“‘Twas in the middle of the last Eucharistic Congress of 1932 that I witnessed a demonstration of utter holiness, as ‘Twisted’ Murphy performed a dance with his feet fully six inches above the table in Bubonic Kelly’s pub.”
The Realist is holding forth to all and sundry at our favourite haunt. I hold my peace. I don’t think I’ve heard of Bubonic Kelly before.
“What ye don’t realize is that such things were as common as wet muck, commonly known as mud, in the days before our country went to the dogs. There were spontaneous outpourings of holiness everywhere, before all the drug addicts and feminists and nudists and property developers. ‘Twisted’ Murphy had just been down at the Mass, you see, and so filled was he with the joy of the spirit that a mere three pints of Bubonic’s Old No. 1 later and he was levitating.”
“Pubs were havens of holiness in those days too. That’s because there were no women, no Eves to distract us from the contemplation of transcendence. The pub in those days was akin to the cloister.
“And it so happened there was one of them talent spotters from the States in Bubonic’s that night. Oh loads of them there were in those days, roaming the Earth to find fellas who could swallow their own feet or eat their own weight in lard, so as to put them in one of the freak shows, y’see. And didn’t the fella sign ‘Twisted’ up that very night, he did.
“And ‘Twisted’ became a huge hit all over the States, he did, dancing and doing cartwheels in mid-air while singing hymns and the national anthem to the eternal delight of millions of drunken Klan members. Oh, on the way to Hollywood he was, till there was a bit of a scandal involving an actress and a monkey.”
I excuse myself and heave outside. Our under the sky and the bubonic Irish summer. To my south is the ugliest cloud I have ever seen. It resembled a giant airborne whale about to barf its lunch all over the benighted Shannon Callows.
I cut short the smoke and head for the loo. One of my favourite things about this place is that, when you open up and let loose the liquid of daily disappointment, a blast of forest fresh air flies up to greet you. It’s like a big olfactory hug, insisting that your pee and you are great and life affirming and that everything is going to be ok.
I am accosted on my way back by The Realist.
“Eric Sykes died,” he says with suitable foreboding.
“Yeah? Still though, a good old innings.”
“You don’t understand,” he says.
“Eric Sykes has died at least twice already. I’m sure of it.”
“I’m telling you, the cracks are appearing. Thins are falling apart. You watch.”
“Better have another pint so.”