The Legend of Seamus O'Flannigan
Dublin Slums, Ireland , 1935
The world was sunk deep into the boney bosom of The Great Depression. People and animal alike walked the streets in a hollow eyed daze. Even the fleas and rats had their ribs showing, too hungry to complain. The slums of Dublin were a dirty, broken-down, and starving-for-everything place during regular days, so the Depression turned it upside down and shook out what little it had left and made it one of the most desperate and decrepit places on earth. Disease washed down streets like a raging river, leaving behind whimpering ghost towns, and the rest of the world turned a blind eye, expecting such circumstances from a place full of the lowest human standards. So when the whisper of The Legend of Seamus O'Flannigan rose up out of the slums, the upper classes just huffed and tisked, calling it wishful thinking from such a filthy people, living in ignorance and want. It wasn't until the doctors started complaining of a lack of business that the wealthier neighborhoods started peeking over their high standards into the happenings of the lanes in the Dublin slums.
Excitement on Ruddy Lane meant the rains were causing the outhouses to run over into homes or Typhoid paid a visit and took half the population when it left, so when Seamus O'Flannigan opened up his Healing Shop in a broken down shack no one would step foot into (because anyone who did ended up dead from consumption) people just shook their heads and walked past, a little put off that some soon-to-be corpse was trying to draw fools into a disease pit and pretend he'd heal them. It wasn't until eight-year-old Cyril McKay slipped into the Healing Shop with an abscessed tooth, willing to risk consumption to get rid of it, and came out with the tooth healed and intact as well as his crusty, red eyes cleared of their conjunctivitis that the snickering and snide remarks stopped and then a few other desperate people snuck into the Healing Shop when it was dark and no one was looking. Fear was soon replaced with long lines of the sick and weary when Darby Reilly dragged himself into the shop on his last lung filled with the green and red goo that meant the casket lid was open and fate was waiting, but within an hour of his disappearance into the shop he came strutting out free of the wheezing cough and frantic, distant gaze of the dying consumptive.
In no time word spread down every lane of the Dublin slums and people stood out front of the Healing Shop and in lines that snaked around neighborhoods, talking and sleeping by fires, never once cutting in on each other, until everyone you came across on the streets of the slums was bright eyed and walking with a bounce in their stride, and then the whisper of The Legend of Seamus O'Flannigan, the healer, reached the ears of the upper class.
The lines leading to the Healing shop were gone. People only dropped by to bring a scrap of food to share, or pieces of coal for Seamus's fire, or just to talk about the day's happenings. It was a freezing cold, quiet February night when the motor car crept up Ruddy Lane, and three men in suits went knocking on doors asking about Seamus O'Flannigan. Every inhabitant, young and old shrugged their shoulders and said "no O'Flannigan livin' on this lane," but the car kept creeping night after night, waiting down a dark alley on one end or hiding on the next street over. It's said that old Seamus had some of the older kids distract the men lurking in the car, and he made his getaway, disappearing into a cold winter night, not a trace left behind except the remnants of a healthy slum, that is until disease carved its way through the lanes again, and the memory of the Healing Shop gave way to The Legend of Seamus O'Flannigan.