The Kirrins and the Mystery
of the Sandy-haired Dwarf
by Robin Gordon

Auksford crest: a great auk displaying an open book with the words "Ex ovo sapientia"
-  Auksford, 2001  -

Chapter 9:
Two get into a fix

©  Robin Gordon, 2001

If only Andrew and Gavin hadn't been so careful to conceal their boat from prying eyes they might have got clean away. They raced along the tunnel, outdistancing their pursuers. They sped across the island to the little bay. They flung their torches and cameras into the boat, dragged the seaweed off her prow, hauled her from behind the rocks and pulled and pushed her down the beach to the water. They almost had her afloat when the Irishmen leapt on them, cuffed them savagely about the heads and hustled them back into the castle ruins.

The boys were pushed and pummeled down into the dungeons

The boys were pushed and pummelled down into the dungeons, shoved and kicked into the tunnel with blows and curses. The Irishmen swore at them and threatened them, and dunted them along towards the mainland with thumps from hands, elbows, knees and feet. Perhaps if they hadn't been so wild they might have dragged the boys along more quickly. As it was the Irishmen got in each other's way, obstructed each other, tripped each other and generally caused havoc. The boys fell several times and had to be hauled to their feet again, with curses and threats and blows. In spite of their terror they remembered to speak only French and to pretend not to understand English at all.

It took more than half an hour to get to the cellars, and by then the boys were bruised and battered, and very frightened. If these Irishmen really were the IRA they stood very little chance of getting out alive. A gang of terrorists that could put bombs in a shopping centre to kill and maim dozens of innocent passers-by would think nothing of eliminating a couple of nosy teenagers.

The Irishman flung them into a cell, bound them to a couple of chairs, and locked the door

"Tis a pity Con's not here," said one.

"We should just kill dhem and be done wid it," said another.

Sure dhere only kids, and dhere not British at all," said a third. "It's a pity to kill dhem."

"You know what Con would say," said the first voice. "If dhey're old enough to spy, dhey're old enough to die."

"We'll have to tell O'Shaughnessy," said another voice. "He's in charge when Con's away."

"And does he ivver let us forget it?"

"You go and get him, Mick."

"Whoy me?"

"You're younger dhan us. We're all out o' puff."

"All roight. Oi'll go and get dhe ol' bastard."

"You hear dhat, youse in dhere?" said the one who had wanted to kill them. "Oi wanted just to kill yez. Ye'll wish it had been done before O'Shaughnessy's t'rough wid yez. Oi'll tell ye somet'ing: O'Shaughnessy's a pervert! He's a dirty old bugger. You'd best tell us everyt'ing you know before he gets here. Dhen maybe you'll have a chance to go out quickly and cleanly. Speak up den."

"Qu'est-ce qu'il dit?" said Gavin plaintively.

"Ne sais pas," muttered Andrew.

"Oh je veux Maman," sobbed Gavin. "Je veux être à la maison! Je veux retourner en France. Je haïs l'Angleterre."

"Oui, moi aussi," said Andrew. "Je ne reviens jamais ici. Je deteste l'Angleterre et tous les Anglais. You 'ear? I detesting all you Engleesh!"

"Ah dhe poor little froggie bastards," said the one who had wanted to let them go. Listen, dhey detest dhe English."

"Dhey know too much! Well O'Shaughnessy'll get it out o' dhem."

"You can't hand over kids to dhat filt'y pervert!"

"Old enough to spoy, old enough to doy - and old enough to be tortured. And what does it matter to us what O'Shaughnessy does to dhem? Dheyll be dead in a few hours. Why shouldn't he have his fun wid dhem?"

O'Shaughnessy came soon enough, and when his eyes fell on the two French boys he felt a shudder of joy. They were his, to do with as he liked, for while Con McNally was away, O'Shaughnessy was in control.

