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An Turas Fada – Part I

An Turas Fada – Tony Kennedy re-adapts the classic tale of The Odyssey in through Irish Joycean tradition.  This is the first chapter of Mikey’s Long Journey

Mikey opened one eye first as he slowly emerged from the temporary solace of sleep.
His arm reaches towards the old kitchen chair that passes for a night stand. His hand
playing the archaeologist sifting through the detritus that is his life. He felt the lighter,
his tea light holder, his syringe and the tiny plastic bag. Panic set in as he felt the
emptiness of the bag. Sitting straight up, Mikey could feel his heart attempt to escape
his chest. Frantic, Mikey groped the wreckage of that chair in search of what he calls his
ambrosia. He looked on the floor beside the chair, he looked under the chair, he used his
bare hands to eviscerate the thin cheap foam. Nothing.

Where is it for fuck sake? I cannot believe this is happening right now, I’m after looking
everywhere in this kip, and its nowhere. Who was here last night? What treasonous cur
would offend the decency of my hospitality by stealing? It is an affront, nothing more, a
sheer affront. Who was here though? WHY CANT I REMEMBER? What am I gonna do? I
have to go. I have to go.

Mikey slept a Dublin jersey that has not seen the inside of a washing machine in weeks,
pulls on his black tracksuit bottoms with the hole in the inseam. No time for socks as
Mikey violates his runners with his feet. He checks the pockets of bottoms and finds €5.
This slightly tempers his angst, as the herculean task of making €20 out of nothing
becomes slightly easier. He takes a quick look in the mirror against his better
judgement. Looking back at him is an image that used to scare him, but is now scared
because it no longer scares him. Mikey has seen better days, he knows this, but what
can he do about that when the raw physical need rises in the pit of his stomach every
day? Already his nose is running.

Just calm down, Im gonna kill whoever took the ambrosia, my ambrosia. But without
ambrosia, the only death will be me, a thousand times. l have to see Mr. Stone in town,
he’ll go mental if I ring his bell before 12. Fuck him, he is a businessman, and his business
is one that does not allow those who consume to take such a laissez-fare approach.
Indeed it provokes an insatiable desire, concerned not with the temporal limitations of
convention, so good enough for him. But still, without Matthew, Mark and Luke- people
may not have taken Johns word for it, nor will Mr.Stone take €5 on the promise of another
three to come.

Mikey pushed his shoulder at the plank of wood that replaced what was once a door,
and squeezed out of his lare. He calls it a lare because that word carries with it an
implication of planning. People purposely build lares to plot and scheme. But in reality
Mikey found himself in his lare in Dolphins Barn by accident and base necessity. Having fractured his girlfriends arm in a heated row over money, he couldn’t bare it. He knew he
had to leave. Partly due to guilt to be sure, but also partly because he knew he was
capable of doing it again. He kind of liked the weird sensation of power he felt, but was
also disgusted. He was better than that. When he has ambrosia coursing through his
soul, it is like he is possessed by Eros himself. But Mikey is a warrior, fully committed to
the ruthless pursuit, get in his way, friend or foe, Mikey is going to war.

The first thing Mikey notices as he steps onto the landing is that is an oppressively cold
day, or at least feels that way in a torn Dublin jersey. Regardless, he has no time to worry
about the weather. He barrels down the stairs, jumping halfway on each flight. As he
leaves the block he pulls the collars of his jersey high up and starts to walk briskly out
onto the main street.

