An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock surreal autobiography, narrated by a fictional Irish war patriot, champion bodhran player, and television presenter. 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 adventure, pop culture, and literature of various kinds.
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE: SUITING UP ON THE BANKS OF THE MADLIN (PART TWO)
Continued from Part 1 of Chapter 23.
On the Madlin, we anchored at the bank and got out at the point where there was a shed obscured by a copse of weeping willows. Having to climb a hill to get to the shed, we were a little out of breath by the time we reached it. The others weren’t aware of the presence of the shed.
“What are we doing here?” asked Arheddis Vaarkenjaab, heaving gulps of the May air.
Pulling aside the trees, I hauled open the door of the shed, and went inside to their surprised faces.
Their mouths were agog as they entered. Hanging from all of the walls of the shed were dozens of rifles and plenty more armaments besides. Large machine cannons, strings and strings of big armour piercing bullets, rocket launchers, the armaments tabby cat curled up in the corner, and various other weapons were on display. We examined all of them.
“Suit up everybody!” I demanded.
As we took the weaponry, Ai Bang Mi Fa Kin Ni held an Enfield rifle in her hands admiringly.
“Have you been trained in firearms, Ling Xiao?” I asked her.
“Yes, yes. Of course. The Chinese invented gunpowder,” she explained, as the weapon discharged and blew a hole in roof. She looked up at the hole in the wood and down in shock at the smouldering barrel, and back up at me. “I so sorry, Paddy Franagan. I did not realise this rifle was loaded! Hee Hee!” She looked at the rifle again. “Is there a safety catch of some kind on this Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle musket, common to the American Civil War era and a standard issue rifle among the Union soldiers?” She blasted another shot, this time into the wall. “Ooooh!” she said.
In the cramped shed, Old Man Phelps ducked down behind a box full of grenades, while Arheddis Vaarkenjaab found cover behind a stack of landmines.
“Just please, put the gun down, Ling Xiao, and we’ll give you some weapons training in a few minutes, once we get outside.”
“I have no need, I assure, Paddy! In my country, children eat fireworks. What you call flares are eaten in the same way in my culture, as what you call sherbet dips!” She tried to snap open the musket and the gun discharged a third time. The shot went low, striking a stray fuse peeping from out of a large box, like an extra long mouse’s tail. We watched as it fizzled slowly along the shed floor.
“Oooh,” she declared again. “From the smell of the nitrocellulose lacquer on that slow-burning visco fuse, it seems that it connects to a tech-o-riggarrily a’vanced exprosive devize. I very, very impressed! But now we must run!”
Continued in Part 3 of this chapter.