Wednesday, 3 October 2007

A Wee Blether

This story won first prize in an annual competition that our local paper used to run. It was my first ever completed piece & also the only story I've won anything with - damn, I peaked too soon!

It's written in Scots slang but I think (hope) it'll still be legible to those who don't live in my neck of the woods.

A Wee Blether

“Hello, Sharon speak-”

“Oh, hello, dear. It’s Bridie Mackay here. How are ye today?”

“Fine, thanks, Mrs Mackay. How can-”

“Oh, that’s good. Ah’ve no been keeping so well myself, ye know. Ma arthritis has been playing up something awfy.”

“Really? That’s a shame. Can I-”

“Aye, it’s been terrible. The doctor gave me new tablets and they didnae agree wi’ me at all. They just aboot did for me! Every time ah stood up ma heid was burlin’. A’ because o’ some wee pills. It’s that new doctor’s fault, ye know. Just a young laddie, wi’ fancy new ideas. Always trying tae push the latest thing on tae people, whether they want it or no. Bring back auld Doctor Soames, that’s what ah say. ‘Course, they’d have a hard job daein’ that, seeing as he’s been in a home the past four years. What a disgrace! Soon as his wife passed away, that daughter o’ his just ferried him off tae Sunnybraes retirement home. Nae bothering to ask him what he wanted. Just ‘it’s the best thing for ye, Dad,’ and off he went. And that lovely wee cottage o’ his was up for sale a few weeks later. Ah’m awfy glad ma Dora’s no like that. She never left ma side a’ the time ah was no weel. Wouldnae let me lift a finger. Ah never even left ma bed the fortnight she was here, never mind the hoose. That’s why ah havnae called in a while, ye know.”

“I see-”

“’Cause ye know, of course, that ah’ve had tae get the phone taken oot. Aye, it was just getting ridiculous. Ma calls were only costin’ a few pounds a month, but the service charges! Dearie me. So ma Dora got me one o’ those wee pay-as-ye-go mobiles, so ah can call her if there’s an emergency. Only ah cannae work it, ye know. It’s just a totty wee thing, ye can hardly even see the buttons. And how ye’re supposed tae speak intae the receiver and hear what the ither person’s saying ah don’t know. Ah’ve only used it the twice, ye know, once tae call Dora and her Alec when ah took that bad turn. An’ ah just aboot gave myself whiplash on top o’ everything else, whippin’ ma heid aboot so ah could talk intae one bit and hear oot o’ the other. Useless contraption. Yet ye see a’ the young ones on the bus, texting like naebodies business. If they’re no careful they’ll wind up wi’ texter's thumb - is that a medical condition? Texter's thumb?”

“I’ve really no idea, Mrs Mackay-”

“Anyhow, so here’s me phoning ye now. Ah’m ower at the Rolands’. A nice young couple, the Rolands’. Dan and Sarah. They’ve no long moved in. They let me use their phone when ah need tae. It’s no everybody would let ye do that, ye know. Ah used tae go over tae the Middleton’s, o’ course, but she got very uppity. Her and her fancy car and her fancy conservatory. He does something in the bank, ower in the city. He’s got a big posh office, and a secretary as well. Ah’ve nae idea what it is he does there, though. Practically runs the place, tae hear her tell it. ‘Oh, George is very high up in The Bank, you know.’ That’s how she always says it. The Bank. Ye can hear her pronouncing the capitals. So ah used tae go there tae use the phone, sat in her fancy conservatory on her fancy bamboo sofa. And then one day ah went and knocked on the door and do ye know what she said?”

“No, I-”

“She said ah couldnae use it any more. Said ah was an auld chancer and ah was costing them a fortune. Me! Ah always left fifty pence in her wee phone bank every time ah used it. And that was more than ah could afford. What a pity that wee scratch card that fell oot o’ yon magazine didnae work oot. ‘You could have won a million pounds!’ it said. ‘Just call our claims hotline to find your special prize claim number!’ Oh, ah was that excited. Ah hung on that line for ages, ye know. And d’ye know what the special prize was? An uncut emerald. Some million pounds. Ah sent away for it anyway, since ah’d put in ma fifty pence for the call. And what dae ah get back? Something that looks like a wee dried-up bogie and a leaflet telling me that if ah send it back wi’ a cheque for twenty quid they would polish it and put it on a nine carat gold plated chain. What a waste o’ a stamp, eh?”


“And it was just after that ah fell oot wi’ Mrs Snooty Drawers. It’s a shame, though. He was quite nice. Used tae gie me a wee bottle at Christmas. He didnae deserve tae be saddled wi’ a wife like her. Especially considerin’ what she’d get up tae while he was away in his big office a’ day. Well, that’s the only other time ah used the mobile. He must have suspected it anyway, ‘cos he made record time back frae the city. He screeched tae a halt ootside that hoose an’ went runnin’ in the front door. Two minutes later the fancy-man comes flyin’ oot backwards wi’ herself at the back o’ him. And d’ye know the best bit?”

“No, I-”

“They were baith starkers! Can ye imagine?”

“Mrs Mac-”

“Well, after a’ that-”

“Mrs Mackay, can I please take your reference number? All the calls to this helpline are timed.”

“Oh! Oh, sorry, dear. Ah got a wee bit carried away. Let, me see, noo. it on this letter? Ah cannae make it oot. Ah’ve had an awfy bother wi’ ma eyes, ye know. Blind as a bat, so ah am. Why, just last week....”


Meridian Ariel said...

I loved your story it was very funny! I'd like to read more of your writings. I really must get back to writting more. Thank you so much for visiting my blogs..

Katy said...

I love that story!!!! It made me laugh so much, and I love how you have done it in an accent too (I read it out loud to myself, luckily noonee was in to hear me trying to be scottish, lol!)

Christine said...

can't believe you're a writer too! Just come over from your knitting blog - I also can't believe you're in Dunfermline, are a writer, love the pixies and the boosh and are 34! Am I your clone or are you mine?

Christine said...

sorry, how rude of me. also meant to say I loved the story - always enjoy reading a well-written accent.