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Archive for the tag “psychic readers”

Carnival Cop

This is an extract from Carnival Cop, the opening story of Borderlines…new book I’ve just published on Kindle


The carnival came to town in mid-August, just as the days began to shorten and school was set to reopen. They pitched in Arthur’s Field at the top of Church Street and in two days, they had merry-go rounds ready to spin. And dodgems, swinging boats and chair-o-planes too, all set to rock in a splash of gay colors. Over the entrance to the field, a big arched sign read ‘O’Driscoll’s Fantastic Carnival.’ At night it would light in red, white and blue neon.

On opening day Todd O’Driscoll fixed a loudspeaker to the roof of his jeep with bungee cords and rigged an amplifier to the onboard cassette player. He pushed a tape in the player and crept up the volume as the jeep crawled down the town. Helter-skelter céili music woke the streets and people came outside. The recorded voice of Todd announced,

Céad Míle Fáilte, fair people of this beautiful land. It is with joy and pleasure that O’Driscoll’s Fantastic Carnival has come to town again. We have thrills and rides to tickle your fancy and swing seats that go so high you can catch a glimpse of heaven. And dear friends, our bumper and dodgem cars are the latest in Chicago gangasta style, and this year we have the spectacular Jules Verne chair-o-planes, direct from Peking’s Tong Hing Park. And if that is not enough, we have a shooting gallery with nightly prizes of great value and The Gold Coast Pongo Tent where you can win jackpots of enormous size. For your entertainment we have sword swallowers and knife throwers, fortunetellers and board players. And while you’re at the carnival, enjoy Todd’s delicious popcorn and organic ice cream. So come early and avoid disappointment. The Carnival opens at 6.30 this evening and the fun just goes on and on till late.”

The music played again and Todd tweaked the volume. Children began to follow the slow jeep, echoing his announcement in gibberish. He watched them in the rearview mirror and notched up the volume again. An urchin stood on the tow bar and Todd speeded up, then braked. The urchin thumped the back window and hopped off. A few kids ran beside the vehicle, but scattered when he did a mean ‘S’ swerve.

To his surprise, a police constable stood at the bottom of Church Street, hand raised, indicating that he stop. “Shit,” he muttered, coming to a halt. He rolled down the window and was taken aback: he had never seen a policewoman here before. She was short, skinny and officious and he read her badge as she approached: Constable Stella Blute.

“Beautiful day, how can I help you?” Todd smiled.

“Turn off that sound. Did you ever hear of noise pollution?”

“I beg your pardon?”

She didn’t respond, and he stopped the racket, watching her examine the tax, insurance and other official certificates on the jeep windscreen.

“I don’t see a Public Announcement certificate displayed,” she said, “and your tax is out of date.”



The jeep was heating up and he began to sweat. An urchin urged the cop to arrest him and she ordered the kid to leave the road and go home.

“I thought everything was in order,” Todd told her, “I mean…I don’t understand it.”

“Your tax expired last December. May I have your name please?”

“Well…Thaddeus O’Driscoll. Better known as Todd.”

He smiled but she was writing and made no eye contact. She said, “Your driver’s license please.”


He took a wallet from his trousers pocket and flicked through the contents, humming as he scanned business cards, credit cards, debit cards, prayer cards, nude cards, medical cards and memorial cards, marihuana club cards.

“Gosh, constable, I don’t seem to have it with me and I could have sworn that I saw it recently.”


“No fixed abode.”

“No fixed abode?”

“None. I travel from place to place. Week here, week there.”

“Where are you residing now?”

“Mr. Arthur’s field at the top of Church Street. I’m the owner of O’Driscoll’s Fantastic Carnival and I’d be delighted if you could come along…all the rides are on me…you can ride all night for free…we’re opening tonight…that’s why I’m…you know, announcing.”

“Announcing without a permit. You need to put your house in order, sir. Please produce a current driver’s license, insurance and public address permits at the barracks within the next 72 hours. Failure to do so will result in prosecution and court appearance.”

