Ugly Puggly 40
I’d a fry-up for breakfast with all the works: mushroom, tomatoes and two potato scones. It was enough to sober me up. Not that I’d been drinking much, I’d kept it under ten pints because I was driving. The plate was on the table with a mug of builder’s tea and two buttered rolls. I’d opened the window so the neighbours could get a waft of what a Sunday morning cooked breakfast should smell like, but it brought Davy galloping down the stairs. I looked up at him with the fork in my hand. His face was like a picture of one of the black babies the teacher used to show us to try and get a penny out of our pocket that should have been spent on sweets.
‘It’s no even ten o’clock,’ I put the fork down and sighed. ‘You usually keep the same kind of hours as Dracula.’
‘I hud tae go for a pee.’
‘The toilet’s up the stairs.’
‘Yeh want a bit o breakfast?’
He slid his bony arse into the bench. I nibbled at a potato scone and pushed the plate in front of me towards him.
‘There’s two rolls. Only eat wan,’ I warned him.
The frying pan was still on the cooker, the fat hadn’t lost much heat. I dived into the fridge, but there was only one chicken egg left, although there were four larger duck eggs.
The playboy wiped yolk from his mouth and ducked his neck as if someone was listening. ‘Where’s Howard?’ he whispered.
‘Next door, yah fuckin idiot. Where he always is. Daeing his stupid calculations.’ I broke the egg over the frying pan and it spat at me. ‘I take it he done an all-nighter again?’
Dave was chewing, so he nodded, before blurting out, ‘I hink so.’
‘You don’t know then? He counts the distance between stars. And you? You cannae count how many men yeh huv in bed wae yeh?
‘Fuck off,’ he muttered.
Sipping at my sweetened tea, I added a bit of ham to the mix in the frying pan and a square sliced sausage. Dabbing at it with a wooden spoon, since I couldn’t find the plastic spatula.
‘This is nice. I didn’t know yeh could cook.’
I laughed. ‘Aye, I can dae the basics. We were in the Scouts sure. Pledge allegiance tae the Queen and God, in that order. Pay yer ten pence subscription. Make sure yer uniform was up tae scratch and yer woggle was woggly—yeh were good tae go. Woodcraft, how tae rub two sticks together and create a fire. How to create a simple meal without leaving half the countryside ablaze.’ I pushed the sausage around the pan. ‘That sorta shite.’
He laughed and the smile lingered. ‘Was Howard in the Scouts too.’
‘Fuck aye. If there was unmapped wilderness, he’d find it. And he’d never got lost because he’d Clark shoes wae a compass in the heels. We even went on jamborees.’ I turned my head and saw I’d lost him. I started explaining what a jamboree was, but then stopped and changed tack.
‘We hud to prepare for anythin fae graze, tae cut knees wae TCP and bandages. Real preparation went in tae getting hit by a bus. It was never just a car or motorbike. A pedal bike would huv been an insult. It was always a bus. And the answer was clean underwear and socks. Then you’d be a credit, not only tae yer Scout group, but yer mother. And ye’d never be lost or hungry again.’
‘You just made that up,’ he started mopping up egg yolk on his plate. ‘I’ve heard it aw before.’
‘That’s my roll,’ I growled. ‘Yah stupid cunt.’
‘Sorry,’ he held out a yolky roll.
‘Fuck off.’ I tipped my egg out onto my plate. ‘Aye, yeh will be sorry when I tell yeh Howard wants us tae move the body. Says it’s no longer safe there wae Jeff sniffin about.’
Dave chewed on his roll and didn’t seem perturbed. It was as I’d told him we were ordering another gardening catalogue. He finally mustered a question. ‘Move it where?’
‘Fuck knows,’ I shrugged. ‘Maybe Howard knows. But he hasnae told me yet.’
Dave perked up. ‘Yeh mean he’s been talkin tae yeh?’
I poked the yoke, no longer hungry. ‘Nah,’ I admitted. ‘He’s been a bit doon.’
‘Is the always like this?’
I didn’t know what to say. ‘Well, his Ma was a bit of a depressive, but if you’d seen her you’d know she’d a lot tae be depressed about. And she liked a good swallae. I suppose in those days it would be called self-medicating. If you put the Red Sea into wine glasses, she’d huv finished it and started on the Dead Sea.’
‘Jesus,’ he rubbed and mussed up his hair. ‘But Howard doesnae drink—well, no much.’
‘You mean, no as much as me?’ I pointed fork tings at him.
‘Somebody’s got tae keep the economy afloat. If I cut back in my spending noo, Dalmir will go into major recession.’
The playboy stood up and glanced in the sink for his mug and seeing it needed to be washed, took a clean mug of the cupboard and put the kettle on. I rubbed at my belly which was giving me gyp.
‘Maybe you should make Howard a cuppa?’ I suggested. ‘And take it through tae him.’
‘I will,’ he blinked at me with his long eyelashes as he was flirting. ‘Thanks,’ he rubbed my arm. ‘Whit kind of mood was he in?’
I shuffled sideways sipping my tea and flinging the dregs into the sink because it was cold. ‘Oh, he’s great. I think he’s in there huvin a jamboree.’
‘Is that yer new word?’ He flicked the kettle off when it boiled. ‘Jamboree?’
‘Aye,’ I admitted. ‘I can overdae it a bit. But he’s went fae tryin tae save the world, tae no even be able to look after himsel.’ I took a deep breath. ‘He wants us tae move the body. And I hink he might be right, but I don’t know whit the fuck tae dae about it. Neither does he. The worse part is, I hink he might be huvin some kinda breakdoon and he would actually be better aff in hospital.’
Dave blew at his mug like a little boy. ‘I hink you might be right.’
‘About everythin,’ he simpered, batting his eyelashes.
‘Fuck aff.’ I growled at him. ‘Of you’ll be huvin a breakdoon tae.’
He sniggered holding onto my arm. ‘Promises. Promises.’