Dead Vikings

By Ken Bruen

I was recently on a TV chat show……………whoa, hold the phones, I rarely get on

television but a guest let them down, well, ok, three did and final resort, Bruen

Fly me up to Dublin, nice hotel and you know, made a nice change from agonizing over

the computer

I get up there, it’s raining…….but no never no mind, there’s a car waiting and you’re

telling yerself

“Don’t get used to this?”

I wont

Not ever

The driver is a lovely man, asks what is my reason for getting on the show and I go

“I’m a writer.”

He’s kind of interested, not a lot but is, as I said, a nice guy and he goes

“The wife reads.”

I honest to god, dunno should I say

God bless her



The ultimate male bonding

“What the fuck are Chelsea playing at?”

Chelsea works best

I think he might have actually warmed to me………a bit anyway

Jesus, you’re trying to make the driver happy, how sad is me fookin life?

We get to the studio and I palm him a few notes, cos you do and he goes

“You don’t have to do that.”

We both know I do and then he asks

“What’s yer name?”

I tell him, he goes as he burns rubber outa there

“Never heard of yah’”

I’m hoping……………maybe the wife, she reads……………so………….

Security is massive as the elections are soon and finally I get the coveted name badge,

with me name spelt……..kev brien

But I’m in

Ushered to the Green Room and there is an air of hushed silence……………not me,

fook, I wish but an Irish rock star is returning to the scene and she is brought in,

surrounded by………….I’m never sure of the term





She is now in her mid 30’s and god Forgive me, looking it, all that pampered

shite……….has its price

And I watch in astonishment, as no matter what she wants, a gang rush to get it and

mainly, she’s bored

She finally is due to go on air and turns to me, asks, like she gave a continental

“Who are you?”

I say

“I’m a writer”

Note to self, stop telling the truth, say you manage a sheep farm

“Have I heard of you?”


I say me name

And she goes to makeup, says

“Never heard of you.”



But I do know a driver she’d like

Makeup tell me

“Mmm, not a whole lot we can do for you, “

Jesus, I’m having me one hell of an ego boost

Me time on actual T.V. IS ALL OF FIVE MINUTES

ALL you need to know is, I was asked when my 2nd book might appear

Hollywood came to Galway when I was 17, back then, me whole life depended on 1,

getting to study at Trinty, 2,  Praying to Christ that Frances the hot girl, might notice me

She didn’t

I got to play a dead Viking for three months, read a lot of books and the movie,

ALFRED THE GREAT has been called one  of the greatest turkeys of all time

Not me fault, I played dead the best I could

And you know, in one way or another, I’ve been playing that damn Viking ever since

Method I think they call it

Sad might be another term but that’s too close to self pity and we do all sorts of crap, but

self pity……………………………………never……………

18 thoughts on “Dead Vikings

  1. Evil Kev

    “I was asked when my 2nd book might appear”

    Did you say ten years ago?

    If the makeup department can’t do anything for you, it must mean you have natural beauty.

    Ken, you are one of the greatest writers to come out of Ireland in some time. Those talking heads only recognize talent when it is written on a cue card for them.

  2. Naomi

    Ken Bruen is to Ireland as John Steinbeck is to Salinas Valley. They will be erecting museums and libraries in your name and claiming you as their favorite son!

  3. pari

    You know, Ken,It’s good to know that headtrips traverse the strata of success. You’re an incredibly fine writer — are known by many (okay, maybe a few rock stars and drivers might not have heard of you, but fook’em)– and you still succumb to the same ego up-downs as the rest of us.

    Somehow, that’s comforting.

    And, I know you’re doing fine today. It’s the up/down that’s so fascinating.

  4. Steven Torres

    Next time you’re asked who you are, try “I’m one of the best writers Ireland has produced since James Joyce.” Of course, I haven’t got a remedy if they then say “who’s that?”

  5. Tom, T.O.

    Fook ’em and the horse they rode in on!

    Trite expression: A prophet is without honor in his own country.

    So, when’s your THIRD book comin’ out? 😀

    Tom, T.O.

  6. Louise Ure

    What Naomi said. Yeah.

    And Ken, congratulations on the French prize this week! I don’t know the name of it, but good on those discriminating French for recognizing our benign thug.

  7. Steve Urszenyi

    Great post, Ken. I wouldn’t be concerned with others’ state of unenlightenment. It would be a source of never-ending disappointment. Your writing brings your readers tremendous pleasure. Even if there are only a couple of us!


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