The windscreen’s misted up again so ah reach forward an wipe it wae the sleeve ay ma fleece, no fur the first time since we left the docks. The rain’s bouncin aff the road man. Spray fae the lorry in front only makes it worse - ah kin barely see twinty fit in front ay us. It’s dark an aw. Fuckin hauf four in the efternin an it might as well be midnight.
Ah lock oan tae the lorry’s tail lights in front ay us, operatin in the close enough tae see, yet no quite runnin right up the big bastart’s arse area ay proximity. Heidlights fae the motors gaun in the other direction temporarily blind me every noo an again - ye know, just in case it’s no perilous enough.
The thought occurs tae me that there are worse ways tae go.
Ah fuck aboot wae the dial oan the dashboard fur the heatin - turnin it doon then up, doon then up - an put ma haun oer the vent tae feel the temperature. ‘Still nothin comin oot?’ Scanlon sais tae me.
‘Just cauld air man. It’s fucked. Here, wipe that windae again eh, ah’m gonae end up crashin.’ ah sais an gie him some napkins that are in the centre console.
Rollin the windae doon aboot hauf waiy, ah hope that the air rushin in will help clear the condensation. It just makes matters worse though an horizontal rain sprays across ma face like waves breakin oer a trawler. Fuck me man. Fuckin fuck it.
Ah feel a flush ay anxiety come oer me again as ah remember. Ah’m deid man. Ah’m fuckin deid.
The heater fans gie a loud whoosh an a blast ay cauld air comes through the vents. Scanlon looks at me. ‘The fuck’s that aboot?’ he sais, ominously. The steerin wheel shudders, reverberatin through ma rib cage an lights oan the dashboard flash oan before the engine cuts oot. ‘Naw! Fuckin come oan ya cunt!’
‘You’re fuckin kiddin me on.’ Scanlon sais, ‘ah don’t fuckin believe this.’ he puts his heid in his hauns.
The motor behind me flashes his lights an pumps his horn. ‘Ya fuckin prick.’ ah shout tae the cunt, wavin ma haun oot, tellin him tae overtake.
He pulls oot next tae me, a big silver Merc. ‘Ya fuckin idiot, ye! Whit ye playin at?’ the auld gammon faced cunt driving the motor shouts.
‘Away ye go ya fuckin prick, ah’ve broke doon!’ ah scream back tae another face full ay spray as he puts the fit doon an fucks off, blastin his horn again.
Ah bump the motor up oan tae the grass verge at the side ay the road. Scanlon gets oot an ah pop the bunnet open. ‘Try an turn it oer’ he sais.
‘Ah’m tryin! Nothin’s happenin.’ ah sais.
‘Nae compression.’ he sais ‘It’s yer heid gasket mate. That motor’s fucked.’
‘FUCK SAKE!’ ah shout an punch the windae ‘WHIT FUCKIN NEXT?’
Scanlon opens the door an sits back doon next tae me. He’s fuckin ringin wet again awready. ‘That’s just fuckin great int it? Fuckin magic.’ he sais.
We sit fur a minute in silence, just the roar ay motors an the occasional articulated lorry fur company as they thunder by, either oblivious or indifferent tae oor predicament.
‘Right, well there’s nae sense sittin here, the caravan site’s only aboot another mile doon the road, we’ll just huv tae walk it.’ ah sais an open the door.
Ma troosers are so saturated wae watter that ah struggle tae get the key oot ma pocket when ah eventually arrive at the digs, helped in nae small part by the stupidly fuckin huge key ring they insisted oan gien us. Scanlon had elected tae walk oan tae the shoap fur a kerry oot ay lager fur us baith, reckoned we needed it. As watter ran aff ma haun oan tae the flint ay the lighter as ah tried tae start the gas fire, ah wis inclined tae agree wae him.
Rain drums oan the metal roof ay the caravan like a barrage ay golf baws batterin doon so that even in shelter it still permeates yer heid somehow; the relentless hammerin like some horrendous tinnitus blurrin yer thoughts.
It wisnae necessarily a bad thing, an fur the first time since we’d had the meetin on the dockside earlier oan, ah’ve a strange peace, staunin here, hauf naked in a tin box, concentratin only oan the rattlin torrent ay rain.
Ah wipe the windae an look ootside at waves ay it bein blown doon the wee avenues ay the caravan park, illuminated in the bright white street lanterns that line them. Ah towel ma hair dry wae the wan boggin towel ah’d brought wae me. Scanlon’s goat plenty but the cunt has locked them in his case an wulnae gies wan. Sais it isnae his fault ah’m no organised. We were supposed tae be gaun tae the big supermarket in Dunfermline for messages cos it wis pay day. Ah wis gonnae buy another couple ay them when we did. It didnae really matter anymare.
