Category Archives: writing

Paddy Faces the Dragons Fire

Paddy Goes to the Dragons

 

Well now there you are the five of you and you all looking grand so you are. My self and the wife are here to extract a fist of money of you lot. We would like about €100000 for a small lump of our Business. Say hello to the people Sheila.

Hello

She doesn’t have a lot to say for her-self in the company of strangers, not that you lot are really strange. But you should hear her at home she never stops yapping. Anyway so we haven’t really got a name for the business yet so we are fine going with whatever you lot come up with. At the moment we call it the pen. Sheila said to ask when we would get the money and could half of it be in cash, she is a devil for the cash. So if you have any questions fire away

Hello Paddy, you haven’t told us what it is you are selling

The pen

The pen

It’s like an echo in her, yeah the pen.

Perhaps you can enlighten us as to what its function is?

What doesn’t it do is the question

What doesn’t it do then?

Well it doesn’t keep asking questions for one.

Paddy tell the people what its does

Right Sheila, enlighten us, my arse. Anyway it’s for the young lads and lassies in the exams. It helps them out. Sure those exams are shocking difficult, the young lad took to growing plants out the back garden, beside her self’s rhododendrons, the year of the leaving cert. Stone raving lunatic mad so he was, up there in the bedroom carrying on with himself and smoke coming out of the bedroom window, the cat was going around all queer after it stepped in to say hello to the wee pup.

So how does it helps them?

Well you see what it does now is simple enough so it is. It have a bit of an auld computer there in the body of it and it scans the questions from the exam paper, then the young lad has it set up to look up the answers on the google and there’s a wee display there and the young lads and lassies are sorted

Is that not cheating paddy

Oh god no I wouldn’t be one to condone that cheating carry on.

I think it may be

Ah no I wouldn’t believe in cheating, all it is, in a way, is a cut of stress relief. I think the doctors should be prescribing this to the students. It stops them having to study.

Sounds like cheating

Now cut out the messing boy, it’s not cheating at all, its just a bit of assistance. All that book learning couldn’t be good for you, no wonder all the young people are in need of doctoring.

And how much does it cost to make?

Oh we don’t make them

Well how do you expect to sell them then?

Ah no a wee company over in china makes them, the young lad found them on the computer

Is there a patent on it?

Ah no it wouldn’t have anything as fancy as that now, it just comes with nothing on it and we put them in a big cardboard box and sell them in the market. Matty Ryan, the brother in law on the wife’s side built us a lovely stall, painted it green white and yellow on account of the Easter rising and all that auld malarkey

And what are your sales projections?

Well now let’s see there. Right in the first year we expect to sell a heap of them, then in year two god willing, we will sell an even bigger pile of them. Be year three sure jaysus we will be selling bucket loads of them.

Can you be a bit more accurate?

Well in year three now boss, we will be going into the Americas. Over to New York and Dallas.

I want to see the Ewing house

We talked about this Sheila

Well I’m going to see it

Right well whatever. Anyway, dragons the American’s love the technology so they do, no doubt about it so we will sell a fecking load of them over there, sure they would buy anything, we will put a big harp and a shamrock on it and away we go.

Okay well because I have no pen experience I am declaring myself out

You don’t look like the examing type anyway

I think it illegal so I’m out

Feck sake

I couldn’t possibly understand a word you are saying so I am out

Good luck to you

I have no money to invest and am just here for the publicity so I am declaring myself out

I knew be the look of you

Let me think here now, I am willing to make you an offer

Good man yourself, fire away big fella

Yes €20000 for 30% of the business

You what

You heard me, do you want to think about it

Think about it are you having a laugh? You see we only have 5% left. I have 20% on account of me being the boss, the wife has 20% because she is the wife. The son has invested €20000 from selling the leaves from his plants and owns 20%. Joe Lynch the local postman said he will arrange for free delivery so he has 15%, the mother in law supplies the cardboard boxes and make ham sandwiches for the market days and grand flasks of tea, You haven’t drank the likes of it anywhere so she has 20% and she is a bit on the cantankerous side so you don’t want to be disturbing her share.

I couldn’t offer any better

Ah go on

No

Go on, go on, go on out of that

No

Ah well thanks anyway, now come here give us back them pens we gave out to you lot earlier, you not keeping them you shower of shaggers.

 

 

Paddy and Sheila drift out into the twilight with their pen and their dreams intact.

