Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Who Dares Wins

(A short story)

     Halloween this year was the best. Me and my pal Mark had been planning it for ages. Since we made up after he said sorry for not swapping me Aston Villa's Gary Shaw so's I could complete the Panini '82 sticker album. I completed it anyway. My big brother got me Gary Shaw. Our costumes were practically real SAS uniforms. I got the SAS annual for my birthday so we knew exactly what we needed - black combat trousers, black army jumpers, black balaclavas, black ammunition belts, black backpacks (for our sweeties) and black paratrooper boots, although they don't make them in kids sizes so we just borrowed some of my big brothers old Doc Martens which were still far too big. We were doing bob-a-jobs for months to get the money for everything. We even made a bazooka out of an old drainpipe and got climbing rope for Mark to wear it over his shoulder, and I had a belt of grenades over mine. That's what we decided, Mark got the rockets, I got the grenades, all made out of fireworks. Well, the rockets were just normal rockets but the grenades were real grenades because we got loads of bangers and split them open then put them back together with ten bangers worth of gunpowder in each one, wrapped in tin foil and sealed with that white papery-tape my dad uses to not paint over the edges when he's decorating the house. We had five grenades and two whole packets of rockets so twenty rockets. We didn't pay for them ourselves, though. My big brother promised to get us the fireworks if we managed to get our own uniforms.   
     We got ready and went to show my big brother. Him and his pal Skeesh were out the front fixing their scooters again. They're always fixing their scooters. He said we looked cool but told us we shouldn't have dressed as SAS men because we're Catholic so we don't like the SAS, but that it was too late now and the Iranian Embassy siege was pretty cool anyway. Pretty cool anyway? It was the best thing ever! I tried to ask why Catholics don't like the SAS but he wasn't even listening, he just started going on at us saying we shouldn't go out on Bonfire Night either because Guy Fawkes was a Catholic like us and we shouldn't burn the Guy, but then Skeesh started saying Guy Fawkes wasn't like us because he hated Scottish people, so then my big brother and Skeesh started arguing and we just left them to it. Me and Mark still don't know how being a Catholic means you don't like the SAS, or why Guy Fawkes hated Scottish people, but there's no way we're missing Bonfire Night. My big brother's off his head if he thinks we're not going to set fire to stuff on Bonfire Night, Bonfire Night's amazing. Although it wont be as good as this Halloween was, it was even better than the time me and Mark broke into the old Town Hall and found all those boxes of light bulbs, then went to school the next day and told the boys. We all put on our camouflage gear and went back that night then split up into two armies, hid all over the Town Hall and ambushed each other in the dark, using the light bulbs as grenades. It was like a real war with proper explosions and everything. Nowhere near as good as this Halloween was, though. It was ace, and because we had balaclavas on we could chap any door and people just thought we were their grandsons. We got pure tons of sweets. We were out til dead late without even having to fire off hardly any shots. Although a couple of people didn't answer their doors so we blew up their letter boxes and opened fire on their windows. This old guy came out one of the houses and chased us so he was definitely in and totally deserved it.
     Anyway, we were on our way back to our den next to the old pigeon coops to get stuck in to our sweets when we turned a corner and one of the skinheads was leaning against the wall across the street. It was either Steelie or his clatty pal Neil Fullerton. It's dead confusing because everyone says Neil Fullerton's the one with the Nazi thing drawn on his forehead and Steelie's the one with NF written on his but that doesn't make sense because why would Steelie have his pal's initials tattooed on his forehead, so we figured it must be the other way around.
"Here, ya wee fannies, happy Halloween is it, aye? Gie's yer sweets or I'll kick yer heads in." He's much older than us so it wasn't fair. We could've just legged it and got my big brother to batter him but SAS men don't run. 
"Nut, fuck off ya dildo!" Mark's pretty tough so he wasn't scared even though we're only in primary five and everyone knows Steelie got expelled from the academy for punching a teacher.
"Wee man, you're dead." He started walking over, wobbling from side to side like he was drunk, then he just ran at us and grabbed Mark so I jumped in and started kicking him in the shins. We both set about him but he was just laughing, then he grabbed our bags off us so I got out my Zippo.
"The Iranian Embassy siege, Mark!"
"Aye, save the hostages!" Steelie was looking through my bag while I loaded Mark's bazooka and he took aim.
"Here, Steelie, ya fuckin' tampon!" He looked up just as the rocket toar out. Fuck-ye! Point-blank right in the face, it was amazing! He went pure arse-over-tit then decked it a dulyin, so I lit two grenades, stuck them down the front of his denims, grabbed our bags and ran.
"Who dares wins, ya fuckin' pokey bum wank!" Then all we heard was this massive explosion and him screaming his head off! It was hilarious, we could hardly run for laughing!
     That was two nights ago. This morning my big brother asked if I knew anything about what's in the paper. He said Neil Fullerton's in hospital with no balls and one eye, and that some old granny saw two masked men running away, and that the police suspect it might be something to do with Irish paratrooper military groups because Neil Fullerton's dad's in jail for something to do with a UVF or something. So, aye, too right me and Mark are joining the SAS when we grow up.
    

The End.


Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Reach

(Flash fiction)

Time thawed and the ageing process gained pace making it harder for me to catch up. From my mothers flimsy pedestal, looking back at the thirty-six years of failure, each failure a footprint leading directly to where I now stand. Things were better when I was still numb. Or before I'd tried. Before the chronic insomnia and all of its friends: The anxiety; the lockjaw and its two cracked molars. The perpetual sores on my feet which, in protest, have refused to heal. The physical weakness and the inability to harbour a still thought. All this in slow motion. Everything, two-dimensional. All so silent that the world doesn't notice. Nor will it. Time wont blink an eye. The tide wont flinch. No faith or fight left in me. So the world does end in 2012. Ready to dance the jig. Never was much of a dancer. One last move. One last step. Probably the most courageous of my life. My life. A failed career. A failed marriage, if you could even call it that; having it constantly flaunted before me, right in my face. Right around the corner and I'm supposed to just smile. Patronised by a firm handshake. Even something as simple as eating food then later shitting it out completely underlines how pointless everything is. It's fine. No one will notice. Tug the rope hard. Make sure it's tight, strong, don't fuck this up. Not this. Even you can do this right. Do it. Just kick the stool away...
Fuck! God! No! Help! Grab the rope! Help! This cant be..! Isn't right..! The rope... No... The radiator... Get your foot to it... Reach for it... Reach... Fuck... Please... Reach... God... Cant reach... Cant... Reach... Reach... Reach.

The End.


Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Brimston Lottery

 (A short story) 

For Kate...


