Claire, from Bray everywhere, sticks a plate under my nose and tells me that I should – oh my God – absoutely try the kalettes. I ask him, not without reason, what are kalettes and Garret, her mate of husband, says that they are a cross between kale and cabbage. In which case, I told them, I’d rather eat a yard of my colon.
Yes, no, the two invited me and Sorcha to Wheat, Bray, Love – their hip restaurant on Quinsborough Road – to sample their new menu for fall and winter and it sure isn’t. my idea of a fun evening.
Sorcha goes through the phases, in all fairness to the girl. She did Fake Sincerity as an extracurricular subject in Mount Anville. She’s like, “Oh my god they see like germs, but in fact they taste of, like, kale? “
“Try it with the naive beet,” says Claire, “and some of the deactivated pecans.”
I just roll my eyes – which, of course, Garret ends up seeing.
He said to me, “Yeah, that would be typical of you, wouldn’t it?” “
I’m there, “In terms of?” my two fists tighten.
“My God,” I said, “you’re not asking us to fund your Adventures in Eating podcast again, are you? Because the answer is the same as last time – you can fuck yourself right now ‘
He says, “You make fun of anyone who dares to be different.”
I say to myself: “Said the man with Salvador whatever he calls the mustache and the bow tie.” You look like a complete cul-de-poule and I seem to be the only one calling you on that.
Claire tries to change the subject by telling Sorcha to try the yellowfin tuna poke with bitter carrots, dissatisfied ortichokes, and disgruntled rocket reduction. Who, of course, Sorcha – the total sap – Is.
“Oh my God,” she said, “sesame seeds! “
Claire says, “I know, they’re fabricated and then scared.”
“Made and scared? “Sorcha leaves.” It’s like, oh my God – isn’t it, Ross? “
I am there, “It seems to be going well.”
I notice then a glance pass between Garret and Claire, as if they were about to evoke something.
“So,” Claire said, “we had, like, an ulterior motive in inviting you here tonight.”
“My God,” I said, “you’re not asking us to fund your Adventures in Eating podcast again, are you? Because the answer is the same as last time – you can fuck yourself right now. “
She said, “No, that’s not it. Do you remember the summer when you stayed with us in the mobile home at Ballycanew?
“Vaguely,” I say.
She said, “We went to the pub the first night and came back and the place had, like, burnt down?”
“Yeah, no,” I said, “that’s ringing an okay bell. “
There she is, “The insurance company refuses to pay.”
Sorcha said: “Oh! My God! Why?”
“It turns out that the fire was started on purpose”, he goes. “It was arson.”
Damn, I think.
“It was what ?” Sorcha leaves.
I’m there, “He’s trying to tell Orson. That’s just how they talk in Greystones. “
“According to the firefighter’s report,” Garret continues, “there was evidence that an accelerator had been used. And they think we burned it for insurance.
I laugh – a nervous laugh.
“Sorry,” he said, “do you think that’s funny? “
I’m like, “It’s just, I don’t know, a mobile home in Ballycanew – what was it worth?” Two hundred brats?
He’s just glaring at me. And that’s when Claire – totally out of left field – says, “We’re pretty sure who burned him too.”
I’m like, “You’re going to say Honor, aren’t you?” totally forgetting about old Hennessy Coghlan-O’Hara saying you should never admit or deny anything until you’ve actually been charged. And then you would have to deny it over and over again. “I’m not going to sit here while you eat, I don’t know, locally sourced alpaca burgers with anchovy coleslaw and slander my daughter’s good name. Honor is many things, but it is not an orsonist.
He said, ‘The guards will find out the truth, Ross. And then you and your girl will be fucked up – as fucked up as our fucked up gravlax tacos’
She’s an Orsonist, sure, but she said Ronan showed her how to make it look like an accident. We will have words.
“Nobody accuses Honor of anything,” Claire continues.
“Even though she came back to the mobile home to get her contact lenses,” says Garret. “Although, according to Sorcha, she doesn’t really wear contact lenses.”
Claire says, “No, we think it was related to the business. I was reading this ortique online and he said it was, like, a thing that every time a restaurant like ours opens in a neighborhood, rents suddenly go up and locals get angry. It happened in Melbourne and Toronto, for example, they actually burnt down restaurants like ours.
“Oh my God,” Sorcha said, “they think you’re trying to gentrify Bray? But that’s crazy talk! “
Claire is there, “Well, when we made the homemade watermelon, stuffed spinach, and creme brulee cheese bruschetta, a man came in and accused us of messing around with the stranger.” I think that burning our mobile home was a warning to us that the restaurant will be next.
“Oh my God, literally,” Sorcha said.
Claire is there, “Anyway, we reported it to the Gords yesterday and they are going to investigate. We just wanted to warn you that they will probably want to interview you.
Sorcha said: “Well, we know you didn’t burn it for insurance money because we were actually there. We’d be too happy to talk to the Gordes, wouldn’t we, Ross?
I’m there, “Uh, yeah – obviously we’d like Hennessy to be around.”
Claire says, “Thank you. Sorcha, come with me. I want to introduce you to our new chef. He created this incredible subjugated marrow crumble with channeled sweet corn and aromatic vermouth. Juice. “
So in the kitchen they screw up, leaving me alone with Garret. He just looks at me, to the point where I suddenly feel the need to say something.
“Well,” I said, “at least you didn’t ask us to fund your stupid fucking crowdfunding podcast again. Relief all around.
He said to me, “I know it was Honor – and I know you put her on it because you couldn’t stand spending a week with us.”
“It’s a serious allegation to make,” I said. “Even if that last bit is true.”
He said, “The guards will find out the truth, Ross. And then you and your daughter will be fucked up – as fucked up as our fucked up gravlax tacos. “