Tag Archives: Short Stories

A Money Hole, Stupid

Image

* For a brief explanation of this weird project please click here.

What do you think it is?

Uhhh….a money hole.

A money hole? That’s stupid.

You’re stupid, stupid.

I’m not stupid, stupid. You’re a stupid stupid face.

……..No I’m not.

 

Let’s get a stick.

Where?

From a tree dummy.

Stop being mean to me!

Okay, I’m sorry. Go get a stick.

What’s the magic word?

 

Thank you.

If you find any money then it’s mine since I was the one who said it was a money hole.

That’s not how it works.

How does it works then?

I keep the money because I found it. You get the stick.

If you find money and don’t give it to me I’m telling.

 

I think I feel something!

Lemme see!

No!

Hey! I’m telling! Let me see!

You’re too little, stupid face.

Shut up! I wish you were dead.

 

Hey, come back. I’m sorry. Tyler I’m sorry.

No you’re not. You’re a big fat stupid meanie.

If you stop crying and don’t say anything to mom, I’ll give you half.

Half of what?

Half of all the money we find.

Promise?

 

Okay, I think I hooked something! It’s probably a tweny or fifty!!

Quickly quickly pull it out!!

Oh….

What is that?

I don’t know, it’s…it smells like…ewwwwww!

That’s it! I’m telling! Mom!!!

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The Tree

The Tree

Myself, and The Tree and the deeds to The Tree.

* For an explanation as to what this project is all about please click here.

I bought The Tree in May of 1959. A Wednesday it was. I recall there being an oppressive, sweltering heat pressing down from above, but it was soothed, consoled, by a delicate ocean breeze that smelled so faintly of a final moment in bloom. It was the perfect weather to cut the ceremonial red tape of a successful agriculture transaction.

The Tree in question was my first, and indeed my last, business venture. I’d been on the market for one like it for several months. I’d been a perfect horticultural pervert about the whole affair. I’d peer through hedges, scale fences under moonlight, consult district planning records and frequent the ghostly corridors of the grand Central library, searching earnestly for the barky creature I so desired.

I came within a half whisker of finding what I needed on several occasions. I would locate a handsome tree, thoroughly scrutinize its potential under the cloak of night, and deem it a good tree. But the problem came when I would attempt to badger the owner into parting with the frivolously bushy accessory to their land.

‘I’m not going to do anything seedy with it,’ I would say, ‘If you’d be so gracious as to allow me that pun.’

That was my line. It would never fail to arouse at least a residual snigger, or a short, nodding nose breath. However they would then stare at me with arms tightly locked and a hard-boiled look of suspicion etched all over their faces. And then they would inevitably ask:

‘Why?’

Of course I couldn’t possibly divulge. They wouldn’t sell me their tree if they knew its darkest secrets. No, no. I would explain that I simply really liked trees, but that I lived in a condo. I would then lie and say that I’d tried discharging my sapling lust with a bonsai tree, but that it was far too small to climb. I never did think of a bonsai tree pun.

The lady that eventually sold me The Tree was an old crow who was more than a tad senile. And in truth, I wondered if I might be guilty of committing a lewd act of shady commerce on her. She explained that she was very fond of The Tree indeed, but that it had cats in it. She said that I was more than welcome to buy the tree for $30 if I took the cats away. We spat the viscous bond of American agreement onto our palms and duly sealed the deal.

Two blissful weeks after this transaction the old lady died of time, and The Tree, allegedly part of the property on which it sat, was taken from me and given to the unsuspecting mailman referenced in her will. I tried to make a terrible stink, but was swiftly informed that a verbal agreement and a spit-moistened handshake between two parties is not recognized as contractually binding in the state of California, and particularly not when one or both of the parties are certified as mentally handicapped. And just like that, my days as a rag and bone and tree man were brought to an abrupt yet poignant conclusion.

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Research – Warm-up

 

Research

 

* For an explanation of this project click here

‘Huh, I feel like I’m being interviewed on television,’ he said, sinking back in the chair. He allowed his shoulders to kneed around the back of the chair for a comfortable space. ‘So what exactly are you going to ask me Julie?’

