The following text by Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey is the introduction to the German volume ‘Last Orders’, published October 2001 by Nautilus Press.
A reader, a chara,
Hot on the heels of the news of processed peace, and the return of exiles, the rumour spread like margarine on July sandwiches – McGuffin was back!
News that the fearless purveyor of "Tales from the Barricades" etc., etc., had returned, complete with pen, p.c. and access to the internet struck terror in the hearts of the mighty, the secret service, several not-so-secret agents and an unknown number of Christian Brothers, to say nothing of secret societies, the membership of which was known to the proverbial speechless dogs in the street. (All of the above were provided with hearts for the occasion at a knock down price, by a friend of a friend of Brian McArthurs, who besides tapes, perfume, dodgy fuel, and high tar cigarettes, also has a stockpile of teeth for the day of judgement, when wailing and gnashing of same will be the order of the day.)
Why should the imminent return of the gallant hero (or was he the fat bastard in the hat standing beside the gallant hero) of the revolution, be the cause of consternation in the Maiden city? It was simple – McGuffin knew a man who knew the truth – several truths in fact. Whatever else the masses chose not to know, despite the evidence swelling round their feet like manure on a fair day, they did know, could not deny, could not pretend not to know – beyond all reasonable doubt – as the judge puts it – that the truth was an even bigger bastard than the man in the hat. Now both McGuffin and the truth were to be visited upon them simultaneously. Hardly fair since they were both last seen departing Ireland’s shores from Belfast and had never been known to reside in Derry City, where as in most civilised societies the sadder sections prefer Reality as a neighbour.
Reality is a dour and distant cousin of Truth and not half as entertaining. Reality is a sucker for conformity, says his prayers, pays his taxes as he earns, informs the relevant authorities of anything unusual in the vicinity and votes social democrat. (Reality is always ‘he’ – Truth on the other and is not only a bastard but a whore of indefinable gender – not totally welcome in the land of "Sod’em ’til tomorra".)
Be that as it may, there are as many truths about the troubles as there are beaten dockets from Derry to Kerry and McGuffin’s mate Brian knows most of them!
In the time honoured tradition of rural dwellers and peasants, I keep my truths to myself and give McArthurs a wide berth, so I ignored the panic among the solid ‘city burgers’ that himself, in the manner of the imperialist eagle, had landed and roosted in Derry – that is until the missive arrived on my doorstep – an invitation from McGuffin himself to hie me hence to Derry to launch his latest works.
This second millennium Aesop had chosen me, a humble peasant to bear witness to the veracity and genius of his testimony – an honour I could not refuse (for reasons I refuse to disclose).
Having had the honour of launching the works on a highly suspect Derry audience I have no hesitation in recommending it to equally deserving Germans.
My motivation in introducing McGuffin and his works to a wider German public is purely in the interest of literature and truth. Any suggestion of revenge for certain warrants issued against my kith and kin may be discounted, as may scurrilous suggestions that this introduction is in return for your man McArthurs ‘keeping my name out of it’ and providing free, gratis and for nothing, a set of unused judgement day gnashers, when my la tiocfaifdhs.
Bernadette Mc Aliskey
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