John McCullagh January 22, 2004
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[Before reading this, please note the caveats expressed in the previous story, The Art of Storytelling]. 

I was talking of P J Brannigan.  Well, he was the great man for travelling.
He was in Crete that often he had a girlfriend there be the name of De Milo. 
She belonged to the Heraklion De Milos.
Venus, her name was. 
According to P J she was the powerful woman altogether for she invented the world’s first ever sleeveless T-Shirt.

He went to Berlin too, for it reminded him of his hero, John F Kennedy.  He made a speech there one time.  How’s this it went, now? 
Och aye, it was …’ich bin ein binliner’. 

He knew China too and developed a quare turn for the language.  He says to me one time … do you know, says he, what CHOP SUEY is Chinese for?  And of course I didn’t.  Says he, with great authority,

CHOP SUEY is Chinese for ‘number forty seven.’

While the television was still a new-fangled article in his house, he couldn’t talk about anything else.  I met him one morning on the road and he says to me, says he..
‘Were ye watching the television last night?’
‘I was,’ says I, – cause I was!
‘Had ye got it switched on?’ says he.
‘I did’, says I.  
The ladies tennis final was on.  That’s a good few years back.
‘Did ye see yar wan winning?  Wasn’t she massive altogether. 
What’s this her name was? 
Ah yes.. NAV-RAT-I-LOVA.’
‘That’s right,’ says I. ‘A quare name altogether.  NAV-RAT-I-LOVA.’
‘Aye.  And she had a first name too.  Aye.  MAR-TI-NA!’
‘MAR-TI-NA NAV-RAT-I-LOVA’, says I.
‘MAR-TI-NA NAV-RAT-ILOVA’, says he. 
‘MAR-TI-NA NAV-RAT-I-LOVA’. 
And we were hitting the name forward and back a while, like we were playing tennis too.  Then all of a sudden he stopped and looked at me.

‘Now, which one of the NAVRATILOVAS would she be?’

He was up in India one time.  Or In’ja, as he called it.  He was out on a lake fishing for pike.  With a nail gun!  And what did he do, only he put a hilty nail through the bottom of the boat.  Luckily enough he was just beside this wee island in the middle of the lake.  Aye, Woody Island, it was called.  And he managed to wade over to it.

And it was just an oul dump.  People used this island for a dump.  A hape of tin cans – and Milk of Magnesia bottles on it.  People found this very handy, for if you have a dump on an island, no one’s gonna rogue anything off it. 

He was sitting there, hoking through the rubbish heap, when he came across an aul billycan.  Ah, just an aul wreck of a billycan, all dented and blackened and that.  But he thought, ‘sure I could clean it up and take it home, and maybe get a bitta use outta it.  Keep aul bent nails or something in it.  So he spat on the billycan and gave it a rub.  And what came out only a genie.

‘I, am the Genie, of the billycan,’ says he. 

‘You have one wish!’

Wee, poor P J was caught on the hop, and all he could say was..
‘I wish I was home and dry in my bed.’

‘Now,’ says the Genie.  ‘That’s a very simple wish and I’ll make sure you’re magiced home.  But I’ll give you a wee bit of a bonus too.  You’ll be lucky for the rest of your life.’ 

And with that, the Genie disappeared into thin air. 

He was going a bit thin on the top, you see.

Then who did P J see rowing across the lake only Oweny McGovern.  And Owney says, ‘I’ll give you a lift.’  Owney hadn’t the nerve to ask him why he was sitting on the island with no boat.  Anyway he brought him home and dropped him at the bottom of the lane where he lived. 

As P J was walking up the lane, what did he see – stuck in the branch of a sally tree – only a ten pound note.  And he thought,

‘maybe that Genie was right when he told me I was going to be lucky for the rest of my life!’ 

He took the note and filed it away in he’s ar*e pocket.

… we’ll get round to the Indian Princess soon enough ! …

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