Once upon a time there were four wimmin. Actually there were (and still are) loads more but we are going to concentrate on these particular four for the purpose of this story. They all lived together during their once upon a time in a rented house in Ranelagh, Dublin and had great craic altogether. If you really want to know, it’s me I’m talking about me, plus two of my sisters and a friend. Late night Thursday shopping was a regular event and one evening, on the return home, my friend and I saw a wondrous sight as we dawdled our way through Ranelagh Park. Running towards us at great speed was my sister and that alone was enough to set alarm bells ringing. She never ran. Never! Something was afoot. Despite the cloth laundry basket on a frame which had been bought earlier, getting in the way, we set off on an awkward run to meet her. Breathlessly she told us our house had been broken into earlier on that day and if that wasn’t bad enough, one of us had caught the fucker in the act. She hadn’t been able to gain access to the house and thought it was one of us playing a trick on her. Something was blocking her entry and then she realised the alarm that was screaming in her ears was our own house alarm. The box had been pulled from the wall and was blocking the door. (We played childish pranks on each other up and down so she was well within her rights to think this.) She was halfway in the front door when she saw the thieving little bollix making his way down the stairs. Both of them got an equal fright. He turned on his skanky little tail and ran back up the stairs. Presumably to climb out of the window from whence he came and she turned on hers and into our next door neighbours who poured whiskey into her for the shock. To be honest, I think we were all a bit excited underneath the initial upset. We were burgled! We were officially a statistic! And one of us managed to get a look at the perp! (We were big fans of CSI and were down with the lingo) Also there was a finger printer person on the way! We collected our shook and half cut sister from the Galwegians next door, tiptoed over the once uselessly wailing but now pathetically beeping alarm box on the hall floor and towards the kitchen. Where whoever was first in the line came to an abrupt halt so we all collided into each other. The rent! The jayzus rent! Very unoriginally and stupidly kept in an empty coffee jar in the kitchen press. The best part of a thousand pounds. Two of us got jammed in the doorway such was our haste to see if our precious money was still there. It was. Big huge massive sighs of relief all round and then one of us peeled a twenty from the top and went to the off licence on Ranelagh triangle to get some wine. For the shock. We had been asked not To Touch Anything before the finger printer person got to us. We were told he would be there within the hour. Armed with a glass of wine each, we crept up our own stairs, scared and silent. Almost as if Skanky Boy might still be up there. We had since deduced that our unwelcome visitor must have been on his way into the kitchen when my sister came home and caught him. He had gotten in from upstairs. Our house in Ranelagh had a nice back garden with a high wall. There was a little garage not worth talking about with a flat roof and he had climbed onto this and in through an open bedroom window. That bedroom was trashed. I don’t care what anyone says, but I reckon we all of us, without exception, stash some cash in our knicker drawer. It might be twenty quid it might be a bit more, but who doesn’t do this? My sister was relieved of about a hundred in notes and her lovely bronzing pearl ball things were scattered all over the floor. Because this was the point of entry, he had a good rummage round. Then he made his way over to the double bedroom across the hallway and had a good root round in my smalls drawer. Little feky bollix! Nothing in there anyway. Sniff. And where was yer man who was supposed to be taking the finger prints. So much for his “I’ll be there in the hour.” This was cat altogether. How were we supposed to go to bed Without Touching Anything? In the wind-up he arrived when we were all the other side of a couple of bottles of wine and in the process of getting nicely inebriated, we managed to destroy some of “his” evidence. His evidence! There were a few drunken eyebrows raised at that. First off it was our house and we could drink in it if we wanted to. So, if he had arrived at the scene on time, when he said he would, in other words, about two hours before we got pissed, well, it was our house and we could drink in it if we wanted to, okay? Men! In particular, detectives! They took everything so seriously. We were still rolling our eyes and nearly missed it when he said someone had been “picked up” earlier on and it was more than likely our unwelcome intruder. But by all accounts it was an opportunistic break in and his prints may not be “on the system” but we weren’t to worry, they never broke into the same place twice. “But someone else might, girls, so keep all those windows and doors locked, okay?” Oh, great. Give us something to have nightmares over, why dontcha? If memory serves me correctly we had a sleepover in the double bedroom that night. We never did find out if Skanky Boy was the burglar but the next day a proper bank account for our rent money was set up. It took my sister three weeks before she stopped finding bronzing balls on the floor of her bedroom. The small mess in my bedroom was tidied up in approximately ten minutes. The alarm box was returned to its place on the wall but it never sounded quite the same again. We hung on to the empty coffee jar as a reminder of a lesson learned. And we put a note in it that read: “do you really think we would be that stupid to keep money in here?” It was childish but so were we. Once upon a time.