 

 

 

 

© Frank McGivney 02.06.16 (lunch time half hour of madness)

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Able Table An Experience

 Able Table An Experience

The sounds of the exhibition faded as I watched him slowly approach the Able Table stand. I had observed him over the past two days, his face lacked a smile and his body seemed to hold a tension within itself, displaying a certain awkwardness to the world in which he meandered. At exhibitions some people tend to slide up kind of cautiously to stands, not sure if they want to attract the attention of an overeager sales assistant before they establish for themselves some level of interest in the product or service on display.  Others don’t hesitate, ready to do battle of the buying or ripping apart variety. He rolled up to us with a determined look in his face, a no nonsense gait born of a presumably difficult life climbing to the higher echelons of managerial position. He avoided our feeble attempts at eye contact. His focus was on the Able Table alone. The low mumble from the motor of his wheelchair stopped. His head facing down, he positioned himself in the correct slot. His arms rested on the table, he looked up and a tear trailed down my face as his demeanour softened, his body relaxed and the most wonderful smile uncovered itself from his stoic lips.

“This is the table I have been looking for all my life” were his words as he took out his laptop and started the process of accessing the Able Table for its potential as his future work environment. I met Martin’s eye and our anticipating lungs recommenced drawing in air.

The adventure had started nearly a year before the Mobility Exhibition in the RDS. Martin Finucane had been at home one day recovering from a serious back injury of his own when his wife, Esther, strolled in and told him to go out the back and build her a table to help in work. Esther works as a care assistant in residential facility in Navan helping people in wheelchairs. Martin who had just come out of a stint in a wheelchair himself said “Of course honey” and that was the spark which ignited a revolution in the care of disabled persons. The next day he started the whole process of designing a table which could facilitate in a social inclusive manner the care of a number of people in wheelchairs at the same time. Eventually after much toil and effort he came up with a design which both him-self and Esther were happy with and so was born the Able Table.

Over the centuries different inventions and creations have had the potential to change the lives of the whole of the population of the earth and some have in the most fundamental of ways changed the lives of specific sectors of the human clan. The Able Table is one such invention, it revolutionises the care and well-being of people who suffer with disabilities. It allows for hand over hand care for up to four people all at once. This may not mean a whole lot to able bodied persons outside of a care or hospital environment but if you have spent years and perhaps decades been cared for on a one to one basis with no social interaction, well then the opportunity to finally have a meal around a table with others is a fundamental life enhancing revolution in the quality of your daily life.

The Able Table also improves the lives of the carers and nurses who have dedicated their lives to the care and well-being of others. They are the ones who cry when they see Mary’s head rise from her chest for the first time as her arms rest on the table. They are the ones who return the smile of Tom who after years of gloom finally laughs at the stories been told from the other end of the table by Pat, a man who up until the Able Table has held his stories inside of himself. These amazing carers are also the ones who can now join in the conversation around the table and whose work load is eased because of the ease and convenience of the table’s unique and patented design.

People in wheelchairs can never usually fully sit into a table, the depth of their chair imposes a void between themselves and the point of contact with the table-top and hence distances them from other people. Martin decided this was not acceptable, that everyone deserves the right to be included in society at the most basic of levels. Prior to our table dinner time was a lonely half hour for people in care homes, as they ate or were feed on a one to one basis on individual trays. But the Able table is now here to create a complete paradigm shift in the way people perceive those in wheel chairs. No more are they outside of the social circle, they are now in the heart of it.

The effect the table had on the man at the start of this article is replicated on a daily basis with people in care facilities where Martin and his Step Daughter Cariosa bring the most wonderful gift anyone can give another, the gift of companionship, breaking the cycle of isolation and bringing them more fully into the human family.

We are appearing on the Dragons Den on Sunday the fifth of June. The June bank holiday when hopefully the sun shines and the dragons will see what I saw the day Martin came into me with his business idea. As an accountant I hear people’s stories on a daily basis but with Martin Finucane I saw not only a product, wonderful enough to potentially change people’s lives for the better, but more importantly I saw in Martin himself a man with something special inside of himself, something which cries out to be encouraged to blossom into the reality of a mission to improve the world for those with disabilities.

