Read Julian Gough’s “The orphan and the mob,” winner of this year’s National Short Story prize.
From the gates of the orphanage to the site of the speeches was several strong miles. We passed through town and out the other side. The smaller orphans began to wail, afraid they would see black people, or be savaged by beasts. Agamemnon stuck closely to my rear. We walked until we ran out of road. Then we followed a track, till we ran out of track.
We hopped over a fence, crossed a field, waded a dyke, cut through a ditch, traversed scrub land, forded a river and entered Nobber Nolan’s bog. Spang plumb in the middle of Nobber Nolan’s Bog, and therefore spang plumb in the middle of Tipperary, and thus Ireland, was the nation’s most famous boghole, famed in song and story: the most desolate place in Ireland, and the last place God created.