The Pissing-File of Schull

 Posted by on September 25, 2010  Add comments
Sep 252010
 

West Cork, at one time, wasn’t the idyllic place it is now, full of German kaftan-weavers and Hampstead novelists manqué enjoying their second homes away from the endless air-kissing of the London artistic world.  Muh!  Muh!

No indeed.  At one time, Schull was a hardship posting for members of an Garda Síochána, on a par with Wolfhill.  It was a place like Purgatory, where a policeman was sent when he annoyed a senior politician by doing his job properly, or when he exposed his superiors for the mindless dolts they were by behaving intelligently at the wrong moment.

One particular policeman, many years ago, was sent to Schull for a misdemeanour involving a punch to the jaw of his Sergeant, and not for any ordinary reason such as a verbal slight or because the Sergeant was secretly trysting with his Missus.

No indeed.

It was because the member in question was a man of principle, who took exception to his Sergeant beating a member of the public.

Let’s give this policeman a name.  What about Shadrach Flynn?  That sounds all right to me.

As I said, Shadrach took exception to the brutality of his superior, and let me tell you, Shadrach was not a man to be trifled with.  A giant, if somewhat overweight, ox of a man, Shadrach’s primary interest in life had nothing whatever to do with policing, and everything to so with sculpture.  He could carve a butterfly from a block of living granite and make grown men cry with the delicacy of its wings.

He was a big man, a strong man, well-used to hoisting blocks of limestone from a lorry and wielding a club-hammer to reveal the beauty hidden within the rock.  Back on the farm, he shouldered calves lost on the mountainside in the deep of winter, he could haul a tractor from the mud with a rope coiled twice around his chest, and three times a week, he travelled the eighteen miles and back to train with the local rugby club.  First-choice prop forward.

He punched his sergeant.

He went to Schull.

The syllogistic inevitability of the two things was plain to all, and there was no dispute.

As it happened, Shadrach’s banishment was no hardship.  The locals were like his own: country people, decent and honest.  There was no crime.  His days became a kaleidescope of lights on bicycles, ragwort warnings and half-hearted raids on late-opening pubs.  You’ll have a small one, Guard.  I will.

He brightened up the place.  He planted flowers in pots all around the station.  He placed little sculptures on the window-cills.  He sought out fallen trees and had them milled.  He carved totem-poles which he placed all around his police station.

And every night, after his day’s work, Shadrach would return to the Garda station, write up his report of the day’s events, wander out onto the steps of the station and piss happily into the flower-pots.  Bless you, my children, said Shadrach to his plants.

Martin Cooney, proprietor of Cooney Hardware, did not approve of Garda Shadrach Flynn, and above all else, he did not approve of Garda Flynn pissing in the flower pots at the front of the  station, even at two in the morning.  In particular, Mr Cooney did not approve of Garda Flynn’s habit of making his own flower-boxes instead of purchasing them from Cooney Hardware, and nor did he approve of the local residents doing the same thing.

He wrote a letter of complaint.

Dear Sir or Madam

It pains me to report that Garda Shadrach Flynn is in the habit of relieving himself on the front steps of Schull Garda Barracks in the small hours of the morning.  I earnestly request that you put a stop to this disgusting behaviour forthwith.

Your most humble servant

Martin Cooney Esq.

He received a reply from the Dept of Justice.

A Chara

I am directed by the Minister to respond to your complaint dated …

The matter has been referred to Garda Headquarters and will be examined in the normal way.

Mise le meas,

Séamus Ó Fruallacháin

Assistant Principal Officer

In due course the correspondence arrived at Shadrach’s desk, as he whittled a fairy from wind-blown branch or conjured a tiny wrestler from a stone thrown by a local lad at a passing itinerant knife-sharpener.

It has come to the attention of B Branch that you are in the habit of relieving yourself in public, giving rise to disquiet and …

A file built up as the stand-off between Shadrach and Mr Cooney gained intensity. Shadrach did not help his case by inviting the children of the village to the police station, where he taught them how to make lampshades and wallpaper.

Dear Sir or Madam

I beg to report that Garda Shadrach Flynn is in the habit of relieving himself on the front steps of Schull Garda Barracks in the small hours of the morning.  Furthermore, Garda Flynn is instructing the local people in matters that have nothing to do with his duties as a mamber of an Garda Síochána. I earnestly request that you put a stop to this forthwith.

Your most humble servant

Martin Cooney Esq.

He received another reply from the Dept of Justice.

A Chara

I am directed by the Minister to respond to your complaint dated …

The matter has been referred to Garda Headquarters and will be examined in the normal way.

Mise le meas,

Séamus Ó Fruallacháin

Assistant Principal Officer

And so it went. And so it goes. And so the pissing file of Schull ballooned to a Size 18, which had to be sent to Garda HQ and back again.

It became so notorious that even in Wolfhill, where life was grim and the living harsh, banished Gardai spoke of the legendary Shadrach Flynn with awe and admiration.

Now, I don’t know about the present day, but at one time in this republic, the Chief Superintendent used to do a tour of his fiefdom, accompanied by the Superintendent for the area, and at each visit, all the files in a station were produced to be examined.

So it was that the Chief and his entourage arrived in Schull, West Cork, to examine the files kept by the local member of an Garda Síochána. Dogs, and cattle and bicycle lights, ragwort and illicit whiskey.

Each file was initialled by the sergeant, who passed it to the inspector. He initialled it and passed it to the superintendent, who initialled it it and passed it to the chief superintendent. The chief superintendent initialled it and passed it back to the superintendent, who passed it back to the inspector, and the inspector duly passed it to the sergeant, who passed it to the Garda, who replaced it in the filing cabinet.

As the last file came out, a small frisson passed through the assembly. The chief superintendent caught the eye of the superintendent, who bypassed protocol and coughed at the sergeant.

The sergeant handed the file to the inspector, who glanced at it without initialling it, before handing it to the superintendent. The superintendent handed it to the chief without initialling it, and the chief quickly handed it back.

The inspector took it without a word and handed it to the sergeant.

Garda Shadrach Flynn reached under his desk and pulled out a battered old dustbin.

As he held the file over the dustbin, the sergeant glanced at his inspector. The inspector said nothing. He looked from the superintendent to the chief. The superintendent and the chief superintendent nodded and the sergeant released his grip.

And that was the end of the Pissing File of Schull.

  7 Responses to “The Pissing-File of Schull”

Comments (7)
  1.  

    What file?

    There is no file.

    Here’s a butterfly.

  2.  

    Good story!

  3.  

    Nicely done! Add a bank heist and/or a rom-com element, and you’ve got a workable movie script here!

  4.  

    Nice story.
    There’s a book in you yet, Bock.

  5.  

    No wonder the country is in the state it’s in when……

  6.  

    ..Nice tale…glad it had a happy ending….was worried there for a while !

  7.  

    A great story for the file.

    Nuts

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