He'll be here by half seven. Ah wouldnae bet ma life oan it but he'll be here. Coorse, if he's no here by then Ah'll need t' pay a forfeit. That wis ayewis the rules when we wis weans an' Ah don't see the point in changin' 'em noo. Thur has t' be somethin' tae risk. Whit's that game we used tae play? Troof or Dare? People 'hink that gamblin's somethin' only adults dae but it's no. Adults've jist turned it intae a science an' sucked aw the fun oot of it. They don't get the game part oanymare.
Ah mind this episode of Starsky an' Hutch wance whur they wis tryin' t' brass-neck their way intae this gamblin' syndicate an', tae prove they wis hardened gamblers, they had this bet as t' whose nose a drap o' sweat would faw aff of first. They wis in this sauna at the time-Ah don't know whit the sauna had t' dae wi' the plot-but Ah thought Ah wis goin' t' wet masel' wi' excitement an' Ah wis jist watchin'. We talked aboot it at college-me an' the other girls-but we wis oan completely different wavelengths. Ah wis fair scunnered wi' them aw. We wis mates-Ah wanted t' share-but aw they could go oan aboot wis which yin they wanted t' shag.
So, what'll Ah dae if he's late? Ah dunno. It's jist a bit o' fun. It's no the main event or oanythin'. Ah'll jist sit here oan the flair by the front door an' 'hink o' somethin'. Ah like sittin' here waitin'. It's part o' the game an' Ah like the kind o' game whur ye can make up some o' the rules as ye go alang. That's whit wis ayewis so great aboot the games we used tae play when we wis wee; the rules wurnae etched in stone or oanythin'. It's excitin' in its ain way, sittin' here, waitin' fer ma man, waitin' fer him t' come. He ayewis comes oan Tuesdays. That's oor special day. He turns up at other times too but Ah don't hang aboot fer him oan oany other day. Tae be honest, oan those days Ah could see him as far. Usually, oan those days, Ah'm still in ma bed when he appears.
It makes me feel like a wee girl again, aw this waitin'. Weans cannae staun waitin' but they love anticipation. Ah mind ma maw sayin' ye should only let oan t' a wean ye're goin' tae drap anither yin mibbe a month afore ye're due because nine months is forever when ye're that wee. She sez Ah used tae ask her eleventy-nine times a day when the baby wis comin', if it wis goin' tae be a sister fer me, could Ah get tae hawd 'er? Ah don't mind an', tae tell ye the troof, Ah don't mind much aboot oor Karen bein' born.
Goad, ma bum's gettin' numb. Ah should've brought ma coffee wi' me but Ah'm here noo. Ah know it doesnae matter whether Ah'm here or no. He'll come an' go jist like oany other man, no that Ah know much aboot men. Ah wonner whur ma George is these days? Ye'd've thought he might've stood by me when he foond oot aboot aw the debt an' 'at but thur ye go, that's men fer yoo: unflinchin' bastards wan an' aw. It wisnae as if Ah'd bin unfaithful or oanythin' an' Ah could've bin. That Paki doon the corner shop's ayewis hittin' oan me, sez Ah'm his best customer, sneaks a keek doon ma top an' 'hinks Ah don't know. Whatever turns him oan. Every noo an' then he'll slip in an extra Scratchcard or mibbe he jist cannae coont. That'd be mair like it. Ah mean, he's pleasant enough. He's a widower Ah 'hink but Ah don't want tae get involved wi' him. He's no ma type. Goad, it makes ma skin crawl jist 'hinkin' aboot doin' it wi' him. Ah wouldnae ride him intae battle. 'Sno 'cos he's a Paki ye unnerstaun; he's just auld an' fat.
