The Crahan

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

A post from a while back, hope you enjoy🙂

The Crahan

Pyjama legs stuck to me, rolling on the floor crying, head pounding where I’d banged it.  The whispers; just whispers all around and nowhere, fading away, into the shadows.

***

I remember when I was five years old, sitting in my Grandmothers bed, her drinking a glass of Guinness, me dipping my finger in the head, bitter, sour.  I would sit with her for hours, her telling me stories for the fairies and the fair folk.  My granddad would come home from work, smelling of wood and brylcreem.  He would take his dinner and sit beside the bed, food on tray and we would watch the news, magnifying screen in front of the PYE cabinet telly, black and white pictures yearning to be colour and almost making it.

My dad would come home too and they would lift granny up the stairs for her bath, I would watch as her polio twisted legs would flop, granny barking orders but always thankful.

7 O’clock; nearly time for bed and granny smelling of 4711 and baby powder would tell me my story.  Often it was of the Crahan;….preparing me.   Looking back, I would never tell my children that story but then maybe I should; perhaps she knew she needed to tell me that I needed to know.

The Crahan, if you don’t know are the cast aways from the fair folk, they took the side of the evil one in the great battle for souls before the world awoke.  They served his evil purpose but became even too much for him.  He too cast them away and they found no place in either the dark or the light, always living in the grey, so many shades of grey.

Casting out

The Crahan have been mostly forgotten about, we prefer to think of the little people as happy, fair, singing, beautiful and not as vicious, snarling, ravenous creatures.  A few people remember them, a few people have “the fear” as it’s sometimes known.  The people with the “the fear” are the unluckiest of all.  They come from families or have learned from others who keep the secret of what the Crahan really are.  My grandmother had “the fear”, I think she knew I did too, but she had to bring it too the forefront.

At the moment of death, the soul leaves the body; waiting for the soul, can be either a dark angel or a light angel to take that soul to it’s eternal reward.  Sometimes both angels appear and battle for the soul.  Always are the Crahan, waiting in the shadows whispering, mouths dripping, licking lips with bile and acid spit.  Sometimes neither angel arrives on time and the soul is left to be devoured by the Crahan, torn, ripped, shredded, devoured by these slobbering creatures, the soul lost forever, feedstuff for the scavengers of eternity.

Souls are the Crahans food, their only food, their own immortal beings have been damned to the shadows, they seek out the dying, snarling at their bedsides, always hunting, always hungry.

My grandmother told me these things and taught me how to listen and how to feel “the fear”.  To overcome the fright and fight for time for angels dark and light to rescue souls from the nothingness.  “Nothing” she told me “is worse than nothingness, the soul, good or bad, deserves a place go, punishment or reward is a better fate than the Crahan”

“The Fear”, oh yeah, that’s a feeling, a sense when they are near, you hear the whispering, evil beyond evil, the grinding of razor teeth, the drip of spit; you see a sharpness in the shadows, a huddling mass broken with a ping/a flash of malice but mostly that whisper, a piercing sound, not a whistle, something older, if your not careful, something maddening.

***

The nurse picked me up,

“Jesus John, what happened ya?”

“Just a nightmare” I said.

“Do you normally walk in your sleep” she asked

“Sometimes”

She led me back to bed and I asked about Mr Peters.

“Ah he’s gone, the poor auld divil…” she said, “…but sure he looks happy now, no pain”

“Get yourself back to sleep now John, you’ll be getting out in the morning, bet you’re glad all those tests are clear…nothing to worry about after all…night night John”

I smiled.  That had been a hard one, if the angel hadn’t shown up when he did….I wouldn’t have been able to hold them off for very much longer.

***

I don’t know how long more I can do this, it’s not that I don’t want to, I’ve known all my life, well at least since I was five, that I had to do it, but I’m just getting older and there aren’t many of us left…….that’s why I’m telling you all of this.  By reading this, I’ve given you the secret, if you have “the fear” within you, you will now realise it.  You see, I need someone to help me fight, I’ll teach you all you need to know.  I need someone to make sure they don’t get my soul, they will come after it.  After all that I have denied them, they will.

