Celtic Illumination, part 326, Postaxial polydactyly and the canes of doom.
Thankfully there are no casualties to report this morning, although I dare say that quite a few of you have suffered some form of pillow, or cat, abuse during the night. Tough, self-inflicted injuries do not count, suck it up and let’s get on with it. For those among The Illuminati who do not abuse yourselves, you will be aware of my obsession with counting words. It’s not really an obsession but something that seems to govern my working day. So I can say that yesterday’s blog contained sixteen hundred and two words. I know, it is a lot more that the fifteen hundred I set out to produce daily and yes if the truth be told, I am spoiling you, but you’re worth it. However, of the sixteen hundred and two words produced yesterday, and that excludes the title, there was one important word in the whole shooting match.
Well; for me there was one important word, I don’t know if you noticed it or sensed its relevance to placing me into a story that has rocked Ireland for a good number of years. I was about to say ‘my mother,’ but as you all now know I have two mothers, one in Warrenpoint and one running around the North of Ireland selling flowers and singing about the rain in Spain staying mainly on the plain. So how can I differentiate between them? Should I use an old armed forces method and have mother number one and mother number two? Mother number one, the one in Warrenpoint, the one who brought me up, well sort of brought me up, she had always said that they went into the baby shop and all the babies were sitting on shelves. Listen, when you are a five year old Irish child you believe this sort of rubbish. I was the prettiest one on the shelves so they bought me and took me home. There’s that word again, bought.
I knew that the pervert priest had organised the adoption, that it was his connections that brought about the whole thing. I was also always told that my adoption was special, social workers were not involved, only the church and cold hard cash. Why it had taken thirty plus years for the proverbial penny to drop I have no idea, but drop it did. We had all heard stories of how rich Americans would come to Ireland and buy babies; they were the only people who had a spare thousand pounds knocking about. Normally each baby would cost one thousand pounds, which of course was regarded as a donation to the convent, to recompense the nuns for the time and effort they would have put into looking after the mother and child. So I now knew that I had been bought and sold like a bag of sweets, something that certainly messes about with your head. But there were other factors that were simply not allowing me to think straight.
I had been brought up in a strict Catholic family, with two uncle’s priests, one a leading pervert, and two auntie’s nuns. We even had mass celebrated in our house, to tell a lie was the most horrendous thing you could do, well; I thought it was until got to boarding school where I learned much more effective ways of sinning. Now I knew that each and every one of them had lied to me for my whole life. Can you imagine telling a child that their mother is dead, while knowing what you were saying was completely untrue? Not a bit of wonder every nun in the North of Ireland knew me, I could imagine them at a Saturday morning market, in Belfast, holding me up by the scruff of the neck and shouting, “Gather round people, I don’t want ten pounds for this wee fella, I don’t even want five…”
Suddenly I knew that I hadn’t let anybody down, it was the other way around. On the day that I had been given all this information all I could think of was that Malachy was a lovely name, I still do, but the following day I began to wonder about my mother, the other one, mother number two. I had been given reports written by social workers who were involved in my birth. My mother and father were married in the January and I was born the following May, even the village idiot knew that May minus January was not nine months so in Catholic Ireland this was a big no no. I had been conceived out of wedlock and according to the church my mother would now live with the nuns as her body began to show signs of the pregnancy, give birth to me in the convent and then return to her village, minus brat and bump. Of course she would have to work to pay for her accommodation during her stay and of course the medical attention during the birth.
As all of the pregnant girls in the convent, being looked after by the nuns, were sinners, harlots, and whores, they did not deserve any pain relief during the birth process, the pain was God’s little way of showing them how bad they had really been for dropping their knickers before walking down the aisle. This is why so many mothers and babies died during the process. So, in a way I was lucky to be alive, in fact it’s a wonder I had been allowed to live, for when I was born I carried a mark. It could have been the mark of God or it could have been the mark of the beast himself, depends how crazy the nuns on duty were, but I had been born with six fingers on my left hand. I know, not only was I deformed but I was a little bastard, this pleased me no end, as I had often been called one and knowing it was almost true, pleased me enormously. But now I could see why the nuns could never sell me on their market stall, I was a shop return, ex-display, a factory second; I was end of line goods
For the first and last time in my life my head was overloaded. I was unable to think straight about any of the issues that now came to the fore. I found myself looking at each person I met, wondering if they were some relation. I had often thought the pervert priest was my father but now I knew differently he was out of the frame completely, thank God. I had to get away from Ireland. Nobody cared about my findings, even the O Neill twins, when I announced that we had the same surname were not impressed. I wanted to tell the world about my discovery but the world was not interested. I remember thinking that I needed to brief Pat on everything I had found out. Pat was with the civil service in Belfast so apart from having access to most departments she would be invaluable for helping me with my search, should I choose to find my family, I still wasn’t sure what to do.
Pat and I went to a small pub in Rostrevor which is not the best place for an ex member of the British armed forces to go for a pint. It’s the sort of place where you could shake a tree, any tree, and fifteen IRA men will fall out. Admittedly I went to school with most of ‘the boys’ but there would be a new generation out to make a name for themselves. Like the old gunfighters in the cowboy films, it wasn’t the grizzled old quick draw merchant that would get you, but the spotty sixteen year old who came up behind you with his uncle’s gun. We went to The Kilbroney where we knew the landlady very well and knew she would keep an eye out for us. We were still very good friends, I suppose the only thing my father had said to me, that I actually listened to, was ‘If you are going out with a girl, imagine that in twenty years’ time you will meet her, her husband and two children walking along the street. You must be able to look them all in the eye.” That was his advice on how to treat women on a date.
But this was the evening that Pat and I were in deep conversation when a fellow walked over and set a pint of Guinness in front of me. We hadn’t noticed him before as we were so engrossed in our conversation, well; I was engrossed, telling Pat all about what I had discovered. “You won’t remember me,” said the fellow, which I didn’t. But I was still immediately on edge; I already knew where the exits were and now looked about for anyone who looked like they could be his accomplices. “You’ve always been my hero Boris, and always will be, enjoy the beer.” He was referring to the time I took all the canes out of Violent Hell on to the croquet lawn and smashed them to pieces, before, as I have said a long time ago, before I experienced my first ever illegal rugby tackle and we didn’t even play rugby at Violent Hell. I was immediately expelled of course, once the priests had finished kicking me about the school grounds, but they were decent Christian men, they knew exactly what they were doing and that it was right, in the eyes of God, just like the nuns did.