A community grieves today for the loss of one of its children who was involved in a tragic road accident four days ago. Seamus ‘Cookie’ Gardner, 23, is being buried in Caharconlish cemetery beside his father today, the ineffable Seamus Gardner sr., who was struck down by cancer just three years ago leaving his wife grieving and his children to fend for themselves. However, devastation has struck again for Miriam Gardner, as her youngest son is lowered into his final resting place with a mobile phone ‘just in case he gets lonely, like’.
I am now talking to Miriam, Seamus’ mother. Could you please take a minute to tell our listeners why you choose to bury your son alive?
Jesus, it’s cold out today.
Yes, it is ma’am.
Oh please, don’t call me ma’am. It’s Miriam, hur hur hur.
Okay Miriam. Why have you…
Oh, you’re a pretty young thing, ain’t you?
Thanks Miriam, but your son, why did…
My son is a good boy, Miriam. He’s a good boy. Well, when he was just five years old with hands as small as a flex of rope, he used to rub his mothers feet after I came in from the well. Yes, such a good boy.
I have no doubt he was.
But I wasn’t going to let him break my heart twice, no. He wasn’t going to do that, not after I raised and beat him as my own child. No.
What do you mean?
Well, he crashed his car once and somebody died. Luckily it wasn’t him but some young one from down Main Street. A pretty girl she was. In the car with him. Oh, my bones are cold – Ricky. Ricky. – Oh, could you call my son for me?
Give me the car keys love, I’m cold.
Here ma. I’ll be there in a minute.
Could I have a word Richard, about your brother?
See you mammy. - Wah you wan'?
Why is Seamus being buried alive?
Suh, he broke our mohers heart, he did. After the crash. He bro’ her heart.
How did he do that?
Suh, didn’t he crash his car and didn’t she say, suh, she said he’d do it again and kill hi’self that time. She di’nt want her hear’ broken twice by that bastard. She didn’t wa’ to have to haff to see him kilt on the roads.
Knock knock knock.
Huh, Cookie agrees. Suh, he’s tapping the coffin lid. SERVES YOU RIGH’ YOU BASTARD. Huh.
It’s okay to cry if…
WHA! I wassn’ cryin’. Wah. Just fuck off ri’. Cookie was a bastard, ri’, a fookin’ bastard. Nuthin’ better coul’ happen to him.
As the cemetery clears, our thoughts rest with Cookie, who is no doubt making himself comfortable in his coffin. Late tonight, perhaps lonely but for worms, he may ring his mother to say goodbye one final time before the phone battery and his life give out for good, never to be recharged. The local community will go to bed and deal with this as many small Irish towns affected by the carnage on our roads do, by simply getting on with it. Reporting from Caharconlish, Teri Prendiville.