***

Souls and stuff have always fascinated me, do they exist, I don’t know, but here’s the story of one man who fights for them, in an unusual way, most definitely.  The bit at the end, where you’ve been suckered into fighting along side our hero, that occurred to me a few years ago when I got one of those stupid and annoying chain letters, full of the usual crap and dire warnings about not breaking the chain, after I’d ripped it up a thrown it in the bin, the notion came to me that wouldn’t it be funny if by reading something, you had entered into a contract of sorts, but you didn’t find out till you’d finished reading.  Interesting idea, anyway thank you as always for reading my little pieces of nonsense….oh and by the way….listen out for those whispers……

An open letter to the EU

Posted: June 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

Dear Sirs/Madams,

I’m sorry I can’t be more specific about which EU I should be addressing this letter to. Is it the 27 remaining EU members or just the 6 founding members who met yesterday morning for a little chat about Brexit.

You see folks, I’m a little confused and I think I may not be the only one. I thought the EU was a union of equal members. I thought it did not rely on a member states size or location, I thought we all had an equal say.

As it turns out, I may be wrong. It seems that the 6 founding member states are in actual fact, more important than the other remaining 21 states and that is why you guys need to have grown ups sitting around the table with the kids playing outside.

I wonder then, if it would be possible to let us know what was talked about, maybe even in little sentences using small words in case we don’t understand.

Perhaps you spoke about considering how your own little club within a club, was causing problems throughout the union as a whole. Perhaps you spoke about how excluding other member states from your discussions was feeding the growing frustration with the EU amongst it’s citizens. Perhaps you discussed how exclusive little chats like yesterday are playing into the hands of the eurosceptics.

Perhaps you just discussed how this was all the fault of ordinary people in Britain who see no connection with your club and how you are not to blame at all for Brexit and that you bear no responsibility whatsoever for the growing feelings of disconnect and lack of control that ordinary people feel.

The vast majority of Europe wants peace, security and prosperity. Without openness, transparency and proper leadership, the people of Europe shall turn to the forces of populism and fear.

There is a responsibility to be taken on board for the Brexit vote, there is a responsibility to be taken on board for providing the leadership to move forward.  Is that responsibility to be taken on by all 27 remaining members or just by the special 6?

This is the most important moment in the history of Europe since World War 2. How is it to be handled?
Your friend,

Alan.

An open letter to the UK

Posted: June 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

Dear UK,
Today is a sad day for us all and a little bit scary too, if we are honest.
Britain leaving the EU is like a friend moving away. 
As an Irish person who grew up during the Northern Ireland troubles, I am proud to have seen the strengthening of ties and friendship between these islands over the past twenty years.
This strengthening of ties was to a great degree, as a result of both Ireland and the UK being part of a union of nations brought together by a yearning to not repeat the mistakes of the past, by a common goal and wish for a peaceful Europe for the sake of our children. 
The EU and its institutions have certainly made mistakes but those mistakes can be remedied, but only from the inside. 
Those of us wishing to encourage our politicians to fix those mistakes have lost an ally today. We in Ireland, now need to work hard to ensure that we keep in touch with our friend who has moved away so that we don’t loose the mutual respect, trust and friendship we have worked so hard to gain.
We are going to miss you but your decision is your decision, so the very best of luck to you.
Keep in touch
Yours sincerely,
Alan Brophy.

My Little China Girl

Posted: January 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

I had a coat when I was a young fella. Navy blue, big collar, reached mid way between my knees and ankles. I was about 14 or 15 at the time and I bought it a few days after seeing the video for “China Girl” on MT USA or top of the pops. 

I had a few bob at the time and was walking by a shop in Liffey Street, saw it in the window, went in and tried it on. Before I even saw it in the mirror, I knew I was going to look like the coolest fucker who ever wore shoe leather. 
I had a bit more, (ok, a lot more), hair then and it was brushed to the side, Simon LeBon style and when I eventually looked in the mirror, I pulled up the collar and there standing looking back was David Bowie in all his Thin White Duke style but with my face. All I was missing was a little China girl and I was all set.

It’s funny how songs, with all the thousands we hear in our lifetimes can sometimes stick in your head and bring you to a place and time in your life like a anchor pulling you into place. 

“China girl” is one of those songs, it reminds me of a young man full of dreams and probably fuller of shit but with his whole life ahead of him, standing there looking impossibly cool, to himself at least.

