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 last Monday and runs till Saturday. Called Droid, this story is about a boy who builds 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 tenth episode, things are starting to unravel for Lucca, and it’s all the robot’s fault....
The series is read by Anna O'Donoghue.
If you cannot see the sound file above listen here.
David Gleeson is pacing up and down the hall of CC’s house. He has phoned an ambulance. CC has locked himself in the toilet. He asked David to come round. The mirror is broken. The cracks are snaked with blood. CC is sitting on the toilet, cradling his fist. His skin is beaded and smeared with red.
CC punched the mirror once, felt a surge of euphoria and punched it again, two, three, four more times until David came running up the stairs to see what the noise was. David tells CC he might need to be detained if he doesn’t calm down. CC hasn’t calmed down but he says nothing. He rocks back and forth.
David has finished his phone call. He looks in. “Has the bleeding stopped?”
“It’s okay.” says CC. It’s not okay. He’s feeling light-headed, like he’s been fired into outer space.
CC holds his head in his hands. That d******d from Trinity College. He just can’t stop pawing at his life. His one opportunity of making a name for himself. And now his wife. Tracy Eppinger is chipping away at him with a pickaxe. Before long, there’ll be nothing of him left.
“He’ll pay for this,” CC spits out of nowhere. This startles David.
“Who?” says David.
CC slams his bloody fist into the porcelain. “Trinity College!”
Aileen stands in front of Lucca as he walks down the hallway and folds her arms. Lucca tries to walk around her but she doesn’t budge.
“You’ve done it now, son,” she says.
Lucca is confused. “Done what?”
Aileen leads Lucca to the sitting room. Lucca peers out between the blinds. There is a small gaggle of men outside the door. He becomes aware of the faint whine from their electronic doorbell that hasn’t worked properly in years.
Lucca realises. “Oh, s**t.”
“They’ve been parked outside for the past two hours,” says Aileen grimly. “And it’s you they’re looking for.”
Lucca shrugs. “What am I supposed to do about that?”
“It’s all because of that fecking robot,” says Aileen. “That’s what’s started all this, y’see. You should never have been talking up that CC fellow and you should never have done all them interviews. It’s scaring poor aul Antenna.”
Antenna is in the living room watching the Top Gear Polar special on Dave. It’s all too much for him. Lucca thinks he’s Einstein and now he’s acting the clown. He doesn’t want anything to do with what’s going on with him and that robot. And now Trinity College is involved. His worst nightmares are coming true. He closes his eyes. Their lives would be so much easier if Lucca were thick stupid like everyone else.
Lucca heads upstairs. Grim is sitting on the edge of his bed solving a Rubik’s cube. He thinks about the €30,000 he hasn’t told his mother and Antenna about. He thinks about his father in the psychiatric hospital. Estevan’s situation seems easy compared to Grim. Javier walks in. “What’s going on?”
Lucca looks at him. “You ain’t a fecking model, Jav.” Javier squints. “Ah, here. You’re just jealous.”
“Jealous?” Lucca stands up.
“I’m not jealous of you. You only have the modelling gig because of me. Everything is because of me.”
“Jesus, Luc’,” says Javier, “What’s wrong with you?”
Lucca shoves him outside and slams the door.
“Stop it, Lucca, please,” says Grim.
Lucca punches Grim. His fist goes ‘doing!’ against the robot’s face. Grim stares at him. The robot doesn’t even feel it. This infuriates Lucca even more. He picks up his phone and calls Eden.
“Listen,” says Lucca, “I’m not sure this is working out for us.”