Todd winced and looked at her with hurt eyes. “Thank you officer,” he groveled, “and please do come to the carnival…the fun is on me.”

He turned the jeep in the Square and drove back up Church Street in silence. Outside doors, people gathered in knots, speculating on what had gone down between Todd and Constable Stella Blute. She was still writing in her black notebook, standing in the middle of the road.


The carnival people lived in caravans at the back of the field, near a happy stream of fresh water. Some of the caravans were modest, others looked run-down, and a few were big and old fashioned. Todd’s was sleek: powder blue with a red lightening bolt screaming from back to front. What a fuckin’ disaster, he muttered, opening the door. His sleeping partner Izzy Swartz was making coffee. She wore a black robe with a golden dragon printed on the back.

“Hi sweetie,” she greeted, “wanna cuppa?”

“I want a drink,” he said striding to the cupboard beside the fridge.

“What’s up honey? You look upset.”

“I am upset. A cop pulled me for tax, insurance, certs, the works…”

“Oh honey! That’s horrible.”

“A lady cop if you don’t mind…a tiny little midge.”

“What’re you gonna do honey?”

Todd shook his head, poured a tumbler of cheap whiskey and drank it neat.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. Yet. She wants me to produce everything at the barracks within 3 days. She really glammed on to me, like a fucking terrier. Stopped me from announcing. A cop like her could fuck up my whole life.”

“She didn’t ask about the Hagerstown affair? Did she?”

“Don’t mention the Hagerstown business. Please. And don’t mention the shit in Dundalk either. I’ve enough on my plate.”

“What can I do to make it better for you? A little massage?”

Todd drained his glass and filled it again.

Borderlines is 3 long stories by Eddie Stack — Carnival Cop; Bonzo; One for the Rover. The stories are set in the West of Ireland. Kindle edition costs $0.99. Download here

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Biddy Early’s Magical Blue Bottle found on eBay

Regular readers of this blog will recall that Patrick Saint twittered the universe a few weeks ago, asking where was Biddy Early’s magical Blue Bottle. Glass_Bottles_BlueSadly, he received no response and we were beginning to think that all was lost as time went by. Our mind was on other things — hay, visitors, gigs, slugs in the garden. Then, out of the blue, as is the way with cosmic events, we received an email from America that perked us up. A fan of the blog relayed vital information to us: Biddy’s bottle was in the US! This fan — we’ll call her Ms. M — sent us the url of an eBay page which has the following heading:


Naturally we were intrigued and read that the eBay vendor was selling a magic ring for $500 which was described as:


Glistening Garnets and Citrines. Sterling Silver, size 8.

Fascinating! So we read further and learned:

The use of the Blue Bottle and Biddy Early’s participation in the procedure is thought to be a main ingredient in the spells! INCREDIBLE and obvious potency and is most likely the reason for the manifestations of Goddess’ Energy in visible form. If the winner of this auction is psychically sensitive, they too may experience such visual manifestations.

Wow! Then we discovered that Biddy’s one and only last descendant, a Ms. Irél Flannery has recently passed to ‘the otherside’. Apparently Irél was a great Irish Druidess, something we were not remotely aware of. Irél had the Blue Bottle and used it to cast numerous documented miracles, including the magic ring for sale on eBay. Then she died, and Biddy’s Blue Bottle came into the vendor’s possession.

Remains of Biddy Early's home, Feakle, Co. Clare

Remains of Biddy Early's home, Feakle, Co. Clare

We were flabbergasted. After all these years, after all the stories we’d heard as young lads, and all the theories about Biddy’s Bottle, all the chatter from folklorists, eccentrics and self-promoters, we’d located someone in California who has possession of the magical vessel: a lady named Anna Kikiandpops. She even had an extract from Meda Ryan’s Biddy Early book on her eBay page to show she was tuned in to the real deal. Another wow!

