A good number of years ago, when our children were still children, and not drink-swilling, loud-rock-music-playing, screaming maniacs (in other words, not us), Wrinkly Paddy had an idea.
Bock, he said, we’re not going to live forever.
WP, I replied, if we continue the way we’re going, we won’t see Monday.
True, WP replied, but that isn’t really what I’m getting at. Look. I’ve been thinking. You have two fine children, and I have three. N’est-ce pas?
Oui, I agreed. What the fuck are you talking about?
Well, Wrinkly Paddy shifted uncomfortably, you know the way we’ve been working together?
Of course I do, I said. And having a great time too.
True, he continued. Writing these very bad science fiction novels together.
Bad, I interjected, but extremely profitable.
True, said Wrinkly Paddy. That’s very true.
Look, Paddy went on, I had an idea.
My old friend was clearly troubled and my heart went out to him.
Speak, I said.
Well, he said, you know how we’ve been making countless millions from these shitty science-fiction scripts.
And we’ve made enough money to last ten lifetimes?
I was thinking, Wrinkly Paddy looked me in the eye. I was thinking about the children.
Aye, I nodded. Me too.
Bock, we’re not getting any younger.
Bock, we need to leave them something they can keep forever.
There’s no point leaving them money.
No. The bastards will shove it up their noses.
Indeed not. Houses could catch fire.
Well then, I was thinking, what could last forever?
What indeed? Perhaps a —
Indeed! A story!
Many stories! I concurred. What a great idea.
Fairy tales, I was thinking, said Paddy.
Great, I said. We’ll write them a pile of fairy-tales. They’ll have them forever. Nobody can steal a story, or burn it or break it.
Paddy nodded and slugged back his pint. ‘Tis the way they’ll remember us.
Great, I said. Pint?