Twenty past. Okay, lass, here's whit we'll dae: if he's no turned up by half past ye'll slip aff yer goonie, no that he'll notice (no unless he's goat x-ray eyes), but it's a bit risqué. It reminds me o' those Troof or Dare days. Ah wonner if weans still play that? Ah saw a bunch of 'em spinnin' a bottle in the lane a while back. They wis aw so young. Goad, it takes me back. The time Ah mind wis oot oan the golf links that wance-thur wis jist the four of us, Jamie, T.C., Fran an' me-far too old t' be playin' tig but it wis jist an excuse fer touchin'. Ah goat tae put ma haund doon the front o' Jamie's troosers an' we let the both of 'em cop a feel of oor tits. Ah wonner whur they are noo? Ah bet neane of them's sittin' oan the flair of thur loabies waitin' fer thur postie tae come. Ah know Fran went tae university in England somewhur-Ah goat talkin' tae her mither ootside Boots's-but Ah never saw either o' the lads after Fourth Year. T.C. wis intae animation-fancied himsel' the next Hannah Barbara, whoever she is-but Jamie wis jist a wanker.
Okay girl, ye makes yer bets an' ye pays yer debts. Half past an' he's no here: cough up-ra ta taaaa, ta ra ta taaaa-Goad, it's Baltic. Still, a bet's a bet. Ah never unnerstood that expression. It's like sayin' a dug's a dug. Whit else would it be fer chrissake? Ah must get a lecky card this week. Ah must. Ah must… Ah must, Ah must improve ma bust. Hello, boys. How come so glum? Right, if he's no here by quarter tae we'll splash oot oan a lecky card. Come oan, son; Ah feel a right choob sittin' here like this.
Mibbe he's bin. Naw. Ah would've heard him in the close. He's no exactly light oan his feet even wi'oot the bag. Besides, he's ayewis here at this time. Ayewis. Like clockwork. It's no like Ah'm goin' tae need t' sit here freezin' ma erse aff aw day. He'll be here. Stay cool. Only bet oan certainties in this life. Life an' death, they're the only real certainties an' 'at sez hee haw aboot the quality o' life or the quality o' death. Ma life's goin' tae get better. It's goat tae. The only way is up an' aw that pish. Ah can feel it in ma bones-or is that jist the cold, stupid bitch that Ah am?-and the first 'hing Ah'm goin' tae dae is bin this manky lino an' go fer a nice shagpile. Ah don't care if it is the loaby. What'm Ah sayin'? Sod this place. The first 'hing Ah'm after's a neu flat, wi' a bathroom an' a lavvy. An' a bidet, like oor Karen's goat. Ah've ayewis fancied wan o' them. Christ, noo Ah've goat that fuckin' Yazz song in ma heid. Whur is he?
Ah need tae be guid this week. Ah'll need tae get a grip. Ah can dae it. Ah've goat willpower. It's no as if it's goat me by the short an' curlies. No way. Ye cannae be controlled by oanythin' that doesnae hae a mind of its ain. Oanyway, Ah don't need a big win this week. A hunner would be guid. Let's no be greedy. Ah could pay back Aggie the twenty Ah owe her an' get a lecky card an' thur'd still be seventy left. The rent's no due till the eighteenth an' Ah'll've had anither giro by then so we're laughin'. Seventy quid! Yoo've goat a real chance o' winnin' thur. Ah'd get a tenner win fer sure an' so we could caw it eighty. Oh Goad! Ah'm dizzy jist 'hinkin' aboot it. Come oan Mr Postman. Come the fuck oan.
Winnin's no everythin' of coorse, jist like in the Olympics. Winnin's a bonus, like cumin' durin' sex. Ye can lose an' still feel yer heart poond. It's no the winnin'. It's the chance o' winnin' an' 'at way ye can never lose. Thur's ayewis the chance ye'll win. The way men go oan aboot it ye'd 'hink sex wis everythin'. Ah mean Ah like ma hole as much as the next wumman but this's different. Wi' these magic wee cards Ah don't need oanywan, well, mibbe the newsagent. Ye don't even need tae get yer khaks aff. An' if he runs oot thur's ayewis the garage. Ah don't like goin' thur unless it's late an' Bert's is shut. 'Sno so bad unless Ah get that snooty cunt an' she jist looks doon her nose at me. Ah know whit she's 'hinkin' too-"Loser"-but Ah'm no a loser an' whit would she know? Ah bet she fiddles the till an' everythin'. Ah bet that's how she gets her kicks. She looks the sort. Cow.
