Celtic Illumination, part 329, That would be an ecumenical matter.
Thank you all for your comments and support especially regarding my claim to the throne of Ireland which everyone has so far agreed is true and proper. If anyone requires more proof, should proof be needed, then the next time you meet me just ask to see my left hand. Don’t worry, I shall not take it as some slightly weird request, in fact we could probably turn it into a sort of formal greeting, where with a Bishop you kiss his ring, with me, you look at, or caress, my hand. We can turn it into our formalised greeting, even our secret handshake, like what the Masons claim they don’t have. I had always been told, and here is where like you I would start to question anything I had been told as a child, but I was always told that the best surgeon in Belfast removed my extra digit, so that I could blend in with normal folk. Me, normal?
I think the poor fellow must have suffered from some severe pillow abuse the night before when he operated on me as I still have a tiny stump, where the digit used to be. I think it would be more believable if I had been told that a nun had lopped it off with a pair of scissors in a cost cutting exercise, allowing me the same level of medical attention that the poor pregnant girls were getting. So I suppose having been told fantastical stories all my life would lead me in to telling some fantastical stories and that is where I found myself. O Grady and Murphy had been sent the first two Lily Savage books completed; with hindsight I really do think I was using the old Jack Parkinson school of selling technique. Jack had always told me that if someone kept saying no, I want to think about it, maybe in a month or two, or just basically kept coming up with excuse after excuse for not buying something, whether they wanted it or not, you should just present them with the form and say ‘sign here.’
This somewhat blunt approach, I feel, is what I was doing to Murphy, he was making all sorts of excuses and to my shame I have to admit that I had my very first artistic episode or hissy fit if you like. The opening scene of the second novel had Lily Savage lying in bed, she was thinking about how nice it was, first thing in the morning, to be lying in your comfortable warm bed, having something long and hard slide in and out. Before any of you preverts start writing letters to the Times, I was of course suggesting that she was lying there picking her nose. Savage or Murphy, one of them, perhaps both, demanded that I change this, it was crude. I refused, saying that in one of his videos he saunters across the stage talking about an action man figure hanging out of his bottom, so don’t talk to me about being crude.
Murphy said that there was a big difference between a book and a video, he said that the book would last forever and he could not allow Lily Savage to be portrayed in such a way. Eventually I had to change it, and; have Murphy approve the changes. So; as all this is going on the publisher involved with the Manchester United deal is still trying to see a way forward, but more football agents are getting involved and the money side of thing is starting to get ridiculous. If one agent thought that his player would, or should, or could, command a higher fee than another, then a bidding war was starting. Emmerdale was doing fine, Jeffrey had a publisher in mind and was just waiting for the nod of approval from Yorkshire television. The Frank Bruno deal was moving quite quickly and Jeffrey said he hoped to have a publisher for me within the week, I had to wait to find out what that publisher would require before I could start writing. Jeffrey was still telling me not to write anything unless I was getting paid for it, but you know me.
I found a new client, well; I found what I considered could be a new client and began to research and plan my approach. It was Father Ted, a very popular television programme in the United Kingdom about three Irish priests who lived together in a large rambling parochial house on a remote island and were looked after by a tea and sandwich mad housekeeper. Having lived for some time in the parochial house in Warrenpoint, with three priests and a housekeeper, I felt that I knew the atmosphere well and I was also a fan of the television show. It was a difficult journey finding out who owned the copyright for Father Ted but I eventually managed to find the person responsible and put my head together with Jeffrey to determine the best way to contact them.
This time we decided that Jeffrey would do the contacting while I would concentrate on the book. I knew that the writers of the television show had no intention of producing any more shows, so I felt that this would be something for the fan base. I decided that an ageing rock star had retired to Craggy Island and had donated his bands tour bus to the parish, so that the elderly and infirm could be taken to and from Lourdes in comfort. The bus was parked in a secure compound at the docks in Amsterdam so the three priests decide to fly to Amsterdam, collect the coach, take it on a test drive to Lourdes where they would pick up some existing parishioners and return them to the island. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for starters they pick up the wrong coach, they pick up a coach that has been impounded for drug smuggling and is still jam packed full of hard drugs.
They enter France with the Dutch drug squad and Interpol hot on their heels. Dougal, the stupid one, enters a French police station to ask for directions and finds himself joining the French Foreign Legion. Ted must now find the French Foreign Legion training base, in the South of France, and rescue Dougal. He manages to do this and now the French Foreign Legion join the various groups chasing them. They enter Monte Carlo where Ted breaks the bank at the casino. They move on to France where they pick up a beautiful woman who has been rescuing monkeys from Spanish beach photographers who want their monkeys back and now join the various groups chasing them. They collect their parishioners in Lourdes and to disguise the monkeys, dress them in spare clothes. I take it that by now you can see my job is fantastic for I spend most of it laughing my head off at a computer screen.
They actually make it back to England and when one monkey escapes, onto the roof of a passing lorry. They try to recover the monkey but as it is a Royal mail lorry, it is now thought that a robbery is in progress so the British police now join the chase. They end up in Wales and meet a Welsh Sergeant of Police who hates the British and agrees to help them return to Ireland. They steal an aeroplane and crash land on Craggy Island. Their Bishop is waiting for them at their parochial house and accuses them of leading this mad chase across Europe but of course Ted denies all knowledge of the escapade as the original coach, the one they had been donated, is still waiting for them in Amsterdam, so how could it possibly have been them. According to Ted some bad men would have dressed as priests in order to steal the coach with the drugs. It was nonsense to suggest that they had been running about Europe. Which leads nicely to the closing scene of Jack turning on the radio, which has the French National Anthem, ‘La Marseillaise,’ playing, and Dougal looking very surprised as he finds himself compelled to stand to attention and salute.
It was great fun researching and writing the book but I was really surprised when Jeffrey called me up to say that when I had them in Monte Carlo I had made one or two mistakes. I suppose I scoffed at Jeffrey wanting to know how he could be so sure, to be told that he had spent some time in Monte Carlo when he researched a book he was writing on poker and gambling. This time there was no hissy fit just another telling off from Jeffrey who was pleased with the finished article and knew it was a good piece of work but was angry that I once again had been writing my little heart out without getting paid up front.