Father Pat Mac an tSagart was questioning his vocation last night after the Neptune Nemesis, a boat he had recently blessed, was lost to the depths off the coast of Clogherhead.
The 40 foot trawler is thought to have gotten into trouble after her nets got tangled in what maritime experts believe to have been a submarine encroaching on Irish territorial waters. Despite having a picture of Pope Francis in the cabin, the Neptune was dragged backwards at a rate of 15 knots until she capsized and sank. The five man crew managed to send a distress signal before abandoning ship in choppy waters. A search and rescue operation is due to commence after Fr. Pat has said a special rescue mass.
Fr. Pat had only blessed the boat three weeks previously with water hand pumped from the Primate’s private holy well in Armagh. The community made a day of it at the harbour and by all accounts a great afternoon was had with cake stalls galore, Christian karaoke and the incest tent sating all community desires.
However, news of the disaster has hit Fr. Pat hard.
“I simply don’t understand it. I read the spell in the right order and tone from the Good Book. I gave the crew miraculous medals. I even stapled one onto the hull for good luck. This was not supposed to happen. Something has gone seriously wrong.”
The church wasted no time in opening an ecumenical enquiry into how the boat could possibly have sunk. Local arcade owner Ronan Levins witnessed the blessing of the boat first hand.
“He definitely invoked divine protection, definitely. I clearly remember Father asking The Man Upstairs if he’d any beef with protecting the boat. We took His silence as tacit consent.”
Naturally, the community is worried about the five fishermen bobbing up and down between gale fed sea swells on the open ocean. But perhaps of greater concern is the elephant in the harbour – this is the first recorded instance of prayer not working in Clogherhead. It is not known how the village will react and already the town rumour mill has gone into overdrive on the real cause of the sinkage.
Double Blessing Blunder?
The prime culprit for the disaster is a double blessing bestowed on the boat. A photo being circulated on ClogherFace (Clogherhead’s version of Facebook) seems to show the Neptune at the Balbriggan boat blessing in June.
Double blessings are a fisherman’s worst nightmare as the two spells cancel each other out, leaving their vessel at the mercy of human error, the waves and the giant sea squids that lurk beneath the Irish Sea.
Chas Levins has been going to boat blessings on the eastern seaboard since he was a kipper.
“Fr. Pat here recently blessed the Neptune in good faith but that boat had already been blessed up in Balbriggan in June. Me and herself do do all the local blessings aroundabout. Something like that would cause quite a stir in certain circles.”
Godless Soviet malfeasance
Arminas Narbekovas is the Lithuanian skipper of the Neptune and many villagers have been quick to blame his godless Soviet upbringing as a contributory factor to the disaster. They argue that the collapse of the USSR and the subsequent expansion of the EU are to blame as this geo-political event unleashed a wave of godless communists on Clogherhead. His ignorance of the blessing system, they allege, is directly responsible for the disaster.
Sticking his oar in, Monsignor Donnelly has been on local radio to highlight how outraged he was to discover that there is a godless fisherman besmirching the very profession of St. Peter so close to the Parochial House in Clogher.
However, Ron Durnin, treasurer of the Fishermen’s Union of Clogherhead Trawlers (FUCT) came out in defence of Narbekovas.
“Blaming Narbekovas is madness. He’s been godlessly catching fish all his life. How was he to know that double blessing was dangerous?
“Jesus if they’d just feckin bless the sea it’d stop all this confusion. Think of how many lives they’d save and it’d be a lot quicker not to mention cost effective. Sure aren’t all the seas connected these days anyway?”
The Custom of the Sea
Locals wasted no time in setting up a book on who would survive and how long it would be before the crew succumbed to the custom of the sea. 1 There seemed to be a consensus that should any of the crew survive the disaster and the sea squid, they’d definitely be eaten in a heartbeat by the Lithuanians.
“Have you been into their food shops, have you? They’d fucken pickle anthin! If my Tommy doesn’t come back I’ll be keeping an eye on that shop of theirs Inetellinya.” – Janice Levins, fisher-wife.
Meanwhile, Fr. Pat has effectively been benched by the church after the blessing blunder. He was last spotted reading Paul Daniel’s autobiography and ruminating on man’s need to believe in a higher power and the vast emotional emptiness of the cosmos.
The search continues for the crew of the Neptune.
1 The custom of the sea is derived from the ancient Brehon Law from County Meath. It is custom of the land in a maritime setting.