Whur the fuck is he? Sod this fer a game o' sodjers. Ah'm no sittin' here wi' ma tits oot fer no man. It's ma giro. Whur is he? 'Sno funny oanymare. Bet's aff. Game's a bogey! Ah need ma money. Ah bet it's that bloody buroo again. They cannae get a fuckin' 'hing right. No a 'hing. Ah bet somewan's shopped me. That hackit bitch next door. Ah'd put money oan it. Ah bet she's telt 'em whit Ah dae wi' ma cash. Well it's ma money goaddamit! Ah can flush it doon the lavvy pan if it comes up ma humph. They cannae dae this. It's no right. It's no right. It's no right.
Oor Feyther who art in heaven, please let the postman come. Please. This'll be ma last week. Ah promise. Ah promise Ah'll be guid. Jist please let him come. Ah'll caw Gamblers Anonymous an' everythin'. Ah jist need tae get through this mornin', that's aw.
Goad? Are ye thur Goad?
Originally published in The Ranfurly Review Issue 2, March 2008
Revised version published in Making Sense, May 2013
One would've thought that a prerequisite for being a schoolteacher, even before one starts to consider academic qualifications and relevant experience, might be a fondness for, or at least not a total loathing of, children. This, oddly enough, has never been the case and I expect your childhood's replete, as is mine, with joyless, old spinsters who took out their sexual-frustratedness on class after class of poor, ignorant children. Of course, they were never as bad as we believed them to be; they had lives and loves and hopes and fears like the rest of us but there was still something almost alien about them which made them so easy to caricature. Vivienne never cared to be reduced to a stereotype even if there was some basis for the reduction.
Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in a mirror and seen yourself for what you are, seen beyond the façade? Vivienne had. I still catch her looking from time to time staring at herself with a kind of question mark hanging over her head. I asked her once what exactly she was looking for but she said she didn't know because every time she looked it wasn't there. She wanted to be more than the sum of her parts, not less. The sum of her parts was not great, however: age-wrong, always wrong, she'd always been the wrong age at the wrong time; intelligence-bright but lacking in common sense; personality-diligent, quiet and kind although she hid it well (a nurturer); sexuality-still hanging in there but only allowed out to play on special occasions and never when she had company; looks-attractive but only to those who appreciate that sort of thing; social skills-wanting but not knowing what; interests-floriculture, flowers.
There's a school of thought that says you should talk to your plants, that they respond to positive vibrations or some twaddle like that. Vivienne didn't and doesn't. She looks after them but she doesn't talk to them. They're like the parts of her body she feeds and cares for. If the plants grow too big she repots them, if the shrubs need training then she trims them back in much the same way as she modifies her wardrobe during that time of the month when she feels bloated and always keeps her hair shoulder-length and manageable. She looks after herself without it looking as if she actually cares. It's a job of work to be carried out, one of her daily chores, and if you do it correctly then … then … but there was never anyone to give her a gold star or the smiley face some of the newer teachers've adopted. She says her children're like a flower garden which sounds poetic but what she means is they come and they go. Her classroom is the same every year, the same desks, the same blackboard, the same books; only the faces change but they're the same sort of faces. It's her responsibility to care for them for a year, to root out the troublemakers, nip any bad habits in the bud and tend to any shrinking violets.
The conservatory wasn't hers. It'd been left to her-she owned it outright-but she told me it never felt truly hers. The plants had been her father's and, even several seasons on, as far as she was concerned they were still his. A greenhouse-even one with a fancy name-is a hard thing to personalise, I would've thought-I mean, they're just plants-but not so, so I've been told. A part of her wanted to clear out the thing straight after the funeral but felt it a shame to do away with all his hard work. Besides she didn't have a clue how to accomplish such a task so, until she had a clear plan of action, she took to caring for everything as best she knew how. At the time, puttering about in the conservatory helped her cope with her father's death-her mother'd already gone-and, after a while, she found herself taking more of an active interest, checking how-to guides out of the library, subscribing to journals, surfing the Internet. If she kept it alive then she was keeping something of her father alive which I never understood because she rarely has a good thing to say about the man.