The coat is long gone but about ten years ago I found another, same length and navy blue, with a cool collar that’s begs to be turned up.  It’s kind of dressy so I wear it with a suit in cold weather and you know what, when I put it on and look in the mirror, I’m David Bowie again and singing, “Oh baby, just you shut your mouth….she says…..shushhhhh, she says…..shushhhh” Perhaps more Fat White Commoner than Thin White Duke, but we all have our dreams.

And Life Rolls On

Posted: February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

33 years today, that is a long, long time.  I can still remember it, Starsky and Hutch was on the telly, I heard the door open and mam, aunty Norah and Uncle Gerry walked in. Mam and aunty Norah looked at me and put their heads down. Uncle Gerry put one hand on my shoulder, held my left cheek in the other and said “I’m sorry son”.  My mam took your watch and your gold Parker pen from her bag, gave it to me and said “these are yours now”.   My grandad sat looking in the fire, tears in his eyes, shaking his head.  My cousin Stephen, cried his eyes out, I went to my room, picked up my book and read it.

So here we are Dad, 33 years on today, that is a long, long time  I looked at each of my kids this morning before they went to school, each of them so like you in different ways.  I can see you in their eyes, hear you in their laughs, listen to you in their voices.  All so much like you without even trying, without even having met you, that makes me smile, and life rolls on.

The Vams

Posted: January 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Some of you may find this little story a tad disturbing, you have been warned. By the way, it was written in a Texan accent, I suggest you read it in the same vein🙂

 

The Vams don’t move around much during the day, we don’t know if it’s cause they don’t see too good. They certainly can smell good though, that’s why we keep the bodies in the freezers. We take them out a week before we need them, let them thaw, then we cut them up and cover ourselves in gore.

You see the Vams don’t like old blood, fresh is what they want, and the fresher the better.

All the old movies made us believe that an invasion from space would give us something to fight, something we could see. We didn’t know it would be something so small, only a microscope could find it.

It must be 25 years now, my little Ellie was three. The shooting stars had been falling all week and I came home from work to bring her out to the garden to watch them. When I pulled the truck up in the front yard, there were no lights on. I let myself in, went to the kitchen, turned on the light and there was Ellie.

She was sitting on her momma’s chest, her momma’s throat was ripped apart and Ellie had blood all over her face.

She had a look in her eyes that still wakes me screaming from time to time, I stumbled backwards and fell over the dog, his whole belly torn out. Ellie snapped out of whatever stupor she was in and lunged across the floor at me. She bit into my shoe before I managed to get up off the floor and I do believe I only just managed to get out in time before she would have killed me, just like her momma and the dog.

I guess I must have drove a hundred miles that night, and passed a dozen cars just stopped, right there in the middle of the highway. I drove clear across two counties before I noticed the gas light come on. I pulled off the interstate and found a station, open but abandoned. I went inside and found the old man who owned the place; at least I found what was left of him.

Jimmy told me I was just standing at the counter looking down at the pieces that once were the owner and I was screaming, screaming like a mad man. He watched me from outside, his gun pointed right at my head for 10 whole minutes before he came in, grabbed my shoulders and punched me in the face. I went down cold and when I woke up, he was standing above me, gun pointed and he asked, “You one o’ them devils?”

When Jimmy was sure of me, he told me what he’d seen that night. He was the Sheriff’s deputy in the next town over and well, you can guess what he saw. The Sheriff’s office started getting calls shortly after sundown. Kids gone wild, animals being attacked. It didn’t take long before humans were being attacked and that’s when all hell broke loose.

We packed up as much of the food, water and other stuff we could fit into my truck and his patrol car. We filled up our gas tanks and filled up 3 billy cans each too and we headed towards the city.

A few miles before we hit the city, the highway got choked up all to never-mind. There were bodies ripped open everywhere. We knew then, that whatever was happening was happening in the city and not just the towns. We stopped the cars and walked up the off ramp to an overpass where we could get a good view. The city was burning, the highway full of wrecked and abandoned cars, trucks, buses. The city wasn’t going to be safe.

Four of them came at us. Jimmy had given me the shotgun from the patrol car. Didn’t seem right to be shooting kids but I guess they weren’t kids anymore, not even people anymore. The biggest of them, he must have played line-backer in the school football team, he took 5 rounds before he went down, three of them to the head.

