Subscriber OnlyRoss O'Carroll-Kelly

‘We caught the so-called SUV avenger tonight, in the actual act!’

The residents of Morlborough Road are out with torches searching for the culprit

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Sorcha smiles warmly at me – an event so rare that it’s actually worth mentioning. “I’m so proud of our daughter,” she goes. “She’s turning into a wonderful young woman.”

I’m there, “Steady on, Sorcha. What’s brought this on?”

She goes, “Well, she’s only just finished transition year and yet she’s spending her summer evenings with her friends from school, pre-reading the Leaving Cert novel.”

I’m constantly surprised – often pleasantly – by my wife’s inability to smell bullsh*t. I suppose that’s how we’ve managed to stay married for pretty much 20 years, including separations. But for the record, Honor doesn’t have any friends – in or out of school. And whatever she’s up to tonight, I can guarantee you that it doesn’t involve pre-reading anything.


She goes, “I know we’ve had our difficulties with her.”

I’m there, “The drinking. The treating us with contempt. The driving our cars at the age of 13.”

“Well, I think we should be giving ourselves a firm pat on the back for how she’s turned out.”

“I’d, em, hold off that for a while, Sorcha. She’s only 16. She has plenty of time still to disappoint us.”

She goes, “Listen!”

And I’m there, “Er, what am I listening to?”

She’s like, “The silence,” because Sorcha’s old pair offered to take Brian, Johnny and Leo for the weekend, the mugs.

I’m there, “Yeah, no, it’s nice all right,” and then I notice that she’s looking at me in that way.

She’s like, “So do you fancy–?” and then she lets it just hang there in the wind.

“You’ll be happy to know,” I go, “that I went to Boots today and picked up a box of hazmat suits for the little fellah.”

She puts her finger on my lips and goes, “Please don’t ruin the moment, Ross.”

Seconds later, she’s holding my hand and leading me upstairs when my phone – fock’s sake – suddenly rings.

I’m there, “We’ll ignore that.”

Except she can see my phone in my hand. She goes, “Isn’t that Honor ringing?”

I’m there, “Could very well be. It’s definitely her name on the screen.”

She’s like, “Aren’t you going to answer it?”

And I’m there, “I wasn’t planning on it. I thought I’d let it go to voicemail.”

“Ross,” she goes, “she might be in trouble.”

I’m there, “Or she could be ringing to ask me a question about something in this famous novel of hers. And I’ve never read a novel. So it’d be a waste of everyone’s time even answering it.”

“Ross,” she goes, our wild night of Ant of Decs suddenly forgotten, “answer the phone.”

I’m like, “This is focking typical of my luck,” but I end up doing what I’m told.

Honor goes, “Dad, I’m in trouble.”

I’m there, “What happened? And why are you whispering?”

She goes, “I was bursting SUV tyres on Morlborough Road–”

I’m like, “Morlborough Road? Jesus Christ, Honor!”

“And someone spotted me. Dad, there’s, like, 40 or 50 people with torches walking up and down the road looking for me.”

“And where are you now?” I ask.

“I’m hiding under a white Mitsubishi Outlander. Will you come and get me? Please! I’m frightened!”

Sorcha looks at me – it’s not a word – but quizzically?

I’m there, “Yeah, no, it’s Honor all right. She wants me to come and collect her. The so-called novel turned out to be sh*t. No surprises there.”

Sorcha goes, “I’m so happy that she’s made friends with people from Morlborough Road!”

Like I said – can’t smell bullsh*t.

I tip outside to the cor. I’m like, “Honor, are you still there?”

She goes, “Yes. Will you please stay on the line? I’m really scared of what these people will do to me if they find me.”

I’m there, “So you focking should be,” as I stort the cor. “Morlborough focking Road, Honor. Could you not have done it in, like, Mount Merrion?”

She’s there, “They’ve blocked the road at either end. They know I’m here somewhere and they’re, like, determined to find me.”

I’m like, “Yeah, no, I’m driving as fast as I can, Honor.”

Fifteen minutes later, I arrive at the Donnybrook end of – seriously, what the fock was she thinking? – Morlborough Road. There’s, like, two cors blocking it. A woman in yoga gear approaches my cor, going, “I’m sorry, this road is closed.”

And I’m there, “It is in its orse closed. Move your focking cors.”

The backup arrives then. We’re talking two dudes. One of them goes, “Are you a resident?” even though he knows I’m not? People from Morlborough Road recognise each other by scent.

I’m there, “I’m heading for Ranelagh, Dude.”

He goes, “Could you not take Appian Way?”

I’m there, “Appian Way? The focking nerve of you people!” and then I suddenly stort leaning on my horn.

It’s like, beep… beeeeeep… BEEEEEEEEEP!

That draws a lot of attention on us. Suddenly, people stort rushing towards us, torches in hands. They’re like, “What’s going on?”

I’m there, “I’m trying to get to Ranelagh.”

One of them goes, “Could you not take Appian Way?”

And I’m there, “I’ll give you Appian Way if I have to get out of this focking cor.”

“We caught the so-called SUV avenger tonight,” the woman in the yoga gear goes, “in the actual act!”

I’m there, “What do you mean?”

“They burst the tyres of more than 40 SUVs on this road tonight. Using a screwdriver – the bloody cowards. But, unfortunately for them, they were spotted. We’ve blocked off the road at both ends. We have them trapped and we’re in the process of flushing them out.”

“Well,” I go, “I’m giving you two choices. You can either move these cors or I’m coming back with my wife’s SUV with the humungous bullbors on the front and I’m going to plough through this so-called barricade –”

That’s when the front passenger door is suddenly thrown open and Honor – looking as innocent as snow – climbs in.

I’m there, “Hey, Honor, how was the novel?”

She goes, “Sh*t.”

And I’m like, “I don’t know why people even bother.”

I give the crowd at the barricade the finger, perform a seriously impressive U-ey and wheelspin, then head for home.

“Thanks,” Honor goes, “for creating that distraction.”

I’m like, “Morlborough focking Road. I hope you learned a lesson tonight, Honor.”

She goes, “I definitely did. I made a huge mistake, Dad.”

I’m there, “I’m glad to hear it.”

And she goes, “Can you drop me off in, like, Mount Merrion?”

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly was captain of the Castlerock College team that won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in 1999. It’s rare that a day goes by when he doesn’t mention it