An Early Childhood Chapter 15 Part 5


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 15 Part 4

            Mad Leopold looked back at me.

            “Is that all it is, Drake?” he shouted at me. “Open your eyes, man! HOW CAN YOU BE SO BLIND?”

            “I didn’t eat breakfast and my blood sugar is a little low,” I heard myself say.

            There was suddenly a depiction of the Last Supper fading into my vision, as dramatic music started to play.

              I heard Mad Leopold continue:

            “This isn’t about breakfast, man! For the love of God, don’t you see? The violin strings? It all fits TOGETHER!”

            “The horse hair?” I asked.

            Mad Leopold Cassidy, with the image of the Last Supper before me, continued to shout at me as if I was stupid.

            “It’s not the horse hair, YOU FOOL! It’s the whore’s heir! Or, to transliterate the Latin, the successor of the prostitute!”

            “The whore?” I asked, and then, full of realization. “Of course! Myriamacus Magdelenacus, the biggest whore in all of Jerusalem!”

            I was suddenly running down a busy street in slow motion, with a violin in hand, my scarf flapping behind me, pursued by six bishops in full vestments with mitres and crosiers as I heard Mad Leopold’s voice ringing in my ears.

            “The length of string, its very straightness, represents not the sounds of a beautiful musical instrument, but rather the legs of Mary Magdelene, spread wide apart, as she accepted the seed of the Son of Man!”

            I heard myself respond to Leopold, a voice in my own head in a nightmare in a riddle, declaring:

            “Yes! So the whore’s heir is the VERY CHILD of the Messiah!”

            I was now in the back of a taxi, furiously typing a message on a small handphone as my tongue lolled out of my mouth in concentration. The text message read:

            “U R a big stinky bishop!”

            I was now in a church before the altar – I raised my arms and I fell to my knees – again, in slow motion. I saw a photograph of a large pair of breasts, and then I saw a picture of a bearded man with a crown of thorns hanging from a cross.

            The dramatic music stopped suddenly. There was a priest sitting in a confession box. I was on the other side of the gauze, as I had been as a child with the very Reverend and Downright Presbyterian Tartan.

            “What do you have to say, Father?” I asked, hiding what I felt was anger rising in my voice. “When you have seen all the evidence, what…do…you…have…to say?”

            The priest smiled smugly and in a thick Irish accent, he said quietly:

            “That, my good Professor, would be an ecumenical matter.”

            Suddenly, I was back on the dark plain, flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder in the distance, the fox, Black Typo, staring into my eyes.

            “Well?” he asked. “How was your trailer?”

            “I don’t understand it,” I confessed. “It seemed very…modern and…and futuristic. It’s only the early Roaring Twenties, you know.”

            “Time…has no relevance here,” Black Typo replied. “Or at least, it is as irrelevant here as it is for you, in your surreality, your mock autobiography.Black Typo and I both winked at you.
             For instance, what took about thirty seconds to you only lasted a millisecond to me. Anyway, did you pick up an almanac in your vision?”

Photo by Douglas Marsh.
            “A what?” I asked. What is an almanac?”

            “Shut your stupid face!” the fox snarled, and he set off again on the plain. “Did you get anything at all out of your trailer?”

            “No.” I shook my head in discombobulation. “It was very confusing.”

Photo by Douglas Marsh.

            “You know, a little less of the critic and you’d be quite the Baron Munchausen. If you let the experience wash over you, I mean. Become a little more Zen. Instead, you’re total SHITE. You’re Munchausen – by poxy!”

            I realised the significance of my vision trailer. I had an invisible tether wrapped around me, with Billy Boy Cullen holding onto the end back in the real world – but now I had realised that it was the wrong kind. I wasn’t sure what the upshot of it all would be. I wasn’t sure now if I could safely confront the demons of the fairy world, secure in the knowledge that I could return to Planet Earth – as I saw it – at all now.
            “The tether is from the loom of the wrong Stuntman Mary. It’s from the Stuntman Mary Magdalene,” I whispered to myself in realisation.

            “What’s that?” the fox said.

            “Nothing,” was my response.

Continued in Chapter 16 Part One.