     Almost thirteen years had passed since Brimston Town had been discovered under Glasgow, and mild mannered Neil was sat at his desk, miserable, but trying to look busy when the lottery programme started. Its announcements seized everything, confiscated every screen, window, ceiling, pair of spectacles, entrance and exit with transmissions, projections and holograms. Every loudspeaker, telephone and hearing aid was adopted and adapted, even the town statues and gargoyles became animated, taking on the roll of its host - the old and wise, if somewhat elusive town Mayor, Mr. Nicholas Dickens - and with entry being mandatory, the lottery could not be avoided. Even those asleep were woken with a mild burn.  
     The programme itself was a mockery of fantasy, and the people of Brimston had only recently began to question - on account of the people of Glasgow - how it was possible for it to be so perfectly tailored to every single individual simultaneously, but still remain primarily the same. Even if a large group of people watched the same screen, the Mayor would address each person by name as though they were the only one watching. 
"Yes, Mr. Raeside! Could today be the luckiest day of your life so far? Let's hope so because we both know you could use a bit of luck after that incident in the park yesterday, right?" Neil hadn't told anyone about 'that incident in the park yesterday' where his leg had been violated by a massive stray doberman while he tried to eat his banana. "Let's find out as we play this month's lotto!"  
Every single soul in Brimston watched with white knuckles as the numbers were read aloud. 
"And this months numbers are, drum-roll, please... 2, 9, 11, 7, 6..." Neil went dizzy. "And the final number is... 3!"  
"Bollocks."  
"Neil Raeside, you are this month's lottery winner! Everybody, let's all come together and congratulate Mr. Raeside for a spectacular choice of numbers! What a lucky guy! Fantastic! Mr. Raeside, your loved ones need never worry again, isn't that just spectacular? Neil Reaside you have until six minutes and six seconds past six o'clock this evening to comply."  
With elbows on knees and head in hands, Neil despaired as his entire office briefly gathered around to congratulate him, feigning joy and smiling through their teeth as they did. A moment later he was alone again, listening to his suddenly not-so-miserable co-workers muttering under their breath as they glanced over, and with only half an hour until lunch break, Neil had no idea what he was going to say to Kate, who without a shadow of doubt definitely knew he'd won. After all, there was no avoiding the lottery. He was sat hunched, kneading his brow, almost in tears when his phone rang. It was Kate. He answered but didn't speak. 
"Neil, mate, it's alright, don't worry yourself." 
"It's not alright, Kate. It's totally fucked." 
"Yeah, that's what I thought but what the hell. Fuck it. D'you reckon you can pull a sickie for the rest of the day?" 
"I could probably get away with that today, yeah. I did win the lottery." 
"Exactly! We'll get a carry out, head up the mountain, get pissed and everything'll be fine. Sound good?" 
"I suppose." 
"Right then, I'll get you outside your office in, say, what, half an hour?" 
"I suppose." 
"Sorted, then. In a bit!" 
Neil was in shock and grateful for it. Being numbed let him see his situation from a distance, like looking at a bright light through a blacked-out window, he knew it was there but it didn't seem so. And as though he'd held his breath without first taking one, the passing half-hour was a single moment drawn out. Then he was outside.  
"Alright!" There were few people in Brimston unaffected by the lack of what the locals had recently come to know as sunlight. Kate was one of them. 
"Not really, no." 
"Aw, come on, there's no need to look so glum, we've got a massive carry-out!" Kate was holding a carrier bag full of beer in each hand. Neil took a bag and they began clunking their way through the business district towards the town centre. 
                                         Andy Paterson
     The streets were almost empty on account of it being considered respectful to remain indoors when a lottery winner was collecting the prize, and the few people they did pass looked uncomfortable to be near them. Some gave a smile or a nod or even both, but not once was there a smile in anyones eyes other than Kate's. The further they walked, the more barren the streets became. 
"We might as well get cracking with these, there's no fucker about to bust us. Here." Kate handed Neil a bottle opener. 
"Cheers." Said Neil. 
"Fuck me, it talks! Get it down your neck, you'll feel better about things." 
      Brimston town centre was a daunting place when quiet, in that it never truly was. Regardless of how devoid of movement it might become, its silence bounced off every wall, most of which stretched all the way to the roof where the darkness of the city was rarely breached. The buildings were tightly packed, and many had been derelict for longer than anyone knew, pre-dating the town records. They stood now, reinforced, only as support for the Brimston town canopy, lifeless until the lottery required what gargoyles remained. 
     They passed through Stygian Square at the heart of town. It was laden with massive columns and pillars that reached up out of sight, some were man made as buttresses, others formed naturally from dripstones. There were dozens of huge effigies, either sculpted and mounted on slabs or just carved where selenite crystals had formed, gleaming all-but see-through white and shining like an ice sculpture but dry to the touch. Neil and Kate were walking open-mouthed, taking in the magnificence of a place normally bustling, never seen in such loneliness, when suddenly they jumped with fright as every single surrounding statue came to life all at once, congratulating them. Both of them. As a pair, not as individuals. It was the first time either of them had ever seen any statue move other than when the lottery was being announced, and they were addressed collectively. 
"What?" Said Kate, baffled. "Neil, are we celebrities? We fucking are, we're famous! Woohoo!" She held her half-empty beer in the air for a second, then dropped it back by her side and continued, "No, wait... celebrities are knobs," prompting Neil to laugh aloud. He stood looking at one of the statues as it jeered him on, then threw his beer bottle at it, smashing it across the face. Mid-sentence it went silent, assuming its normal posture. "That's more like it, mate, lets get pissed!" They carried on, walking and drinking, enjoying more merriment with every emptied bottle, and before too long they were at the edge of town, outside the very last pub, The Brimston Cavern Tavern. They weren't going to go in on account of Kate's being barred for lewd behavior, but they both needed the toilet so they snuck in, used the facilities and left.
"Full of bloody tourists anyway." Said Neil, and with the city behind them, they marched into the forest. 
     The forest was a large, dark hollow left behind by the long dried up Loch Dis, dense with thousands of huge, dead tree roots which hung down from the blackness above, some pierced the lake bed where only a glimmer of light was reflected, having splintered through from above the mountain beyond, where the breach of Brimston and Glasgow was. They walked carefully and in silence until the light began to greet them in tall, thin beams, and the forest finally opened up to the foot of Mt. Apollyon. The mountain was massive, looming menacingly with the godly glow of sunlight from the world above which shone through the hole in Brimston's roof, hanging directly over the mountaintop just as a halo would hang, shimmering, above an angel. They stepped out into the dazzling flood of daylight and began their ascent.       
“Wow, it's really bright... and I'm staggering about all over the shop here. You know that way when hills just seem to develop all around you?” Said Neil.
"We're on a hill, you twat."
"Yeah, I know, but I think my stupor's making it a bit more hilly than it actually is."
"Neil, mate, it's a bloody mountain. There's no such thing as 'more hilly'."
"Is a volcano still called a mountain?"
"Fuck knows, it's a bastard either way. Let's stop for a bit." They sat and looked out at the stillness of the forest. To the right of it, away in the distance, they could make out the fires of the Brimston Industrial Estate.
"After the last eruption, when the barrier broke, they called us the Eighth Wonder of the World. The real Atlantis. Then they got to know us." Said Neil.  
"Twats. Having said that, I think I’m generally quite an honest person. You know, when I’m not telling lies."
"You are, Kate. You're the best person I know. If you weren't you wouldn't be with me now."
"I suppose, yeah. Come on, let's drink the rest of these at the top."
“You know, apparently everyone up there says drink's a depressant.” 
“Ha! Only when you’re sober.”
     The cliff-face grew so jagged that the radiance of the sun was shattered over it, then so sheer with overhang that they found themselves back in their familiar shade and had to circle the slope on a narrowing ledge, spiraling the dark, scraggy, towering height until the ridge at their feet became barely passable faltering rubble. Side-stepping with their backs to the cliff, they eventually found a pitch-black cranny and followed it up, single file, into the mountain.
"You got a match?" Said Kate.
"Why, you going to fart?"
"Ha! Aye, right in your face, you twat. I cant see a bloody thing."
"Me neither, I don't like carrots."
"Hold on... Yeah, I think there's light ahead." The tunnel mellowed and broadened to walkable rough-rock as they ebbed towards the light. They were awkwardly stumbling, giggling and swearing at how ridiculous climbing a mountain was drunk, when they were suddenly completely side-swiped with awe, finding themselves again in sunlight, but now surrounded by lush, overgrown grass, flowers and foliage. "What the fuck..?" 
"I honestly have no idea. I've never seen anything like it. Never even heard of anything like this."
"It's ace!" The garden was completely still, like a larger-than-life three-dimensional photograph all of their own, and as they strolled through the soft expanse, ushering the only movement, they inspired thousands of seeds, leaves and petals of all colours to fall and float gently around them. They continued up the easy gradient, elated, all the way to the volcano's mouth at the far side of Brimston town, where they stood and looked up out through the breach at the grey/blue sky above which seemed a lot lower than they had expected.
"It's moving. Is it supposed to do that?" Said Neil.
"I don't think so. Maybe, though."
"Do you think things would've been better if we'd been able to move up there?" 
"Nah, there's supposed to be people up there haven't brushed their teeth in so long, when they open their mouth all you get's white noise." 
"Yeah, and thugs that don't know the difference between a paedophile and a Paediatrician. And I hear their licensing laws are just ridiculous." Neil looked down to his feet then at the mouth of the volcano in front of them. "I'm just so sorry Kate. I haven't got the words."
"I know mate. Look at it this way, if I'd won it'd still be us two standing here."
"You think? I'm not sure I meet the required standards."
"Don't sell yourself short, Neil. You're awesome. And anyway, I've lived my half-life to the full." At that moment they both felt something gently soak their skin, and saw it was tiny pellets of water falling from the sky. "What is it?"
"I don't know."
"It's amazing!" Kate looked at Neil, the sunshine above put to shame by her eyes. She stepped forward, peering over the edge of the volcano at the molten inferno rising below, then turned her back on it, downed the rest of her beer, smiled her broadest smile, and cool as stone carved into beauty, she lent back and let herself fall, appeasing Mt. Apollyon's hunger, ensuring it would not need to erupt. 

                                 Jon Horner



The End


Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Hopes and Dreams

(A short story)

     Mark never used to sleep at night, he’d just lie, staring at the inside of his eyelids. He'd maybe doze a little but never found a decent nights sleep unless induced by alcohol or sleeping tablets, and he would then always have his nightmare. It was the same nightmare he'd been having since he was a boy, hanging upside down above a massive pit of fire which filled his line of vision, and with one hand he’d be holding onto his mother, keeping her from falling, and with the other, he’d be holding his younger brother. All he was aware of was his terrified family looking up at him, the fire beneath them, and the choice he had to make - he could save either his mother or his brother, not both. He doesn't remember ever choosing.

     That night Mark had quite a good sleep, comparatively, but as always he'd woken up before his alarm at the end of what could hardly be called a nightmare after twenty-something years. He got up, went through to the kitchen, flicked on the kettle, went to the toilet and drifted straight into his normal morning back-of-the-mind wonderings of how to kill himself without shocking his family too much. A list of ticked boxes ran through his head, potential user-friendly suicides that were written off as undoable.          
     Overdosing was no good as in a lot of cases the person survived, woke up in a hospital bed surrounded by loved ones, would then repent only to be told by doctors that there was nothing they could do, and that his or her organs would shut down one by one causing perhaps the most agonising pain for the remainder of that person's life, while his or her family sat watching. 
     He looked himself in the mirror as he washed his hands, and he could practically see his still unfocused mind struggling to work, hear the cogs grinding, attempting to find a gear. The monotony of his pre-work mind-set was at least governed by autopilot and at a distance. 
     Cutting his wrists was out of the question, too. Not because of the mess it would make as such, but the mental scar that mess would leave on whoever was unfortunate enough to find him. 
     He opened his bedroom curtains up to a beautiful, if somewhat daunting view, and stood looking out over the streets. Everything was a bright, matt of grey/blue from the way the light filled the sky before the sun had quite reached the horizon. Not a single person anywhere, not a cloud, everything stood still. It all looked much deeper than usual, the entire scheme, every building, even the high rises in the distance seemed to be without a single shadow yet entirely in shade, and as he stood looking out, he was struck by a sudden feeling that something was very different about that morning. 
     He glanced around his room then out the window, as if trying to find what it was that had changed, but nothing was out of the ordinary. Something felt different but nothing was, nothing he could put his finger on, not yet anyway. He just stood there for a moment, almost stunned by the sensation but with no idea where it had come from, then as quickly as it had hit him he shook it off and reverted back to his dulled, fuzzy state, further considering the possibility of a untroublesome death.
     Making it look accidental was another option, though, again, very messy. He'd thought about throwing himself in front of the subway, until discovering that a lot of railway deaths weren't instant and that a person would often become tangled at the hip, the lower half having twisted one way while the uper body went the other, and it wasn't until a person was physically untangled that he or she finally reached the end of what would definitely be a horrific death. 
     His phone began vibrating on his bedside table, and as he wondered who it could be at such an hour, he thought about how fitting an end it would be for him to be found hanging, having heard that when a man hangs, he cums. He wasn't sure if it were true, but wasn't about to risk being found dead with a hard-on and a sack full of semen running down his leg. He smiled to himself, just one final insult, he thought as he picked up his phone to see the word HOME flashing on the screen. 
"Hello?" His face sank, hearing his mothers voice, alien as it sounded through her screams. 
"Mark, Mark come quick, it’s your brother, Mark, it's Rory… he’s dead! He’s dead! Come quick, Mark, Rory’s dead!”

