Kicking my Mother in the Head- Camillus John

As the pyjama girl, Berlin Minnie, walked out the door of her number seven Janey Macken Street family residence of an early Saturday morning, she could detect the stale smell of barristers in the air almost immediately.

It was trying to infect the fabric of the pyjamas that her brother, P.J. Tips, had ironed for her earlier that morning, in order to be pristine and cuttingedge for her avant-garde poetry meeting in the Community Shack down the road. It used to be a hall, but now it was a shack due to the recession.

She turned the corner and smack face; Bernard and Martina Barrister were right there.

-You’re a scumbag! Get off the streets and change. You offend me.

-I just need to get by madam, please.

-You’re a lazy dole-sponging scrounger. Take those pyjamas off or we’ll do it for you over there in that park!

-I can’t, I’m late for a poetry recital in The Shack. Please!

-Who gave you permission for that?

-I didn’t know I needed permission from barristers to recite poetry. I’ll get it next time madam, I swear. Please! I’m reading Ginsberg’s “Howl” today.

-Ginsberg! You’re nothing but a whore. Your type has caused this whole recession. You make me sick. Hold her Bernard.

-Please let me go. I’m begging you.

-We own most of the houses in Ballyfermot now, little Miss Pyjamas, so we run things. Do you hear?

-Look at that crease on my trouser there, Miss Scum. You could slice turnips on it. Those smiling sun pyjamas should never have seen the light of day.

 

Martina Barrister chest-puffed closer to her and poured a can of Dutch Gold lager down the front of Berlin Minnie’s pyjamas and then punched her in the gut.

-Please! I’ll ask next time. I swear!

-Punks. Good for nothing punks ye are!

-Punks? Berlin Minnie said, standing up plank straight. Yes, we’re punks. I am punk. More punk than punk itself.

-Junky!

-You’re middle class, you’ll never understand. The most avant-garde statement of the past two hundred years and you see nothing.

-Lazy bastard!

-I’m bigger than Duchamp’s urinal I am.

-Pyjamas? You’re fucking joking.

-Yes, pyjamas outdoors. I’m getting a bigger and better reaction than the first punks got on the King’s Road in London. Junkies. Scumbags. Lazy scroungers. Like Duchamp. Like Stockhausen. Like Dada. Like Punk. Me! Me! And me again!

-You’ve slept in those pyjamas like an animal.

-All jaws to the floor when I wear my pyjamas outdoors. It’s so shock. It’s that immense. Up there with punk. I am urinal!

 

A bell sounded.

 

-Martina, quick! To the tribunal! pleaded Bernard.

-You’re lucky Missy. If there wasn’t money to be robbed in that court down the road, you’d be dead now and lying naked in the park.

-No. I think I’ll read my own poem today and scrap Ginsberg. Actually.

-Stop talking about poetry – you’re not allowed poetry – that’s for us. Bitch!

 

Martina punched Berlin Minnie’s gut once again and bounced her feet off her ribcage for about two minutes. But it didn’t keep her down for long.

 

-It’s probably not poetry at all. It’s probably rap, said Martina slightly foaming.

-Chocolate Charlie is playing today in The Shack. He’s the chocolate poet of Landon Road. He writes all his words down with a chocolate pencil. Recites them. And then licks his notebook clean afterwards. Thus, eating his own words every time. He has no ego. And this makes sure that that doesn’t change.

-You bitch!

-My name is Berlin Minnie, not bitch.

 

A bell sounded even louder.

 

-Martina come on! Time is money. Ding-a-ling-a-ding-ling-ling!

-We’ll be back with switchblades later – and accountants.

-Chocolate Charlie has no ego but he teaches people how to swagger. Like Noel and Liam Gallagher. Conor McGregor.

-Bernard, she wants to swagger now. I’m getting sick. Bernard just one kick please, I’m begging you? In the balls!

-No. We’re going, Martina. Into the fucking car outside – come on! Ding-a-ling-a-ding-ling-ling!

 

Holding onto their white wigs, the barristers ran towards their awaiting car and drove away towards the money.

 

-Ladies and gentlemen, my poem.

 

Berlin Minnie bowed and walked towards the door labelled, ‘The Shack,’ for the poetry recital at the back.

 

An imaginary curtain fell. Like the night.

*

When she got the nod from Charlie she went up to the lectern with the people she had arranged to perform her poem with. Cleared her throat. The barrister bruises from earlier twinged and throbbed, but she carried on nevertheless.

 

-This poem is called Barking. Interior – a room in a Pigeon Club on a Wednesday evening at approximately 7.30 p.m. It’s a Coping-With-Austerity-And-Poverty-And-Homelessness Creative Writing class. Twelve people or so sit around a few tables. They are close enough to chat. Tom and Dick to be spoken deadpan and Henrietta hammed-up.

 

Barking

The Author: This first piece is called Capitalism.

Tom: Woof

Dick: Woof

Henrietta: Shut up!

Tom: Woof

Dick: Woof

Henrietta: Shut up!

Tom: Woof

Dick: Woof

Henrietta: Shut up!

