The Case Against Therianthropy, by Jerry McAuliffe

Int. Iron Age Shop 

Two Iron Age peasants lean on a rough-hewn counter in a clay and wattle shop.  

Rushes cover the floor. The shelves are mostly empty. 

Cuimín: Well the main problem is they keep fucking all the gold and silver in the bogs isn’t it? It’s not very helpful for a small business owner. It doesn’t take an economic genius to see how that’ll pan out. ‘We’ll toss it all in the bog, and then sure, we’ll toss himself in as well.’ I mean, the poor man, sure what did he do? When you become Taoiseach, you might as well just jump in yourself day one and be done with it. 

Áed: To be fair, he didn’t do a great job. There was the whole issue with all the cows being stolen and that village slaughtered. 

Cuimín: True enough. But to slit his throat and toss him into a bog? After you cut his nipples off? I mean we used have standards. A Fomorian wouldn’t even do that … They certainly wouldn’t have thrown the gold in.  

Áed: And his good sword as well. 

Cuimín: And silver. 

Áed: Yes, and the silver. 

Cuimín: You know what, terrible is what it is. Terrible for him and terrible for business.  

Áed: What bothered me about it all, now, I wasn’t there or anything, but do you know what really bothered me? The way they keep going on about how your one turned into a fox after he died. That fili came through yesterday, and on and on he went about herself being a fox.  

Cuimín: Well, that is fairly noteworthy. 

Áed: Is it though? Is it actually? I mean you can’t move for someone turning into an animal these days. Everyone is at it. Someone is cursed, someone is doing the cursing, some god, some druid. 

Cuimín: I suppose you have Lir’s kids. 

Áed: Exactly! Those children of his and your man the leader of the Fianna. Fintan or something. His first wife was a deer.  

Cuimín: I think he’s some relation to his dogs as well. First cousins or something. 

Áed: Arrah now, cousins? I mean you can’t walk around Ireland without running into a rooster who went to school with your aunt.  

Cuimín: Didn’t Airitech have a few sons who were wolves? 

Áed: No daughters, it was Laigneach Faelad who had the sons who were wolves. But the fact that you can forget who had what kids who were wolves speaks volumes.  

Cuimín: I suppose you have a point all right.  

Áed: Say what you want about those Christians, but very few of them change into animals. 

Cuimín: Yeah… I suppose a pillar of salt would be more useful, in a practical sense.  

Áed: Exactly. Maybe they’re on to something. That’s all I’m saying. Admittedly, the ritualised cannibalism is a bit odd. But at least, you’ve a very low chance of being turned into a squirrel.  

About the Author

Jerry McAuliffe was born in Cork, lives in Limerick and currently works in a small upstairs office with very little natural light. When this pale office dweller does emerge, it is to forage for coffee and biscuits. He has a wonderful wife and two amazing girls. His recent internet search history reveals an interest in history, politics and how to do a French braid on a two year-old. Jerry mostly writes short stories and short plays driven by 3am questions about the world. He is glad and still surprised that people enjoy them.