     Mark can remember the floor hitting his knees as the room began to spin. He can remember not noticing the bedroom wall against his face, not until his mother’s voice cut its way back into the forefront of his mind and pulled him to his feet. He can remember getting dressed, the door slamming behind him, and how different everything seemed outside, how three dimensional, how both light and dark it all looked. He can remember every detail, every stone, every broken slab of pavement blurring past as one foot kept unsteadily appearing in front of the other. He can remember the faint sound of his mother’s screams, drowned out by his own heartbeat as he ran toward the door. He can remember how the cracked paint on the door frame chipped off as his key fought its way through the lock. He can remember the sound of his mother’s pleas burst through, filling everything as the door swung open. He can remember tripping up the stairs, seeing his mother holding his little brother’s almost naked, blue body, soaking wet on the bathroom floor with an empty packet of Zopiclone sleeping tablets and a telephone lying beside them. He can remember being on the floor, slapping his brothers face, screaming at him. He can remember being surprised at how cold, how firm his brother felt. He can remember feeling that none of this was real, just as he can remember feeling utterly useless as he watched his mother fall apart before his eyes. 
     Mark can remember the first conscious thought he had after seeing his brother Rory’s dead body, after the ambulance had left, after he had emptied out the bath. 'Beat me to it', he thought. He can remember that, but he doesn't remember ever choosing. Mark never had his nightmare again.

The End


Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Hard Knock Life

(Flash fiction)   

    Smothered between stale, moist thighs, an afflicted, idiotic penis and an unclean fold of haemorrhoids, Neil's bollock suffered in existence, hanging in his sad sack alone and impoverished. His twin had been the lucky one. He'd been removed after an adolescent Neil had attempted some acrobatic manoeuvre which was intended to involve a skateboard and a hand-railing, but had in fact only involved a hand-railing and a previous brush with the law alongside the privileged son of the Doctor whose responsibility it would become to decide whether or not the offending bollock - which had receded to the much sunnier setting of Neil's stomach - should or should not be dethroned.
     He spent his days suffocating, numbed by soiled, mossy pants, soaking in the overdeveloped, reanimated refuse of Neil's rotting innards and various putrefactive stages of his own product. His surrounding scrotum was fortified by layer upon layer of the festering bodily discharges of strangers, as well as a residuum left by the unidentified seepage that sometimes bubbled from the all-but sealed-shut cavity that was Neil's buckled anus, staining its rear a filthy burnt-orange and punctuated only by a surgical scar. Indeed, it had for a time seemed that the only auspicious element of Neil's bollock's entire region was the once thriving population of parasitical organisms, but they, too, were stricken with plague and only a sluggish, mutated few remained.
     The Pluto abandoned on the outskirts of the circulatory system, Neil's bollock was depressed. Thankfully, however, he usually found himself knackered to a witless docility, blind to self awareness.
     Low vibrations ushered him towards a state of vague consciousness - Neil was in conversation. He had actual, real-life company. The muffled reverberating continued for some time at varying frequencies until, quite suddenly, it stopped. Neil's bollock sensed that Neil's retarded penis had perked up. Shortly thereafter he felt something caress his surrounding sack, gently ushering him about it, signifying that Neil was almost certainly about to partake in all manner of sexual atrocities. Then, as if out of nowhere... Serenity. He found himself aired, enlivened by the relief of nudity - an unwelcome quickening, for here, Neil's bollock knew, opened the gates of Hell. Wide awake and smashing against an unknown provocateur's swollen, outwardly hung prolapsed rectum, he began to charge all of his new found vigour to the conjuring of fictions and prayer; that Neil might not be too intoxicated, that this hell might not last too long. 
     Suicidal despair was partially doused by determined delusion - bathing in beautiful blue lagoons, swimming with dolphins, basking in meadows of unequivocal splendour - all of this took undiluted focus. The whole while it hammered at the wall of his figment - unyielding reality. He was squashed, bitten, chewed, stretched, kicked, clamped, stabbed, burnt and trampled on throughout this most hideous stop-start exchange of pathogens, until, finally, he got the order. Neil's gullible penis had been hard at work. Concentrating with clarity, purpose and accuracy was easy to him as he only had one thought - go - which he was either thinking or not thinking.
     It was time. One last agonising push. It was, after all, up to him to finish the job, to put this horrible affair behind him. He forced, squeezed, crushed, imploded himself as blood vessels burst all around leaving him shrivelled, utterly unable to reflate, and producing nothing more than a drip. Then it was over. He watched Neil's moronic penis wilt as his own cognisance dissolved, freeing him from the excruciating, acute distress of absoluteness.

The End




Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Half Man Half Debauchery - Daydreaming


Produced by Terra.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Aidan Fucking Moffat

(A short story written to be recorded as a skit between tracks on an album by Glasgow hip-hop bohemians THE BEING but was never used.)
    
     It wasn’t ‘til I noticed she was sat filling out one of those daft Myspace questionnaire bulletin things that I realised I really didn’t like her but just tolerated her because she looked good with her clothes off, and that with them on she was just a fashion accessory I wore to make me look good, which she did until she opened her mouth. She always had really poor circulation so whenever she climbed into bed she’d be freezing cold which, in hindsight, I maybe should’ve taken as some sort of allegory. I didn’t though, that would’ve been insane.
     But this was all before she started hitting out with all the ‘I’m so sorry’, ‘I never meant to hurt you’, ‘it wasn’t like that’, and the ‘I just needed somebody, he was there and you weren’t’ bullshit.
     Anyway, I seen her in the pub and we started arguing almost immediately, which ended with her telling me really specifically how sad I was and that I just pure thought I was Aidan fucking Moffat. Obviously, I had absolutely no idea what she meant by that but thought it best to act defensively, so I told her she was a horrible bastard and I hoped she’d rot inwards, at which point the guy she left me for burst my lip and I, in turn, burst out laughing. Then, I think, that’s when the kicker-outers asked me to leave, but as I did I had one of those wee accidental dances with some guy on his way in - you know the way you do when you try and pass each other but both go the same way two or three times, which could only’ve emphasised my stupor.
     The fresh air must’ve knocked me for six ‘cause save a vague recollection of shouting abuse at some screamers hanging out one of those embarrassing party limos, the next thing I know I’m in Mount Florida leaning against McNeill’s close door, which was fine because I really don’t mind losing a few hours - it’s the finding them again I’ve never been too keen on.
     So I set off back to Garnethill which is quite a walk by anyone’s standards, and by the time I got to Vicky Road there wasn’t a single soul or car to be seen anywhere, and I must’ve been in some strange mood because I decided to walk right down the middle of the road which gave me an amazing feeling of freedom or harmony or something, like I was a wee boy again, away on some Huck-Finn type adventure. I bit into my lip, reopening the burst, enjoying the taste of my blood like some nostalgic reminder of when I used to stick pennies in my mouth before I’d even started the school: I think it must be the iron in the blood that tastes like copper; weird how blood tastes like money. Then the police snuck up behind me with the window down and told me to get the fuck out the road.

The End


Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Last Draw

(flash fiction)

     Sat up in his girlfriends bed as she lay asleep beside him, Andy was careful not to wake her, working his magic in the dark. With a magazine across his lap he attentively stuck three cigarette papers together, emptied half a cigarette into them, spreading it evenly, took his lighter and his last joints-worth of hash, and began heating and sprinkling it over the open spliff, using caution not to burn his fingers and the light from the flame to guide his hand, until the piece of hash was too small to hold and burn.
     It was a tricky process, building a spliff in the dark, but one Andy had become accustomed to as his girlfriend, Roslyn, had nothing but disdain for what she considered a disgusting habit. She was a beautiful girl, and understanding. Andy had been unemployed for almost a full year and had been unofficially living with her rent-free for most of that time. She didn't mind that he spent most of his time playing on his skateboard, but she really didn't like that he couldn't sleep without a spliff before bed, and recently she'd been under a lot of pressure, what with cutbacks at work due to the financial climate. All Andy felt he could do to help was respect her wishes and not get caught doing what he wasn't supposed to be doing.
     He'd been planning to surprise her with a weekend away for some time, but had struggled to afford it given that he was on benefits and always had to make sure he wasn't without something to smoke. He was sure the gesture, however small, would mean a lot to her, just in letting her know how much she meant to him. After all, he hadn't planned on being unemployed indefinitely, but just couldn't seem to catch a brake. He considered either next week or the week after as he baked the very last of his hash - that being the most difficult part of building a spliff in the dark when there's only a spliffs-worth left, heating it up in order to crumble it in - he had to sit it on the magazine, hold his lighter upside down and blast it with the flame in a downward motion until it was hot enough to crumble it all in at once.
     The glow from the lighter gently warmed the shadows of the room as he thought, somewhat unrealistically, about a humble but romantic trip to the Ilse of Arran, just the two of them. He sucked in a tight half-lung full of air in apprehension of the blistering he was about to give his forefinger and thumb, but just as he was about to stop burning, the room was plunged in to darkness as he felt the spring in his lighter go and something bounce off the magazine. Panicked and blind from staring at the flame, he fumbled at the small piece of hash and the spliff, doing his best to finish the job, but froze for a second, noticing Roslyn beginning to stir. A moment later she shot upright, screaming.
"Aaargh!"
"Calm down, sweetheart, Jesus, what's wrong?"
"My ear! My ear!"
She jumped out of bed, switched on the light and began banging the side of her head.
"What the fuck is this?" She held out her hand, brandishing the cog from his lighter. "How the hell did this get in my ear, you useless bag of dicks!"
Andy had held the lighter upside down for too long and the flame had melted the plastic which held the cog in place, then the spring which pressed the flint against the cog had fired the cog, roasting hot, against the magazine which it rebouded off and shot directly in to Roslyn's ear. Her eyes broadened, changing from rage to disbelief as she looked at him sitting there with his mouth open and a half-rolled spliff in his hands.
"You know what, that's the last straw! Here's your stuff, take your precious dope and get the fuck out of my life before you completely ruin it!" She threw his jeans and shoes at him, grabbed him by the arm and led him out the door, slamming it behind him.
Andy stood outside in his boxer shorts and t-shirt, holding his jeans and shoes in one hand and his half-rolled spliff in the other, wondering where he was going to find a lighter.
The End




Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Great Search for Absolution


(a short story) 


                                Jon Horner

Propping up the bar were the Batman and his alcoholic, HIV positive friend, Count Dracula. The pair had been there all day, and Batman had come to thinking he must be looking good, comparatively, what with all the smiles he'd been getting from the barmaid.
"What're you looking so pleased about?" Asked Dracula.
"Nothing." Replied Batman, smugly, as he shuffled uncomfortably, having found his suit chaffed since he'd let himself go. The pair returned to their usual silence, despondently staring blankly into nothingness, until Batman rolled his eyes and sighed, noticing Robin dragging over a stool.
"Hi guys!" Said the Boy Wonder, gleefully, only to receive a half-grimace in return. Awkwardly hovering, he stood feeling unwelcome until, having managed to get the barmaid's attention, he perked up.
"Hi there, can I have a bottle of your house red, a pint of Guinness, and let me see… oh, I'll have a cherry Bacardi Breezer, please?"
"Have you got any ID?" Asked the rather attractive young barmaid, embarrassing Robin who nervously fumbled about his waist. Batman smirked to himself, and once again caught the barmaid glance him a smile.
"It's in my other trunks." Said Robin, sheepishly.
"I'm sorry, but I can't serve you without ID. Sorry."
"I'll vouch for him, I'm his legal guardian. He is honestly eighteen." Said Batman, trying to impersonate his long forgotten charismatic alter ego, Bruce Wane.
"I'd still need to see some proof of age. Sorry."
"I'm Batman, he's Robin. What more proof could there be?"
"I'm sorry, but I'd need to see some ID."
"What?"
"Look, I'm really sorry, but it's the law."
"The law? Are you insane? You think that I, the goddamn Batman, am going to show you, a barmaid, my identification? Like Commissioner fucking Gordon hasn't already tried that?"
"OK, if you're going to continue to talk like that I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to…"
"Please, it's no big deal, I'll just have a can of Top-Deck and these two can get their own. He must've just had a bad day or something, I'm sure he wont talk to you like that again, will you?" Pleaded Robin, having turned to his mentor.
"No!" Replied the bleary-eyed Batman, looking down into his almost empty pint.
"How many glasses would you like with the wine?" Sighed the barmaid.
"Just the one, thanks." Said an almost oblivious Dracula.
"So, any good crime fighting tonight Robin?" Asked Batman, sarcastically.
"Nah… redirected some traffic. Before the filth got there, anyway. There was an accident this end of the A77. No one injured. I saw this guy take some kicking up Sauchiehall Street, though. If it'd gotten any worse I'd've jumped in but, well, you know… there were quite a lot of them and he totally deserved it." Said Robin as he sat down, pulling his cape across and down over his lap, just as a girl would her skirt if it were too short. "How you doing Count? Any joy with the medication yet?"
"Nah, the problem's with my blood. It's different on account of my being… Ha! Account…A Count? Never mind. My bloods different 'cause I'm a vampire, so the medication doesn't work. Pain in the bloody... Sorry, that's not funny either. But I mean things just really aren't cool anymore, you know? If I'd known things were going to end up like this…" Said Dracula having just gotten started.
"Yeah, I hear you. Times are tough." Interrupted Robin, regretting having asked.
"No, I'm serious. I'd've never gotten into this whole 'immortal vampire' thing if I'd known. I mean, bloody Norah! The last time I killed someone was so long ago I can barely remember it. And I got twenty-odd years because of dental records and DNA or whatever. Twenty years? Just for having a bite to eat?"
"You were out in ten minutes, and that's not even because you're a bloody vampire and could've easily escaped anytime you pleased. It's because the criminal justice system in this country is an absolute shambles." Said Batman.
"How, exactly, was I to escape from jail? As far as I can see you're the only numpty around here who thinks he's a fucking bat. And believe me, no matter how long someone might live, seven years is never ten minutes."
"Did you know that human DNA is 97% identical to that of a banana?" Added Robin, attempting to distract his friends before they fell out.
"Oh, shut up you pathetic little prick. Sick to the stomach listening to your drivel!" Said Batman, even more bitterly than usual.
"That's just… that's just not on and you know it! I've just got here two seconds ago and already you're… It's not my fault criminals aren't scared of 'The Batman' anymore! It's not my fault you're a big fat alcoholic! Maybe if you stopped getting photographed staggering home covered in your own vomit while everyone else is on their way to work, at least then people wouldn't be able to see your lumpy bits through your Lycra! I mean, give me strength, that trout Vale wrote one article calling you a bloated pederast and you've been pond life ever since. And by the way, you've got a massive bogey hanging from your nose!" Said Robin.
"Aw what, man… and I thought the barmaid fancied me! Why didn't you say?" Said Batman having turned to Dracula, wiping his nose with his cape.
"You have the luxury of mirrors, take advantage of that now and again." Said Dracula. "And eh, speaking of bananas, Banana-man was in here the other day."
"Pfft… Banana-man. That'll be right!" Said Batman.
"But Eric isn't old enough to be in here?" Said Robin.
"He was on the red-bull." Said Dracula, before everyone once again fell quite silent. Time slowed as Robin looked around his shadow-stained surroundings, wondering what it was that these two, at one time, gods among men, found so comforting in such a horribly grim place of squaler.
"I'm just pissed off with the whole world today in general, you know?" Dracula began again. "I can't even go to a seedy nightclub without being splashed all over the tabloids the next morning. I'll just be heading back to the coffin and already I'm destined for the front page of The Sun. It's not on, it really isn't, and, well, personally I blame the Devil. It's all his fault things ended up the way they are."
"I heard that!" Shouted The Devil from a table up the back of the pub.
"Speak of the bloody Devil, right enough." Muttered Dracula.
"He's been sat back there all night." Said Batman.
"Shit, I…I think he's… he's coming over!" Stuttered a now very panicked Robin.
"Don't worry, it's cool, he's a nice enough guy when you get to know him. Just let me do the talking, he and I go way back." Started Dracula. "Hey Satan, sorry mate, didn't see you over there, how's tricks?"
"Aye, Aye, very good. And I suppose Hitler was my fault an' all?" Asked the Devil. Everyone fell awkwardly silent for a moment before Batman botched an attempt at changing the subject.
"So, anyone been watching Celebrity Big Brother?"
"I bloody well knew it!" Exasperated the Devil. "Ok, I'll admit the guy was good for business but other than that I had nothing to do with the mental bastard. Well, apart from obviously setting the horrible fucker ablaze for all eternity, but, 'oh no, never mind that! It's all the Devils fault! Of course it is!' If you really need someone to blame, blame that delusional gob-shite Nostradamus. It was him put the idea in the mad bugger's head in the first place, not me."
"But we saw him in here just last week." Said Dracula.
"Who, Nostradamus?" Asked the Devil.
"No, not Nostradamus. Hitler. He was sat over there by the pool table, drinking with Elvis."
"You need your eyes tested, pal, that was Chaplin and Wolverine. Trust me, both Hitler and Elvis are well and truly damned." Insisted the Devil.
"Fair do's. So who's that you're drinking with tonight, Satan?" Asked Batman, looking back at an overweight, middle-aged man with thick grey hair, bushy grey eyebrows, very shaky hands and big wet lips.
"Oh, that's an old friend. He's just after telling me about this dream he had where he was sentenced to death for attempted suicide. Interesting guy but he's a bit odd." Answered the Devil. Then catching the barmaids eye. "Hey toots, I'll have a your phone number, all today's takings, a triple Ardbeg - no ice, a bottle of Mountain Due, and whatever these three are having." Another short silence was interrupted as the Devil received everything he'd just asked for, then noticing Robin spying him nervously from the corner of his mask. "Pleased to meet you, I'm the Devil." Satan offered out his hand in friendship.
"Hello Mr the Devil, I'm…" Robin reached to meet the Devils handshake, only to find Batman calmly blocking the way.
"Robin, are you really so foolish as to shake hands with the Devil? No offence, Satan."
"None taken."
"I mean, come on, boy. Most people, such as our unfortunate friend Dracula here - No offence, Dracula."
"None taken."
"- Are at least sensible enough to barter some outrageous agreement before handing over their eternal soul to damnation. I know we're all friends here but, come on, you should know by now to keep your wits about you when drinking in a fine establishment such as this. I mean it's no surprise they call you The Boy Wonder, your head's in the bloody clouds."
"Sorry, I didn't think."
"Don't be too hard on yourself, wee man." Began the Devil, cheerily. "You'd be surprised how many a nobleman's fallen for that old chestnut. Anyway, my friend'll be waiting but I'll be back in a bit. Bye for now."
Despite being in the company of friends, Robin once again found himself alone enough for his eyes to wander.
There was the Devil and his friend sat at the table nearest the back. Then at a table a few in from them sat a group of four unremarkable looking young men of various heights and builds, all of whom must have been in their early thirties. They laughed and argued amongst themselves as only life-long friends could. Then, at the table closest the door there was a very odd group of eight, who, despite seeming to frequent the place as often as most of the staff, kept themselves to themselves more than anyone. The most noticeable of whom was a very beautiful girl who never left her boyfriends side, even walking arm in arm to and from the toilets. There were the two pensioners, one of whom seemed an intellectual type, the other a jailbird complete with a facial scar and tattooed tears. Next was a very unhealthy looking, buck-toothed young man who was clearly in desperate need of a good bath, a very energetic, spotty youngster who couldn't have been any older than Robin was, and a very bland looking man of an indescript age who seemed to bore anyone within earshot to tears. Last of all sat a very, very strange looking man who at a glance wasn't even visible, seeming to be almost completely transparent like a hologram, who only ever caught the attention of the old criminal looking man. Robin sat watching for a while, trying to fathom what might be the purpose in having your own personal hologram, especially if you had to adhere to its every command, as the case seemed to be here.