Tom: Woof

Dick: Woof

Henrietta: Shut up!
The Author: And the next piece is called Communism.

Tom: Miaow

Dick: Miaow

Henrietta: Shut up!

Tom: Miaow

Dick: Miaow

Henrietta: Shut up!

Tom: Miaow

Dick: Miaow

Henrietta: Shut up!

Tom: Miaow

Dick: Miaow

Henrietta: Shut up!

The Author: I’m working on the Nordic economic model for next week.

By the way – does anyone know how to spell moo?

*

As Berlin Minnie passed the snooker tables on her way out after the poetry recital, Toni Thursday, a woman she knew to see from around the scheme, with two tough-looking female security guards behind her, marched, armsswinging, up to her.

-Berlin Minnie, I know it was you who violently kicked my mother in the head yesterday morning with your big size twelve, cherryred, steel-capped Doctor Marten boots.

-And you are?

-Toni Thursday.

-But it’s a Tuesday.

-Even on a Tuesday, my name’s still Toni Thursday. Did you kick my mother in the head?

-Yes, I did.

-So you admit it.

-Of course.

-Why?

-Plankton.

-What?

-I said plankton.

-What?

-The Fulmar is a bird of the open sea, and it eats plankton. As a result, it can spit for over a metre in length at its predators. I figure, if I eat enough plankton, I’ll be able to kick your mother in the head for longer, harder and faster. For next month’s competition like. The only downside is that my breath will become very oily and pungent.

-Arrest her now women. She’s admitted to kicking my mother in the head. You all heard her.

-Hold your horses Toni. It’s all perfectly legal. In fact, it might be compulsory. Read this letter first before doing anything,Tone. Right? It might just save your life.

 

Toni Thursday read aloud from the proffered letter.

 

-Dear Berlin Minnie, all under-utilised resources in the country must be used to their fullest capacity from now on in, and in particular, unemployed Irish mothers.Toni Thursday’s mother has now been officially interned to the 2017, “Kicking Toni Thursday’s Mother In The Head Competition,” where she’ll have to wear a safety helmet with yellow elbowpads, keep a leg-speed measuring device at all times in her handbag, and be kicked in the head for fifty hours a week by you, Berlin Minnie, and a handpicked team of headkickers as per the new memorandum of understanding, commencing January 2017. Please see attached for further information. Signed, The Government.

-Hold it women. This letter looks official. It’s got a Troika rubber stamp.

-Did she not tell you Toni? said Berlin.

-No, she never said a word.

-Probably ashamed of the work that’s all. She’ll come round in a week or so. I know how she feels Tone. When I started at the Donut Factory I was too ashamed to tell people where I worked for weeks, months even. It was as if I’d failed miserably in life. The job with the hole. I came around though, eventually. In the end like. Your mother will too Tone. Don’t worry about it.

-We can’t arrest you Berlin, that’s boxed off. We know that now. But it’s a morally repugnant act. How can you kick my mother in the head and sleep soundly?

-I told you Tone. It’s in the agreement. It’s allowed. I have to do it, you’ve seen the letter. I sleep like a baby. Look at this printout from her handbag, I’m not even in the first half of the league table. I’m not doing great at the moment.

 

Berlin passed the printout over to Toni.

 

-You’re right there.

-My leg speed was a paltry sixty kph.Your Ma’s advice to me afterwards was to get my Docs resoled. And adjust my stance a little more to the right. The leader’s was one hundred and eighty kph. Treble top.

-I can see that. What if your kick misses her helmet completely and hits her face?

-It won’t. Anyway, it will only stun her for a minute, blood and mucus, a little headache perchance. That’s all. There’s no other way Tone. The country needs the pain. A little teeth loss, that’s all. Look at the league table.

 

Toni perused the printout.

 

-That’s Black Eyed Susan from down the road Berlin! She’s in third place. She’s a kick-speed of 150! There isn’t much in it now. At the top of the league table like.

-You‘d be faster Toni. Why not have a go yourself? I’ve application forms in the bag.

-My own mother?

-You lose yourself in the technique and the physical preparation. It’s the perfect meditation. You won’t even be able to make out her face after your first kick, you’ll be so in the moment. Go on Toni, kick your mother in the head and compete for the league championship. It’s your duty – your fiduciary and patriotic duty. You know it makes sense. Nice poem today, by the way.

 

Berlin handed Toni a kick-measuring device from her knapsack.

 

-Your country really needs you.

-Mind you, I was always fast at school. I won medals. And it is for her own good, you say –

-Here’s some polish for your Docs, Toni.

-Look, it’s just measured my neck-chop speed at 80! And I wasn’t even trying. Are we allowed to neck-chop her as well?

-Not sure, but I’ll ask the question to the higher-ups. She can wear a neckbrace for protection – and a groinguard too, if you want to go down that route like. No problems Tone.

-No. No. No. The kick is obviously the superior artform Berlin. It tests your skill better. I can see that now.

-Come on then, and we’ll discuss the bones of this large over there in the lounge. They do a very nice plate of plankton.

 

They walked off towards the lounge with Berlin Minnie’s arm around Toni Thursday’s shoulder, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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