Alan Corr braves the horrors of Ballydung Manor to bring you this exclusive interview with the demented duo, Podge and Rodge.
"Sorry we're a bit late," says Rodge O'Lepracy with a furtive look in his glassy eye. "We were skinning a man." Padraig and Radraig O'Lepracy of Ballydung Manor, Ballydung, Co. Ring, seem like your normal rural bachelor twin brothers in their mid forties. They sleep in the same bed, smoke rancid smelling pipes and share an unbridled lust for Mary Black and newsreader Emer O'Kelly. Nothing strange there you might think, except for the fact that Podge and Rodge are actually evil incarnate.
"Hmm," says Podge, recharging his pipe. "I suppose we are really, y'know."
"What's that?" says Rodge. "I suppose we are evil incarnate."
"Oh yeah, we would be, we would be," agrees Podge. "We're kind of proud of it really. There's a lot of exorcisms, witch burning and sacrificial stuff that goes on here, and that's only on a Monday night."
On Podge and Rodge's Scare At Bedtime the twisted twins prop themselves up in their creaky old bed under a puce-coloured moon to relate tales of the macabre, mysterious and malevolent, like a couple of seanchaís with real attitude problems.
"Every one of those stories is true," says the wily old Podge.
"Of course they're true," adds Rodge. "We wouldn't be telling them on the television if they weren't, you stutterin' gobsheen. We'd be up in court."
But it's the brothers' own story that is the strangest of all. Podge and Rodge's parents left the twins off at the Old Asylum in Ballydung, way back in the days when Dev ruled the land with an iron fist, and the boys have been waiting for their return ever since. However, they won't be coming back : Rodge killed them both in a "sleep slaughter" years ago.
"Shhh," says Podge. "He's not aware of what he did. I don't want to tell him because I don't want to ruin the illusions of youth."
Ballydung is not listed on any map available in Ireland, adding further to its mystery. Maybe it's just as well - it is indeed a strange and awful place. Local children study The Exorcist for their Junior Cert. The Holy Well is stagnant, clogged with dead animals and known to contain the Ebola virus. The local priest Fr. Flange is well versed in head shrinking, an art he learnt during his days as a missionary in darkest Africa.
The place is also a tourist trap. Death trap, actually. "A lot of tourists go missing down here, stray off the bypass," tuts Podge, absentmindedly throttling the brothers' pet cat, Pox. Nothing to do with your illegal bicycle repair service then? "Well, a lot of tourists on bikes do pass through the village. Well, they don't actually pass through, they pass in and don't make it to the other side. There would be bikes left around and we'd have a sign up outside the Asylum, saying Bike Repairs, and they'd ah, come in and er, and sort of sit down and er, stay and stay for a long time...yeah...but there's no evidence whatsoever."
Mary Black is their ideal woman. "Ohhhh, ohhhh," they moan in unison. "If Mary Black had Twink's bosom, that would be the ultimate," leers Podge. "And if she had a sister instead of that brother Frances, I'll tell ya we'd be set up, totally sorted as they say."
I ask Podge and Rodge what annoys them about each other. "Nothing annoys you about me, does it Podge?"
"There's a fecking book load of stuff," the brother sneers. "I'll tell ya. There's the constant gnawing at night, grinding your teeth. Aw God, I tell ya : he grinds his teeth and the cat's teeth. Come morning there's a lot of cleaning up to be done."
The twins have just put out A 15 Cert video of their terrifying tales and they'll be hosting programmes on that scandalous new channel Network 2 over Christmas. And how, I ask, will they be spending the big day?
"Ah feckin' miserable," says Podge, sneering at me from his bed. "It's a miserable time of year really, sort of Black Christmas we call it. We've decided not to give presents this year at all. It cuts out the whole misery of giving shite presents. We might get the Fester and Ailin records, the local lads who've done good. They're a folk band. They've got a great song called Let Me In Your Back Door Sadie."
Finally, Podge and Rodge, have you any New Year resolutions? "I suppose an end to the slaughter would be nice," says Podge half-heartedly. "But we've tried it every year and we just can't seem to get it out of our system."
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