An Early Childhood Chapter 9 Part 3


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

Continued from Chapter Nine Part Two.
               Often, the eight convicts in the cell would be replaced by eight different ones, much to the confusion of the guards who attended them, but they didn’t really know there were different people in the cell because, of course, all Catholics look the same to Protestants. I informed the cell of the plans of the Protestants, and the men were all shocked, but we began our own plans in earnest to counteract the nefarious endeavours of the Orangemen.
                A week later the Octogenarian Apprentice Boys’ Band were having their Proddy parade through the Catholic streets of Dublin, and – as they began their march – huge awnings on the floats were removed to reveal the vast and offending pictures of Mary and Joseph making love. But our own movement was ready with the condoms, and we hurled the fully filled up and used contraceptives at the paintings, and the fluids therein melting the paint off the mock pietas with acidic effectiveness. Hundreds more rubbers were thrown to land in the faces of the Prods, and dozens of the heathens were reduced to vomiting at the feeling of Jippi Longstockings slapping them across the forehead and their contents trickling over their eyes and into their mouths. And then – of course – we started with the nappies. Those diapers had been filled by the very children who would not have been born were it not for the encouragement of the Church, of course.
                The whole event came to be known in Vatican lore as the Prophylactic Attack at the Heathens.

                 The entire fracas went down in history as being the most effective method of protection from Protestant evil, because the Octogenarian Apprentice Boys didn’t really bother us thereafter, and went north to Belfast, but they gave a little charley bird a good box in the snot.
                I was summoned to the Vatican by the Pope, and I went into St Peter’s Basilica to meet him. The Pope reprimanded me for my plan – he had heard about it all in La Republicca or some such Italian broadsheet, and had been quite disgusted that I and my fellow Catholics used the weapons of sin and fornication to belittle the Protestants. I would have been excommunicathered on the spot had I not reasoned that the instruments we used were not true contraceptives, but rather the fingers from rubber gloves. The Pope agreed that I was thus in the right, and he issued a bull advocating the use of rubber glove fingers in the war against all non-Catholic movements. That’s how you always know you’re in a good Catholic household when you volunteer to do the washing up after dinner and there are no fingers on the rubber gloves in the cabinet under the sink.

                It must be said that once the threat of Protestant tyranny was removed from Catholic life, the armed forces of the Empire began to lay down the law, and politics replaced religion as the noose which endeavoured to wrap itself around the already bruised collective adam’s apple of the pontiff’s people. I was chased from county to county on my return from Rome, as English soldiers followed myself and my colleagues – a band of merry men, were we – from mountain to valley to lake to river. The number of action sequences that took place over that period of time was startling, and I shall now recount a few of the many to give you an idea as to the audacious existence of our little squadron at the time.
                My section consisted of five men including myself, their descriptions forthcoming in the next few lines. I say “my section”, but really we were each of us – to a man – primus inter pares – which means that we shared cooking duties.
                Charlo Mallooolly was six foot seven inches tall, a Goliath of a man in those days, of course, tall in stature and tall in personality. He had a kink in his hair whereby if he was running at full speed, his fringe would bounce up and down off his forehead, so he compensated for the fact by tying a handkerchief with a piece of twine over his head. Action heroes and Brithish sunbathers later copied the look.
                John Fisherman-O’Reilly came from a hook, long line and sinker of fishermen that was thought to stretch back to the Galileans of Christ’s time, and so it was believed that his ancestors may once have met Jesus. Fisherman-O’Reilly’s family had been taken prisoner by Crusaders of the thirteenth century and brought to Western Europe where they had been inducted into the Priory of Sion because of their inheritance, but in the sixteenth century they had joined the Catholic religion as they left the Priory because they’d all sworn off the dhrink and decided instead to pursue a more mainstream form of worship.
                People from far and wide had come to John Fisherman-O’Reilly to shake his hand in order to shake the hand of someone whose forebear may or may not have shaken the hand of Jesus. The fact that John Fisherman-O’Reilly’s genetic heritage comprised a man who may have met the Christ gave us all a warm feeling in our shtomachs—if John Fisherman-O’Reilly was on our side, well then sure as God so was the Messiah. John Fisherman-O’Reilly had spent much of his life seeking the legendary Trout of Fierce Intelligence, but more about that later.
                Sean Tubridy-O’Reilly was related by marriage to John Fisherman-O’Reilly. We always joked that John Fisherman-O’Reilly and Sean Tubridy-O’Reilly were inlaws, but at the same time, they were outlaws, and we had a right laugh about that fact.
                Tancred Moorphy M’Nally was from Muslim origins but found that the Proddy element of Orangeism was tinged with bigotry and racism. Tancred Moorphy M’Nally was a good man. Tancred didn’t use guns but he had two swords which he kept on his back, a blow horn and a longbow with a quiver filled to the brim with arrows, or quarrels, as they were also called, because whenever Tancred killed an English soldier with one of those arrows before anyone else could squeeze off a shot, he caused a fierce argument.

The continuation is here.