It all began with Garth Brooks. Just one man- Troyal Garth Brooks, born in Oklahoma in 1962, a Country Western singer by trade. He was the cause of all the trouble. It was HIM!

Or was it?

Was it Troyal Garth Brooks’ fault?

After all, it wasn’t he who decided to sell tickets for five concerts, six months before a licence would be granted.

And when the licence wasn’t granted for two of the five concerts…..

To Bill, the rest was history. He had heard it a million and one times, the story of how Brooks had caused all the trouble. How he was caused THIS.

It was a Wednesday morning, November of 2014. Bill’s skin tingled with the cold as he clutched onto the wooden beam, hanging as he was from the ceiling of the bank. He heard a sudden buzzing in his earpiece: “Bill. I’m in.”

He breathed a sigh of relief. She was in. The alarm had been switched off. Bill let go of the beam and fell the short distance to the ground. He ran around the corner towards the safe and, in the darkness, right headfirst into Mia.


Mia pulled the earpiece out of her left ear. “It took me about 20 seconds. The system here is, like, laughably shit.”

As she spoke to Bill, she pulled off the pair of blue latex gloves she had worn to keep her fingerprints from getting on the alarm keypad.

Bill grabbed her hand and they ran into the safe room.

Ten minutes later, after they had opened the safe and taken over ten thousand euros in cash, they drove home.

Ripped posters of Garth Brooks adorned the buildings on either signs of the road, reminders of a time when Ireland still had hope.

The homelessness rate had gone up by over 4000%, and it was obvious.

Joan Burton’s appointment as Tánaiste hadn’t helped either.

But it was Brooks’ fault.

Garth Brooks. The name rolled off the tongue in a sickly manner.

The man. The fat man. The American. The singer.

Garth Brooks.

And who was even going?

Who were the 20% who had bought tickets?

Where had they been when the government fell, and where the fuck were they now?

Bill and Mia were luckier than most. They had skills to help them survive, and they were healthy. Their friends and family hadn’t been so lucky. When Garth had abandoned the country, many had fled to the oceans, the seas, the rivers. Desperate for hope, for life, for something… more.

This wasn’t the end. The end was yet to come. This was only the beginning.


To be published anonymously

After reading a disused copy of the RTE Guide Christmas issue cover-to-cover and realising that there really was nothing good on TV over the holiday period, Claude decided to pay a visit to his old friend Phil.

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  2 Samuel 22:33

Claude had spent the year writing a list of topics he wanted to discuss with Claude, and there were over 900 items on the scrunched-up page. However, more than any other topic, what Claude wanted to ask Phil about was “puppets”.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!  Isaiah 30:18


Claude: Puppets. Why?

Phil: For children, my son! To entertain the children as they prepare to enter the real world!

Claude: But… why puppets?

Phil: My son, when you look at puppets and try to understand their purpose, you should not think “why” but “who?”

Claude: Who is performing as the puppet?

Phil: No! Who is questioning the puppet’s purpose.

Claude: Me! I’m questioning it and I shall continue to until I am given a definitive reason for the purpose of puppets!

Phil: What puppets are you referring to? The creations of the Jim Henson Company, or something scarier?

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet

you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17


Claude: All puppets! It seems so illogical that a terrifying painted doll controlled by a human hand should be widely considered a legitimate form of entertainment!

Phil: My son, think of all the other things in this world that are considered “legitimate forms of entertainment”- endless videos of people having sexual intercourse, interactive videos where, using an electronic button-pad, disturbed youth murder animated characters. When you think about it for as long as I have, puppets don’t seem so strange- do they?

Claude: I suppose not. Phil, have you ever found enjoyment from puppets?

Phil: You could say so. I have lived so many years, all new forms of entertainment have darkened my doorway, and puppets has undoubtedly been one of them!

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31


Claude: I may return to the topic of puppets later, but first i’d like to ask you about “comfort”. Why does comfort exist. Surely everyone should be pre-programmed to want to explore the enormous planet, not stay under a roof watching badly-acted soap operas and eating the same disgusting packet of biscuits.

Phil: There isn’t enough room for people to explore- you of all people should know that!

Claude: But if people explored and didn’t stay in the same place, we could all take turns using houses, and I wouldn’t have to sleep at a bus shelter every night!

Phil: Luck. You lost out when it came to luck, my son. Luck of the draw- that’s all it is!

Claude: What about money? Why do we need an economy? Can’t we just work in return for the products of other people’s work? Can’t I host a radio show to entertain the banana growers who will, in return, send me some bananas. Can’t I build houses for the toilet paper manufacturers? Why does dirty cash always get in the way?

Phil: My son…


Phil: This I cannot do…

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  Psalm 145:8


The Life of The Distributor of Rice In The Local Food Centre

“Here you go” said the barista as he handed Dave his coffee. “See you tomorrow!” Dave took the steaming hot coffee and walked out onto the street. He was pushed forward by the oncoming sea of people walking to their jobs, all wearing identical grey suits. His job was Distributor of Rice in the local food centre. He was in charge of making sure each resident of his sector was given the same amount of rice every week, and was also responsible for importing the rice from the farms. He had been allocated the job randomly at birth, and if he decided to stop working for any reason other than health or personal issues, he would be banished to the countryside regions where the lazy and arrogant people lived alone, hungry and ill.

