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Cosmic Granny and the Old Days was made possible through a Project Award granted by the Arts Council of Ireland and from the help of these key people: my father Micheál Fitzgerald for his welding skills and his wise aul head, my Mom, sisters Jane & Niamh, boyfriends of sisters Darren O’Callaghan and JJ Smith. Friends and neighbours; Alan James Burns, Jenny Prahin, Dómhnal Ó Bric, Marie Moriarty, Nicholas McLachlan and Con Collins. Very special thanks to geologist Liam Ó Bharáin, the Inch Conglomerate editor Christopher Steenson, Rob Clarke for C&C cutting, Foley’s Bar Inch, Kate Kennelly Kerry Arts Officer and the Arts Council of Ireland.
Cosmic Granny and the Old Days
News has emerged that the Old Days are reportedly in a care home. A spokesperson for the Department of Changing Structures (the DCS) has stated that the Old Days can no longer live independently. Therefore, a decision has been made to institutionalise the Old Days in an unfortunate but necessary move.
Where did they go? Granny is orbiting the planet with the Old Days. Sheep become lost with the golden pig. She is a hero, a field, a tray of twelve buns, a pot stove, a post office, a hay shed. The dead man is sitting on a stone wall. Rocks tumble uphill. He is a long forgotten fight, a thief, time slowed down. Both consider becoming office plants, chairs, pieces of concrete or clutter.
The Old Days have been reported as causing disturbances to public-order, with wall sitting and other anti-social behaviour, occurring regularly along various country roads. The DCS had issued a warrant for the arrest of the Old Days, after a further incident occurred involving gazing at the sky for long periods of time for no apparent reason. The Old Days are now serving community service, teaching older people how to use online banking.
A piece of concrete is allegedly settling into the ground. It sits drying like this for one year. A second year rolls by and as the concrete dries, things start to unravel next door. The concrete hardens. It starts to develop a conscious mind of its own. It wonders about sitting here. The concrete faces the sky. Some part of it feels a bit guilty, covering potential trees and grass. Is Granny buried in the concrete? Her funeral is foggy. Mostly buns and plates of biscuits whirring around in outer space. Is it possible that someone snuck into the funeral and stole her body and laid if out under the concrete?
A woman has reportedly gone back to the funeral in the village. According to witness reports, people came from all around and talked for hours, while sitting on walls and eating cakes. On the Thursday the old post office was waked. Then the turf shed, then the hay-shed, then the little shop (which was attached to the turf shed), Then some other stuff was waked too. Over the sandwiches, she thought she saw the Old Days. She lost sight of him during the eclipse, between the rim of teacup and her mouth.
The Old Days are rumoured to be living off the M7. The Old Days are not allowed drive on the motorway. The Old People are up in arms, they demand biros and Belvedere Bond. They do not want to book their train tickets online. The Old Days is struggling to main control.
The HSE has instructed that Granny’s cupboard must be cleaned out with immediate effect. The rim around the jam jar is reported to be in a bad state, the sticky bottom of the honey jar and the soggy butter are also affected. The proteins are tangled up in clumps. The floor of the cupboard has allegedly started to spill from the bottom part of the shelf onto the top; so that the jam, the butter and the honey are now making a kind of prehistoric cake. “We did not realise this was such a precious place,” the HSE has issued in a statement. The woman’s hands are one size too small in the gloves, the bleach is blinding her. The cupboard is in the cosmos. Granny is dead, Granny is debris. Granny is orbiting the planet with cooking utensils in her hair. Granny is free. She is a hero, she is a field.
The relatives are fighting furiously. Granny has left her wall to the Old Days. The wall is the last thing left from the Old Days, therefore the Old Days should rightly inherit the wall. The wall Granny has left him is the kind found in slow spots, close to a ditch, between the place that people dump washing machines and dead lambs. The wall sits near a nice bit of slow running water (for a lovely mossy effect) with optional penny leaves at the base, followed by some tiny, tiny, little white flowers. No concrete is allowed within a twenty-five feet radius of this wall. People often had intimate relations on these kind of walls, a first fiddle, a jiggery-pokery, a spilling of fluid, a terrorists tug on the magic wand in the dark. Or secret things got stuffed inside between the stones. If CSI Miami were to investigate; pieces of plastic could be either be a collection of condoms or a mass grave for thousands of Toffee Crisps.
Following the funerals, the Woman has taken some tablets. News reports stated they numbed her head nicely. “Like someone has taken her head and put it in a nice big deep, deep freezer” she said. Right beside an old bag of frozen peas and a long forgotten lamb burger. Her head sat apparently in this darkness, with the atmosphere around her brain slowly frosting like one of those outlined mornings in January.
The wall related unrest is causing pockets of hooliganism to erupt in the village. In the morning crushed moss and cigarette butts are present at the scene. Some of the penny leaves have been kicked off by an uncaring shoe. Relatives had bought specialist equipment for looking after the wall, spray bottles for moisture and some hydroponic lights. There was talk of moving the wall indoors for its own safety. Stones were being stolen from its underside, causing the wall to become unstable.
