CHAPTER TEN: A MORE DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE EASTER RISING (PART TWO)
Continued from Chapter 10 Part 1.
An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock, surreal autobiography by a fictional Irish literary figurehead, champion bodhrán player and broadcaster.
A rather large man with a grey-white beard, dressed in red and white, pulled up in a sleigh outside the GPO, the back of the sleigh full of rifles and murder bombs as they were known. It was The O’Rahilly Himself, dressed as Father Christmas for Easter to throw the Tommies off the scent. Limey bastards. I got a rifle to replace my now redundant flare gun, and it was a glorious amalgamation of various rifles from a number of countries of the world, including a sight lens with beautiful crosshairs forged from the fur of a Tibetan yak that was imported from Prussia, probably the best sight lens in the world at that stage and proud of it I was indeed. I also got a Colt 45 into the bargain for an extra shilling, which I placed in the no longer redundant holster at my side.
The O’Rahilly came into the GPO with a letter in his hand and he passed it to Eamonn Gorman.
“Your mother told me to give you this, Eamonn,” The O’Rahilly said.
The letter was unopened. Gorman looked at the postal markings.
“It’s from Harvard!” he said, and he ripped open the envelope and took out the letter.
“ ‘Dear Mr. Gorman’…” he began reading aloud, “ ‘It is with great pleasure that I inform you that you have been awarded the Chair of Lecturer of Ethics at Harvard University’.”
Eamonn whooped for joy and everyone applauded loudly. We had a bona fide philosophe in our ranks.
I was watching the street through my rifle when Mad Leopold Cassidy arrived by taxi from the home county; he had heard something about the possibility of killing English soldiers, and he certainly wasn’t one who didn’t disapprove of not killing English soldiers. So we invited him into the GPO with his rifle – also with fancy crosshairs – and we began our wait once again.
The British soldiers appeared shortly after that. They were some distance up the road; they had swung around from Abbey Street, and a huge cannon was being rolled up the road by some of them. It was then that I heard the first explosion of the day; the boom echoed over the city, and I didn’t know from where it had come. It could have come from Boland’s Mills, or Jacob’s Factory, fond as the Irish were for biscuits at the time, and I was reminded of when I was four years old and working in Mister Veracci’s steelworks. Because although the biscuit factories were nothing like steelworks, they were factories all the same, and a tear was brought to my eye regarding my loss of innocence at the age of four.
The British soldiers parked their cannon up the road and I saw the fuse of the cannon being lit and POOF the cannon boomed out a blast that struck the GPO and rattled the building. The British soldiers charged and we all opened fire, striking as many of them as we could. Of course a great number of the soldiers were in fact Irish, merely wearing British uniforms, and all of us were crying while we fired, and all of us pretended that it was the cordite burning our eyes rather than the fact that we were killing potential revolutionary heroes who were merely wearing the wrong uniforms rather than being actual Brits.
As the British soldiers fell, more came to replace them, and finally, towards evening time, the British Army was forced to retreat. Everyone wiped the tears out of each other’s eyes and blew each other’s snotty noses and cheered our noble defence against the onslaught. I looked over to the left of me, and Eamonn Gorman looked into my eyes from his position on the floor. Unfortunately, he was merely staring into the space between myself and himself. He was dead. It was my first taste of the death of a comrade in war, and I felt my stomach twist into gaseous knots. And as I closed his eyes over with a respectful hand, I broke wind silently for Eamonn bloody Gorman.
Continued in the end of Chapter 10.