CHAPTER FIFTEEN: A TRIP TO TIR NA nOG, OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT (PART THE SECOND)
An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock, surreal autobiography by a fictional Irish literary figurehead, champion bodhrán player and broadcaster.
“So what do I need to know about the other-worldly realm?” I shouted, trying to change the subject, just a little.
“Right, well, in Fantasy Land,” he roared back, still a little annoyed, “In Fantasy Land, a minute of our time probably adds up to a month in Fantasy Land.”
“Is that kind of like the seasons in Australia, compared to here?”
“No. And if you get into another realm beyond fantasy land, the time factor increases exponentially. The realm within the realm, if you will, and a minute of our time adds up to about a year…”
Billy finally got a strand of the invisible thread loose, and he appeared before me, and he wrapped the invisible string around my waist, prancing around me a number of times like a morris dancer. I watched as he did it, before continuing my interrogation.
“Kind of like Jupiter compared to here, do you mean, Billy? A Jovian year, if you will? Compared to an Earth year?”
“No. It’s nothing like that at all, nothing. And if you’re stuck for too long in Fantasy Land, or you go into another realm beyond again, you’ll end up there – probably in perpetuity, coz any realm beyond fantasy land’s fantasy land is a massive time staller.”
“Right. Look, I’ve had enough of this stupid techno-babble,” I insisted, getting flustered with all of his mathematics banter.
“Okay so,” Bill said, pulling out a compass like device with an antenna sticking out the top, on top of which was stuck a chocolate malt ball. He ran the device over the archway before us. “Now, I’ll just run this molecular teaser over the brickwork here, in order to excite the tachyon and tetryon particles. If you feel a kind of tingling, don’t sweat it. Coz if you sweat, the feckin electricity discharge from the electricity will feckin’ KILL yeh!” He looked at me with a fiery grimace.
“What?” I said, wiping my brow, a little more worried now.
Billy ignored my apprehension. “And another word of warning: You might be covered in ectoplasm when you enter the other worldly realm. It’s a kind of a thick gloop that you can scoop off yourself. But don’t you be worryin’ about that. It scoops off – in a kind of a gloop – so don’t sweat it. Or the electricity’ll fry the feckin’ ballicks out of yeh. Coz that’s how I operate.” Billy handed me a leather pilot’s helmet and a pair of goggles which I donned quite happily after whipping off my trench coat and fedora. One of the goggle lenses was red, the other blue.
|The station in more recent times. Photo courtesy of Rob Ketcherside.|
“What’s your pleasure?” Billy asked, his voice raised as an indescribable buzzing noise emanated from the brickwork. “Do you like cute foxes?”
“Yes!” I shouted, over the whirr of the somethings.
“What’s your orientation?”
In a thick Austrian body builder’s accent – fully aware of the postmodern campness of the situation – I shouted:
Billy then pushed me back into the wall unexpectedly, with all his might.
“ONE TWO THREE GO! GO! GO!” he roared, and I disappeared into the wall, with no time for further questions.
There was a starscape, and suddenly those stars became streaks of light, and I was glad for the goggles, because my eyes were wide agape and I couldn’t blink with the speed I was going at.
Then, I was somewhere else entirely. I burst out into a flat, dreary, dark landscape, just barely aware of two other presences.