Rabbitte Guts 5:
‘What was it like going back to Jimmy?’
Jimmy Rabbitte has been listening to that question, again and again and a-fuckin’-gain, for the last month. Journalists, radio presenters, even your woman, the sexy one from Scotland who used to do the news on BBC2 – they’ve all been asking Doyle why he’d decided to start writing about Jimmy again. One of them had even asked why he’d – listen to this – why Doyler had ‘resurrected’ Jimmy.
For fuck sake.
No one has asked Jimmy what it feels like being fuckin’ resurrected.
Because he’s fictional.
He’s had to go from studio to studio, down to the basement, into the bowels of the Palace Theatre in London – that’s another fuckin’ story – and up to the Edinburgh Book Festival, hidden away in Doyle’s fuckin’ man bag. And he’s had to endure Doyle’s explanation, nearly word for word every time, sometimes five, six or seven times a day. And Doyle says he’s sick of it!
Anyway. Jimmy doesn’t care why Doyle has brought him back; he doesn’t give a shite. Because the fact is, he is back, resurrected, not exactly back from the dead, but more of a Rip Van Winkle kind of thing. Awake! Jimmy went to bed a kid and woke up an oul’ lad.
And does he feel about that?
Well, Not too bad. From what he’s been hearing, he was probably better off missing out on his 30s. Apparently, they’re muck, those years. No one his age – he’s 48 – no one even remembers what being 30-anything was like. And – fair enough now, he’s a modern man – but he’s kind of grateful he’s never had to change a nappy.
So he doesn’t feel robbed. He doesn’t feel that he lost out on anything. Or, he does – but only when it’s written into the book, The Guts. Apparently, he misses the time when the kids were younger, and the simplicity of it. But, really, he couldn’t give a shite. Because he doesn’t remember it. It never happened.
Because he’s fictional.
But he worries. That question, ‘What was it like going back to Jimmy?’ – Doyle always answers that he really enjoyed it. And that’s grand and all, but Doyle gave Jimmy cancer, for fuck sake. And he fuckin’ enjoyed that? The sadistic prick. It was bowel cancer as well, nothing a bit more dignified or romantic. T.B., say. Even leprosy would’ve been a bit of crack – leaving the occasional finger on the kitchen counter, for example.
But, no. He resurrected Jimmy and immediately gave him bowel cancer, followed quickly by surgery and chemotherapy. For fuckin’ entertainment.
So. Jimmy’s worry. What will Doyle do to Jimmy if he decides to write another Jimmy Rabbitte? Because Jimmy knows: he had to have the cancer, or something like it – some awful fuckin’ midlife nightmare – for the story to work. He accepts that. He’s aware of his responsibilities as a fictional character – but even fictional chemo is terrible.
Doyle might bring back the cancer and throw in a couple of tumours while he’s at it, some big yoke growing out of the side of Jimmy’s head.
Or Alzheimer’s! He wouldn’t put it past him. It’s bad enough only knowing bits and pieces of your life – Jimmy doesn’t even know what colour his eyes are, because Doyle never thought it was important – without those bits and pieces being nibbled away as well.
He could make Aoife leave him. He could make Paulo Di Canio the manager of Liverpool! The possibilities are horrible and endless.