Bunch of Cunts
This is just a funny wee story. There’s nothing to it really but it cheers me up. We’re up the West End Park this day. Me, big James and Bonzo. We’re smoking dope at the bowling green. There’s no-body there. It’s raining. Hissing. Bubbling up on the grass. But we’re under shelter. We’re not saying anything. Just enjoying the stone, the friendship and the silence. The air’s cold and it’s great drawing cool smoke into the lungs.
Next thing there’s this hammering coming from up above. It’s a big white Gone With The Wind wooden house. We give each other the I always thought that place was empty look and sneak up onto the green balcony.
Bonzo goes in. Me and James peek through the crack in the boarded up window. There’s a guy about fifty. A joiner. He’s doing the place up. Bonzo chaps the room door. Three polite knocks. He’s got his bunnit in his hands. Bonzo always wore a bunnit. The guy looks up.
—Mick been in? Bonzo goes. The guy’s puzzled. He looks about like Mick might be hiding in a cupboard. Or under the floorboards.
—Just on my tod here son. I’m doing a Sunday in here.
—He says to meet him here at twelve, Bonzo says, as if his life depended on it. The guy stands up and his hammer’s hanging down at his side. You can see he feels sorry for Bonzo.
—If he turns up I’ll tell him ye were here, eh… He’s waiting on Bonzo’s name.
—Jeremiah, Bonzo says, —Tell him it was Jeremiah.
Me and James are pishing ourselves.
—Jeremiah for fucksakes, says James, doubled over.
Bonzo comes out flicking his bunnit on and holding in his grin. His lips are white holding that grin in. We all tumble downstairs through the rain back to the bowling green. We smoke another joint and carry on as before. Silence. Smoking. Passing the joint. And the water on the sodden green is like a million dancing fairies. And the hammering continues in bursts up above.
After a while we’re bored. We go up onto the landing again and do the same thing. Only this time James goes in. He’s that big and glaykit James. Like a six foot Oliver Twist. The guy’s up quicker and more suspicious this time. He’s looking at James then past him to the open door. Trying to figure out what it’s all about. But he can’t see us.
—Is Mick there?
—Told me to meet him here.
—Who is this Mick?
But he’s good James.
—Works for the council, says James, —I’ve to meet him here at one.
The joiner lights a fag and stares at James, trying to suss him out.
—Who is this Mick cunt anyway? He goes, —What does he do for the council?
—He says I’ve to meet him here, is all James can say.
—Aye but who is he?
—He says I’ve to meet him here.
The joiner stares at James long and hard but James keeps his face straight. The joiner picks up a bit of wood and James can see the name Jeremiah written in pencil.
—What’s your name?
—Aye, says James, conjurin enough resentment to make him back down. The joiner licks his pencil.
The joiner writes it on the bit of wood then holds it up to James, pointing at Jeremiah.
—There was another guy up and hour ago. Jeremiah?
—Never heard of him, says James, and you can see his face cracking.
—Wee guy. Had a bunnit, in his hands like this.
As he holds this imaginary bunnit, James shakes his head.
—If Mick comes in can ye tell him I was here? says James.
—You don’t look like an Ebenezer.
—That’s what everybody says.
They stare at each other for a bit. Then the joiner says, —Ok I’ll tell him. And under his breath as James comes out, —If I ever fuckin meet him.
We soft shoe it back to positions. The rain’s not as bad now. We light another joint. We laugh but not outside. It’s just really three grins out there across the flatness of the bowling green. Leprechauns we’re like.
So after another while it’s my turn. Up we go. I goes in. The joiner turns and sighs like I’m his millionth interruption. I go for the light and bouncy approach.
—Is Mick in? I says. I’m smiling but he’s not.
—You’re the umpteenth cunt in here the day looking for Mick.
—Is he not in then?
—Who the fuck is this Mick?
—Hey man, cool the jets, I say, —Meets him in the Pop Inn Friday night, says if I wanted a start meet him here Sunday, two o clock. I want the job, so here I am.
—Well there’s been guys in and out here all day looking for him. I think it’s some cunt ripping the pish out yees all.
He looks at me for a while.
—What ye looking at me like that for, I says.
—What does he look like?
—This Mick cunt!
I describe Bonzo to a tee. The bunnit the whole bit. That confuses the joiner all the more. He sits down puzzled. I know he wants me to leave.
—D’you not want my name?
—Name? I’ve had enough of fuckin names the day.
—But how will ye tell Mick I was here?
He stands up and gets the bit of wood. Licks the pencil and squints at me.
—Your name’s Abraham?
—That was my da’s name, I says as if he’d hurted my feelings.
He writes Abraham on the wood and spins it clatter into the corner. Gets back to his work without looking at me. I creep out, laughter hissing through my teeth.
We’re smoking on the green again. There’s been no hammering for ages. You can just feel the joiner thinking it all out. He knows there’s something but can’t figure it out.
And he’s still trying to figure it out when the three of us burst in, taking up stances like three guys in a musical.
I will rock my soul, in the bosom of Abraham. We sings.
— Ya bunch of cunts, he says shaking his head, —Ya bunch of fuckin cunts.
And we all laugh. Me, James, Bonzo and that joiner. All sat on that floor on that wet Sunday afternoon, laughing at something we created, out of nothing.