Written by Auntie Matter

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

image for The Viral Broadcast That's Changing the World.
What Really Killed Francis?

Young Francis Muldoon was a strange little boy. He lived in a village in County Tipperary Ireland called Ballytohellnback. His father was a turnip farmer who also reared sheep and his mother worked as a maid at the local parish church of St. Patrick O'Pio.

Although one of seventeen as his parents were good Catholics, Francis did not get on with his brothers and sisters. They had all got dark or brown hair and he had blond. He simply didn't fit in; and his mum, driven by sensitivity and understanding always made sure he had a straw doll and some knitting needles to play with on his birthdays.

The alienated Francis loved animals and plants and reading poetry and kept very much to himself. At school he excelled singing and Irish dancing and seemed to enjoy the company of girls with whom he could exchange cooking recipes or knitting patterns. Gradually, Francis became more withdrawn and taciturn and moved out of the house and into the hay barn where he could be free from the taunts of his brothers and sisters. He gave up all academic ambitions and spent most of his time now tending his little greenhouse on the family farm or pursuing his chosen pastime... painting water colour landscapes. His favourite books were "The Arabian Nights" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves".

Upon leaving school, Francis tended the family's flock of sheep. Neighbours would delight to hear him singing from a nearby hill on balmy summer nights when the moon was full and all was well with the world, the silvery tones of his falsetto voice drifting endlessly through the trees like the hymns of angels. Oftentimes, little Francis would run home through briars and bush to tell his mum that he had seen the Virgin Mary in a tree but she would merely scoff.

"Now Francis, every good citizen of Ballytohellnback knows full well the Blessed Virgin is only to be seen around rocks, as in Lourdes. That's because God's Mudder is soft, kind and graceful and rocks are hard and fuckin' brutal... like your da. Blessed Virgin in a tree indeed!... begone wid ya!" she would laugh as she dug out the mote surrounding their small cottage for the third time that morning. "And one other ting Francis..."

"What mother?"

"If I see ye kissin' girls I will thrash the livin' bejaysus outta ya,... dirty minded wee shite that ye are! You'll be bringin' no hoorin' illegitimate brats home to me, by Christ!"

Francis's lonely life was a burden to him. In his own eyes he was an ordinary guy like any other but nobody wanted to treat him as such and often he thought of suicide. As he grew older and got bored with the farm he began to wonder what life was like elsewhere. So he saved up all his money and went for a holiday to... of all places... Syria. He knew nothing of the political world or what was going on in it. But it was a cheap holiday, all he could afford; and he was hoping that there he might be treated for what he was, a young man with a romantic heart who wished ill on no one. Also, he had always wanted to see a live camel as he had a secret ambition that one day he could rear them on the farm. Irish camels' milk had "winner" written all over it.

It was a bad choice.

How shocked then were the citizens of Ballytohellnback when one day on their evening television news they saw their beloved Francis being beheaded by a Muslim with a short, sharp knife.

And that is how the fate of Irish farm lad Francis Muldoon became the most virally broadcast news item in internet history. Its reverberations, thanks mainly to incessant media coverage and a Hollywood movie starring Lady Gaga, continue to have reverberations around the world.

"I don't mind my son being beheaded on telly for The Blessed Virgin," said the interviewed Mrs. Muldoon. "But, did ya get a look at the black enamelled fucker that did it!? Are they not allowed to shave in Syria? At least, Francis looked clean and decent. But, he is at rest now, thank God," she sobbed loudly, clutching her rosary.

Immediately after the broadcast, thousands of bearded Muslims were being treated in hospitals all over Europe, victims of unprovoked attack.

The news broadcast seized the imagination of the entire world. The marketing Jesuits of the Vatican wasted no time in revamping the cult of the Blessed Virgin. Millions of Catholics began making pilgrimages to Fatima, Lourdes and Medjugorje. A shrine was hastily erected on the hill where Francis had seen the apparition. It showed him as a young boy, cap in hand, staring at a colossal statue of Our Lady. Sinn Fein spearheaded a global campaign to raise undisclosed millions of euros to pay for the statue that, rumour had it, had been carved by a Trappist monk for free. The lame and infirm made their way there from all over the world and many miracles were reported.

Pope Francis delivered a impassioned appeal from his balcony for calm and for constant prayers to be made to the Blessed Virgin for peace. The vast multitude listening to him in St. Peter's Square cried uncontrollably. Indeed, the whole world wept to hear the papal speech. The White House responded by stating:

"Francis Muldoon achieved at a stroke what we have been trying to do for years. And we call for him to be canonized a saint."

Indeed, on the back of this single and timely story about innocence and savagery, President Barack Obama was able to secure a further nineteen trillion dollars from Congress for the invasion of Syria shortly before he quit office.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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