Long legs, slim hips. Nicely formed chests and shoulders. Handsome, boyish faces. O'Shaughnessy licked his lips. A little torture to get what little information they might have, yes, a little pleasurable torture, a little twisting of those straight youthful limbs, the delightful sound of boys whimpering for mercy, promising that they'd agree to anything as long as he didn't hurt them any more. And what would he ask then? Just be nice to me, just let me strip off your clothes, me bhoys, and explore those deloightful bodies of yours, just let me use you for my pleasure, and dhen Oi'll let yez go -- yes, my foine young friends, Oi'll let yez go: into dhe darkness dhat no-one returns from, and Oi'll make sure before you die dhat you know what's going to happen to yes, loike dhe man wid' dhe fillums.

Ah, yes, dhe fillums. Oi could watch you die over and over again, not just remember, watch. Watch dhe one of yez break and watch him torture his brother to escape dhe pain himself; watch him do everything dhe man asks, watch him kill his brother. How would he do it? Strangle him? Kill him wid a knoife. And dhen dhe man tells him: dhere's no escape for you my precious; you're going dhe same way as your brother. Oh, the sweet terror of it. Even dhe very thought of it was unbearably exquisite. He forced his thoughts away from it.

"You caught dhem in dhe cellars?"

"Snooping around."



"Who are you working for, me bhoys?"

They didn't answer.

"Oy said, who are you working for?"

"Qu'est-ce qu'il dit?

"Ne sais pas."

"Qui travaillez-vous pour?" roared the dwarf.

"On ne travaille pas," said Andrew. "On visite l'école."

"Nous sommes en vacance ici avec notre mère," Gavin added.

"Dhey're only poor little Froggie kids," said one of the men. "Dhey don't know nuttin'."

"Oi'll be de judge o' dhat," said O'Shaughnessy. "Oi don't trust dhe Brits at all. Dheyre quoite loikely to use boys for spoying, aren't dhey. Don't we train boys younger dhan dis to t'row petrol bombs at dhe soldiers? Isn't Con himself over at Herbertstown encouraging dhe new intake of fourteen-year olds being trained in dhe use of automatic rifles?

"Oy don't know whoy we do it," the man said. "It's not roight to take young kids and put dhem in dhe front loine where dhey could get shot."

We want dhem to get shot, ya eedjit," snarled O'Shaughnessy. "Dhen dheir modhers go on television and croy dhat de Brits shot dheir innocent babies, and Con goes over to America and brings back lots o' lovely dollars. Dere's nuttin loike having a few innocent victims shot by dhe soudjers. Look at dhe publicity we got out o' Bloody Sunday. Only T'irteen people killed and it's gone down as a massacre - and all t'anks to dhat little coward McGuinness losing his nerve, foirin' at de soudjers and spooking dhem into firing back. T'ink of all dhe dollars we got from dhose eedjits in America for dhat."Note 11

"Still don't make it roight," grumbled the other, "and dhese two is only kids, and not even Brits."

"Dhese two are old enough to foight and old enough to spoy," snapped O'Shaughnessy. "Oi'll get out o' dhem all dhey know, and Oi'll enjoy it too. And dhen - well, we don't want dhem going back to dheir mammies wid tales of de cruel Irishmen do we? You know what Con always says: old enough to spoy, old enough to doy! Oi'll foind somewhere to dispose o' dhem quietly, and dhey'll nivver be heard of again. Dhen dhe mammy'll go back to France wid tales of how her darling bhoys were cruelly murdhered in England."

"Con should decide," the other muttered.

"Con's in Ireland. Go and radio him if y want, but he's not coming back till dhe business is finished."

"Oi will," said the man and went.

"Go wid 'im, said O'Shaughnessy to the other one. "Oi don't want him spreading slander."

When the others had gone he turned to the boys, still tied to chairs. He stroked Andrew's cheek and the boy flinched from his touch and the miasma of stale cigarette smoke that clung in his clothes and hair.

"Ah. ye flinch from me touch," O'Shaughnessy said in a sing-song voice, "but ye'll get to know me touch quoite well, me bhoys. Oi'll be touching your cheeks, an' your hair, Oi'll be runnin' moy hands over your chests, an up your legs, Oi'll be touching yez where no-one has touched ye since your mammies bathed ye as babies. Me touch will be as gentle as a girl's and as terrible as a torturer's. Yez'll be begging for mercy. Yez'll be beggin' for death!""

