there's something about mary
We were due to meet for coffee.
She'd contacted me through this blog.
I went with my gentle conspiracy theorist's heart ready to meet a Jihadi, a CIA agent, a religious maniac, someone from the Mossad, a Johnston Press spy, a corrupt Irish police officer, a stalker, or simply a fan of great writing, or yet more simply, some intriguing ad mixture of all of those.
I waited in the Costa Cafe for a quarter of an hour.
She didn't turn up.
Eventually my phone rang.
It was her.
She told me she was in the Cafe Sol.
She'd gone to the wrong cafe by mistake.
The old bait and switch.
No CIA agent worth their salt ever shows up at the arranged rendezvous.
Just in case the place has been staked out.
Yes. It was all looking very CIA-ish.
But under Barack the CIA doesn't want friends like me.
I toddled along to the Cafe Sol.
There she was.
We sat down.
I assessed her quickly.
Well at least she warn't no Jihadi.
That was for sure.
Tall attractive intelligent girl with a mid Atlantic accent.
The Qaeda has a grand total of none of those in its ranks.
So we can rule that out.
She seemed Christian.
But she could have been humouring me.
Knew all the issues.
Knew more about the Pope's recent writings than I did.
She said something positive about the atheistic scientist Richard Dawkins.
Was it a slip of the tongue?
He'd spoken at an Irish Times sponsored debate in Dublin.
She liked him.
Apparently he'd pointed out that university lecturers in Britain were now being routinely barracked by Muslims in their classes.
The Irish Times had been economical with the truth in reporting this aspect of its own debate.
Dawkins was supposed to sneer at the Catholic religion but for some reason of his own had gone off message.
So she liked Dawkins and had attended an Irish Times debate.
How very open minded.
Almost too open minded.
What did it mean?
Maybe the Irish Times types have gotten a little curious in the seventh canteen of hell about their nemesis.
Perhaps they figured they owed it to themselves to find out a little bit more about me before I lay them low completely.
I eyed her speculatively.
I said: "Oh Dawkins is just a Christian conversion away from being a great man."
We talked on.
Dublin grew dark outside.
Presently she got up to go.
She said: "Why have you printed your address on your blog?"
I said: "When the blog started it was all about finding an audience for my writing. I wanted to give the audience access. Then the blog changed a bit. But I could never quite bring myself to change the address. As long as it's there, and as long as I'm still writing, Ireland must be still, in some tiny measure, a free country."
She said: "You're putting a target on your back. Be careful."
And she was gone.
I have no idea who or what she was.