Think, Mikey think. How am I going to get the money? I need it now. Nah, I cant do that,
though it would be fairly easy. All I’d have to do is walk up and grab it. It will be over in a
second, nobody will be hurt really and its the quickest way to get the money. I’ve done it
before though, and I kept seeing her face afterwards. She was really shaken up. But still
though, how bad is it really? I’m just gonna run up grab the bag and I’m gonzo. She’ll get
over it in a day or two, not even, probably in a few hours, its just one of those things isn’t
it? What if she needs it though? Right, if I do it, I will look for someone who doesn’t really
need it. I NEED it. Its already 9:30 and I usually have reached Mount Olympus by 9, now I
fear that Hades has put out the welcome mat, and I am not visiting. – Oh look at that, a
student, a wide eyed scholar at the bus stop and he has left his bag on the ground beside
him, because he’s trying to warm his hands. A sign from Tyche herself. A scholar, a man
of words, well schooled no doubt. Yet one must cast aspersions, as a matter of necessity,
on the young man’s education. For one who cannot muster enough nous to hold onto a
bag whilst travelling through the purgatory of the inner city, surely will not be able to come
to terms with the bairds, sages, and philosophers that birth the Western Cannon. In many
ways my present intention shall serve the young squire well. An important lesson; that
treasures which remain unguarded are easy parted from their owners. Sure property is
theft as the red beards would say. And they are right, that young scholars property in my
possession would indeed be theft. There is bound to be a laptop I can sell quick, or a
phone.Right Michael, fortune favors the bold.

Mikey deliberately slowed his pace as he reached the bus stop. He stands at the stop
for a moment, planning. Like a cheetah he slowly moves himself into prime position
without his potential victim noticing. He estimates that if he snatches the bag and runs
into the flats, either the guy will lose him in the warren like layout, or which is more likely,he will be afraid to follow Mikey into the flats. He’ll call the guards for sure, but even if
they come from nearby Sundrive Station he and the stolen bag will be long gone.

Michael grabs the bag and starts to run, hopping over gate by the bus stop and running
as fast as he could towards the structural maze that is the flats. He gets to the first
block and hides behind the wall. Slowly peering out and back up to see if the guy is in
pursuit. He cannot see him. He heard him scream after him to be sure, but no sign now.
Where did he go. I have that uneasy feeling of unwarranted calm. It should have been
harder than this. One in my position cannot afford the unearned intrusion of peace of
mind. What was that accent? It certainly wasn’t from the brutal environs that gave rise to
the warrior code. A more genteel expression to be sure. Perhaps to him “hey!” counts as a
command. Perhaps he is so used to the mild mannered meandering milquetoast
matchups that passes for conflict among the Trinity set, that when I refused to
acknowledge such, he was stunted by his the reality of his impotence. For a man cannot
be a man if his tools of negotiation are not compatible with the situation he finds himself.
Dare I say, that my trespass against him will have little to do with loss of property, and
everything to do with loss of self. I wonder whats inside. I can hear from here, the
beautiful cry reveal and recognize, for what is inside can allay a mans want.

When he felt the coast was clear, Mikey went into the hall of an adjoining and empty
block, defiantly pausing and shaking his head at how miserable the building seemed. He
opened the bag and found nothing more than books. At this point the panic started to
rise in Mikey. He furiously emptied the books out upon the hall floor, and confirmed just
that fact, that the value offered by the contents of the bag, -and Mikey knew the books
were of value- had no real value, because those with whom shared Mikey’s marketplace,
had no use for learning. However, Mikey’s luck changed when he check the auxiliary pockets of the back. In onepocket, he found €50 and in another, he found prescription painkillers. The good kind.
The kind that fortifies a young hero when ambrosia is hard to find.


Fuck that, how many is there? 2, 4, 6. eh 10. Down the hatch one and all.
Mikey sits for a while, allowing the magic to happen, he sits patiently allowing his mind,
his soul, his entireness to be consumed by Eirene. And sure enough, his soul
transmigrates to Plato’s truth.

All that is good emanates from the good, an ideal, perfection, willful inertia. Evil is not a
thing, for evil is a state of distance from the good. How can something so good, be
labelled as evil?

His addled fumbling philosophy reminds him that he loves books. That the frenzied way
he cast them aside, rendering them barriers, was only a temporary lapse, like with
Leanne and her fractured arm. He caringly pulls the books together, noting that they are
academic law books, piles them neatly and puts them back into the bag. He loves
books, and he loves Leanne. But he loves ambrosia more.



Photos by Stephen Davis

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