The door slams aff the side ay the caravan wae a loud clatter, shakin the dishes that are piled up in the sink as it’s blown oot ay Scanlon’s haun wae the wind. He looks like the grim reaper, staunin there drippin wet wae his black duffel coat hood oer his heid, his high cheek bones castin shadows oan his face in the light. His eyes are lost in the deep shadow ay the hood. Ah stare at him in the dim light for a second. ‘Take that hood doon will ye? Whit you meant tae be, The Burntisland Butcher?’ ah sais, an usher him in.
‘The fuck you talkin aboot?’ he sais haunin me the carrier bags an takin his jaicket aff.
‘Nothin. Never mind.’ as sais, conscious no tae inflate his ego by lettin oan how much ah’d been shitein masel, however briefly.
Scanlon’s staunin at the gas fire, steam risin aff his legs and hauns as he peels his troosers aff. We discuss gaun tae get cleaned up but decide against it cos the shower block’s at the far end ay the park an neither ay us huv the stomach fur walkin in the rain again.
Efter puttin dry joggies an a t-shirt oan, we sit doon at the table an spark a can ay Tennents Lager each. Scanlon grabs the wee T.V. dinner tray we’d been usin for rollin an starts skinnin up. ‘Whit dae ye make ay that then?’ he sais ‘two weeks an then oot oan wur arse? Fuckin rats man.’
‘It’s that prick fae the agency ah blame.’ ah sais, ‘see when ah see that cunt ah’m gonae boot his cheenies. Six month’s work he sais. At least! Might as well huv no came!’
‘It’s no their fault though, is it? They’re just passin oan the information they’ve been telt. It’s they cunts in the yard. Production goes doon so they bring in mare workers fae the agencies tae pull them oot a hole an because yer deemed a contractor they kin just drap ye like a hot tottie when they don’t need ye anymare.’ Scanlon sais makin me consider his point.
‘Aye, ah noticed it wis just the travellin men though. Nane ay they Fifer cunts goat their jotters.’ ah sais, feelin it wis important.
‘That’s whit ah’m sayin man. They’re aw in wae the bricks an mortar, the local labour force. Unioned up. We’re agency. . . Weegie, agency workers. We’re lower than pond life tae they cunts bro.’ he sais an ah know he’s right. Ah drift away fur a minute an remember. Fuck man. Ah’m deid.
‘Whit ye gonae dae then?’ Scanlon sais, sparkin his joint an takin a deep draw oan it.
‘We’ve still goat two weeks ay twelve hours a day that should be in the bank by noo. The lassie fae the payroll company sais somethin aboot five o’clock. That’s a couple ay grand surely?’ ah sais, the sum soundin familiar.
‘No two full weeks, we’ve no. We’ve goat five days fae last week an seven this week. We only goat seven hours the day cos it’s a Friday an we got bagged. We started oan the Monday an their week starts oan the Saturday. Should be nearly eighteen hunner poun there. That’s whit ah hud, here look.’ he sais, placin a wee balance print oot oan the table. ‘Goat it at the wee bank in the shoap.’
Ah sit starin at the figure: Wan thousand, seven hundred and seventy nine poun, twenty pence. That’ll huv tae dae fur a start, ah mean ah’d tried. It wisnae ma fault we’d been bagged. ‘That cunt McNulty will just huv tae take that as a doon payment. A goodwill gesture till ah kin get the rest ay it.’ ah sais, confidently. Scanlon stares at me through a haze ay hash smoke an sais ‘Stevie, ah think you better wise up mate. Fuckin goodwill gesture? That “cunt” will take you away an bury ye if ye’ve no goat that money when ye see him again.’ he looks like the grim reaper again as he sais it, the wee lamp that’s hingin above the table accentuatin they cheek bones again through the smoke.
‘Aye, awright. Ah fuckin know. Gies that joint will ye? Whit am ah gonae dae then, eh? Five grand ah owe him.’ ah sais as though he disnae awready know.
He hauns me the joint an ah open another can. ‘Try an no worry aboot it.’ he sais, ‘ah’m sure you’ll sort somethin oot. That’s some tic bill aw the same. Ye must’ve been hooverin it up, ya cunt.’
'Easy done.’ is aw ah kin come up wae. ‘That’s me aff it anywaiy. No hud a line in two weeks since we goat here. No touchin it.’ ah sais wae a degree ay finality.
Scanlon starts skinnin up again an ah sit watchin the rain rollin doon the windae.
We’re up, showered an oot ay there fur eight o’clock the next mornin. We get a taxi tae pick us up an take us tae the train station in Dunfermline where we’ll get the train tae Haymarket in Edinburgh afore gettin another wan tae Central Station in Glesga.
Scanlon gets the cunt drivin the taxi tae stop at the shop an gets us a bottle ay wine each fur the train journey.