After having pondered the pros and cons of holograms, Robin's attention was brought back to the well being - or not - of his old friend and father figure, Batman, having noticed him now absentmindedly drooling on himself. Robin gently nudged his sensei, hoping to arouse him from his near comatose state, only to find that Batman was not at all insensible, but just as unforgiving as ever.
"When will you realise that you're not wanted!" Robin quickly thought on his feet, needing something agreeable to say.
"No, sorry, it's just since they weren't happy about serving me I thought I'd give you the money and you could, you know, get a round in for me?"
"Oh, yeah, is it your round again already?" A twenty pound note was discretely exchanged, and while Batman got the drinks in, Robin heard something very out of place - a gentle song passed behind him.
"True love will find you in the end… You'll find out just who was your friend…" Then having looked, saw it was the Devil's friend making his way to the door. Not being used to such obvious optimism, Robin felt uneasy and slowly turned back to face the bar where he found the Devil had again joined them, with his arm around Dracula's shoulder, comforting him.
"Don't worry, big man, we all make mistakes. God knows, I've made mine." Said the Devil, but Dracula looked tearful as he poured the last of his wine, eyeing the approach of another bottle.
"So what do you think'll happen to you, Dracula? I mean, what with your health an' all?" Asked Robin, genuinely concerned.
"Well, if I'm staked and/or beheaded I'll go to hell. If not, I'll just continue to rot inwards until I'm crippled and all I can do is regret. Then eventually there'll be nothing physical left of me at all. Nothing but regret. Regret and guilt. The rest'll've rotted away and my conscience'll just lie wherever my body lay, awake but unable to do anything but suffer my own failings. Not too dissimilar to the dead-weight feeling of a broken heart except a thousand times worse, that and nothing else for all eternity." Said Dracula, disillusioned.
"Hell would be exactly the same only instead of just lying there you'd be on fire." Said the Devil, trying to reassure his friend.
"But I don't get it. If you two are friends then why…" Started Robin, not having noticed Batman rummaging around his utility belt, producing a small plastic bottle and pouring its contents out onto a scrunched up bundle of his cape. Batman sat looking directly at Robin until Robin noticed, then grabbing him in a head-lock, Batman smothered Robin with the damp patch of his cape for a few seconds, rendering him unconscious.
"Chloroform." Said Batman.
"Good thinking, Batman!" Cheered the Devil.
"Sounded to me like the boy might've had a point." Said Dracula.
"Ucht, we are friends, Dracula, but business is business and, you know, life goes on." Said the Devil.
"And on and on and on and on." Began Dracula. "There should be some kind of extenuating circumstances clause or whatever… a mitigating cause. I wasn't of sound mind when I signed that contract. There should be a union that takes care of this sort of thing."
"Yeah, you should get yourself down the Citizens Advise Bureau." Said the Devil, mocking Dracula's declaration. "And anyway, let's not forget that death's a privilege I earned you people in the first place. It's not my fault you thought better of it."
"But if you're intention was such a humanitarian one then why pop up at such an opportune moment brandishing your 'get out of jail free card'?" Said Dracula, as if hurt. "I mean it's fine for everyone else, they've infinite ways to die and the hope of Heaven. I'm completely goosed."
"Ok, so you're fucked as far as Heaven goes but trust me, it's not all it's cracked up to be. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's just plain boring, and what do you mean 'infinite ways to die'? People don't go around wanting a piano to fall on their head, it's a lucky dip... or not. You get what you're given, you die, you go up or down and that's the end of it. For most people, anyway." Said the Devil.
"Anything's got to be better than being beheaded or staked through the bloody heart." Said Dracula, sulking.
"Hmm…" Pondered the Devil. "Ok, lets say, just for talking's sake, you could choose. How would you want to go?"
Dracula turned for a second to see his friend Batman almost fall from his stool without even seeming to notice as his elbow slipped from the bar, then answered.
"With my heart in one piece. I mean, bloody Hell, if you'd successfully managed to take over Heaven we wouldn't even be here and I wouldn't be in this Godforsaken mess!"
"Godforsaken? Don't you talk to me about Godforsaken! And I never even tried to take over Heaven, you silly bastarding twat! That's pure propaganda. All I did was ask God if he were capable of building a chasm so great that even he couldn't jump it, and the pretentious prick threw me out!" Insisted the now irate Devil, rubbing his left arm then clutching his chest and screwing up his face.
"Heart burn?" Asked Batman.
"Nah, it's… Aw bollocks…" Started the Devil before collapsing to the ground with a thud. Batman and Dracula sat perturbed.
"Did he just have a heart attack?" Asked Dracula.
"As unlikely as it might seem, I think maybe he did." Answered Batman. Just then, up jumped the Devil.
"Sorry about that, lads. Happens all the time. Too much salt in the diet, red meat, that sort of thing. Pain in the arse, though. Every time it happens all my ongoing agreements become null and void. Loose a bloody fortune." Explained the Devil, looking even more red than usual.
"What?" Asked Batman.
"You know, stress. That and lifestyle. And work, of course. I mean the money's good but the hours are terrible. Look, there's really no need for anyone else to know about this, is there?"
"Hold on, rewind a bit. 'Null and void'?" Said the now wide-eyed Count Dracula.
"No, no. Not yours. I mean if you'd just wanted to play a mean guitar you'd be off the hook but you're a vampire, and not just any vampire. You're top-boy vampire. You're fucked, sorry mate." Dracula sank even further into himself before Satan continued. "Honestly, Hell isn't all that bad. After a thousand years or so you wont even notice you're on fire anymore, and there's women down there. Women like you wouldn't believe. A lot of interesting characters. It's way more fun than up there with all those clean living goodie-two-shoes. Once you're acclimatized, that is." Dracula seemed unconvinced.
"There's really no point worrying about it now." Began Batman. "I mean, the hung-over moments of cognizance between waking up and getting to the pub are surely bad enough."
"Hangovers? You still get hangovers?" Asked Dracula.
"Well, no, but you know what I mean. When you're not properly drunk yet." Said Batman.
Just then Robin began to stir. Everyone watched as he came to.
"…What... what the bloody hell did you do that for?" Asked Robin.
"Too many questions, Robin, too many questions. An inquisitive mind is an annoying mind. You'd do well to remember that. And watch your language." Said Batman.
"Ok, so if questions are so daft then riddle me this, Batman. What's the deal with that guy over there?" Asked Robin, pointing towards the hologram-looking person. Batman shrugged, smugly grinning up one side of his mouth as if to imply 'who cares' bravado.
"He's a ghost." Answered the Devil.
"There's no such thing as ghosts." Said Robin. Everyone gawped at Robin, amazed, finding what he'd just said surpassed all levels of idiocy previously assumed.
"Robin, wee man, you're sat drinking with Count Dracula and the Devil. What do you mean there's no such thing as ghosts?" Said Batman.
"Ok. So how do you know he's a ghost?" Asked Robin.
"Because I'm the Devil. And because it's obvious, just look at the guy, you can see right through him, he's quite clearly a ghost." The Devil turned to Batman. "This boy isn't going to do your legacy any favours."
"He has a lot to learn, I admit. Besides, neither am I, at present." Said Batman.
"Hold on a second. So how come, if I'm not mistaken, I mean, we see those guys in here all the time, right? And only one of them even knows that see-through guy's there?" Asked Robin.
"Evidently, that's the guy he's haunting." Answered the Devil.
"But we can all see him. Any one of us could just waltz over there and start up a conversation with him, couldn't we?" Asked Robin.
"Shit, yeah, that is strange. I mean, of course I should be able to see him but there's no reason you should. What about you Count, can you normally see ghosts?" Asked the Devil.
"I cant even see my own reflection." Answered Dracula, without having bothered to look. After a short baffled pause the Devil started humbly.
"Well I guess the only explanation I can offer is that he belongs to a completely different fiction than you, where different rules apply."
"Oh. It's rubbish being fictional." Said Robin.
"It has its perks, I'm sure." Said the Devil. Just then the barmaid rang the bell and called last orders.
"One for the road, gents, it's on me?" Said the Devil, to which there was a resounding grumble of agreement. "Another day, another dollar, and all that. Chin up guys, things could be worse, trust me."
"Ha! Trust you. You're right, though. Things could always be worse. Get Robin something strong, will you? He deserves it, putting up with me."
"Consider it done. Better drink fast, though, don't want big Superman out there getting his knickers in a twist."
"Superman." Batman said, despairing. "He's not super, nor is he a man. He's an alien."
"He's a dickhead is what he is." Said Robin, prompting his three elders into laughter.
"Robin, I wont tell you again about your language." Smirked Batman as their drinks arrived. Satan held his glass up to Robin's and Robin turned to Batman for guidance.
"It's fine, you can raise your glass. As far as I'm aware, anyway."
"You're OK in my book, wee man." Said the Devil. They cheersed and the Devil put his glass to his lips but stopped short of taking a drink so's to watch Robin's reaction to a hard scotch, as did Batman and Dracula. The young crime fighter took it in his stride, and Batman ruffled his hair with pride. "I think maybe we were both wrong about this one, Batman. He'll do just fine when it's time to take over the old cape and cowl. Don't you agree?"
"I do. He's made of the right stuff, and carries less baggage than I did when I started out. A lot less. He'll do just fine, alright." Just then Superman came in.
"Start finishing up your drinks and making your way outside, please folks!" The Kryptonian shouted with an air of superiority. Batman smirked and they all started giggling.
"Alright boys, shall we neck these then someone can toss a coin for who's gaff we're heading back to?" Said Batman. Everyone gulped down what they had left and stood up, adjusting themselves.
"We can just head back to mine, it's closest." Said Dracula.
"Do we need to phone Dial-a-Booze?" Asked the Devil as they all made their way to the door.
"Nah, I keep the best cellar in town." Answered Dracula.


