Beyond the neon runes


The last straw

They were a simple people, living a simple life, in a simple land. They ate potatoes, drank tea, and sang songs, proud of their heritage but never too proud, never tooting their own horn. Because conceit didn’t come easy to them, not when they’d suffered so much, when they’d endured wars and famine, mass emigration and oppression, lost everything but their identity as their land was taken from them.

Tears had been shed, blood had been spilled, just so they could drink that tea, that pint of stout, in peace, and they never forgot that. So they stayed true to their roots, a humble race, a hard-working, law-abiding race who were just happy to get by.

But, as time passed, as they grew accustomed to having enough to eat, a roof over their heads, their expectations grew.

Soon it wasn’t enough to just survive, to eke out a living, to work their fingers to the bone and die in middle-age, now they wanted more; they wanted luxury, entertainment, material goods, disposable income, expendable wealth. And sure who could blame them? They’d put up with a lot over the years, dealt with their fair share of hurt, so if they wanted a villa in Spain, a new car every other year, and a water-feature in their garden, it was folly to deny them.

And for a while that was grand. They were still fairly simple, their lives only marginally more exciting than before. Because despite wanting more for themselves, despite their desire for betterment and improvement, they were still cautious, it was in their nature to be so. Years of colonial rule had taken its roll, and even though they were long since free, even though the land was now theirs, a certain paranoia lay deep within them, a sense that it could all be taken away from them at any second, that they didn’t deserve happiness or wealth, that they were codding no-one only themselves.

Yet they were easily persuaded, maybe even gullible, and so when the money came, when prosperity was offered, they took as much as they could, greedily filling their pockets, their eyes ablaze as they dreamt of swimming pools and breakfast bars, jacuzzies and extensions, the best of this, the best of that, and nothing but the best.

Now they were happy. This was the life. Avarice and excess were the order of the day. And yet, again, it wasn’t their fault, not really. They’d never had this before, never had anything, so they were entitled to go a bit mad, to live beyond their means, lose the run of themselves. They’d been left into the sweet shop, and they weren’t coming out till all the shelves were cleared.

So when it all blew up in their faces you had to feel a little bit sorry for them. They’d had no idea what was in store, presumed that this was how it was going to be from now on, that the party would go on till the sun came up and then start all over again like it always did. Instead it came to an abrupt end.

There they were, out on the veranda, bottle of cider in their hand, when someone turned off the music, started gathering up all the empties, and told them to piss off home. They hadn’t been prepared for that, they thought they were home and that they could stay as long as they liked.

Suitably chastened, they tightened their belts, drawing inspiration from their forebearers, reasoning that austerity and deprivation were an innate part of their lives, the default mindset for a nation still searching for its soul. They searched for that soul, plagued with regret, remorse. How could they have been so stupid? How could they have lost sight of what really mattered? That wasn’t who they were, they’d grown too big for their boots and paid the price. Now all that was left to do was serve their penance, to take their beating until the gods grew merciful, until they were ready to be given another chance, perhaps their last.

They recovered, their time in servitude not nearly as long as they’d feared, their overlords announcing an end to the suffering, the return of affluence of good fortune. Not everyone was convinced, some took to the streets, a new-found unity a by-product of their years in Gehenna.

But some were wholly convinced. They rejoiced, took the words of these false prophets as gospel and blundered forward, determined to repeat the mistakes of the past, blithely willing to drag everyone down with them. Their society had split down the middle, become divided, separated by wealth, by possessions, by having and not having. In a way this was worse than even the famine, the wars, the austerity. At least then they’d all been in it together.

The gods despaired of them, chided themselves for being so lenient. Redress would surely be sought. But in what form? They’d punished these people in every way imaginable, starved them, slaughtered them, flung them to the furthest corners of the earth, and it was worse they were getting. They could take all the money away again, force them to take the televisions back to the shop, to trade in the car for an older model, but what would be the point?

No, it would take something far greater this time, something unprecedented, something that would change these people irrevocably. When it was over they wouldn’t be the simple folk they’d once been, but they wouldn’t be the rapacious pests they’d grown to be either.

And so, in the year 2018, the plan was put into place. The Irish, the coquettish Irish who’d lost the run of themselves, were to be given a new land, a land they wouldn’t know what to do with, a land befitting such a shower of complacent eejits.

It started off with a few storms, cheerily named blasts of rain which caused flooding, destruction, and despair. And the Irish responded to the challenge, clubbing together, shoring up those banks and keeping the water at bay. But the gods were only getting started. Next came the Big Freeze, the snow, in March; see how they like that. As it turned out, they liked it fine, it was a bit of craic, a communal experience, a chance to fight one another over cuts of bread.

Frustrated, the gods played their trump card, the one the Irish never suspected; they tore open the heavens and exposed that shimmering beast in the sky. “How do ye like that?” they roared, as the furious sun beat down upon all that freckly, uninitiated skin.

The Irish just laughed, tore off their clothes and pranced about like lunatics. And they continued to laugh, even when the rivers ran dry, when the taps wouldn’t turn, and the Ballygowan sold out. Because they liked their new land, they liked their tans, their flip-flops and their fans.

Yeah, the drought was a bit of a pain, and they were dying with the thirst, but sure the snow would be along soon, and you could eat that stuff.


Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight

We are living in the age of female empowerment, and I, for one, welcome this new breed of strong, confident women.

For too long us chaps have had it our own way. It’s time our antiquated morals were challenged, time we realised that the female of the species is our equal, if not our superior. But you have to give us a chance to adapt, you have to be patient with us while we adjust to our surroundings, and you can’t be cutting off our willies every time we step out of line. That’s not going to solve anything.

Try telling that to Karuna Sanusan (24) who, after discovering her husband was cheating on her, meted out a form of justice I sincerely hope doesn’t become the norm.

Waiting until her spouse, Siripan (40), was asleep she deftly aroused him before taking a carving knife to his unwitting member. Having viciously hacked it off, Karuna then chucked the penis out the window like an unwanted carrot.

Cue much pandemonium, the arrival of emergency services, and a desperate search for Siripan’s severed member. Mercifully, it was located before the neighbour’s dog mistook it for a cocktail sausage. But ultimately it was to no avail. The cells in the penis had died, a doctor glumly announcing that Siripan, “will never be able to use it in the same way again.”

Great news for Karuna, who now faces a lengthy jail sentence, but not so good for Siripan, who has found out, the hard way, that women just aren’t going to put up with our shit any longer. Take note, lads, before it’s too late.