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Authors: Spike Milligan

Tags: #Humorous, #General, #Poetry, #Fiction


BOOK: Puckoon
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Spike Milligan

















Chapter One



Several and a half metric miles North
East of Sligo, split by a cascading stream, her body on earth, her feet in
water, dwells the microcephalic community of Puckoon. This June of a Morning,
the whole village awoke to an unexpected burst of hot weather.

Saffron coloured in the bleach early
sky, the sun blistered down, cracking walls and curling the brims of the old
men's winter-damp hats; warm-bum biddies circulated air in their nethers,
flapping their skirts and easing their drawers. Joyous voiced children fought
for turns at the iron pump, their giggling white bodies splashing in the cool
water from its maternal maw; bone-dreaming dogs steamed on the pavements and
pussy cats lay, bellies upwards, drinking the gold effulgent warmth through
their fur; leather-faced fishcatchers puzzled at the coarse Atlantic now flat
and stunned by its own salt hot inertia. Shimmering black and still, it lay at
the mercy of stone-throwing boys; the bowmen of the sands took respite from the
endless cavalry charges of the sea. Nearby, Castle Hill groaned under the
weight of its timeless ruins, while the distant mountains came and went in the
mid-morning haze. Old Danny Conlon was already setting up the evening edition
with ink-tinted fingers, 'Hottest Day in Living Memory', it took something like
that to get the Pope off the front page; so lay Puckoon caught by summer in her
winter thrawl, as she lay thus dreaming 'twixt land and sea, all was light, and
like a golden finger the morning was writ upon the scene.

Gleaming off-white at the foot of
Castle Hill were the puzzled crumbling faces of the old peat cutters' cottages,
their glass eyes now dimmed with cataracts of neglect and dirt. The peat had
run out thirty years ago and the peat cutters had run out not long after; some
went to
the rest stayed behind and hit each other with loaded sticks but it never
really caught on and they dispersed. The cottages had been condemned as unfit
to live in except during thunderstorms and depressions. The year after' the
troubles', the Irish Free State Government had bequeathed the cottages to those
who had helped rid 'Houly Ireland' of the English, the Tans and for that
matter, anybody.

One such beneficiary was the Dan
Milligan, son of a famous paternity order. With a roof over his head he had
ceased work, living off his pension and his wits, both hopelessly inadequate.

This sun-barbed morning the Milligan
full length on the grass, head against the wall, his
eyes lost in the shadow of his cap. His thoughts, few that they were, lay
silent in the privacy of his head.

Across the road, through a gap in the
hedge, Milligan observed a nobbly brown dog snoozed down on the grass verge,
now it was one of those creatures that dozes with eyes half open, but, to
Milligan, a Catholic, it would appear the animal was giving him a long sensual
erotic stare: Milligan moved uneasily in his holy Catholic trousers.' I wonder if
he's trying to hypnotize me,' he thought, avoiding the creature's eyes. 'You
can't be too careful dese days wid all dem patent medicines about!'

In an attempt to break the white
man's supremacy, Paul Robeson had once remarked 'AH handsome men are slightly

Milligan was no exception, he had
also said it. He sat in the half upright.' I tink,' he reflected, ' I tink I'll
bronze me limbs.' He rolled his trousers kneewards revealing the like of two
thin white hairy affairs of the leg variety. He eyed them with obvious
dissatisfaction. After examining them he spoke out aloud.' Holy God! Wot are
den ?
Eh ?'
He looked
around for an answer.'

Wot are
dey ?
he repeated angrily.


Whose legs?'

' Mine
? And
who are
you ?'
'The Author.'

'Author ?
Author ?
Did you write these
legs ?'

'Well, I don't like dem. I don't like
'em at all at all. I could ha'

better legs meself. Did you write your
legs ?'


You got some one else to write your legs, some one who's a good leg writer and
den you write dis pair of crappy old legs fer me, well mister, it's not good

' I'll
and develop them with the plot.'

' It's a
dia-bo-likal liberty lettin' an untrained leg writer loose on an unsuspectin'
human bean like me.'

It was a Dublin accent charged with
theatrical innuendo; like all Irish he could make Good Morning sound like a
declaration of war - which it usually was.

' Now
listen Milligan, I'll grant you a word wish. If you ever find yourself in
trouble just shout "Squrrox".'

' Squrrox

' Squrrox

'Alrite alrite, Squorrox, I'll
remember dat. Squor-rox,' he repeated, 'Right, Squorrox.'

He lay back, the sun grew on.
' I
must admit you write nice weather, mister.' Heiield one
arm up to the sky and eyed the frayed cuffs of a once-upon-a-time suit.

'It's goin' home at
still a suit can't last for ever.' But on reflection
he remembered it had.

The shoulders were padded like angled
flight decks, the trouser seat hung a foot below the crutch and the
twenty-eight inch bottoms flapped round his legs like curtains. He shook his
head sadly.

'Ahh, they don't make suits like dis
any more, I suppose the age of Beau Brummel is dead.'

He recalled the day he'd bought it.
The bride-to-be waiting at the church while he, the groom, was still at home,
standing naked in front of a mirror, a top hat angled jauntily on his head. 'By
Gor, she's getting value for money,' he said.