 THE END
                                                Erin McGrath


Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Friend of Dubham Thomas

(a short story)

Dubham Thomas was a friendly but lonely middle-aged man who spent his days in various pubs talking and laughing with other lonely men, and his evenings drinking alone in his flat. He'd been partial to a good drink his entire adult life but since receiving both redundancy and a broken heart a blurry number of years earlier, his love for pub culture now seemed little more than alcoholism. On this particular occasion he'd been drinking practically non-stop for almost three weeks before he'd found it impossible to go on. 
Having woken up fully clothed on his bedroom floor, Dubham Thomas stripped and got under his covers. He tossed and turned, shuddering, vaguely awake in his sodden, twisted bed sheets as his memory flashed, betraying him with shocks of stupid, inappropriate things that might not even have happened: loud, idiotic, objective statements rung out between his ears as images of spilled drinks, refusal of service, tears and a complete loss of balance stabbed at his weakened mind while he struggled to ignore the dragging moments in his dark, dank room. Through long hours worry chipped away at his conscience until he felt his hands go numb. He began to plead with himself as pins & needles crept up his wrists. A building anxiety took charge of him, with every sensation clouded but jagged, and every thought surrounded by whispers. Sheer frozen terror set in, identical to that of a rabbit in the headlights, only seemingly permanent and consuming him entirely.  
"Deep breaths, deep breaths!" He reminded himself, panting loudly for what seemed like forever, until, eventually, he began to feel his panic dissipate. 
On finally finding his first semi-sober sleep in weeks, Dubham Thomas fell into an altogether different kind of horror as he awoke to discover he'd been abandoned on a sinking ship who's crew had fled as he slept. He waded through his half-submerged quarters towards an awkward looking porthole and peered out to see a storm of fantastic magnitude. He looked on as a single wave rose high above the tall ship, arching over it with a colossal din. 
"No, God! Please, no!" He cried as he shot upright in his bed, soaking wet and shivering. He looked around the blackness of his room, desperately trying to recognise something, but stopped with a fright, seeing the silhouette of a man standing over him. He swung out screaming, hitting something hard, but was assaulted as he fell to the floor and fought his way, kicking and clattering, to the light switch. The light blazed on - he'd punched his clotheshorse then become tangled in it. 
Nursing a sore knee, Dubham Thomas took a moment to gather himself. He was glad the injury had a known history for once as all too often he'd wake up covered in bruises with no inkling of where they'd come from. He picked up his clotheshorse, struggled to flip his sweat-laden mattress, and gulped an almost full pint of water which he always kept at his bedside, swirling it about his mouth as he did. Shivering, he climbed back into his bed and began throwing things at the light switch. First his shoes, then two all-but-forgotten books, then, disheartened, he got up, turned the light off, and carefully returned to bed. 
He began thinking back to happier days before Cathy had left him, but that always led to why she'd left him. He'd long come to realise that his being a hardened drinker had been attractive to her at first as he was always so much fun, but it wasn't long before it had become laborious, and with no shortage of other potential suitors - the charm of whom only enhanced his insecurities - her leaving was inevitable. Still, he hadn't seen it coming and the obligatory drowning of sorrows was all he felt he could do in response, so he flung it at her like a brick, as if his evermore obvious drink problem had somehow been her fault all along. 
Dubham Thomas lay with an incalculable weight of guilt, but only a small portion of it had it's roots in reality. The rest just grew - watered by years of drinking, fertilised by self doubt. His eyes began to swell, encouraging the mammoth lack of respect he had for himself. He tried to shake it off and clear his head but couldn't, until distracted, he began to think there must be something wrong with his hearing - it was as though he'd just been at a very loud concert - a dense hum hung over what he suspected was a conversation next door in his living room. He wondered whether he was being robbed or had just brought people back from the pub, and the more he listened, the more pressing the matter became. He decided to ignore it, but soon realised he was in desperate need of the toilet and would have to get up anyway. 
Feigning confidence and armed with his empty glass and the pretence of filling it, he brazened through his hall and into his living room, hoping to see familiar faces. But there was nobody there. Relieved, he quickly nipped to the toilet, used the facilities, eyed himself over in the mirror, splashed water on his face, refilled his glass, grabbed some toilet paper and returned to bed where, thinking of times he'd shared with Cathy, he attempted masturbation, but achieved nothing other than a clammy hand and another layer of slimy sweat. He lay listening to his puffed-out heartbeat attempting to catch it's breath, wondering where it found the energy, but when it had settled, the non-existent conversation next door returned. He picked out the odd muddled word here and there until he was close to nodding off, then with a start he heard a single word, so distinct it was as if came from within the room.
"Wanker!"
"Who's there... a know someone's there, a can hear you!" He said as he lifted his head. Totally still, he stared out from over the top of his covers, the dark not so dark now with his sight adjusted. Then in the corner of his eye he something move, the shadow of someone ducking behind the end of his bed.
"Here, a just bloody saw you! What you doin' in ma room, man, crash on the couch, am tryin' t' sleep!" He said, frightened but hopeful it was only someone from the pub, maybe someone who'd just woken up not knowing where they were, who'd perhaps been muttering in their sleep. Gingerly, he got up and crept around the wall and flicked the light back on but could see no one. 
"What you doin' under ma bed, man, what's goin' on, a know you're there!" He checked all around and under the bed, then with the light still on he hid under his covers and pulled them up to his nose.
"Must be goin' mad. About time, right enough."
"Madness would be a fine thing. A welcome distraction, if nothing else." A disembodied voice came from exactly where Dubham Thomas had seen the shadow move.
"Man, you're scarin' the shit out me, where are you?"
"Please forgive me, it was not my intention to cause you distress." The shadow reappeared. Then, slowly, it seemed to come out of itself, became freestanding, three dimensional, until a man stood there at the foot of Dubham Thomas' bed. "And I am afraid I am none the wiser as to how our current predicament came to be. Nobody has ever seen me before. Here I have been all these long, long years and nobody has ever, until now, noticed. Although I do think this somewhat splendid! You can see me! You can actually see me!"
"I've finally lost it." Dubham Thomas said matter-of-factly.
"No, that was the conclusion I myself initially met but after many years of boredom, watching people come and go, getting on with their lives, growing old and moving on, I realised I was not mad at all. Bored, yes. Invisible, yes. Unable to touch anything properly or be heard by anyone, yes. But not mad. Although you might think this would be enough to drive a man to madness, but I came to thinking that it simply is not possible for a ghost to go mad. However, this is fantastic news! Finally, after all this time I have someone with whom I may talk!"
"What?"
"Oh, I do apologise. This must be, well, somewhat perturbing for you. Mind if I have a seat?" The man sat down on the end of the bed and as he did Dubham Thomas had to strain his eyes to stay focused on him as the man seemed to strobe and leave a trace of himself behind as he moved. "You see, some many years ago I met my end in this very room, and I am of the opinion that the manner in which I did, and subsequently how I reacted, has seen me trapped hereafter, unable to move on as I can only assume others do."
"You're a ghost?"
"I believe so, yes."
"So what are you doin' in ma room?"
"Haunting it, of course."
"Of course."
"Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Jeremy, Herbert Jeremy. But my friends used to call me Herbie."
"Ma name's Dubham Thomas. Ma friends used to call me Dubham Thomas."
"It is my sincere pleasure to make your acquaintance Mr. Dubham Thomas. Your friends used to call you? Past tense?"
"Don't really have any friends. No really, anyway."
"I see. Perhaps this is an area in which I may be of assistance. Perhaps we may be able to assist one another. I welcome it, in fact. Not having been in the position to converse in so long, I would be delighted to call myself your friend. That is, of course, if you will have me as your friend?"
"You're a ghost."
"I was, as it happens, a happily married man, living, no less, in this very residence. That is, of course, until I was stabbed in the back by a man whom I used to consider my closest friend, who then preceded to carry out relations of a carnal nature with my beloved wife, who seemed all too comfortable with the circumstances, against that very wall as I lay, face down, helplessly dying right here on the floor, watching. The pain I endured was... I believe my determination to exact revenge was what saw me stationed here, although I can not be sure of this as I have since never left this building, so there is a chance, however small, that this, my perpetual intermediate state, is what happens to every living creature on earth after the final curtain on the stage of life is drawn, doubtful as it may be." 
"You talk funny." 
"Quite. I was, however, unfortunately unable to obtain said revenge as providence had offered me no such opportunity. My wife, along with her associate conspirator, fled this place in possession of the deeds to various properties I had owned, along with other papers concerning business ventures I was at the time involved with, never to return. I remained here indefinitely."
"You talk a lot."
"I have been without an ear to bend in some time and have never been in the position to articulate the details of the events leading thereto my demise, other than to myself."
"Did you no call me a wanker?"
"Regrettably, I have found myself existing, passing the time if you will, only through the lives of others, committed to an endless commentary of their actions, no matter how inane those actions may be. Both that and watching television, not that there is a great deal of difference between the two. Please forgive me for saying so, but you look a little peeky. Or if I may be so bold as to elaborate, having had a window on your life these last years, the manner in which you choose to live your life does not seem to be one of self preservation."
"A feel like burgled shite through a blender. What's it like bein' a ghost?"
"Dull, to say the least. The pleasures of touch, taste, smell, to skim but the surface, are out with the reach of a lost soul such as myself, and until now, the stimulating art of conversation, underrated as it is among the living, is something I have very much longed for."
"You've no had to wipe your arse in years, though. That must be pretty cool." 
Dubham Thomas and his new friend Herbert Jeremy talked for hours until Dubham Thomas fell asleep. He came to that evening but there was no ghost. Dubham Thomas just assumed it had all been a dream. Business as usual, he popped to the off sales and stalked up, returned home and drank through the remainder of his hangover as he cooked spaghetti bolognese, pondering how life-like his dream had been. He ate and made his way to the pub for a few before last orders, came home and continued to drink, talking aloud as if the ghost had been real, right through to opening hours the next morning, when he made his way back to the pub. This went on for days until again he found himself in the grip of a crippling hangover, unable to carry on.
"God help me." Dubham Thomas pleaded.
"Really, Dubham. I think it highly unlikely that our omnibenevolent deity might consider coming out from under his incorporeal rock at this point, if he does indeed exist."
"Herbie, you're back! Where've you been, man?"
"Well I never, you can see me again! I was here the whole while, my good man. Answering your every question. It soon became apparent, however, that you could no longer see nor hear me."
"A'd have a drink to celebrate but honestly, a couldn't face it the now."
"Yes, that might not be such a good idea. I defer to consideration that your current disposition could be held accountable for our being able to engage in the finer points of colloquy in first place."
"What?" 
"Twice only have we been able to talk and on both occasions you have been altogether incapacitated by the aftermath of all too much alcohol. It may be such that your present mindset is integral to our situation."
"What?"
"You need to be incredibly hung over in order to see and hear me."
Dubham Thomas could find no problem with this, seeing as how he was always either drunk, getting drunk, or hung over, and Herbert Jeremy more than took the edge off the latter. They talked and talked, and the more they did, the easier it became for Dubham Thomas to understand his new friends fancy brogue. Herbert Jeremy was an interesting ghost, and full of stories which Dubham Thomas could see no reason to doubt, given that Herbert Jeremy still had the dagger he was killed with sticking out his back. Their friendship blossomed and as it did, so did Dubham Thomas' outlook on life. Everyone who knew him noticed, even the women that worked in the off sales, as well as the locals in all his favorite pubs, all of whom commented on the change in him. He was obviously happier, despite drinking even harder than before. He became able to tell exactly when he'd see Herbie, how many days it would take and how long for, and, with his approval and tutoring, he began writing all Herbie's stories down as works of fiction, soon planning a compiled collection entitled 'The Gallant Misadventures of Herbert Jeremy'. The works saw Herbie as one of the main character in every story, even though in life lots had belonged to other people that Herbie just happened to know.
Almost two years had past and Dubham Thomas was set to become a published author, having written both a novel and two books of short stories, and with the launch of the first of their projects in sight, he drank in preparation of his celebration with Herbie the following day.
Dubham Thomas passed out wearing his best suit, but on opening his eyes he felt something was wrong - he didn't feel terrible. In fact, he didn't feel anything at all other than a thick crust over his mouth and down either side of his face. He sat up, finding no difficulty or discomfort in doing so, and looked at his friend.
"I am so very, very sorry, Dubham." Said Herby.
"Sorry?"
"It seems you have finally succeeded in drinking yourself to death... and you appear to be covered in vomit."

