Luv. I saw luv. It was de first time I ever saw me Da give a look uv pure luv ta me man. First time I ever felt that he actshally reckanoised me like as one uv  ‘is own sport, ‘is own game, ya know wat I’m sayin ta ya buddy? Thanks fer dat too. It was a special moment.

Anyway fuck ‘im. Down he went. Fair play. Fair play ta down he went. An’ fair play ta ya me friend. Ya played a bleedin’ blinder dat seminal day, an’ ever since. D’ya know wha? I know yer sick uv hearin me say this, but ‘sfar as I’m concerned ya can nevah say dese kind uv things too offen. I luv ya mate. I really do. Real luv like. Like a Da, like a song, like a holy boast. Dat kinda luv it is. D’ya know wat I mean? Ah, here, d’ya hear me? Talkin pure shite. Wat de fuck am I on ‘bout ha? At dis hour uv de mornin. Seriously! Yud a right ta tell me ta shut up an’ shove off long go! Fair play, though, fair play, heh?  Wat fuggin time is it? Is it gone 9 o clock? Ah BOLLIX!!! I better get me shit togeder quick. I’ve ta go out ta me Aunt Violet’s ta colleck somethin. Wat’s yer name anyway? I’m Johnny. Fair play Johnny dey call me. I’m from somewhere in Cork. Well I used ta be anyway. Fair play ta me, wat?


Dave Lordan is the first writer to win Ireland’s three national prizes for young poets. He is a former holder of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award, the Kavanagh Award, and the Strong Award. He is a renowned performer of his own work, which the IrishTimes called ‘as brilliant on the page as is in performance’, and has read his work by invitation at festivals and venues across Europe and North America. His poems are regularly broadcast on Irish national radio and he is a contributing editor for Irish literary magazine The Stinging Fly. He is a founding member and editor of experimental and cross-genre arts journal Colony.ieWurmPress published his acclaimed First Book of Frags in 2013 and he teaches experimental fiction at the Irish Writers Centre and contemporary poetry in the Mater Dei Institute of Dublin City University.