tagExhibitionist & VoyeurTrick or Treat Dublin Style

Trick or Treat Dublin Style


The meeting was on, and then it was off, and then it was on again. And then, at more-or-less the last minute, the TKE people decided that the meeting would have to be held in Dublin rather than in London.

'It's Sean,' Malcolm O'Neil said. 'He has a full day on the 31st. And he has promised to spend the Halloween evening with his kids. Then on Thursday, the second, he has a breakfast meeting with a delegation from Brussels. You and I could meet without him, of course; but if we do, we'll just have to do it all over again with him present at some later date. It's the price you pay for having an 80 percent shareholder, I'm afraid.'

Henry flipped up the screen of his laptop and studied his diary. His 31st was also looking pretty jam packed. But if he got Gerry to chair the finance meeting, Henry might be able to catch a mid-afternoon flight to Dublin, ready for a meeting with Sean and Malcolm the following morning. 'Yeah. OK,' he said. 'November 1st at your offices.' But he wasn't happy.

He was even less happy when Maria, his executive assistant, came to tell him that his favourite Dublin hotel was fully booked. 'They have some big software conference,' Maria said. 'I could try Breen's if you like.'


'It's new. It has only been open for about a month. But it seems to be getting very good reviews. And it's just around the corner from TKE's offices -- well ... more or less.'

'OK,' Henry said. 'Doesn't seem that I have a lot of choice, does it? And it is only for one night.'

The taxi driver who drove Henry from Dublin Airport to the hotel kept glancing at him in the rear-view mirror. 'A few days away, is it? A few jars of the black stuff? Meeting up with some pals?'

Henry laughed. 'No. Business, I'm afraid. Business, business, business. And then, all going well, I shall be back in London tomorrow night.'

'London?' the driver said, shaking his head.

Henry nodded.

'I went to London,' the taxi driver said. 'All those people. All that fecking traffic! That was a fecking experience, I can tell you. And not one that I'd want to repeat, that's for sure.'

Henry smiled. 'I think that most cities are like that these days, aren't they?'

The taxi driver didn't seem convinced. 'You could hardly fecking move.'

Breen's Hotel was in the Temple Bar district, just on the south side of the River Liffey. On first impression, the hotel, with its traditional Georgian façade, seemed smaller than Henry had expected. The photograph on the website had made it look bigger. But the welcome was certainly warm.

'Ah, yes, Mr Milbrand. Welcome to Breen's,' the designer-suited receptionist said. 'We've taken the opportunity to upgrade you to a suite, sir. On the second floor. Although, of course, we'll still only charge you the rate for a standard room. Hopefully we can convince you to come and visit us again next time that you are here in Dublin.'

'Thank you,' Henry said. 'That's very ... umm ... kind. Yes. Thank you.'

'And Happy Halloween,' the receptionist said. And she handed Henry a small box. 'Our Chef de Patisserie has created some grown-up treats for the occasion. They may look healthy, but I understand that they are filled with Grand Marnier.' And she winked.

Henry laughed. 'Grown up? Yes. I see what you mean.'

The second floor suite was very nice. The décor was Georgian-modern -- if there is such a thing. The sitting room was a beautifully furnished and, despite retaining the original Georgian dimensions, it felt surprisingly spacious. The bedroom was smaller. But what it lacked in size, it made up for with a refreshingly 'un-hotel' feeling. And the bathroom was straight out of a design magazine. Yes, Henry thought, I could get to like this place. And, if we do the deal with TKE, I shall need a reliable bolt hole on this side of the Irish Sea.

Henry unpacked what few clothes he had with him (it was only a brief visit), and then he went for a stroll, looking for a light snack and, perhaps, a glass of the black stuff. One pint couldn't hurt.

The many restaurants and bars that dotted Temple Bar were already quite busy. And there were more than a few trick-or-treaters abroad. Not kids. Grown-ups. Well ... grown up in years anyway.

Henry found a pub that wasn't too crowded and ordered a pint of Guinness. He also ordered a bowl of the soup of the day (Spicy Halloween Pumpkin) and a small loaf of freshly-made Irish soda bread with rich creamy Irish butter. It was delicious.

Shortly before seven, a Gaelic band arrived and started unpacking their instruments: a concertina, a fiddle, an acoustic guitar, and a bodhran. A barman dressed in a skeleton costume delivered a tray of drinks to the band stand, and the band began to play. They were good. They were very good. Henry was particularly impressed by the woman playing the concertina. Mind you, that may have had something to do with the fact that the woman was wearing a rather short skirt. She also had fantastic legs. Henry had a weakness for a well-turned pair of pins.

After the band had played a couple of numbers, Henry was tempted to order another pint of Guinness and look and listen for a little longer. But he decided that he had better return to the hotel and have one last run through the presentation that he would be delivering the following morning.