We don’t talk much oan the first leg ay the journey except fur when Scanlon asks whit ah’m gonae dae aboot the motor. Ah tell him that it’s the least ay ma troubles given the situation an ah cannae, in aw honesty, gie a fuck whit happens tae the piece ay shit.
Ah keep picturin McNulty staunin in front ay me, his face aw fuckin ragin lookin - proper evil like a fuckin demon aw illuminated in red sayin tae me ‘ah telt ye, ya cunt. Ah telt ye whit wid happen.’ afore comin at me wae a big steakie.
The bottle lid seperatin fae the security ring gies a satisfyin crack when ah open the Buckie bringin me back tae reality an ah stare oot oer the Forth taewards the red, flashin light oan the chimney stack at Longannet Power Station.
It’s no until we get aff at Haymarket an jump oan the train bound fur Glesga that it occurs tae me. ‘Whit’s that boy's name fae your fitba bus that does a bit?’ ah sais tae Scanlon, louder than ah mean tae.
‘Who, big Dazza? Whit aboot him?’ Scanlon sais, leanin in closer tae me.
‘Gie him a phone, eh? See if he’ll punt me a hauf ounce.’
‘You aff yer nut? Thought ye were aff it!’ Scanlon sais, lookin concerned fur the first time.‘Ye’ve goat McNulty tae square up. He’s backed up wae heavy cunts fae Barmulloch, ye know that, daint ye?’
Ah think aboot this fur a second then lean in a bit further. ‘Ah know that mate, that’s exactly whit ah need tae dae this fur. Ah’ll cut that up an put it oot masel. Ah’ll double ma money. Then ah’ll buy an ounce an dae the same again. If ah kin avoid him fur another week, mibbe two, ah’ll get his money. Aw gaun well, ah don’t end up rolled up in a carpet at the bottom ay the Clyde.’ Scanlon takes a swally ay his Buckie an looks oot the windae, ‘It’s a risky strategy mate. That’s whit goat ye intae the shit in the first place. Ah mean, ah’ll phone him if ye want. . .’
‘Some man, mate. Ah knew ye’d dae us a turn.’ ah sais, cutting him aff afore he could counter the argument.
The boy fae Scanlon’s fitba bus, Dazza’s at the pub when we walk in. Ah get the three ay us a pint then sit doon next tae them in a wee booth next tae the pool table. He gies us the gear under the table an ah tail it. ‘If ye don’t mind, ah’m just gonae. . .’ ah nod taewards the carsie.
The boy looks at me, then Scanlon. ‘He’ll staiy here. Don’t worry, ah’m no gonae leave the country’ ah sais, an look at Scanlon who’s glowerin back at me in a waiy that suggests he isnae supportive ay ma actions.
The gear’s good. Too good fur the fuckin drongos ah’ll be puntin it tae. This’ll need tae be tinkered wae. Get some Benzo in the mix. Ah’ll double this up man. Easy money.
Ah chop another two lines oot fur Scanlon an Dazza oan the cistern, gien ma gums a wee dustin in the process then cover it wae a wee bit ay toilet roll afore headin back in.
Dazza’s lookin aw paranoid an hard tae read so ah gie the dough ah lifted fae the bank ootside the station tae him under the table, rapid. Ah tell him ah’d fired him an Scanlon wan oot in trap three but he sais he’s awright an that’s him needin tae bolt.
He nods tae Scanlon who’s makin his waiy back fae the bar wae another couple ay jars an then he’s off.
‘Ah just fired ye wan oot there.’ ah sais tae Scanlon. ‘Trap three! Fuck it, ah may as well show ye.’ He shakes his heid an laughs, ‘some boy, so ye ur.’ he sais.
* * *
Ah wake wae ma bladder at burstin point, ah feel like the pish is there at the very tip ay ma knob, suppressed fae explodin oot by a will power ah didnae know ah possessed. Ma stomach cramps an ah kin feel the fluid slooshin aboot in ma bladder.
Ah peel ma face aff ay the leather couch in Scanlon’s living room an make it tae the toilet. The pish is pungent an dark; like stewed black tea but smellin ay roasted hops. Staunin wae ma cock in wan haun ah reach oot tae the cauld tap an turn it oan as ah’m overcome wae a vengeful thirst, ma body depleted ay hydration in the last few. . . how many days wis it? ‘Three days we’ve been oan it mate. Ma heid, man!’ Scanlon sais fae oer ma shoulder.
Ah eyeball him in the mirror an he looks back at me an ah feel like ah should say somethin but the truth is there’s nothin ah kin say. Nothin that wis gonae change anythin anywaiy.
The door goes. ‘Scanlon! You in there? Is that cunt Stevie McShane in there wae ye?’ Scanlon puts his finger tae his lips an creeps alang the hallway tae the door. ‘It’s fuckin McNulty.’ he whispers back at me, pullin his eye away fae the peep hole. ‘Him an two other cunts.’
That’s it then. Ah’m fuckin deid.