I smiled at him. He glanced at the notebook in my hands, and then shuffled his shoulders around again against the back of the chair. He crossed his legs, and then uncrossed them again. I glanced at the question written at the top of the otherwise blank page. I dragged a finger down the page, over the lines. I watched his fingers drumming nervously on the padded arms of the chair.

I leant over to the tape deck beside the fireplace and pressed the red record button. I relaxed back in my chair.

‘This is Julie Roth, interviewing Douglas….’

‘O’Hara’ said Doug.

‘Douglas O’Hara. Okay Doug, we’ll start with your earliest childhood memory. Can you tell me about that?’ I said.

Doug looked up to the light and narrowed his eyes to slits. I’d started to notice that people looked to light bulbs for answers deep in their past. Perhaps there was something about the bright light that could expose these dormant memories from the dark corners in which they sat. Doug seemed to squish his face up, even clasp his jaw little, and I could tell that the exertion the recollection of this memory was taking was pushing Doug somewhere he hadn’t been for a while.

‘I was about three, or four maybe-‘

‘Which was it Doug? Three or four?’

‘Eh, three.’

‘You’re sure?’ I said.

‘Yes.’

‘Okay, so what happened Doug? Don’t worry, you’re doing great.’

I gave him a quick smile to reassure him. He was still rolling his shoulders around, doing things with his legs, desperate to find the seated equivalent of crossing his arms.

‘I remember being outside, sitting the empty driveway, in fall.’

‘Whose driveway?’

‘Our driveway.’

‘How did you know it was fall?’

‘There were leaves everywhere. Brown, orange, fall leaves.’

He leant forward and took a drink of water. I could see him shaking a little. He sat back in his chair and looked again to the light.

‘And who was there with you Doug?’

Doug kept looking to the light. He squinted at it again before pinching his nose and ruffling his brow.

‘I don’t recall.’

‘Doug, who was there with you?’

‘I don’t recall.’

‘Try harder.’

‘I, I…don’t….I can’t remember who was there, I can’t. But, but there was, someone.’

I looked down to my notebook and quickly scribbled my thoughts. I kept my exterior completely stoic, but inside I beamed.

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Messages in Bottles – Part Two

The following photographs are of a sort of literary street art project I worked on with the help of my close friend Anders Rostad. All bottles washed up onto the streets of downtown Los Angeles and contained anonymous letters from five young people struggling to cope with the pressures of their lives.

One

 

One Letter

 

Two

 

Two Letter

 

Three

 

Three Letter

 

Four

 

Four Letter

 

Five

 

Five Letter

 

Six

 

Six Letter

 

Thank you for your interest. I’ll post the letters over the next couple of days.

Please feel free to share x

 

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Yeah? – Based on a True Story

The following conversation is as accurate as I can recall. It’s the classic fable of young spunky hipster meets old crusty hipster.

This conversation taught me to laugh at haters and realize that they are mostly just bitter.

*

Hey Ross.

Hey.

When are you moving to LA?

Tomorrow morning.

Right on! Good for you man. Tough town though…

Yeah?

 

What are you going to do out there?

I don’t really know. Just keep doing what I’m doing, really.

Yeah?

Yeah.

But what’s your plan?

I don’t really have one.

 

Everyone’s got a story out there.

Yeah?

Yeah. And yours is going to have to be good.

Yeah?

Yeah. And it’s going to have to be fast.

Yeah?

 

I’ve heard your stories. And they’re, you know, they’re pretty good.

Yeah?

Yeah. I mean, they’re not great. But they’re okay.

Yeah.

But they’re long. Jesus, are they long.

Yeah. That’s me though. That’s the way I am.

 

It’s a tough town though.

Yeah?

Yeah. People will fuck you out there.

Yeah?

Oh yeah. And don’t think that accent is gonna help you. No one will give a shit.

No?

 

But good luck though man.

Thanks, I’ll need a wee bit of that.

Yeah. Yeah you will. I tried it once. LA.

Yeah? How did that go?

Decided it wasn’t for me.

Yeah, I’m sure you did. Just going to the bathroom. Be right back.