Henry had effectively brought three versions of the presentation with him. The first, the one that he intended to deliver, was more like a 20-minute TED Talk -- a few provocative quotes, a couple of key graphics, and that was about it. And then he had a more conventional PowerPoint presentation that he would leave with the TKE guys as a 'take-away'. And, finally, he had brought a version that only an accountant could love. Henry hoped that he wouldn't need to use that one.

Casually pacing about the Georgian-modern sitting room, Henry ran through the presentation, pausing every now and then to consider if he had covered all the points that he needed to cover. Yes, he decided, that was pretty much everything. And he closed his laptop and dropped his lanky frame into one of the half-upholstered Georgian armchairs. He had had an early start, and now he felt tired. Maybe an early night was on the cards.

And then there was a knock on the door. Henry frowned, got back to his feet, and went to answer the door. He was expecting to see a porter perhaps. Or a housemaid. But no.

'Why, Mr Milbrand, what a pleasant surprise,' the woman said. 'I feared that you might have been out and about this evening. But you are here -- ready and waiting to answer my question. At least I hope that you are ready and waiting to answer my question, sir.'

'Your question?'

The woman smiled. 'Indeed, sir. Will you answer me trick? Or will you answer me treat?' she said.

She was probably in her mid-to-late 30s. Her glossy hair was a bright coppery colour, and her eyes were an equally bright shade of emerald green. At first, Henry thought that she must be something to do with the hotel. Maybe it was some kind of guest entertainment. But then he decided: perhaps not.

In keeping with the hotel's Georgian heritage, the woman was wearing a silky Empire-style gown. Black. Or was it a very dark shade of green? Henry was reminded of an Irish Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Although surely Miss Lizzie never wore a gown of such translucence. Technically, the gown covered the woman's shapely body. But it left little to the imagination.

Trying not to be too obvious about it, Henry scanned his unexpected visitor from head to toe. Yes. Very nice. High firm breasts. Narrow waist. Shapely hips. And, through the gown, Henry could just make out a faint inverted triangle just above where her thighs appeared to meet. He was almost certain that this triangle, too, would be of a bright coppery colour were it not for the overlay of thin fabric.

'Trick or treat?' Henry said. 'Gosh. Yes. I suppose that is the question of the day, isn't it.'

The woman smiled. 'And pray tell, sir, what is your answer of the day?'

'My answer? Gosh. You have me somewhat at a disadvantage. I realise that it is Halloween, but it is not a question that I was expecting to have to answer.'

'No, sir?'

'Not really,' Henry said. 'Certainly not in a situation such as this.'

The woman smiled again.

'Perhaps you had better come in,' Henry said. 'This may take me a moment or two.'

The woman stepped inside and gently closed the door behind her.

'Trick or treat,' Henry said -- for the second time. 'Let me see. Well ... if you were ... shall we say a more conventional trick-or-treater, I suppose that my answer might be treat.'


'Yes.' Henry nodded. 'I expect that I might put a hand-made, liqueur-filled bonbon or two into your basket and then send you on your way, happy to have contributed to the continuance of an old tradition. But ....'

The woman made a mock sad face. 'Oh, dear. Can it be that you do not have any such treats, sir?'

'Oh, I have treats,' Henry said. 'Grown-up treats. In fact ... the very hand-made, liqueur-filled pumpkin-shaped bonbons which I described and which I am sure will be delicious. I am also more than happy to share them with you. But do I want you to be on your way so quickly? That is the question.'

The woman smiled, tilted her head to one side, and waited for Henry to answer his own question.

'It's not a decision to be made hastily, is it?' Henry said.


'No. At least I would not have thought so. And we should probably more carefully consider the question: what is a trick? And what is a treat? Or would that be two questions?

'A treat,' Henry said (without waiting for the woman's answer), 'would have to be something special. Something that you would like, that you would enjoy. Something from which you would derive pleasure. I think that the pleasure dimension is very important. Would the Chef de Patisserie's creations satisfy that requirement? I suspect that they might.

'And trick? Well, the trick in "trick or treat" is not so much a trick as a threat -- as I am sure that you realise. The threat of ill fortune -- ill fortune to be visited upon me for not giving you the something special from which you would derive pleasure. I am here in Dublin to, hopefully, conclude some important business negotiations. I would not wish to see the said negotiations scuppered by ill fortune. So ... you see my dilemma, madam. Heads you win; tails I lose.'

'Unless you, too, derive some pleasure from the treat,' the woman suggested. 'A treat that we both might share perhaps?'

'Well, yes. There is that possibility. But it is, nevertheless, complicated, isn't it? Perhaps I could offer you a glass of something to sip while we consider the matter further.'

'Yes. That might be nice,' the woman said.

(Perhaps anticipating the possibility of complex Halloween decision-making, the hotel's management had had the foresight to furnish Henry's suite with a bottle of Jameson 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey -- sometimes known as Jameson's 1780 Special Reserve. Smooth. Spicy. Perfect for sipping.)