For Clare people, this knowledge is like learning the Fatima Secrets…Biddy’s Blue Bottle could unjinx many hexes. Just being aware of its existence alone would be a tremendous boost to the county’s hurlers…And of course any politician who had access to it could fix everything. Can’t you picture Taoiseach Brian Cowen and a few Clare stalwarts huddled around it in some dark back room…spells being cast, brandy lashed back? The recession would be over in a flash and we’d all be in clover. Again we’d have white vans zipping around on the wrong side of the road while drivers talked on cell phones. Auctioneers back on the hair gel and driving like Eddie Jordan, while builders would tear up our remaining green fields, making huge messes…speeding construction trucks driven by men with shaved heads and tattooed arms would haunt us…

We had nightmarish flashbacks of the Boom and decided no, Brian Cowen could not be privy to this info. We knew it had to be handled with the utmost care and so we passed it on the Patrick Saint via Twitter. Our allegience was to Gertie Gorm. In her capable hands, Biddy’s Blue Bottle could change the world for the better, or at the very least, Clare hurlers would win an All Ireland.

Biddy Early Country

Biddy Early Country

Patrick was upset when he called us. He was with Gertie at her cottage in Scroppal, East Clare and she was moaning in the background. He’d sent Ms. Kikiandpops an email on his yPhone asking if she had Biddy’s bottle. He got an instant responce:

Hello Paddy. Yes, we do have the Bottle. Eventually it will seek out a new owner, but not right now. If the Bottle is up for sale, it will be under very close scrutiny, and may not be public–I’m not sure how it will work, but it will be quite an event. Many Blessings Have a wonderful day. Anna Kikiandpops

“I’m afraid that Gertie is loosing it,” Patrick told us, “how are we going to get Anna Kikiandpops to sell us the bottle? And if she does decide to sell, how are we going to raise the money?”

We said that raising the money would be no hassle. A few concerts would bring in a good boodle of dosh…we could ask the Kilfenora and the Tulla Ceili bands to do a benefit in Cusack Park. Plus we’d have a few surprise guests…pull in a few favours…The Pogues would be ideal if they were around. Also, we might get Shannon Development involved, although that might be stretching it…the Clare Champion might sponsor the deal…And not to be outdone, the Clare People would come up with some scheme for us…like a treasure hunt or spot the ball. Maybe some Banner entrepreneur could set up a tour of the bottle around the county like the bishops did with St Theresa’s relics…Clare FM would want to be involved. Clare Heritage might be wary of us after the leprechaun story… An Arts Council grant could be applied for…like, they’ve funded a lot more cockeyed ideas. Really, the money was no problem.

“The main thing is,” we consoled, “Biddy’s Bottle has been located. It’s in Los Angeles. And surely Ms. Kikiandpops will sell if the price is right.”
We could hear Gertie sobbing ‘I want my bottle…I want my bottle.’ It was heart wrenching. So near and yet so far. But we were out of steam…we’d been to the Clancy Week in Miltown Malbay and before that, we’d had all the leprechaun stuff to deal with. We suggested Patrick sit tight.
“Maybe your reader’s could help,” he said desperately, “maybe Ms. Kikiandpops would be more inclined to deal with a third party…”
“Maybe,” we sighed, “we’ll mention it in the blog.”

We’re not sure if a great mystery has been solved or another one created. But woe to poor Kikiandpops if it’s a hoax, because Biddy would not like that sort of carry on done in her name. We note the following at the bottom of her web page:

Legal Stuff: Per the regulations: Paranormal objects are for entertainment purposes only. We cannot take responsibility for activity that may or may not occur in association with this item. Paranormal items are not dangerous but please handle with care and respect.

At last, here’s the link to Biddy Early’s long lost Blue Bottle: http://is.gd/1wiFU
(scroll half way down the page and mind your eyes…Ms. Kikiandpops has a spacey web designer ) And of course, Let the Bidder be aware.

