The chickens are working on a play. I thought it would involve mangers and a
star over Bethlehem, but as they pointed out, “Where’s the fun in re-creating
where you sleep?” So they went for a Saxon v Dane feel, very Bernard Cornwell.
It was fun to hear them improvise.
Mimo, "I am Alfred of Battenburg…"
Mimo, "I am Alfred of Battenburg Cake... Is Alfred right? Maybe Ulrich?"
Appenzeller, "From the top."
Mimo, "I am Ulrich of Battenburg Cake and I have sworn an oath."
Pecorino, "Over oats."
Appenzeller, "We didn’t agree to 'over oats.’"
Pecorino, "We agreed."
Mimo, "I am Ulrich of Battenburg Cake and I have sworn an oath over oats."
Pecorino [to Appenzeller] “A natural. She’s got that pagan look down, right?"
Mimo, "I’ve forgotten the next line."
Pecorino, "Bugger, so have I. It would be so much easier if we could scratch
the words in the clay or something."
Appenzeller, "Our feet were not made for writing."
Mimo, "Or historical re-enactment. Enough with Ulrich of Battenburg, I’m off
in search of a nice worm."
Appenzeller, "Try not to swear, dear; it’s only theater."
Pecorino, "Worms lurking in the compost, that’s where we’ll find them.”
I didn’t want them to eat more of my hard working worms, so I offered to read
them a piece of writing.
Mimo, “About what?”
Pecorino, “They’re a kind of car. Made by Volkswagen.”
I tried the idea out, “VW Leprechaun? I don’t see why not. Except it’s not
Appenzeller, “Do they come in black?’
“I just said there’s no such thing; it’s not true.”
Pecorino, “Well what colors do they come in?”
“Green,” I said. “Only green. Now listen. It was leprechauns who came to the
conclusion that Irish culture could manage without shamrocks or Saint Patrick.
On an overcast day when the village rowed out, clouds were not reflected in the
bay.Everyone wore white wool sweaters. Many had windbreakers and hats. There
were no flags put out or waved. We’re not that kind.
The Leprechauns were, if truth be told, a little hard in their grip, a fault
that usually is forgiven by priests at the price of a couple of hail Marys and
a pass or two of the holy fingers wagging, but we who had to grow up with their
kind noticed and filed the gripe away.
Maybe some future pope with pay a price. We did what we were commanded, rowed
past the breakwater and started our motors at the exact moment after a big wave
surge when there was no sense in being green any longer. I don’t think any of
us will remember the exact spot where the shamrocks became jetsam, were thrown
overboard. That was the point. If you’re going to ditch a cultural symbol
finally, the last thing you want is some American with a submarine and radar
finding it fifty years later.
We notified authorities with emails and so forth, certifying that the process
was complete, but we’re not optimistic; it’s nearly impossible to kill a symbol
that is so beloved by souvenir buyers and those who would prefer to imagine not
only where we live but where their ancestors left from.
And people do like a sham.
I think the answer will be to invent afresh, to adopt some footballer from
Africa as our new patron saint and to give away for free a rucksack full of
lost property headphones, with which people can be reminded, via voiceover, of
our island’s new greatness.
We’ve enough..headphones. People leave them in pubs when drunk.There’ll be
folk music too. Ireland has not jumped on the rap wagon, but we could give it a
go, if you like, adapt.
We did fine with Punk.”
There was a pause.
Mimo, “Is that about Brexit?”
It’s rarely fun to read your work in public, but reading your work to an
audience of chickens who would prefer to be eating worms…I decided to change
the subject, mention an approach I’d had from a shadowy government agency, one
that doesn’t ever employ Garden Guy. "People have registered surprise at your
knowledge of French.”
“You might call them that. They ask if you could possibly be moles."
Mimo, "Some people need their eyes examined.”
“I’m told they can see you via satellite. Anyway, moles? Contacts with Russia
Pecorino, "Moles are the little black ones."
Appenzeller, “Not black like me. We’re about a thousand times larger than
them, which even a stupid God could see, I should think, if their eyes worked
“So no connection with China? Only France?"
Appenzeller, "That’s what they want to know?"
Mimo, "We avoid pretty much any bird with a Chinese connection."
"Out of loyalty?"
Mimo, "To avoid the flu.”
Happy holidays to one and all.