There is a distinct whiff of Whatiffery in the air of the Free Southern Stateen at the moment. As in: ‘What if the Paddy Stinks and the Mickey Muds of 1916 had not reneged on our gallant Pats in their puttees and in their purity of intention?’ When it comes to the Whatiffery of History one had hoped that the never boring Gore Vidal had nailedit once and for all, but seemingly not, at least not in the FSS. It is as if he had never said in his consommé prose: ‘Regards the Whatiffs of History there is only one instance in the entire story of humanity since the dawn of creation, where one can say with certainty that if A had happened then B would have followed. That is, if it had been Nikita Kruschev that was assassinated there is NO way Aristotle Onassis would have married Babushka Kruschev’.
Leading the charge is the former Prime Minister, the rampaging Bullock-befriending Bruton who has already succeeded in morphing Murphyland into one big China Shop. One with A. Smithereens rather than A. Shatter over the door, to be sure. And the lamps have only just begun to go out. Ag Dia amhain ata a fhios/ Gott alone knows what mass destruction will be wrought by Armistice Day in 2018. There will scarcely be an uncracked teacup and saucer in the entire l. and b. of the nation/country/long aprovince/stateen. We’ll all be eating with our fingers again and slurping the tea from the hollow of ourvery hands before this celecommemoration is over.
He mooed we must fight, escape or we’ll die
Cows gathered round, cause the stakes were so high
Bad cow pun.
But, of course, we are sometimes a wee bit too hard on our own, so as is the Warbeckian way, at this point in the narrative, and in the interest of balance, one is happy to step aside as to allow for an outsider’s view of the B-b Bruton.
I once knew an American immigrant to Ireland (with no Irish roots, all his ancestors hailing from farther east) who bought a bungalow in the picturesque Lough Eske district of South East Donegal, the same area, curiously enough, where Gore Vidal had once hoped to settle. We’ll call him Charles, as that was his name, and sadly he has since passed over. Charles was a calm though straight talking and up front Texan (he hailed from the Panhandle, just north of Amarillo) and I only knew him to get riled the once.
That was ten years ago on the occasion of B-b Bruton’s appointment as the EU Ambassador to the USA. This caused Charles to ring me at an ungodly hour even though he was an orthodox Episcopalian: ’Howdy doody, Warbeck’, he barked, ‘how can y’all appoint this dude to Washington?’ It was the first and last time I ever heard Charles to bark so I reckoned there must be something amiss. When I looked at the clock – it was shoving midnight, when all good Episcopalians are abed – I knew there was s. amiss.
‘What do you mean, Charles?’ one tentatively queried. ‘What do I mean? I mean just this, Warbeck: the way this Bruton cowpoke hates Ireland I can only imagine how much he must loathe Europe. That critter’s politics fell out of the ugly tree and hit every durned branch on the way down. America deserves better than this from Europe. As an American I feel shortchanged’.
As we had never discussed politics before this was a conclusion he had come to, independently, as it were, and in his own times, by a close perusal of the Irish media, an Irish media not especially unfavourable to B-b Bruton, it must be noted.
Just to put Charles’ anger in context: ‘I’m always at my very best when the heat is on’ he once told me, with no false modesty, the Texan way. He instanced the afternoon of August 1st (a recurring name in this brief narrative) Whitman climbed up to the observation platform of the Bell Tower in the Campus of Texas University in Austin and proceeded to take potshots at the startled pedestrians below. By the time he was plugged himself, he had shot dead 16 unfortunates to become the first modern spree killer in the USA. The number would have been more only for the speedy reaction of Charles, who was a graduate student in the University at the time. He was browsing at the open air book stalls when the firing started.
‘While the campus cops ran around like headless chickens, I instantly recognised the make and direction of the rifle by the sound – it was a Remington bolt-action hunting rifle which I had often used hog-hunting up in the Panhandle. I immediately started to push other browsers into the safety of the bookstores’.
After I had tried to soothe the ruffled feathers of Charles’s American plumage by talking up B-b Bruton’s deprived upbringing – how he had been reared in isolation on a Royal rancho from the sharecropping Paddy Stinks and Mickey Muds of his Dunboyne neighbourhood, an isolation further intensified by his incarceration in the Huntsville-like surroundings of The Meadow of the Blacksmiths/ Cluain na nGaibhne (leprechaun for Clongowes) where he was conditioned to diss (before the tem had been even invented) the likes of bogballer Mick Lyons and to revere the egg and wooden spoon-fed Micks who got to play for the Lions, to be ultimately thrown into the bear’s pit and bubble of the Irish Parliament at the tenderfoot age of 22 – and how all this contributed to his understandably limited knowledge of and sympathy for Eireland, sketchy at best.
