Rottweiler Soup: Darkness and Doubt
If Only the Pentagon Could Weaponize the Female Orgasm
Steve the tapeworm is being a stubborn little bastard right now. I took my third capsule last night, but there’s been no response. He’s probably just digging his hooks in deeper, dodging the niclosamide as it shoots down my intestine.
‘I don’t like the look of that’, he’s saying. ‘There’s no way I’m touching these things. I know what that fecker’s up to.’
No doubt like every other malignant entity in this country, he’s developed some resistance to society’s efforts at self-defence: our antibiotics, our anthelmintics, our antivirals. We shall have to box clever and find new ways to get rid of these enemies of the people. In my case, I’m trying to get Steve drunk as possible so that he loses the ability to hang on.
So it turns out Delia was right about the clampdown. And with a vengeance, too. I don’t just mean the clampdown on freedom of speech, on the freedom to criticise the government, which, along with the bombing at the train station is what all the papers seem to be concentrating on: speculation about the perps — speculation made ever more speculative thanks to press restrictions — prurient details about the casualties, atrocity-porn photos hidden behind a paywall, all that stuff. But on the ground, closer to home, under the radar, I hear tell of a carnival of reaction. Reports of wholesale slaughter in Clonmel, pogroms in Antrim, police riots in Ennis. As though the bomb was the retort from a starter pistol writ large. On your marks, get set, kill.
Frank’s crucifix turned up, by the way. It was on the floor of my office behind the desk. Maggie must have torn it off him in her throes of ecstasy. I hold it in my hand, toy with it, think of her clutching it, of it digging into her palm, she using that pain to delay and intensify the moment of release, the firework display in her brain. And I find I can’t restrain myself. The saddest wank I ever had.
O’Flaherty’s new identification papers and false passport have arrived, along with open airline tickets. All in order. It’s now just a matter of sticking in a photo of his ugly fizzog and getting it stamped. The documents sport the extra-special, randomly assigned, scientifically selected name that he’s going to have to carry around with him for the rest of his life: Heywood Jablomy.
The Irish Medical Board has just produced a report showing that a preparation made largely from the marrow of dogs will prolong human life by at least 20 years. The president has greeted the report with delight as a vindication of the government’s policy on shooting stray dogs, but this isn’t the first time that dubious claims have been made about the beneficial effects of canine supplements. Only two years ago, a team of gynaecologists from Queen’s University claimed that the salivary glands of puppies could be used in the treatment of a range of genito-urinary disorders. Unfortunately, the publicity campaign that followed was uninspired, and potential consumers turned their back on the products. Who, after all, is going to be seduced by the slogan ‘Help lick genital warts’? It was biggest marketing gaffe since Mattel was boycotted into bankruptcy after bringing out a children’s vibrator.
The Glenmorangie’s all but gone. I’ve been mawkishly trawling through Scotch whisky websites as a means of distraction. Here’s some fascinating information from the Strathmullen home page:
Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for more than three hundred years, but it is unlike anywhere else in Britain. Here are 30 facts you should know about the country:
Many phenomena traditionally regarded as Scottish were actually invented in England, such as the kilt, the haggis, alcoholism and domestic violence.
The Scots did, however, invent the television, the telephone and penicillin, thereby making Babestation a possibility.
They also invented tarmac, tyres and hollow pipe drainage, thereby making Top Gear a possibility.
The Clyde is the country’s longest river. It is celebrated in the national anthem, ‘Flower of Scotland’.
Famous Scottish thinkers include Adam Smith, David Hume, Alasdair MacIntyre and, of course, John Loch.
There are four different types of Scotch whisky: Single Malt, Double Malt, Blended and Hot. You can identify the so-called Hot whiskies by the word ‘Glen’, the Scottish word for ‘hot’, in their name: Glen Fiddich, Glen Farclas, Glen Campbell, Glen Dower and Glen Dimplex.
Built before the perfection of the arch, the longest Roman viaduct in the world links the Irish and North seas. Later Roman architects sarcastically referred to it as Hadrian’s Wall and the name stuck.
The Glaswegian word for a girl’s blouse is a ‘yin’.
The national animal of Scotland is the moose, a ‘wee sleekit timorous beestie’, in the words of the national poet, Maynard.
Saltire is the result of a poor Scots diet.
The sporran is named after the Scottish martyr Saint Sporran, who was hung by the goolies.
The title of the head of the Salvation Army in Scotland is the Right Reverend Captain Kirk.
Farmers in the west of Scotland who are overly fond of their sheep are known locally as ‘Arran Sweaters’.
Edinburgh was the first British city to have its own fire brigade. And Boys Brigade. Glasgow was the first to have a Red Brigade.
The correct way to serve haggis is with neaps and tatties. ‘Neaps’ and ‘Tatties’ are old Scots dialect words for breasts.
It takes 20 years to paint the Forth Railway Bridge. However, the first 10 years are spent arguing over the colour.
A spiky, poisonous and malicious plant, the thistle was traditionally used in Scotland as a mark of Cain, to stigmatise the outcast, the degenerate and the marginal. Remnants of the practice can be seen in such names as Partick Thistle, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Scottish rugby. If you see a man wearing a thistle in his lapel today, he’s probably either a Conservative or a paedophile, most likely the latter. There are more paedophiles in Scotland than Conservatives.
Football is a force that both unites and divides in Scotland. Every major conurbation has its own intense rivalry. In Edinburgh, it’s between Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian. In Dundee, it’s between Dundee and Dundee United. And in Glasgow, of course, it’s between Celtic and Partick.
People elope to Gretna Green to get married because of a loophole in the Act of Union.
There is a tradition that at 1 o’clock every day at Edinburgh Castle a Hearts manager is fired.
Temazepam is a savoury substance used to improve Scottish fruitcakes.
Scotland Yard is the home of the famous ‘sniffer’ dog, so-called because of its susceptibility to colds in Scotland’s inclement climate. Indeed, a Scottie is both a breed of dog and the type of tissue used to blow its nose.
Many cynical smart-alecks think that an ‘Edinburgh Tattoo’ refers to the track of needle marks in a heroin user’s arm. In fact, it is a colloquial nickname for a head-butt, usually accompanied by the phrase ‘Stitch that, Jimmy’.
The Scots are stereotypically depicted as mean, as exemplified by the tale of Greyfriars Bobby, a border collie who starved to death guarding his stash of bones.
The second most popular phone network in Scotland is Orange, which comes close behind TiMobile.
During the 19th century, Scottish Shortbread was confusingly sold in England as ‘Ginger Biscuits’.
A Shetland pony is £20.
The national sport of Scotland is Curly, the national hairstyle is Curly and the national chocolate bar is deep-fried Snickers.
It is a testament to the importance of literature and poetry in Scottish life that the majority of hospitals in the country have a Burns unit, named after Robert Burns. Many also have a Urology unit, named after Joan Ure and some even have a Trauma unit, named after Thomas the Rhymer.
Many people mistakenly believe that the singer Ruby Murray is Scottish. In fact, she’s an Indian.