An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan

An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock, surreal autobiography by a fictional Irish literary figurehead, champion bodhrán player and broadcaster.

The first part of Chapter 2 is here.
The second part of Chapter 2 is here.
The first part of Chapter 4 is here.
The second part is here
The third part of Chapter 4 is here.
The first part of Chapter 5 is here.
The second part of Chapter 5 is here.

Chapter Six begins after the death of Paddy's first donkey, Massal Byug Dove, in a snow storm. After it had keeled over and expired, Paddy spent some months inside the dead animal in order to keep warm before the thaw allowed him to return home to witness his own funeral service. He has now been back home some time.

And now, the continuation...


                I recall with great fondness the man of Protestant origins with the beard and the greasy head of hair on him coming to the parish to give a talk on the advantages of Home Rule over the oppressive regime we’d seen for the last hundred years, what with the generations of tyranny we’d been living under and the evil and the dearth of humanity and obscene vindictiveness prevalent in the genetic structure of the average English Ascendancy Gentleman, or EAGLE, as he was acrimonious… acrimony… acronymically known.
                A title which was stolen from the English by the Americans, of course, and them being the betther people, mostly, if only a little less knowledgeable in the intelligence department and a little more bellicose in their foreign policy. As my granny used to say, “If you’re gonna choose between shooting an Islamist terrorist and a US Marine in a three way firefight, young Paddy, always shoot the terrorist. The terrorist finds your secular world view offensive and overly humanistic,” she would tell me, as she tried to flatten my hair by rubbing her spit into it, “That terrorist will as soon kill you as look at you. The US Marine, on the other hand, well…he’s only going to kill you accidentally.”
                Granny was ahead of her time, no doubt, but she did play an integral part in world affairs through her work with the Saud fambly well into her Roaring Twenties, and them constantly telling her to shut her stupid female mouth and to know her place, and her dictating the carving up of all sorts of territories behind the scenes that nobody was entitled to, in cahoots with the Brits and the French as she was. She was always full of stories about trying to get the Yanks to sign up to some kind of a league – but sure, they play their own sports over there, with plenty of them dying in the field, God love them, till they started taking safety measures. And Granny banging her head off mirrors in Versailles, trying to find the tylet, a big black eye on her, and it all made to look like an accident. It was never an accident: She just couldn’t find the tylet on time, as she continued to claim to her dying day.

                A few years previous by more than two decades – history and time being unimportant and more of just a sepia hued inkling back in those days, or full blown Technicolor, or indeed 3-D – Charles Stewart Parnell came to visit us, and he kept talking to the crowd for one hour straight, holding his audience rapt, until he was replaced at the podium by a fellow called Joe Biggar, and him being bigger than most people, felt himself entitled to be talking for another fourteen hours straight, so he did.
                Then someone whispered in his ear, and he nodded as if he’d just been reminded of something, tapped his head to show he was a bit dotty, and stepped down from the podium.
                “Forgot I wasn’t in the Commons,” I heard him mutter to himself, wiping his brow.
                And then we went on the prowl all over the vicinity, relishing in our sadism as the whole audience rabbitted cats for the rest of the day and into the early hours of the long summer evening. Now, cats were domesticated mostly, but the odd time you’d get cats that had run away from home as kittens and they’d establish their own community of cats independent of human interference, complete with their own infrastructure and economy. So we had to “go on the cull” as we described it, whereby the wild brethren of the domesticated variety would be living the high life off in their own settlements. Oftentimes, they’d already have been killed as kittens by the tom-cats, carried away from the litter, they’d be, and killed by their own tom-cats non-fathers or indeed fathers, who regarded them as a latent threat which would manifest itself when they reached their own adultery.
                Where was I? Ah, yes. Even after such infanticide, some of the cats would survive, in their own strivulence, and we had to kill those ones, and pluck their eyes out after the fact and stick them with a squirt of glue to the roadside. Or the middle of the road, as it was later called. Now, cats’ eyes as we know them now came into being in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, as a rough estimate but as has just been established. The plastics industry wasn’t well developed at that stage so we killed the cats and stuck their real eyes on the roads. At the time, the reasoning behind this cruel practice did not seem all that justifiable, in that it was very cruel and there was no real purpose to the whole thing apart from the sport of it, but those cats’ eyes came in very handy when headlights were invented in the twentieth century.

Part Two of Chapter 6 will continue the saga.