This is a completely true story.
The year is 2011 and I’m a baby faced 19 year old, second year student in Mary Immaculate College, who is slowly and awkwardly making his way through the social quagmire that is the college experience.
My first year had been quite, eh, uneventful to say the least, with my strong shyness limiting me to just a handful of interactions with my classmates, with our conversations limited to:
“Oh hey, how are you?”
“Cool, cool, [insert silence] Look, I better head away there sure”
“Okay, nice talking to you, bye!”
This year though, I was determined to step it up a notch and push the boat out a little and with my recent hairdressing mishap far behind me (that’s a story for another time), things were so far going swimmingly.
‘Note to self, don’t use the word ‘swimmingly’ in real life’ I thought
I’d teamed up with some a group of friends that I’d met in the Gaeltacht the previous Summer and we had become quite the ‘fellowship’, as I liked to call us anyway.
So it was that one dark and wet Thursday night, as I settled down to watch TV, I got a text from my friend Catherine, telling me about a house party that her and her friends were throwing at their place at around ten that night.
“Cool, see you there so!” I replied.
‘This is it, this is going to be an excellent party. This is where all those classic college stories start’ I told myself convincingly.
So after gulping down the remainder of my dinner, a hurried shower and a quick goodbye to my flatmate and his girlfriend, I was out the door, ready to arrive bang on time at the 10pm for the party.
SIDE-NOTE: It wasn’t until after this that I realised the very important (and apparently well-known) rule that no-one ever arrives on time for a party.
I got to the general area of Catherine’s house at 10pm on the dot and not knowing exactly where I was at this point, sent her a quick text looking for directions.
Not hearing anything back from her though, I decided that standing suspiciously in the dark outside peoples houses wasn’t really a good look for me and so I headed back to my apartment, where I watched an absolutely fantastic Channel 4 documentary on Roman Villa’s (seriously, it was excellent).
Towards the end of the show, Catherine texts me telling me that the party has started and that I should come on down and so I’m soon heading out the door again, bidding goodbye to my flatmate and his girlfriend (again) and making way through the now very dark and very deserted Limerick City streets.
I’m passing the Redemptorist Church when I notice a lone figure standing outside a house on the opposite side of the road.
‘Uh oh, this guy looks kinda shifty’ I think to myself.
‘There’s still time for me to turn around here…’ I think, looking around for another route, ‘No, I’m being silly nothing is going to happen to me’ I reassure myself.
I continue onwards, now level with the shady hooded figure, who to my sheer and utter terror is crossing the road towards me.
“Well boi, you’ve got the time on ya?” he says to me.
“Uh, yeah,” taking my phone out of my pocket to check for him, “It’s 11:30” I reply before starting to walk on.
“Sound lad,” he says, now following me down the deserted street, ” Actually do you’ve a lighter on ya?”
“Sorry man, I don’t smoke” I say back, now noticing that he’s moving awfully close to me.
The situation now heads south, very quickly.
“Right man, gimme your f**kin phone now or I’ll break your fingers” he snarls as he waves a very menacing looking hammer in my face.
‘OhHellIsThisActuallyHappening—‘ my mind races.
‘I can’t have broken fingers!’ I panic, ‘My exams are in a few weeks!’.
I’m thinking about making a run for it, I take a quick glance back up the road towards my apartment, it’s completely deserted. ‘Could I make it?’ I ponder, testing my leg muscles to myself
‘No, If I’m caught, there’s no telling what he’d do with that hammer…’ now resigning myself to losing my phone.
“Your phone! Give it to me!”
“Okay, Okay” I respond, handing over my loyal Nokia phone to the hooded man, who then darts back up the street and into the house he was first standing outside.
The silence is now deafening on the empty street, I stand there alone for a few moments, the reality of what has just happened slowly sinking in…
‘I was literally just mugged…’
Now shaking all over, I slowly stumble my way to my nearby friends house (different friend) where I hurriedly and anxiously explain what has just happened.
They call the Gardaí who arrive, in force, twenty minutes later.
I head outside to them where I explain what happened and point out the house that he ran into.
“Thank you sir, now we might need your help identifying the suspect, would you mind coming into the house with us?”
“Uhmm, okay I guess” my brain now in such a whirlwind that everything is happening at ten times its normal speed.
So it is that less than two hours after I was watching a Channel 4 documentary on Roman Villas, I’m now dressed in a some sort of bulletproof/stab-proof vest, standing in a group of other Gardaí as we prepare to ‘raid’ my muggers house.
“Are you ready to go sir?” an officer asks me, snapping me out of thoughts.
“Yeah, I guess…”
I’m positioned in the middle of the group of Gardaí, the officers in front of me now preparing to force open the front door of the house.
After a few tense and nerve-wracking (for me anyway) minutes, we’re soon inside and I’m quickly jostled and harried up the wooden spiral staircase at the end of the hallway.
We reach the upper part of the house, which looks like some sort of studio flat with a kitchen and living room amalgamated into one and where we see my mugger sitting on a couch in the middle of the room.
One half of the group secures him and I’m told to follow two of other Gardaí into what looks to be my muggers bedroom.
“Right, your phone might be in here so we need to do a thorough search of this area, I’m going to need you to flip the mattress”
Not even questioning the logic of this situation anymore, I flip the mattress off of this mans bed and I’m soon tossing and turning everything in the room, all in the look out for my missing Nokia phone.
I feel quite bad for my mugger at this point, I’ve come in and completely wrecked his house, all for what was essentially a very old phone.
“We found it!” comes a voice from the next room.
“Is this your phone sir?” showing me a black sliding Nokia phone.
“Yes indeed, that’s it” relief flooding through me.
“It looks like he snapped your SIM card when he heard us coming though,” he says to me.
‘That vindictive, vindictive man!’ I think to myself, ‘there was no reason for him to snap it!’, my sympathy for my mugger disappearing in a second.
“We’re going to need to hold onto it for tonight but you can come and collect it at the Garda station tomorrow morning” the Garda says to me.
“That’s fine, yeah,” I reply.
“We’ll get one of the others to give you a lift home now” he states.
“Ahhh, quick question, can I keep the vest?” I ask cheekily indicating the vest they issued me with.
“No” he replies curtly and walks away.
The Gardaí drop me back to my flat where after explaining the situation to my flatmate and his girlfriend, I head straight for bed, exhausted and where I fall into a deep sleep almost immediately.
I was so tired from the nights excursions in fact that I overslept for the college the next morning, thus causing me to miss my first ever lecture in my first two years of college.
After the night I just had though, I didn’t mind one bit.