A young Account Associate, jetlagged after having just flown half way across the world, stopped at a Dublin pub after checking in at his hotel. While sitting at the bar, a very tall, scruffy, well-dressed stranger walked up and sat down next to him. The Associate, always looking to make new advantageous business contacts, cheerfully ordered the stranger a full glass of whiskey. The man downed it in a single gulp, turned, and introduced himself as Donal. They shook hands. Then Donal took the empty glass and smashed it over his head in celebration of their new acquaintance.
The Associate decided it might be better to hold off on ordering a second round. But Donal slammed his fist down on the counter, waved a fan of euro notes up with his other hand, and demanded a full bottle of whiskey from the bar. The bottle was sold and corked, and Donal promptly set it before the Associate. “Drink!” Donal roared. The Associate tried his best to ease out of the engagement. But Donal grabbed him by the arm with crushing strength and yelled at him to celebrate. So the Associate, without much choice, smiled weakly and took a great swig from the bottle. Then Donal took the bottle and did an easy twelve-count before slamming it down, wiping his mouth off on his French cuffs, and shaking his head.
“Not much of an entertainer,” said Donal, “am I?”
Now the Account Associate didn’t want to hurt the madman’s feelings, but he couldn’t lie—so he only smiled goodnaturedly and shrugged. “Could be worse,” he said.
Donal seemed to appreciate the Associate’s gesture, and the Associate—finally seeing a polite window of opportunity—apologized, saying he had to leave to rest in preparation for his presentation the next day. Donal shook the Associate’s hand roughly and the two men parted.
The whiskey hit the Associate as he stepped out the door of the bar; he was so drunk that, on a lark, he decided to take a rickshaw back to his hotel rather than a taxi. The driver ran and ran for blocks and blocks—until his knee blew and the rickshaw swerved to a halt. As the Associate stepped to the curb in frustration, who did he see—but Donal.
Without even a hello, Donal tossed the Associate back into the rickshaw and hoisted it over his head and began sprinting down the street. Minutes later, Donal set the vehicle down before the Associate’s hotel, yanked the Associate out, and announced that it was time for more whiskey.
In awe of the superhuman feat just performed, the Associate wasn’t about to deny the man. So they both lurched to the hotel bar and each ordered a huge glass of booze. They grew riotously drunk before Donal finally clapped the Associate on the shoulder, wished him well with his presentation, and left.
The pitch went without a hitch. The Associate sold the company on a huge stock of his corporation’s product, and his Irish Client took him to Doheny & Nesbitts to celebrate a deal gone well, when who showed up—but Donal, carrying along a huge hock of honey-baked ham and a massive flagon of whiskey. “It’s time for whiskey!” roared Donal, and the Associate didn’t have any recourse but to awkwardly introduce the Client to his savage new acquaintance. Donal brusquely shoved aside the two to make room for a stool he stole from a nearby table—but it wasn’t long before Donal proved himself exciting company and soon they were all deep in their cups. Then the Clients said that they should play a game matching two lines of Aerosmith lyrics.
“Plain drinking isn’t good enough for you?” shouted Donal.
The Associate, to be fair to his Client, agreed that it was a decent idea for a pub game, and they got set to play—even if the Associate could clearly see that Donal’s anger was growing to a boil. Blithely unaware, the Client loudly sang out:
She said I’ll show you how to fax in the mail room, honey—
To which Donal responded:
And have you home by five—
—before promptly turning to uppercut an unlucky barback that happened to be blithely walking by with a full tray of empty pint glasses in hand. The barback flew across the room and the glasses exploded.
Everyone in the pub sat aghast, but then the barback stood up, wobbling, and Donal rushed over to stuff fistfuls of euros inside his waistcoat and the waistcoats of all the other pub staff, and the Client burst out in laughter. Then he went on to slur out more lyrics to match, and Donal again grew furious and flipped over their table and the tables of their neighbors and smashed all the glasses and flung his huge flagon of whisky against the wall.
“Drinking games are for feebs and Frenchmen!” he thundered.
But the Client, so drunk, only laughed and continued his game. In response, Donal dropped to all fours and peeled forth a blood-curling roar—and then his suit burst open and he transformed into his true form: The Great Celtic Tiger. The Client barely had a second to scramble to his feet before he was gobbled up in one bite. Then Donal, evidently sated, dashed out of the bar and down the indifferent streets of Dublin.
The Associate, sitting in the midst of broken glass and crushed furniture, blinked.
The next day the Associate returned to Chicago and—in reward for his exemplary sale—was rewarded by the Vice President of International Business with a raise and a promotion to Account Manager.
Years later, when back in Dublin to assist his VP of International Business at a major trade conference, the Account Manager happened to step back into Doheny & Nesbitts. There, to his amazement, he spotted the Irish Client that he’d watched being gobbled up by Donal. The Client saw him and tried darting off, but the Manager grabbed him by his jacket collar and wouldn’t let him go without an explanation.
“I was eaten by the Celtic Tiger,” bemoaned the Client, “and now I’m a bloody slave to his every whim. The only way I can be free is if he eats someone else. Tomorrow the Tiger will be up on the roof of Record Tower in Dublin Castle to devour an economist he had me lure from Trinity College—but I just know the economist’s too bright to fall for his trap. He’ll never show.”
The Manager paused to think, then let the Client scamper off.
At the time, the Account Manager’s mind had been focused entirely on his new fiancé. Between the two, they had stacks of student debt. So much debt, in fact, that the Manager—regardless of his honest salary, without a further promotion within the company—was questioning whether he’d be able to support his wife in the way she’d been raised.
So that night, at a party after the trade conference, he mentioned to his VP that he’d found a way to get an audience with the Celtic Tiger, an old friend of his—and was going to leverage their relationship to negotiate a move of the corporation’s factories to Ireland, where corporate tax was insanely low, and save a huge bundle for the CEO.
The VP shifted in his seat. He couldn’t let a mere Account Manager outshine him. So he said, “Listen, while I admire your initiative, I think it’s best if I negotiate with the Tiger directly.”
The Manager voiced some mild objection, but the VP was adamant, so he shrugged and told his boss the address. “Just be sure to introduce yourself as a guy up on economics,” said the Manager, “to get on the Tiger’s good side.”
The next day the VP trudged up to Dublin Castle and climbed up to roof of Record Tower where he was met with a lavish spread of food and drink on wide white tables. With no one else around, he sidled up to the chilled prawns and noshed to his delight—before a very tall, scruffy, well-dressed stranger appeared.
“Ah!” said the VP, “You must be the Great Celtic Tiger.”
Donal bowed politely and asked to whom he had the pleasure of speaking.
“A fellow well versed in economics,” laughed the VP, “that’s for damn sure.”
“Brilliant!” roared the Tiger. “You’re just in time to join me for a move back to Southeast Asia!” And then he dropped to all fours, burst from his suit, transformed into a tiger, gobbled the VP up in one bite, and ran off and boarded the next Aer Lingus flight to Hong Kong, where he became one of the four New East Asian Tigers.
While the Irish populace all rent their clothes and gnashed their teeth over their sudden economic downtick, and the Irish Client was free to return to the middling but carefree life from which he’d been wrenched, the Account Manager flew back home to America to accept a battlefield promotion to VP. Soon he’d refinanced all his student loans, and—with all the extra money he’d saved—hired a top-shelf Aerosmith cover band to play at his wedding, to the grave disappointment of everyone invited.