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My Father’s Shoes – Part Two

He came into view as we got closer. I could see his features coming out of the dark. We kept moving towards that little orange glow that moved up and down. I could see his smoke getting dragged away in the wind. The voices behind me were like whispers in the trees now. My legs weighed us down, every step dragging. My chest came out of the water. I felt the cold wind rush against my body. It burned for a second. My bra stuck to me like a cold second skin. I started shaking in the wind. The goose bumps burst out of my skin. My heart thumped harder and harder. I looked at the man. I could see the shape of his face. I pushed my jaws together and pushed and pulled the air in and out of my cold thumping chest. My stomach came out of the river. Sooki started to cry, quietly, in my ear. His weight came back as he came out of the water. I almost fell forward into the water. But I kept pushing my legs forward. There were only a few more meters until we’d be out of the water and into China.

As we took the last steps together and Sooki slid from my back, the man came into view. He reminded me of my uncle. He was a short man in an oversized jacket. I started cry when I saw him open up a blanket for us. I couldn’t feel my skin as we came out of the water. I could only feel the aching bones under it. I took a few steps on the dry land. I fell into the blanket.

“Do you have what you were told to have?” he asked. I almost didn’t hear him in the wind. I nodded my head as I shook.

I held my brother in my arms, drying him, warming him, shaking in the cold piercing wind. I pushed my head against his. I felt the heat from our skin push into one another, seeping into our bodies. Our hearts beat together, against our chests. I looked back to where we’d come from. The light from the moon shone on the water, shaking on the surface. I looked up at the moon. A cloud passed slowly across it. I thought about everything that we’d left behind. I curled my toes inside those big shoes. A tear came from my eye and rolled down my cheek. It felt so warm.

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Sixty Minute Mark

The following dialogue is based on a true story I was told yesterday.

*

So tell me what happened again?

What? Again?

Yeah, I’m not quite getting my head around this.

I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

Come on.

No. Fuck off.

 

So you were going to be late for the party?

I told you I don’t want to fucking tell it again.

And you were on the bench.

Yeah, for that one game.

Yeah right. You’re always on the bench.

No I’m not! I was on the bench for that one game.

 

So then what happened?

Just leave it.

You came onto the pitch late in the game.

It wasn’t that late. Sixty minute mark maybe.

And then what?

You know what happened next! Leave it will you!?

 

But I’m not quite understanding it all.

Fucking hell. It’s not that hard to understand.

Yes it is!

How is it?

Because you put someone in hospital!?

Pffft. He’ll be fine.

 

So….

Christ, alright! Jesus. I came on, around the sixty minute mark.

And…

I was late for the party. So did what I needed to do.

Which was?

Get sent off.

 

But why didn’t you just handball it or something?

Because that would have looked shit.

How?

Because it would have looked like I was trying to get sent off.

And headbutting someone as soon as you came on wouldn’t?!?

Christ, I don’t know!

 

So what happened?

I got sent off.

And the guy went to hospital?

Aye, maybe. I don’t know! He’ll be fine!

I don’t know if he will.

He’ll be fine. I didn’t hit him that hard.

 

So then what?

That’s it.

That’s it?

Aye, that’s fucking it!

And you made it to the party?

Well I’m fucking here aren’t I?

 

Don’t you feel bad about it?

Eh?

Don’t you feel bad?

Yeah. I do. But I was gonna miss the start of the party!

Why didn’t you just call the referee a ‘cunt’ or something? That would have worked.

You’re a cunt! Christ, I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking clearly.

 

So what happens now?

What do you mean, what happens now?

Are the police involved like?

Eh?

You assaulted someone!

Pffft. He’ll be fine. Right, get the drinks in. It’s your round, cunt.

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With Love – Prequel – Part Five

“Okay, we need to go,” she said, standing up. She looked around again.

“Should we try and clean this place up a bit? Like take away our finger prints or something?”

“If we start going through this house trying to remember everything we touched we’ll be here, wiping door handles clean when the cops come through the door. No, we just try to get out of here without anyone seeing us.”

I took another swig from the bottle. I picked up a fresh lemon from the floor and bit into it. That twisted juice screwed my face. I was starting to feel piss drunk.

“And if they do?”