'Thank you, kind sir,' the woman said.

Henry took a pair of cut crystal glasses (Waterford, he suspected) and added a few cubes of ice which he retrieved from the cunningly-concealed bar fridge-freezer. And then he added a couple of generous splashes of the Jameson's.

'I hope that you won't consider my question impertinent,' Henry said, 'but do you by chance play the concertina?'

The woman smiled. 'Occasionally,' she said. 'Although, I must confess, I do not play it as well as I would like to.'

Henry couldn't remember whether the woman in the pub band had had red hair. He had been too distracted by her legs, legs that had borne a surprising resemblance to the legs that his mystery visitor's diaphanous gown was not really concealing. 'In a Gaelic band perhaps?' Henry asked.

'Occasionally,' the woman said.

'Is tonight one of those occasions?'

'Tonight, sir, I am here with you.'

'Yes. Of course,' Henry said.

While Henry prepared the drinks, the woman 'arranged' herself -- some might say provocatively -- on the sofa.

'Your legs ...,' Henry said, as he handed her one of the glasses with the clinking ice and the pale golden nectar.


'Have I perhaps seen them before?'

'I'm afraid I cannot say, sir. I think that you would know better than I.'

Henry nodded. 'Cheers,' he said. 'And Happy Halloween.'

'Indeed. Happy Halloween,' the woman echoed. She took a sip of her drink and then, slowly, pulled the hem of her gown up to just below her knees.

Her ankles and lower legs were pale. And smooth. And very pleasantly turned.

'Don't stop,' Henry said.

'No?' The woman smiled and pulled the hem higher. 'Is that more to your liking, sir?'

'It is. But perhaps just a little more?' Henry suggested.

The woman gathered her skirts and hoisted the hem until it was just north of her coppery-red triangle. 'Does this satisfy your curiosity, sir?'

'Your legs are very fine,' Henry said. 'And what is between them appears to be very nice also. Very nice indeed. In fact ... good enough to eat.'

For a moment, the woman feigned shock. 'Good enough to eat, sir!?' But then she smiled. 'Yes. Well, I think that that might be an appropriate treat. In fact, I do believe that that would even surpass Grand Marnier-filled bonbons made by an award-winning chef.' And she rearranged her position on the sofa, her thighs now spread, her damp, pinkish inner labia peeping out from her coppery bush. 'So ... without any further ado, let the feasting begin, sir.'

Henry knew that he was a more-than-skilled cunnilinguist. A number of women had told him so. And he received no complaints from the mysterious Irish Elizabeth Bennet. Over the next 20 minutes or so, she sighed, she murmured, she moaned, and yes, she giggled. And then ... 'Oh, yes!' she exclaimed. 'Oh, feck, yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!'

Henry half expected another knock on his door. 'Is everything all right, Mr Milbrand? Other guests have reported ... well ... suffice to say that other guests have reported.' But there was no knock on the door. All was quiet.

'I do believe that that, sir, could be described as a treat of the most pleasurable kind,' the woman said. She smiled and took another sip of her whiskey. And then she leaned forward and gave Henry -- who was still down on his knees between her shapely thighs -- a soft kiss. Her lips were cool, and Henry thought that he could taste the sherry cask in which the whiskey had been aged.

'If you will excuse me, I think that I need to ... umm ... powder my nose, sir,' the woman said.

'Oh. Yes.' Henry creaked to his feet and helped the woman to hers. 'The bathroom is just through the bedroom.'

The woman smiled. 'Thank you.'

Henry returned to his chair, rubbed his knees, and took a long sip of his whiskey. And then he must have dozed off briefly. When he next opened his eyes, he had the distinct feeling that he was all alone. He listened carefully and glanced towards the bedroom. All was quiet. And the bedroom -- and, presumably, the bathroom too -- was in darkness.

'Trick or treat?' Henry muttered to himself. 'That is the question.'


When Henry checked out of the hotel the following morning, an older woman appeared to be the chef de reception.

'Ah ... Mr Milbrand,' she said with a welcoming smile and a glint in her eye. 'How are you this morning, sir?'

How on earth does she know who I am? Henry wondered. 'Umm ... good, thank you. Yes.'

'You slept well?'

'I did, thank you,' Henry said. 'The bed was very comfortable.'

'You weren't kept awake by the Halloween festivities, then?' the receptionist said.

'I don't think so,' Henry said.

'Oh, good. I gather that there was much gaiety abroad last night. One of our guests even claims to have seen a ghost walking the corridors of this very hotel. A red-haired woman dressed in black. Or, possibly, very dark green. He couldn't be sure. It is, of course, possible that the woman's impromptu appearance had something to do with the amount of Guinness that the gentleman had consumed. Not that it's for me to judge, you understand. And, anyway, it's only Halloween once a year, isn't it?' And she smiled again.

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