@DragonsDenRTE @siliconbarry @GavinDuffy @EamonnEquinn #TopTV @Alisoncowzer

@Eleanor_McEvoy @able_table</sp

Continue reading Able Table An Experience

Freedom

Belfast, Beirut, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Sarajevo, Dublin 1916, the Congo, Paris, New York, London and everywhere in between where a man’s quest for freedom is demonised by the ones with their fingers on the triggers

He knelt among the rubble, the dust never to be cleaned from his clothes, her blood dripping on the stones where once the fire of their home warmed a family, before the bomb pierced his heart and all he ever had in life. The woman, he once waited for at the top of an aisle, was now scattered in crimson shades of slaughter among the stones, her body drifting in the eastern winds blowing over a paupers city decimated for no reason beyond the greed of men and the hunger of a world for the black blood beneath a dust covered land.
They sit in comfort staring into the orange of a fire lit with coal and turf, they listen to the words of the press, they nod in agreement to fit into the jigsaw of the non questioning man. From one to another as time drifts horrors into memories they ponder why he rose with battered breath to step forth to unsheathe the sword from its resting place within its scabbard.
Frank McGivney 01.12.15

paddy and the referendum

I could see it in the look they were displaying

What could you see?

The lord himself.

Did you bless yourself?

No, I laughed

You’re damned

No doubt and do you want to know the worst bit

The fires and the stakes

Not that rubbish, no Paddy, they didn’t know

Know that you are damned

Ah here keep up, they didn’t know what was inside of them, what was leaning into their souls, what was pushing them down?

Are you sure they weren’t the crowd from the back hospital

Smart arse

Thanks

His will was pushing them down, the words they put in his mouth were weighing upon them like a big bale of damp hay, making them forget the meaning of his message.

That’s shocking

I seen it myself. Auld lads in brown suits and mad eyed auld ones in their best coats.

Did they salute you?

They did and all, with big suspicious eyes cast down upon me as if they knew.

Knew what

They knew which one I was voting yes for and which is voting know for

Well you know you do go on about queer like

The ladies like it seemingly

Yeah right

Yeah exactly.

No harm in fooling yourself

No harm at all

So what else

The girls at the desk

I know

Yeah good for the humour or what

I’m still smiling after the look of them

Should last a few days

The weekend even

Would you by the way?

What?

You know with a fella

Only if he had long hair, real boobs, smooth legs and no willy

What about a pair hanging

Nah better without them either

A Brazilian

Spanish even

Good night

Good luck

the rocky way

this is lovely country side
A load of auld bollix
you what
sure look at it, its desperate
its a bit run down alright
run down are you mad, the place is only fit for blowing up
ah now Paddy
serious look at the state of the walls on the fields they haven’t seen white wash in years
still its lovely the old stone walls
they are in their arse,
what bite your arse
carry on there and be minding your own business
where is the home place anyway
up yonder beyond that tree and the hawthorn bush
Right you are.
Pull over to fuck there.
Jaysus fecking sheep
that’s a goat
no its not
its a hairy goat
fuck of
yeah serious
still in all its lovely here
fecking idiot,
where is our home place
over yonder
right
what you think
of what
the home place
where
there
where
in front of you
theres only a miserable looking rough field in front of me
yeah beautiful isn’t it, I grew up here
jaysus, explains a lot
what
nothing
so right where’s the house
our standing on it
fuck of
yeah
right
reverse up the van and we will throw the rocks in
right you are
only the house rocks
how will I know which ones
just take the nice looking ones

a paragraph I wrote and i just liked the sound of it

The only time he actually did bring us to talk to a man about a dog, he brought Nan along with him. We ended up in the cow dung splattered yard of some cottage up the hills half way between the middle of nowhere and the end of the road. There was the pure sickening smell of dogs mixing with the bovine excrement, filling the air with an intoxicating mixture. We all bundled out of the car on to a driveway where the once solid concrete was chipped and lying as dust on the ground waiting for a wind or a splash of rain to take away. The cottage was in a state of disrepair beyond anything imaginable by a person from outside of the rural way of thinking where a caravan with a rusted roof and no running water was a grand spot to live. However it lay in the league of a palace compared to the out buildings which had the appearance of a site which had been hit by a stray bomb from world war two, most likely from a German plane which had been flown across the whole of England by a pilot with bad eyesight and a dodgy aim, who upon seeing the state of the cottage decided he would do the world a favour by cleaning up a tiny bit of the world by way of dropping a bomb on it. Thick Ivy shimmered with the rhythmic motion of a huge wave of green leafs which had settled over the walls of the farm and had forgotten to ebb back out to sea. Nature came to teach me a lesson of what truly lay in the surrounding shadows when the brother shoved me into the embrace of a thicket of its stems. I came out covered in spiders, the whole wall was a breeding ground for a malignant looking population of eight legged hairy creatures of nightmarish countenance. My fear of tearing down the Ivy which in my mind appeared to act as the mortar  holding the walls up was lost in the realisation I wouldn’t in fact be killed by the falling rubble but instead there was a distinct possibility of me been eating alive. The family who were meant to love me laughed in a most unsympathetic way as I jumped around the yard beating of spiders who seemed determined to cling to their newly discovered residence.