“Well then we’ve still got five bullets left each” she said, smiling, scratching her head with the gun. I took another drink and another bite of lemon. I wished we had more coke.

“I wish we had more coke” she said, looking at Esmeralda.

“I was just thinking that.”

“Tequila will have to do. Where is it?”

I gestured towards the cupboard beside Esmeralda. She walked over, stepping over the pool of blood on the floor, opening the cupboard and hitting Esmeralda with the door. She moved. I turned away. I took the last mouthful from the bottle and let the half chewed lemon fall onto the floor.

“One bottle? Two bottles?” she asked, holding up two bottles of the same shit I just finished. I was on the verge of being too fucked to think. The verge was not where I wanted to be.

“Two. Fuck it. And the lemons.”

She started picking them up from the floor and putting them into the bag with all the money. She zipped the bag up. I saw her smile as she looked around, taking everything in. She fixed on Esmeralda. Her smile sank a little. She pinched the bridge of her nose, and exhaled.

“Come on, let’s get the fuck out of here.”

“Okay” I said, drying my eyes again, wishing I could just wake up from this nightmare and lie awake in her arms until sunrise, where we would be free.

*

We jumped into the car and started up the engine. The sun was beginning to rise. The light was soft. She pointed in front of us. South. We would be at the border by sunset. The light would be too bright for the rest of the trip.

She kissed me on the cheek as I put my foot to the floor.

As I chased the horizon into the day, she drifted off to sleep without saying a word.We had thirty grand in cash, a stolen Cadillac, half a tank of gas, two bottles of Tequila, fourteen lemons, a maxed out credit card, two guns, ten bullets, no cocaine, and a love that would have to prove itself to us as long as the sun shone high in a sky that we stole in the night.

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With Love – Prequel – Part Four

*

We both sat in silence for a few minutes, passing the bottle of Jose Cuvero back and forth to one another. I felt frozen through but for the burning liquor running through me. It was like I’d been microwaved. We tried not to listen to the shouting going on above us. They were both screaming back and forth at one another. I pulled out my cigarettes and offered one to her. She shook her head and took a swig from the bottle. I watched her wince as it hit her tongue.

“I only married him for the green card you know” she said, sliding the bottle back to me.

“I know.”

“He’s a bastard. He beats me.”

I nodded.

“Please, let me go.”

I pretended I didn’t hear her. I just took another big swig from the bottle. I looked at the gun. I passed the bottle to her.

“Fuck you you bastard! You fucking raped us! Both of us!” I heard her shout through the roof.

I squeezed my eyes shut and snapped my fingers at Esmeralda. She slid the bottle back to me. I took another gulp and almost wretched. I squeezed my hands tight around the bottleneck and dug my fingers into my skull. I couldn’t stop thinking about my daddy. About when my big brother was her, but with knuckles, not bullets.

“Do you have any lemons?” I asked her, looking up. I knew I had tears in my eyes.

“Sure” she said, getting up and going to the refrigerator. As she opened the door the light bled into the room, drowning the candles out. I picked up the gun and looked at it in my hands.

“Fuck you you fucking piece of fucking shit!!!!!!” screamed Jolene from above.

We both looked up.

Bang.

Bang!

*

I picked myself up from the floor. I was shaking. I dropped the gun. I could see the little wisp of smoke rising from the barrel. I looked back up at the ceiling. I could only hear her footsteps. No arguing. No shouting. No screaming. Just soft, calm footsteps. I stood up. I looked at the refrigerator. I fell back to the floor as soon as I saw the blood. The bright white walls of the refrigerator were a bright, wet red. Esmeralda had huge dark hole in her forehead. Her eyes were open wide and staring at the door. Blood was still pouring from that hole, down her nose, over her mouth and onto her nightgown. There was an over-turned box of lemons on the floor. I puked on the white floor. I could taste the tequila and the coke mixing together like the chemicals in a battery, pouring from me. I puked again.

I heard Jolene jumping up and down on the bed, laughing. I sat with my back to Esmeralda, unable to move. Frozen again. I reached up and fished around for the bottle of tequila. I picked up one of the lemons that had rolled towards me. I took a big swig from the bottle and winced as I sank my teeth into the lemon. All that acid came through my teeth and onto my tongue and put a little back into that little battery inside me. I puked a little in my mouth. I swallowed it back down.