He turned to Gavin, grabbed him by the hair and tipped his head back. Gavin stared helplessly into his eves, choking on the sudden stench of stale tobacco.

Andrew watched, suddenly frozen in terror. Gavin's head was tipped backwards, his throat exposed, and the dwarf had bared his long yellow teeth.

Andrew tried to call out, but no sound would come.

The dwarf leaned closer to Gavin, his tobacco-stained fangs inches from the boy's neck. Was this the end for Gavin? Would the dwarfish creature tear out his throat with its teeth?

O'Shaughessy, Andrew and Gavin

Suddenly O'Shaughnessy lunged, and his mouth closed on Gavin - on the boy's lips. Andrew could breathe and move again, in mingled relief and revulsion as the Irishman kissed Gavin.

"Thank goodness I couldn't call out," thought Andrew. "I'd have spoken in English and given the game away. I must just hope Gavin won't use English. Our only hope is to keep them thinking we're French, and it's not much of a hope."

As soon as O'Shaughnessy released Gavin, Andrew launched into a stream of insults in French. It wasn't so much that he wanted to berate O'Shaughnessy. He hoped that if Gavin heard French he would automatically choose that language to insult the foul creature. But Gavin was in no state to insult anyone. He flung himself as far sideways in his chair as his bonds allowed, and retched miserably until the acrid stink of vomit filled the cell.

O'Shaughnessy laughed.

"Oi make ye sick, do Oi?" he said. "Well, you'd better get over it, me bhoy, cos you and Oi are going to be much more intimately acquainted. Ah, here come me friends. Well dhen, is Con coming back?"

"No, " said one of them. "You're to deal wid dhem."

"Didn't Oi say so. Well, dhis poor young fellow seems to have been sick, so Oi t'ink we'll move dhem out of here. Take dhem up to Con's house and lock 'em in dhe cellar. Oi'll go back to dhe pub and t'ink about what's best to do wid dhem."

O'Shaughnessy stumped back off to the Kirrin Arms, his head in a whirl. He had the two French boys in his possession, Con was away in Ireland and had left it entirely to him to deal with them as he saw fit. True the other men despised his passion for boys, but they had had to admit that boys who were old enough to spy were old enough to be questioned and old enough to be killed, and, by moving them to Con's isolated farmhouse on the moor, he had ensured that he'd be left undisturbed. He'd go up there later that evening and spend a few hours interrogating the lads.

That would be something to enjoy. They were nice-looking boys, and they were very like that pair of nosy-parkers that had followed him all round Hadbury, in fact, when he had first seen them out of the corner of his eye, he'd though it was the same pair. Only when he had them in his grasp had he seen that they were older, and their voices were different too.

He walked slowly, savouring the prospect, enjoying his arousal. Which one would he take first? The bigger one with the fair hair, who looked more English than French? He'd enjoy humiliating that one. Or the dark one, the one who'd flinched from his touch and been sickened by his kiss. That one would squeal he was sure, in both senses. He'd squeal with pain, and if he knew anything, he'd sing. Anything to stop O'Shaughnessy. But O'Shaughnessy wouldn't stop, would he?

It was a pity he hadn't brought Padraig. A sequence of photographs of the interrogations would have given him something to gloat over on long lonely evenings. Far better than the indistinct snapshots he had of those Brunton boys and their initiations. He felt that he could direct a sequence of shots to rival anything Dick Kirrin could do, if only he had Padraig as his cameraman.

And there in the bar was Dick Kirrin.

"Ah, Liam, beloved! I've got something for you. A sequence of stills from Childprey. Look at this, Sweetheart! Doesn't it make your blood pound? And this. And what about this? And then there are these from Scout's dishonour. Were you ever a scout, Liam? Nor was I, but see what we missed by being unprepared. Let's go to your room, my bucko, where we can examine these properly. I've got a couple of bottles of whiskey too."