The End.

 Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wee Tam Knows the Score

(a short story)

The young team have no respect these days. I mean, when I was a wee guy, we didn't give big guys any hassle, and if we did, we'd run afterwards. Not square up to them.

I've been getting trouble off the local neds. Not the young team, they're nothing to worry about. No, I've been getting shit off the proper neds. Not even neds so much anymore, just pure jakies. They live in a squat down by the railway. Proper scummy bastards. It's not actually me, but my girlfriend, Molly, that they're giving the shit to. She acts like its nothing but I can tell she's scared. She's something else though, proper confident and quick witted. She makes me laugh, not to metion perfect body, posture, and hair. She's just gorgeous, but at the moment I cant even let her walk down the street alone because of these scum bags. They've been threatening rape and all sorts, and there's no way I'm letting them ever get their filthy paws on her. No way.

They haven't said anything when I've been there but every time I've been there, there's only been two or three of them. There's only a few off them I'm even worried about, and that's only because they'll all jump in. Especially these two wee dicks Minty and Hunter. They're the ones proper starting it. They should know better because I'll fuck them up one on one. But the top boy, Tibby, he's the one I'm really worried about. Proper handy. He used to run with my old boy. Apparently my Da' saved his life once back in the day when all the gangs were heavy killing each other. I've always got on well with him, though, and I've no idea why he's cutting about with these dafties.

It's hard to take my mind of it when we're out, though. It's like I've always got to have one eye open. She's relaxed when I'm there which of course is good but I cant relax. I just have to play it cool because I don't want her seeing I'm worried. I mean, take now for instance, we're just laying in the park, chatting and soaking up the sun. If she thought I was giving this a second thought she'd panic, and my pulse is going just thinking about it.
"If you were bitten by a werewolf when it wasn't a full moon and it was just a man, what do you think would happen?" I ask, knowing exactly what her response will be.
"What if I didn't go out with such a 'special', Tommy, what do you think would happen then?" She says smiling.
I laugh, then i hear it, that horrible nasal laugh, then the crass noise up.
"C'moan git a swatch it this lads, pure fuckin' dafties!" It's Hunters voice.
Molly stops smiling. I ignore them and try to think of more idiotic patter to take the worry from the otherwise perfect face looking at me.
"Am for gettin' a ride it that, though, mate."
"Aye, me an aw, mate, me an aw."
"Aye, no' before me, but. You'll be gettin' sloppies." They boast.
Molly looks really worried.
"Fine piece o' pussy." Hunter says.
I lift my head and look straight at them. There's four of them: Hunter, Minty, big Tibby and some wee tool I don't know. The wee guy looks right up for it, thinks he's the ticket. Probably because he has no idea who I am, or that his baw-bag mates wouldn't be saying fuck all if they were on their own. I hold the stare.
"Just ignore them, Tommy, they're not worth the hassle." Molly says intentionally loud enough for them to hear.
"Aye, Tam, better dae whit yer wee slag says." That Hunter's pushing his luck.
"Whit? Whit ye fuckin' lukin' it, cunt? Wantin' a fuckin' doin', arsehole?" Hunter says, now swaggering over.
I stand up quick, staring straight at him. We're toe to toe squaring up and Minty and the other wee guy are heading over. We've all got our backs up except Tibby, he's still sat down.
"Fuckin' do the snobby cunt, Hunter!" Minty shrieks.
We're both totally still. He's right in my face; his breath stinks. Greasy little fucker's ugly as sin. His face points out like someone grabbed his nose and pulled it away from his scabby wee chin. My pulse is going mental. I cant lose face here or they'll walk all over me then Molly's fucked. Just fuck off you smelly wee cunt. How long is this going to last? He must know I'm not going to back down. Something hits me in the face and I jump back. Filthy bastard's just spat in my face. Don't move. Don't wipe it. Just stare him right in the eye. His gob's running down my face and his mates are pissing themselves laughing. He's going to go for me. He thinks I'm scared. He thinks he can sense it. I can feel my sack tighten, does that mean my pupils are dilating? Fuck it.
SLAP!
I've hit him. He's hit me. We're going to town, proper going ahead; cant see anything. Fuck! He's cut me! Cunt's tooled up! Fuck it, so am I. Fucking come a fucking head, cunt!
I rip right through his ear, then through his eye. just lashing out, cant see anything, hardly. He's on the back foot. He's screaming. I've got him. Fuck, this wee baw-bag's jumped in, who the fuck does this wee arsehole think he is? Rip right through him. Fuck him. Fuck both of them. The wee pricks down. Hunters falling back again, screaming. What? Minty's jumped in, NO! Getting tired. Fuck, Hunters back up. What? Where's Minty? YES! Big Tibby's stepped in, stopped Minty. Yes, I fucking knew Tibby was an good cunt. Here we fucking go! Hunters down, I've got him. I'm on top of him. I'm cutting him to shreds. He's screaming. I stop, poised over him. He knows I could end his life right now; he's terrified, I can see it in his eyes. I'm breathing hard, and bleeding but I cant feel a thing. He's a mess, blood everywhere. I don't move, don't say a word, just let him take it in. I could kill you now you fucking dirty piece of shite. I step off him still staring him down. He drags himself backwards and climbs up to a limp stance, totally humiliated. I stand back and look at Tibby. He's just grinning. Minty looks like a guilty wee boy with his tail between his legs, and the other wee prick just looks scared. As they leave I hear Tibby.
"I tried tae tell yeez, ya pair ah tubes, wee Tam knows the score."
I don't move until they're gone. I turn to Molly, she's never looked so proud. She takes my weight a little by just standing shoulder to shoulder with me, but so as not to look obvious. She's got a 'he's with me' look on her face. She's happy and more importantly, she's safe. We head down the road. I've got the swagger on now and she's looking at me as if to take the piss but she lets me have my moment. I love her so much. I walk her to her door just to make sure, and also because I know she's enjoying it. She's proud to be with me and I'm proud to be with her.

As I walk back to mine I'm thinking about how long Hunter's going to be licking his wounds for. He lives rough; this will affect him for a long time, maybe the rest of his life. I walk into my garden to see my owner coming out the house.
"Jesus, Tom, what the hell? I hope you won!"
I think he can tell by the way I'm walking that I did. He picks me up, puts me in the car and we're off to the vets. I'll be patched up in no time. I've got a big bag of nip stashed in the house for a special occasion. Molly and I are in for a good night tonight.


The End

 Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Good Boozers

(a short story)