Dave filed into the rice building, which lay between the Carrot and Mathematics Book buildings, and said a friendly hello to his co-workers as he passed them. A television screen on the wall was broadcasting a black image, as there was no news today. There was rarely news on television, as there was never any conflict or war, murder or suicide. There was no sport, as it would have been considered unfair for sportpeople to receive certain privilages, and there were no musicians, film stars or authors who received money for their work- they may have been well known, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell from looking at their lifestyle. They worked just like anyone else. Everyone over the age of 18 worked in their assigned job for a fair number of hours, and then returned to their equally sized, comfortable homes to their spouse (also working for an equal number of hours) and their two children- one boy and one girl. There were an equal number of men and women, for it would have been difficult to fairly assign jobs otherwise. In couples of a man and woman, the woman would give birth to these children, and in a same-sex couple, or one where the mother or father were unable to have children, another mother would be allowed to have an extra child to give to this couple. This was, of course, absolutely voluntary.

If someone needed something for their work, it would be provided by whoever’s job it was to make such an item. If someone wanted something more trivial for their resting time, it would come out of their lifetime allowance of luxuries, which was of course the same for every human.

Dave sat down at his desk and spent nine hours doing work. He then packed his things and along with every other working human, shuffled out of the building and made his way home, to the sound of no alarms and no screaming- just peace and quiet. When Dave died, he would be buried beneath his home, which would be passed on to his children, and their children.

Timmy Dies

Timmy sat up in his coffin.

There was a very big fire above him.

He jumped out of his coffin.

This happened daily.

Today, Timmy didn’t survive.



Personal Development

The class had lined up outside the classroom. It was just after three o’clock on a Thursday, and they were tired and hungry, desperate to go home. Stephen was chatting to his friend Ben about the evening’s homework when he felt something pushing against his left leg. He looked down and saw a very small child looking up at him. Arrogant and fed up, Stephen asked quite rudely “Who on Earth are you?”

“I’m Joseph” replied the strange boy in a shockingly high-pitched voice. “I don’t go to this school all the time. I go to all the Personal Development classes in the city throughout the day, ’cause my therapist said to my Mommy that I need more Personal Development really bad. I cycle from school to school and attend the classes. I always sit at the back, so you might not have noticed me before.” Just then, the teacher arrived and unlocked the classroom door, and the kids flowed in. Stephen turned back towards Ben and left Joseph alone behind him.

Halfway through the class, Stephen turned around and saw Joseph at the very back of the room. His head was jutted forward and he was scribbling away in his small notebook what the teacher was writing on the board.

As the class ended, Joseph was the last to leave. He made sure he had all the homework written down before standing up and skittering out the door. However, Stephen and Ben were waiting outside for him. Ben tripped him, and the small boy went flying on the floor. Stephen proceeded to rustle in Joseph’s back pocket, and take out a neatly wrapped bunch of €20 notes. “A-ha! Got you!” shouted Ben, just as the teacher was leaving the classroom behind them. “Boys, what are you doing?”

“Ah! You see, sir, little Joseph here was sneaking around the classroom taking all our money when we weren’t looking!”

Joseph spent the next four years in a Juvenile Delinquent Centre, and when he was released he redeemed himself by becoming a barrister in the European Court of Human Rights.

Trois Jours

Dolph’s week of three days was divided three ways. On the first day, he attempted a dangerous, painful act, such as standing on hot coals or hitting himself over the head with a bat constantly. On the second day, he drank so much alcohol and snorted so much cocaine that on the third day, he would suffer the worst hangover imaginable to a living creature. It was on this third day that the absolute worst thing occured.

Dolph awoke early on the third day, for although this day was long (endless, if you must know how long), it needed to begin as soon as possible. He pulled on his grey robe and jumped out his window. He landed several miles below on a burning hot rock surface, and and despite the fact that the pain flowed through his body like the sting of posion, he continued on his way to The Space. The journey to The Space took many time-cycles, and countless thoughts had flowed through Dolph’s head since he had awoken. He had thought about the insects that populated the underside of stones. He thought about the differences between the male and female anatomy. He thought about different writing utensils and mentally compared their benefits: pencil, crayon, marker, pen. There was no writing in Hell. There was barely any thinking in Hell. You simply followed your schedule and paid your debt to Lucifer until the end of time, whenever that may be. Dolph’s neighbours varied in age. Some had lived in Hell for so many millions of time-cycles that they had stopped counting, others were newcomers, like Dolph, who were young enough to remember time before Hell.

Dolph eventually reached The Space, and was quite relieved to be able to stop talking. He got into position behind his neighbours Tom and Johanne, who had died the same hour as he, and stood still until the noise began to eminate from the space above The Space.

 At first, all that they could hear was a low note, but soon the pace of the tune quickened- it it could be referred to as a tune. The crowd knew what to do. They raised their hands on a high note, pointing to the space above The Space. They clapped once on a note that was neither low nor high. Each clap was different. The older, more frail people clapped gently and almost inaudibly, whilst more energetic folks like Dolph and his neighbours clapped aggressively and could be heard for miles around. On a low note, the crowd stamped their right foot. This pattern or pointing, clapping and stamping continued for many, many time-cycles, and not one thought entered the head of one of the billions of people in The Space throughout that third day.

On his walk home, Dolph began to think again, to his dismay. He thought of what The Only referred to as ‘bad thoughts’- of the millions of innocent people he had murdered when he was alive before Hell. Of the evil decisions he had made out of ignorance, hatred, jealously and vanity. Of the wonderful gift of life he had been given when he was born before he came to Hell- a life of choices he himself was allowed to make. Now, in Hell, that gift had been taken away from him. He was the puppet of The Only, and was he was forced to do in Hell was of no comparison to what he had done to those millions of innocent people.

Returning to his own place, Dolph went directly to sleep and remained there until the first day began, once again.