Books by Eddie Stack

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photos: Mary Gaynor

Biddy Early, St. Patrick & County Clare

Clare is the only county in Ireland that St. Patrick never set a foot in. He made several attempts to enter the territory but was repelled each time by the Clare druids. In 450AD, Patrick and eighty five monks marched through Kinvara and down towards the Burren. It was in late spring and the saint was buoyed by the conversion of Galway and the establishment of a monastery at Killnalicka. There was lots of hymns and chanting but when they approached the inlet of Kylesaile, (which marks the border between Galway and Clare) the procession was struck dumb. Not a tweet. Then they couldn’t move their legs, it was like they were rooted to the ground. The tide was filling and the muted monks started to panic, Patrick waved his crozier at the heavens, but God just told him to go back north when the tide turned.

Burren Bizzare

Burren Bizzare

The following year, Patrick tried to sneak into Clare through Tubber, but again he was outdone by a barrage of huge boulders which tumbled down from the Burren. Another time he thought to cross the Shannon from Tipperary, but twelve harpers on the far bank addled his head and his flotilla was swept downstream and ended up in Fenit, Co. Kerry.

In 468, Patrick was converting souls around Gort when he heard that Oisín had returned from Tír na n-Óg. He immediately sought out the old warrior and they met near Kilbeacanty where Oisín once had a lover. Forgetting what he was told in Tír na n-Óg — that it only takes one prick to burst a bubble, Oisín fell for the Saint’s plámás and got down off his horse. Once he touched the soil of Eire, he withered into a three hundred year old briar and babbled like a river. Saint P baptised him and the poor man immediately croaked and died.

What happened next is only known to the cognoscenti of Clare folklore: Patrick commandeered the horse that Oisín had rode from Tír na n-Óg on and headed for Clare. He figured it was a magical mount and he was right. He figured the Clare druids would be no match for the animal and that in a few days he’d convert the county. He was wrong. The horse had a mind of its own, took to the sky like a bucking bronco and kept going. That was the last anyone saw of St. Patrick and the date was March 17, 468 AD. Biddy Early used say that when Pat had 1500 years or more done orbiting the earth, that he’d return to Ireland a different man. She said he’d ride back on a white mare and carry gadgerty from the stars.

Haddock's Bar & Grocery

Haddock's Bar & Grocery

These prophesies danced around the head of Gertie Gorm as she approached the stranger in Haddocks Bar and Grocery one fine Saturday evening last May (see here for story background). A half glass of whiskey in her right hand, a shopping bag in the left. She said,
“Excuse me sir, but I know the face…”
“Hello,” he greeted, “I’m Patrick.”
“Well I’m happy to meet you, and tell me by any chance, did you come to town on a white mare?”
“Bloody Hell!” he laughed, “you got me in one! Are you clairvoyant?”
“I’m Clare through and through,” Gertie said, “born and bred for ten generations and more if anyone can count back that far.”
They shook hands, Gertie’s eyes brimming with tears,
“You’re the perfect man for the job,” she whispered, “perfect.”
Mr. Haddock set up another round of whiskey and went into the kitchen, where his wife and himself and tried to eavesdrop on the conversation in the bar.

“I can’t let Biddy down,” Gertie said, “you’ll have to help me.”
“Biddy who?”
“There’s only wan Biddy — Biddy Early of course.”
“Okay, well…if there’s anything I can do, I will…I mean within the bounds of reason, time, energy and all that jazz.”
His phone flashed. A twitter from Uggi39: Ballytutu beat Castlegreen 2 – Nil.
“What d’you call that machine?” Gertie asked.
“That’s a Yphone…great workhorse, Jap job.”
“Japjob,” muttered Gertie, “Japjob. You have the right equipment.”
“Well that’s half the battle…so can you tell me what’s the job?”
Gertie looked around the empty pub and whispered in his ear. Mr. Saint looked stone faced for a few seconds and muttered “Jesus! I wouldn’t know where to start…I mean I could send out a few twitters and see what would happen.”
“Yes. Look…”
He held his phone and scrolled down to a tweet from Kayleeband: #PleaseHelp! Lost my Green Poodle in Stephens Green today. Ansers 2 Danzer. Reward.
“You can ask any question and get an answer on Twitter.”
“Twitter,” muttered Gertie.
“And if I don’t get an answer in Twitter, I just go to Google.”
“Google? You have great brains,” she praised, “I get anxious even on d’aul phone…Google and Twitter would give me the fits…”

Mr. Haddock politely ushered them from the premises when Patrick began playing saxophone notes on his Yphone. He linked Gertie Gorm towards the church. She was singing “Down by the Glenside…glory-oh, glory-oh to the bauld Fenian Men.”
He helped her up on the white mare, balanced her on the saddle.
“I live beyond in Scroppol,” she slurred, pointing west.