In O'Shaughnessy's room Dick spread out his wares on the table and talked the Irish dwarf through the plots of some of the nastiest snuff films imaginable, showing him pictures of highspots and climaxes. O'Shaughnessy was in a fever of excitement, so when Dick sighed and said his next and greatest work, for which he was all prepared, for which he had an outline screenplay, a secret location and cameramen and lighting technicians all lined up, would have to be cancelled because the stars had disappeared, O'Shaughnessy couldn't stop himself from saying that he had an idea where they might be and that he might just be able to help.

"Liam," said Dick, "you're a marvel. You've the magical powers of the High King of the Leprechauns himself. Get me those French boys and you shall have videos of all my best works, except The eccentricities of William IV, which, by some strange and unaccountable aberration, doesn't have a single scene of bare-bummed boys suffering nightmarish tortures. You shall have Childprey, School for Sadists, Scouts' dishonour. You shall have Sixth-form sodomites, Preyboys and Prey for us sinners. You like the all-male stuff, do you Liam? I've got some lovely film of little girls being tortured. There's some of that in Prey for us sinners. That's a film that's got everything: boys torturing boys, boys torturing girls, girls torturing girls, girls torturing boys. Would that interest you now, Liam? There's handjobs and blowjobs, there's straight sex and gay sex, there's stripping and sadism, there's torture and torment, and at the end the stars expire, boys and girls alike, so prettily it would make the devil himself weep in unholy joy."

"Oi'd loike to see it, Oi would!"

"And so you shall my sweet, so you shall, if you get me those two French boys -- and you shall have both a video and stills showing everything they endure, from the first indignant defiance, right through to when one of them breaks and tortures his brother. You'll love it, Liam. You'll play it again and again. So pretty they are, so young and strong and pure. And you'll watch them doing all the things you've ever imagined in that filthy little mind of yours. And at the end, Liam, oh yes, you know what you'll see at the end, don't you. One of them will torture his brother, he'll mutilate and murder him, and then, when it's too late, he'll know that there's no escape for him. You can watch the horror in his eyes, Liam. Then you can watch what we do to him. Over and over again, you can watch it, Liam. And you'll know that you made it possible. It'll be your film, Liam. Your very own.

"Take me to them, Sweetheart. Let me have a look at them. Just a look, that's all. No need to decide yet. But just remember that look of innocence gradually soiled and sullied and brought to breaking point and despair. We don't want to ruin it, now do we Liam? So don't let your associates paw them about and spoil the surprise."

"Moi associates ... don't share our tastes, Dick."

"Ah, Liam, that must make life difficult for you. I remember when I was at school I had to keep my interests hidden, even from my own brother. They don't like us, do they Sweetheart? They beat us up, don't they? They sneer at us behind our backs and jeer at us to our faces. They call us queers and faggots. I've always kept pretty quiet about my little secrets. There was an older boy in our house, you see, who got found out, and the chaps put him through such hell that he committed suicide eventually. Well, that taught me two things: discretion and how cruel nicely brought-up children can be. You might say it was the foundation of my career in films.

"Yes, Liam, life's hard for boy-lovers. I'd say your friends would give you a hard time if they caught you with your pants down, so to speak. Much better to let me spirit the French boys away. Then you'd have the video and the pictures without any of the risk."

O'Shaughnessy began to think that maybe Dick was right. The men at the new HQ had to obey him when Con McNally left him in charge, but they didn't respect him. They knew that his pleasure in their capture of the boys wasn't just because he had the interests of the organisation at heart. Sending them to the farmhouse had been a good idea, but was it safe enough? If he indulged in the pleasures he had contemplated on his way up the street, might it not get back to the others? The boys were French, not Brits. They weren't spies, just kids who'd blundered into the tunnel by accident. There wasn't anything more to be got out of them. He could report that to Con, say he'd disposed of them, and hand them over to Dick. The others would know he hadn't laid more than a finger on them -- and he'd have the video, all the videos.

