Post 62 – Flynn is seduced in rural Ireland by an assertive Viennese Euro-rightist – chapter excerpt from HARPS & TEARS

Chapter 25

Muldoon calls as I come down along the driveway from Doolan Hall.

‘We’ve got a result,’ he says.

‘From the accountant?’

‘Yes … but I can’t tell you any more until tomorrow.’

What does this mean? Is Halleran receiving large sums of money from the Middle East for a nuclear surprise? A lethal concoction that Bronkovski is putting together at Crushkeen House that might then be shipped from South West Ireland by a sympathetic collaborator – a rogue state with access to a submarine that can’t be tracked by satellites.

If it reached the Middle East intact, a portable nuclear device could be used in Israel by a suicide bomber from Gaza or the West Bank to make political statements: Grim scenarios to do with perceived wrongs and the accumulated bitterness of over half a century.

‘I met an interesting woman here,’ I say to Muldoon as a diversion.

‘Oh yes –’

‘I think you might like her.’

This gets a guffaw and words about how Josephine would stalk him with a meat cleaver if she suspected he was thinking of anyone else – even if it was only a fantasy or innocent dreams with exotic what ifs.

But I talk about Claudine Fauvet and her boats, and how she has this great capacity for absorbing grief, while smiling empathetically and generating powerful passions.

‘So you’re going to introduce me?’ Muldoon asks.

‘Of course … although it might mean you’ll have to go for a sail in a boat.’

He’s not sure about this, but says he’ll think about it as he drives down to West Cork.

Puzzling pieces are slotting into place, and on the cobbled pub terrace at Hagen’s Point I spot the blonde Australian girl, Kelly Bowman. She is sending a text message on her mobile, and she looks up and grins as I approach with a cold beer.

‘May I join you?’ I ask.

‘Sure … I’m just reassuring my folks in Brisbane – so they know I’m all right.’

‘I saw you in a Wayfarer at Claudine’s.’

‘Ah, hell – it’s great out on that water!’

There’s no hint of recognition here. So if Kelly helped to carry me in an unconscious state from outside Bronkovski’s courtesy office at the University in Dublin, she either doesn’t recognise me or she’s pretty smart.

‘You seemed to really know what you were doing – especially on the turns.’

She laughs at this and flushes a little.

‘I’m trying to get Ali – the guy I’m with – into it, but he’s not a natural sailor.’

That is a generous understatement from what I saw. But it’s a pleasant evening with the sun dappling against the waves as it sinks down behind hills on the west side of RoaringwaterBay.

‘Are you passing through or do you have family here?’ I ask.

‘Oh we’re touring around,’ Kelly tells me. ‘We don’t have any connections in Ireland, but someone we met in London said this was a good place to check out … and we’ve met lots of interesting people since we arrived last week.’

So why did they tell the cop, MacInerney, that Kelly had family links in West Cork? And if this isn’t the case, are they hanging around because they like the scenery, or is there another agenda?

At that point, Kelly’s older friend Ali appears. He’s carrying two glasses of orange juice and beaming like everyone is his friend. His jaw drops a little though when he sees me.

Kelly then chips in with how I’ve spotted them sailing over at Claudine Fauvet’s, and when we’ve introduced ourselves, Ali retreats into an ‘I love Ireland and the Irish’ position.

He explains how he’s a small businessman taking a break and that Kelly is someone special he met in London – quite by chance in Covent Garden, where she was a waitress.

‘I understand you’re pretty hot on the rebel songs,’ I say while we enjoy the last of the evening sun.

‘Who told you that?’ Ali asks with surprise.

‘Oh, it was Frances up at Doolan Hall … you know – she and John Joe are getting married.’

‘Yes – of course. They’re a fine couple.’

I’m sure there was small colour change in the brown skin around Ali’s neck that rises up to take in his face. He just got a little darker, and he seems to be struggling for words as he takes on the fact that I know Frances Halleran and have met John Joe Horan.