'Hurry up, Dan lad,' his father was saying,
'you're late, and you can't get married in that nude.'

'And why
not ?
said Milligan, admiring his honeymoon appendages, 'Adam and Eve done it and
look at the fine honeymoon dey had.'

' Thank God,' said the old man,' dere
were no press photographers at dat weddin', or the Houly Bible would ha' been
banned in Ireland for ever, perhaps longer.'

His two brothers had arrived with the
suit just in time to get him to the wedding. He never forgave them, standing at
the altar with two dirty great cut price tickets hangin' down his back. It was
all so long ago. Suits were cheap in dem days, this one only cost a poun' ten
shillin'. Prices must have gone up since then. 'Why, it must be nearly two
thousand pounds for a suit dese days,' he reflected.

Kersploosh! A bucket of evil-smelling
slops hit him square in his sleeping face.

'And there's more where that came
from, you lazy bugger.'

The owner of the voice stepped from
the cottage into the white sunlight.

' God forgive yez for dat,'
spluttered the now reeking Milligan.'
hat! Look at
me hat.'

With nostrils and legs akimbo, she
towered over him like some human Yggdrasill, blotting out the sun.

' Owwwwwwwwww
shrieked the Milligan as she kicked the sole of his boot.

'If you don't get some work soon I'll
- ' she made the sign of slow manual strangulation. Milligan noticed that of a
sudden there were no birds in the sky and the brown dog had fled.

' Owwww
She kicked his other boot.

' Darling,' he whined -' you know full
well dere's no work round dese parts,' and he pointed as far as the fence.

' Poor
Father Rudden is still looking for someone to cut the church grass,

I'm going in for five minutes, if
you're still here when I come out in half an hour -'.

kicked his boot again. Like an Amen the cottage door slammed after her.
All the
world went quiet.

' Holy
Who in the blazes was
dat ?'

'That's your darling little wife.'

Agony swept across his face. 'Man alive, I thought it
was a man. Good God, did you see dem
arms ?
Dempsey would be world champion again if he could get 'em. What kind of a
writer are
you ?
First me legs, and now this great
hairy creature!'

' Don't
worry, Milligan, I'll see you come out of this alive.'

'Alive ?'
sat bolt upright.' Holy Christ! Is dis a murder mystery

? If so include me out, Mister. I'm a
Catlick, a Holy Roman Catlick.' He listened towards the cottage. 'I better get
after dat job.' He stood up, yawned, stretched, farted and lay down again.

'No need to rush at it,' he yawned.
Kersploosh!! A bucket of evil-smelling slops hit him square in his face.

'I'm gettin' out of dis
it's too bloody unlucky for me.'


Chapter Two



The Dan Milligan cycled tremendously
towards the Church of St Theresa of the Little Flowers. Since leaving the area
known as his wife he had brightened up a little.' Man alive! The size of her
though, she's a danger to shipping, I mean, every time I put me key in the
front door I'll wonder what I'm lettin' meself in for.' Away down a lumpy road
he pedalled, his right trouser leg being substantially chewed to pulp in the
chain. His voice was raised in that high nasal Irish tenor, known and hated the
world over.

'Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh IIIIIIIIIIIIIII

Once knew a judy in Dubleen Town Her
eyes were blue and her hair was brown, One night on the grass I got her down
And I . . .'

The rest of the words were lost to
view as he turned a bend in the road. Farther along, from an overhanging
branch, a pure-blooded Irish crow watched the Milligan approach. It also
watched him hit the pothole, leave the bike, strike the ground, clutch the
shin, scream the agony, swear the word. ' Caw!' said the crow.' Balls!' said
the Milligan. Peering intently from behind a wall was something that Milligan
could only hope was a face. The fact that it was hanging from a hat gave
credulity to his belief.

Are you all right,
' said the face in the hat.

' Oh
Milligan's voice showed recognition.' It's Murphy. Tell me, why are you wearing
dat terrible lookin' trilby?'

'We sold der hat stand, an' dere's no
place ter hang it.' Murphy's face was a replica of the King Edwards he grew. He
did in fact look like King Edward the Seventh. He also resembled King Edward
the Third, Fifth and
, making a grand total of
King Edward the Seventeenth. He had a mobile face, that is, he always took it
with him. His nose was what the French call retrousse, or as we say, like a
pig; his nostrils were so acutely angled, in stormy weather the rain got in and
forced him indoors.

His eyebrows grew from his head like
Giant Coypu rats, but dear friends, when you and I talk of
we know not what eyebrows be until we come face to face with the Murphys
eyebrows! The man's head was a veritable plague of eyebrows, black, grey, brown
and red they grew, thick as thieves. They covered two-thirds of his skull, both
his temples and the entire bridge of his nose. In dry weather they bristled
from his head like the spears of an avenging army and careless flies were
impaled by the score. In winter they glistened with hoar-frost and steamed by
the fire. When wet they hung down over his eyes and he was put to shaking
himself like a Cocker Spaniel before he could proceed. For all their size dose
eyebrows were as mobile as piglets, and in moments of acute agitation had been
seen as far south as his chin. At the first sight of Milligan they had wagged
up and down, agitati ma non troppo. As he spoke they both began to revolve
round his head at speed.

BOOK: Puckoon
3.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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