Death Becomes Him - Part 3 (Final/ Part 4 and 5 will be posted tomorrow)
Apparently, dug walkin is the foondation fur gid physical and mental health. A magic cure that wid even pit Charlie Sheen oan the pathwey tae sanity. Yit the presence ae the wee man cannae even scrub oaff the symptoms ae bowel cancer that huv left a permanent marker oan ma psyche. Any smidgen ae hope ah still hud that the doac might huv goat his diagnosis wrong died wae yin search oan google. Ah’ve goat every single symptom and this hus hammered the final nail in ma coffin. Brucie is walkin in sync by ma side and is too busy enjoyin the soonds and smells oan offer tae recognise that ah’m currently undergoin some soartae oot ae boady experience. Broat oan by the kick in the baws ah jist received that aw but confirmed that ah’m currently hooked up tae a life support machine. At the minute ah feel like a heidless chicken stutterin along wae nae sense ae direction.
In ma haist tae make a quick escape fae the flat ah must huv shoved ma sample ae shite in ma jean poacket withoot realisn it. Cos ah kin feel the test tube startin tae dig intae ma leg. This seems like the perfect chance tae fire back along tae the doacturs and droap the hing oaff. And then oan Friday ah’ll be marked fur death.
Aw along the wey there the streets are crowded wae busy shoppers, hustlin and bustlin along the pavement ootside the array ae shoaps. Cars and buses are zoomin past and makin a deafenin noise. Bruce is unfazed by the racket comin fae the road and stoaps only occasionally tae take a leak oan the many lampposts we encoonter. He’s alweys been a curious soul ever since he wis a pup and it’s no suttins he’s ever grown ootae. Alweys sniffin aboot and explorin his surroondins is Brucie and its this fact that hus kept him fae spoattin that ah look like ah’m yin wrong fit awey fae fawin oaff a cliff. Finally, we arrive ootside the doacturs and Brucie waits fur me obediently ootside as ah re-enter this Victorian timepiece. Surprisingly, the reception area is deserted but ma rare turn ae gid luck is shoart lived. As ah’m greeted wae the same depressin rugged auld puss as before when ah approach the desk. The wuman briefly looks up while shiftin through a pile ae paperwork. She appears annoyed at ma presence in the buildin again and snaps
‘’Can I help you?’’
‘’Aye’’ ah reply, deflated. ‘’The doac said ah wis tae hand in a stool sample’’
‘’Ok’’ she sais. ‘’Do you have it with you?’’
‘’Here yae go’’ ah remark. While ah produce the tube fae ma jean poacket and pass it oor.
‘’Oh, dear god’’ she gushes, as she covers her mooth wae her hand. ‘’We do expect patients to pop their samples into an envelope’’. Before she hastily disregards the tube intae a tray.
She looks bewildered that ah’ve no fucked oaff yit. Especially as a queue hus started tae form behind me. ‘’Is there something else?’’ she hisses in ma direction.
‘’Aye, there is as it happens’’ ah tell her. ‘’Kin ah huv a quick word wae Doactur Hill?’’
‘’You most certainly cannot’’ she retaliates. ‘’He is very busy today and you need an appointment’’
Ah lean oan the desk ‘’Understood’’ ah confess. ‘’But what if the great national bard himself is askin?’’ ah says, while ah produce a new ten quid note fae ma poacket. Which hus Rabbie Burn’s puss smothered oor it and ah slam the note doon oan the desk.
She smugly grins ‘’Well, that’s my retirement fund taken care off’’
‘’Is that an aye?’’ ah ask. Aw sceptical, likes. But slightly hopeful at the same time.
‘’What do you think?’’ she yelps. ‘’Now please vacate the reception area. I have other patients to attend too’’
Ah reluctantly dae as she wishes and heid straight back oot the entrance door. At the same time mutterin under ma breath what a rancid example ae a human bein these doacturs lackeys truly are.
By the time ah reappear fae the buildin the weather hus suddenly turned Leith intae a roastin hoat day in Barbados. It’s proper tropical weather and the sunshine is mercilessly blazin doon and the heat hus turned a notch up oan the thermostat. Such sudden gid weather hus clearly re-energised Bruce and ah ken that hopeful look fae anywhere, eh? The yin that’s askin ‘’What huv yae goat planned fur us the day?’. Ah quickly take ma jaicket and jumper oaff tae avoid runnin the very real risk ae meltin intae a sweaty puddle ae skin. This hus been a such a memorable day, but aw fur the wrong the reasons. And opportunities tae find some happiness huv been thin oan the groond. Still, this is a golden chance tae spend some alain time wae the wee man and hopefully gee masel a chance tae furget. It’s decided then, ‘’Son, we’re goin tae Leith Links. A lad’s day oot, eh?’’ ah tell him.
