August 24th. 2018.
I stood to address the two hundred and thirty-two guests occupying the ballroom. Silence overtook them, as their individual breaths bated, waiting to hear all the juicy tidbits about the groom.
Never in a million years did I expect to be sitting at the top table, let alone giving a speech at 'his' wedding. I can't believe he actually got someone to marry him.
Beautiful ceremony though, much as I hate to admit.
It's weird to think that I know the bride's husband better than she does. I know who he really is. Who's that you ask? Agent Pat Noodle.
Mr 'Save the fucking day', sitting with his preening smile, perfect teeth, coiffed hair, and self-assured attitude. I'm sure he's relishing this.
But I won't give him the satisfaction of failing.
In fact, I find it rather amusing that he'll always look back at the most important day of his life and remember that I was an integral part of it.
How did I get into this situation? I shouldn't even be here. I'm here to kill him. Literally. I have bombs planted all around the building. Worse yet, he even knows about the bombs.
Why? Because I monologued. Why do I constantly fall into every villain cliche imaginable? Ray Charles could have seen that I needed remote access on the bombs.
But like an idiot, I put them on a timer.
Now for this blasted speech. Just speak from the heart. You can do this, just breathe Richard. This is another day at the office.
This is so messed up. It's my wedding day, I'm sitting beside the most amazing woman I've ever met and the man toasting our love once water-boarded me.
Keep smiling Pat, keep smiling, and smile like your life depends on it. Everyone else's does.
Bastard better nail this speech. It better be Oscar winning stuff because if it's not and I survive what's coming, Ann Marie will kill me.
I've had my life threatened more times than I can count, and a woman planning the perfect wedding is still the scariest thing I've ever encountered.
And as for my best man, it's definitely the last time I'll ever rely on Barry. It's funny how it worked out.
The one man I've locked away and humiliated time and again is the one wishing us well in our life together. And where is my 'best' friend? Unconscious in the toilet, swimming in vomit.
Oh God, he's about to start his speech. Let it be over quick.
'Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we can all agree that today has been quite an emotional day. Even the cake is in tiers.'
Laughing, they're laughing. I've got butterflies in my stomach the size of eagles but laughing is a good sign, right?
'You may not know me, but my name is Richard Ambrose and I'm a last minute substitution for Pat's best man here tonight.'
Seven minutes, I've to drag this out for seven minutes before the bombs go off.
'Now I could begin by talking about Pat's good qualities, but since he doesn't have any, maybe I'll just move on.'
Laughing again? I didn't realize I was so hilarious. My manager is always telling me I should consider a backup plan in case evildoing doesn't work out. In fact, he rather insists on it.
My manager, the great Joseph Rutherford says villainy is a performance and one simply needs the right representation to get ahead.
He's been in the business for twenty-five years and has represented some of the greatest criminals of our time.
I'll show him and everyone else who's ever doubted me that I am the greatest villain who ever lived. And if it all falls through, I've got stand up to fall back on.
Laughing? They're actually laughing. Who knew he could be funny on purpose. It's nice to see people laughing with him for a change.
God, Ann Marie looks beautiful when she laughs. That's one thing I could never live without, her laugh and her smile. I hope one day I can let her in on my work, my real work that is.
She thinks I'm an accountant. Imagine how she'd react if I told her that I work for the Irish secret service. How would I reveal it to her? Something direct like,
'Ann-Marie, I'm a secret agent, your own personal James bond?'
No, how about something more dramatic like,
'I'm Pat Noodle, Agent P forty-five, the reason you go to bed safe at night. You're welcome.'
'When I was asked to be Pat's best man, around... five minutes ago, I was honoured....'
It's not like we had a choice Richard. I practically shit myself when Ann-Marie suggested it.
Is that Joseph Rutherford in the crowd? God, he must be desperate for clients if he took Richard on. He only represents the best. Still, imagine the reaction if I bring Joseph Rutherford down.
Now that's a big fish. I'll have to find out some way of reeling him in.
'I've known Pat for many years and one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that he never says die.'
Bastard's like's fucking Superman.
'He's relentless. Somehow, someway he'll always be there. If he has a mission to complete, he will stop at nothing until he sees it through.
