To celebrate St Patrick's day, which commemorates the day of his death, I figured I'd share an interview with the modern day character of Patrick. In my Mel Goes to Hell series, the saint has become an angel and his role involves keeping the peace in Northern Ireland. A daunting task…but who better for the job than St Patrick?
Interview with Saint Patrick
Welcome. Can you please state your name, in case anyone doesn’t recognise you?
I'm Patrick Driscoll, a political advisor based in the UK and Ireland.
Now, I understand that you're a good friend of Melody Angel's in Demelza Carlton's Mel Goes to Hell series. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
About Mel or about the job she took? I don't know a great deal about the job she took in the HELL Corporation. I know Raphael needed someone urgently and begged her to help, so she agreed. It surprised me, to be honest, that she'd work somewhere so different to what she normally does, but I'm sure she has her reasons. Mel always does.
How well do you know Melody Angel?
Well enough to know not to call her that. I don't recommend you do, either – she'll give you a pained smile, more a grimace, really, as she tries to hide how much she doesn't like being called that. She's Mel. I learned that the day I met her.
So how did you and…Mel…meet?
It was a very long time ago. I was trying to resolve a religious conflict in Northern Ireland and I despaired of making any headway. My friend – I suppose you'd call him my mentor – said he knew someone who could help. Next thing I know, he's introducing me to a girl he called Melody Angel, and you knew where she'd been because the local leaders were all singing the same tune, as taught them by Melody the miracle worker. I didn't believe him at first, but after seeing Mel in action…Hell, I've earned a reputation as a miracle worker, but I'm barely a novice compared to her. She is the best political advisor in the world, bar none.
The best political advisor in the world took on a job as a temp in some backwater corporation? Why?
It does sound crazy, doesn't it? But some of the things Mel does make no sense to anyone but her until she explains her reasoning. I think you'd have to ask her why. Luckily, she's very open and approachable, so I'm sure she'll be willing to answer some of your questions.
I've already interviewed Mel and a lot of what she had to say centred around the company's CEO. Do you know anything about him?
Not really, no. I know she's concerned about some of the company's activities and she finds him quite troubling, but I'm sure she has everything under control.
Have you met Mr Iblis?
I'm not sure. I might have in the past – the name does sound familiar. It would have been a long time ago and I doubt he'd have deigned to notice me. From what Mel's told me, he's quite a difficult man to work with.
How about Melody…Mel? When you first met her, what did you think of her?
I thought she was a sweet, innocent young woman who was in for a rude shock. It turned out that the sweetness is real, but underneath is a mind that understands global politics and people so well, I swear she could run any country she wanted. And she'd do it well – not like most politicians, for their own personal gain or to pursue their personal agenda. She'd do what's right for the country and she'd do it with most of the population supporting her.
Now you've known her for a while, how would you describe her?
I think she's the most selfless person I've ever met. If I needed help with anything, she's the first person I'd call…but also the last. She says when there's peace in Northern Ireland, it's all my fault…but when there's fighting, it's because I sneaked off to take a holiday. I don't think she's ever taken a holiday in the whole time I've known her. I hope she does one day. She deserves it.
You've described her professionally, but what about personally? When she's not working, what can you tell me about her?
Mel? She's a surprisingly private person. For all that she's capable of speaking to kings and presidents and prime ministers, she doesn't like the spotlight. And she likes quiet. She'll attend state banquets and meetings between world leaders, but afterwards, you'll always find her in the hotel pool, swimming quietly by herself, or going for a walk on the beach. And flowers. She loves flowers.
Have you ever been in love? Or ever had your heart broken?
Are you trying to ask if I'm in love with Mel? Of course I am. I'd be an idiot not to be. Such a lovely woman, inside and out, even if she wasn't my closest friend. I know she cares for me, too – we know each other too well to hide our feelings. But she's too good for me, so we'll never share more than the friendship we already have. She soars, while my feet are firmly on the ground.
It would break my heart if she ever loved someone who didn't deserve her. And I'd make sure she knew it, right before I broke his kneecaps.
So you'd be jealous if she took up with someone else?
No, not a bit. More than anything, I want to see her happy. She'd never admit it, but sometimes she gets lonely. I see it in her eyes. I wish I could always be there for her, but I work here and she's always travelling. And I'm not enough to drive it away for more than a little while. If she met a man who could fill that hole in her heart so she's never lonely again, I'd kiss the man on both cheeks myself. His face, not his arse.
Does she have any secrets?
I'm sure Mel has plenty of secrets. Some she's told me and many she hasn't. I won't betray her confidences – if you want to know them, you ask her. She'll tell you as much as she wishes you to know.