Start of a chapter from a novel i’m working on

Chapter Running With the Girl

It was the dreams that made me run away. They came every night with the wet sheets. I woke up cold and shivering, not knowing where I was or how I would get back to where I came from. My mother had turned into a robot in them. She still looked the same and moved the same but the heat of her love had turned into the cold of isolation.

Each morning my real world mother came in and took the wet sheets away, I could smell something different from her breath, that hadn’t been there before. It was the same smell that my Nan had after drinking a naggan of whiskey.

It was a Friday when I put a pair of jeans, three t-shirts and a towel into a bag and sneaked it out of the house. Cora knew something was wrong as we walked along.

“I’m running away” I told her.

“No you’re not” she replied smiling, that smile could feed any hunger I would ever have inside of me.

“I am, serious. I am going to get a bus up to Dublin.”

“Your only twelve, you can’t run away.” She had stopped and was holding both my hands.

“Why not? I can get a job or something.”

“Francie you can’t, honest to God, why are you going? You won’t be able to get a job, you don’t know how to do anything.” the softness in her voice was breaking me down, I didn’t know now if I really wanted to go. I didn’t want to go anywhere she wouldn’t be.

“I don’t know Cora. I just have to.”

“I’ll come with you.” she replied, her voice filling back up with its usual enthusiasm.

“You can’t run away.”

“Why not? Are you saying girls can’t do what men can do? You better not be saying that, Francie Kelly or I will never talk to you again.” she was looking straight into my eyes. She kissed my lips gently, when I didn’t reply. I didn’t know what words to say, even if I could manage to talk, as my face went crimson from the wonderful heat spreading all over me from the quick feel of her lips on mine.

“Wait there, don’t move an inch” she ordered and then she was gone back the way we had come.

It felt right having her sitting on the seat beside me on the bus. The driver had barely acknowledged us when we got on and paid. I had the communion money, I had saved in the wallet that my daddy had given me. It had been a present from his brother in Australia. It held the two hundred pounds easily. Even if I didn’t get a job surely that would keep us going for ages.

She leaned her head against my shoulder after she placed the bag she had taken from home under the seat.

“Put your arm around me Francie, make me feel warm” she whispered and I did. I looked at the blonde hair and the top of her face, while she looked outside at the trees and nature. Every time the bus drove through a town she sat up and leaned her head against the window turning from side to side so she didn’t miss anything. I saw glimpses of the things she pointed out to me, but mainly I just saw her. My side felt cold while she was at the window. Each time the towns retreated behind the bus, she leaned back into me and we shared the heat of each other once more. I kissed the top of her head and she looked up at me and smiled. I smiled back as the rest of the world faded away and I felt something inside of me that I never felt before.

“Listen to this Francie.” She took out her Walkman and put one plug in my ear and the other in hers. Her fingers on the buttons were as soft and gentle as the rest of her and they fascinated me as much as the words of her mind. There was a whirling sound and a guitar riff was followed by Bruce Springsteen singing about never retreating and never surrendering.

“That’s me and you Francie Kelly. No retreat and no surrender.” She said suddenly turning around and kissing me on the lips for the second time that day, before quickly sinking back into my arm and holding my hand where it touched her shoulder.

“What will we do when we get there Francie?”

“I don’t know but we will find out together, it will be the start of our adventure.”

“Will we travel to different countries?”

“Of course but the ones we will go to will be those with the wildest of adventures, where the most beautiful of nature’s animals live and where the plants have the strangest and sweetest of smells and trees with leaves of all the colours of the rainbow stretch up in to the sky.”

“Will we meet many people?”

