I should explain before you start reading the story: this is written entirely in Scots. I have never done anything as extreme as this before and I’m sure that you probably haven’t read much that is as extreme in its slang and dialect as this. But if you’re familiar with Irvine Welsh then this shouldn’t be a problem. You just have to get the accent in your head. But I’m quite fond of this story as it is about my home town. So, if you feel like giving it a go, I have put a glossary of terms at the bottom in the comments section.
I should also point out that it’s fucking long. But you know, sometimes things are long. And it is very heavy on bigotry and sectarianism. You should know that these opinions are not my own. But perhaps you’ll get a peak into the side of Scotland rarely experienced unless you’re really a part of it.
I hope that you enjoy it x
Ah’d bin meaning tae take the boy oot fir a pint fir few weeks. He’d bin doon. No his normal chatty self. The cheeky wee cunt could talk the spokes aff a wheel when he got goin. But no recently. That wee lassie Mary had geed him the elbow and he was feelin’ bluer than Eric Clapton’s back catalogue. Ah had nuthin oan and he’d just finished his exams. Ah thought ah’d dae some of that father an son bonding stuff ye hear so much about. At least gie it a fuckin’ try fir once.
“Fancy a pint?” ah said, no lookin’ doon from ma paper. Ah had made ma way back fae the fitbaw and was at the horses. Ah always lost interest in the paper when ah got tae the horses. The front three pages and the back three pages were all ah gave a fuck aboot these days.
“What?” he said.
“Pint? Roon the Clachan like?” ah asks again. There was only wan pub tae go tae in this fuckin’ village, but ah never got oot the habit of specifyin’ which pub we went tae.
“Aye” he said, like he wasnae bothered but he’d go if ah wanted tae. Ah didnae drink roon the pub durin’ the week these days. Usually just hod a couple a cans an a wee Bob Marley in front ah the telly. But we needed tae have a chat. And ah didnae want his fuckin’ mother walkin’ in oan us talkin’ man’s stuff like. She’d bin gettin’ oan ma fuckin’ wick recently.
Ah folded ma paper and sat it doon on the couch. Ah looked at the boy. He was still lookin’ doon. Ah could see him watchin’ that bloody phone ah his. Fuckin’ thing was a new limb for kids these days. That’s whit evolution brought us! A fuckin’ smart phone attached to a bunch of fuckin’ idiots. Ah pulled maself up and stood above him. He wis taller than me these days but ah reckon ah needed tae be the big man in this situation. So ah looked doon oan him.
“Come on then” ah said.
He sighed and stood up. Ah watched him grow up in hof a second, gettin’ taller and taller till he passed me. He probably had another couple of years left in him. Ah reckon ah knew how he felt then. A big man growin’ too big for that cage he wis kept in.
We walked tae the front door. He put his coat oan. Ah cud feel ma knees crackin’. Ah sighed as ah dragged oot the wheelchair and unfolded it. Ah heard the auld thing squeak. Ah fuckin’ hated that fuckin’ thing. But ah couldnae leave the hoos wi oot it. No in this village ah fuckin’ spiers and liars. The last hing this wobbly family needed was a knock fae the social tellin’ me ah wis getting’ done fir fraud. That’d be the death ay us. But the wee man knew the score. Even if he didnae like the rules, he still played the game. And ah could nivir knock him fir that.
“So how’d you reckon yer exams went son?” ah said to him, takin’ a wee sip of that shite they pass off as ale in Clachan. Ah wis sure ah could taste some ah Donny Dribble’s dribble in it.
“Fine. I think.”
Fuck me. Come on son, ah thought. Give me mare than that tae work wi!?
“Aye?” ah said, lookin’ roon at the clientele in misery HQ. Each wan eh them, like a big drip a water.
“Aye” he said.
We both sat there fir a minute. He wis lookin’ at that bloody phone. Waitin’ fir it tae ring. Ah didnae get offended though. Ah knew it wasnae me that wis makin’ him like that. He wis wantin’ a text fae that wee bird. Ah’d been there. In ma day it was a chap oan the door, or a shout up tae the windae. Times huv changed pal.
Ah looked at him lookin’ all sad. His hair wis growin’ oot and he wis lookin’ less and less like every other cunt around here every day. His mother said that that wis his father’s doin’. Ah knew that fine and well. When his mother met me ah had hair doon tae ma arse and a beard tae ma tits. He couldnae grow a beard yit, but ah’m sure he wid wan day. But even as he sat there, wi a pint an a fag, ah could see him growin’ afore ma eyes. He reminded me a me when ah was like him.
“Ah know what it’s like son.” ah says, eventually breakin’ that silence, sittin’ ma pint ah dribble doon and rollin’ up a fag.
“Like whit’s like?” he says, starin’ at the phone that naebiddy’s callin’.
“Tae feel like ye dinnae belong.”
He looked at us. He swept that hair oot his eyes. Ah could see ah’d gone a bit deeper than ah’d been afore. He wis just sittin’ in thought. Ah wis just gonnae let him stew fir a minute. Hink about it. That father son stuff is surely somethin’ boy.
“Ah wis an ootsider here. Ah still um. There are some people in this village that willnae let ye forget that. Ah came here in 1974. 1970 fuckin’ 4 son. That’s a long time tae be stuck in a shit tip like this.”
He smiled and nodded a wee bit. The big wee man knew the score.
“Ah came tae this village as a Catholic hippy fae the city. Fae Glesga no less. Embiddy commin fae Glesga tae this place has tae huv somethin’ tae say fir themselves. Cause they hate ye. Just fir that alone. Of course, bein’ a Catholic here back then wis like bein’ a Jew in a fuckin’ mosque. We’re talkin’ about Achna-fuckin’-fachel here son.” Ah says, hammerin’ ma point hame by hittin’ ma glass doon on the table. He looks at us. Ah knew he understood, a bit. There were mair blue noses here than on the Smurf’s fuckin’ Christmas album. But times hud changed. He wid nivir really know whit it wis like tae be hated fir a choice yir parents parents parents made hunners a years ago.
“They didnae want us here. This bar used tae huv a sign outside sayin’ “Fenian free since 1953”. ‘53 wis the year the quarry closed an all the Catholics left. The locals made it pretty clear they didnae want oor types here. And oan tap eh bein’ a Catholic, ah hud long scraggly hair and a big daft beard!? It wis like ah wis tryin’ tae make em hate me. Ah hink a little part of me always will.” Ah looked aroon the bar again. Ah looked at the Rangers taps on the cavemen’s backs. Ah put ma hond tae ma heart, right oan the tri-colour and the lyrics fae the “Fields of Athenry” tattoo ah’d goat twenty year ago. We baith smiled. We baith knew whit wis under that shirt ah mine. It was mah fuckin’ Star a David. Ma brandin’. A fuck you tae the filthy hun establishment that put honest wurkin’ cunts like me in the fuckin’ wheely chair fir a wee wage and a giggle. “So ah know whit it’s like son.”
He didnae say anythin’. Ah took a big swally and cooled aff. It aw ways got me heated when ah thought about they dirty orange bastards. He just sat there aw slumped. Tae say he reminded me ah maself wid be bein’ blindly sentimental. In truth he wis mare ai his mother’s son thin his faither’s son. He wis aw ways a bit soft. Aw ways cryin’. Ah thought fir years he wid grow up a poofter. Tae say ah wis relieved when he started seein’ that wee Mary lassie wid be an understatement. But it nivir stoaped me hinkin’ thir wis somethin’ funny about the wee cunt.
“Ah left Glesga in ’74. Ad hud a fallin’ oot wi ma faither. Ye know fine well how that turned oot.”
The boy nodded. Ah’d telt him a hunner times aboot that drunken auld bastard. He could slap a squint straight that cunt.
“Ah wis loast. Ma first bird Florence hud just fucked off wi ma cousin Jerry an the ship yards were layin’ boys aff left an right. Ah thoat ‘fuck it’, time fir a change. Billy Breeks hud moved up here a couple a months afore and he wis aw ways tellin’ me how it wis the hippy paradise. The quiet life fir the workin’ man. Me bein’ the daft hippy cunt ah wis back then, ah thoat ‘why not?’ Ah kin cut it wi they teuchter cunts. So up ah came. Got ma pay oan the Friday, packed ma shit oan the Saturday, on Billy’s flare by the Sunday. And that wis that.”
The boy looks up at me. He looks at me like ah’ve just pished oan his fish.
“Why the fuck are you tellin’ me this?” he says. “Whit fuckin’ difference does this make tae me!?”
“Ho!” ah says, raisin’ ma backhond tae the wee cunt. Ah’d smacked so many cheeky smiles aff that wee cunt’s face that I hod his grin printed oan the back of ma hond. “Ah’m tellin’ ye aboot ma life! Maybe ye kin learn a fuckin’ thing or two.”
“Whit? Like how tae be a fuckin’ work dodgin’ pish-heed?” he snaps.
We sit opposite wan another, locked in a stare. If we were in the hoose ah’d’ve leathered the leather aff his arse. And he knew it. Smart wee cunt. But we were no in the hoose. We were in a pub. Ah just kept starin’ him oot. He looks right fuckin’ back in all. Ah wanted tae fuckin’ tan him. But fir the first time he’s no lookin’ scared ah me. He’s lookin’ fuckin’ ready. Like ah’ve seen a hunner boys look afore. But somewhere inside the wee cunt, ah see the wee boy ah raised tae be that man starin’ back at me. Ah put ma hond doon. Ah take another swally ah ma pint.
“Ah’m just tryin’ tae tell ye a thing or two. Ah wis young once. Fuckin’ young. Ah wis younger than you when ah wis older than you. Just you fuckin’ remember that.” Ah says, pointin’ ma fag at him, no quite sure whit that meant. But ah knew it sounded like somethin’ Davy Flash wid say.
“Ah know. Sorry da” he says, heed down, checkin’ at that phone again.
“It’s no bother,” ah says, coolin’ aff again. “Ah’m just tryin’ tae help.”
We baith took a big gulp, in silence.