The Old Days is filling in the inheritance form. He is not a direct relation. He is slow. The Old Days is struggling, hands with tremors cannot hold the pen anymore. The Old Days cannot find a post box and his iCloud storage is full. He is exhausted. The Old Days is under house arrest therefore he cannot claim his wall. The wall is unable to travel to him for legal reasons.
The Department have returned. They have closed up Granny’s house and confiscated the wall. “We are turning her house into a museum”, they said. The Old Days did not fill in the claim form on time. The DCS appear to have built a business out of the distraction, caused via inevitable post-funeral fighting. They are digging up the front garden, they are calling in the concrete trucks. Granny is oscillating in her grave. She is banging into Granddad as she pendulums back and forth. She is a rocking chair – Granny has never been so lively.
The Woman who is believed to be in her thirties, had some private business to attend to; small private funerals for a couple of tree houses and one for the children’s stone dam, which had been built in the local river. The Woman was last seen leaving on the Saturday at 12noon. Witnesses over the road said she didn’t cry until she reached the toll bridge, where she cried so hard, she could not see her toll money nor the horizon ahead of her.
The woman is unemployed. She will apply for a job in the museum. There is a ticket office at the front door to the left on the side where the good table is situated. She can explain sliding down the stairs and the floor polisher. There is an official looking coat stand by the unnamed piece of furniture that Granny used to keep her holy medals, miraculous medals, green cloth medals and big bulging prayer book. The woman will outline Granny’s journeys over the road to pray to something that was is not there. The biscuit tin has been put in a vitrine. They have bottled the smells and are selling them in the gift shop. Turf, apple tart, floor wax, lost kittens. The gift shop is not officially open yet. There is a rumour they will be hiring a robot instead.
A tip-top solicitor had been consulted who is a charging an arm and a leg for his services. Granny is turning in her freshly dug grave, spinning fine particles of soil with her as she moves. “There will be fines for this wall”, he said. “And taxes, there will be lots of taxes”. Granny, god love her, was not very au fait with taxes. The cost of insuring the stone wall will be astronomical, a spate of wall-related suing had led to this cost said the insurance broker. “What is the value of it?” cried the neighbours “and sorry for your loss and is it for sale?”, they added.
But Granny cannot remember anything. Grannie’s grey matter is starting to stick inside the treacle tin. She is losing it. The caster sugar and the treacle have become fossilised and she did not make them herself, she bought the buns in the shop. She is an old bat, a terrible hag. She is a goat and a ghost. She is haunting me. She is warning me in my dreams that we might soon become prehistoric. She fell off the planet. She was in arrears. She won a prize. She is working on an application, a new relationship and on herself. Should we take out a jackhammer? They are very cheap in Lidl at the moment: every person in the community could get a jackhammer and break up all the concrete.
“Please do not cover Granny in concrete” states the local community. Granny is afraid of dying. She does not like the sound of purgatory. The wall is out the back, the HSE or the DCS have obviously have not figured out where it belongs yet. They have cleaned out Granny’s back room and it is sitting there, penny-leaf-less, gappy but still holding the space. The wall was a high-rise housing estate for birds. Granny walks past the wall and a bird flies out. Her eyes peer into a tiny bird world, speckled eggs, and tiny bird eyes peer right back. In dreams the wall is a henhouse or the sea; a place to pick eggs out of straw amongst small hen shits or find shells with the heels of your feet.
The wall is starting to feel the collective age of its composition, 400 million year old stones starting to give way like old knees, rupturing into green fields, spilling like a big swollen tongue of stones onto the green grass. There is talk of the wall becoming a religious icon. The Woman sort of likes this idea. She has recently broken up with the Old Days and is meeting a patch of concrete for a coffee.
Eye witness reports state that Granny has regrets. She had meant to leave the wall to the Woman and the Woman is meaning to leave the wall for Future Child. The Woman might have regrets too, she thinks that the world is ending. Future Child too is in a kind of purgatory. She and Granny are having a conversation. Granny is considering her next move. The wall is meaning to stay with the field. It never wanted to be in a museum. It does not want to be with the Old Days either. Sometimes the wall remembers how mean the Old Days had been. He was a bastard, he was a famine, he did not believe in the internet.
If Future Child comes will she admire the Woman’s own endeavours? Or perhaps if she comes; instead of eggs, Future Child will collect stories from printers nests, consult car engines.
Future Child will hear of the turning on and off the faulty printers, the skill of updating websites, scanning groceries or booking concert tickets online. A new version of the RTÉ series Hands will depict the woman and others, undertaking now forgotten crafts to a soundtrack of post-post music in a post Europe state. The missing crafts, lost in action, unaccounted for. Wanted signs plastered up in Garda stations.