There’s four hundred of us now, living up here in the passes. Four hundred old men and old women. We have the place fixed up pretty good, it’s an old Army base, miles of tunnels and it’s easy to defend. We don’t have much cause to defend it of course; we only get a few straggler Vams up here, driven from the town and cities, looking for fresh blood. The Doc, Doctor Owens reckons they’ll start turning on each other soon enough but I don’t know. They don’t seem to breed. You get to recognise the same ones every time we go on a raid. We kill more of them now then they kill of us but there never seems to be any new ones, never any younger ones. Except that is, the ones that were young when they turned. Like my Ellie. I wonder if she’s still alive, or whatever you would call it for these things.

It occurred to the clever ones among us a couple of years after it all started, that the virus only affected people 18 years old and under. One of the ladies up here had a baby shortly after she came in and when the baby was born it damn near killed her. The baby came out with a mouth full of teeth and had bitten clean through the cord itself before Doc Owens managed get it in one of those clear plastic cribs. It lay there snarling and the poor mother, well she went mad with grief and headed off into the mountains as soon as she could after that, we never saw her again. Some brave soul tried to feed the baby milk, but it wasn’t having any of that and it soon faded away.

Since then, no babies have been born here. We’re not sure about the rest of the planet, but we guess anyone whose left will have figured out, what we figured out.

So there you go, the youngest among us is now 45 year old. If we don’t breed and the Vams don’t breed, I guess when the last of us is gone and the Vams run out of fresh blood, there’ll be no one left on this little ball in space, except maybe the virus. The doc reckons that a virus can live on for ever, maybe so.     

Not bad for an Aul Fella

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

A couple of years ago I had a bit of a health thing. Not so much a scare, more of a kick up the hole, cop the fuck on type of thing.  Anyway, I decided I needed to get my act together and started eating properly and taking excercise.

It’s all worked quite well and apart from the smokes I have to say I even surprised myself at how well I have manged to keep it up.  Normally I walk alot but given the time of year it is, I go to the gym.  Now I’m not into all that Rockey shite with the big mad weights and all but I just do a normal modest bit, start off on the treadmill, move to rowing and then go on to the machine yolks, none of which I know the name of.  Its the leg thing, the pully down bar thing, the lifty up bar thing, the pull your arms forward whatchamaycallit.

Being the OCD kind of person that I am, I do the same circuit, (I call it a circuit and I think that’s the right terminology), every time I go.  I get kind of upthight if I go to the next piece of equipment and it’s being used cause it throws me off kilter but anyway thats what happened last night.  Everytime I went to use something there were two youngfellas ahead of me so I was kind of waiting around.  The lads would move on and I would then jump in.  In the heal of the hunt meself and the two lads finished up roughly around the same time and they were walking out ahead of me.  They didn’t see me behind them so I had the benefit of sneakily listening in to their conversation.

“Jeez, did you see yer man there tonight” says bucko number 1, “yeah” says bucko number 2.  “For an aul fella, he was keeping up with us well”, says number one.

“For and AUL Fella” – for a fucking “Aul Fella”.  When in the name of Christ did this happen?  OK, so there’s more hair on me back now than there is on me head.  I don’t hear too well nowadys, modern music is, I consider, mostly crap.  I have to say that a nice glass of wine in front of the telly is much more my style these days than getting shit faced in a club, but I didn’t think it had got so bad as being an “AUL FELLA”.

What am I to do, suggestions on a postcard please……….

When I was born, the Almighty decided that instead of good looks or money, he would endow me with a sense of humour and a wit as sharp as the nib of Oscar Wilde’s fountain pen, (hey folks, give us a break, I’ve already admitted to being piss poor and ugly as sin).

In any event, whatever the man upstairs had in store for my part in the great divine plan, being somewhat funny and sarcastic were nowhere near as good as as being rich and gorgeous when it comes to being a teenager and trying to shift youngwans.

So much was my lack of contact with the opposite sex, that when, at the ripe old age of 15, (OK it was really 16), I finally got to kiss a girl, I nearly collapsed when the tongue action started.  I seriously thought there was something wrong with the poor girl and even considered that she had been taken by a seizure of some sort.

