Welcome to The Echo’s annual feature — Summer Soap. Now in its sixth year, Summer Soap is a daily fictional serial run over 12 parts, which started on Monday and runs till Saturday week. Called Droid, this story is about a boy who designs a robot, and was written by Margaret Gillies, from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC. Catch up with previous episodes at echolive.ie where you can also hear a podcast of the story. In the fifth episode, a plan for a robot launch event, as Lucca reflects on his past...
The series is read by Anna O'Donoghue. Listen here...
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Jonathan Hunter and one of last year’s graduates Maria Cotter are doing an interview for RTÉ News about the Advanced Robotics MA in Trinity College. Trinny and his wife Loretta are watching it. The pre-recorded segment with Maria Cotter is up first.
“She’s pretty,” says Loretta. “Did RTÉ choose for her to be on camera?”
“No, we did.”
The reporter asks Maria what she would say to any females considering pursuing a degree in engineering.
“How many women were on the course?” asks Loretta.
“One,” says Trinny, not looking at his wife.
“Out of how many?”
Loretta presses her lips together.
“Who cares?” says Trinny.
“The viewers won’t know. This is just an image. Giving us the best possible look for the media so people will take us seriously. As we ought to be.”
Hunter flashes up on screen wearing a Bart Simpson tie.
“Him,” says Trinny, “I’m going to break his sodding neck.”
CC, Maureen and several of his colleagues from UCC are having a meeting about the upcoming public event showcasing Lucca Grimes and his revolutionary robot Grim McNally. Lucca and Grim’s appearance on The Late Late Show has created ripples across Ireland and the world.
There’s rumours several members of the UN are interested in Lucca’s achievements.
Attending this meeting are Dr Dwayne Burton, Oscar O’Gorman and Dr David Gleeson along with his wife Breda.
“So,” says Breda, “there’s going to be a press event?”
“Anywhere but Knocknaheeny,” booms Dwayne.
“Ah now, Breda, they already have that Apple place there. We don’t want the folks up that hill getting too uppity, like.”
“There’s going to be press at The Hibernian Hotel,” says Oscar.
“’Cause that’s where the party’s always at,” says CC, ashen-faced. “Mallow.”
“We can’t have it in Mallow,” Dwayne splutters.
“Why, what’s wrong with Mallow?” says David.
“You might as well hide it up someone’s arse. Couldn’t we go a bit... bigger?”
“Mallow’s a lovely place,” says Breda.
“Mallow it is,” says Oscar.
“We can’t have a big event like this in Mallow,” snaps Dwayne.
“Wasn’t the Eurovision in Millstreet?” says David.
“This isn’t Eurovision,” CC hisses violently.
“Right,” hurries Oscar, “The Hibernian Hotel at 7pm on Tuesday the 25th.”
“This is going to change the world,” CC tore on, “I don’t want anyone treating this like some kind of joke.”
“Will there be nibbles?” asks Breda.
Lucca, Javier and Eden are walking down Hollyhill with Grim McNally. Grim makes heavy metallic clack-clack steps on the pavement but otherwise appears fairly indistinct. One might think from a distance he had a bad back or severe arthritis. There are children playing ball in one of the cul-de-sacs. Residents here are remarkably indifferent to Lucca and Grim, even after all their media appearances.
Lucca overheard Antenna and Aileen talking before he left the house.
“Sure, what would you want with that thing?” Antenna asked.
Aileen said: “Sure, he’s always been full of funny ideas.”
There was a long pause.
Antenna said, “D’you think it’s because of... what’s going on with himself, like?”
“I dunno,” said Aileen.
Lucca felt like running into the room and screaming at them. He didn’t.
Eden squeezes his hand. He makes to sense to her. He makes sense to Hollyhill. But he had never made any sense to Antenna and Aileen.
Javier kicks a dented Fanta can and sends it bouncing down the road. “Does Grim write essays, Luc? Could he do some of mine?”
Lucca remembers the last time he’d seen their father two years ago. It was the first time Javier had refused to come with him. He remembers a nurse leading him into the ward.
“Estevan,” the nurse said to Lucca’s dad. “Your son’s come to visit.”
Lucca loitered beside the bed. The nurse turned to look at him.
“Lucca, isn’t it?”
Estevan looked at Lucca the same way people stare out of bus windows.
“Hello, Lucca,” said his dad, “I’m Estevan.”