Death Becomes Him - Part 2
Before oor tears even dry oan the Kleenex. Wull baith be magically transformed intae an emotional wreck. A waterfall ae water fae oor bloodshoat eyes. Runnin doon our pusses while oor herts brek awey intae a thoosand different pieces. Two macho stallions transformed intae a proper pair ae mental midgets. Alas, it’s now been made clear tae me, eh? what ma best course ae action is in this situation. Ah’ll hae tae jist pit oan ma best poker face and lie straight through ma teeth tae him. There’s nae danger ah kin tell him what the doactur hud tae say. Efteraw, ah’m still strugglin tae wrap ma heid aroond his words, masel. Even walkin through this street fails tae derail the dark thoats racin through ma mind. Like the memories ae ma cousin Akio. Who wis ma younger cousin oan ma mothers’ side. A boay ah’ve no thoat aboot fur a very long time. Yae see, Aiko fell victim tae an unfurgivin brain tumour when he wis only twinty three year auld. Ah alweys admired the wey he conducted himself, likes. Even in the eye ae imminent death fae his unrelentless illness. His show ae calmness and strength in such dire conditions wis truly a sight tae behold.
By the time ah managed tae visit him at the Western the tumour hud rotten awey maist ae his brain. And it hud turned what wis left ae it intae a blob ae mush. Did he complain, though? Did he fuck. The cunt wis a pillar ae strength and bravery. He wis nuttin shoart ae a fuckin hero. Ah mean, granted, eh? by the time ah visited him he wis only able tae communicate through Morse Code. So, aye, it wisnae as if he coulda complained too much even if he hud wanted tae. But that will doesnae change the fact that the vivid memories ae his battles wae cancer wur plaguin ma mind. And so wur ma ain self doots that ah could ever be sae dignified when ah’m facin a similar predicament as him.
Maire than likely ah’ll melt quicker than a chocolate fire gaird. Quite possibly departin this life in a scene ae flyin kicks and a chorus ae desperate screams. Ah wid much rather face doon ten boays tooled up and ready tae go than suttin ah cannae even see. Up tae this point in ma life ah alweys imagined ah hud less chance ae dyin than Santa. There’s nae denyin that ah’ve nearly run oot ae road oan maire occasions than ah care tae remember. Ah’m what is kent as an apex predator amongst aw the wannabe gangsters. The petty criminals and drug dealers who form the criminal element in Edinburgh. A great white shark as it wur, eh? crusin in an ocean filled wae defenceless tuna fish. And if it wis some wee fanny lookin tae create a name fur thumselves by takin a crack at the title. Then, quite frankly, ah wid jist say it wis aw part ae the game. But when it’s a fuckin doactur who’s handed me a yin wey ticket tae the mortuary? Lits jist say that’s a hard pill tae swallae, eh?
Ah’ve never been what yae wid label the religious type. Which is a far cry fae the beliefs ae ma parents. Two auld timers who are nuttin maire than boarderline fanatics. Especially ma mother who alweys takes any opportunity that comes her wey tae remind me that ma antics have broat eternal shame oan the family name. She’s alweys lived in hope that someday ah wid wake up and inexplicably repent aw ma many sins. Fur years she’s bored me tae tears wae the same routine aboot choosin a new path in life. And tae be honest, eh? ah never gave her words ae a redemption ah second thoat. But now, ken? it’s different. Suttin aboot it hus changed. And ah’m noo readyin masel tae find oot whether there is indeed a Mr Big upstairs cawin aw the shoats. Ah’m startin tae consider whether she might be right aw along. And that perhaps ah’ve mis-spent ma life bein a horrible bastard, efteraw. Cos yae kin bet yur grannies pension oan the fact that ma sins ootnumber ma acts ae kindness a million tae yin. And ma only real hope ae bein allowed tae sit fit in paradise lies wae the kind herted Brucie. His seat is awready reserved oan yin ae they big fluffy clouds high up in the sky, of course. So, ah reckon that the cunts up there might no even huv a choice. They might need tae allow me tae enter through they pearly gates. What wae me bein Brucie’s faithur, n that.
In spite ae ma best efforts ah cannae find a single soul oan the street who appears as miserable as ah um. Except fur the beaten doon lookin tramp who ah passed at the British hert foundation. He looked like he’d been jumped by a mob ae heidcases. And, ah must say, eh? The sight ae him cheered me up. And it wisnae jist aw the bruises oan his puss, likes. His overgrown beard and long unkept greasy hair also reminded me that there wis indeed someboady lower doon the fid chain in Edinburgh than massel. A rare instance ae hope which wis quickly dashed by a gid Samaritan passin by in his fancy suit. Who decided tae droap a crisp twinty quid note intae the beggers cup. Through this yin act ae sympathy fur the bum. His puss soon corroded intae a blissful smile.