“OK, so far so good, but what has this got to do with Nelson Mandela and the Black Panthers?”, I hear you ask.  Well if you settle down, I’ll tell you.  As it happens, Nelson Mandela nearly helped me in loosing my virginity and in the process helped in building BigAlphy’s confidence with, and if such a thing is possible, understanding of; “The Ladies”.

Come with me if you will, to the dark and misty world of my teenage years.  Careful now, the light is dim, the scenery is in black and white with occasional Wizard of Oz flashes of colour.  The memories are so thick and so fast, that you have to brush them away with a flick of the hand.

Let us say her name was Kate.  Kate was fantastic, beautiful, fiery, passionate and full of fervour to right the wrongs of the world.  I got talking to her one afternoon and she suggested that I go with her to an anti-apartheid meeting the following day.  Now, I was never one for these types of gatherings.  I had once gone to a Legion of Mary meeting on the advice that it was a good place to meet girls, but you can imagine my complete disappointment about half way through the meeting when I realised the only physical contact these girls were interested in, was holding your hand during prayers.

So anyway, this anti-apartheid meeting was upon me and I decided to dress for the occasion.  On went the old scruffy jeans, the manky Adidas ROM’s, (remember them?) and a Che Guevara t-shirt.  I looked in the mirror and decided I looked too tame.  I took back off the jeans, half ripped the pocket off the arse, tore a hole in the knee to add to the “I don’t give a shit” look and reassembled myself in my new rebel without a fucking iota style.  I looked in the mirror again and thought I was the epitome of insurgent chic.  Thinking back, I probably looked more like Woody Allen in Bananas than than anything else, but youth, like love, is blind to even the most obvious things.

I found the meeting and walked in to find Kate talking to a ridiculously good looking, South American revolutionary wannabe from Wexford.  He was bearded, hopelessly taller than me and my heart sank .  I introduced myself to Beardy and after some small talk, he called the meeting to order.  I must have dozed off because I can’t remember a thing that was said until I was called upon to say something.

The only thing I could think of was some quotes from Karl Marx, (He hadn’t a patch on Groucho when it came to quotes), some platitudes about the working classes and the oppressed…..what really clinched it though was when I had run short of material, I raised my fist, Black Panther salute style and shouted, “FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM”.  I have to say, this brought the house down, (I could see tears in the eyes of all 17 people in attendance), and I was now a hero to Kate and I suspect an enemy of Beardy.

When we went outside, Kate grabbed me, pushed me up against the wall and attempted to perform an appendectomy on me through my open and surprised big mouthy gob.

We decided to go back to her place, now don’t get excited, when I say her place, it was her parents house, which she shared with Mammy, Daddy, 2 brothers and last but not least Granny.

We sat in the posh front room discussing politics and drinking coffee, (to be honest, I prefer tea, but revolutionaries apparently drink coffee).  We were getting along really well when she reached over, took my cup, put it on the floor and dived on me.  Well as you know, I am a gentleman, so no details will be forthcoming other than to say just when it was getting really bloody interesting, the door to the posh front room burst open and in walked granny with her knitting.  “Can’t hear myself think with the telly in the other room”, she said, “you don’t mind if I sit in here with you, do you?”

Well that was that, we went back to the coffee and had a chat with granny who told me when I was going, that I was a lovely young man, still a bleeding virgin thanks to her, but a lovely young man never the less.

I went back to the meeting the following week and walked in to find Kate sitting on Beardy’s lap, laughing and joking. She waved over at me and I waved back.  I slipped back out the door when she wasn’t looking and walked home, in the rain if I remember correctly, lonely, depressed, distressed and above all horny.

So there we are, it’s nearly 30 years on, I switch on the news and hear that poor old Nelson has died. As well as shedding a tear, I smiled a little smile at my Black Panther salute.  Done for all the wrong reasons at the time I know, but there was innocence in it too and such is the selfishness of youth.  Unlike youth though, which passes away to memory, Nelson Mandela shall not pass away from memory.  He will be kept alive by his compassion, his forgiveness, his willingness to accept the past and move on from it.  We will remember him, our kids will remember him and he will inspire and instil in us, memories, some silly, some profound and a desire to be better human beings. The mark of the man, in my humble opinion at least, is that I’m pretty sure no other politician in my lifetime, will ever cause me to shed a tear on their passing.

G-D bless you Madiba, have a safe journey home.