Somewhere out there, Podge and Rodge are slaughtering the locals. They talked to a nervous
Podge and Rodge are calling on their 1960s wind-up phone from Ballydung Manor. The Manor
is not, they are at pains to point out, the local asylum. Ballydung, lest you didn't know, is in
County Ring, which is "down south, in the midlands .... south of the midlands." Naturally the
brothers are keen to talk about Mary Black.
"Do you know that young one Mary Black?" Podge asks. The more compos mentis of the two
brothers goes on to explain that Mary Black "really batters [his] sausage." "Myself and me
brother are bachelors, you see. We're over 40 - but not much over it. And we spend a lot of
fighting over Mary Black. If only she had a sister." I mention Frances. " Ah no, her brother
Francis is no good."
While questions are often asked about the sexual orientation of two middle-aged bachelor
brothers living together, the lads are adamant that the rumours aren't true. "He thought that it
was the girls' tent", Podge explains indignantly, regarding his brother's little incident with the
members of the adventure scouts who were camping at Three Mile Hole. "I'm not one of those
transtesticles", Rodge insists in the background. "I wouldn't wear women's clothes. Only if it
was very cold, and even then I'd only wear stockings and maybe a pair of frilly undies and a nice
Podge shoos his idiot brother out of the room and explains how Rodge slaughtered their mother
and father, but doesn't know it. "They left us off in Ballydung Manor and ever since, he's been
expecting them to pick us up. The thing is, they did come back in the early Seventies and he
killed them with a pickaxe in his sleep. Like sleep-walking, except it was sleep-slaughtering."
Unnatural death is central to Podge and Rodge and their life in Ballydung. They are, Podge tells
me, "caught in an evil pentangle down here. The farmland is atrocious around here. It's the
acreage of the undead." And then there are Rodge's occasional girlfriends. The girls that he steps
out with are never right for him and it falls to Podge to get rid of them. "They're there one day
and they're gone the next," says a mystified Rodge, before complimenting his brother on the
roses. "The garden's looking great. You're always digging them roses up and putting them back
again and it shows. They're a credit to you."
Podge, for his part, will only say that the gardaí haven't found anything yet. The brothers give
them a ham at Christmas and they turn a blind eye to the illegal bicycle repairs. "And a few
murders, a bit of torture and a bit of voodoo," Rodge chips in. The RTE crew who went down to
film A Scare At Bedtime have yet to return to Montrose. Rodge confides that they hadn't much
meat on them before Podge hastily interjects that "they must have gone off the road at
Suppository, near Ballyfidget."
The brothers are keen to have me down as a guest and suggest that I should come around
midnight on a Wednesday, which is the night Granny does her human sacrifices. "Are you a big
lad?" they inquire coyly. "We have a fabulous line-up this weekend. It's actually a double bill.
The priest is doing an exhumation and his sixth exorcism of the Doolan boy."
I'm told to ignore the warning signs as I come in by Fiddler's Minge and just rattle the chain to
gain admittance to the Manor where I'll meet Granny. Granny is not the worst, apparently.
Although she's getting old, she's in league with the Quare Fellah these days and could live for a
while yet. The Quare Fellah, they explain to me, comes in many guises, one of his more obvious
ones being Duncan Stewart who does that Our House programme. "You'd know by the look in
his eye . . . no-one has hair that white." Dustin is questionable as well: "Talking animals. It's in
the Bible!" Seán Moncrieff has the look in his eyes as well. "But he's not the Quare Fellah; he's
just a bollix."
The first series of Scare At Bedtime ends next month and the brothers hope to make a second
series for after the summer. Meanwhile the roses are still blooming in Ballydung.
Return to The Boys In Print