I improvised this piece on Twitter. It’s about an unfortunate incident involving Satan’s horse.
In hindsight, of course, Satan seems an obviously poor choice when forming an owners’ syndicate for Cheltenham. I’m too trusting, I suppose.
Quite aside from being an archetypal cock, it turns out that Satan knows, in his own words, ‘perilously close to fuck-all’ about horses.
‘Take this early exchange, for instance.
‘Satan? Paraic. What ho?’
‘Oh, you know. One ducks, one dives.’
‘It was ever thus.’
‘So, Satan, old thing. Someone’s dropped out of our syndicate, and the leg of a very promising mare is going a-begging. What say you?’
‘A horse? It’s sweet of you, but I’ve been mostly vegan since Annette Bening joined us.’
‘Annette Bening is dead?’
‘I didn’t say that.’
These misunderstandings being overcome, a suitable bargain was at length struck in respect of said promising mare. Satan was in.
It wasn’t long, however, before fresh cracks of mistrust appeared in the edifice of my partnership with the Lord of the Flies.
The horse’s name, for instance, soon attracted Satan’s displeasure. He was resistant to the notion that a degree of whimsy is de rigueur.
‘What the fuck kind of name,’ Satan wondered aloud, ‘is Belinda’s Dimples?’
‘You dislike the touch of gaiety?’
‘Generally speaking, yes.’
‘Whimsical names are quite the done thing, I assure you.’
‘Perhaps. But there is my position. One requires a certain…gravitas.’
‘Well, what would you suggest?’
‘The Splendour of Agony.’
‘Mmm. The thing is, Satan. It isn’t normally done to change a mount’s name.’
‘The Lodestar of Despond, then.’
‘Punters, in my experience, will tend to shy away from a runner called The Lodestar of Despond.’
‘I am as ancient as silence. I have dominion over every crawling thing. I am not appearing in the parade ring with ‘Belinda’s Dimples’.’
‘She’s named for Belinda Carlisle, you know.’
‘Shut up. Seriously? My chambers have been immeasurably brightened by Ms Carlisle’s arrival.’
‘Belinda Carlisle is dead?’
‘Again, not what I said. I do get to Vegas now and then, you know.’
We let the matter drop.
The real trouble, though, began when Belinda’s Dimples was felled by a sausage roll at a RoadChef off the M5.
This latter incident has, of course, come to be known as the Sausage Roll Heard Around the World.
Everyone has a theory about how that sausage roll came to be lodged in Belinda’s Dimples’ visual cortex. The truth is that we’ll never know.
What we do know is that when news of the untimely passing of his Cheltenham hope reached Satan, his demeanour was other than sanguine.
‘What the actual fuck?’
‘Satan. Yeah, hi. Listen–‘
‘You listen. I dropped two hundred large on a now-deceased lady horse. Discuss.’
‘Look. About that–‘
‘About fuck. I gave you a block of euro notes you could kill a dolphin with. I want it back. 48 hours.’
‘Satan, please. I lost a friend today.’
‘For a good extinction, I might get popcorn. Might. You and your she-pony? Do me a favour.’
And that, as it were, was that. We were cut off when Satan’s Range Rover went into a tunnel. And that wasn’t a euphemism. Not this time.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Just pay Satan his 200 k. Or, if you’re temporarily embarrassed, make it good on the gee-gees. Chin up.
Under normal circumstances, I might have steered just such a course. In this case, however, matters were complicated by Pippa Middleton.
I was obliged, for the preservation of Ms Middleton’s honour, to purchase a poultry farm near Tewkesbury. More than this I cannot disclose.
Given that I was over 150 grand to the good by Ladies’ Day, the acuity of the tragic contours will not escape the reader.
This is not to mention that the ‘poultry farm’ near Tewkesbury turned out to be a lay-by inhabited by three chickens and a poltergeist.
It was not, then, entirely unforeshadowed that I might be bundled into a crossover vehicle and conveyed to Satan’s ranch near Navan.
I say ‘crossover vehicle’. You’d think, if anyone has a Range Rover Evoque, it’s Satan, right? But no. A Nissan fucking Qashqai.
‘A fucking *Qashqai*?’ I managed. ‘This is the respect I get? And what the fuck colour do you call this? Rubex?’
I come to in a pine-effect jacuzzi. I become aware of a number of hysterical spaniels immediately to starboard.
‘Darling,’ says Satan. ‘You look amaze. Where’s my fucking wad?’
‘Mwah,’ I say. ‘About that.’
The world becomes pain.
I regain consciousness amid a dainty flotilla of spaniel turds.
‘I can do this all day,’ Satan says. ‘Render unto Lucifer.’
And there, mortifyingly, I remain to this day. Internet access is permitted because Satan wants me to ‘crowd source’ the 200 large.
I never hear from Pippa.