The Kingdom of the Cavan Strawberries |2|

Last week on The Kingdom of the Cavan Strawberries, Paddy, B-Man, and Sound-Man travelled to Newgrange through one of Paddy’s mystic portals. Their task: to keep the Anti-Craic, a device capable of sucking the craic out of anything, out of the hands of Dennis O’Brain, evil billionaire. When we left the gang, B-Man had just revealed their hiding place to a large contingent of vicious lawyers patrolling Newgrange on O’Brain’s command.

“Now lads, don’t worry, I’ll get this one. Gimme those cans.” said Sound-Man.

He snatched the bag of cans from B-Man and stood up. He walked a couple of meters towards O’Brain’s onrushing minions and called out “Well lads! What’s the craic?! The boss sent me down with a few cans for ye, cos you’ve done such a great job!” The henchmen slowed down but still came onwards, slightly confused and looking to one another for reassurance. Sound-Man strode forward and began distributing the cans. Instinct took over then as they cracked open their cans and began taking sups.

“Ah lads, tis cold enough out here and I reckon it’s going to start raining any minute. Sure let’s head inside and have a bit of an auld sing-song! Be great craic” said Sound-Man walking toward the entrance to the passage tomb.

“But..” started one of the henchmen, he was wearing a small white wig and seemed to be de facto in charge, “Mr. O’Brain said he wanted us out of here as soon as possible.”

“Of course he does! But he didn’t mean straight away! Why would he send me down here with a bag a’ cans if he did?”

“Of course you’re right.” said the henchman, seeming relieved,“Let’s go lads!”

He lifted his can up in the air and grabbed an earlobe with his free hand as he led them to Newgrange’s entrance and belted out “A hungrrreeeeeeeeee feeeeeeelllllin, came o’er meeeeee steeeealinnnnnn”. The rest joined in as they followed him. Sound-Man stopped at the opening, slapping backs and giving nice, reassuring words to the passing lawyers who would all agree later that he was incredibly sound for bringing the drink but this was soured slightly as Paddy opened a wormhole underneath a huge standing stone, opened the exit wormhole over the entrance portal, and sealed them in until afternoon the next day.

The heroes reconvened beside the open back door of one of the vans.

“Looks like they were clearing up to leave anyway.” said Sound-Man looking around at the shovels, wheelbarrows and other excavation equipment spread out around them. He looked to Paddy “Do you think they found it?”

“I don’t know. But I think we have to assume they did. O’Brain doesn’t stop until he has what he wants. The question is, where did he go?”

“He’s got places all over the country and it’s not like the newspapers will report on his movements,” Sound-Man sighed. “He has a private plane ready and waiting at all times too. He could be long gone.”

They were briefly interrupted by the singing of the lawyers “Goes jinglllllle, ja-an-gllllllleeeeeeee!!”

“He’s in Cavan though.” said B-Man sheepishly. He was still quite embarrassed about the whole talking really loudly in front of the bad guys thing.

Paddy looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “How do you know that?”

“Easy.” B-Man bent down and picked up a half-eaten apple. He held it out to the other two and continued “This is a Cavan strawberry. Yeah, I know it’s an apple but trust me on this.” He paused for a second. “The father was a bit of a malophile,” he said as if that cleared anything up. “Anyways, the Cavan Strawberry is native only to Cavan. Most prevalent around Drung if I’m rememberin’ right.”

“Drung! That’s one of his hideouts alright. I don’t know if we can be guaranteed he’ll be there but it’s our only clue and I don’t think we have much time,” said Sound-Man

“We certainly don’t.” Paddy had picked up a newspaper from inside the van. It was tomorrow’s newspaper. The picture was of O’Brain in a gaudy crown and the headline read:

ALL HAIL KING DENNIS! – See inside for your €5 Coronation special petrol voucher.

“Do you know exactly where his hideout is?”

“I’ve got the address here” said Sound-Man, pulling out his phone.

“Stick the address into Maps there and put it on satellite view.” Sound-Man did so and passed the phone to Paddy. He concentrated on the screen and zoomed in and out a few times with his fingers.

“OK, here we go.” Paddy opened a wormhole and our heroes leaped through into a jungle clearing. Tall trees covered with vines surrounded the little clearing. Insects chirped and bats fluttered overhead as they got their bearings.

“So this is what Cavan looks like?” said Paddy examining a giant fern.

“Ah yeah, it’s lovely round this time of year.” answered B-Man.

“Never been up here before, can’t say I expected tropical jungle.”

“Never paid much attention in geography did you! Ha!”

“Right. Well from the map I reckon the house is that way. Let’s keep quiet and move out.”

They left the clearing and walked carefully towards O’Brain’s lair, trying to avoid snapping twigs, kicking pinecones, etc. They came upon a small pathway and continued along it, going uphill for a few minutes until they could hear some noise in the distance. They moved to crouch behind a fern at the top of a rise and O’Brain’s lair came into full view. A hundred meter tall pyramid constructed from concrete, its dull grey walls emerging monolithic from the undergrowth. The area around the pyramid had been clear-felled, a herd of lawyers, at least fifty, congregated around the only visible entrance and perched on top was a mobile phone mast.

“Jaysus, how’d he get planning permission for that?” said B-Man, quietly this time.

“Not encouraging,” said Sound-Man “I don’t think I can convince that many to head into town.”

“We’ll need to find another way in. If I had plans for the place I could drop us right in there. Even if there was just a window I could see into…”

“I’ll get rid of ‘em.”

Paddy and Sound-Man turned and faced B-Man. He was smiling manically and practically vibrating, with presumably, happiness.

“Err… How are you going to do that?” asked Paddy.

“The bees! There’s dozens of hives around here. Watch this!”

A low rumble began in the air, Paddy and Sound-Man peered back into the dense jungle to their rear. Suddenly thousands of bees zipped through then stopped, hovering in the air just a couple of paces from them. They formed into a wall, black and yellow against the trees. Almost instantaneously they changed formation, first into a tiger, then a ship and finally into the shape of a big willy.

“Impressive.” Said Sound-Man.

“Yeah, I know. I’ll chase ’em off, you two get inside and stop that big metal bastard.” He jumped up out of cover and ran straight at the herd of lawyers, many of them just waking up from nests of cash. “Come an’ hav’ a go if you fink yer hard enough!” roared B-Man as thousands upon thousands of bees flew along beside him and then crashed into the herd. The screaming started in earnest then as the lawyers were attacked by the confused and enraged bees. Confused because they had never been in communication with anything other than other bees from their own hives and enraged because those guys were planning to steal all their honey and frequently made disparaging comments about their queens. According to the guy communicating with them anyway. Luckily for B-Man, bees are very much of the act now, ask questions later mind-set.

B-Man was in the middle of the melee kicking and punching any soft looking target. The lawyers were swinging wildly, attempting to fend off their miniature attackers. Suddenly the lawyers broke and made a run for it into the jungle, screaming all the way. B-Man and his helpers pursued them in a berserk rage.

“Well” said Paddy to Sound-Man, “I guess the coast is clear.” He stood up and strode towards the entrance. Sound-Man took one last bewildered look at where the lawyers and their pursuers had disappeared into the jungle, shook his head and followed.

Next Week, in the thrilling conclusion to The Kingdom of the Cavan Strawberries: Our heroes come face-to-face with the malevolent billionaire O’Brain. Can they recapture the Anti-Craic before Ireland is rendered Craic-free like Belgium? Will B-Man come back? Or would he maybe be happier in the wilds of Cavan with his bee friends? Until next week: Adventursoriousness!

header image source: