Monday, August 24, 2009
Fakey and the Art Theft
He was in one of those moods. He’d begun ordering by the crate, and dismissed anything that didn’t have an alcohol rating of ‘skull and crossbones’. He’s begun picking fights with himself, and losing. Like the May bank holiday, this occasion doesn’t happen every week, so I simply sat back and enjoyed the ride.
I am of course talking about my boyhood chum, husband of my ex’s sister and token asthmatic contemporary, Mr Fakey. We had steaks. While he waxed lyrical about the rump, I devoured it like an escaped orphan. As he measured the amount of blood that seeped from its centre, I was wiping my face and asking for the dessert menu. Between dipping his barometer into the flesh and challenging the waiter to produce the cows birth certificate, I had ordered a second plate of chips. It was that kind of night. The kind of night when going for dinner actually meant eating and not the Rose of Tralee equivalent of interrogating your food. Eventually, happy that all in the world was right he ingested the fare, and declaring it a fine nosebag, proceeded to dive into the wine like a depressed housewife.
It wasn’t long before he had that look. You know the one, his eyes veered like the headlights of a car heading off a cliff edge. He spoke of revolution and violent tangos in a burning Buenos Aires. He had pulled his pockets out and was showing all his white eared elephant trick. It takes a friend to see behind the facade. It takes a long time buddy to read between the lines. And when he started pissing into his wallet, I could safely declare; Fakey is drunk.
We continued on to an unnamed wine bar (unnamed for a very good reason) and I watched as his pupils boarded the waltzer. His frenzied appetite for wine could not be contained, and before long his physical demeanour had taken a more horizontal position. He was talking of starring down government tanks, freeing the imprisoned and why St Patricks Athletic needed a new defender. It was impassioned stuff and I sat agog, almost thinking it was a young Che at the table. Or at least a heavily pregnant Derek Davis.
I knew the night was on fire. I had once seen him like this before, back in 1994 when he took his poetic out on a secret tree house in a forest close to where I lived. I had 999 entered into my phone when he reappeared from the toilet, with a little bit more of the bar’s furniture than he went with.
“Run!!” he shouted, echoing the time we had a free slap up breakfast in some greasy spoon at the back of Clerys. Run I did, and soon, as the cold air hit me like a Limerick Snowman, he unveiled his revolution. It was a theft to rival the Generals assault on Russborough or the Munch incident. Fakey, stood there shaking. In his hands, where I would by now expect to see a kebab, was a freshly pilfered painting from the very bar we had been drinking. His eyes danced like two incestuous cousins and his smile curled around the back of his head like someone who’d simply drank too much and stole something.
Fearful of hard labour by means of association, I separated from this modern day Ronnie Biggs and allowed myself into my flat. I didn’t know what was next, but I was pretty sure that his soap handling skills would be called into action for the first time since the Community Games overnighter in Ferns. I downed my nightcap uneasily, possibly because it was an actual nightcap, but more likely because I knew he’d be for the high jump.
And so it was. Minutes later, as I unnecessarily describe to you that I was naked as a horse and lathering my flesh in the shower, a call arrived into my phone. It was of course Fakey. He’d been ordered to return, like all good criminals, to the scene of the crime and replace the ‘hot’ article. By none other than his wife.
I can only imagine what he felt, as he was essentially beaten by the system, into re-hanging that painting. There would now be no great books or ballads about the day Fakey infiltrated the ‘man’ and ran like a special Olympian with a painting of a dog under his jacket. No, instead there’d be another story about how a drunk guy gets his orders served medium rare by a woman who just didn’t understand why he did it.
But then again, maybe she didn’t fancy seeing her husband being passed around like today's Herald in a crowded prison rec room. Which really sucks, cos I sure did.
By the way, prize for whoever can guess where this occurred. Look closely, as the painting is quite obvious, as he re-hung it upside down and still remains that way. Clue one, it’s in Fallon and Byrnes.
Oh, and I have a Twitter.. link on right.