Did she have a favourite? "I do," she said, much to my surprise-I'm not even sure what brought up the subject in the first place-and directed my attention to a plant about two feet tall with corniformed orange flowers, freckled with a thousand reddish dots, lurking in a corner out of direct sunlight; hard not to think of a little boy in a dunce's cap. Vivienne said it was the first one she went out of her way to get, the first one which was for her and her alone and not a hand-me-down: it was a jewelweed.
"The jewelweed", she began before pausing to give me one of those looks that says, "Pay attention-there will be a test later," "is a rather special type of plant. Family: Balsaminaceae. There are two varieties, Impatiens pallida Nutt (the pale jewelweed) and Impatiens capensis Meerb (the spotted jewelweed), which is what we have here. The name jewelweed refers to the silvery appearance its leaves take on under water, and the jewel-like appearance of water droplets on the leaf surface. It's common name is 'touch-me-not' and it's called that because, like other varieties of Impatiens, its seedpods, when ripe, will burst open at the slightest touch; that's where they get the name from, because they're impatient."
Vivienne didn't know any of this when she bought the plant and the shop assistant who took her money had failed to impress her with his dress sense, product knowledge or general demeanour. She found out about the seedpods soon enough that Autumn, though, when, as she examined the thing for signs of damage or infection, one exploded in her face. To her amazement, rather than be shocked, she started giggling; the first time in a long time. Apparently, she just sat there on the floor and laughed until she sobbed. These were sounds the plants were unused to but they didn't appear to do them any harm.
I should point out I found out about all of this at a much later date. I'm not a part of the story yet but I am the catalyst. I wish I'd been there to see it. I can get her to laugh sometimes but I just know there's more in there. A lifetime's laughter.
Vivienne is also nominally religious; she goes through the motions. She attends church dutifully every Sunday barring illness, pays attention to the sermon, sings a few hymns, drops whatever will salve her conscience onto the collection plate and hurries home to catch Private Passions on the radio. It was what she was used to doing so she kept it up, like being a teacher, being alone and not knowing what else to be. I am not, thank God, required to accompany her.
The first thing you used to see when you entered her house was a print of Jesus following his resurrection talking to Mary Magdalene. I'll tell you he's the poofiest-looking Christ I've ever seen. It has a little brass … nameplate I suppose you'd call it and on it; in Latin, it says, Noli me Tangere, which Vivienne said means, "touch me not." The artist was someone called Bronzino but that meant nothing to me. He could've been the fifth Ninja Turtle for all I knew.
"Touch me not? Like your plant?"
"And you don't think that's significant?"
"Not in the slightest. What are you going on about? You did remember to put out both wheelie bins?"
I've never cared for it but it does set the tone of the place. It's a decrepit old house, far too big for her alone (even for the two of us), but it must've been her home for a long time. She certainly never speaks of any other place but getting her to talk about the past is like pulling teeth. It does nothing for me-give me a dirty great Rothko any day of the week-but it's obviously a cheap reproduction in an expensive-looking frame. I managed to coax her into letting me move it into the spare room-I had to promise to redecorate the entire hall to do it-but I don't think she'll ever get rid of it any more than she'll shake the need to get up each Sunday morning and tromp down to St. Therese's.
We met at a conference, one of those chance events that could've just as easily never happened. The truth was I tried to get out of it but couldn't. I'm sure she's never questioned it as much as I or wondered about what our lives might've been like if we hadn't met but that's the difference between the two of us and differences are good; opposites attract.