Mr. Saint led his mare from the car park as the worshipers washed out of the church after Saturday evening Mass. Some blessed them selves and sprinkled a double dose of holy water at the sight of Gertie Gorm on a white mare, Mr. Saint leading the horse by the bridle. They clip clopped slowly through the quiet street, Gertie smug as a raja on an elephant.

About a mile out the Scropal road there’s a bridge over the river and Gertie explained that Biddy said the first blow must be made over water. Patrick Saint halted the mare on the middle of the bridge and the animal snorted nervously. He fished the Yphone from his coat pocket, he had 4 bars of reception and he cautiously twittered: @patricksaint anybody know where’s Biddy Early’s magic blue bottle? #Ireland, #Irish, #Clare #BiddyEarly, #folkmedicine, #magic.

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The road to Lisdoonvarna, Doolin and the Aran Islands


It’s strange how sometimes you’re thinking about somebody you haven’t seen for ages and then suddenly you meet them. It happened to me recently in Ennis. I was having a cup of coffee with my friend Seán and we were reminiscing about Doolin and the people who hung around there back in the the good ol’ days. Seán said,
“Come ‘ere, have you seen Molly Dolan at all? I wonder is she still around?”
I hadn’t laid eyes on Molly for years. She was a Cork lady, came to the Lisdoonvarna Festival the year Emmylou played and never went home. Molly did a bit of fortune telling at the Cliffs of Moher, read palms, Tarot cards and that sort of thing. She was goodlooking, long dark hair, parted in the middle, wore ankle length dresses and occasionally played the whistle.
“Molly was a great character, ” I said, “I wonder what ever became of her.”

A few hours later, just beyond the Maid of Erin roundabout, on my way to North Clare, there was Molly, standing like an apparition, in hippy dress and colorful pathwork bag. I stopped and she ran to the car. When she recognised me she cried,
“I don’t believe it! Hello stranger! How’ve you been?”
“I was only thinkin’ about you a while ago,” I said, “where you goin’?”
“Kilfenora..and where you hittin to? Doolin I s’pose.”
“That’s the plan…I was half thinkin about goin out to Aran.”
“Jesus I’d love to go with you…I haven’t been in Aran for years..and it’s a right day for it…”
“Why don’t you come?”
“I have to work tonight…”
“In Kilfenora?”
“Not exactly…I’m doin’ telephone work.”
She wagged her mobile phone and said,
“I got this great job with a psychic helpline…I get a euro a minute.”
“Yeah, I’m at it for a few months and have loads of regulars…they all want to talk to Molly!”
“You were always a popular girl…”
“Stop will you!”

I slowed down to turn off for Corofin and Molly told me how unsettled the country was, according to her callers.
“Like, there’s an awful lot of unhappy people out there. Some have huge debts and others have loads of money and tons of trouble. It’s no known to god all the marriages that are on the rocks. People are very lonely…most of them only call me to talk about their problems.”
“And where are these craturs from? Are they local?”
“They’re from all over…I have a few local clients too…I think they’re local…I don’t ask…but one woman definitely is.”
“And what’s her problem? Or is it confidential?”
“Do you mind if I smoke?”
“Not at all.”
Molly rolled a fag as we passed Toonagh, let down the window and lit up.
“Well, this woman is in love with a priest.”
“Jesus! You’re not serious?”
“Totally. He’s one of these trendy hip padres…champagne set type…into horse racing and all that goes with it…he’s much younger than her…she’s in her early fifties…and he keeps ignoring her and telling her to go away but she really believes that he loves her too and that he’s just playing hard to get…so she get all these face jobs done…you know, botox, stuff done to her lips…new hairdos…and of course she’s married. Married her first love…apparently he’s very abusive and he’s playing around… having it off with someone else’s wife…”
“My God..”
“There’s lots of that goin’ on…and not just in towns and cities..in the countryside too. But anyway, this woman began stalking the priest…turning up at services he’d be doin’…funerals, christenings…you name it. And d’you know what she did last week?”
“She went to confessions to him and told him.”
“Told him she was in love with him?”
“Yeah. And a lot more too. Her fantasies and stuff.”
“And what did he say?”
“He gave her two decades of the rosary and she fecked him out of it and wouldn’t leave the confession box.”
“And what happened then?”
“He left..disappeared…and hasn’t been seen since and she’s completely up the walls…she spent an hour talking to me last night.”

