An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan

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 6 begins here.

And now, the continuation...



Later that same evening, well into the early hours, Mad Leopold Cassidy That Jewish Bastard came up to me and looked at me with the one good eye on him from Prussia. With the gruffness to his voice, he told me that Melissa Chesterton, the local Protestant foreman’s daughter, would be taking off her bra with her curtains open at midnight, in full view of the neighbourhood, and would I join him up the ladder for a peek of her unaware bosoms and a sixpence piece and a bit of a self fiddle?
                Not one to turn down a good ogle at a byoootherful young Proddy woman, I agreed to be joining him, providing that he help me to fly my own self-made kite, for want of a better metaphor.

                The kite competition took place after the cat murthering festivities, and those lovely kites swooped and whirled all over the sky – each kite’s string being lopped by its rivals, till two kites remained – Jarlath Wogan’s kite, and John Fisherman O’Reilly’s kite.

                What neither of those clever eejits expected was a spot of parasailing off the local cliff. I stood atop the cliff, launched myself off with a good punch in the head from Mad Leopold, who held onto my string so that I was well within the rules and regulations, and before those two kite running competitors could say boo to a goose, I roared at a whole feckin’ flock of geese.
                These geese often streaked across the sky giving everyone the V-sign, so they knew they had it coming, surprised as they were. So here I was sailing through the sky, smacking at them and hitting them and roaring and snatching at them and all sorts.

                In their horror, they got themselves wrapped up in the last two kites, and the two kites themselves got knotted up in each other, and quick as lightning I got out my Red Bull scissors and with a quick snip, my two final rivals’ kites collapsed. Unfortunately I didn’t pull the ripcord quick enough after all of this, and I landed in a tree, sending plenty more birds skywards into the scattered confusion, and a fierce row broke out between the magpies, the pigeons and the geese up above us.

               I scrambled out of the tree, a half broken arm on me, and sprinted into Main Square where the twelve adjudicators, led by Judge Rarely Smyled, sat at a table before the pilastered entrance into the town hall. The town hall with its broken clock, stuck at 10.04, struck as it was thirty years earlier by the lightning in Hurricane Charlie. The judges took a look at my wings under the arms, hewn from Lycra and nylon by my own feckin’ grandmother, but they said there wasn’t enough of a “kite effect” given off by the flying squirrel like Bingo wings for them to even think about considering awarding me the top prize.
                But I got a Highly Commended from the judges an’ anyway, despite my disqualification for the lack of a kite.
                Next thing, Mad Leopold shows up in Main Square, tearing along the street, panting and out of breath with the snots pumping out of his harelip. He holds what looks like a cable in his hands so thick it was, but it was – in case of fact – thirty one of the thirty two kites entered into the competition. The thirty-second being me my very self, as a kind of a man kite – and ironical, given that I had spent less than thirty seconds in the air.
                Mad Leopold Cassidy That Jewish Bastard had been collecting all of the kites, racing through the alleyways and lanes, and they were being dragged along behind him. And he put them into the middle of the square in a big heap. And because Leopold was my kite rudder, and he had been successful in collecting the kites where all the other kite rudders had failed, he stood there disappointed at me, grunting through his harelip. Kite rudders gave your kites direction during flight while you held the string. Because I was more of the kite itself, Leopold had done an awful lot more of the back work as he had been controlling the kite (me) and acting as kite rudder.
                Once Leopold’s breath caught up with him, he started talking all sorts of shite about being buggered, and how he had a child inside him now that he knew for a fact would be born in 1985, and I’d have to look after that baby when Leopold was killed later in my biography after a really tough life picking off Tuberculoids with his Enfield rifle with the fancy mail ordered cross hairs. From Prussia.
                But I decided to take the moral high ground over everything, in true style and class, and the whole thing descended into a bit of a soap, excellent characterisation in the first half of the story being what it was, coz I was a bit of a total dick in all fairness to me. A reflection of what we all are, and none the worse for it, I have to add.
                And the judges had a chat among themselves and they turned to myself and Leopold, and they told me that although we were worthy winners, they couldn’t award the prize this year because of the lack of a kite. I pulled at what I thought were the braces keeping up my trousers in frustration, but of course I accidentally pulled the ripcord, the parachute flapped into the air in a quick burst, and it almost covered the crowd of onlookers in its entirety if they hadn’t stepped out of the way of the bloody thing.
                “FĂ©ach!” I shouted with a burst out of me, or to translate: “Look!”
                But Judge Rarely-Smyled didn’t even have to look at the other adjudicators. He picked up the two gold rosettas – hewn out of limestone, so they were, it being the cheapest material available, and coloured a glossy gold – and pinned them into my chest and Leopold’s chest with a beaming grin, as we shrieked in pain at the pinning. And everyone roared laughing and cheered. We got 25 bonus points as well, as I’d kept my kite well hidden and I’d exposed it in a big reveal as Gywaylga.
                “Speaking of big reveals, let’s go see some boobies,” Leopold whispered in my ear with a wink of his one good eye on him from Prussia.
                “Nice link,” sez I, and off the pair of us went with our Rosetta stones to the Chestertons’ house.

Part Three is here.