Now, don't get me wrong. The first time I saw her if you'd said to me within six weeks she would've given up her forty-year-old virginity to me across her creaky kitchen table one rainy Saturday afternoon-accompanied by a recording of the BBC Philharmonic performing the final movement of Mahler's Fifth Symphony at the Proms on Radio 3-I might've been shocked, but a part of me would also have been intrigued at the prospect. It would've taken quite a stretch of the imagination but then I guess that's why I've always found wedding rings a strange source of fascination. Why? Because that's a sign to everyone they've done it-with a man-probably more than once, possibly the previous evening and yet you see them all over the place-these most-ordinary-looking women-on the bus or the train, clattering away on typewriters or trying to control hoards of unruly schoolchildren and you can't tell-but you know. When I met Vivienne I couldn't imagine her with anyone. The only wedding ring she possessed dangled on a chain between her breasts and they were well covered up. The thought simply never crossed my mind. It was a pleasant surprise to find she still possessed a fine cleavage indeed. Afterwards-to be frank it didn't take too long-we gathered ourselves together but when she took one look at me with my hands on my knees and my trousers still at half-mast, wheezing like an old bull, she burst out laughing You know, that kind of infectious laugh that makes you giddy. I looked back at her hanging out of her dress-I'll never forget the look on her face and I can only imagine the look on mine-and I was off too. I'm sure the rapturous applause of the Albert Hall's audience helped. I think that was when we fell in love (our coup de foudre), if you really wanted to pin things down to a moment in time, as if any one moment in time's all that important.
As I said, we met by chance. It was one of those sessions where we all took turns to stand up and deliver a short spiel about who we were, what school and/or discipline we represented, how long we'd been in the profession, etcetera, etcetera. You get the idea. Tedious stuff. Vivienne'd no sooner got to her feet than she was sitting back down again and I've no idea what she said about herself but one could not accuse her of loquacity; if anything, quite the opposite. Most men complain their wives've too much to say about everything and take too long saying it, but not mine.
Nowadays, when I look at Vivienne I know I'm judging myself. I'm pretty sure many think I've settled whereas she's dug her claws in and hung on for dear life in case her last chance slips away but it wasn't like that. You won't be surprised to learn it was a plant that got us talking, a busy lizzie so she said, although I hadn't-and still haven't-a clue about these things. I just remember a thing with reddish leaves. It was sitting on the windowsill behind me and when during one of the breaks I came back in early to get something, a diary, I think, there she was carefully dribbling water from a polystyrene cup into the pot. I thought it was such a compassionate thing to do-I hadn't yet come to terms with her practical nature-but it provided me with an opening.
When I called on her the first time-unannounced, I have to admit, and without any clear intentions-I can't say I was received too well, nor was the potted plant I proffered. I have never known a sniff communicate such disdain. Well, as I said, what do I know about plants? It was clear she was unused to entertaining and had to go rummaging for the good china. At least I'd enough gumption not to take cut flowers. That would've put the kibosh on things there and then I'm quite sure.
Nature's a funny thing. Theologians prattle on about God working in mysterious ways but naturalists could say pretty much the same. Vivienne's tried to educate me but to be honest I let her talk-it's nice to see her get excited about something-and I nod and make the appropriate noises when I sense the need to; she'll never teach me because I don't really understand Nature in any of its guises, particularly human nature. My wife is a flower, a late bloomer to be sure; she has a flower's beauty and its fragility; she does not do well in public places-you can see her visibly wilt as the day goes on. No one knows what she's like when we're together. She calls me Sunshine and I call her Petal; they're not purely pet names. We never sat down and discussed what to call each other but we knew when it was right. It still feels right.
Tommy Watkins annoyed her today and not for the first time. He's not a stupid boy so she tells me. I suspect she's something of a soft spot for the lad although she'd vehemently deny having a favourite He sounds like the kind of child who delights in tormenting helpless creatures be they amphibians, insects, minor siblings or weary schoolteachers. The topic under discussion was English grammar, not a favourite of the class or of any class I can think of. Even when I was a youngster-when more attention was paid to these things-I remember being embarrassed in front of my whole class after being commanded to perform certain unspeakable acts of conjugation. My wife has similar memories. Perhaps that's why this is the only subject where an element of empathy's crept into her teaching. Tommy, however, has yet to develop his perceptive skills and read empathy as weakness and went for the jugular.
"But, Miss! What about nothing?"
"What about nothing?"
"What is it?"
"What do you mean, boy?"
"Is nothing a noun or what?"
"Of course it's a noun, an indefinite pronoun to be precise."
"But, Miss…" (God! I can just hear myself as a kid whine like that). "Miss! You said a noun was the name of a thing."
"So it is."
"But nothing isn't anything so how can it be a noun if a noun's a thing? It doesn't make sense."