"Oi'll let you see dhem," he said. "But Oi'll have to report to moi superior before I can hand dhem over."

"Just a look, that's all," said Dick. "Just to check the goods before I agree to take delivery. If they're already soiled I may not be interested. It's the gradual pollution of virgin purity that interests me. Oh, but you're going to adore the film, Sweetheart!"


Chapter 10

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On 30 January 1972 13 people were killed when young soldiers, faced with a riotous, stone-throwing mob fired into the crowd. They said they had been fired on, and a judicial enquiry exonerated them. Sinn Fein IRA branded the enquiry a "whitewash" and, as part of their propaganda campaign, demanded another, fuller enquiry. Prime Minister Blair granted this request as part of the Good Friday agreement peace process, and, in 2000, it emerged that Martin McGuiness, who by then had become a Sinn Fein Minister in the power-sharing provincial government, had been present on Bloody Sunday as second in command of the Derry Brgade of IRA terrists. Despite orders to the contrary it was said that on the day before the protest march he distributed bombs to eight teemagers belonging to the youth-wing of the brigade, instructing them to cause maximum havoc under cover of the march. The army appears to have suspected something of the sort and soldiers were present in force on the Sunday. Seeing this MgGuinness was said to have panicked and tried to recover the bombs. Seven of the eight youths were found and their bombs returned to store. The eighth, Gerald Donaghy (17), was among those shot by the soldiers.

McGuiness himself was present at the march, carrying a gun. IRA members described him as a little coward in a blue funk at finding himself in a dangerous situation and said that in his panic he fired at the soldiers. He was said to have admitted firing the first shot from the Rossville Flats in Bogside using a Thompson machine gun set to single firing.

Knowing the dangers of Northern Ireland in which a peaceful protest could suddenly become a riot, and in which concealed snipers were often used to pick off members of the security forces, the soldiers reacted instantly and fired back. If the evidence reported in the press at the time of the Enquiry is true then it seems to suggest that responsibility for the resultant deaths may lie with Martin McGuinness more than anyone else..

The IRA have used this incident for anti-British propaganda ever since, though the numbers killed are very small compared with IRA terrorist actions: 671 members of the security forces killed, as well as hundreds of innocent passers-by killed or maimed by bombs planted in busy streets. Even the Omagh bombing carried out by a subgroup of the IRA on 15 August 1998, during the ceasefire and the peace process, killed 29 people plus an unborn child. The purpose of this attack was presumably to remind the IRA's negotiating partners that terrorist weapons were still in circulation and would be used by "splinter groups" if concessions to Sinn Fein were deemed insufficient by the hardliners.

Since this story was written SinnFein/IRA have continued to play their part in the peace process. Members of the IRA have burgled offices to find documents giving the names of their "enemies", they have continued with their programme of intimidation and kneecapping, they have brutally murdered Robert McCartney, they have stolen £6 million in a major bank robbery and attempted to buy a bank in Bulgaria in advance of that country's admission to the EU to facilitate money-laundering, they have been found guilty of assisting the Colombian FARC terrorist movement in exchange for money from FARC's profitable drug-trade, and they have been accused by the Irish Minister of Justice of aiming to overthrow the democratic government of the Republic of Ireland and replace it with a Mafia-style oligarchy. More recently they have promised, for the third time, to "dump" a substantial amount of weapons. Some commentators suggest that this promise will be no more effective than the earlier two, and some have even gone so far as to say that "dumping arms" may simply mean "placing them in a dump from which they can be retrieved when needed." In addition Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin MaGuiness have, as a gesture of goodwill, announced their resignation from the "Army Council" of the IRA, though until then they had always denied ever having been members of it. It is scarcely surprising, when the IRA told General De Chastellain that they had dumped their weapons in September 2005, and he in turn made a public announcement saying that he believed it to be true because the IRA had told him it was, that the statement was received with frank disbelief by the so-called "Loyalists" and some degree of scepticism even by neutral reporters.[Back to text]

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