What's your favourite colour?
That's an odd question. Green, of course, like the shamrock that's so popular over here. Some attribute it to a saint who's my namesake.
I've heard you referred to as the modern day St Patrick. Care to tell me why?
Well, there's some people who'd tell you I'm the reincarnation of the saint who's supposed to have banished all the snakes from Ireland. I couldn't have done that – I'm terrified of snakes, always have been. That's why I like Ireland so much, of course. No, it's just that he worked miracles and some people think that sometimes I can, too. Truth is, that's probably when Mel was here.
Of course, Christians don't believe in reincarnation, though there are some stories about men who lived for hundreds of years, as well as a couple who were resurrected from the dead. St Patrick died more than 1500 years ago. Do I look like I'm that old? Or that I died and was resurrected? I'd look like something out of a vampire or zombie movie if I had.
What makes you laugh out loud?
A lot of things. I like to laugh – it's something I share with Mel.
What's on your bedside table right now?
Right now? Hopefully a dust sheet. I bought a new flat recently and it's lovely, except half the rooms have pink carpets, and the other half have white, so I had to pack all my furniture into storage while someone replaces my coconut ice floors with timber.
What is your greatest fear?
That something will happen to Mel while she's on the other side of the world and I won't hear about it until it's too late to help her. I know she's an incredibly strong, capable woman, but she does place other people before her own safety and this strange request of Raphael's just has my hackles up. Sending Mel into any company as a spy, when she's capable of stepping into the shoes of their CEO or managing director? Someone's bound to notice something's wrong. And if what I've heard about this Luce Iblis is true, then he's a very dangerous man who shouldn't be trusted.
What have you heard about him?
Plenty and none of it's good. His corporation arose to take over government services that were being privatised and sold off. He's paid to provide these services at a bargain price, which means they're provided at poor quality, where they're provided at all. We're talking everything from water treatment plants to law courts and prisons to environmental regulation. That his corporation is responsible for taking jobs from local people and giving them to his imported staff, who don't have a clue what they're doing. That his company has views on exporting their model globally.
It sounds like the HELL Corporation is some get-rich-quick scheme for Mr Iblis, but what do you know about the man himself?
Well, any man who sets him up the CEO of a company hellbent on world domination, whatever the cost, doesn't sound like anything but a villain. He sounds like he has about as much conscience as Lucifer himself, maybe less. I'm not sure he's someone I'd want to meet – and with Mel's political knowledge, she's exactly what he'd want. But I'm not sure Mel would be willing to work for him to that end. And what would a man with no conscience be willing to do in order to force her to do his bidding? I shudder to think.
Okay. So you're suggesting he might try to use Mel to take over the world?
He'd be an idiot not to, if he knows her reputation. And even if he doesn't, she'll betray herself somehow. She'll give good advice where it's needed – she won't be able to stop herself, she's so naturally helpful.
Do you think he'd try to corrupt Mel to seeing things from his perspective?
Hahaha…oh, he could try, but Mel's…well, not incorruptible so much as idealistic. She has her plans and views of the world and you could offer her millions…but she'll still do what she feels is best. So if someone bribed her to follow her plan, she'd take the money and do it…but there's no way she'd work toward an outcome she doesn't want.
I'm worried he'll work out he can't change Mel's mind or her principles, so he'll somehow coerce her to do what she knows is wrong. He's crafty and cunning and word says he's charming, too. Who knows what lengths he'll go to in order to seduce Mel to his side?
Me? I'd like to punch the bastard. Let's see if his face looks half as handsome with a broken nose and two black eyes. But the problem is, I could only do that if I know Mel's being coerced to do something against her will. So while I'd happily help or do anything for her, I'll stay out of her way until she asks for my assistance. I wouldn't want to mess things up for her.
See, she's far more politically astute than I am. While he's trying to play her, she could be playing him without anyone else realising it. I only hope he doesn't see it until it's too late for him to stop her.
So how do you think this will end? Is your money on Mel, or this devilish CEO?
If I was a betting man, I'd stake every penny on Mel. Mostly because I know her so well and her luck is legendary, but also because I don't want to think of the consequences if she doesn't come out of the HELL Corporation on top.
Thank you, Mr Driscoll, for your time and your insights today. From the sound of things, I'll be siding with you, too.
If you'd like to know more about what Patrick's life was like as a human before he became a saint, you can check out my earlier post HERE.
And if you'd like to know more in the Mel Goes to Hell series, where he's a very important character…you can check the books out HERE.