Anything To Declare can be found in Magazine Entry


APRIL 1954


by Naille Wilde

Irish science-fiction has been written before—most of it sounding as though done by a Swede from Kansas City. But this one not only is a good story, it has the lilt of County Cork in every line!

IT might well be that you've heard of Killalee, save the name. A small village in Kerry, so it is, but twenty or more years back Tiamas O'Sheehan left there to sail the seas and end up a garda in New York. And there he is with a big wife and seven children, banging his boots around the 23rd Precinct, whatever that may be. So if you're a Yank 'tis very likely you've met Tiamas and equally probable that you know about Killalee because he's sure to have told you, him being a real prince of a boy from that part of the grand green Isle.

As you have heard, Killalee overlooks Roaringwater Bay and is not more than ten strong spits from Skibbereen where the railway steams twice a day. And by reason of the same it is much liked as a landing-place at dead of night for schooners and smacks wishful to unload various articles of merchandise from France and Spain. These activities are not esteemed by authorities up in Dublin because of the coincidence of all such imports being heavily dutiable, especially the stuff in bottles, therefore they maintain a squad of interfering coastguards and revenuers one of whom is always sitting outside Cooney's shebeen in Killalee with his big ears stretched wide.

I'll tell you now: it happens that early one morning Willy Cafferty is perambulating on the beach and feeling broodier than a stale hen. This is because he is clothed and paid by the Inland Revenue Department which asks nothing in return save blood and sweat and tears. So all night long Willy has hung around the beach awaiting a consignment of cognac and liquers due to be dumped at 2.30. a.m., if gossip in a certain bar was to be believed. But no such load has turned up, reason being that while he was blowing through cold hands and reciting the calendar of saints the stuff was being dragged ashore near Waterville and right now being trucked through Cahirciveen.

This is not the first time Willy has been persuaded to cool his official behind on the wrong beach, nor by the grace of God will it be the last because there are good men in Kerry. To make matters worse, of late a small airy plane had developed the habit of zooming over Killalee at irregular and indecent hours, dipping low when it reached the hills and quickly disappearing out to sea. Rumor insisted that certain Corkmen knew about this, they having a financial interest in the procedure, which was likely enough because no Corkman is going to be mulcted of a shilling by any Dubliners if it can be avoided by Corkish dexterity.

All these things combined to put Willy in a mulish mood. He thought of the missing boat and was minded that Fingal himself could not be in forty places at one and the same time. He thought of the airyplane and the dismal fact that a complete library of rules and regulations cannot enable a man to leap five thousand feet into the clouds. He scowled as he awaited his relief in the shape of one Patrick .Michael Tulloch who'd been lying warm abed all night and could be relied upon to arrive not less than one hour late.

Therefore he was in no humor to convert himself into a one-man version of Fogra Failte — the Irish Welcome Committee — when a shiny thing whipped out of the dawn-lit sky and landed almost at his feet. It was an airyplane, of course. Any fool could see that. A mighty queer one too. As round as a meat plate, maybe thirty feet in diameter and twice the height of a man.

Probably a flying saucer. There were plenty of such around. The papers said so in clear print and the Dublin Opinion cartooned them almost every issue. Any man with a mind fit for thought knew that said machines were being manufactured by somebody who saw no reason to talk. Perhaps the Yanks or the Rushins. Foreigners, anyway.

A small door opened in the top of this contraption and a man stuck his head out.

"God bless you and it's a beautiful morning," he said to Willy.

"The saints bring it along quick," said Willy, "because I've been waiting for it long enough, so I have. And where might you be from?"

"Gisalda," informed the other. He climbed out the ...

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