Molly rolled another cigarette as we crawled through Corofin and we recalled the great sessions that used be in Morgans and Cahers. I reminded her of the night we went to a party in the cottages but she had no memory of the night. Just as well…

“I’d go to Aran with you,” she said dreamily, “if I thought I’d have good reception for the mobile…I’ve a regular client calling at 9 tonight and I promised him I’d take his call. Dick. He’s a lovely.”
“Yeah, poor Dick. He’s a dwarf…he’s down south somewhere. He lives with his sisters and they treat him like shit. He’s very small…I mean tiny! Three foot something and he’s 42 or 43 years old. He loves U2 and dreams of working for them. You should hear him mimic Bono! Jesus, he’s a laugh. But anyway, the sisters are real mean to him…make him sleep in a cot and sit on a high chair at the table. Every weekend they go on the razz and then bring people back from the pub and have a party. Dick hates the weekends. The sisters get him up out of the cot and make him sing U2 songs for the drunks…terrible carry on. They make him drink whiskey and everything. One time they gave him poteen and he went demented, started biting them so they tied him up with a clothes line! And the poor guy asked me if it was wrong to think they were mean. Can you imagine! I’ve told him time and time again to call the Samaritans but he won’t. Says he prefers talking to me.”

We passed through Kilnaboy and I heard how Dick had joined an online dating site for short people but failed to find love. He also put an ad in a freak’s magazine and received several queries from carnivals and one from a circus in the Ukraine which he was very tempted to take. But he was afraid to run away, Molly said.
“He couldn’t see the cage door was open and that he could go.”
“And where’s he at now…like, how’s he doin?”
“Well apart from the sisters, he’s ok. He keeps writing to Bono but never hears back, which is sad. He actually composed a song and thought Bono and himself might do a duet. He sent him a tape of it but again, no response. But really, it wasn’t very good..terrible actually…he sang it over the phone for me. And Dick can’t sing…it was shaggin’ awful…and it was all about loving a woman he saw on the bus…Poor Dick…I had to say it was great. You know, I just couldn’t tell him it was shite.”
“Poor guy…but I s’pose it’s good for him to have some way to express his feelings…”
“Yeah, that’s what I said too and then last week he told me he’s thinking of making a CD of his songs…and I cringed. I mean what can you say? Poor Dick.”
I nodded. There wasn’t much you could say.

We passed Leminagh and the Kilfenora Mart and Molly rolled another cigarette. The sun was shining and swallows danced in the sky. I slowed down behind a convoy of green tractors barrelling off to make silage, yellow lights flashing urgently.
“Jesus,” she quietly, “the more I think of it, the more I’m inclined to go to Aran with you. Like, I’m not looking forward to listening to Dick singing his latest compositions…but I promised him.”

For the rest of the journey she was silent. I was hoping she’d change her mind and come to Aran. She sighed sadly as we entered the village and rooted in her bag. I pulled up outside Nagles and she gave me her business card — Molly Dolan, Psychic.
“Ok darling,” she said, leaning over to kiss my cheek, “just text me the next time you’re goin’ to Aran and maybe I’ll be able to go.”
“Sure,” I said, gave her a hug.

I swung the car towards Lisdoonvarna, Doolin and the Aran Islands as Molly’s business card glowed on the dashboard.


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