CHAPTER TWENTY TWO: A WHOLE RAFT OF ADVENTURE (PART FIVE)
An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock surreal autobiography. Its first chapter is here. It parodies misery memoirs (such as Angela’s Ashes by the late great Frank McCourt), as well as time travel, pop culture, and literature of various kinds.
“A banshee!” one of them declared.
Then I let a scream out of me, and the twelve witches scattered. I ran to the prisoners, ungagged, and untied them, like a big jail breaking fecker.
“Hello there,” the Indian man said in a surprisingly thick Birmingham brogue, as I untied his bonds.
“Hold on there now,” I said, standing up, “You’re extremely posh for an Indian man, with that thick depressingly unfamiliar accent that I can’t quite place. Are you a bloody Englander?”
“I’ve been living in England since the age of five,” the posh Indian replied, “My family moved to Birmingham at the turn of the century, in a fin de siècle motorboat. It had a very good rudder.”
“My name’s Paddy Flanagan. This is Old Man Phelps.”
“My name is Arheddis Vaarkenjaab. This young Chinese lady is Ai Bang Mi Fa Kin Ni. I’ve been here kidnapped by these pirate witches a few weeks – she was kidnapped more than a month ago.”
It was the Chinese girl’s turn to talk.
“Ai Bang Mi Fa Kin Ni is my lotus name for the spring time only. Hee hee hee. As you can see, I also speak Japanese. But for now, please, call me Ling Xiao during this foggy season of the year.”
“Because Ling Xiao is my autumnal name.”
“Ohhhh.” We all nodded with cultural sensitivity. We didn't mention that the Irish weather was bad even though it was May the First. We all deemed it fair enough that once it was foggy, this woman was entitled to go by her autumnal name of Ling Xiao.
“How do you pronounce that exactly anyway?” Old Man Phelps asked.
We all looked at him.
“She just said it,” Arheddis Vaarkenjaab said.
“She said it twice, Old Man,” I told him. “So why are you wearing a kilt, Ling Xiao?” I asked Ai Bang Mi Fa Ki Ni.
“I’m not wearing a kilt. I’m wearing a skirt,” she protested.
“And what about the sporran there on the front of your skirt, made completely out of Clonakilty black and white pudding?”
Ai Bang Mi Fa Kin Ni disappeared behind a bush with her clothes in her hands. We heard the sounds of meat and burger removal from her body, and then she put on her own clothes.
Continued in Part 6 of Chapter 22.