“John, I understand you’re frustrated. It’s something we’ll…” He interrupted again, cutting across mid sentence, increasing my anger.
I let the phone hang limply in my hand, swinging by the cord. His voice still bellowed from the receiver, and I looked at CJ standing in the doorway clearly growing impatient. He pointed to his watch. I know. I KNOW. I mouthed to him. It was 5:35pm and the room had just emptied minutes before. We were the only people left in the office, and I was getting it full blast from a disgruntled customer.
Waiting for a gap in the constant flow of expletives, I jumped in.
“John, to be honest there’s nothing I can…” Venom spat at me from the other end. I buried my head in my hands and waited. Suddenly, I heard a break in the flow and looked up. CJ stood over me, finger on the hook.
“Let’s go! We’re going to miss him!”
I smiled at him. That was one way out of a tricky spot. We quickly left the office, and sprinted to the tram. There wouldn’t be much time to get the drinks in.
“What should we do about booze?” I asked, motioning to a couple of vacant seats near the entrance.
“Well, I have a few beer in the house,” he said, “but we’d need to smash those pretty quick. Why, what have you got in mind?”
I looked at my watch again. It was 5.45pm, and the venue doors opened at 6.30pm. It wasn’t enough time to get drunk on beer.
“I say we hit the hard stuff. Captain Morgan?” I suggested.
At 6.15pm we were at his home, with a bottle of Morgan and 2 limes. CJ was busy scraping last nights contents out of two pint glasses.
“Right, we don’t have much time. Skull as much of this as possible.” he said, returning with two full brown pints. “Let’s do this shit!”
I lifted the glass to my lips, ready to gulp and could smell that it had been barely diluted.
“Wait!” I said
I looked deep into his eyes, taking a long drawn breath from my chest for effect, and raised my glass high in the air.
We clinked and two minutes later had another one lined up. Morgan chasing Morgan. It was working out cheaper all round though. Much better to get pissed in the house, albeit over the space of 15 minutes, than it would be in an overpriced Arena.
At 6.45pm we were striding past the impatient queue of beeping cars outside the arena.
“Pick up the pace, CJ. Can’t afford to miss ‘Easy’“.
I’ve been a closet Lionel Richie fan for many years. His smooth dulcet tones, and 80s cheese were a winning combination in my mind. He was a regular on any play list composed for those romantic nights with a significant other. I found a kindred soul in CJ, who also carried a torch for Lionel. We had been waiting weeks for this, his first Dublin appearance in years.
We quickly got ushered into the arena, sweating through our shirts. There had been no time to change into more casual attire. 7pm, and just in time. Or so we thought. The lobby was still full of people, and it quickly became clear Lionel wouldn’t be playing for at least another hour. Not only that, but we discovered it was a seated only show.
“That means we can’t even get up and dance!” I said to CJ, who was at the bar getting the drinks in.
“Fuck that mate. I’m going to be up there on stage with Lionel chatting up the MILF’s. What do you fancy?”
I did a quick body scan, realising that I was still completely sober. Strange, I thought, although this has happened me before. No matter what you drink, you just can’t get drunk. Fuggit.
“Vodka, Red Bull.”
After a few of those, we were talking excitedly about which hits we’d like to hear. We must have looked like Japanese tourists giggling excitedly in the corner. Feeling a little braver, I started approaching random people at the bar, asking them what time Cliff Richard was performing. I thought this was hilarious of course, but they must have thought I was on crack or something.
8pm, turned into 8.30pm. 1 drink flowed into a half dozen. We were the last two people to leave the bar and finally be shown into the arena. There was already someone performing on stage.
“Oh right! Lionel!”
We had to crawl over several people before dropping to our seats, situated in the furthest corner from the stage imaginable. Everyone in the arena was sitting down.
“How the fuck are you supposed to dance to this shit sitting down?” CJ protested.
“Fugthis. I’m dancing.”
I stood up and started dancing on the spot, completing blocking the view of people behind me. CJ followed soon after.
“Oh! What a feeling!” we belted out to each other holding invisible mic’s.
The people behind started heckling us, but we were just too far gone and enjoying it too much to care.
After a few minutes of this someone complained to security, who tentatively approached us from the shadows.
We evaded their grasp, running down the aisles of the venue much to the bemusement of the paying punters and Lionel who was mid-song. Eventually they caught up to me. It took four of the bastards to drag me away.
“I just wanted to hear Easy!” I pleaded. “It’s my favourite song!”
CJ quickly realising that the game was up noticed my distress and came running to my aid.
“Oy! Don’t you fucking touch him!”
Another couple of guards jumped out intercepting him managing to drag us both out. We struggled with them before being unceremoniously dumped on the kerb outside the main entrance.
“Can’t believe we got chucked out of a Lionel Richie Concert.” I said, dusting myself down, and getting up on unsteady feet.
“Fuggem. Pricks anyway.” CJ said. “I wasn’t going to let them take you alone mate.”
“Aww cheers mate. You could have stayed in there. It was me they wanted.”
“Nah man. I couldn’t go on without you. Love you man.”
“Love you too mate.”
We linked arms, swerving our way home. The gentle sound of Lionel behind us paving our way with a smooth rendition of Easy.