He'll put his life on the line for the people and the country he loves.
What a fucking boy scout.
'I first met Pat when I saw him take a bullet for a very prominent figure, I don't want to name names, but he is the current president of Ireland.
With no thought for his own safety, Pat jumped right in front of the bullet, saving his life. I bet you didn't know that. He's full of surprises, our Pat.
But one thing I can tell you is that he is loyal. No matter how many times you threaten his ideals, they remain unwavering.
You are Pat's mission now Ann-Marie, so let's raise a glass to the lovely couple of Ann-Marie and Pat Noodle.'
Four minutes, only four minutes until they meet their end. They do look happy considering what's to come. I'll have to get a new archenemy now, I never thought of that.
And what if the next one isn't as good as Pat? Oh fuck. Maybe the bombs aren't the best idea.
Right, I've got four minutes to disarm the bombs, and save the day. Days like this really put things in perspective. When all is said and done, I'm going to finally bite the bullet .
I'm going to come clean with Ann-Marie and tell her the truth . Wouldn't hurt if I saved her life either, I might not be in the doghouse too long.
Don't panic Richard, just march over there and tell Mr Rutherford you've changed your mind about the bombs.
He'll understand, right? What am I saying? The man has the sympathy of a great white shark devouring its victims.
But what's the alternative? Suffer his wrath and fall on my sword? Or stick out the plan and lose everything I value?
Good God, I know they mean well but could all these relatives and well-wishers piss off for the next three minutes so they have something to wish me well about?
Every second I delay pandering to them, we're all closer to going up in flames. You'd swear I was the second coming of Jesus Christ himself with the way they're surrounding me like zealots.
Fuck, Richard's talking to Rutherford. I've got to get to those bombs. Oh God, Aunt Maria, she'll talk for Ireland. The bombs exploding would be less painful than this conversation.
I've made such a mistake.
'I don't want to go through with it.' I told Mr Rutherford.
'Not my problem.' Said he, 'These bombs are going off whether you like it or not. Think of the publicity.'
And I did . I thought about it to such an extent that the next thing I knew Rutherford's shoes were the canvas for my masterpiece of freshly spewed up steak and wine.
Thanks for the hold-up Aunt Maria; I really needed to know how vital life insurance is in the event of my death. What a lovely thing to bring up at a wedding. Till death do us part indeed.
Nowhere to run now Rutherford. Damn, he's running. Holy hell, he didn't get far. He's looking at the lights.
Imagine, the great Joseph Rutherford, evading capture on so many occasions but succumbing to something as trivial as slipping in a puddle of sick.
Not as heroic as I imagined but Richard proved useful for once. Time to reel in that big fish.
Spinning, the room is spinning. What kind of villain faints? If that's not a sign to get out of this business I don't know what is.
Oh no, did I do what I think I did? Yep, that's Mr Rutherford legs akimbo covered in my sick. What the hell? He had remote access to the bombs this whole time and didn't tell me. Bastard.
Thirty seconds left and here comes Pat. What if I'm the hero today and not him? What if I'm the one who saves his wedding from the bombs I planted in the first place. Now there's a happy ending.
August 24th. 2019.
I stand to address my public; I feel a bit sick, not nerves but excitement, adrenaline.
'Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen' says I. 'I can normally tell how long I'm going to be onstage by the enthusiasm of the crowd. So I'd like to finish up with....'
Laughing? I never get tired of that. The audience's sides splitting, their faces aglow, and their hands clapping. I'm adored, respected, admired. Who's that in the crowd? Well, I'll be damned.
Of all the places Pat and Ann-Marie could have gone on their first wedding anniversary and they choose my first sell-out show.
August 24th. 2019.
Life's a funny thing.
Who'd have thought Richard Ambrose would save the day at my wedding? Who'd have thought he would have actually become a comedian? Civilian life isn't bad all things considered.
Just an everyday life with everyday struggles, no secret service, and no missions. Just Ann-Marie, normalcy and me. I've traded bullets and knife fights for nappies and Ikea.
Tonight's the one night we've got to ourselves in months, and Ann-Marie could do with a laugh. And Richard it turns out is the best man for the job.