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.

Man’s Fall

(a short story)

Eve lay wiping the sweat from her brow, she and Adam having just partook in the perfectly innocent pleasures of intercourse.
"I'm a bit thirsty after that, Adam. I think I'll go and collect some water from the stream and maybe pick some fruit. Coming?" Said Eve.
"Nah, I'm knackered. I think I'll just have a wee nap. Wake me up when you get back, though. I want to cuddle in." replied Adam.
"Ok." Eve stood up and made her way off round the garden, singing to herself as she went.
"…And things were different then, on the inside the sun still shines…" When she heard a strange voice.
"Awright Eve, nice fruit by the way, no wit a mean?"
Eve, barley able to understand the dialect, turned to see who it could be but saw nothing other than a snake whom she noticed seemed to be moving his tongue rather more suggestively than she was used to.
"Oh, hello snake. I didn't know you were able to talk. You've never said anything before." Said Eve.
"Aye, we've no goat oany ears so we don't say much 'cause wee canae hear wit we're oan about, and nane eh ma mates've goat oany patter anyway." Said the snake.
"Oh, right, I see." Said Eve, not having properly paid attention.
"Here, how come ye've no picked oany apples? Don't ye like apples?" 
"What's apples?"
"Those big tasty luckin' shinny rid hings oan that big tree hour there, see, pure juicy luckin!" 
"Oh, we're not allowed those, God said so." 
"Whit? Ur ye sure? That doesnae sound like suhin' God wid say." 
"Oh, yes, we're definitely not supposed to eat those, of that I'm certain." 
"Uhr ye really certain? Nah, why wid they be here if yer no supposed tae eat thim? A mean luck it thim, they luck pure tasty. Uhr ye sure eh didnae jist mean no tae eat aw eh thim, like, tae leave some fur him, know?"
"Oh, I'm not sure, I don't think so. Maybe though." 
"Aye, that must be it 'cause God's pure bran' new by the way. He wouldnae jist pure dae that like a prick, leavin' pure tasty fruit lyin' about yer no aloud tae eat."
"...Do you really think so?" 
"Aye, they must jist be his favorites. So long as ye leave some fur him he'll no bother is erse."
"Oh, well when you put it like that, maybe he wouldn't mind if I just tried one. I'll ask Adam and see what he thinks."
"Wit? Ye mean yiv no even tried wan? How long you been here and yiv no even tried wan? Uhr ye mad? Hurry up and try wan, they luck pure tasty!"
"Mmm… I'm not sure."
"Ucht, moan? A'd try wan masell but a cannae reach. Gawnae jist tell us wit it taste like?"
"Right, ok, but just the one." Then, as if in slow motion, she streched up to the biggest, reddest, shiniest apple within reach. She could see her reflection in it, all bent by the contours of its delicious looking shape: the palm of her hand growing bigger and bigger until it hid itself behind her grasp as she felt the smooth surface cool against her skin. She held tight and pulled it slowly away from the tree, feeling its reluctance, its straining desire to remain where it was, until it snapped away and the branch flinched back as though hurt. She looked at her reflection mirrored red in the its skin as she brought it up to her mouth, then closed her eyes and took the biggest, wettest, most satisfying mouthfull she'd ever taken. She crunched and crunched, thoroughly enjoying the sensation as the firm, softly jagged mouthful turned to juicy mush and almost overflowed from her lips, and with her eyes and cheeks bulging, she looked to tell the snake just how incredible a sensation it was. But the snake was nowhere to be seen. She checked all around her feet, thinking he might have scurried about with excitement, but she couldn't see him anywhere. Then, for the very first time in her life, Eve jumped with fright as she heard her own name become something very harsh.
"EVE!" She turned to see Adam running awkwardly towards her. "What in Eden do you think you're doing? You know we're not allowed to eat those. Honestly, I leave you alone for five minutes!" 
"No, it's fine, I met this talking snake and he said…" Eve started but was cut short.
"What? There's no such bloody thing as a talking snake, you crazy trout!" Adam screamed, vexed.
"Adam, please!" Eve replied, alarmed, never having seen Adam angry before.
"Don't fucking 'Adam, please' me! Just what the fuck am I supposed to tell God? 'Oh, sorry God, but you know that daft cow I pal about with, well she's just gone and had a conversation with an imaginery talking snake who just happens to be an expert on the ins-and-outs of the rather vague politics surrounding forbidden fruit, and apparently he said'... and exactly what did this chatty fucking snake say anyway? 'Here Eve, you look thick as fuck so why dont you eat this red thing you know you're not alowed to eat!'" Roared Adam, facetiously.
"Oh, Adam, it's only one apple, I'm sure God wont…" Eve started, again finding herself interrupted.
"What the fuck's an 'apple' when it's at home? Your wee snake pal tought you that word, I suppose. What else did this mouthy wee fucker teach you, the square route of the hypotenuse? Stupid, stupid woman!"
"Oh dear…" Said Eve, beginning to understand the gravity of the 'apple' situation.