A shoart time later ah finally arrive ootside the bloack ae flats oan George Street. Ma mooth feels drier than a grannies wrinkly auld cunt. And ma stomach is back tae producin loud and annoyin unnatural soonds again. Which is a sure sign that Arthur’s Seat is aboot tae violently erupt yince maire. Bruce will nae doot be well aware that ah’m back fae the doacturs, likes. Oan accoont ae him bein able tae recognise ma swift but hard fitsteps fae two streets awey. A proper Greyfriars Boabby, so the wee man is. A fact that only fuels ma anxiety as ah enter the buildin and make ma wey up the small flight ae stairs. And wae each passin step ah keep remindin masel tae selflessly be the strong silent type. Cos if no then ah might end up burstin intae tears as soon as ah cloack him. Jist like some boattle merchant contestant who chokes oan the final million quid question. Finally, ah’m standin ootside number eight and hesitantly ah stick the key in the loack. Ah hoad ma breath as ah enter. Tryin ma best tae keep it thegither
Ma first sight as ah walk through the door immediately pits ma emotions oan red alert. Cos, ah’m hit wae a worried lookin Brucie lyin sprawled oot in the hallway. The wey he’s goat his ears pinned back, eh? and as he looks up aw ah kin see is sheer panic in his eyes ‘’Brucie’’ ah squeal. Tae which he springs up fae the flair in what kin only be described as a double does ae baith nerves and excitement. The latter doesnae last long though. Cos suddenly he looks as loast and as frightened as ah’ve ever seen him before. At least, ah’ve no see him this dejected since the day we first croassed paths. The perr wee might’s been through sae much awready in his shoart life that it wid almost be criminal tae inform him ae the truth, tae be honest. So, in a rare moment ae self-sacrifice aw’s that’s left fur me tae dae is pit oan a big smile and fabricate a happy endin.
‘’The doactur said there’s nuttin tae worry aboot’’ a comment that brings oot yin ae Brucie’s famous big cheesy grins before he lits oot a triumphant bark as if tae exclaim ‘Ya dancer!’. He then charges at me, eh? Brimmin wae a new lease ae life. He soon begins slurpin aw oor ma puss. And as ah rub his chist aggressively ah kin see ma big fat fuckin lie hus done jist the trick. There’s nae doot in ma mind that ah did the right hing by him. Ah kin only hope he’ll see that gein time.
Physically, Bruce is a far cry fae the skin-and bones pup ah foond last year. In fact, he’s a proper picture ae power thesedays. Wae his muscular boady and meaty neck. Honestly, likes he’s goat a frightenin amoontae power fur a dug his size. And along wae his beautiful smooth black and white coat. He’s turned oot tae be a proper heid turner, jist like his faithur. Dinnae lit yur eyes deceive yae though, eh? cos underneath aw ae that brawny bravado lies the hert ae a lover, no a fighter. Cannae even begin tae tell yae the number ae times he’s left me cringin wae the wey he lits other dugs doon the park take liberties wae him. Naturally, of course, ah’ve tried ma best tae pit some much needed fire in his belly. By tellin him tae stand his groond and no tae take any ae their pish. But aw ma efforts prove tae be in vain. Truth is he jist lacks that eye ae the tiger instinct. Aw flight and nae fight. And tae be completely straight wae yae aboot it. Ah actually cannae help but love him ever maire because ae that. Fae the French Bulldug who’s alweys nabbin his toys at every opportunity. Tae that Labrador who boarderline harasses the perr soul. Each dug doon there takes Brucies big smile and bigger hert as a sign ae weakness. And that fuckin absolute wee cunt ae a Labrador is the worst. That bad, in fact, that it’s owner nearly peyed fur its badness by takin a punch in the puss. Ah somehow managed restrained masel though. Which, lookin back now is maire than fortunate. Ah cannae tell yae how bad ah’d feel fur knoackin a wuman oot cauld. Especially yin in a wheelchair and who’s almost certainly fast approachin her twilight years.
Fur now at least Bruce seems content enough. Scratch that, he’s actually glowin a ray ae fuckin sunshine. He saunters confidently by ma side and dutifully follaes me intae the livin room. His new foond sense ae happiness is ma runner’s up prize. The fuckin silver medal which ah’ll accept wae gratitude. In what is this maist fucked up ae situations. It wid be clear tae even Stevie Wonder that he hus his mojo back, awright. What wae the wey he bites doon oan the wee cushion oan the couch. Playfully shakin it until its deid. A very welcomed throwback memory tae his puppy days, likes. When his regular battles wae the cushions wis legendary tae aw who witnessed thum. Ah’m starin doon certain death and aw’s ah kin dae is smile as ah watch him. He’s exactly what ah needed. The wee fella’s larger than life personality kin only ever bring joy. We stare lovinly at yin another. And as we dae ah kin feel ma eyes beginnin tae tear up a wee bit. It’s the thoat that this might well be the premature end ae Aldo and Bruce’s story, eh? Ah feel ready tae crumble like a Cadbury Flake. Confessin tae him in a bubblin mess what the doacturs true diagnosis wis. But it’s a thoat that doesnae last long. Fur it’s quickly washed awey by the rumblims comin fae ma stomach. The fuckin hing soonds like a rattlin washin machine. And before ah ken it ah’ve been plunged intae a race against time tae reach the bog.
