Sister AgathaBy: Domhnall O Donoghue
Sister Agatha is a colossal 118 years of age, whose vim and vigour would put the most robust athletes to shame. During a routine check-up, however, her doctor claims she has just a week to live, news that proves to be quite inconvenient, seeing as the beloved sister has one ambition in life: to be the oldest person in the world. At last count, she was the fifth.
However, never one to admit defeat, Sister Agatha concocts a bold Plan B. Dusting off her passport, she decides to leave Irish shores for the first time in her very long life, and using the few days remaining, plans to travel across three continents and meet the only four people whose birthday cakes boast more candles than hers.
And then, one by one, she intends on killing them.
The World's Oldest Serial Killer
For those who believe that life has no Best Before date.
I would like to thank:
My darling agent and friend, Lorraine Brennan, for her unrelenting support and love over the years.
Alexander, for telling me that I could, in fact, write, then giving me the opportunity to do so in Irish Tatler Man.
My marvellous publishers, Tírgearr, for taking a punt.
The many National Tourist Offices who hosted me and thus provided me with such excellent material for this, my first attempt.
My Italian lover, JC, who bribed me with prosecco and gelato as a way of ensuring that I met my daily deadlines. And his parents, for welcoming me into their gorgeous home in Venice.
To those friends who I forced to read early drafts of the manuscript – Eamonn, Vanessa and Gayle – I owe you all new red pens.
And, above all, my parents, who made more sacrifices than any saint in heaven in order to afford my siblings and me every opportunity in life. The helicopter pad might still be a pipe dream but at least I can pay for lunch now.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh.
THE MEATH CHRONICLE, 06 FEBRUARY, 1898
There was cause for both celebration and commiseration in the usually peaceful village of Kilberry this week.
Yesterday, cigars were passed around following the arrival of a new bonnie baby, Butsy Miller. While her proud parents, farmers Seán and Máire, were not available to speak to The Meath Chronicle—likely too distracted fawning over the latest member of their family—a loose-lipped neighbour happily made up for their silence, explaining that it was a busy day on the Millers’ farm. He exclusively revealed that the couple’s diminutive bundle of joy arrived just seconds after one of their prized cows had also given birth.
“One weighed a fine eight pounds,” the knowledgeable neighbour explained, “while the scales showed the other to be a mighty eighty!”
For the sake of Mrs Miller, we only hope the poor woman delivered the lighter of the two.
“With all these happy and healthy additions,” the neighbour added, with a mischievous glint in his eye, “I’d wager the Millers are over the moo-n!”
Indeed. Additionally, if this jokester’s memory is trustworthy, the infant will be pleased to learn that she comes from an almost imperishable clan: rather impressively, her two great-grandmothers did not relinquish life until they had both passed the century mark. To that end, we trust that little Butsy will have the sense to squirrel away as many hours of sleep as possible—while she can—for it appears to be written that a long and venturesome road lies ahead of the youngster.
It wasn’t only little Butsy who was crying in the village this week, however. Tears cascaded from the eyes of the local community football team which was, to put it mildly, annihilated by the Seneschalstown lads in a charity event. Over the course of the ninety minutes, the hosts managed to score no more than a single point, while the visitors put a whopping thirty of them over the bar with a further six goals under it.
The local club organised the game in an attempt to raise funds to replace the “Welcome to Kilberry” sign that mysteriously vanished in December of last year. Incidentally, this rather juvenile act of vandalism occurred on the same night in which the local police station’s annual Christmas party took place. To date, no one has been held accountable for the crime.