An Early Childhood Chapter 15 Part 1


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 14 Part 6.
            Little Billy Boy “Bad to the Bone” Cullen came knocking on my door. He was wearing his BabyGro, his legs a little splayed by a big bulging nappy, with a stripy engineer’s cap atop his slightly mulleted head, a small school satchel on his back and a clipboard in his hands.

            “Yes, Billy?”

            “I’ve got an opening for yeh!” sez Billy, doodling a quick motorcar on his clipboard as if ticking something off a list.

            “An opening?”

            “The aperture for Platform Seven n a Bit at Pearse Street Station is now open for bizzyness. You’re off to the land of the Faeries, or Fantasy Land, or Tír na nOg, or Cloud Cuckoo Land, or whatever you want to call it.”

            “I’ll grab my coat,” I said, snatching a trench coat off the hat stand against the wall, and placing a fedora on my head. We walked out the door and down the street, striding together towards the train station.

            “Have you got your totem?” Billy asked, as he chomped down on an apple from his satchel.

            “I do,” I said. I reached into my jacket and pulled out a gold comb.

            “Where’d you get that?” Bill asked, so he did.

            “I believe it’s the comb of a banshee. I found it at the murder scene of a local constable.”

            “I see, sez I to meself. You sure you want to be using an other-worldly relic as your totem in the other-worldly realm?” he asked.

            “I dunno. Is that not okay, to use an other-worldly relic as my totem in the other-worldly realm?”

            “It’s not how I’d operate,” Billy scoffed. “But it’s your fantasy!”

            Moments later we were standing at an archway between platforms 6 and 7 at Pearse Street Station.
The station in more recent times. Photo courtesy of Rob Ketcherside.

            “Why is it called Pearse Station anyway?” I asked.

            “They renamed it very fast, alright,” said Bill. “After Padraig Pearse. The poet an’ the prophet. No profit in that though!” He pulled out what looked like an empty string spool from his bag. “Right,” he said, picking at it unsuccessfully for a few moments.

            “What are you doing?” I asked him, bending over.

            “Shut up and get out of me light!” he shouted in response, glancing up at the ceiling for the location of the light. He continued to work his fingernail at the spool. Then he held it above his head and closed one eye, staring at it as he continued to work his fingernail, then his thumbnail, at the empty spool.

            “It’s feckin’ stuck here, and I can’t see where it starts!”

            “What’s stuck?”

            “The thread from the loom of the Stuntman Mary! Will I break open a new bit?”

            I shrugged.

            He strode up the platform for some distance. Thirty seconds passed.

            “Everything alright?”

            “Shut up and get out of me eyeline!” Bill shouted, getting frustrated with the string. He waved me away. I stood behind the archway so he couldn’t see me.

            “I CAN STILL SEE YOUR FEET!”

            I pulled my shoes back out of his sight so that the sides of my feet were against the wall, my toes pointing out either side of me, rather than in front of me.

Continued in Chapter 15 Part 2.