Ugly Puggly 41
I filled a mug with tap water. Drank it. Rinsed the mug and wandered through to the living room with Dave at my back. I took the seat near the window. The unplugged telly and screen had a coating of dust. Much like Ugly Puggly.
Dave took the seat nearest him and reached over. He took Ugly Puggly’s hand and stroked and licked the digit of his forefinger. Ugly Puggly turned to look at him, frowned and jerked his hand away. It showed he was still alive.
‘Howard,’ I spoke to him in an overloud voice in the way I addressed children and old folk, ‘I’ve told him you said we’d need to dig up the body and rebury it.’
Ugly Puggly put down his pen and paper. ‘I never said that.’
‘Aye, you did.’
He corrected me. ‘I never said anything about reburying him.’ He looked at Dave as if to confirm he hadn’t said that.
Dave giggled. ‘You could feed his body tae the pigs. Like they did in The Silence of the Lambs.’ He tried to mimic that thing Anthony Hopkins did with his lips, a sucking and licking noise with plenty of tongue.
‘Don’t be so fuckin stupid,’ I told him.
‘Not such a bad idea,’ Ugly Puggly tilted his head. ‘There’d certainly be nothin left, but shit. They’d crunch through bones like butter.’
An even smugger look than normal crept into Dave’s face and he flashed a smile.
‘We could make him into burghers and serve him as part of a Happy Meal. Gie kids a plastic toy wae him, and they’d wolf him doon. But yeh know whit would happen. They always leave a bit. A hand or foot lyin about wae cold chips.’
‘Yer just being ridiculous,’ Dave replied. ‘Because yer thinkin too straight.’
‘Listen, this is a true story.’
Ugly Puggly perked up a bit and translated for Dave. ‘He’s lyin.’
‘When I was wee, my Uncle George, who was my da’s brother, asked my da’s advice. Because he was old school. They were aw old school because it was an old school.’
‘Shut up and get on wae it,’ Ugly Puggly said.
‘Well, my Uncle George was sitting on the burst couch wae his stiff arm protectively around my Auntie Peggie. She was greetin. I’d never seen a grown woman greetin before.’
‘If I remember, rightly, their sons and daughters were there. And they were greetin in the background tae—that’d be my big cousins.’
‘Jesus,’ said Ugly Puggly.
I gave him one of my hard stares, but he didn’t seem to notice. Dave pushed forward in his chair. ‘Whit was it? Did somebody die? Or was abducted by aliens?’
I was quick to slap him down. ‘Nah, it was worse than that. George Junior was a poof. And they said there was nae hint of that. They thought he was just larkin about.’
‘Don’t say poof,’ said Dave.
‘Alright, he was gay. Is that alright wae you?’
He shrugged. Ugly Puggly shook his head and glanced at the scrap of paper with his tiny hieroglyphic annotations on it.
‘I’d seen a black-and-white mugshot of George Junior, cause he was a bit older than me. To be brutally honest, he was an ugly cunt. He’d this fuckin two-tone cardigan wae mock leather buttons. And it was buttoned right up tae his Adam’s apple. They’d put him on a train and sent him tae London, were that sort of hing happened aw the time. And he could be wae his ain kind.’
‘Next hing, he’s on the telly. His pictures in The Scummy Sun.’
‘Serial killer?’ Dave asked.
I took a deep breath. ‘Worse, he’d been groped by a Tory peer. As my Uncle George said, he could ruin his own life, but why go aw that way and muck about wae people whose job it is to ruin every other cunt’s lives?—Nae wonder they were so upset, huving a closet Tory in the family.’
‘Whit did they dae next?’ asked Dave.
Ugly Puggly was quick to cut him down. ‘You listenin tae this shite? Let’s get back to reality. I hink we aw agreed we’ll need tae move the body. I’ve been gieing this a bit of thought and ideally our best bet would be cremation.’
‘Noo yer talkin shite,’ I said. ‘We’re no gonnae build a big gigantic bonfire, like the Wicker Man and go unnoticed. Think of aw the wood and that yed need. And we’d need tae invite Christopher Lee.’
‘I was thinkin of somethin smaller.’ Ugly Puggly picked up his pencil as if he was going to write the answer to an equation and hand it to me with the secret of the universe underline, but undecipherable. ‘My initial thoughts were cats and dogs. How do vets get rid of deid animals?’
‘Brilliant,’ said Dave. ‘The burn them and you can pick up the ashes later. That’s whit they did wae my cat Jess.’
‘But we’ve got somethin much bigger than a fuckin cat,’ I pointed out. ‘And no only would we need tae dig him up. We’d need tae hack him intae kitty sized portions, before feedin him tae the furnace.’
Dave squirmed in his seat. ‘I’m getting bored wae aw this hassle. Why don’t we just let bygones be bygones?’
Ugly Puggly tapped his pencil on the arm on the chair. ‘Well, if you were sittin in a prison cell for thirty years—ten mair longer than the age you ur noo—you’d know whit bored was. And you’d certainly no want bygones tae be bygones. The world then will be in apocalyptic mode. I’m no sure you’d have as much chance of survival as a Gentoo or Emperor Penguin in Antarctica.’ He nodded in my direction. ‘And I’m pretty sure we won’t.
I smiled. ‘Cheers pal. Speak Gentoo for yersel’
‘So whit’s yer big plan?’ Dave asked the question I was thinking.
‘I don’t huv big plans,’ replied Ugly Puggly. ‘I only have best guesses. And my best guess is we cremate the body in the place designed for that purpose.’
‘You mean Dalnottoar’
He pressed his lip together and nodded. His pencil falling from his finger and onto the floor.
‘That’s crazy,’ said Dave.
‘Sure is,’ I agreed.
‘That’s the beauty of it,’ said Ugly Puggly. ‘Naebody expect you to break intae a crematorium and cremate a body. It’s no as if the place will be hoachin wae security.’
‘I suppose it is oot the road,’ I admitted. ‘But they’ve got a wee caretaker’s hoose there, security, just as yeh go into the graveyard.’
‘Empty,’ said Ugly Puggly. ‘Cause of the cutbacks.’
‘Probably haunted,’ said Dave.
We both stared at him.
‘Whit?’ he asked.