Touché. Well done, Tommy.
She's out in the conservatory right now-it's where she goes-clipping away for all she's worth and all that other stuff she does to keep herself sane. I'll take her a wee sherry in a bit, when the time's right.
Originally published in Static Movement September 2008
Revised version published in Making Sense, May 2013
Jack: It's fair to say Ah fully expected this to be a wan-night stand. That wis the least Ah had hoped fer based oan ma previous performances. The beginnin of a long an fruitful relationship wisne even a consideration. Ah've never been into test drivin hings, even cars. Ah feel Ah aywis want to apologise to the car dealer fer the need to see how 'she' handles. Ah should jist be content to jump in, start her up an aff we head into the sunset. An that's a point, why are cars aywis female? Maybe they're no. Maybe the sleazy auld salesman suggests to those of his clientele who jist happen to be of the female persuasion that they take 'him' fer a wee spin around the block. Naw, doesne sound right but perhaps that's cause Ah'm a man an Ah simply canne, even wi the best will in the world, put masel in a wuman's place. Ah feel like Ah'm in drag an all Ah'm doin is lie here in bed thinkin about it. Ah wunner if she's awake yet?
Jill: God Ah feel sick. Ah think Ah'm havin wan o them full-body hangovers again. Ah am never drinkin again. Never. Shit, he's still here. Well, that's fuckin marvellous. Well as long as the wee bugger jist lies there an doesne start snorin or fartin then fine. Ah can deal wi him later. That's it old girl, nae more wild nights fer you. Yer gettin far too long in the tooth fer all this. Even when you were young enough you were too old: completely wrong metabolism. Thank you, God very much. Anywan else who did whit Ah did last night would have lost a stane an a half oan the dance floor an at least another in the bedroom. Nae me. Never me, pair little ol' me lyin here wallowin in a big bag of fat. Christ whit an image.
Jack: Whit's she jerkin about fer? Could be a nightmare. Maybe she's goin to spew. Fuck it. If she does then Ah am out of here faster than you can say 'fornicatin wee shite.' All Ah can say is Ah'm glad she's facin the other way. She is facin the other way isn't she? Aye, she is. Ah can feel that great big arse of hers in the small of ma back. Ah never realised it wis so ruddy huge last night. Still, the tits made up fer that. By Christ they did at that.
Jill: Ah wonder who's bed we're in? It feels like mine. God, Ah hope it is. Ah'm in nae condition to get up an dressed. Ah don't care who he is or where he lives, Ah'm here fer the rest of the day an that's that. An that's a point. Ah wonder who the hell he is. Please let it be the bloke wi the tattoo an no that mate of his wi the glasses. Ah thought Ah'd heard every slang expression fer top heavy till Ah heard him. Please, please let it no be him.
Jack: Whit day's today? Sunday. That's right. Thank Christ. Ah don't have to be at oor Lynn's till tea time. Ah'm glad the footie got cancelled. There isne a pig's chance in hell of me bein able to field anythin today.
Jill: So girl, let's see whit we can remember about last night. We went to Reflections fer a bit but it wis dead fer wance so then Laine suggested jumpin in a taxi to Malarky's. Fine, that's wan thing settled, we can blame her fer landin us right in it. An whit the hell were we doin there oan Seventies Night too. God Almighty, we were in nappies when most of that stuff wis in the charts. Ah only know half of the crap cos Dad insists oan haulin out all his Glam Rock LPs every Christmas. An every year without fail does he no go oan an oan an oan about how Suzi Quatro wis the template fer all of today's bands: "Aye, lass, you widne have yer Spice Girls or nothi' withoot oor Suzi."
We hadne even got the gear oan either. Ah felt a right tit but Ah wis damned if Ah wis goin home at that time. Sod ma biological clock, ma menstrual cycle wis tickin away an if Ah wanted a shag any time soon then it wis goin to have to be this week, take it or leave it. Ah'm sick of Laine's jokes about that vibrator in ma knickers drawer. Ah keep tellin her it wis a free gift fer hostin that Ann Summers Party.