"Aye, 'oh-fucking-dear' indeed."
"I'm sure if I just explain to God that I've been duped…" Eve started before Adam once again rudely interrupted, mocking his wife with his hand, having it irritatingly mouth words as he wobbled his head from side to side.
"'Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!' No. Just shut up, please. Don't say another word."
Just then a bright flash of light burst over the horizon, wind blew and lightning cracked.
"Shite! Hide that fucking apple thing, quick!" Said Adam.
"Oh my God!" Panicked Eve, quickly hiding the apple.
"WHAT DOES SHE HAVE BEHIND HER BACK? WHAT HAS SHE BEEN EATING? I TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH THOSE APPLES! DID NOT I TELL YOU?" Said God.
"Told you that's what they were called." Said Eve, turning to Adam and souring her face.
"Oh, eh… hello God, well, a funny thing…" Began Adam.
"NO! I, AS YOU ARE AWARE, AM GOD, AND AS SUCH HAVE NOTHING BUT CONTEMPT FOR WOMEN. LET THE WOMAN EXPLAIN." Said God.
"Shit." Muttered Adam.
"Hi God, well it's like this, I was just picking some fruit when I met this snake and he said…" Began Eve.
"WHAT?" Interrupted God.
Adam.held his head in disbalief.
"A TALKING SNAKE? THERE IS NOT SUCH A THING AS A TALKING SNAKE YOU STUPID WOMAN! I SHOULD KNOW, I AM GOD AND I AM SURE I WOULD RECALL HAD I CREATED SUCH AN ABSURD CREATURE. TELL ME, WHAT DID THIS TALKING SNAKE HAVE TO SAY?" Said God.
"Well, he said he didn't have any ears, or at least I think that's what he said, he had a strange way of talking. Anyway, he said that it would be OK to have an apple so long as I left some for…" Started Eve.
"ENOUGH! I CAST THEE OUT OF EDEN! GO NOW AND NEVER RETURN!" Said God.
"Hold on a sec, God, she made a wee mistake is all. She wont do it again, she promises - don't you promise not to do it again, sweetheart?" Said Adam.
"Uh-huh." Said Eve, pouting.
"NO. SHE HAS VIOLATED MY LAW. SHE MUST BE CAST OUT INTO THE MORTAL WASTELANDS." Said God.
"I think 'violated' might be a bit strong; she only had one apple, and she didn't even have time to finish it before you turned up, all stern, looking to boss someone about. I mean, I know you've never liked her but she's my wife and, well, I think you're overreacting a bit, and I never made much fuss about that whole 'testicle' thing, did I?" Said Adam.
"WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS BEFORE, ADAM. THE TESTICLES MUST BE POSITIONED ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE BODY AS THE TEMPERATURE INSIDE THE BODY IS TOO HIGH, AND THUS, THEY WOULD FAIL TO OPERATE CORRECTLY. BESIDES, THEY DO NOT LOOK AS BAD AS YOU THINK." Said God.
"But we're in Eden. We're immortal and as such, don't need to have children. Who cares if it's too hot inside the body. Unless… you sneaky fucker! You Sleekit bastard! You knew this was going to happen, didn't you, you massive tosser? You had it planned the whole time!" Said Adam.
"NOW JUST HOLD ON THERE A MOMENT, I DO NOT NEED TO LISTEN TO ACCUSATIONS SUCH AS THESE, I AM AN IMPORTANT INDEVIDUAL. I, EH, HAVE THINGS THAT REQUIRE ATTENDING..." Stuttered God.
"You're a dick!" Interrupted Adam.
"NOW LOOK HERE, SHE…" Started God.
"Don't you point your big omnipotent finger at her, you arrogant wank! Who do you think you are, looking down your nose at her? You're the shit here and you know it!" Insisted Adam.
"ADAM, SHE HAS GOT TO GO. NOW, YOU CAN STAY HERE ALONE FOR ALL ETERNITY AND EVENTUALLY BE DRIVEN TO BESTIALITY AND THUS ALSO SHALL BE CAST OUT OF EDEN, BY WHICH TIME EVE WILL BE EITHER LIVING AS AN OLD TROLL UNDER A BRIDGE SOMEWHERE, OR DEAD. YOU WILL BE LONELY UNTIL DRIVEN INSANE OR, ONCE AGAIN, TO BESTIALITY. OR YOU CAN GO WITH HER NOW AND LIVE TOGETHER AS MORTALS, WHEREUPON SHE WILL LET HERSELF GO, HER ARSE WILL BECOME FRIGHTFULLY HUGE TO SUCH A DEGREE THAT YOU CANNOT CURRENTLY COMPREHEND. EVENTUALLY SHE WILL BREAK YOUR HEART, LEAVING YOU A CONFUSED SHADOW OF YOUR FORMER SELF. WHAT WILL IT BE?" Said God.
"You're a dick." Answered Adam.
"YES." Agreed God.
"Well, I guess I should stand by my woman, really, shouldn't I?" Said Adam.
"SHE WILL RUIN YOU, ADAM. YOU WILL WORK YOUR FINGERS TO THE BONE AND SHE WILL HATE YOU FOR IT." Said God.
"That remains to be seen." Said Adam, and as he did he felt a big lump of guilt stick in his throat, realising he was naked. He quickly grabbed a few fig leafs and covered Eve up before covering himself, then God escorted them both to the gates of Eden. They felt a chill in the air as they looked over the wintered landscape.
"Stupid fucking bitch." Said Adam.
"Aye? Well you've got a wee tadger." Said Eve. Adam reacted with freight and cracked Eve in the jaw with a left hook, knocking her on her backside. She sat stunned and began to cry.
"Oh, I'm sorry, toots, you just pushed me too far, I didn't mean it, honest. You know I love you, come here." Adam held out his hand and helped his wife to her feet, wiping the blood from her lip and giving her a big hug. As they stood cuddling, Eve looked over Adam's shoulder and saw a man on the other side of the moor. He smiled at her. She smiled at him and very quickly, Eve learnt to flutter her eyelashes.