‘So you’re going to the party tomorrow?’

‘Oh yes … we have been invited, and this evening I am going to sing rebel songs for the celebration.’

Why is an Indian Muslim with an Australian girlfriend suddenly embracing the Irish Republican cause via The Croppy Boy, Boolavogue, Kevin Barry and Brennan on the Moor?

‘Now though I think we must go back for our supper with Mrs Fionnucan. She is our landlady, and she gets agitated if we’re not there to eat her fine Irish food.’

Bacon and cabbage perhaps with loads of home-made soda bread and salty butter.

‘I’ll see you later,’ I say as they finish off their orange juice and Ali makes a fuss about shaking hands, while Kelly just smiles like she’s a friendly, carefree Ozzie.

They could be innocent tourists who just pitched up at Hagen’s Point. Their presence in the College Park on the day I got assaulted might be a coincidence. Someone else could have dragged me down from the first floor corridor in the science block, after which, Ali and Kelly might just have found me and called the authorities. It’s possible, but I feel they have some tie-in with Bronkovski, and possibly also with Cornelius Halleran.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m still thinking about it when I have a meditation session in my room over the bar. I then fell asleep for a couple of hours, and when I open my eyes I can hear the sounds of fiddlers warming up downstairs.

There is no sign of either Ali or Kelly in the bar, but as soon as I sit at the only free table and order a plate of prawns, I see Heidi from Vienna and Paval from Prague.

‘May we impose again and join you?’ she asks as they sit down.

‘Of course –’

‘There are so many people here already … but you know it is a celebration for the Republican Horan and his bride-to-be?’

A sort of combined stag and hen night with solid local lads and their girls: Big fellahs who, in other circumstances, might go with John Joe on a mission to the North that could end with blood and body parts on the road.

‘This man has charisma,’ Heidi explains. ‘People would follow him regardless of the consequences … which is interesting – no?’

‘I don’t believe these traits are so important now,’ I say dismissively.

I mean, we live in democracies – at least in the Western World – where decisions are arrived at by consensus. We don’t need demagogues and Platonists to tell us what to do and how we should be thinking.

Only Heidi feels she’s got me backed up against a wall and she’s reaching down to squeeze my nuts.

‘You’re wrong!’ she exclaims emphatically – and as she speaks, her eyes are targeting and holding me.

‘If you were familiar with history, you would know that we have started to rot and fall apart in our society.’

Just like those crazy Romans with their bacchanalian orgies. They got so sated and carried away with excessive indulgence that they missed the barbarian hoards at the gates.

‘Oh, come on,’ I say reasonably. ‘Don’t you think that’s going a little over the top?’

Paval’s nodding seriously as Heidi pauses. This isn’t the first time she’s come up against wet liberal responses to what’s happening in Europe. It’s symptomatic of the malaise, she feels. But so long as there are sufficient people who can open their eyes and see clearly what’s happening, it will be all right.

‘Do you know why Hitler came to power in 1933?’ she asks.

‘No – not really.’

Well, I do – vaguely. It was all a bit disorganised and there was a vacuum politically, but the circumstances were quite different from what they are now.

‘You believe so?’ Heidi asks incredulously.

‘Sure –’

She gives me a serious one-to one about how people are feeling in mainland Europe on crime and security issues – most of which, in her view, are linked in with immigrants from Eastern Europe, Turkey and North Africa.

‘We are weak,’ she confides, ‘and now we are paying the price.’

There’s fresh sea bass and French fries to divert my attention from the political clouds that Heidi’s whipping up with Paval’s silent assent.

Is she an undercover National Socialist from another era?  A terrifying Valkyrie who would put non Aryans on sealed trains bound for the Baltic States or to conquered but deserted territories in Siberia and Mongolia.

I’m saved from having to defend politically correct liberal and socialist positions, however, by the arrival of Ali and Kelly, followed almost immediately by John Joe Horan and Frances Halleran.

