An Early Childhood Chapter 14 Part 1



CHAPTER 14: Guests of the New Republic (Part 1) OR VISITORS TO THE COUNTRY OF ETHNIC SAMENESS (Part 1 as well)

An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock, surreal autobiography by a fictional Irish literary figurehead, champion bodhrán player and broadcaster. This chapter is a parody of Frank O'Connor's short story Guests of the Nation.

 

Continued from the end of Chapter 13 - in this case, unlucky for two Englishmen.
 
            Englanders Burper and Eaglekins were our prisoners for some months while we resided at the safehouse. Our commanding officer was Mike Donovan. He had a very definite kind of a military style haircut and a pencilled on moustache, and the flecks of spittle in the corners of his mouth. He also had a certain air of duty about him which the rest of us lacked, black marketeers and all the rest that we’d been. Back in the Potato Famine, Mike Donovan’s father had only gone and taken a job as a tax collector. Zacchaeus Donovan had been the biggest tax collector in the whole of Kildare. He and his brothers were known as the Kildare Boys, or the Kildare Cabal, or the Kildare Kebab.

            With Mike being a member of the most official of Kildare families – in absolute and uncompromising cahoots with Major British Bureaucracy in Kildare, who was an army officer as well as a concept before he was replaced by Colonel Coote Decker, Earl of Mount Wrath, and anyway he only appeared in one episode and it didn’t even air, so it’s regarded as non-canonical but it’s available for download – when Mike Donovan and the Donovan folk turned sides – where was I?

Bureaucracy.

            Oh, yes. It all meant that Mike Donovan had this sense of duty imbued in him at an early age. Only he took the Official Kildare training he’d undergone and he went and applied this sense of duty and officialdom into socialism and nationalism, rather than the conservatism of the English authorities. The Kildare Boys turned on the Brithish who’d been their bread and butther for so long, and they became some of the leaders of the revolution.

            One of the Englanders, Burper, was a great big lug of a thing, six foot seven and three quarthers of the inch extra on him, if he was a day in the heels. He had the huge feet of a man that our landlady Mrs Mildred Ackerman noticed with a lustful look on her face, tongue lolling out of her mouth and inching towards her nostrils involuntarily – like a snake’s, was her tongue, trying to taste the air for prey – as she watched him with his cloddy feet up on the poof when he played Scrabble or Monopoly with us, one of his socks always needing a darning, with a gargantuan, immaculately manicured toe sticking out the top.

            Every day, he helped Mildred Ackerman around the house with the coal scuttle or the bucket of Blue Steam dethergent. Be it

(a) mopping with slightly diluthered bucket full of Blue Steam
(b) doing the iredeninding of our shirts and our trousers so that our new Irish National Irish Republican Brotherhood Uniforms with the gold buttons were spick and span – within reason – and combat ready so they were
(c) building up and stoking the fire
(d) making up the Aardan jumpers, squeezing the caged Leprechauns by their goolies to make the jars of Leprechaun tears, and whittling the willow for the hurling schticks to make up the gift baskets for the pre-Christmas rush from the American market in early August so that we could afford to develop the atom bomb to blow up London,

                 Burper would do it all for Mildred Ackerman.

            On the first day of our arrival, Burper came into the house and he saw Mildred pick the coal scuttle up from beside the fireplace.
            He took it from her hands and said:
            “Where to, chum?” with the big, beaming – and British – stupid head on him. He was a Quiet Man. But far less the American than John Wayne. That was actually one of the last things I ever heard him say.

Continued in Chapter 14 Part 2.