Previously on The Kingdom of the Cavan Strawberries, evil billionaire Dennis O’Brain has stolen the Anti-Craic, a device capable of removing all of the craic from Ireland, from its hiding place in Newgrange. B-Man has chased away O’Brain’s lawyers with a swarm of bees and is now assumed to be lost in the wilds of Cavan. Paddy and Sound-Man are about to enter O’Brain’s giant concrete pyramid (not a euphemism). Let’s join them…
The entrance was a gaping hole in the concrete, four meters high and at least the same width. The inside was dark and gloomy, lit only by flaming torches. They proceeded cautiously down the tunnel, following it as it first turned right, then left and then led them up a steep staircase. They emerged in a large chamber, flickering torchlight giving everything an eerie quality. At the far side of the room something shimmered in the light. They tentatively moved closer. It looked like liquid but without a container and as they came closer they could see that it was water, enough for a swimming pool, several meters high and easily ten wide. Suddenly it shot upwards in a swirling vortex and changed shape. A dinosaur-like head, two legs, four arms and a bifurcated tail formed from the swirling liquid. The water creature let out a thunderous roar, dust fell from the ceiling as the whole room shook with the deafening noise.
The two heroes retreated. “What is that!” screamed Sound-Man.
“Don’t worry about it,” replied Paddy, his back to the monster, taking a box of rollies out of his belt.
“Don’t worry about it! There’s a sixty foot tall, angry looking monster made of water over there!”
“Just ignore it.”
“Ignore it! How’m I supposed to do that.”
“Here,” Paddy handed him a rollie then began making himself another.
Sound-Man glanced back at the monster, it was staring right at them but not making a move.
Paddy passed him a lighter and they both sparked up, turning their backs to the nightmare creature.
“Just relax. Keep ignoring it.”
The monster starting making more noise but it stayed on its own side of the chamber.
“So, reckon Limerick have a chance of staying up this year?”
“What? Sure they were knocked out?”
“In the football… soccer… League of Ireland I mean.”
“Ah right. Eh, probably not no.”
“I know. Sure look, they’ve got a few new fellas now. I don’t think they’ve been playing too bad but just can’t seem to score.”
“Yeah. Did you see Damien Duff is goin’ to play for Rovers!”
“Yeah, it’s good to see. Hope it becomes a trend. Teams could do with a few big names to get the crowd in.”
Behind them the creature screamed then there was a wet plopping sound and water began to pool around their feet. The monster was gone.
“What the fuck was that?”
“Oh, that was the Ollphéist Uisce na hÉireann. Very loud, angry and annoying but it literally falls apart if you ignore it long enough.”
“Is it some kind of ancient mythological creature or did O’Brain create it or what?”
“Well actually… “ Paddy spotted something at the chambers exit. It was O’Brain. Sound-Man turned and spotted him too, they both ran straight for the atrocious, affluent android who took off running. They exited the chamber and continued, O’Brain’s robot legs outpacing them.
They ran on and upwards. At the end of one corridor O’Brain stopped at a switch on the wall and pulled it, a huge stone ball fell from the ceiling and thudded onto the floor below. The ball was perfectly proportioned to fit the corridor, only millimeters of space between it and the walls. O’Brain laughed manically as the solid sphere of death accelerated towards our heroes!
Paddy then, quickly and calmly, opened a wormhole in front of the ball and disappeared it. “Bollocks!” shouted O’Brain. He ran on upwards, our heroes in hot pursuit. Arrows flew out of the walls but Paddy sent them all through wormholes without breaking his stride. On they ran. The walls of one of the corridors started closing in to crush them. Paddy created a wormhole behind them and dropped the stone ball through it jamming the enclosing walls open.
Finally they ran up a ramp and into the uppermost chamber. An evil green glow emanated from an object on a marble plinth in the center of the room. The Anti-Craic. O’Brain picked it up and pointed it at Sound-Man. Streaks of green lightning erupted from the Anti-Craic, striking Sound-Man. The force slammed him back into the wall, his limbs contorting with pain.
“Aaaggghhh!” he screamed “A glass of red please! No chips thanks! I’m thinking of buying an Audi! Can we privatise everything now!” The Anti-Craic was working, even on Sound-Man. No one else had a chance.
Paddy lunged at O’Brain, knocking the Anti-Craic from his grip. As they struggled on the ground, Sound-Man collapsed behind them, out cold. Paddy reached out, grasped the Anti-Craic, turned and pointed it at O’Brain. Nothing happened.
“You fool!” shouted O’Brain rising up off the floor. “How can the Anti-Craic change what isn’t there! I was born with absolutely no craic in me. How else could I become so rich and powerful?” One of his strong robot arms struck out and knocked Paddy to the ground. “And now all of Ireland will be like me! No more sessions, no more fun and games, no sport to watch except Irish international football matches!”
“No!” screamed Paddy as Dennis O’Brain tore the Anti-Craic from his grip.
A low buzzing, rumbling sound came from the corridor. Both turned to look as suddenly thousands of bees erupted into the room forcing them to turn and shield themselves. Sitting in a chair made of bees, flying in the center of the swarm was B-Man.
“B-Man! Stop him!” shouted Paddy, recognising his chapter secretary/vice chairman/sports and social officer.
O’Brain turned and raised the Anti-Craic towards B-Man. A swarm of bees descended on him, he swung his arms manically trying to swat them off. More bees swarmed him, covering everything but his face.
“That’s her! That’s the evil queen!” B-Man shouted at the swarm.
O’Brain was picked up off the ground by the mass of bees. They slammed his head into the floor, then again and again until it cracked open, shards of metal exploding outwards. Something fell out. It was the jar containing O’Brain’s brain.
Paddy stood up and dusted himself off. He rushed over to Sound-Man, kneeled down and checked his breathing. He seemed alright but was knocked out cold and there was no telling how much the Anti-Craic had affected him until he woke up.
B-Man landed on the ground as the bee chair broke up, the bees dismissed back to their hives. He gave O’Brain’s jar a good kick and walked over to Paddy and their friend lying prone on the cold concrete floor.
“How is he?”
“He’s alive. But O’Brain shot him with the Anti-Craic.”
“Yeah. If it was anyone else I think they’d be a raging dickhead right now but somehow he’s managed to resist it. At least a bit.”
“What do we do now?”
Paddy groaned as he stood up. He was in his fifties after all.
“First thing, we get Sound-Man to a hospital. Then I’ll get rid of that bloody thing” he gestured to the Anti-Craic, “and we’ll drop this bugger off at the cop shop.”
“The cops! Sure, they’ll let him out tomorrow morning!”
Paddy shrugged. “Sentencing criminals isn’t our job.” He picked up the Anti-Craic and the O’Brain jar while B-Man lifted up Sound-Man. A wormhole appeared in front of B-Man. “That’ll take ya to the hospital. Make sure they don’t take off his mask yeah?”
“Course.” He paused “More interesting than our usual meetings.”
“Less drinking too.”
“We’ll head out tomorrow for a few scoops. Reckon we’ve earned it.”
“Grand so, see ya then” he disappeared through the wormhole. It collapsed once his cloak passed through.
Paddy held up the jar to his face. “Yer a real prick ya know that”. O’Brain didn’t respond.
The next morning the Gardaí found O’Brain on top of the Spire, a copy of his newspaper perched on the jar. It took five hours to get him down and another seven hours of arguing with his lawyers about wasting the emergency response unit’s time before they carted him off back to his private plane at the airport.
Back at Paddy’s house, Paddy took the Anti-Craic and put in an old plastic bag. He went to his shed and threw it into the general mess. No one would find it again.