CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Guests of the New Republic (Part 2) OR VISITORS TO THE COUNTRY OF ETHNIC SAMENESS (Part 2 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 Part 1 of Chapter 14.
Of course, the other prisoner, Eaglekins, was a little smaller and more mouthy and clearly an American. He spoke with a very poor British accent, as if he was an American, badly cast in a movie, trying to be British – but there’d be no stopping him winning an Oscar a few years later if he had put his heart and soul into playing a mad dictator, for example. But I could never figure out that accent at all at all.
Eaglekins always lost at the Monopoly or Scrabble games because he was always more interested in the banther. He’d lose the games, and lose his money, all mouthy and furious. Burper would always win back the money off us, of course, and give little Eaglekins enough seed money to start another game the following night, or help towards the deposit on a house in the new estate up the road that was only bogland at the moment.
Eaglekins and Burper are actually the only property developers I ever met who had been held for ransom by the State. We had them over a barrel, so we did, and yet while we held our two prisoners, they had actually gone to the trouble of putting down deposits on seven houses that were yet to be built in the local area with the money they made off us from the Scrabble and Monopoly, and they were getting a rental income from a big new apartment building that was already occupied around the corner. They often had private, whispered discussions, about the possibility of buying up some property in Sofia, but it came to nowt.
Eaglekins lusted over a photo of his girl back home every evening, after the Scrabble. The first evening I saw the picture, my jaw opened.
“She’s a lovely lookin’ thing!” I gasped out of me.
“She shooor as, mayt. If Oi doy, guvnor, will you look awwffteh hurr for me? Oi’ll ayvan doi the chimbley sweep dance on the roof for yaww?”
I looked at the photo. This young woman, standing before a microphone, had a kind of exotic quality to her. Her lustrous black hair had a ringletty kink to it, she seemed slight while also being quite striking, and her pageboy’s nose turned up just a tad and sprooted a bit bigger at the end, to provide a sort of infundibularity to her visage.
I kept my eye on the photo.
“What’s her name?” I asked then, softly as a mouse in the grip of a rabbit’s paw between the jaws of a cat.
“She is moy larrrvly Dyll! Dylly Oblong,” said Eaglekins. “Will you look arrffter hurrr?”
“I will,” I said jokingly. “But, dear, sweet Eaglekins, it won’t come to that.” I patted his head like he was a faithful dog, so I did, and tickled him under the chin. It was only right, as the Englanders were inferior to us in everything but wealth, strength, population, public transport services and superiority, and they knew only too well that we thought they were dogs. So I promised to look after Sage, as he called her. Or Dyll, or whatever herb he had her named for. Before ascending the stairs with my rifle and to my bed, like Tony Soprano towards the end of the final season, on the lam and unsettled, and just as unsettled and on the lam so was I, to put it mildly.
Continued in Part 3 of Chapter 14.