     As I wipe the crust from my eye's, I look over at the clock and see it's just before half-four in the afternoon. I climb out of bed and take my jacket off. My heads burst. My phone goes off and as it does I realise Im supposed to be down the pub. Sure enough, it's wee Tommy asking where I am. I put my jacket back on, brush my teeth and head round to 'The Captains Rest'. It's a good wee boozer with all the features any good boozer should have: drunk auld folks, a barman that knows your name and a venue down stairs that puts on mad nights that don't suit the place; mad brake-core and the likes.
     As I walk in, wee Tommy smiles over and holds up a whisky. He hands it to us as the barman tilts his head back.
"Boab?" He says.
I nod. I cant remember his name. Folk just call me Boab because Im some size. Two polis come in, throwing us a growl as they walk past, heading towards the kitchen. They're wearing pushbike helmets. I clock wee Tommy's fizzer with don't-growl-at-us mischief written all over it. 'Here we go' I think to myself. Wee Tommy sees my look of despair and just laughs. He knows I know exactly what he's thinking. I reach into my pocket, fumble through some money, then hand him a score.
"That should be about halfers?" I half ask, half demand. I've just got here, my head still hurts from last night and he's already up to no good. He hasn't even said hello. The first words out his mouth are 'Outside in two?'
I laugh and shake my head in mock disappointed agreement. Two minutes later, I've necked my drink and I walk outside. I spark a fag and look up to see wee Tommy running back across Great Western Road holding a big plastic bag. I stand in the way of the CCTV and keep edgy while wee Tommy picks up the polis bikes, which someone else has already kicked over, then pulls a massive motorbike padlock out the bag, chains the two bikes to each other and the nearby lamppost, then we just walk across the road into The Winter Gills where we wait for our coppers to look like tubes, knowing they're being watched.
"What d'ye think then?" I ask.
"They'll call it in as they walk over to the bike shop, lookin' fuckin' stupid as they do."
Sure enough, wee Tam, as usual, knows the score. Exactly as he said. We piss ourselves laughing, having a quick whisky as we watch them scunner over to the bike shop, then we head off to Oscar Slater's before they get back.
     Oscar Slater's is a cracking boozer, but it's a bit hairy. Tommy gets in a couple more whisky's then it's on to pints and it's my round again. Wee Tommy's sat down talking to some auld boy and Im standing at the bar with my back to the side door, when suddenly somebody crashes into me, screeming, gives me the fright of my life, burying a fucking axe in the bar, demanding all the cash, wereing a balaclava. The barman's shiting it. So am I if am perfectly honest but the barman's fumbeling about all over the shop, bricking it. This nutter starts going pure Radio Rental, threating to chop folk up, reaching over to grab the barman, but when he goes to grab his axe out the bar, the fucking thing's stuck! I just take one step forward and crack him with my left and he goes flying back into the doorframe, totally sparked. Immediately all these Old-Grey-Whistle-Test types are on him. They've all got their belts off, tying him up, belting his hands up behind his back, his feet together, then another belt holding the two belts together. These auld boys must've done this before, it's impressive. Everyone starts singing my praises and offering to buy me and wee Tommy drinks but we explain we're not wanting to deal with any pigs so we can only stay for one.
     We have our drink, laughing at this clown on the ground who now, with his balaclava off, shiting himself, just looks like some harmless dirty, dying, junkie fuck. Wee Tommy's making me out a hero but we both know he'd have cracked the guy before the axe was even out the game. Tommy's a tiny guy but he doesn't fuck about.
     We head round to Nice 'n' Sleazy after that. It's not a proper boozer, there's never any jakes cutting about, everyone's got a hair-do like they're all at art school and plan to just hand themselves in at the end a term. A pub full of Ziggy Stardust's. It's an OK boozer, but. The staff are mostly sound, even the fucking bouncers are alright, and that's saying something. As we're walking in I tell Tommy I hope this wee birds working.
"Who, fuckin' Zebidee?"
"Naw man, no Zebidee. The wee gypsy girl."
"You still obsessed wi' her man? Why don't ye just ask her out?"
"Fuck off, Tam. Then we'd no' be fuckin' back again. This is a guid boozer but it's no' the place ye fall about steemin', askin' out the staff. Behave yersell. Fuckin' Zebidee, but?"
"Aye, but she's a nice lassie, man. She's always got a smile."
"Aye, she has, hasn't she? Always says hello when we see her out jumpin' about like a broken pogo stick, right out her gums, wired to a fuckin' dynamo. Pure wham bar, man. Lovely girl, but."
It's still my round so I try and work it so the wee gypsy serves me. Perfect timing. Every time she serves me I try and talk proper so she doesn't think Im a pure mad hairy.
"Hiya, what can i get you?" 
"Hello there, can I just have two pints of Guinness please?"
"Regular or extra cold?"
"Just regular, thanks." She's fucking lovely man, pure wee darling. She just skulks about behind the bar looking dead self conscious, not realising how lovely she is. Long black hair with curls in, and sometimes she wears specks. She's got a tooth missing at the front left of her smile and pure lovely big lips.
     We get our pints then turn to the pool table and stick our names down. We're not waiting long before we win the table. More pints and plenty of pool. We're both pretty handy with a cue so we get rid of any challengers with ease. Daft students, man, can't play the game at all. At least that's what I thought til this wee darling dressed up in a rainbow comes along and gubbs us both. Nice girl, dressed like a clown the same as wee Zebidee but not quite as mental. We get her and her mate a drink and have a laugh with them for a while then we politely leave them to it and head off to The Variety.
     The Variety's kind of an unofficial Celtic pub, it's full a auld yin's during the day and a similar crowd as Sleazies at night. Our mate Mark's got a thing for one a the barmaids in here so we think we might see him but we don't.
"I'll phone him before we head out, see what he's up to." I say.
"There was football on the day, man. He'll be out the east end, steamin', then off to one of his wee sisters pals for his hole, later. Fuckin' tart, man!"
"Wind it in Tommy man, he's no that bad."
"Aye he is, man. He's all doom, gloom an' broken heart one minute, then flingin' it up anythin' it'll fit in the next. Fuckin' chancer." Tommy says, laughing.
"Right enough." I have to agree.
Im back up at the bar when I get a tap on the shoulder. I turn around and it's the wee bird from the pool table, the one wearing the rainbow. I cant remember her name, but.
"I'll get these, what are you having?" She asks.
"Guinness, cheers."
"The same for Tommy?"
"Aye, cheers."
We're all getting chatting again; both myself and wee Tommy are on form as usual. The girls are laughing thier tits off and somewhere amongst the drunken stories - which are so fucked they must seem made up - we realise we're all heading to The Admiral after for Kaput! We all relax and just enjoy each others company, until it occurs to me that this cute wee thing might fancy us. Why the fuck would she be into me? I haven't eaten anything today and we were shit-faced last night so maybe it's just me being steaming. Im not sure, but now everytime I open my mouth another problem seems to fall out. No-one notices, least of all her. Why the fuck do I get so nervous when I think I might pull? Wee Tommy's here to keep them laughing, thank fuck, then we're off out. The girls jump into the shop next door for fags, so me and Tommy are just waiting. I chin him about there names but he just laughs, shrugs and says to keep our ears open.
We're just watching the madness of Sauchihall Street fall all over its self, when Tommy's phone goes off. He walks out into the depth of the pavement as he answers, looking at his feet. I just space out for a wee bit until I notice some dick in Tommy's face. This should be a laugh.
"What mate? Hold on a wee second, I'll phone you back… alright, cool, I'll see you in there." Then he looks this headbanger straight in the eye and starts laughing. "Naw, you give me money."
I notice the wee tadger's got a lock-back in his hand, so I step out behind him as Tommy walks forward, kind of ushering him back.
"I said, you give me money." Tommy repeats.
The wee prick accidently steps back onto my toes, and as he does I reach round and take the blade out his hand.
"Your fuckin' tee's oot, wee man." I say down into the top of his head, thouroghly enjoying my 'Jake McQuillan' moment. Tommy grabs him by the throat.
"Empty yer fuckin' pockets ya fuckin' heeder! Right fuckin' now!"
The wee prick pulls an old phone and a clatty wee Velcro wallet out his pockets and hands them over, then Tommy rags him off down the street the other way from where we're going, kicking him up the arse as he does. The wee prick looks back to check the size of me and gets a fright for his trouble. Me and Tommy turn and laugh.
"That was Mark on the phone, he'll get us in there." Tommy says, as I give him the wee guys blade. He sticks everything in his pocket just as the girls spill out the shop.
"We off then?" The rainbow girl asks, unwrapping her fags.
"Aye, taxi down here." Tommy points.
We cross the road and just as we get to the other side Tommy bends down, pretending to do his laces and drops everything the wee prick had down a stank.
"Did ye even check that?" I ask, stupidly.
"Did I fuck, man, sort it out." We jump into a taxi and sit down. The cute wee rainbow girl sits on my knee. I put my hand on her hip and suddenly go quite quiet. Thank fuck for Tommy's patter.
     We get to The Admiral which is another unofficial Celtic pub, and have a few drinks upstairs before the downstairs doors open. I drink harder at first, trying to get my nerves sorted. She catches me, I think, because she gives me look I translate as 'relax, I wont bite'. Maybe Im just para. Either way it's daft, Im massive and Im scared of a wee lassie.
     By the time we get down stairs Im doing better. We're all fucked, up doin' some dreadful dancing. All the Sleazies staff are in except the wee gypsy. Zebidees jumping about like a loon. She says hello to us, nice lassie. Tommy tells me Mark's just sent him a text, he's not coming out, he's off to his wee sister's mate's gaffs for his hole, right enough.
     Tommy and the wee rainbow's pal are up at the bar and we're sat down talking about tunes and gigs when she plants one on me. I can't believe my luck as she's whispering in my ear.
"So will you keep me warm tonight, then?"
Fuck me sideways! Don't panic! Keep it together, man. I smile and give her a wee kiss and ask her if she'd like that. She nods and cuddles in.
     It doesn't seem like long before we're in the taxi again and Im asking her where Tommy and her mate are, but she tells me not to worry about them and how they're doing OK. We head for hers, thank fuck because mine's a fucking health hazard this weather. We're listening to tunes and having a wee kiss and a cuddle when she asks if I'd mind jumping in a quick shower. My heart fucking stops. She can probably hear my paranoia buzzing from there.
"Eh... no, yeah, sure." I say, my voice trembling.
"And is it OK if I come with you?"
Fucking trout! I smile and she bursts out laughing. Next thing I know we're in the shower and Im just worried Im going to hurt her because she's half my size. I don't hurt her. It's just amazing. How did I get this lucky? She's fucking perfect, her tits are fucking perfect. This image would be one a the most beautiful in the history of the world if I wasn't in it. She's up on the balls of her feet with her back arched, her hands on the tiles and she's screaming her lungs out. After fuck-knows how long we're just standing under the shower and she's cuddling in with her face buried into my chest, or at least the top of my belly. My cock's hanging down and knocking inbetween her thighs. Im still a bit raging about how the cheeky cow asked me to come for a shower so I piss on her legs.
     About ten minutes later she tells me she's got to be up in a few hours. So much for keeping her warm, what was that about? I get dressed and she watches, fuck knows why. She gets me to the door and asks me if Im going to ask her for her number.
"Oh, aye, of coarse." I take my phone out and she takes it off me and sticks her number in then rings herself.
"I've got yours now. So, will I meet you before the Errors gig or shall I just get you there?"
"Aw, right, well I guess I'll phone you and then we'll sort something out." I'd totally forgotten we'd talked about that.
"I'll look forward to it." She tells me. Maybe I shouldn't have pissed on her legs. "I had a really good time tonight, Boab, thanks."
"Me too, I'll eh, I'll phone you... well, when's the best time?" I ask, nervously.
"When ever you like, the sooner the better, though." She says smiling. I give her a kiss and leave. I check my dialled numbers straight away, she must've typed it in herself just to save me the brasser of asking her name again. Jane, how did I forget that? I head home and on the way I text wee Tommy to see if he got home safe. He replies straight away. He's shocked, too. Jane's mate he pulled, Molly, she had him tied up. I honestly cant fucking wait til next weekend.

The End

 Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.