“We will meet hundreds and each one of them will let us life with them for a while. They will tell us all about their lives and show us where and how they live?”

“What about the ocean Francie?”

“We will sail down the Amazon and life in the trees and at the end of the river we will reach the ocean and swim in it among dolphins and schools of fish. A whale will come along and pick us up on its back and we will go out into the deepest part, to see the sunsets that only the creatures of the sea have ever seen.”

“Will you stay with me for ever Francie?”

“If I ever leave you Cora then the seas will dry up and the sun will burn out and the world will come to an end.”

“Wow we better stick together then.”

We sat in silence until the bus stopped at the depot. We stepped out and we were swallowed up into a different world. Everywhere we looked people walked faster than they did at home. There was so many of them. The noise level was the scariest. It was deafening yet we could hear no one particular sound. The car horns, the people talking, the birds squawking, the rustle of newspapers, the engines of the cars all of it just combined into one operatic rush of sound that surrounded us, as we stood motionless looking out at the city streets. The smell from the river mixed with the filth on the pavement created a thickness in the air, making it harder to breath than at home where fresh fields were everywhere to be seen. A woman in rags who looked like the victim of a famine country in Africa, except with pale skin turned black with dirt, stood beyond the glass door that separated the relative safety of the depot from the noise and our potential future. In her hands she had a bundle of The Big Issue magazine for sale.

Morning Pages

Down the lonely road he strolled, the woman, he once loved, with him in mind alone. The thrush made a noise that a poet would call a song and a bull roared his passion across a barbed wire fence, where the cows huddled with their arses pointing the other way and their mouths chewing, for ever chewing.

the sun only reached the bottom of his feet, under the branches of the tree where he had once made love to her. In the shade his tears wouldn’t flow. The noise rippled through the undergrowth blackening the sky with fluttering wings. The bull stopped for a moment to look  and then his lust returned. The bark stained to black with his blood as the gun smoke faded in a northern wind. His hand held hers once more as they drifted into the light. His body slumped into the gravel forgotten.

Free writing

A whiskey
With ice?
Sure
She’s looking at you
Why?
Hard to know
Not really
Why is she blind
She has good taste
And a squint
Her hair is nice
Go talk to her
Okay
Hi
Hey
Do you want to dance with the devil in the pale moon light
Your a bit of a joker
I can be if your bat woman
Sit down soldier
Nice legs
Thanks
A drink
Sure rum and coke
Cheers
Cheers
I write poems
I read some
Serious
Yeah sometimes
Who
Durkin, Heaney and kavanagh
He was a miserable fucker
In a majestic way
Let’s go
Where
Where ever the night leads
Typical man
No lets just walk
In the moonlight
By the sea
You are a poet

Francies Chronicles a paragraph

DSC_0005

“We are all born with original sin on our heads and looking around this classroom, some of you fine specimens obviously had it worse than others. The holy priest, most likely my good self, cleansed you lot, the best he could of the sins of your forefathers, when you were innocent babies in the sacrament of baptism. But now it’s time to wipe the slate clean again and it will take some cleaning for some of you.” Father Murphy wasn’t the worst of them really, Nan didn’t give out much about him so that was some kind of a good sign on his behalf, because Nan usually cut the socks of the clergy even worse than she cut the rest of what she called the privileged gobshites. I don’t think she realized gobshites was a curse word because she never blessed herself after saying it, the way she would when she used the other words I was forbidden to know, not to mind use. How I was meant to not know them when her-self and Daddy used them constantly, was beyond me. Mammy used get shocking upset with my father for using them while my-self and the brother were in the room. The only one she would permit herself to use was “feck” and that was always when she was giving out socks about Daddy and even then she would bless herself and call for the forgiveness of the good Lord who is up in heaven. Much like I will have to be doing myself within the next few months for the first time.   “Yes Father” the rest of the class say in response to some question the Holy Father has asked. That Micheal O Suilleabhain catches my eye from across the room and sticks his tongue out at me. A right class of a full idiot so he is, him with his white collared shirts always done up tidy with a blue tie wrapped around it like some sort of Nancy boy, while the rest of us look like we have just come out the far end of the worst hurricane ever to have hit the town of Ceannais Mor. Not that a hurricane has ever actually hit the town, as far as I know, but sure there’s no harm in wishing for a bit of excitement now and again. Of course the mother goes on like he is a great chap altogether.

(c) Frank McGivney 21.01.15