CHAPTER TWELVE: MY ADVENTURE WITH THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL EVER AND A BETRAYAL BY ONE OF MY MEN (PART ONE)
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 11 Part 7.
Well, it wasn’t long before I had to leave my hometown and I was being chased from county to county at this stage of my life, as English soldiers followed myself and my band of merry men from valley to river to mountain to lake. The Irish were split entirely during this period – foreshadowing, even at this stage – the Civil War which would follow the War of Independence.
All of the pat rafters were now working for the British, and Mad Leopold Cassidy had become a sniper, spending his days hunting me and my men, unsuccessfully – I might add – for the generous reward money being offered for our heads. He didn’t care who he shot in fairness to him, as long as somebody paid him money.
The number of action sequences that took place over that period of time was startling and there are far too many to recount. My publisher has informed me that the autobiography which you’re reading at the moment is – even at this stage – as a work in progress, too long, and I’ll have to have my appendix taken out. Medical matters aside, I’ll try to keep the book to a respectable size. Ergo, I must remove some of the events, or at least pare them down to their least descriptive essences.
To begin, there was one occasion when myself, along with my men, were pinned down in my own home town, with two bullets, a bent pastry fork and a pistol with no cartridges in it between us. And I didn’t know what to do at all at all. But then I had an idea. I ordered my men to follow me, and, under a hail of heavy fire from the English guns, we sneaked into the T.B. Colony, the section of English soldiers chasing us. And I heard Mad Leopold Cassidy let a yell out of him:
“Englanders!” he said in delight, and he picked them off one by one, keen to be hitting Englanders rather than his fellow countrymen. One fellow’s brains was blown out the back of his head, and another fellow’s brains was blown out the front of his head. And one by one, all those British soldiers died in a similar manner thanks to the brilliant marksmanship of Mad Leopold Cassidy. So my plan had worked!
On another occasion, Charlo Malloolly, John Fisherman O’Reilly, Sean Tubridy O’Reilly (related by marriage), Tancred Moorphy M’Nally and myself were in the Wickla Hills when we came across a wagon lodged between the two cliff faces of a ravine. Back in olden times, of course, the bigger the wagon, the more likely it was that it would be stuck in a ravine. But the bigger wagons were reserved for the gentry, and the biggest wagons belonged to the richest of people. Now, this was a pre-February Revolution Russian-built Big Fokov wagon, which meant that it was very big indeed.
And if one had a big, wide wagon, you were so rich that you were prone to being laughed at because of the size of your wagon with an earnestness that would shock the life out of today’s monarchs.
The fact that the wagon had wedged itself in the ravine meant that its owner was a man of considerable means, so Charlo Malloolly and John Fisherman O’Reilly decided to give help to the jaded and distressed wagoneer in the hope of reducing their deficit in life by reception of a healthy tip from said wealth-hoarder.
They knocked on the wagon door, and a woman squeezed out through the window to land in the dirt beside them like a lithe gymnast. Well, she was the loveliest, most effervescent, most beautiful maiden I had ever turned my eyes towards, and Charlo Malloolly transformed into a pillar of salt as soon as he had the setting the eyes on her so he did.
I wasn’t too worried about that, though, because after my visit to Aunt Molly’s I had damn well made sure to read up on how to cure saline intoxification, and with the help of a little baking soda and a prayer to the Stuntman Mary, I managed to strip most of the sodium chloride out of his system to return him to a less saline human form. I laid him out on the grasses so that he would recover through sleep.
As for poor John Fisherman O’Reilly, when his eyes fell on the girl, he went mad and he was never quite the sane again. As for my reaction, well, I myself fell in lurve immediately and, well, well…well. Unlike Pickety-Witch and Belouis Some, this lady wasn’t going to be forgotten by me.