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Celebrity Manager

Last update - Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 06:20 By Roddy Doyle

JOE WAS exhausted by the time he got back up to his flat. There were the stairs. He could man- age them but they were hard work. And there was the chat with the kids. He’d for- gotten how tiring listening to children could be.


JOE WAS exhausted by the time he got back up to his flat. There were the stairs. He could man- age them but they were hard work. And there was the chat with the kids. He’d for- gotten how tiring listening to children could be.

The black kid had given him a phone number.

¬–You’re to phone him, he’d said.

–Who is he?
–Our manager.
–I thought I was your man-

–Our real manager, the kid

had said.
The other kids had laughed. Now, Joe took the saucepan

lid off his dinner plate. It still looked warm; there was no skin on the gravy.

But he felt panicky. The kids had charmed him into agreeing to do something he really didn’t want to do. He didn’t want to be anyone’s manager, and he didn’t want to be on the telly. Like the Korean rapper and the dog running after the deer – ‘Fenton! Fenton!’ – Joe was already a YouTube star. He hated it.

But there’d been something about those kids. He already missed them. He remembered it now. Children were addic- tive, a bit like a drug.

He took his phone from his pocket and dialled the number.

A man answered quickly. –Yeah?
–This is Joe Gaffney, said


It wasn’t a promising start. –Your team knocked on my

door, said Joe.
–Ah, said the voice. –The

Dog Man.
–My name’s Joe, said Joe. –Yeah, said the voice. –So,

the lads explained the situation to you, yeah?

Joe was tempted – very,

very tempted – to hang up. –I said Yes, he said. –Ah, brilliant, said the

It seemed like Joe was talk-

ing to a different man. The hit man at the other end had sud- denly become his best friend.

–Are you at home now, Joe, are yeh? asked Joe’s new pal.

–Yeah, said Joe.
–We’ll be around in a bit. –We?
But he’d gone. The line was

Joe had just decided he’d

have time for his dinner when the bell rang again. Each step was a new pain but he got to the door before it rang again. Where there’d been kids, there were now adults. There were seven of them. Six men and a woman.

–We’re the committee. -Committee?
–Media relations and raffles. It had started to rain since

the last time Joe had been at the door.

–Come in, he said.
He wasn’t sure if they’d all

fit in his kitchen/sitting room but he led the way back up the stairs. He had to go slowly, and the committee was right behind him.

–No hurry, said someone.

–Shush, you, said the woman.

Five of the men and the woman were wearing those

padded jackets that footballs managers liked, the ones that looked like they’d been designed for space travel. In the tight space here, the com- mittee looked a bit like one huge manager. Joe looked at the crests. There were two Liverpools, two Manchester Uniteds, a Leeds United, and a

Glasgow Celtic.
–It’s Gaelic football, isn’t

it? he asked.
–God, yeah.
–You look taller on the telly,

Joe, said Leeds United. –Doesn’t he?

–They say it puts two stone on you, said one of the Liverpools.

–Jesus, said Glasgow Celtic. –You’d be in trouble so, Denis.

It felt like a new experience, being in a room full of people laughing. Joe laughed too.

–Anyway, look it, said the man who’d done the talking downstairs. –You’re a busy man, Joe, so we won’t delay you. I’m Mick, by the way.

Joe shook hands, and there was more laughter as the padded jackets shifted and bumped into one another, to make room for the introduc- tions.

–Konstantin with a K. –So, anyway, said Mick

with an M. –You know the story, Joe. The gang in RTÉ have decided the show needs a revamp. They did a poll, and most people had never heard of any of the Irish celebs. So, like, they’re getting rid of the normal celebs.

–No harm, said Mary.

–And they’re introducing this idea where the celeb has to come from the same parish as the club. So, listen, we’re

really grateful for this. Aren’t we, lads?

Five men and a woman said, –Absolutely.

–And listen as well, said Mick. –We know. You don’t particularly like being called Dog Man. Am I right?

–Yeah, said Joe.

–So, said Mick. –Like. Would you object if you were called Joe ‘The Dog Man’ Gaffney – but just for the telly?

–We’ll all call you Joe, Mary assured him.

–Alright, said Joe. –Okay.

–That’s brilliant, said Mick. –Because – Will we tell him now, lads?

–Go on ahead.

–The team in the parish next door, said Mick. –St Cormac’s. They’re in it as well. And – well. Their manager is the dog.

© Roddy Doyle 2012

Roddy Doyle is an author, dramatist and screenwriter. His first novel was The Commitments, and he won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. He lives in north Dublin. 


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