It’s fitting—given that Saint Patrick’s Day falls this week—that Part 2 of this exclusive Lord of the Rams story takes place on a 5-day Saint Paddy’s Day holiday to Latvia in 2006.
After celebrating the public holiday in Riga, partaking in some hair-raising bobsleighing in Sigulda, and ordering dinner from an unusual menu in a Cesis restaurant, our intrepid adventurers set off to find a good pub in what is a very small and quiet town.
Note: Please read Part 1 of this story prior to reading Part 2 below (which continues directly from the end of Part 1).
…………………Draft excerpt from Lord of the Rams 2: A Tale of Four Continents…………………
‘Do you know any good bars around here?’ Rams asked the fresh-faced brunette waitress.
‘There is a bar about 100 metres from here,’ she replied. ‘It is called “Boomerangs”.’ She wrote some basic directions on a piece of paper and, as she handed it to Rams, he produced a crumpled parchment of his own.
‘And do you know where this nightclub is?’ he asked, pointing at his almost illegible scrawl.
‘Ah, Vidzemnieks,’ said the waitress excitedly. ‘I am going there later with my friends. It’s a very good place.’
Rams, delighted that his little bit of research on C?sis was beginning to pay off, decided to turn the Irish charm up a notch.
‘That’s fantastic. Sure we’ll have to have a drink and a dance later so. A bit of Riverdance.’
The waitress blushed, smiled and told the lads she would see them later. With Winston and Tom still waiting for their food, the four refreshed farmers decided to head to Boomerangs for a few drinks.
‘Sure we’ll see yas there within the hour,’ said Rams to the Tipperary pair before departing Cafe Popular. Following some good-humoured banter with the friendly blonde receptionist, the lads finally made their way up the town in search of Boomerangs.
‘That’s funny,’ said the Rams, looking at the waitress’s directions. ‘She pronounced the bar as “Boomerangs” but she spelled it as “Bumerangs”.’
‘So long as it’s not The George we’re going to,’ said Eugene, referring to Dublin’s infamous gay club.
‘I’d say we’re alright, Eugene,’ reassured the Rams. ‘She wouldn’t do that to us.’
Only half a dozen customers were enjoying a frosty March pint when the four Irish lads walked into Bumerangs like they owned the place. Four of the six existing customers were propping up the bar, all of them eyeing the strangers with suspicion.
Eugene ordered four beers from the barwoman as Rams jested once again with a still hungry Terry and Bowers about their sumptuous evening meal. Although Rams had his back turned to the four locals, he noticed they were beginning to raise their voices somewhat aggressively.
‘I hope these lads aren’t going to start anything,’ Rams whispered to Terry.
Suddenly the barwoman asked the lads where they were from, and she translated Bowers’s reply to the locals.
‘I’m just going to the jacks,’ said Rams to his friends. ‘We might want to drink up and blow this joint when I get back.’
Moments later Rams returned from the toilet just in time to see the ‘leader’ of the group purchasing a large bottle of vodka and presenting it to Eugene. By now Terry and Bowers were looking a bit nervous, perhaps wondering what motives lay behind their new friend’s most generous gesture. Eugene, for his part, tried in vain to give the vodka back to the Latvian man who was now sitting on the stool next to him.
‘You’re not going to drink that, are ya?’ Rams asked as Eugene grabbed a few shot glasses from the bar counter.
‘Sure what choice do I have? He won’t take “no” for an answer.’
So Eugene opened the bottle of vodka and poured generous shots for himself, Terry and Bowers. Rams, along with all four of the locals, declined the offer of a drink. Instead he supped on the remnants of his warm beer, waiting to see what would happen next.
It turned out that Eugene’s benefactor had a basic understanding of English, and his gift to the lads now presented him with the perfect opening to start a conversation with them—particularly Eugene.
‘Where are you from?’ he asked, as if the barwoman’s earlier translation had fallen on deaf ears.
‘Ireland,’ replied Eugene, smiling and somewhat bemused by the friendliness of the man.
‘And what is your sexual orientation?’
Terry nearly choked on his vodka, and Bowers looked like he was about to shit himself as he observed all four large Latvian men staring at Eugene in anticipation of a favourable reply.
Like most Munterconnaught men, Eugene needed but a fraction of a second to reply.
‘Women, women. I’m married,’ he stuttered before following up with, ‘Anything split down the front,’ and a nervous laugh.
One could probably have heard a mouse fart at that moment in Bumerangs—Eugene sitting sheepishly on his stool, four angry but horny Latvians salivating beside him, Terry and Bowers gulping down their vodkas, and Rams making sure he had his arse against a wall in case things turned nasty in a Deliverance sort of way.
‘What time did ya say the flight is going at, Rams?’ said Eugene, his shifting eyes indicating to his friend that a convincing tarradiddle was urgently required.
‘I think it’s leaving at three o’clock tonight. We’d want to be making tracks soon if we’re going to make that flight.’
‘Do you know how long it takes to get from here to Riga?’ Eugene asked his Latvian friend in an attempt to change the conversation and justify his imminent departure. ‘We are flying back to Ireland tonight, so we need to get a taxi to Riga.’
‘It’s about two hours from here,’ came the frosty reply.
Eugene necked the remainder of his vodka and turned to his friends.
‘Right, we’d better head for the airport.’
But the lads were already half-way out of the pub. Eugene once again attempted in vain to return the bottle of vodka to the Latvian, and then he too made haste for the exit.
‘You need to be truthful about your sexuality,’ called the Latvian after Eugene.
‘What sort of a place was that?’ asked Eugene as the lads walked briskly away from Bumerangs.
‘I don’t know but we won’t be making it the local,’ replied Rams.
Ronan Smith is the author of Munterconnaught’s best selling comedy memoir, Lord of the Rams. Described as “a real treat to read that you will devour” (The Irish Post), “a diverting and entertaining read” (Evening Herald) and “genuinely funny” (Books Ireland), the book can be purchased for €10 (including worldwide P&P) directly from the author via http://www.lordoftherams.com/buythebooksigned.htm. Read FREE extracts of the book at www.lordoftherams.com.