The Republican is eager to press the flesh amongst his supporters, while Frances follows along with kisses for the girls and handshakes for the lads.

When he gets to me he claps his hands and as I get up he slaps my shoulders.

‘We’ll have some good craic here tonight,’ he says. ‘And I hope you’ll help us celebrate with a song.’

I grin inanely while Horan kisses each of Heidi’s cheeks and gives Paval a wink. Frances then comes in discreetly to squeeze my hand.

‘I had a call from Briege,’ she tells me in a low voice, ‘and she’s distraught … would you talk to her, Rudi. Tell her she’s got it all ahead of her … try to reassure her – please!’

I hardly know the woman… but for you, Frances – of course I’ll straighten her out. We’ll have a consoling chat tomorrow. I’ll empathise and tell her about my great uncle, who knew Henry Miller in Paris before he got famous with the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

There’s a part of Horan’s bride-to-be that would like to stop and talk about the mental and emotional state of her childhood friend. She might also like to refer to her father, who’s not best pleased with the idea of her marriage. She might even confide with me, in the absence of Briege, about how her Da could –if the situation got out of hand – harm his prospective son-in-law. But John Joe’s oblivious to all of this, and he needs his woman by his side as his guys queue up to pay court to the happy couple.

Heidi wants to talk some more about the situation in Europe, and how confused liberals and mendacious socialists have combined to destroy traditional family structures.

‘All of these laws and attitudes that they encourage favour criminals and anti-social elements who have no roots in our society … they are taking us down to the lowest level.’

I nod like I understand, but Ali Talibe is about to launch the evening’s entertainment with his version of an Irish rebel song about the patriot, Kevin Barry.

It’s an item that an astute documentary filmmaker might have used for a whole TV series. It summons up an emotive segment of English colonial history as the Indian Muslim clears his throat and pays homage with a fine voice to the martyred Irish hero.

‘I need fresh air,’ Heidi says when Ali finishes his ballad and Paval squeezes out from behind their table to ‘go for the washroom’ as he puts it. A group of fiddlers are tuning up their instruments and getting ready for a proper ceidhli dance.

‘It’s hot,’ I say without thinking.

‘So … do you want to come out with me onto the quay?’

OK – but what about Paval? Only Heidi’s ready for this.

‘We are not lovers – just friends,’ she explains.

‘Right –’

And it would of course be churlish not to take a short stroll with her. It’s a lovely evening with a full moon, and the RoaringwaterBay is unusually calm as it laps up against the quay at Hagen’s Point.

‘You haf a woman now?’ Heidi asks when we slip out of the bar and walk slowly along the cobbled terrace.

‘Not quite,’ I tell her.

‘And what does that mean?’

My marital partner and I have decided on a separation, Fraulein – and although we’re not divorced, it’s unlikely we’ll be getting back together again in meaningful way. Meanwhile, however – I have in Dublin, just the other day…

‘You want to go over there by that pile of turf?’ she asks.

Freshly cut sods built up with sloping sides and a tarpaulin over the top to keep the rain off.

‘Sure – but what for?’ I ask naively.

‘Come … I’ll show you,’ Heidi suggests.

Years back, on Long Island Sound, there was the older sister of a school friend who made a similar suggestion. Only she was ravishing and Jewish, which seemed OK. Whereas Heidi Bannerman reminds me of a Gulf War Sergeant in the Special Forces, who has no time for outsiders of any description – but especially coloured people and Jews.

‘I don’t  …’

‘You want to fuck me now – here?’

We’ve reached a mini-mountain of peaty brown turf, and I find myself in an impossible situation. I should of course protest. Maybe make a polite excuse about non-specific urethritis – or the fact that I’m on a debilitating medication that precludes sex.

It’s pointless though, because Heidi from Vienna has undone my zip and now has a hold on my member. I’m opening my mouth to say something – anything that might make a difference, but she’s drawing me in eagerly with a salivating tongue.

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