Well you asked what medication I was on, says
Aye, I just had a wee cold though!
The Panatine began laughing and snorting beer then
he says, I was tripping away in the house after you'd left
so I thought I'd make it to the bottom of the hill for a
drink in The Lighthouse. I'm going down the brae, danc
ing with the atoms, then I see this crawling smudge com
ing up the pavement towards me out of the dark. As I get
closer it looks like a man with a leg missing, pulling him
self along the pavement with his ﬁngers; and thats what it
is, poor old Cushion pulling himself homeward.
Aye. Yon stuff made me feel so strange I left the pub
and walked along the esplanade. Thing is I believed I had
my leg back and I could walk, so I took off my false leg
and hurled it out into the water. I can st楬l see it spinning
round and round with my shoe on the end; my best shoe
too, says Cushion.
Everyone was in the hysterics and smiling.
Tell the young ones here how you k楬led your wife,
Cushion says, Laughs Like Water was her name
girls. I was a trapper in The Territories. Laughs Like Wa
ter. Finest squaw I ever had. We had made camp when
this big bear run across the clearing. I picked up the gun,
followed the bear across in my sights, like this, then
slowly squeezed the trigger as I swung the gun round and
Bang. I blew Laughs Like Water's head off. Her whole
head just turned into a red dust and I can still see the
rusty cloud of it blowing away across the clearing and
settling in the snow. I had to dig for two days to bury her
in the frozen ground then the wolves took her the third
Lanna had gone awful pale. The Commander came
over to our table.
How are the tides the night, shouted Red Hanna,
standing and shaking hands with him.
No so bad, oh no so bad Mr Callar thank you. I just
came to 睩sh you 慬l a happy new year. I cannot stop for
a drink, I'm expecting two puffers in from the island with
a hundred head of reindeer each so I've got to clear the
Off he waddled and everyone kept in their hysterics
till he passed the window.
It's a shame, I says to Red Hanna.
Suppose so. Have you set a date for your driving
I nodded and smiled. Red Hanna was looking at
Lanna who was leaning across the table. He says, Your
Lanna's grown into a lovely looking girl, eh?
It's right enough, Coil was saying, see that new ferry,
yon foreign shipyard bu楬t the hull of too thick a steel.
When it arrived here it was so unstable they had to cut it
in half and weld thirty foot of thinner steel in the middle.
The Hiphearan came over to join our group. As well
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as two big tumblers of whisky he was holding a super
store carrier bag. You noticed a big fresh ﬁsh with its
gaping mouth and an eye up against the greyish plastic
Well Hiphearan, a long time till High Season, says
Aye. Indeed. The Hiphearan took a swallow. His
complexion was right roary from the bolting of nips.
We'll maybe get a hot spell just at Easter there, he says.
It must have been well beyond licensing hours cause
Strathclyde's Finest marched in and started throwing peo
ple out. A sergeant came up to the Glory Hole and says,
Leave the premises now please.
Folk started to move outside with their pint glasses
but a policewoman was co汬ecting them a汬 at the door.
Oh, cmon, happy new year or what, Panatine
The Hiphearan had three glasses of whisky and was
arguing with the sergeant who was telling him to leave the
drinks and get out. You could see how loath The
Hiphearan was to part with his nips. Suddenly The
Hiphearan lifted the big ﬁsh out the carrier bag then
poured each glass of whisky into the mouth of the ﬁsh.
Then with all the railway and others cheering he carried
the ﬁsh past the police and outside; The Hiphearan put
the ﬁsh-mouth up to his own and tilted it back, drinking
out all the whisky from its insides.
You saw The Panatine was over at a wa1tmg taxi
then he climbed up onto the roof, buckling it 慬l in and
with a boot sent the plastic mini-cab sign ﬂying over the
sea wa汬. Sure enough it was The Skiabhanach inside.
Strathclyde's Finest started haring in, but the taxi
suddenly drove forward and accelerated. Panatine had
the gumption to get down on his stomach and hang on,
spread-eagled on the roof as the car sped away towards
The Mantrap with the police running after and a gang
behind them all in hysterics. Just down by the north pier
the car did a really good handbrake-skid and you saw The
Panatine's body go turning in the other direction and hit
the road. Then the rain started coming down in sheets.
The Kale Onion began serving again but Lanna led me
and The Bakery Girls up towards The Mantrap.
The Panatine was being loaded in the ambulance
across from The Mantrap and everyone had stopped
dancing to come out and watch. The Panatine was laugh
ing and one of the ambulance men was shaking his head
and saying to the police, It's him again, it's him.
Cause of rain, folk were going back in The Mantrap.
The Bakery Girls moved oﬀ to start ﬁrst-footing but
Lanna and me walked quickly up past Video Rental and
StJohn's then the Phoenix and Bayview till we were in
the street below the windows and skylights of my ﬂat.
When we got into the corridor I glanced up at the
loft hatch with the padlock I'd put on. Lanna walked
straight through saying, I havent been here in donks.
Youve still all His stuﬀ! Oh Morvy, my head's buzzing
with this tab.
I locked the door and put out the corridor light
cause of ﬁrst-footers plagueing. I lit another of those in
cense cones then says, You're soaken wet. Cmon we'll
have a bath. I put on the immerser and the bar ﬁre. When
I got the Christmas tree going at a medium sort of ﬂash,
Lanna put her face in her hands so I slowed it right
down. She started looking at all His bookshelves.