(the beginning of) THE END.

 Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Paperback

(a short story)
     

     Living in the top flat directly across the road, he'd noticed her a long time ago. His previous girlfriend - poisonous as she was - had left him almost a year earlier for a pretentious goth who'd thought himself a messiah of the Glasgow 'vampire' scene, but was actually just a balding, middle-aged man with a ponytail, who worked in a shop; a rejection like that might normally take some recovering from, but he didn't feel the need to recover anything other than pace.
     He knew she walked to the shops around lunchtime every Saturday, weather permitting, and since the summer had come around it nearly always did, thank God, because she'd taken to wearing wee floaty, all-but see-through dresses. 
       He'd followed her a few times, maybe subconsciously, as if to somehow warn her of what might be coming, but she hadn't noticed him, or if she had it hadn't shown through her confidence. She knew she needed brought down a peg or two. It was just a matter of when.
     That day he'd been watching her from his living room window. She was dancing around her flat getting ready to leave. Just watching her bound about was enough to have him in a trance. Then his buzzer went. He nearly jumped out his skin, convinced he'd already been caught before he calmed, realising it was probably just the postman needing access to the close. The intercom proved the latter to be right. But as he held the button down to let the downstairs lock off the latch, he felt his face slowly widen as realisation sank in - the opportunity might never present itself quite so well again. Flustered, he flapped about, pacing back and forth, unsure of what to do, before answering himself aloud.
"But I've got to…"
He burst out his flat, down the close stairs, past the postman - who was now exiting the building - and out the door, just in time to see her carry herself beautifully down the street, en rout to the shops, right on cue. He sat nervously on the edge of the nearby bus stop bench, intently watching the postman, hoping to find her side of the street still to be delivered. Just shy of ten minutes later, the postman crossed and began to work down her side. He panicked for a moment, feeling doubtful but knowing if he didn't think fast he'd have to wait a whole week at best. Then it came to him. Suddenly he'd never been so glad of his misspent youth. He shot back up his close, into his flat and trashed the place in search of a half empty multipack of 'Orbit'. Having found it he crammed his mouth full, bolted back down the stairs and across the street, checking unsuccessfully for the whereabouts of the postman before arriving at her close door. Sweating profusely and shaking almost uncontrollably, he pressed all the buzzers at once and waited.
"Hello." Said a man's voice.
"Postman!" He replied. The door clicked open. He spat the awkward dollop into his hand then clumsily hesitated, worrying - if he stuck it in the catch it wouldn't have time to solidify and might jam the door closed. Undiluted terror set in, sweat soaked from every pore, time lost its footing and agitated his senses as it became clear to him that he was already making a mess of this, until finally he thought to simply stick the gum in the inside top corner of the door frame, preventing the door from closing properly. Failing to look even remotely casual, he quickly walked back across the street to his flat, noting the postman still about five minutes away as he did. He stood at his livingroom window and watched, terrified, as the postman came and went. Doubts flooded in from every corner of his mind. So much could go wrong. The back of his hand slid the sweat from his brow as his pulse banged noisily at either side of his head. Despite this chance only a short while ago seeming so, it was far from perfect.
     Then it was too late. She was on her way back and she was asking for it. He had to do it. He had to do it now. He made his way down to his close door and watched, waiting as she approached and rummaged for keys, then as she entered her building he ran long, quick strides, bending across the road, and quietly let himself in just as she turned the first corner of her close. He knew her staircase was the same as his: walled up the inward-side instead of just railed, so there was no way she'd see him, but the echo was so dense it amplified even the slightest sound. His heart pounding, his breathing, the volume inside his skull was thunderous. One set of stairs, a landing behind, he could almost feel the breeze off her movements. Then she was at her door. He heard her keys jingle. He stood, frozen, with his back to the stairwell wall, two steps from the top, not five feet away, so close he could smell her. He heard her keys turn the lock, her door begin to open and, almost instinctively, he began to gently creep.