Before ah kin even finish ma sentence Bruce looks like he’s awready oan his fourth cartwheel. As we set oaff oan oor travels tae the park ah’ve realised that the toon must be in the midst ae some happy pill pandemic. Everyboady seems tae be wearin glowin, radiatin smiles. It could jist be a sea ae joy fuelled by the drastically improved temperature, likes. Or it jist might be happiness deep rooted in the news that ah’m aboot tae take ma last breath. It also might surprise yae tae hear this but ah’ve goat ma fair share ae enemies in Edinburgh. That’s right, no everyboady is a fan ae the wey ah operate. And kennin the sacred oath these receptionists took tae blab tae the nearest cunt tae thum aboot patient records. Ma theory might well prove tae be true. In spite ae this ah’m no gonnae lit it affect mines and Brucies special day oot. We’re gonnae huv a gid time taegether so bearin this mind ah stoap oaff at the wee papershoap nixt tae the park tae git some supplies. A few munchies fur oor picnic and cauld drinks along wae a new baw fur me and Brucie tae play fetch wae. Now we’re loacked and loaded fur oor wee adventure at the park.
Leith Links wis a dive back when ah wis bairn. An auld and tired reminder ae why cooncil tax is yin ae the biggest rackets aboot. Credit where it’s due though, eh? they’ve done a commendable joab bringin this park intae the twinty first century. Some nice lookin play areas huv replaced the death traps they tried tae pass oaff as a playgroond safe fur kids. Decent climbin frames, flyin foax, swings, roondaboots, aw present. An the very large surroondin areas allow masel and Bruce an opportunity tae enjoy the great ootdoors. The place is choked up wae folk like us, likes. Tae a man, as keen as we are tae wash ourselves in this alter ego ae the usual depressin Scottish weather. Ah’m still set oan huvin a smashin time wae Bruce despite no bein able tae move withoot knoackin intae yin ae the locals. Couples are wonderin aboot lovingly, hand n hand, as far as the eye kin see. There’s an army ae faimilies dotted acroass the large open and green space. Naturally, Bruce is in his element. Runnin aboot and investigatin the area and seein how happy this place makes him it pits a bright look oan ma dour puss. It’s alweys gid spendin some yin oan yin time wae him and never huv ah needed that maire than theday. Fur the nixt five hours we hud a great time. We played catch, hud ourselves a nice picnic, took a few memorable snaps fur the photae album. And Bruce goat tae play wae some ae the other dugs, n aw. Though ah wis surprised wae the absence ae the fuckin Lab. And fur five hours ah goat tae furget aw aboot the fact that ah’m quite literally livin oan a prayer.
We arrive back at the flat jist in the nick ae time. The weather hus regressed back tae it’s normal gloomy personality. Fae the moment we set fit ootside the entrance tae the park the climate became hostile and miserable. Basically, it felt like Scotland again. Ah cannae dim doon this feelin that some higher power hud granted the pair ae us yin final gid memory taegether by deliverin a rare sunshine oor Leith. A theory that hus sent ma paranoid and irrational thoats intae overdrive. The wee guy heids straight fur the livin room and slumps doon oan the broon rug in front ae the telly. Changed days in the flat ever since Bruce burst oantae the scene and ah’ve goat intae the routine ae keepin the place well kept. Gid joab tae cos ah’ve goat oor tea tae make while ah try tae overcome this overwhelmin feelin ae inconsolable dread. Ah pit ma jaicket and hoose keys awey and before too long ah’m dartin oaff tae the bog again as ma stomach feeds oaff ma growin insecurities aboot what lies in store. And yince ah’ve finally git massel oaff toilet ah go through intae the livin room only tae see that Bruce husnae flexed a muscle. The day’s excitement hus clearly taken its toll oan him and he appears unable tae move. In his apparent shattered state, he manages tae make contact by starin at me fae the corner ae his eye. This is his skilful wey ae tellin me tae turn the boax oan. Cos it’s comin up fur teatime and that means only yin hing, The Chase is aboot tae start.
Ah relent tae his discreet demand and swiftly whip the telly remote oaff the modern grey solid oak coffee table that sits in front ae the couch. Bruce observes that his command hus been obeyed and ah’ve fired it oan STV. He rapidly dissolves back intae his vegetative condition. Ah makes eyes at him
‘’Happy now?’’ ah ask?
Withoot sae much as even flickerin his eyes oaff the telly he lits oot a soft low-pitched bark in response tae ma question.
‘’Ah’ve no furgoatten’’ ah tell him ‘’Ah ken Tuesday’s steak night. Ah’m aboot tae make it. God, yae cannae half be a wee Diva sometimes’’
Ma criticisms faw oan deaf ears, though. As he remains levelled oot in spite ae ma remark. Like ah mentioned before, eh? it’s certainly a different environment in the flat ever since he moved in. Insteed ae littin the place dwell in squalor ah huv actually started tae take some pride in its appearance. It coast a pretty penny but ah’ve managed tae bring place up tae becomin a hoose that even these middle class bams wid be proud tae caw there ain. Ah’m tellin yae, likes. You could eat yur sticky toffee puddin oaff the fuckin lavy pan. And it’s nae exaggeration tae say that the kitchen is a cookin area that widnae look oot ae place oan the front cover ae that posh Country Living mag. The fresh white bunkers go hand in hand wae the stainless-steel appliances tae illuminate subtle sophistication. And ah dare say that somecunt such as Marco Pierre White wid confidently caw it a fancy.