Whats this? Lanna says.
glanced over and went, It's an encyclopaedia; a
sort of hardback about everything. What music do you
Some of His stuff.
No want some 'core; those DJs?
Nut. Put some of His queer records on, Lanna says.
I goes, I really reckon I'll put this tape of the DJs
put it in.
No Lanna, theres a reason.
Aw honeybunch sorry, does His stuff remind you of
Nut, nut it's no that. His records and CDs are the
o湬y thing I wont be sending oﬀ to the auction rooms
one Saturday. The tape started the playing. Out of a
swirly synth these buzzing bleeps that could have been
samples offof old Moogs but they set up a groove then
it was insinuated slowly: that real Darkside theme and
the heavy bass drum started, echoed by a syn-drum. A
trance pulse locked on before the fanfare break then it
all kicked together with a second bass then the clear
girl voices singing the eerie theme: I Feel So Happy For
No Reason At 䅬l. Lanna was up, legs slightly splayed,
swishing her ﬁngers to and fro by her eyelashes and
jerking out her hip so all the beads clicked together
down her front and I grabbed her and giggled, Nah,
nah Lanna, look.
Out His desk drawer I took a folder with the travel
agent name on it.
What is it? Lanna says.
It's for you and me.
What is it then?
Thats why I've got this tape on. We've got to see
Creeping Jesus about changing your holidays. I've
booked us both a fortnight in July at a resort, Youth Med.
Dont be worrying about the money, He gave me a little
when He left, thats what I wanted to really get you up
here to tell you. Also Lanna, theres someth楮g else I have
to tell you.
What? she whispered.
You can move in here with me. No right away mind,
I've got some right clearing out of old junk to do, but say
after we come back from the resort.
What? I put my hand on her shoulder.
Youre just so awful lovely to me and, I mean theres
no reason, but youre so good.
He left you money?
I says, Aye a bit. Cmon. Bath.
Everyth楮g came oﬀ and Lanna got in ﬁrst saying,
Oh these bubbles are crazy.
St楬l tripping? I says.
Aye. Tripping like anything. It's getting heavier, she
You'll be ﬁne here.
You should take that other one and we'll be okay.
We could watch 慬l your weirdy horror ﬁlms.
I says, Is that water burny?
I put my bare leg in and says, Lanna it's pretty freez-
ing. Move toes.
I poured in more hot. Better?
Thats ample; thats sufﬁsh, says Lanna.
I climbed in but had to let a bit out the plughole to
stop it overﬂowing.
When we were dried through in the front room
Lanna sat 睩th my leg in her hands angling my knee
around under the light t楬l she got 慬l the sparkles oﬀ it.
Then I sat with Lanna's foot in my lap using the pedicure
set she gave me. I put the toe-dividers between her toes
and she kept giggling. I painted each toenail Emerald Sky
with a squiggly l楮e of S楬ver Starlite through it. Then
Lanna goes, Hey! Let's go up the loft and play on the
model village at night.
I looked up. Nah, not a good idea.
Oh come on, it would be br楬liant tripping.
I smiled and says, Are you really out your face?
Aye. It would be hysterical seeing the trains go
No. I've took it a汬 to bits for selling, I says.
Let's do a bit baking then, goes Lanna.
Eh? I laughed.
Cmon two-ton-tess, went Lanna jumping up and
opening 慬l the scullery cupboards.
You'd better get some clothes on you. I'd've thought
you'd enough of ba歩ng at that place.
Wheres the ﬂour; what butter've you got? says
Lanna, kneeling down sudden so's you saw her slim hips
widen out. She switched on the oven.
I got the ﬂour and there were new butters in the
Lanna says, Is it plain ﬂour? Oh goody cause self
raising tends to puff up and go hard. Do you have any
She measured out on the old scales getting me to
check; about a kilo ﬂour then all the 250g butter block
with a tablespoon of caster sugar got put in the big Pyrex.
Lanna started scrunching and crumbling, letting it a汬 fall
through her ﬁngers. Flour was right up her arms on the
tiny hairs and every time she lifted a hand to touch away
some hanging hair from her face she got ﬂour on her nose
or cheeks. You were just in hysterics watching her there.
This is the way to do it; with millions of butter so's
it's creamy as anything, says Lanna.
sprinkled in some water to moisten up the pastry
till Lanna goes, Thats ample.
She sprinkled ﬂour on the formica then battered the
big pastry blob down. When she spread some ﬂour along
the rolling pin Lanna quickly threw the wee-bit-leftovers
at me. I screamed and grabbed a big handful out that
big ﬂour ﬁght started with us both
going in total hysterics till we were pale from clouds of it
exploding and settling on surfaces.
We both looked the colour white the way He had
looked, lying above in the darkness when the snow had
settled down on Him.
Lanna started rolling the dough out in one direction
then another so's it got thinner and she says, Have you a
tray for making wee pies or a pastry cutter?
Nut, what'll we make then? I goes.
Whatever we'll need to pat it and prick it and then
put it in the oven for Morvern Callar and me, says Lanna.
We both laughed, her mouth seeming right deep
and darkish cause of the whiteishness of faces.
I'm never going to be able to eat any of this,
She cut little bases and made walls and tops that
stood up on a metal tray. She painted them in egg. They
were full of jam.
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