     He grabbed her hard from behind, her fright reflex was so powerful she almost shook free. With his left arm around her waist and his right hand over her mouth, he pulled her head back over his shoulder and lifted her through the door and heeled it shut behind him. She tried to scream, kicked and punched, scratched and gouged as he dragged her through to the room looking onto his, and slammed her onto the couch, pinning her down with his hand over her mouth. Her eyes were different now, not beautiful. She fought and fought as he started tearing at her dress. He pulled at her underwear, excited by her white thighs reddening where the elastic dug in. As he tore them from her she lashed out with her foot, kicking him in the face. He slapped her hard on the side of the head, dazing her enough for him to pull his jeans down and climb on top of her, then she began to beg.
"Please, please no, please don't, please… stop, no!" He held both her wrists above her head with his left hand, and her head down with his right hand flat across the side of her face.
"Oh God… oh, Jesus God… please…" He was pressed up against her, just about to force himself inside her, when her plea turned to a scream.
"…PAPERBACK!"
Everything stopped.
"Oh my god, I'm sorry… I'm so, so sorry… What… Are you… I'm so sorry, please… are you OK? Jesus, I'm sorry, please… just tell me you're OK?" He said, having let her go. She recoiled and covered herself, ashamed.
"It just wasn't like I thought it'd be. Sorry, Matthew."
They'd met nearly three months earlier. One Friday night he'd been drunkenly doing the pogo to the Pogues' 'Hot Dogs With Everything', not having realised his curtains were wide open. At the end of the song he'd noticed her standing at her window, laughing. He smiled and shrugged with his palms turned up, feeling it was all he could do, try and act cool. She put her hand over her mouth and pulled her shoulders up, giggling in an overly anamated fashion, and waved the cutest, most relieving wave he'd ever seen. He waved back. She, very authoritatively, threw her finger in the air before showing her palm, indicating she had an idea and that he should wait. She ran to the corner of her room and returned a moment later. He watched, baffled, as she stood looking at him for a few seconds, then suddenly she started dancing. He laughed and joined in, despite his record already having finished. After whatever song she'd been playing had stopped, she indicated he, once again, should wait a moment, and she returned with a massive sketchpad which had a big black message that read: 
'WHAT YOU LISTENING TO?' 
He disappeared for a minute then came back, pulled a poster off his wall, wrote on the back of it, and held it up:
'NOTHING. IT WAS THE POGUES BUT IT FINISHED AGES AGO!' 
He nodding a big gaping smile. She joined him in laughter, scribbled and held up another sign: 
'DO YOU HAVE SALLY MACLENNANE?'  
He nodded enthusiastically, then she scribbled again: 
'PUT IT ON AND WE'LL DANCE TO IT!' With '(I'M SALLY!)' written at the bottom. He nodded and wrote: 
'HI SALLY, I'M MAT!'  
They danced to 'Sally MacLennane' with an entire street busying about between them, then once they'd finished she held up a bottle of wine and waved him over.

THE END

Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Victory

(Flash Fiction)

What greater measure of success could there be than to look down upon a view such as this? All muck and member; thriving, poised ready to strike, to splash out ferocity in answer to the need in her hungry eyes so big with the reek of laboured naive pleas. Then, so quickly, what just now seemed unobtainable becomes imminent, un-containable, unsustainable… Then nothing more than a failing strength, a tortuous pant, stale musk, rotting accomplishment and disgust, as he stands  above the mess he's made of beauty.
'Is true valour now achieved?' He asks himself wearily as he watches her rub her face back to a sheen-coated pretty. Horrified by his own sense of triumph, he struggles to loosen his grip of himself. Victory is not what he'd imagined it to be.

The End

 Copyright Roddy Smith 2015.