I looked over at the lemons on the floor next to me. I saw a trickle of blood run along the floor, making a river of the joins in the tiles. It looked a metallic black in the candle light. I took another swig. And another bite. I felt that warmth thaw me out a little more. I heard Jolene coming down the stairs. She was running. I puked in my mouth again.

She came around the doorframe quickly. I saw her wiping her eyes. They were a fresh red. She saw Esmeralda lying half in the refrigerator before she saw me sitting on the floor. She put on a smile.

“Oh great, you killed her! Jesus, she actually looks kind of beautiful like that, don’t you think?”

I said nothing. I took another swig from the bottle and bit the lemon again. I held the bottle out to her. I picked up a fresh lemon and passed it to her. She laughed and grabbed them both. She took a big gulp from the bottle and bit down hard on the lemon. She looked around and smiled as she took it all in. I looked at the bag by her side.

“Is that the money?” I asked.

“Yeah” she said, patting the bag, “About 30 grand I’d say. Not as much as I was hoping for. But it should be enough, for now.”

I nodded. I pushed my head into my hands and squeezed my eyes shut. I felt her come and sit next to me. Our backs against the work surface, facing away from Esmeralda. She slid her hand across my back and onto my shoulder.

“Are you getting over emotional again?”

I nodded.

“Look, that piece of shit got what was coming to him. And her, well, she just got caught in the crossfire. That’s just the way it works, sometimes.”

I nodded again. I knew how Esmeralda felt.

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Freedom Fighters – Part Two

“But anyway, it wasnae easy here in the early days. Billy telt me ah needed a proddy name if ah wis gonnae get work. Kin ye imagine that? Me, pretendin’ tae be wan ay them!?” I said, pointin’ aroon the bar, at no cunt and every cunt.

“But ah needed the work. So David O’Donnell became Davy Munroe. Ah became a blue nosed cunt overnight an goat ma first joab oan the roads. Diggin’ holes fir the county man. Fuckin’ shite work up this neck ay the woods. The weather goat so bad up they glens you just wanted tae jump intae yer fuckin’ hole and go fir the big long sleep. But ah’d started seein’ yer mother shortly after arrivin’ so ah needed the old do re mi.”

Ah looked at the wee man’s glass. He’d tanned his pint. Ah looked up at the bar.

“Donny!” ah shouted, “can ah get another couple a pints ah Nimbus. An a couple a dribble chasers in aw.”

Ah looked at the boy. He was laughin’ as he lit another fag. Ah’ve still fuckin’ goat it.

“Anyway, so ah wis here an earnin’. Sure enough the cunts ripped the piss oot me fir ma hair and that. Cause ah wis a hippy efter the hippies cut their hair. Cause that’s how it wis son. When ye see that shite oan the telly aboot the sixties ye need tae remember that that wis aw the upper class cunts. They were aw poncin’ aboot in London and that. Glesga, the workin’ man’s toon, didnae get the sixties until the seventies. The rich hippies fucked aff tae India and aw that. The poor hippies fae the schemes came tae the Heelands. Tae wee drizzly shit holes like this.”

We baith looked aroon. Ah felt that hing ah’d been feelin’ since ah arrived here. This wis where ah chose tae raise a faimly. This wis the bar ah chose tae get fucked in fir the rest ah ma puff. Ye cud see the evolution ay the local pond life afore yer eyes. Ye hud the boy here. 18 year old and still smellin’ ah talc. Then ye hud that cunt Jasper. Oan the shite side ah thrity, pishin’ it away oan a Wednesday night, beer belly, Ranger’s tap oan like a fuckin’ butcher’s apron. Then ye hud me. Sittin’ in this bastard chair, 53 an countin’, tryin’ ma best tae pass that beacon ah sense ah’d been carryin’ aroon fir years ontae the young team. Then ye hud auld Gooshan. The blue nose hud gone purple wi the Bell’s, eight year auld paint thinner, pishin’ his pants and singin’ ‘The Sash’. It wis a fuckin’ miserable state of affairs. Ah looked back at the boy. Ah didnae want this fir him. Ah didnae want tae see him as me when ma nose wis drippin’ intae that tumbler up at the bar, waitin’ fir a harsh winter tae put me in the groond. Ah shuddered.

“Anyway, the first time ah hud any bother here was a few weeks efter ah arrived. Ah’d settled in awright. A few cunts hud seen me aboot and stared at me like ah wis a fuckin’ dildo in a cake shop. Me bein’ the hippy cunt like ah wis in this place. But the day the trouble started wis when we came in here fir the auld firm. Back then they’d just bought their first telly. We black and white effort that hud mair snow that an eskimo’s weather report. But every cunt had crammed in here tae watch the game. Ah wis in wi Billy Breeks and Tam. Aw three ay us were big Selic boys. But we tried no tae be oan that day. We couldnae pretend tae be huns. The amount of Tims turnin’ in their grave wid start a fuckin’ earthquake. But we tried tae seem like we didnae gee a fuck. Like we were watchin’ the wind blow or summit. And people seemed tae believe that. Us lookin’ like we did. They aw thought we wir too soft tae like the fitbaw. Fuckin’ mistake number wan.” I says, wi a wee wink.

“We hud a few boys starin’ at us as we walked in. We were prepared fir that. A couple of the boys are still here. Auld Ford was wan ah thum. This wis back when he was called Suzuki. But he goat pished an crashed his fuckin’ Suzuki. So he bought an Escort. Now he’s called Ford. But back them he wis a fuckin’ big boy. That was afore the drink buckled him. But they were starin’ us up an doon. As you know son, ah wis a fightin’ man back in Drumchapel. I’d fight cunts oan the way tae a fight. Ah could handle maself. So could Billy and Tam. Tam used tae be a wild yin back in the day. So these Highland cunts didnae frighten the likes ah us. We’d aw seen oor reflections in the back a chibs. We knew whit real danger looked like.”

Ah could see ah hud the boy’s attention noo. He hadnae looked at that phone ay his fir a couple a minutes. When Davy Flash spun a yarn the fuckin’ world goat wrapped up in it. Yas.

“So we were gettin’ as pished as a Tim at his mother’s funeral. Bangin’ back the pints. Whisky chasers. We didnae huv any ah that poof juice you loat drink the day. Booze was broon. Or that slightly green coloured liquid that ye can clean paintbrushes wi. So we were gettin’ stocious, and startin’ tae make a racket. Ford tries tae squeeze past us tae get tae the bar. Now, you know me son. Ah’m yer best pal in world until ye gie me a reason no tae be. Ah let Ford past, say “oan ye go mate.” He looks at me, pure towerin’ ower me. Ah can feel that chill fae the big cunt’s shadow. “Cheers sweetheart” he says tae me. Fuckin’ sweetheart!? He goes tae touch ma hair. Ah slap his big steak hond away and square up. Puffin’ ma chest oot an goin’ intae Jack Russell mode. “What? What you gonna do ya wegie cunt?” he says. Ah almost loast it son. Ah was aboot tae burst ma pint glass ower his head and stamp the big cunt oot. But Tam swoops in, knowin’ me too well. He says sorry, ah’m new tae the area, ah don’t know many cunts, had a few drinks. Aw that bullshit ye tell someone tae make them fuck aff feelin’ like a winner. Ford grunts and goes up tae the bar. Tam whispers in ma ear, “we’ll get the cunt soon enough.” Ah just smiled and got back tae tellin’ ma story.”

*

“It was 0-0 in the fitbaw. Ah wis told later is was a fuckin’ awful game. Baith teams just knocked lumps oota each other. It wis closer tae Barlinnie than Barcelona. Ah’d nearly ground ma teeth tae dust listenin’ tae they proddy fucks singin’ the sash, callin’ us fuckin’ tatty niggers, Taigs, fenians, left footers, bead rattlers, papes. You fuckin’ name it. Ah’d been Selic Park and Snake Mountain enough times in ma time, but some ah the racist filth ah heard in this pub oan that day shocked me son. These teuchters bastards hated the Irish mare than Thatcher ever could. Tam an Billy could see ah wis gettin’ riled up. They were too, but not like ah wis. They didnae huv the same connection tae the faith that ah hud back then. Ah wis fuckin’ livid.”

“In the last minute ay the game we get a penalty. A stonewaller. No question. But of course the cunts start up. Callin’ conspiracy and pointin’ fingers. Like they dinnae get enough fuckin’ freebies fae the SFA!? Shaft the Fenian’s Association is whit ah call it son! So efter the abuse dies down, King Kenny steps up and puts the baw oan the spot. The fuckin’ crowd goes silent man. The Clachan is fuckin’ silent. Me, Tam and Billy Breeks rush up tae the telly, bumpin’ intae cunts, squeezin’ past and causin’ a bit ay a fuckin’ scene. Three dipit hippy cunts tryin’ tae get a swatch ah the fitbaw. “

Ah take a big gulp ah ma beer. The boy’s oan the edge ay his fuckin’ seat. Waitin’ oan me. Ah take ma time. Ah wis feelin’ a bit pished by this point. The Bob Marley ah’d smoked in the hoos was huvin’ its way wi me. But ah took a second tae get ma words the gither. Build the suspense.

“Just as Kenny’s steppin’ back an pickin’ his spot, ah here a voice behind me. “Here you ya big fuckin’ hairy poof! You’re not a window! Gonna move or ah’ll fuckin’ break ya!” Course, ah knew who that wis. Ah looked at Tam. He gave me a wee nod. Ah took a quick look in the reflection ay ma pint glass. Ah saw that cunt Ford standin’ right behind me. Ah could feel that chill again.”

“All ah saw ay that penalty was Kenny runnin’ up take strike. Ah spun roon, in a Davy fuckin’ Flash, and smashed that pint glass ower Ford’s big fuckin’ heed. Beer and blood burst everywhere. Me, Tam and Billy jumped on the fucker and set aboot kickin’ his cunt inside oot. Course a fuckin’ brawl starts in the bar. Every cunt’s throwin’ punches, tryin’ thir hardest tay pop wan ay us. But we were just layin’ boys oot left an right. Picture the fuckin’ scene son! Us standin’ there wi long hair, waistcoats, flares an clogs an that, beatin’ seven shades of shite oota big fuckin’ men’s men. Lassies were screamin’. Pint glasses were flyin’. And we were still standin’ at the end ay it, covered in blue blood that wisnae oor ain. Fuckin’ freedom fighters son!” ah shouted, almost jumpin’ oot ma fuckin’ wheelchair and poundin’ ma fist on a heart.

The wee man was smilin’. We baith just sat there smilin’ fir a minute. Ah felt like we wur brother’s. Ah just looked at um. Thinkin’ aboot how different we were.

“Did Dalglish score the penalty?” he asks us.

Ah laugh and light another fag.

“Whit dae you think!?!”

We baith started laughin’. It coulda bin the drink and the smoke, but ah could swear ah’d seen that wee cunt become a bit bigger. Somethin’ aboot him was different. We baith laughed the smiles aff oor faces and sunk intae that silence again.

“But, what was the point ah that story da?” he asks us after a few seconds.

Ah thought about it. Ah thought back tae where ah wis then an where ah am noo. Ah wasnae happy then and ah ain’t happy noo. Ah still hate this fuckin’ place as much as ah did oan that day. Nothin’s changed. Ma guts a bit bigger, ma liver’s a bit pinker, ma lung’s a bit blacker. Ah’m two feet shorter, and fuck ton wiser, pushin’ these fuckin’ wheels tae the same shite bar that ah’ve been goin’ tae fir thirty-odd year, still ridin’ the same auld hoors and lyin’ tae the mother ah ma kids every fuckin’ day. Ahm no happy. And neither’s he. Ah thought a little harder and tried tae come up wi a moral. But there wasnae wan. ‘Don’t be me’. That wis as gud as ah could come up wi.

“I don’t know.” I said, starin’ at the empty glasses oan the table. Ah looked at the wee boy that sat across fae his da, wantin’ answers tae the questions the old boy’d nivir known tae fuckin’ ask himself.

“Another round Donny!” I shouted, as a waited fir ma old stupit heart tae stop poundin’.

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