So, I was very tired from three months of going round and round and round on cover issues, and the lovely Maureen Johnson was tired from writing the first draft of a book. She has written many books, and they are all awesome. I used to slip The Bermudez Triangle to schoolboys long before I ever met Maureen. (Boy: But it is all purple and pink! Me: Pink for lesbians! Put it in your schoolbag. Do it now!)
So she thought she would come to Ireland, and we would research Maureen's book, and also have a relaxing little holiday adventure!
And so it was.
MAUREEN: arrives Sarah, the taxi drivers are so nice and chatty here! I told the one driving me from the airport my life story.
SARAH: What did you tell him?
MAUREEN: My... life story?
SARAH: Huh. Don't you think telling people the same life story is boring?
MAUREEN: I don't take your meaning.
SARAH: Oh, but you will.
Then we went out on the town, where I took Maureen to a pub where she could behold some Irish trad music.
MAUREEN: What's that man playing?
SARAH: A bodhrán. Excuse me.
SARAH: goes down to the stage
SARAH: Excuse me, sir? Yes? I was wondering if you could dedicate the next song to my friend Maureen? It's her birthday and... she is crazy for a bodhrán player.
MAUREEN: Sarah, why did that man just blow me a kiss? WHAT DID YOU DO?
SARAH: Heh heh heh.
MAUREEN: I see you are one point up in the fake birthday game.
SARAH: Heh heh what. What birthday game? I don't take your meaning!
MAUREEN: Oh, but you will.
The next day we went down to Cork on the train, where we had several exciting drinks.
SARAH: I must have a cookie hot chocolate. Is it cookie-flavoured? I MUST KNOW.
MAUREEN: ... Was it cookie flavoured?
SARAH: No, they just straight up threw a cookie into my hot chocolate. But I regret nothing.
MAUREEN: You know, they sell tiny bottles of whiskey on this train.
We then took a taxi to Hayfield Manor in Cork, which is a lovely and luxurious hotel. I feel honour bound to recommend it, on account of... what we did there. I also feel at this point I must mention - I have a weird indeterminate accent, on account of all the Irish/Welsh/Australian/Liverpudlian stuff going on in my ancestry. I can usually convince people I am Irish. Not, however, when I am in the company of an American.
The truth will not be believed. Lies are necessary.
CORK TAXI DRIVER: How long are you ladies over here for?
SARAH: We're here for a month's holiday celebrating getting our degrees.
SARAH: Our medical degrees. I'm a psychologist. She's a - child doctor.
MAUREEN: I'm a pediatrician.
SARAH: Yes. She's a pediatrician.
MAUREEN: betrayed look
SARAH: Maureen thinks she might have Irish ancestry.
CORK TAXI DRIVER: She might. Definitely not you.
SARAH: Personally I don't think either of us do!
MAUREEN: What do you know? I'm the one curing the little kiddies.
The hotel was very swish when we arrived. We were informed there was a Jacuzzi.
MAUREEN: I wish I'd packed a bathing suit.
SARAH: You wearing black underthings?
MAUREEN: SARAH HOW CAN YOU BE SO INAPPROPRIATE.
The issue was shelved while we went out to see the town. We were merrily headed the wrong way, when a voice behind us said...
VOICE: Maureen Johnson?
MAUREEN AND SARAH: slowly turn
SARAH: I have never been so impressed with you, Maureen, as I am right now.
Maureen's fan, whose name I will not disclose to protect her privacy, showed us the right way to go, and to a pub and a restaurant, and was generally lovely. I remained very impressed with Maureen.
SARAH: You're very sneakily a famous person! You seem so little and demure.
MAUREEN: I am not little.
SARAH: You are, you're like a tiny ninja. A tinja.
MAUREEN: That's not a word!
SARAH: I invent new words. Like Shakespeare.
MAUREEN'S FAN: It's a good word.
SARAH: highly gratified
As soon as we parted ways with Maureen's fan, we promptly got lost, but we still saw many sights of Cork, like the opera house and the river and a model in glittery trousers doing a photoshoot. Then we went back to the hotel, and had dinner and discussed vital matters of our craft.
MAUREEN: So there was this scene where Spencer (character in Suite Scarlett and Scarlett Fever) is doing up his shirt-
SARAH: Explain something to me.
MAUREEN: Do you think it was inappropriate?
SARAH: Why was he wearing a shirt at all? I for one would like to submit to you the idea that he could be perennially shirtless.
MAUREEN: YOU ARE NOT HELPING.
SARAH: What, I like Spencer. What's he using his shirt for?
MAUREEN: YOU NEVER HELP.
Then, it was jacuzzi time! Maureen still seemed doubtful.
SARAH: Look, our rooms come with bathrobes and slippers. That's a sign.
MAUREEN: This is a bad idea but I will go along with it anyway. You'd think I'd be too smart, being a pediatrician and all.
SARAH: Look, the door to the leisure centre is open.
MAUREEN: It's very dark in here.
SARAH: But open.
MAUREEN AND SARAH: go through rooms in the pitch blackness
MAUREEN AND SARAH: stumble over massage chairs and aromatherapy kits and fish tanks
MAUREEN AND SARAH: behold a swimming pool, glinting in the soft light coming from the fish tank
MAUREEN AND SARAH: go swimming
MAUREEN: I see you didn't bring a hair clip. I did. I'm like a criminal Girl Scout, always prepared.
MAUREEN: Sarah, do you espy through the glass door leading to the outside world, a circular hole in the ground with a blue cover over it? What say you and I venture outdoors and remove this cover?
SARAH: ... Wow, in one short evening you have become totally hardened to crime. I am so impressed.
Readers, we uncovered the jacuzzi, and it bubbled merrily to us, and in we got. The Irish night sky was all black and gold, and the bubbles burbled happily in our ears.
MAUREEN: I think I see a badger.
SARAH: You don't see a badger. It's your guilty conscience. It's Jiminy Badger.
MAUREEN: Nope, it's a badger.
MAUREEN: There! Badger badger badger - MAN!
NIGHT GUARD: Ladies you are not allowed in here.
MAUREEN: Sorry! Didn't know! Pitch darkness of the centre was no clue to us! We can't hear you over the bubbles!
SARAH: WE'RE AMERICAN, YOU SEE.
MAUREEN: betrayed look
The next day in Cork we checked out graveyards and found a secret waterfall, and then went back to Dublin where we met another of Maureen's lovely fans, and also hung out with my friends, and also - of course - lied to our taxi driver.
DUBLIN TAXI DRIVER: So why are you girls here?
SARAH: We're visiting a friend.
MAUREEN: looks relieved
SARAH: All three of us got very close while we were in the astrophysics program.
SARAH: It's such a male-dominated field, you know?
DUBLIN TAXI DRIVER: That's fascinating!
MAUREEN: It's not as interesting as you might think.
DUBLIN TAXI DRIVER: Oh?
MAUREEN: We designed the thermal tiles for the space shuttle.
I feel Maureen is a born criminal.
Maureen says she will come back if my brother teachers her to play poker, and if we can commit a crime in Galway. I have signed on to both these ideas.
Also, today is Maureen's real birthday. If I could only have found a bodhrán player to send her...