Ah made it tae the bathroom by the skin ae ma baws. Even though a hud moved at what musta been Guinness World Records speed. And as soon as ah threw the door shut behind me ma hands scrambled tae unbuckle ma belt. Desperately yankin doon ma jeans and boaxers before ah lit rip. It seemed as if ma erse set oaff maire explosions than the fuckin Edinburgh Hogmanay firework display. And it widnae surprise me if the vibrations sent through the buildin hud registered oan the Richter Scale. The seeminly endless flow ae shite that poured oot ma erse didnae even feel humanly possible. It wis if ah hud jist digested ten ae ma faithurs rid hoat vindaloos. It wis a mess, a real fuckin mess. The sight and smell ae which sendin thunderous shockwaves ripplin through ma brain. Tellin me that this might jist be yin ae the many symptoms ae advanced ‘Bowel Cancer’. Ah sat doon oan the toilet seat and staired straight intae the depths ae the abyss. Yit ah retained enough strength ae mind tae take the test tube provided by the doactur fae ma jean poacket. Scoopin oot a sample ae ma shit and miraculously dain this whilst involuntarily dry bokin. There’s a section ae society, eh? And you might be yin ae thum tae. Who view someboady bein stuck oan the toilet while they shit their insides oot, as an source ae amusement. Ah wis guilty ae such cruelty massel. Ah mind ah spiked the fastest boay in the cless oan sports day. By droappin a couple ae laxatives intae his water boattle right before the big race. Me and ma mates pissin oorselves laughin as he collapsed and shat himsel aboot a meter before the finish line. But that wis years ago, eh? And now that ah’ve seen the situation through ma ain eyes. Ah realise that there wis nuttin funny aboot it at aw.
Ah finally clean massel up and come back oot the bathroom. Naturally, ah’m feelin ten poonds lighter and plagued wae even maire irrational thoats than ever before. And before ah ken it ah’m greeted again by a fretful lookin Bruce who instantly cloacks the test tube gripped in ma hand. An image that seemed tae set oaff warnin signals in his awready worried wee heid. Ah could tell this by the wey he glanced up at me, eh? He looked sae vulnerable. But this soon changed yince ah assured there wis nuttin tae worry aboot. Before long he’s lyin doon nixt tae me oan the couch. And even though ah’m smilin oan the ootside ma heid is still filled tae the brim wae a sense ae baith fear and paranoia.
We’re sittin watchin that show ‘A Place in the Sun’, likes. Ken, that programme aw ae they middle class cunts go fur an aw expenses paid trip abroad. In search ae findin a new fancy hoose. Borin as fuck, ah ken. But no fur Bruce, the wee man loves it. He cannae git enough ae it and doesnae even blink when the hing is oan the boax. He loves nuttin maire than a stroll doon the beach and watchin these dafities toppin up their tans in places like the Costa Del Sol. Ah hink it geez him some hope that it be might us yin day searchin fur oor ain slice ae paradise. And he cannae hide his delight when the presenter shows these bams the hoose ae their dreams only then tae inform them it’s fifty grand oor their budget.
The sunshine is beamin through the blinds and lights up the room. It’s a modest room and schizophrenic. The eye catchin large screen telly dominates and compliments the modern furniture straight fae an IKEA showroom. Hibs legend Frank Sauzee and Robert De Niro fae Ragin Bull hing side by side oan the wahs. And oan the coffee table the laptop sits and is almost eggin me oan fur a square go. By that ah mean the hing is practically beggin me tae fire it oan and start googlin ma symptoms and heid doon a road straight tae madness. Jist remember what happened tae Perr Kyle. That bein said though, eh? ah’ve never taken a back step in ma life and ah’m no aboot tae start noo. Ah’ve whipped the laptop oaff the table and began firin in the ominous words ae ‘Bowel Cancer’ intae the search engine. A persistent change in bowel habits? Ah’ll fuckin say. Blood in the stool? Ah never thoat aboot it at the time. But ah do hink ah saw a rid tinge oan ma shite. In fact ah’m fuckin certain there wis. Abdominal Pain? That’s a double whammy ae aye. Ma heid feels like ah’m oan the brink ae brain aneurysm and ma hert feels like it’s poundin oot ma chest. Realisn ah’m in desperate need tae improve ma oxygen levels ah’ve sprang up fae ma seat and announced tae a surprised Bruce
‘’C’moan, son. We’re gone fur a walk’’
He looks pissed as he jumps doon fae the couch but they words are his Achilles heel cos he’ll no pass up an opportunity tae stretch his paws. Ah pop a few maire Imodium and then we baith heid straight oot the front door and are oaff oan a wander in the hope cooler heids will prevail. And ah kin finally make sense ae this depressin situation.