Jack: The $64,000 question is, are you gonna hang about to see how things go? An the answer is Ah havene a fuckin clue. Ah mean, the sex wis good as best Ah can remember it, a bit heavy goin in places but Ah've had worse. Ah seem to remember we had a fair giggle an that. She laughed at ma jokes mostly an Ah sorta liked it that Ah kept it goin to get her attention. Or is that jist me all oer the back, desperate fer any attention Ah can get as long as the person givin the attention is of the right gender? You're thinkin too much, Jack. Stop thinkin. You only ever get into bother when you think too much. You were jist in the right place at the right time last night. You went out wi your mates to get lumbered an you got lumbered. Fine. Mission accomplished. Now it's jist a matter of gettin back to base in wan piece.
Jill: Come oan you wee shite, get up an piss off will you? God ma head! Ah don't need this. Come oan son, you've got whit you came fer an you dinne have to fight fer it (which makes me an easy lay but it's me that's got to live wi that an no you) so will you please jist get your arse out of this bed an bugger off?
Shite, Ah need to pee.
Jack: Should Ah stay or should Ah go? That's a song isn't it? Who the hell did that now? Some punk outfit. The Skids Ah think. OK, ten reasons to stay. Ah can do that. Wan: she's got huge tits, two: she laughed at your jokes, three: she's OK in bed, four: she'll fill the gap till you bump into Little Miss Right at the dancin, five: it's been far too long since you had a real girlfriend, six: she hasne got nuthin pierced - Ah hate body piercin, seven: she likes you - that's important - I think she likes you, eight: she disne punce me out the door as soon as we'd done the business - another plus, nine: her pal went off wi Mikey so Ah'd better no drap her till Ah see whit the score is wi the two of them an ten: sod it, Ah'll give her tits two points - they fuckin deserve it.
Ah guess that means Ah'm stayin put.
Jill: This is gettin serious. If Ah don't pee soon Ah'm no goin to be able to get up to do it. Fuck! Ah don't care. Ah am goin to have to get up.
Jack: Reasons to go. Wan: it's the easy option an we do like takin the easy option, two: that arse of hers - all Ah could think of when Ah saw it wis that Billy Connelly joke, the wan he told oan Parkinson, about the guy wantin to park his bike somewhere, three: she might have been easy to get into bed but she wis damn hard work when she wis there... uh oh... she's moving.
Jill: Shit, shit, shit. Christ it's cold. Fine, at least Ah know Ah'm in ma own place. Thank Fuck fer that. Oh God, Ah don't think Ah'm goin to make it.
Jack: Fuck's sake! Ah've never seen that amount of flesh move so fast! Ah guess that takes care of four through ten. OK pants, where the hell are you? Come on, Jack, you can do this. It's jist dressin-by-numbers. We've done it a thousand times before. Shoes, shoes, shoes... Fuck! Where're ma glasses? Right, we are history.
Jill: Never again, never again, never again. This is no worth it. From now oan it's jist Eastenders an half-an-hour wi Pokey Pete before bed. God, this is no normal. No wan should be able to pee fer this length of time. Where the hell do you put it all, Jill?
Jack: Oh fuck. She's flushin the loo. Sod it. Sod it. Where's the ruddy front door? Shite! This better be it.
Jill: Whit wus that? Did you hear somethin? Whit the hell if you did? Right, let's go an chase the wee prick out of bed an be done wi it. Well, whit do you know? He's scarpered. Thank fuck. That must've been him when you were in the loo. Wee shite, at least he could've made me you cup of tea an left it beside the bed. Aw well, lass. It's the game we play, even if they make up the fuckin' rules as it goes on.
Jack: This only happens oan the telly. No wan is goin to believe me if Ah tell them an there's nae way in hell Ah'm sharin this wi anywan. How the fuck did Ah end up in this stupid closet? Right, jist give it a minute. Let her get back into bed. Can you hear anythin? No. Coast's clear. God that wis close. Right, that wan's got a letter box so that's a pretty good bet to be the way out. Yes! An we are off!
Jill: Prick. A wee cup of tea wouldne have been much to ask, would it? Not much at all.
Originally published in The Ranfurly Review Issue 2, March 2008