Ah go straight tae ma pride and joy. Which is the monster American style fridge freezer that’s disguised as a dark widen cabinet. Openin the hing up amongst the well-stocked provisions ah find four expertly wrapped sirloin steaks which are courtesy ae the prestigious James Anderson Butchers oan Great Junction Street. They’re like the fuckin Cambridge uni fur butchers. It’s a trek fur a bit ae meat but these juicy bits ae heaven are worth a detour. In light ae ma recent stomach issues and against ma better judgement ah’ve refrained fae fryin up masel rid meat. Insteed, fur massel, ah’ve favoured a boggin healthy salad. Efter ah’ve fired up his pair ae bad boays and diced thum up. Ah prepare ma salad. Which consists ae lettuce, tomataes and the rest ae the usual greenery. These steaks do look oaffy gid, eh? And when yae compare thum tae ma dinner that’s fit fur nuttin maire than a rabbit’s hutch. It almost makes the risk ae dyin, a punt worth takin.
Ah take a couple maire anti-diarrhoea capsules fae yin ae the drawers and wash thum doon wae a cup ae water. This bein ma only defence tae combat the invisible enemy. Nixt ah scoop the plates oaff the bunker and heid through tae the lounge tae join Bruce fur an evein in front ae the telly. He will nae doot be waitin and wonderin where his steak hus goat tae. By the time ah reach him he’s still lyin chilled oot at the fore ae the boax. Though the delectable flavours comin fae the plate soon encourages him tae raise his heid before leapin up sittin and he starts tae stare at me excitedly. A perplexed expression emerges fae his puss, though. As he cloaks aw the greenery decoratin ma ain plate.
‘’Goat tae start eatin healthy, Bruce’’ ah tell him. ‘’Doacturs orders’’
He gawks at me and shrugs his shoulders before he begins tae devour the tasty bits ae meat clean oaff his dish. Leavin me tae park ma erse oan the couch jist in time fur Bradley Walsh askin a bunch ae desperados some general knowledge questions. The hing ah like aboot quiz shows is that they remind us ae aw that useless pish we hud long left behind at high school. Each moothful ae this tasteless healthy livin is enough tae even make that wee cunt Gretna Thunberg demand a big Mac and fries. And it’s no as if Bruce is helpin matters wae his overstated reaction every time he shovels another bit ae steak intae his greedy puss. The wee bugger kens exactly what he’s dain but ah’m unwillin tae show his teasin hus hud the desired affect oan me. Look at this, eh? It’s the cash builder rooond and this wank stain hus scored fuck aw. Then the programme heids tae the first ae it’s many advert breks and what’s the openin yin tae come ma wey? A fuckin bulletin fur none other than the Marie Curie. The last hing ah need tae witness is folk clingin oan tae dear life efter receivin a diagnosis ae cancer. Then aw ae a sudden an unanticipated wave ae sorrow comes crashin doon oan me. Like a tsunami unleashin itself tae wipe an ill prepared city oaff the map. An overdue show ae emotion sweeps acroass me and ah kin feel tears wellin up in ma eyes. Worse still, eh? Bruce hus cloacked the changin ae the guard and hus noticed ma misty eyes and he’s lookin maire concerned than ever before.
‘’It’s the onions in the salad, son’’ ah sniffle. ‘’They’re fuckin wae ma eyes’’
He’s many hings, ken? but dumb isnae yin ae thum. He kens there’s nae fuckin onions in ma salad. Ah quickly spring up fae ma seat and excuse massel in the hope ah kin pull it thegither quickly. By the time ah come ootae the toilet ah’ve managed tae maintain ma shit and Bruce is noo lyin oan the couch eager tae keep a closer eye oan me. Ah dae ma best tae pit ma growin concerns tae yin side and we sit and enjoy the rest ae the show. Yit ma thoat process is quickly zapped by the reality that ah’ve no received a single phone caw aw day. Which is maire than surprisin considerin ah’m the pipeline fur aw the coke heids and space cadets in the capital. Even they rancid pair ae self-obsessed twats Dougie and Craigy huvane even droapped me as much as text the day. Suttin is defo up, likes. And as much as ah try ah cannae ignore this growin self doot that the cunts huv thrown me oot the boat withoot a life jaicket. There’s suttin different aboot Bruce tae as ah keep feelin his eyes bearin up at me. He’s lookin fur a sure sign that ah’m no massel and ah’m terrified that ah’m gonnae gee him an excuse tae go straight oaff the reservation. Efter EastEnders finishes at aroond half eight the day’s activities eventually catch up wae the wee man and he zonks oot oan the sofa. And kennin Bruce like ah dae, eh? him droappin oaff will mean he’s oot fur the coont fur the rest ae the night. Which leaves me sittin alian wae only ma increasingly deranged thoats fur company.