My daughter, Keisha-Imelda, had stopped believing in coddle. This was way back in 2026. She was white in the face. I had to take her on one of the greatest jockey-back journeys of our Martian world, to try and get her believing again. If my back held out.
She’d ran into our bedroom in the middle of the night.
‘Ma, can I sleep in your room tonight? There’s strange gurgles, bumps and whinnies coming from somewhere in the house. I can’t concentrate on my thesis. Ma, Da – I think there’s a coddle in the attic. It’s gonna get me. Everybody’s afraid of coddle these days – me too. Please, can I sleep in your room?’
In university, her Economics lecturer, originally from Roscommon, but now a long term Martian with a visa, Ruperta Rope, had said that coddle was evil, filthy and a wholly unnatural act. ‘Boiling sausages? The Rasta apocalypse is upon us – again – a curse upon your melting pot.’
Up the road, Mrs. Berlin Minnie, who’d moved to Mars recently from Cavan, had likewise expostulated, ‘Keisha-Imelda, coddle is Chicken Lickin’ – the sky is falling down! Coddle makes me feel like Stephen Rea in The Crying Game when he discovered his girlfriend had testicles; decidedly unwell.’
So I jockey-backed Keisha-Imelda up and down every Martian nook and cranny. We ended up in the deepest recesses of The Ranch, in Martian Ballyfermot, twinned with the real Ballyfermot currently underwater back on earth, at The Coddle Factory stall. People milled about spooning steaming bowls of choicest coddle.
The old woman behind the counter, Connie-Wonnie, clocked her upon my jockey-back almost immediately.
‘Keisha-Imelda, why are you so white in the face? You remind me of the torture.’
‘I’m white in the face telling people why I’m white in the face, Connie-Wonnie – I’m afraid of coddle.’
‘Keisha-Imelda, remember Flavour Flav from the band Public Enemy? On YouTube? He used to wear a big clock hanging from his neck on a silver chain. Conscious rap with a message. Well, that clock wasn’t a clock at all. It was a handy Tupperware container and in it he kept some coddle for emergency purposes. For sustenance when he was on tour. He wrote a song about it. Don’t believe the hype – but eat the coddle, it was called. And if Flavour Flav likes coddle, then it’s tasty, very nutritional indeed. Not filthy, evil or unnatural.
‘Remember Tracy Emin’s unmade bed, Keisha-Imelda? She was terribly depressed. Her room strewn with her life’s debris. Beer bottles, used condoms, dirty clothes, books, pencils, paints all scattered around her unmade bed. Binocular carefully the next time you see it on the internet. Beside her bed there’s a Tupperware container with the remnants of a coddle inside.
‘How do you think Tracy managed to stand up out of her miserable unmade bed to create her magnum opus? With coddle. That’s how. Coddle gave her the strength to go on, to live, to conceptualise. Coddle creates the world in its own image. Coddle is cool as a cucumber sandwich. The importance of being earnest is the importance of contextualising coddle. Coddle is the past, the present and the future of this red planet.’
Connie-Wonnie gave Keisha-Imelda a bowl.
‘Well, what are you waiting for, young woman?’
‘I’m waiting for coddle.’
Connie-Wonnie ladled her a portion.
No longer afraid, Keisha-Imelda, spooned in.
Main Image: Donal Skehan’s Recipe for Dublin Coddle