To no avail, alas. the Texan, a pal of Larry McMurtry, btw, author of The Last Picture Show, would notmbe budged. One wonders – and quakes – at what he, Charles, would make of the Bullock-befriending One’s current crusade to save the West British Province from itself. More than likely he would detect a distinctively Tex-Mex feel to the operation, even while whistling a favourite toon of his, by fellow Texan, the sublime Roger Miller: ‘You can’t roller-skate in a herd of buffaloes’.
Not unless, of course, you are the Bullock-befriending Bruton.
He hid in the forest, read books with great zeal
He loved Che Guevara, a revolutionary veal,
Cow Tse Tongue.
The South of the Border element would come from the deification of the noblest Wexican of them all: Juan Redmond. Anybody who has spent time in Mexico will know that All Souls Day does not exactly pass unnoticed. In fact, it might be argued that El Dia de Los Muertos is quite the big enchilada in the land of Pancho Villa, Emilio Zapata and Anthony Quinn. From before dawn extended families gather at the graves of ancestors in los cemetarios and while los ninos proceed to gorge themselves on tiny chocolate hearses, candyfloss coffins, toffee skulls and liquorice skeletons the adults pass the day in a scent of marijuana , the taste of tequila and to the accompaniment of bands, including marimba and mariachi. The accent here, unlike the Free Southern Stateen, is on el divertido. The sombre likes of solemn faced Senor Charles Flanagan, one fears, would be left to cool his heels, outside the railings, looking in, tunelessly whistling Dixie Stockhausen.
But the centre piece of El Dia de Los Muertos is unquestionably, the macabre figure of La Santa Muerte, a female adaptation of the Grim Reaper, a skeletal figure in a long flowing white shroud with a grinning skull and carrying both a scythe and a globe. In Wexico she is known as Juanita Redmond and it falls to the lot (the more than willing lot, be it stated) of the Bullock-Befriending Bruton (see above) to hawk it around the Sunny South East at this moment in time. In due c. of course, there will not be a lazy acre of the Free Southern Stateen which will not become familiar with this Dance McMacabre between now and 2018. Let all ye Patricio Stinks and Miguel Muds of the other 25 counties outside of Wexico not say you have not been notified.
That’s another difference between Mexico and the FSS: there are 32 states in Mexico.
We must fight for bovine freedom
And hold our large heads high
We will run free with the buffalo, or die
Cows with guns.
And the irony here is that it was not the original intention for the portrait of Juan/Juanita Redmond to adorn the oval office, as it were, of Prime Minister B-b Bruton. For this portrait was, strange as it may now sound, but the second choice of the youngest PM in the short but self-satisfied history of the FSS. Neaux, the first choice was of ……Charles. That would be , of course, Charles the Charolais who was the PM’s original p. and joy. The pride of the herd, as it were. P. Warbeck knows this because he was in situ in the oval office at the time, dawdling as was his wont in his days as a key player in the C.W.T.W. rank of the Civil Service. (Scarcely any n. any more to give the full title of the rank, Clock Watching Time.
Dawdling and eavesdropping are birds of a f., of course. And while PW was dawdling, shuffling papers first this way, and then that way on the kichen cabinet table in the oval office, in preparation for the inaugural meeting, he was privy (a daarling’ word, Joxer) to the exchange between the P.M. and his Spin Doctor on Duty. (No names, no pack drill, except to say the latter’s, erm, flannel-toned whispers were in some contrast to the bellows of his master/patient).
The outcome of which was soon to become clear: the decision to drop the framed portrait of the white, big boned charolais bull called Charles was taken on the pragmatic grounds that it might be taken as a slight on the former Taoiseach of that name: Charles, Cathal, cattle, that sort of thing which of course it was anything but: as the dewlapped sperm donor was named in honour of the P.M.’s B.E.F. which stood for Best Ever Friend. And could of course – oh, happy coincidence! –stand for British Expeditionary
And so, the portrait of the wisest Wexican warrior of them all, Juan Redmond, he of the would-be Zapata moustache, curtailed alas by disappointment and death, was duly taken out from under the bed, dusted down and hung, in all its glory, on high like Guilderoy in the oval office of the PM of the FSS.